Fundasaun Mahein (FM), 29 October 2015
Construction of the Strategic Concept of Defense and National Security
“The Civil Society Perspective”
The Government, through the Ministry of Defense, has presented a draft of the Strategic Concept of the National Defense and Security (KEDSN), concerning the military and civil entities of the state’s security institution. Concurrently, the Prime Minister has welcomed responses and views on the draft from Timorese civil society actors, as the KEDSN must present effective guidelines for defense and security within the larger movement of national development. Therefore, the following consultation with civil society actors took place on 12 October, 2015.
Fundasaun Mahein (FM) is a Civil Society Organization that works within the Timorese security sector and with the Office of the Prime Minister, and was invited to deliver a presentation to involved parties and contribute to the formation of KEDSN.
Creation of the recent KEDSN has been undertaken by the government in order to clearly lay out strategic mechanisms of national defense and security. However, FM holds concerns about the creation of the KEDSN. First and foremost, FM observes that Timor-Leste has not yet established any formal national security and defense policies.
This policy will define a permanent objective for the state, environment and strategic interests, threats and risks, as well as mechanisms of national defense, in order to provide a larger context for national development. National defense is not just a domino within the military, but a full component of the state as outlined in the constitution.
FM’s second concern is that the KEDSN will address the objectives of national defense policy within the framework of security policy. As observed above, Timor-Leste does not have national security and defense policies; thusly, this KEDSN seems an interpretation of the national defense law. Therefore, FM’s interest in the national defense law focuses particularly on what actions the government takes to develop the KEDSN and refine coordination of national defense between the state institutions.
The third concern surrounds the challenges of implementing the KEDSN, which is still disoriented and still lacks a degree of orientation between key state institutions. There exist no standing national defense and security policies to orient planning, implementation, and monitoring processes according to national security interests, and to draw out understanding of the elements within national security and those mechanisms o national defense as part of global strategy of the state.
Within the hierarchy of national security development in Timor-Leste, the Strategic Concept ranks higher than other security policies, in that it identifies the foundational security interests of the state, from which national defense policies can be developed to properly secure the state’s interests. The KEDSN informs the defense and security sectors on how to implement those national defense policies.
The KEDSN is the first initiative of the state, even though it is an incoherent policy for national defense and security as according to the current hierarchy of security development strategy. Therefore, FM recommends:
1. That the VI constitutional government, and particularly the Ministry of Defense and Interim Ministry, discuss policies of national security and defense in order to coherently operate with the KEDSN.
2. That the Ministry of Defense consult with public and private entities in construction of the KEDSN, especially in terms of analyzing threats and risks in Timor-Leste, in order to achieve a comprehensive formation.
For more details on this issue please see the following:
Phone: (+670) 78316075 no 77561184