Friday, February 6, 2009

The opportunity of a lifetime to make a difference


Bisokotuwa, in Galebedda, Moneragala

Just think ‘kalpanakaranna’, for a moment. Sri Lanka is in the cusp of a moment in history (once again the skeptics would say) to take up the challenge before us to unite as a Nation and work towards building on making real the ever mentioned programs and idealistic notions of leaders. We have great thinkers, and armchair pontificators but few doers and implementers.

Taking on President Barak Obama’s theme, “yes we can” I will explore just one idea. The country has 500,000 men and women in the Armed Forces, including the 40,000 in the Home Guard. They have their work cut out for the next six months to provide security to the Nation, lets take these 6 months to put a super plan in place to make use of this National asset.

Those who know can vouch for me when I say, it is desperately difficult to instill discipline into our youth who are now in a world of TV inspired desires, but little of parent inspired work ethic to achieve these desires. The youth in the Armed Forces however have discipline forced on them as part of their contract, and have been able to achieve the targets set before them.

I recommend the setting up of Corps out of the Regiments and Battalions, that cover many vocations and put these young men and women into them, within the existing hierarchy so it does not compromise loyalty to their respective units. Something akin to the Army Corps of Engineers in the US who to this day take care of the building of dikes and berms. The larger requirement at present is for them to immediately set about the task of building the roads, which I am sure they can perform at a greater speed than if left to other means, due to the ability to act under direct orders.

As a farmer I would like a unit to create and run large, say a couple of thousand acre Agricultural projects especially in the vast stretches of the Northern areas that are currently uninhabited, to plug the massive shortfall in our food production. Large-scale requirements include, Forestry, Sugar cane and Maize, which is practically grown in only large extents to make mechanization and productivity optimal. What more plan to reduce dependence on imports than these three products. Of course Red Onion and Grapes are other options suited to this Northern terrain. More importantly, they will be trained in planned production and disciplined farming something our peasant farmers lack for some obvious obstacles they face.

1 comment:

blacklightarrow said...

Ratmale, the SL Army already has units such as you describe. The Field Engineers, that build roads, bridges and other structures for the Army; the General Service Corps, which provides services ranging from architecture to sign painting to cooking; the Electrical & Mechanical Engineers, which provides maintenance for the Army's vehicles, etc. These support and service units have detachments or individuals seconded to combat formations as and when they are needed.

The SL Army is based on the British system, not the American, and therefore combat units are structured battalion-brigade-division -- the regiment is just a family name, and its battalions fight under the brigades they are attached to. The SL and British armies do not fight as regiments.

The British regimental system was created with the strategy of dividing the army so that it would never be powerful enough to challenge parliament. There was no such danger in the US, and the military has grown much larger.