08th December 2020 22:46:39 Hours
The Defence Services Command and Staff College (DSCSC) at Sapugaskanda, the internationally reputed academic seat of learning for tri services in Sri Lanka on Tuesday (8) laid a red carpet welcome to Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva, Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army when he arrived there to deliver the customary 'Commander's Lecture' to both local and foreign DSCSC undergraduates of the Course No-14.
Themed on 'Evaluation of the Role of armed Forces and Ensuring National Security, Abreast with Contemporary Security Challenges', the comprehensive lecture encompassed a parade of security challenges, both prevailing and looming large, national and international security concerns, challenges posed by digitalized and multifaceted modern and sophisticated weaponry, maintenance of close collaborative security networks, interconnectivity of security threats, Sri Lanka's concerns and diversified nature of threats, unalterable and cardinal geographical facts of Sri Lanka, incalculable importance in shaping its future course, etc and gave the floor to DSCSC undergraduates to interact with the speaker by way of queries, clarifications and related facts.
The DSCSC Course No-14 consists of 149 undergraduates, including 18 foreigners from Sudan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Rwanda, the Maldives, Indonesia, Nepal and Saudi Arabia. Similarly, Officers from the Army (81), Navy (23) and Air Force (27) are following the same Course which qualifies them to obtain the 'psc' qualification.
Major General Prabath Dematanpitiya, DSCSC Commandant after a warm welcome introduced the day's lecturer to the audience at the DSCSC. Towards the end of the lecture, the Commandant expressed the gratitude of the undergraduates by awarding a memento to Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva. Prior to his departure, the Chief Guest left a few complimentary remarks in the DSCSC Visitors' Book.
Excerpts of the Commander's lecture to the DSCSC undergraduates are as follows:
"Your grooming at this esteemed institution undoubtedly makes you capable of taking on higher and heavier responsibilities in any circumstances and trying conditions. I believe, the pandemic situation did not hamper much of your studies as we Sri Lankans have managed to contain and control the situation with a credible locally originated mechanism. I have chosen to look at the topic focusing on key attributes of evolution and the role of Armed Forces in the emerging security environment. Historical Perspective and Evolution of the Armed Forces, Emerging Characteristics of the Operational Environment, Critical Security Challenges of Sri Lanka and the Evolving Role of the Army and The Way Forward; Sri Lankan Perspective are among major four areas that would be in focus".
"Nonetheless, rapid advances in scientific knowledge and technological capabilities in the past century have injected unprecedented dynamism into the development of armaments, creating a considerable uproar in military doctrine and organisational concepts. The end of the 20 th century and the beginning of the 21 st century can justifiably be termed as an era of a paradigm shift in the nature of the conflict.
The beginning of modern warfare can be argued to have commenced with the Second World War along with the invention of nuclear armaments.
However, these gradual developments of military affairs since ancient times have diligently influenced the role of Armed Forces"
"In the present-day operational environment, multiple adversaries act and react to each other, often unpredictably, in a struggle to succeed. Adversaries constantly seek to mitigate their own weaknesses, avoid opponents’ strengths, and focus on aligning their strengths against weaknesses. It is unlikely to get exact predictions on the character of the contemporary operational environment, as it is constantly changing. The global and regional strategic environment is getting more complex, vulnerable and shapeless due to various reasons. New security concerns have created, as the world’s economic and strategic centre of gravity is shifting more rapidly to the Asia-Pacific Region."
"Sri Lanka's character of security challenges evolves based upon assigned missions, operational environment, emerging technologies, and changes in enemy capabilities, objectives and will. As Greek historian Thucydides identified 2,500 years ago, the future conflict also evolves for the same reasons of the fear, honour and interest. Every security challenge exhibits some combination of violence, emotion, policy, opportunity, and risk. As such, the geo-strategic location of Sri Lanka would bring an end to number of transnational challenges that would undermine national security matrix of Sri Lanka."
"The security challenges of Sri Lanka involve not only conventional foes but also narcotic cartels, multinational corporations, non-governmental organisations and so on. Similarly, natural disasters and events causing severe environmental damage are also threats to our National Security paradigm. At present, National Security remains the most complex strategic challenge faced by the nations. I believe, the future challenges to the National Security will be notably irregular in style when compared with most of the hostile encounters we had in our modern history. Therefore, preparing for such an eventuality requires the investment of very significant human, material and technological resources."
Referring to the Sri Lanka Army, he said: "The Sri Lanka Army should be prepared to do more than fighting and defeating enemies; we must possess the capability to translate military objectives into enduring national outcomes. The Army must also have the capability and capacity to accomplish assigned missions while confronting increasingly dangerous threats in a complex operational environment. As future operations seem to be inherently cross-domain operations, we need to be consistent with the tenets of adaptability, anticipating dangers and opportunities, and adjusting operations to seize, retain and exploit the initiative. It is an absolute necessity that the security architecture of the country needs to revisit with appropriate institutional changes and I am happy to note that, the Sri Lanka Army has completed formulating an overarching strategy named as ‘Way Forward Strategy 2020 - 2025’ in order to clear such vacuums within our system."
"The logical start point of success begins with the right military training. In order to meet the current operational requirements, the military must master their military knowledge, skills and attitude in various disciplines. I believe our training needs to encourage the exercise of initiative in consistent with the philosophy of mission command to be successful in the face of present-day security challenges. The vision of the future must generate changes to ensure that the Armed Forces are prepared to prevent conflict, shape the security environment, and win through the National Security challenges."
"To do so, we need to understand a few significant questions; what level of threat that the Armed Forces are going to address, what is the environment that the Armed Forces will operate in, and what is the problem that the Armed Forces attempt to solve. The Armed Forces need to predict who will fight, where it will be fought and with what equipment it will be carried out. Therefore, a frequent examination of perceivable threats is of vital importance to determine the ends, ways and means.
The role of Armed Forces to be redefined especially with the emerging character of warfare. Anticipating the demands of future National Security threats requires an understanding of continuities in the nature of the operational environment as well as an appreciation for changes in the character of perceived security threats. Geographical distances and boundaries have almost lost their relevance due to increasing connectivity, inter-dependence, inter-operability and greater transparency and so on. Sri Lanka cannot remain unaffected by the events developing across the world, especially in our region in terms of broader security interests.
In today’s context, it is imperative to review the priorities and focus on the development of human capital to ensure that the intelligent, dedicated and responsive military force would address the challenges envisaged in divergent security threats."
"As I mentioned before, the Centre of Gravity of geo-political, geo-economic and geo-strategic scenario is increasingly shifting to Asia-Pacific region. These strategic shifts would bring an end number of transnational challenges that would affect the National Security matrix of Sri Lanka. In this backdrop, we need to evolve a new philosophy and strategy along with intelligence and a strong defence mechanism to preserve National Security interests."
"In conclusion, Sri Lanka is presently moving forward in a positive note amidst numerous challenges originated in local and international contexts. The economic development, reduction of corruption, constructive engagement against alleged war crimes, revitalising the foreign policy towards win-win philosophy, promoting of meaningful reconciliation, strengthening of National Security matrix, socio-economic development, attracting investments and recently erupted pandemic situation are the challenges now tabled before the Government. The Government of Sri Lanka is working at its best to harness every opportunity to cope up with such challenges in view of venturing into a prosperous future. Therefore, as members of the Armed Forces, we should be able to establish sustainable security environment in support of the Government to accelerate its constructive efforts, ensuring the National Security."buy shoes | Nike Off-White