National Security Today

Posted by Admin on Friday, 18 December 2009 | Opini

Sayidiman Suryohadiprojo

Jakarta, December 18th 2009

National Security is the situation of a nation related to its well-maintained and orderly life, its stability and normal functioning of its government, to achieve the nation’s objectives. Problems of National Security are developments threatening and endangering that situation. They can range from relatively simple criminal problems to the dangers of narcotics to public life, activities of organized crime, actions to subvert the nation with or without foreign participation, terrorist action, separatism among parts of the nation, and last but not least, open military attack by foreign forces.

To safeguard itself from the negative result of all these possible actions, a nation should establish a National Security System. A National Security System is a system established by the government to develop the capability of the nation to safeguard its national life with all its various aspects against any threat and challenge coming from inside as well as from outside the nation.

A well functioning National Security System will enable a nation to have a peaceful and orderly life to maintain and increase productivity and prosperity. A productive and prosperous nation will, on the other way round, be able to enhance its National Security. There is therefore a close relationship between National Security and National Prosperity, which together will result in the National Resilience of the nation.

There is often a misconception, including in Indonesia, to separate National Defense from National Security. This misconception considers National Defense as a different category of efforts, limited to the preparation and execution of military actions against an open foreign military offensive. That was indeed the case in the 19th century. However, since the early 20th century conflicts and wars among nations became a total effort of a nation. An offensive by an aggressive nation using military means no longer limits its objectives to military positions and facilities only. The use of air power to attack non-military objectives, like production centers and communication facilities, was a normal strategy to weaken the opponent’s military.

And to wage war, a nation needs capabilities far beyond the use of a professional army. Since the wars of Napoleon Bonaparte, the army needed more people and required mobilization of citizens. War efforts included mobilization of the economy. War was no longer only a military activity, but the whole nation was at war to defend itself. Therefore, one cannot discuss Defense without looking at the wealth and prosperity of a nation, which further is very strongly influenced by its National Security.

Since World War 2 the problems to survive a foreign offensive had become much more complicated. Military offensive actions were preceded by non-military attacks against the opponent’s society, with the objective to weaken its resistance morally and mentally. In 1939 Austria was morally and mentally so weakened by Nazi Germany’s subversion that it agreed to unify with Nazi Germany (Anschluss) without German military actions.. After World War 2, confrontation between the West under US leadership and the Communist bloc with the Soviet Union as its leader were entangled in very dangerous confrontation. But both sides took care that the conflict would not escalate into an open military war which could become total destruction for both sides caused by the tremendous effects of nuclear power. What became a reality was Cold War. Both sides continued to strengthen their military power, including their Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD, nuclear, biological and chemical weapons), to enhance their leverage to win the confrontation. However, finally the Communist bloc and the Soviet Union were totally defeated without both sides firing a single missile. The Communist bloc could not withstand the non-military attacks against its society.

It is for an aggressor nation today much more attractive to achieve its goals without an open military offensive. Launching a military attack is today very costly, even if the target of aggression is a relatively small nation. The US needed more than $ 700 billion to finance its military adventures to Iraq and Afghanistan. Moreover, it might require significant changes in the aggressor nation’s life, like the need for more people to build the necessary military organization. This could cause negative effects in the mood of the people, the more so if recruited citizens become victims in military actions. All of this can be observed in the US society since its Iraq War. There is also a political risk if it proves that the offensive cannot achieve its objectives. The US has to experience domestic as well as international political set-backs because it has not been able to achieve its real objectives in Iraq and Afghanistan.

An attack without military means can be much more productive today, especially if the target nation can be weakened by non-military actions. It is certainly much cheaper and will use more of the target’s capabilities, and the risk of a failure can be very limited. And if military means are needed in addition to the non-military efforts, the actions will be much more limited because the target nation’s resistance are already weakened by the non-military actions. Sun Tzu, the Chinese strategist of the year 300 before Christ, stated that the best commander in war is the one who can defeat his enemy without or with a minimal amount using military or physical means.

Since people all over the world have made progress in many aspects of life, it is not longer simple and easy to defeat its will to resist. Although the aggressor has won the military war totally, like the US in Iraq in its first war-year, the people can still resist and mount a struggle which ultimately defeats the aggressor, like Dutch experience in Indonesia in 1949. It is therefore necessary for an aggression, not only to win militarily, but to win the Peace. It means that the aggressor is able to make the people of the target nation submit itself to the will of the aggressor. The best example is the termination of World War 2, in which the US was able to change Japan from a fanatical opponent during the war into its strongest ally in Asia after the war. The US had not only won the war against Japan, but also the Peace. It is therefore very strange but remarkable that the US could not repeat its Japanese success in Vietnam and now in Iraq, although both these nations are less developed nations, not to be compared to the US as a military and economic Superpower.

It all indicates the very broad scope of National Security today. National Security today requires the most effective use and application of the national means and capabilities. It is therefore important that a nation needs a National Security Council chaired by the Head of State himself, with all the cabinet ministers as members and administrated by a secretary general. In addition to the ministers important officials must be invited to attend meetings, like the Commander of the Armed Forces, the Head of the National Police, the Chairman of the National Intelligence and other experts.

The Head of State as Chairman of the NSC will direct the nation’s efforts to cope with all its National Security problems effectively, and will prevent possible duplication or gray areas in the efforts of the several government departments, armed forces and police.

RSS feed | Trackback URI

Comments »

No comments yet.

Name (required)
E-mail (required - never shown publicly)
Your Comment (smaller size | larger size)
You may use <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong> in your comment.

Trackback responses to this post