Communist Review - Improving forecasting capacity and strategic foresight is vital for Vietnamese officials in the current period. Effective forecasting of officials enables the Party to make appropriate decisions, make the most use of favorable factors to boost socio-economic growth and construct and safeguard the socialist Vietnamese Fatherland in the new period.
The importance of strategic forecasting and new requirements for officials in the current circumstance
The Communist Party of Vietnam attaches great importance to strategic forecasting. The national revolution led by the Party has expressly demonstrated that victories and outstanding achievements gained in the cause of national liberation and construction, especially in the Doi Moi period resulted greatly from effective strategic forecasting.
Strategic forecasting is one of the special tasks in Party building. The effectiveness of strategic forecasting shows the competency, predictive thinking, and strategic foresight of the Party. Strategic forecasting aims at studying, assessing, and predicting early from afar evolving situations to take preventive measures, eliminate risks, and increase beneficial factors. Outcomes of predictive analysis provide a crucial scientific and theoretical foundation enabling the Party to formulate appropriate plans and policies in leading the country in the right direction and effectively to achieve goals set out through each Congress term.
The key to succeeding in the revolutionary cause is to build a contingent of cadres, especially those at the strategic level, who are qualified and competent in analyzing and forecasting emerging problems, and influential factors. They must clearly understand the goals set out in guidelines and policies in order to meet the increasing requirements of the revolutionary cause. Accurate predictions by officials allow the Party to make good decisions; On the contrary, inaccurate strategic forecasting can result in catastrophic consequences.
Through more than 35 years of implementing the renovation policy, Vietnam has obtained outstanding performances of historical significance, enabling Vietnam to raise its position and international prestige. This is an important driving force helping the country to overcome challenges and develop quickly and sustainably in the coming years.
The political report at the 13th National Party Congress evaluated and affirmed: "The Party's capacity to forecast and formulate plans, and policies have been significantly improved... Politburo and Secretary of the Central Committee issued many documents on the Party building and political system, including guidelines and resolutions to carry out new and important tasks. The timely and synchronous promulgation of documents by the Central Committee in most fields has provided an important political basis to promote Party building and rectification, enhance socio-economic development, strengthen military potentials, and proactively and actively integrate into the world in the new situation.”(1).
However, socioeconomic growth is not on par with the national potential and advantages. The economy has not developed sustainably and revealed inadequacies and weaknesses. The institutionalization and concretization of some guidelines and resolutions of the Party into laws are not adequate and timely. Resolutions promulgated by some Party committees and organizations are not adapted to reality and are inadequate in terms of operational feasibility; the leadership and implementation of some resolutions are still not strictly conducted, leading to low efficiency and do not meet requirements. Reviewing practices and theoretical studies have not been paid due attention. The work of grasping the situation and making strategic forecasts on national security is sometimes not very proactive. Therefore, the profound lesson learned by the 13th Party Congress is to actively research, grasp and accurately forecast the situation so as not to be passive.
In fact, the forecasting capacity of a part of cadres at all levels is still limited in qualifications, narrow in vision, conservative, dogmatic, and empirical; They lack creativity and adaptability. Short-term thinking is still rooted; they fail to grasp objective laws. Consequently, when advising the promulgation of policies, they have not comprehensively assessed objective and subjective factors. Therefore, these policies lack feasibility and adaptability to reality.
These inadequacies result from objective and subjective elements. On the one hand, the path toward socialism is a long and tough journey. The deeper the renewal process goes, the more new problems arise both in theory and in practice, which cannot be solved immediately. Meanwhile, thinking of an agricultural and centrally planned economy which is aggravated by wars and thinking of bureaucracy, and subsidies are rooted in most Vietnamese officials ...; On the other hand, a part of officials is not fully aware of strategic thinking; they face challenges in staying current with new technology trends and improving professional knowledge and skills. At the same time, the work of reviewing, assessing practices and theoretical studies still has many shortcomings.
To meet evolving requirements in the new situation, it is urgent to build a contingent of cadres at all levels who are ethical, competent, and prestigious, especially cadres at the strategic level and the ones responsible for practical summaries, theoretical studies, statistical work, and analysis. This staff must have the ability to forecast, make accurate predictions and respond quickly to the fast-paced and unpredictable changes in the world situation. The 13th Congress of the Party requires: "It is needed to improve the bravery, forecasting effectiveness, and policy making to adapt to Vietnamese situation and current trends of the world" (2). Improving strategic forecasting capacity will strengthen the Party's leadership capacity, enabling strategic proactiveness so that Vietnam does not fall into a passive or unexpected situation.
The document of the 13th Party Congress reaffirms: “The Party leads the State by Platform, strategy, major undertakings and policies, by cadre work, inspection and supervision to institutionalize its viewpoints into policies and laws; to build qualified, competent and prestigious staff who can accomplish assigned tasks; The Party leads the State to effectively implement guidelines, policies, Constitution and laws; due consideration should be given to reforming leadership, improving the quality of legislation, conducting administrative and judicial reforms”(3).
Accordingly, enhancing the Party's leadership and ruling capacity requires "a reform and improvement of Party's policy planning to meet the requirements of national development in the current situation". It is indispensable to improve the capacity for forecasting and responding to rapidly evolving and unpredictable challenges. When planning guidelines, policies, and solutions, it is essential to fully understand reality, assess impact, rationally allocate resources and organize effective implementation as well as to improve the capacity of institutionalizing, concretizing and implementing the Party's guidelines and resolutions”(4).
The improvement of forecasting efficiency and strategic foresight must ensure two factors: 1- Objectivity and authenticity based on scientific and reliable methods to properly identify a full range of opportunities and challenges. The closer the value being predicted, the more accurate the predictions; 2- Forecasting must capture the reality and the revolutionary requirements; Forecast results must have a long-term vision, make a positive impact on fundamental issues of the revolution, ensure national interests, and must have a clear goal orientation.
To respond to reality, the 7th Plenum of the 12th Central Committee issued Resolution No. 26-NQ/TW, dated May 19, 2018, on "Focusing on building cadres at all levels, especially strategic level who are qualified, competent and prestigious on a par with their missions” determined: “Cadres are a decisive factor in the success or failure of the revolution; cadre work is the "key" stage of the construction of the Party and political system. Building a contingent of cadres, especially those at a strategic level, is the most important of the Party”.
The Party sets its goals to build a contingent of cadres, especially those at the strategic level, with quality, capacity, prestige, and on par with their duties, sufficient quantity, and organization structure suitable to the strategy of socio-economic development and national defense; To ensure the continuous and sustainable transition between generations of leaders and managers to turn our country into a developed, socialist-oriented country, realize the shared goals of making Vietnam a strong country with prosperous people and a fair, democratic, civilized society" so that the country becomes more and more prosperous, the people are happier.
The 13th Party Congress clearly defines "Personal work must be the "key of the key". It is vital to building a contingent of cadres at all levels, especially cadres at the strategic level and the head who are qualified, competent and prestigious, on par with their task”(5)
Thus, the improvement of forecasting capacity and strategic foresight in policy formulation and making by the Party in the 13th National Congress and the following years sets higher requirements for forecasters, especially leaders at the strategic level as follow:
In terms of political ideology: They need to maintain their political stance, bravery, intelligence, and fighting spirit; always be pioneers and exemplary; have aspiration and strive to stand shoulder to shoulder with localities and the whole nation to overcome all difficulties and challenges, and make Vietnam a developed and high-income country by 2045; They must be strong-willed, demonstrate outstanding ability, dare to think, dare to speak, dare to act, dare to take responsibility, dare to innovate, dare to face challenges for the common good; They also need to take drastic action in order to combat the deterioration of political ideology, morality, lifestyle, the manifestations of "self-evolution", and "self-transformation".
Regarding morality and lifestyle: They must clearly understand their duties and responsibilities, stay firm in the face of all difficulties and challenges, resist to temptation for material possessions and reputation; effectively prevent, avoid, and fight against all manifestations of individualism, bureaucracy, opportunism, partiality, faction, and internal disunity; raise the awareness of cultivating and training lifelong revolutionary morality; cultivate and self-regulate their everyday behavior, regularly conduct self - assessment and uphold human dignity and self-esteem when playing the role of leaders. In particular, staff at the strategic level must uphold the spirit of serving the people, effectively implement regulations on the responsibility to set an example for cadres and party members according to the motto "the higher their position, the more exemplary they are"; strictly conduct self-criticism and criticism; actively absorb the feedback on their morality and lifestyle by elected bodies, the Vietnam Fatherland Front, socio-political organizations and individuals.
In terms of capacity and prestige: They need to demonstrate their outstanding capacity in planning the Party's guidelines and policies, meeting evolving requirements in the new situation, contributing to improving the leadership and ruling capacity of the Party; having the ability to forecast and respond to rapidly evolving and unpredictable challenges of the world situation; have the capacity to institutionalize, concretize and organize the effective implementation of the Party's resolutions and guidelines; resolutely overcome shorcomings; do not elude responsibility when performing their leading role. Well implement citizenship motto: "people know, people discuss, people act, people supervise, people benefit", "respect the people, create a close relationship with the people, trust the people, understand the people, learn from the people, rely on the people and be responsible to the people"; understand and adequately and promptly respond to legitimate aspirations of all walks of life.
Improving forecasting capacity and strategic vision of staff in new conditions - Some key tasks and solutions
Amidst the rapidly and complicatedly evolving political situation of the world, only countries that adopt clear-sighted political thought can take advantage of opportunities, overcome challenges, and choose the right growth path. The 13th Party Congress clearly stated: “In the coming years, the world situation is predicted to develop rapidly, complicatedly, and unpredictably. After more than 35 years of renovation, Vietnam has achieved great performances of historical significance. Its international position, power, and prestige have been raised. However, the revolutionary cause of the Party and the people still face countless obstacles. Four threats pointed out by the Party still exist and become even more acute: threats to national independence, sovereignty, and strategic interests, especially in the East Sea; non-traditional security issues, climate change, environmental pollution, epidemics, resource depletion, population aging; moral deterioration, "self-evolution", "self-transformation"; fierce destruction of hostile forces and reactionary organizations”(6).
The Fourth Industrial Revolution promotes technological breakthroughs, such as artificial intelligence, superfast internet, new materials, energy storage, and quantum informatics... blurring boundaries between sectors, especially in physical, digital, and biological fields, making a strong impact on the speed and scope of the global industrial economic system. This situation will have strong and multidimensional impacts on all aspects of the country's socio-economic life, enabling cadres at all levels to constantly improve their knowledge and political bravery, have a sense of self-training, cultivate ethical qualities, adopt innovative and strategic thinking to improve their forecasting capacity, strategic vision in policy planning and develop rapidly and sustainably the nation in the coming years.
The 13th National Congress stated: “It is required to drastically reform the Party's leadership method to improve forecasting capacity, strategic foresight in policy formulation and making, renew the formulation and promulgation of the Party's resolutions to enhance their quality, avoid promulgating resolutions that do not meet real-world needs and lack feasibility. At the same time, it is essential to improve the capacity to institutionalize and concretize the Party's guidelines and policies and implement them effectively.
Leaders of the National Assembly and Government should institutionalize and effectively implement the Party's Platform and guidelines, focus on reforming leadership, improving legislation, conducting administrative and judicial reforms ”(7).
Being well aware of the new context and conditions, the Party has determined: It is necessary to improve the bravery, forecasting capacity, and efficiency of policy-making to meet the practical needs of Vietnam and global trends; promptly institutionalize, concretize, properly and effectively implement the guidelines of the Party, policies and laws of the State, overcome weaknesses in leadership; effectively implement the mechanism "the Party leads, the State manages, the people master" and the motto "People know, people discuss, people act, people monitor, people supervise, people benefit".
In that spirit, due consideration should be given to the following main tasks and solutions:
Firstly, raising awareness for cadres at all levels about the importance of strategic forecasting and vision in planning the Party's guidelines and policies; disseminating information about new requirements of this work for cadres, especially those at the strategic level. Considering this is one of the important criteria in training, fostering, and appointing leaders and managers.
Second, renewing and improving the quality of training and fostering strategic thinking among cadres. Organizing a wide range of domestic and international short-term and long-term training programs. Creating opportunities for cadres to conduct empirical and theoretical studies to increase their dialectical thinking and scientific methodology and break experiential and dogmatic thinking.
Third, promoting learning and following Ho Chi Minh's thought, morality, and style, especially dialectical materialism, assessment, analysis, and prediction. It requires cadres and Party members to harmonize revolutionary thought with scientific thought, thinking, and action on the basis of the Party's ideological foundation which is Marxism-Leninism and Ho Chi Minh's thought. It is compulsory to balance national and international issues and provide accurate forecasting about development trends, and regional and global strategies to help the Party effectively formulate strategy in the cause of national construction and defense. Moreover, priority should be given to regularly educating and cultivating revolutionary ethics for cadres and Party members so that they have a sense of responsibility, meet standards of conduct of civil servants; constantly improve professional qualifications, theory, and political bravery to meet the requirements and tasks.
Fourth, stepping up activities of realty assessment and theoretical studies to increase the Party's theoretical thinking and improve the theoretical system on renovation, socialism, and the path towards socialism in Vietnam. Combining reality assessment, and theoretical studies with policy formulation in a comprehensive, well-oriented manner to create breakthroughs. In policy-making, it is important to pay attention to core strategic issues, especially to promptly identify major risks and challenges affecting the country's politics, economy - society, national defense, and security...; helping the Party to plan strategies proactively and actively and to "prevent risks" early and from afar.
Fifth, restructuring personnel organization, improve operational efficiency and enhance the coordination between agencies in charge of conducting theoretical research. Promoting the roles and responsibilities of key agencies in forecasting and strategy formulation; applying technological advances in forecasting. Increasing the involvement of professional bodies and experts to provide appropriate, complete, and effective strategic forecasts, thus creating a solid foundation for policy formulation of the Party and Government. Investing in developing a contingent of cadres in charge of theoretical studies to meet the requirements of the revolutionary cause in the new context; adopting incentive policies to attract and retain senior experts.
In particular, it is necessary to provide accurate forecasting, gain a better understanding of the ideological thinking of cadres, Party members, and people, promptly process information, and well orient public opinion, ensure ideological unity within the Party and social consensus to create synergy and accomplish political tasks in the new period.
(1) Documents of the 13th National Congress, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2021, vol. II, pp. 165 - 167
(2) Documents of the 13th National Congress, ibid, vol. I, p. 180
(3) Documents of the 13th National Congress, ibid, vol. I, p. 196 - 197
(4), (5) Documents of the 13th National Congress, ibid, vol. II, p. 232, 230
(6), (7) Documents of the 13th National Congress, ibid, vol. II, p. 227 - 228, 253 - 254
This article was published in the Communist Review No. 999 (October 2022)