A 21st Century Security Agenda: The End of "Defence" as We Know it?
-Prof. Greg Mills, South African Institute for International Affairs
"Wars," one security analyst has put it, "will in the future be a lot dirtier and lot less predictable in terms of their locations, duration and the weapons involved, and will consequently require flexibility in every component of armed forces and their weapons systems."1 As we approach the cusp of the 21st century, the interregnum characterised--even seven years after the fall of the Berlin Wall--as the post-Cold War world has been equated with the emergence of an international consensus on military-security issues. More often than not clustered around the strategic thinking of the United States (US) and its allies, this confluence states broadly that:
* the world is today a more and not less predictable place than during the Cold War;
* non-traditional military-security issues pose a threatening new security agenda, especially for developing countries; and,
* improvements in communications and increasing interdependency have globalised the nature of military-security threats, encouraging extra-regional intervention.
In providing a picture of the contemporary world, this paper aims to highlight the range and nature of today's security challenges and examine how these might be manifest and accommodated at the global, regional and national levels.
Understanding the Contemporary World
Although analysts might disagree about their effects, there are at least six immutable facts about the way in which the contemporary world is moving.
The first trend is that of economic globalisation--the rapid acceleration of economic activity across national borders. This does not only apply to goods, but also services. The big question is whether it is unstable: if interdependence can be maintained in the face of different cultures; and if the environment can sustain high growth both in terms of fallout or decay such as the greenhouse effect and the demand for raw materials. Less obvious threats are also said to undermine the power of states in the evolving order. The institutionalisation of dominant international standards, ideologies, theories, even prejudices, and the monopoly of international culture and news through centralised agencies such as CNN and Sky News reduce the scope for policy deliberation and choice. Political correctness, to take one example, affects the way in which business interacts with government, and affects the employment recruitment policies of both. Moreover, the technological revolution has greatly increased the speed of international interaction, yet correspondingly reduced the time for policy debate and selection. This interdependence has been enhanced through:2
* Improvements in technology and communications: We live in an age when multinational companies regularly transgress international boundaries. It is estimated that the speed of data transmission will increase by a factor of 45 by 2005, mainly the result of improvements to modems and other communications technology, Internet and global satellite usage. In this, too, greater use will be made of services worldwide: from software from Bangalore to programmers from China.
* New trans-ideological international issues straddle national concerns and differences, such as environmental and green issues, health problems, widespread famine, and the refugee problem. This gives single issue groups, such as Greenpeace, great leverage in international relations, viz. the 1995 Brent Spar episode in the North Sea.
* Conversion sometimes under pressure to economic liberalisation as the dominant economic orthodoxy.
Knowledge has thus become increasingly mobile, where geographic, location and time constraints no longer prove obstacles. Today about 800 million people worldwide use the telephone to communicate and exchange information. The rapid development of technology offers emerging countries great opportunities to leapfrog the previously defined stages of technical development. Trade, investment, education, research and development, and the development of harmonious policies can all be facilitated through the spread of information technology. Communications do not only stop there: today, no city on earth is more than 24 hours travel from any other. Paradoxically, the spread of communications has also paralleled a rise in international expectations, as more people become aware of the world outside. Meeting such expectations poses severe challenges for developing countries.
Second, we stand on the edge of massive population growth. In 1995, the world's population was nearly 5.7 billion; by 2020 it will grow 36 per cent to 7.7 billion. The US' population will climb 20 per cent to 315 million; Brazil's 34 per cent to 215 million; India's 40 per cent to 1.3 billion; Indonesia's 32 per cent to 255 million; and China's by 200 million to 1.4 billion. The current South African population is anticipated to increase by 54 per cent from 42 million to 65 million by 2026.
Third, the United States, Japan and Europe all face ageing populations. Between now and 2030, the ratio of the working population, those from 20 to 64 to the elderly over 65 will drop from 5:1 in the US to 3:1, from 5:1 in Japan to 2:1, and from 4:1 in Germany to 2:1 Public pension and health costs could skyrocket against an increase in taxes and budget deficits and a reduction in the rate of economic growth.
Fourth, there is increasing divergence between the most advanced and most underdeveloped economies. This is exacerbated by the advent of new technologies, as well as political instability in much of the poorer areas, especially Africa. In some states there is an increasing gap between state capacity on paper--for example, in Russia with its nuclear arsenal and military might--and the reality of managing this capacity in terms, for example, of nuclear waste and preventing the proliferation of technologies.
Fifth, related to point four above, greater international interdependency and the rise of non-state actors has paralleled a reduction and, in some areas, a collapse of state functions. This is particularly true for a number of African nations where attributes normally associated with the state such as the provision of basic services, security and tax collection have been left to individuals within those countries.
Sixth, related specifically to the defence-security sector, there has been an overall--though not regionwide--decline in defence expenditure since the end of the Cold War. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute's (SIPRI's) 1995 account, "world military spending continued to fall in 1994, driven largely by falling expenditure levels in the industrialised countries. Procurement bore the brunt of the reduction in Russia and in NATO, where the cuts were mainly led by the USA...The preponderance of cuts in industrialised countries and the FSU should not conceal the fact that military expenditure is rising or remains at very high levels in regions such as the Middle East and South Asia, where there appears to be a trend towards increasing outlays."3
Table 1. World Military Expenditures US$ billion (1993)
US 339.2 297.3
Asia-Pacific 99.0 144.7
Europe 231.9 201.7
Russia 157.7 86.3
Greater Middle East 100.9 57.9
Western Hemisphere 28.8 26.1
Sub-Saharan Africa 9.8 8.8
World 967.4 823.0
Source: Institute for National Strategic Studies, Strategic Assessment 1995, p. 21.
Not surprisingly, the total turnover of arms sales (US$30.2 billion in 1996) worldwide is now less than half the level reached in the late 1980s when the Cold War was in full swing.
Table 2. World Arms Sales US$ billion (1994)
US 20.8 13.3
USSR/Russia 29.1 3.0
UK 6.4 4.8
France 3.7 3.8
China 2.7 0.6
Germany 1.9 1.4
Others 14.0 3.3
Total 78.6 30.2
Source: International Institute for Strategic Studies in the Financial Times, October 10, 1996.
These figures, however, do not tell the full story about the decline in capital expenditure. As defence budgets shrink, much of the brunt in this reduction has fallen on equipment procurement rather than personnel and operational costs (P&O). In 1990, P&O costs made up 55 per cent of the US defence budget; by 1997, this had increased to 63 per cent. South Africa has experienced a similar decline. The defence budget has dropped from 4.5 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 1989-90 (R23.4 billion in 1997 rands) to 1.6 per cent in 1997-98 (R9.6 billion); and in the same period, the capital project share of the budget relative to P&O costs has fallen from 43 per cent in 1989-90 to 14 per cent in 1997-98.4
Table 3. South African Defence Budget Comparison: 1989-90 to 1997-98 (Nominal Terms-R bn)
1,879 (18%) Personnel 4,269 (45%)
4,018 (39%) Operating 3,958 (41%)
4,367 (43%) Capital 1,352 (14%)
10,264 Total 9,579
Table 4. South African Defence Budget Comparison: 1989-90 to 1997-98 (Real Terms-R bn)
4,278 (18%) Personnel 4,269 (45%)
9,147 (39%) Operating 3,958 (41%)
9,942 (43%) Capital 1,352 (14%)
23,367 Total 9,579
Cutbacks in defence spending can be seen, paradoxically, as a threat in itself, or as a means to safeguard against threats. Clearly, in the case of poorer nations, a relatively high defence budget (as a slice of GDP) could undermine the state's role and exacerbate poverty as social spending budgets are challenged. The Former Soviet Union (FSU)—where it is estimated that as much as 60 per cent of GDP could have been spent on the military--is an apt example.
While a reduction of defence spending overall should be welcomed as a positive post-Cold War world spin-off, it is clear, too, that this has not necessarily improved, but may instead have worsened security in many countries. This is partly due to the fact that the reduction in defence spending has not been an even phenomenon worldwide and also because the major powers are no longer able (or are no longer readily prepared) to intervene to provide assistance or training in the manner of the past.
Explaining the Trends
Sophisticated socio-political-economic analysis has attempted to explain the effects of such developments and the changes they have wrought on society whether this be in Eastern Europe, the Former Soviet Union or China. The end of the Cold War has thus been equated with a number of paradigms or world views. These include:5
* Francis Fukuyama's The End of History thesis, where the end of the Cold War symbolises the triumph of one economic orthodoxy, competitive individualism, over another, socialism or state-regulated communalism.
* The resurgent realism thesis as, for example, propagated by Samuel Huntington's Clash of Civilisations. He argues that the current building-blocks of the world system--the nation-state and multinational corporations--have declining importance in a global economy defined in terms of the role of information systems depriving governments of regulatory capacity and their previous near-monopoly of strategic information. Kenichi Ohmae's The End of the Nation State: The Rise of Regional Economies reaches the same conclusion. Huntington, however, suggests that given the potentially chaotic fall-out from former empires such as the ex-Soviet Union, the main actors in the global system will no longer be states but rather earlier bonds that he terms civilisations. In this, he implicitly dismisses Fukuyama's thesis that economic advancement inevitably mitigates the divisive effects of cultural differences. The weakness of this argument is, however, that seldom do whole cultures challenge systems of economic formation, rejecting material values outright. This is even true in those examples of resurgent Islam which would seem to best fill Hungtington's argument, such as Iran under Ayatollah Khomeini.
* The third thesis is based on the argument that global interdependence leads states to rely on international/global institutions such as the United Nations to help in preventing, containing, managing and resolving conflict. This need is partly undermined by the reality that most wars today are within rather than between states. And it is clear that any true global role for today's institutional systems--including the United Nations--requires a thorough examination and potential redefinition of the nature, characteristics, functions and powers of the relevant organisations.
* The final paradigm of human development is related to the interdependent needs of the contemporary global village. Put simply, the knock-on or cross-border and trans-regional effects of rapid population growth, migration, environmental degradation and famine, diseases such as AIDS and malaria, economic collapse, and civil war combine to make states less insular and more concerned with the global nature of seemingly localised threats. This trend is accelerated by the advent of global communications which has, in turn, served to stigmatise the politics of pariah states (something that apartheid South Africa knew only too well) and, importantly, led to a trend to paint regions or even continents with the same broad and superficially applied brush. Africa, for example, is sometimes broadly characterised by the failures of a number of states.
But to equate the end of the Cold War and current events as symbolising unique trends in international relations is probably an exaggeration. Today, as the world appears to take unprecedented steps into a newly liberalised trading terrain, one should be reminded that this trend towards globalisation is not new. Neither are other "new" forces of political and economic interaction, such as trans-nationalism and the apparently steady erosion of the states' powers in favour of international organisations and corporations.
Complex global trade routes have long affected the economic fate of nations at least since the time of Marco Polo through the imperial empires. Challenges to the authority of states have been around, too, as long as states themselves, and while national control is lost in some areas such as the regulation of trans-national capital flows and macro-economic policy, it has been enhanced by the reduction worldwide of the threat of external invasion. Other trans-national threats, such as disease or religious fundamentalism, have been around since the time of the Black Death and the Crusades.
It is possible, rather, to speak of the world in terms of evolving, at times competing, but still cyclical patterns of nationalism, regionalism and globalism. These trends may be looked at in terms of their challenge to the nation-state as the primary building block in international relations. This, it is said, is particularly true for Africa which is facing the challenge of so-called dysfunctional states--those that, put simply, no longer perform the functions normally expected of sovereign states such as tax collection, the provision of security, and so on. Liberia, the Sudan, Zaire, and possibly Nigeria would fall within this grouping.
What is the New Security Agenda?
Against this background, the late 20th century has seen a rise in prominence (rather than "emergence"--these have always existed) of so-called non-traditional security issues which impact both on the nature of current institutions and the manner in which policy-makers, academics, soldiers and the general public alike view the issue. This is the challenge: to not only identify but also begin to address future security problems at the appropriate levels.
In this, the world's security concerns remain as interlinked and, in some areas, seemingly as intractable as ever, as defence and strategic analysts continue to grapple with a world no longer clearly divided between two camps.6 Questions are being asked about the utility of military force in an age when the classical threat-based approach to defence and security planning no longer exclusively applies. In an era when the telecommunications revolution means that little can be shielded from the gaze of the international community, new approaches are having to be developed to counter arguably non-military and often latent threats. These can be grouped into the inter-related (and not mutually exclusive) "baskets" of territorial, economic, political and environmental insecurities.
This would include the threat of outside invasion, which, although there are isolated incidents (such as the border troubles between Ecuador and Peru, Belize and Guatemala, and Venezuela and Guyana), has reduced in international significance. Related to this is the threat of sovereign infringements or incursions, over fishing and including the issue of illegal immigration.
As noted above, global trends towards a reduction of military expenditure pose security dilemmas, though paradoxically, increases in expenditure could themselves create difficulties through economic pressure and regional imbalances. The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), especially nuclear, chemical and biological weaponry, could also fall into this category, although this has obvious implications, too, for political sovereignty.
The most pressing and common issue is that of poverty and, related to this, problems of economic growth (including debt, access to investment, food security, etc.) For many small states, economic globalisation and the sheer weight of international financial transactions (which amounts to over US$30 million per minute on the New York stock exchange)7 offer opportunities to economic criminals (so-called "cyber-terrorists"), when the slightest wobble in the system creates ripples, even waves. It has also led to greater marginalisation for some countries (particularly those geographically distanced from markets), with concomitant security dilemmas. The safeguarding of intellectual property rights is a recent security dilemma related to globalisation. Population growth (which relates to migration and urbanisation trends) has security implications, as does the issue of ageing populations. Countries with annual birth rates in excess of 2.3 per cent will double their populations within 20 years with attendant problems of education, housing, welfare and employment. Disease and health concerns will also fall within this basket, such as the potentially pandemic threats of AIDS, malaria and certain water-borne diseases.
International crime, corruption, piracy, and illegal narcotics and weapons smuggling are seen as potential threats as non-state actors wield, in some cases, greater clout than smaller states. It has been estimated by the British National Criminal Intelligence Service that the value of money laundered alone worldwide in 1993 amounted to US$500 billion, and by the UN at over US$1 trillion. Countries that do not succeed in countering money-laundering could suffer from a lack of investment; though many are caught between the need to provide latitude for businesses to operate, and to tighten up controls. To give further examples, the cocaine trade in New York City is worth around US$1 billion annually; and smuggling alone cost EU states some R17.5 billion in 1996.8
A lack of democracy could offer violent solutions as an attractive alternative, yet the efficacy of democratisation in developing nations, particularly in the face of economic hardships, is still in some countries a matter for debate.
This basket includes the issues of trans-boundary pollution, global warming and nuclear waste, as well as the effects and possible struggles around depleted natural resources, especially water.
Creating a New Matrix
The range of contemporary security concerns can be said to be also "multi-layered," existing and overlapping at the global/international, regional/continental and local/national levels. In this, it is clearly impossible to specifically localise the nature of threats, especially poverty. It is possible, however, to identify more clearly the likely time-frame in which these concerns are most likely to manifest themselves.
Table 5. A 21st Century Security Matrix
Time-frame Focus Threat
Longer-term Global Environment
Proliferation of WMD
Trade and Investment Access
Inc./Dec. Defence Spending
Lack of Democracy
Soft States/Non-State Actors
Nearer-term Local/National Poverty
How Will These Threats Be Manifest?
The changing nature of conflict, the potential proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in the hands of rogue actors (state or otherwise) combined with increased pressures on defence spending, have implications for the nature of military operations, defence procurements and equipment, as well as future security cooperation.
Tensions around these issues could, of course, surface within and not just between states. Ethnic factors, whether in the former Yugoslavia and Soviet Union, or in the Great Lakes region of Africa, will remain both an outlet for, and cause of, political divide and expression. Religious factors, too, will play their part, though the distinction between religious fundamentalism and uprisings and straightforward criminal activity is increasingly difficult to discern. Within an already crowded security agenda, in this, too, the role of non-state actors and increasingly "soft" or "dysfunctional" states complicates the need for systems of regulation and management.
In this, it is likely that in the future, the concerns of major international players will be driven, principally, by a concern for their economic relations. As the Times put it in 1996:
"The real consequence of the collapse of communism is then, ironically, the end of politics, with the security issues of the past swamped by the requirements of the GDP."9
But changes in the nature of the security challenges faced by developed nations have occurred against a backdrop of not only reducing Western defence expenditures, but contrastingly, also in the face of increased humanitarian pressures on these (Western) states to intervene and take on global responsibilities. In this, there is a public expectation of both "success and survivability"--where military forces are not only expected to be successful in their missions, but military losses are no longer acceptable, particularly in the United States (as with the deaths of the 18 Rangers in Somalia in October 1993), and nor is the strategy of "rubblising" nations in the pursuit of peace. In the eyes of Western militaries, they face a more uncertain and dangerous world in which they are expected to take on an increased role with less equipment and fewer overseas bases.
Western (specifically US) military thinking foresees a need to plan today for at least four "mission scenarios."10 First, the so-called "operations-other-than-war" (OOTW)--such as those in Haiti, Bosnia, Somalia and including policing roles like drug interdiction. Second, littoral or expeditionary warfare. Third, major regional conflicts (where the US still bases its forces structure on the need to be able to fight two major regional conflicts simultaneously). The final role is to combat any peer competition where this might exist.
Yet, while the structure of armed forces is largely still justified on the basis of fighting inter-state conflicts, warfare is increasingly characterised by intra-state conflict, in which the commitment of Western powers (the only powers which currently possess the capacity to mount a peace-support operations) to intervene is seriously questionable. In 1993, the number of major armed conflicts (with battle-deaths over 1,000 persons) numbered some 28, with not one of an inter-state nature.11 And intra-state conflict is generally unconventional, unclear and untidy, featuring all manner of "secessionists, religious extremists, radicals, terrorists, insurgents and organised crime" but without "the reassuring, regulatory structure of inter-state conflict."12 As Senator John McCain noted over Lebanon in 1982:13
"The fundamental question is, What is the United States' interest in Lebanon? It is said that we are there to keep the peace. I ask, what peace? It is said that we are there to aid the government. I ask, what government? It is said that we are there to stabilise the region. I ask, how can the US presence stabilise the region?"
And consider the more recent experience of Albania:14
"Europe gazed at its southeast last week to find civilisation vanishing down a sinkhole. Albania suddenly was no longer an organised society but metasizing chaos, a malignancy that armed forces of other countries were struggling simply to keep at bay. In one week, what had begun as spontaneous revolts in a few southern cities turned all of Albania into a collection of scenes reminiscent of Mad Max movies: children brandishing grenades and AK-47s, looting and gunfire on an epidemic scale, an utter collapse of civil authority. Foreigners were fleeing the country en masse, many by helicopter airlifts to warships in the Adriatic. All at once, it seemed, small, sun-washed Albania had become the state of Anarchia."
Against this background, greater responsibility will inevitably fall on regional powers to provide the political and military leadership, finances and manpower to meet these low intensity defence-security challenges. In this, too, there will be related challenges and changes to the nature of arms procurement, military equipment and the structure and ethos of armed forces.
Changes in Procurement Trends
Two major international trends are already present in Western and allied governments as pertains to defence spending: mergers and increased international collaboration.15 In the US, as a result of the Boeing purchase of McDonnell Douglas for US$13.3 billion in 1996, there are now only five main US manufacturers of combat aircraft and missiles, compared to ten in Europe. The European Eurofighter 2000 project (involving Britain, Germany, Italy and Spain) and the US-NATO ballistic-missile Medium Extended Air Defence System (MEADS) project which is to develop a mobile system to defend mobile forces against attacks by either aircraft or missiles, are both examples of collaborative trends in the acquisition of defence systems in spite of associated problems of "conflicting national requirements, cost over-runs and delayed delivery dates."
Given the wide range of roles expected from today's militaries and the uncertain range of threats, there is a need to "leverage technology"--to use, wherever possible, "off-the-shelf" commercial technology; to transform equipment from single to multi-mission; to expect a 50-year life-cycle from equipment (and only an eight-year development cycle); and to reduce the numbers of weapons-types in service. Future defence technology will thus require:16
* increased C4I (command, control, computers and intelligence) and interoperability;
* use of unmanned vehicles in high-threat areas;
* reduce training costs by making maximum use of simulation and virtual reality;
* versatility across all operational parameters;
* cost-effectiveness and affordability;
* sustainability and survivability; and,
* greater firepower lethality, with increased use of precision and stand-off weaponry.
Changes to Armed Forces
The post-Cold War world has seen dramatic changes in the force size and structure of armed forces, particularly in NATO and the former Warsaw Pact countries. Between 1990-98, there will be an estimated 30 per cent reduction of the ground forces of non-US NATO forces, 20 per cent in air and 10 per cent in naval capabilities. US forces in Europe will decline by 70 per cent, 70 per cent and 45 per cent respectively; while total US forces will reduce by 60 per cent, 65 per cent and 30 per cent.17 President Bill Clinton's 1993 "Bottom-Up Review" will result in the reduction of the US armed forces from 1.6 million to 1.4 million personnel. This will lead to dramatic changes in the equipment complement of these countries. For example, the United States Navy has declined from a total of 565 ships in 1988 to 435 in 1993, and will shrink further to a projected number of 333 ships by the year 2003.
South Africa has also, to give a further example, undergone dramatic changes in this area. Following the political transition in 1994, the old South African Defence Force (SADF--110,00 strong) was merged with the forces of Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda and Ciskei (the so-called TBVC states--12,000), as well as the armed wings of the African National Congress (ANC—26,000), the Pan-Africanist Congress (PAC—6,000) and Inkatha (IFP--6,000). The force structure of the new South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has been reduced (March 1997) to 95,545 personnel, of which 21,119 are civilians. By the turn of the century, South Africa will be looking to possess a force of around 60,000, including civilians.18
What will such cuts mean?
Field Marshal Sir Peter Inge, the British Chief of Defence Staff, has noted that from his (considerable) experience, in the future, armed forces will have to take care, inter alia, to:19
* recruit and retain good quality people;
* acquire modern, high-technology equipment;
* train personnel in basic skills, plus a capability for combined and joint operations;
* enhance sustainability and the ability to operate in concurrent operations;
* be aware that there is a "price to pay" in multinational operations regarding training, logistics support and in doctrine;
* "organise for war and adapt for peace," retaining the capability to fight a high-intensity war as their primary objective; and,
* take care not to replace "ethos" (a mixture of emotional, intellectual and moral qualities unique to the armed forces) by the metal of management nor the culture of contract.
His observations hold true probably for most armed forces today.
The Effects on Africa
This paper would not be complete without comment on the relevance of the above to Africa. Although there is danger in simplistically characterising sub-Saharan Africa as a homogenous entity--which it is not--clearly many of the above insecurities affect it more than any other continent. Take, for example, rates of population increase--where the continent is breeding itself into poverty. According to the United Nations, the continent averages an increase of 2.7 per cent annually, against a world increase of 1.5 per cent and just 0.3 per cent for developed nations. As a result, Africa's cities are growing faster than any other region, though formal employment will not be able to keep pace with the 5-10 per cent average growth rates in the working-age population. Combined with shrinking budgets for social services, this could lead to predictable increases in crime, homelessness, the breakdown of family units, and even greater increases in social diseases such as AIDS. Already more than 13 million are living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa, two-thirds of the global total, and about 50 of the new infections that occur daily worldwide are in the region. Clinical tests report an incidence as high as 30 per cent of Southern Africa's women to be HIV+.
Hence it should be no surprise that, while there may be some positive improvements, especially in the area of African conflict resolution through the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) and other regional initiatives, the continent will for the foreseeable future continue to be blighted by a number of endlessly resurfacing trouble-spots. As Western commitment and policy towards this and other African crises will unfortunately be influenced by their own domestic financial constraints, it is anticipated that African institutions will increasingly be left to their own devices to respond to these security challenges. In this, it should be noted that the current structures are incapable of addressing the range and scope of contemporary security demands: from global warming, on the one hand, to "Mad Cow Disease" (BSE) and regional conflicts possibly involving weapons of mass destruction and, increasingly, non-state actors, on the other. Even internationally, old security agencies, such as NATO, now face the challenges of both broadening their remit and membership. At a regional level, then, there will be a need for increased cooperation on a wide range of issues; while at the global level, if the United Nations is to achieve the "participatory multilateralism" aspired to,20 its credibility will have to be enhanced through reform of its Charter, membership of the Security Council, its agencies and practices.
Conclusion: Insecurity and Developing Nations
In the past, the notion of security was seen to mean different things for developed and developing states, the key differentiating factor being the role and capacity of the state itself. In developed states, the state was seen as the major source of security and threat: the military strength of the state protected its people against outside threats; its police force protected them internally; and its social security programmes protected them against ill-health, unemployment and extreme hardship. Developing or underdeveloped states did not have the means or capacity to provide this comprehensive protection; and worse still, the state was itself often seen as a source of insecurity--for its citizens at least--through corruption, oppression, and other forms of bad government.
This dichotomy has now narrowed, with implications for defence forces and their operating strategies. No longer is security focussed on containment of the enemy, but has shifted towards an understanding that there are common fears and issues that cannot be tackled through military means, which transgress state as well as ideological, political and religious borders. In a contradictory fashion, security issues are becoming both personalised and globalised. Personal security fears--particularly poverty, drugs, health matters, terrorism and environmental issues--are being elevated beyond local and national levels to global prominence. This convergence between developed and developing states has also occurred as a result of increasing questioning of the role of the state within developed nations themselves due to: the retreat of the notion of the welfare state and even the contemplated privatisation of functions historically seen as part of the core of the nation-state; and the depreciation in the value of the external security role of the state with the end of the Cold War.
It is not so much, therefore, that the nature of security demands facing developing nations has changed noticeably. It is rather that a combination of the end of superpower competition and peripheral involvement, and increasing global awareness through, in particular, the media revolution, has served to redefine the focus of concerns. In this, the concept of security has shifted towards addressing the full spectrum of political, social, military, economic and technological factors that can bring about instability and promote development. Conflict, migration, disease, terrorism and unemployment are all examples of such factors.
But while this redefinition de-emphasises the role of the state, the traditional (and, indeed, only available) methods of reconciling many of these issues rest with states or through inter-state organisations such as the United Nations. The proliferation of regional bodies suggests, too, that the resolution of individual security demands is still sought through state-based organisations. In the future, there must be a balanced approach between the demands of peace and security for the individual, the community, the region, and the globe. As the former UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali put it in his An Agenda for Peace in June 1992, "It is the task of leaders of states today to understand this and to find a balance between the needs of good internal governance and the requirements of an ever more interdependent world."21
Some of the material presented here was gathered during a research trip to the United Kingdom in March 1997 which was sponsored by the British Council. My thanks and appreciation go to that organisation, as well as Audrey Darell and Martin Edmonds of the Lancaster University Centre for Defence and International Security Studies (CDISS). All views expressed here, however, are my own.
1. Michael Bird, "Naval Aviation: Technology and Capability," paper given at a conference on "British Naval Aviation in the 21st Century" organised by the Centre for Defence and Security Studies, Lancaster University, United Kingdom, March 6-7, 1997.
2. See "The World's New Century: 2000," Newsweek, January 27, 1997.
3. SIPRI Yearbook 1995 at http://sunsite.sipri.se/pubs/yb95ch12.html.
4. These figure were supplied by the SANDF, March 1997.
5. I am grateful to Sean Cleary for his notes on this. See also James Barber, South Africa in the Post-Cold War World (Johannesburg: The South African Institute of International Affairs' Bradlow Paper, 1996).
6. See Martin Edmonds, Defence and Security in the 21st Century, paper presented at the SA Navy conference on "The Utility of Naval Power," Cape Town, October 17, 1996.
7. See The New York Times, November 11, 1995.
8. Financial Times, March 13, 1997.
9. The Times, December 23, 1996.
10. See Rear-Admiral Ronald Christenson, "US Naval Aviation Vision to the Year 2005," paper given in "British Naval Aviation, in the 21st Century," n. 1.
11. SIPRI Yearbook of World Armaments and Disarmament, 1993 (London: OUP, 1993) p. 81.
12. See Richard Connaughton, The Commonwealth Option (Dorset: National and International Consultancy, 1997) p. 14.
13. Cited in Robert Timberg, The Nightingale's Song (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1995), p. 330.
14. James Walsh, "Law of the Gun," Time, March 24, 1997, p. 21.
15. See Rear-Admiral Richard Phillips, "Naval Aviation in a Changed Strategic Environment," paper given in "British Naval Aviation in the 21st Century," n. 1.
16. See Robin Ranger, Defence Trends: Mergers, Co-operation, Conflicts and Proliferation, Global Defence Review 7 (London: Millennium Publishing, 1997), p. 7.
17. See Institute for National Strategic Studies, Strategic Assessment 1995, p. 36.
18. This is made up of: Navy--5,591 in uniform, 3,499 civilians; Army--51,912 in uniform, 11,518 civilians; Air Force--10,827 in uniform, 3,404 civilians; and Medical Services--6,096 in uniform, and 2,698 civilians.
19. Field Marshal Sir Peter Inge GCB, The University of Lancaster University/Services Dining Club, March 6, 1997.
20. See Gwyn Prins, "Security Challenges for the 21st Century," NATO Review, January 1997, p. 27-30.
21. Boutros Boutros-Ghali, An Agenda for Peace (New York: UN, 1992), p. 9.