LAND OPERATIONS OVERVIEW - THE LOCAL CONTEXT
As one of the national instruments of Government, the AFM is predominantly engaged in military and wider security operations in order to safeguard Malta's territorial integrity. It has also been entrusted to act in support of the foreign and security policies of the Government of Malta, by deploying military forces abroad as pledges of support to Malta's wider interests. This brief overview will focus on the role of land forces in delivering security to the Maltese islands, within a joint environment.
The Land Component
The AFM is joint military force but with a strong land based disposition. 1 Regiment, 3 Regiment and 4 Regiment form the land component. 1 Regiment provides the AFM's main manoeuvre Unit, 3 Regiment provides combat support and 4 Regiment generates the required combat service support. Although largely focused on land operations, elements of 1 and 3 Regiments have conducted joint operations in conjunction with Maritime Squadron and Air Wing assets, demonstrating versatility and an ability to be equally at home in both land based and maritime oriented operations.
In order to fulfil its mission the AFM has tasked its land components as shown hereunder:
1 Regiment Mission Statement is to close with and engage the enemy in all operational theatres and environments to bring about his defeat. This necessitates that 1 Regiment maintains Force Elements at Readiness (FEAR) that are able to conduct Offensive, Defensive and Stabilization operations as well as being able to conduct a number of enabling activities. The Unit's peacetime roles include:
•securing locations of strategic importance to Malta
•securing key and vulnerable points
•maintaining FEAR for deployment on Crisis Management Operations (CMO) abroad providing military assistance to civil authorities
Preparation for its Unit Mission Statement imbues 1 Regiment personnel with a skill set that is employable in its peacetime roles and on overseas operations with resounding success. Peacetime commitments include securing Malta International Airport to provide a secure aviation environment at the airport. It also includes deploying personnel at sensitive or key Government locations thus ensuring that government business remains uninterrupted. The provision of military assistance to civil authorities is also an area where the AFM excel. Examples of this support include providing additional security to foreign diplomatic missions or during high profile events in support of Police security operations.
3 Regiment's Mission Statement is to provide combat support and combat service support to all AFM Units in peace time and in war. Combat support and service support ensure that FEAR are sustained both during training cycles and during operational deployments. The Unit's peacetime roles include:
1. maintaining FEAR for deployment on Crisis Management Operations abroad
2. providing military assistance to civil authorities
3. contributing to AFM ceremonial commitments
Training for the Unit Mission Statement ensures that 3 Regiment personnel are deployable in a number of supporting roles to both military units and civil authorities and other government authorities. Such activities have seen Unit personnel deploy in support of Civil Protection and Police operations when both authorities are required to deal with explosive materials.
This can be either in a security setting or following unfortunate incidents, such as explosions at firework factories. Within this setting the Unit contributes with its expertise in the explosives' field, the use of heavy plant equipment and the improvisation that combat engineers are renowned for.
4 Regiment's Mission Statement is to provide combat service support to all AFM Units in peace time and in war. Service support is a key force multiplier and is required to ensure the AFM's operational success. The Unit's peacetime roles include:
•providing military assistance to civil authorities
•maintaining a versatile AFM Operations Centre (OPCEN)
•contributing to AFM ceremonial commitments
The AFM's Operations Centre is manned by 4 Regiment personnel under the operational command of Headquarters AFM. Through this centre the AFM exercises Command, Control and Communications over all its elements both land based as well as air and maritime.
4 Regiment is also heavily involved in supporting ceremonial activities through the employment of the AFM Band.