The Ministerial Defence Review Committee had been set up by the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans to consider, prepare a policy document on, and hold consultative engagements with key stakeholders, the public and civil society, in relation to the future structure of the Defence Force for South Africa. The policy that it recommended must support government priorities and strategy, and would outlined the blueprint for the future defence force design and structure, as well as the policy for the future fiscal and resource framework in the defence arena. The Review was also to include an investigation into the nature and scope of the South African defence industry, its products, its strategic domestic and international partners, the manufacture, marketing, sale and export of armaments and related goods and services. The Defence Review Committee had been specifically tasked with reflecting on
The Department of Defence and Military Veterans tabled and explained the Review document. It was noted that the document outlined the internal context, the challenges facing
Members asked about the costs for the whole process, and a DA Member thought that the Review had been based on the wrong premise, as there seemed little point in postulating something that would never see the light of day given budgetary constraints. Members of the Defence Review Committee explained that their brief was not to take the budget into account, as their final proposals would then inform what could be budgeted. The Committee would be welcome to participate in the nationwide imbizos. A Member expressed a strong view that Denel should fall under the control of the Department of Defence and Military Veterans. A DA Member questioned whether any other country had used the effects-based approach and why
Mr Nick Sendall, Chief Director: Defence Policy, Department of Defence and Military Veterans, said that the mandate of the Ministerial Defence Review Committee was to provide a policy that was supportive of the governmental priorities and strategy. This would include a sound policy for determining the blueprint for the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) design and structure, as well as the policy for the future fiscal and resource framework in the defence arena. The review was to support the government priorities and Constitutional imperatives, and to look at security and emerging sources of insecurity.
The Minister had specifically tasked the Defence Review Committee to reflect on
The key deliverables of the review were policy, high level doctrine and the structure. The policy review should look at the long-term twenty to thirty year Defence vision. The Review would also be regularly evaluated on a five year basis.
Thematic Areas of Defence Review
Mr Sendall then outlined the thematic areas of the Defence Review. Chapter 1 dealt with the mandate given to the Defence Review Committee, the requirement for a new Defence Review and the role of the Defence Policy framework, as well as the fundamental principles underpinning the Review.
Chapter 2 provided an understanding of the South African State, its people, its political, economic and legal systems and geography. It noted the unique challenges facing
Chapter 3 spoke about the global, continental, regional and domestic security environments and some of the implications thereof for
Chapter 4 attempted to analyse and explain the defence expenditure at the global, and sub-regional level. Defence spending was analysed over a fifty year period. The implications of defence capabilities, readiness, personnel, operating and capital allocations were given.
Chapter 5 dealt with the emergent national security strategy, expressed as a construct of the determination of national interests and the determination of the national security ambition.
Chapter 6 unpacked the defence mandate, as expressed in the Constitution, into a defence mission, which comprised five strategic goals, and 15 high level defence tasks. Each task was expressed in terms of its defence effect. Mr Sendall noted that this was a paradigm shift from a threat-based approach to defence policy and strategy, to an approach which was based on desired defence effects.
Chapter 7 outlined the future spectrum of conflict, and identified this as landward, maritime, aeronautical, space sphere and the information sphere. A range of future defence contingencies were identified, and fell into categories of inter-state contingencies and intra-state contingencies.
In Chapter 8, the Defence Review Committee had outlined, for the first time, an effects-based approach, to postulate
Chapter 9 noted that the Chief of the Defence Force would develop the requirements for the Blueprint Force Design and Force Structure.
Chapter 10 said that emphasis would be placed on civil control. This was outlined as:
- The President, as Commander in Chief
- Civil Control, Parliamentary Oversight and a specific proposal on Defence Oversight
- The organisation of the Ministry of Defence and the Defence Headquarters
- Specific “Defence Accountability Arrangements” were also noted
- A uniform command and staff system would be introduced
- Combat formations would realigned into SANDF
- There was a proposal for the establishment of the Defence Ombud and the Defence Service Commission.
- Denel would also be under the control of the Defence Force, rather than the Department of Public Enterprises.
Chapter 11 outlined the interventions that were suggested by the Defence Review Committee, during its
diagnostic and orientation process. These were the Defence Information Systems, Defence Service Commission, Defence Ombud, Military Leadership, the Reserve Component and the Health of the Force.
Chapter 12 mainly dealt with matters like Combat Service Support Doctrine, Defence Personnel Management, Logistics Management, Information Management, Financial Management, Facilities Footprint and the Defence Environmental Management
Chapter 13 summarised all that was contained in the previous Chapters.
Mr Sendall then noted that the Defence Review Committee would then embark on a country-wide hearings process, to engage with broader civil society, stakeholders and communities. That would be done before the Ministers Budget Vote on 17 May 2012, and then again from 18 May to June 2012. This consultation would help the Defence Review Committee to use the relevant expertise of all South Africans to shape the long term Defence Policy for
The Defence Review Committee had set up five goals, subdivided into fifteen tasks. The tasks were to deter and prevent conflict, defend vital interests, defend the country, and safeguard the country’s borders. They were further to support the South African Police Service (SAPS) , execute relevant South African treaty obligations, ensure information security, promote strategic influence, and contribute to peace and stability. The goals also included the execution of ordered presidential tasks, assistance to civil authority, as ordered by the developmental agenda, enhancing civil control and managing the resources effectively.
Mr P Groenewald (FF+) asked whether the pens and the diaries that Members received from the Department should be declared.
Ms P Daniels (ANC) asked about the costs and estimations for the whole process of overhauling the SANDF.
Ms Daniels said that the role of the Committee during the nationwide road-show of Imbizos had to be clarified.
Mr Roelf Meyer, Chairperson, Defence Review Committee,noted that he would welcome the attendance of the Committee in the Imbizos.
Ms Daniels wanted clarity on the National Security Strategy, as she felt strongly that the SANDF should be part of that strategy.
Ms Denel expressed her strong view that Denel should be under the control of the Department of Defence and Military Veterans.
Mr Meyer agreed with Ms Daniels in relation to Denel.
Mr D Maynier (DA) said that the Defence Review was a massive document, and it would take some time for the Committee to digest all the implications. He asked whether the document was a review of the 1998 Defence Review document, and noted that the purpose of this review was to come up with a structure and the defence design that would be used as a guideline for up to thirty years. Mr Maynier commented, however, that any policy that ignored the budgetary constraints was little more than a “fantasy”, and the problem was that this document had failed to consider the budget allocations that had a direct effect on defence force design. To his mind, this meant that the methodology was fundamentally flawed.
Mr Maynier wanted to know if other developing or developed countries had been using the effects-based methodology. He also asked what the new threats in the strategic environment were, and what effect that would have on the capabilities of the Defence Force.
Mr Roelf Meyer, replied that Chapter 4 of the review document stipulated the comparisons with other countries. It was the intention of the Review Committee to work from the premise of a specific amount, as this was not part of the Committee mandate.
Mr Sendall explained that a “Defence Review” had no single definition, but this was used to refer to policy and strategy. In
Mr Helmud–Römer Heitman, Defence Analyst, Minstry of Defence, said that the Minister had asked the Defence Review Committee to look at what was needed by the Defence Force. The Minister would then look at the Review and what force design would be required, and then the Government would decide what amount would be made available. The International Monetary Fund/World Bank recommended that each country should spend at least 2% of its gross domestic product (GDP) on defence. The Defence Review Committee had avoided the problem of having a huge budget and very little allocation. The budget was divided into four components, the normal operating budget, salaries and training, a contingency budget for emergencies such as peace keeping, and a capital budget for buying equipment, He said that the SANDF needed to close down the Rooivalk facilities, because this was not working out. It was too early to decide upon force design at this stage. Government would have to make that decision, after considering multiple factors.
Mr Groenewald thanked the support staff and then Defence Review Committee for the stellar work done in the short period of time. He then asked the role of the Defence Secretariat. He also asked the reason why there was only one Portfolio Committee on Defence in Parliament, and said he thought it might be useful to have a Joint Standing Committee, which could hold its meetings publicly or otherwise.
Mr Meyer explained that there was nothing wrong in forming a Joint Standing Committee, such as the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence. The position of the Secretary of Defence was clearly outlined in Chapter 10. The oversight role of the Secretary of Defence would not be affected. Civilian control was guided by Parliamentary oversight, the Minister of Defence, and the role of the Secretary of Defence, the advisor to the Minister of Defence. There had been suggestions that the office for Secretary of Defence should be set up similar to other Constitutional Chapter 9 institutions, such as the Independent Electoral Commission, which accounted directly to the Parliament, even though its funds were channelled through the Department of Home Affairs
Mr Maynier said that Australia had been using a strategic risk based methodology, and he was not sure that the effects-based methodology had been used by any other country in the world. He raised his concern regarding civilian control of the Defence Force, which seemed to circumscribe what was set out in the Constitution. A diminished role of civil control was a dangerous precedent.
Mr Maynier expressed his complete opposition to the formation of a Joint Standing Committee on Defence, saying that he feared it would end up meeting behind closed doors, just like the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence.
Mr Meyer explained that the Defence Review Committee would be holding public engagements to get and consider views, so this document was not a final draft. He said that there was nothing wrong in using the effects-based methodology.
Mr Phillip Schultz, Fleet Officer: National Fleet, Member of Defence Review Committee, added that the principle of an effects-based approach had been used by countries such as
Mr Maynier said that the strategic threats were not linked to the mandate, and that approach was flawed.
Mr Schultz explained that the mandate of the Defence Force was looked at in conjunction with the strategic environment, and it should be regularly be evaluated.
Mr Meyer reiterated that Mr Maynier was welcome to engage with the Defence Review Committee in the future. He noted that page 44 of the document, in paragraph (29), stated that the effects-based approach examined what defence and other national capabilities must be applied to realise strategic outcomes in peace, conflict and war. The effects-based approach posited the clear and unambiguous future mission, goals and tasks of the forces. He said it was incorrect to say that there was a disconnect. He urged Members to read the document very carefully.
Ms Daniels noted that
Mr Meyer responded that whilst this was so, that did not mean that the future would be without threats.
Ms Daniels enquired about independent procurement processes.
Mr Meyer replied that the procurement process would be done by an acquisition body called the Defence Material Organisation, which would include Armscor.
Mr A Maziya (ANC) thanked the Defence Review Committee, noted that the comments made had reflected political party views, and noted that the Portfolio Committee would be inviting future engagements.
The meeting was adjourned
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