This article provides an overview of the growing economic and commercial roles of the Vietnam People’s Army (VPA) since the adoption of economic reforms in the 1980s. It illustrates, with respect to civil-military relations, that economic activities are not viewed as being at the expense of military professionalism. The VPA has been continually engaged in economic activities since it was founded. A major expansion of its role in economic production and construction occurred after unification in 1975. It was in the 1980s, however, that the nature of the army’s economic activities changed radically with the adoption of doi moi (renovation). VPA units engaged in commercial activities and were put on the same legal footing as state-owned enterprises. They were also granted the authority to seek foreign investment through joint-venture agreements with overseas partners. As a consequence, the VPA has emerged with distinct commercial interests. This has altered the nature of civil-military relations in Vietnam. The VPA has emerged as a distinct center of power within the political system, jealously guarding its vested commercial interests while at the same time expanding its domestic role from safeguarding the ruling regime to overseeing socio-economic development in rural areas.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 87-120
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.