Fundasaun Mahein (FM), March 29th 2016
Submission to the Ministry of Defense and the Council of Minister for the Strategic Concept for National Security and Defense
The final draft of the Strategic Concept for National Security and Defense (KEDSN) was presented by the Ministry of Defense to the President of the Republic in January 2016. According to article 10 No.3 of National Defense Law, the KEDSN is required to be discussed by the President with the Superior Council of Security and Defense as well as with the National Parliament. The draft has already been considered at the Superior Council of Security and Defense, and the item Government has placed the KEDSN on the agenda for the meeting of the Council of Ministers this month.
Theoretically, the purpose of the KEDSN is to compliment a National Defense Policy within the National Security Policy Framework. However, as Timor-Leste does not currently have a Policy for the National Defense or a Security Policy Framework (i.e. a document that identifies and defines essential State interests and ways to ensure their security), the KEDSN will help determine the steps to create such a Policy.
Furthermore, the KEDSN aims to clarify the many and diverse security threats and risks that Timor-Leste may face, issues such as: organized crime, transnational crime, terrorism, arms proliferation and financial crime and fraud. As a strategic document, FM believes it is important that the process of threat identification considers all threats that may affect Timor-Leste in the short, medium and long-term. In particular, FM notes Timor-Leste’s economic near-total dependence on natural resources and the Petroleum Fund as a major national security risk for consideration. The effect of lower resource production levels (and ultimately exhausted resources) in the Timor Sea, compounded by the current fall in the global prices of commodities and equities (and predicted ongoing global market instability), must be considered as a major threat to national security and development in Timor-Leste, even in the short-term.
FM’s concern here acknowledges that the relative peace and stability recently enjoyed in Timor-Leste has largely been “bought” by natural resource wealth. So then, if the oil runs dry and the money runs out, what happens to national stability? Therefore, it is important that the Government considers with the KEDSN that security risks come in many forms; the traditional threats of crime and aggression that we commonly associate with security issues, and the more furtive threats to security that lurk beneath the surface.
1. Recommends that with the finalization of the KEDSN, the Ministry of Defense elaborates towards working with the Government for the development of a National Security and Defense Policy, to complete the required political framework for the security and defense of Timor-Leste.
2. Recommends to the Ministry of Defense and the Council of Minister’s to consider all potential threats to Timor-Lest in the KEDSN, both over the short and long-term, and involving traditional and abstract threats to security.
For more details on this issue please see below:
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