30th August 2019 14:55:17 Hours
Dr Albrecht Schnabel (Switzerland), Head of the Asia-Pacific Unit at the Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF) speaking on the theme ‘Military Readiness Challenges in the Contemporary Security Landscape’ as the final speaker in the Day 2 Session 1 opined that military preparedness requires constant re-assessments and re-adjustment to new security realities.
“A thorough security sector review might suggest steps that could be taken to assure a better match between threats and response and preparedness. Providing security as a public service requires coordination and often cooperation among the full range of security sector actors, including those providing management and oversight. It is important to undertake threat analyses through an inclusive process - analysis of threats, but also analysis of the responses - the instruments and tools that are currently in place, based on a national security policy and strategy!,” he said.
In a video presentation, he summarized salient points on military aspects and their readiness for challenges. Here are the excerpts of his speech to the occasion;
“It is a great honour to share with you a few thoughts on how investing in good security sector governance and adapting the defense sector (and overall security sector) to changing security environment and challenges is an important ingredient of military preparedness.
Overall, I would like to stress in my presentation that continuous security sector development/reform (SSD/R) along good governance principles - in other words adjustment to changing internal and external security environments - is crucial to military preparedness.
This is more so the case when such changes are paralleled by changes to the political system, economic development or post-conflict rebuilding. When adapting to changing security contexts, defense reform needs to be embedded in overall security sector development/reform.
What and who is part of the Security Sector? When we talk about the security sector, we don’t just talk about the military, or the defense sector alone.
We are talking about all those institutions in society that provide security and justice, and those actors, institutions and legal frameworks that are entrusted with managing and overseeing the security providers.
Together they assure the population a high quality and accountable public service providing security to all in an efficient, effective and accountable manner.
A security sector functions best when all its components adhere to principles of good security sector governance.
What are these good security sector governance principles and what do they do for the security sector and how it works and performs?
Participation - it means that, for example, security institutions and their personnel are representative of the population, women and men, and all ethnic groups
Equity/Inclusivity - for example, all members of society can join the security institutions, are treated equally by them, can participate in commenting on them - and see them as “their institutions” that are providing an important public service
Rule of Law - for example, this means impartial enforcement of, and adherence to, law; security providers are not above the law and do not enjoy impunity; and legal framework also has to reflect the aspirations and roles of modern and professional security institutions
Transparency - for example, civil authorities and civil society actors have access to information about the work of security institutions
Responsiveness - for example, this means the provision of professional and timely delivery of security and justice as public service; and public service-orientation, which often requires major attitudinal changes that take time to develop
Consensus Orientation - this means, for example, that there are coherent policies and responsibilities of the security sector, based on inclusive and broad stakeholder consultation processes; and that ownership, direction and scope of reforms need to be broad-based and broadly-supported
Effectiveness and Efficiency - for example, effective and professional management of security institutions and delivery of services; and smart and sustainable use of human capital and financial resources; but it also means: resources need to match mandates, tasks and efforts towards meeting good governance principles
Accountability - for example, this means that internal accountability, accountability to democratic and civilian authorities, as well as civil society organizations need to be a reality By promoting Good Governance Principles, security institutions will be: accountable to the state and its people, effective, efficient and affordable, respect international norms, standards and human rights legitimate in the eyes of all stakeholders.
Reforms of security institutions, including defense reform, offer a perfect chance to make improvements along good governance principles. However, these reforms need to be driven by a thorough analysis of what is actually required - what works, what does not, and where can we benefit from improvements?
It is necessary that reforms and adjustments in the security sector need to be based on thorough assessments of current security situations: A broad-based and inclusive security assessment needs to inform a national security policy and strategy. This will in turn inform defense strategies and policies. Based on the results of such a policy and strategy, the most appropriate options for meeting prevalent security challenges (for example, through a White Paper in the case of the military) and potentially required sector reforms and adjustments are designed. Periodic adjustments of national security policies and strategies - and the sectoral strategies and policies building on them - ensure that the nation is ready to address the most relevant threats in an efficient, transparent and accountable manner.
A national security policy: Defines a broad vision for national security which is responsive to people’s diverse needs, Provides guidance for effective policy implementation, Enhances security sector efficiency and accountability, Builds domestic consensus on security provision, Enhances regional and international confidence and cooperation.
No universal blueprints - every context is different; Initiation, Planning/consultation, Drafting/review, Approval, Dissemination, Implementation, Monitoring and evaluation / periodic review.
What are some of the threats that do change from time to time, and that will require updated responses from the security sector – including the military?, he asked.
Typical examples of threats, relevant for national security policies and military preparedness include the following: Threats to Public safety, law and order, justice, Socio-political stability, Sustainable development (SDGs), Territorial integrity, Ecological balance, Cultural cohesiveness, International, regional peace, cooperation and stability,
Challenges: Internal: Internal armed conflicts, Terrorism and transnational crimes, Economic and social threats are also relevant.
Externally, overlapping territorial claims, Maritime threats: piracy, unregulated fishing, poaching, drug and human trafficking, Proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, Threats of cybercrime, Climate change, Military modernization of neighbouring states or regional hegemons, Transnational terrorism and criminal organizations are of concern.
(Some countries or security alliances are looking into building improved resilience through military and civilian preparedness/capacity: NATO, for example, has published a number of resilience guidelines: Assured continuity of government and critical government services: for instance, the ability to make decisions, communicate them, and enforce them in a crisis; Resilient energy supplies: back-up plans and power grids, internally and across borders; Ability to deal effectively with uncontrolled movement of people, and to de-conflict these movements; Resilient food and water resources: ensuring these supplies are safe from disruption or sabotage; Ability to deal with mass casualties: ensuring that civilian health systems can cope and that sufficient medical supplies are stocked and secure; Resilient civil communications systems: ensuring that telecoms and cyber-networks function - even under crisis conditions, with sufficient back-up capacity; and Resilient transport systems: ensuring that security forces can move across alliance territory rapidly and that civilian services can rely on transportation networks, even in a crisis.)
These threats need to be met. But how? Revising defence objectives and capability to keep up with developing threats in today’s security environment is a constant challenge in all countries. However, professionalisation of armed forces under resource constraints and in the context of a growing demand for a responsive and accountable service culture are part of the new human security paradigm that characterises development in defence today. As defence develops its capability to tackle new threats and new security contexts, whether these are transnational crime affecting sovereign territory or new roles and responsibilities in peacekeeping, four areas remain very relevant to defence strategy: These are the following four “A”s: keeping defence forces appropriate, adequate, accountable and affordable. Defence reform must consider the government, the army and the people. At the same time, the army must be responsive to the government’s policies and has to maintain its effectiveness. Responsive and democratic SSG ensures the government’s defence policies reflect the will of the people.
Making the defence sector more inclusive and more representative of the population is an additional cross-cutting goal in defence development or reform. This also tends to include a commitment to promoting gender equality, because of (a) the tactical advantages of being able to operate with all genders in a target society, (b) the operational advantages of being able to conduct gendered analysis of the operating environment, and (c) the strategic advantages that full diversity brings to decision making.
Who carries out defence reform? Civilian ministries (or departments) of defence are best placed to carry out defence reforms. But the ministry must have appropriate civilian and military expertise to manage a complex process. A comprehensive process will consider both national and international actors, as well as both public and private institutions with a role in the defence sector. All branches of the armed forces, including civilian personnel, may be involved in the planning and implementation of defence reform. Decision-making bodies, e.g. national security council or defence commission, formulate defence policies and strategies and institutionalize democratic control of defence. Ministries or departments of defence oversee policy and work with other government agencies to implement reform of their defence-related security roles. Domestic security providers, e.g. gendarmeries, police, intelligence services, border guards and custom officials, often cooperate with the armed forces and may need to adapt their relationship to the needs of defence reform. Defence and security-related committees draft laws on defence, oversee budgets and conduct inquiries. Military justice systems help ensure armed forces are accountable and respect human rights and the rule of law. The media report on defence issues, think tanks can provide independent research and training, and political parties develop defence policies. Local communities are especially concerned about where military forces are stationed. Private military and security companies or the defence industry may need to coordinate with the military for security purposes, or they may be involved in supporting defence reform. Multilateral bodies, donor organizations or regional organizations may play a key role in reform through the provision of funds, support and expertise.
Staying true to good SSG principles helps the security sector - and most prominently among them the military - to remain compatible with a changing society, political system and/or internal and external security environments. And at the same time allowing the military and fellow security actors to provide security as an effective, efficient and accountable public service.
Now, please allow me to conclude by briefly noting a new Initiative by DCAF and its national partners to promote good SSG in the Asia-Pacific region.
We are in the process of establishing a Asia-Pacific Security Sector Governance Network, a regional network of institutions and experts working on SSG and (SSD/R) in the Asia-Pacific region - South Asia, Southeast Asia and East Asia.
The goals of the network initiative is to create a useful platform for academics and practitioners in the region to meet at national, sub-regional and regional levels to share experiences on SSG and SSD/R issues.
We expect the initiative to make significant contributions to ongoing national SSD/R initiatives as well as help in identifying and developing new ones.
At the national level, National Partner Institutions to establish national Working Groups in each country and to organize National Working Group Meetings. During those meetings various stakeholders of the security sector meet and discuss opportunities, challenges and best practices for SSG in their countries. Discussions and lessons learned from the National SSG Working Group Meetings will be shared with other countries at the Sub-regional and Asia-Pacific SSG Forums.
At the sub-regional level, with our Sub-regional Partner Institutions we co-organize annual SSG Forums - currently an East Asia SSG Forum, South Asia SSG Forum and Southeast Asia SSG Forum. Each annual SSG Forum will invite delegations of three to five experts from each country - the respective National SSG Associate and members of the National SSG Working Group. We do the same at the Asia-Pacific regional level.
What are some of the issues we discuss at the upcoming South Asia SSG Forum in Nepal in a week from today? What is the current status of Security Sector Governance and Security Sector Reform in the individual countries in South Asia? What are the common key challenges and priority concerns amongst the countries in the region? What are common opportunities for promoting good SSG, ideally by drawing on security sector development and reform experiences among countries of the sub-region?
In closing, please allow me to reiterate that: Military preparedness requires constant re-assessments and re-adjustment to new security realities. A thorough security sector review might suggest steps that could be taken to assure a better match between threats and response and preparedness. Providing security as a public service requires coordination and often cooperation among the full range of security sector actors, including those providing management and oversight. It is important to undertake threat analyses through an inclusive process - analysis of threats, but also analysis of the responses - the instruments and tools that are currently in place, based on a national security policy and strategy!
This includes an honest looks at the suitability to meet new threat environments by the current security system and response mechanisms. It is important to continuously invest in making responses compatible with prevalent threats - and to secure the public and parliamentary support for the measures - reform steps - that are necessary to take. It is of course also important to search for regional solutions; and it is important to invest in mainstreaming good security sector governance throughout the security sector.”