continues from last week …
Namibia is part of the global village and so we must understand the world in its holistic form. Nations that stand ready to sail at the same pace as other nations and the changing environment, do employ what is known as National Security Strategies. National Security Strategy is a body that can be construed as the art and science of developing, applying and coordinating the elements of national power.
The elements of national power include but are not limited to geography, economy, diplomacy, military, informational/ intelligence etc. National Security Strategy as an art and science, is designed to help nations to attain their set goals and objectives by effectively employing the scarce national resources of all kind in the interest of a nation. Defence Forces globally, are the national pride, national symbols, impregnable fortresses and shields of which our nation must cherish for having the NDF charged with the Constitutional responsibility to defend this nation whatever the cost.
The Ministry of Defence employs the military personnel as element of national power. As element of national power, members of the NDF are charged with the responsibility to maintain peace and defend this country and all its citizens regardless of the sacrifices they shall make. However, gone are the days when Defence Forces were considered as killing machines only. Notably, the NDF is the only last resort on which the state shall rely on when all other security elements of national power have failed.
As a last resort and a fall back strategy on which the government shall rely on in the event where other elements of national power cannot endure the burden, the NDF has been and continues to make immense contributions to socio-economic development and wellbeing of our people. For example, for years now, the NDF made immeasurable contributions to save lives of our people during drought relief and floods when the nation was faced with catastrophic disasters. There are some of our people who are viewing the NDF as killing machines only which do not make any meaningful contribution to socio-development. Those views are tantamount to national ignorance that shall lead to the nation gambling with own lives and risking the sovereignty of the Land of the Brave.
It is again important to reflect on some fundamental principles and fulcrums apart from what has been enshrined in the Constitution. Vision 2030 as a national grand strategy, stipulates that, “there is need to formulate and implement coherent modernisation plan for procurement of modern military hardware and maintain a credible defence posture that is quantitatively on par with the best defence force in the region”. Furthermore, Namibia’s Foreign Policy asserts that, “… without peace and security, no meaningful development and stability can be achieved…” SADC Mutual Defence Pact articles (4) and (6) call for “military preparedness, collective self-defence and action to maintain peace, stability and security in the region”.
All the above statements are great ideas of which by implications they demand a capable and credible Defence Force with a dedicated budget. We must be cognisant that, even nations that have been in existence for hundreds of years are still strengthening their Defence Forces to be able to withstand and effectively deal with defence and security threats. When a certain quarter of nation makes negative remarks about the NDF, one is puzzled as to whether they are aware of the NDF Constitutional mandate, Defence Act and some national policies.
Let me link that with what is happening in other parts of the world. Of recent, there was a NATO Ministerial Meeting. There was a call by the Secretary of Defence of United States of America for all Member States to make more financial contributions and pay up their dues by honouring their security commitments as Member States of NATO. The call was highly hailed as it was seen as new pushy-strategy to pursue Member States not to relent on defence and security issues.
NATO as an organisation led by America was established with the aim to defend Europe and all Western Allies from Soviet Union threats that time. NATO was formed in 1949 ostensibly to counter Soviet’s expansion threat. In response to NATO formation, the Soviet Union and its Allies formed the Warsaw Pact to be able to contain threats imposed by NATO.
That strategy of counter and counter measures continued through the years until the collapse and demise of Soviet Union that led to the defunct Warsaw Pact of July 1, 1991. The demise of the Warsaw Pact did not lessen on NATO security mechanisms. Rather, it has strengthened NATO. Today NATO has 28 member nations. The increase was made up by so many members who were members of Warsaw Pact.
Ask yourself as to why NATO is still expanding without the opposing side. Is that expansion based on real or perceived threat? The only conclusion one can make is that, defence and security are sine quo non that demand the need for defence and security mechanisms not to relent. The Western countries do still have the illusion that there may be some emerging forces from wherever. As part of a proactive strategy, they must get themselves ready for action as preparations for war footing cannot be done overnight. The most effective defence and security proactive strategy is best done yesterday as opposed to be done today or tomorrow.
Defence and security postures are national deterrents wielded by the nation-states for the national security and defence. Among other national competing sectors, the Defence Forces as elements of national power must be nationally financed and funded to be able to accomplish its Constitutional missions. From a military view point, deterrence is a means of projecting own military capability. Deterrence must be a means that must always be felt. Deterrence must be robust, real and must not be in a form of a paper tiger. In order to be able to display the military capability, the Defence Forces must be equipped to such an extent that they must be able to send clear signals to the would-be aggressors not to try to disturb peace and stability. Deterrence must therefore, be understood as a mechanism that is designed to prevent conflicts and wars.
The bottom line is, credible and secure Defence Forces are not established when there is real threat hanging over people’s heads. Rather, established and strengthened by forward looking miles away in the future. The traditional deep rooted strategic military leadership has been pondering on the question of “what if?”
…to be continued
Lieutenant General (rtd) Denga Ndaitwah is a former Chief of the Defence Force, part time lecturer at UNAM, Head of Department and Senior Lecturer at IUM, holder of MA in Strategic Studies
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015