#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: The Defence White Paper: Does Fiji Need a Military?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Defence White Paper: Does Fiji Need a Military?

Editors Note: As debate on the role of the Fiji military in the affairs of our nation intensifies, we have decided to reproduce excerpts of the highly controversial and secretive Defence White Paper whose contents Victor Lal had exposed shortly before the 2006 coup. Coupfourpointfive argues the Report was one of many factors which prompted the dictator to seize power and to plunder the nation.

The National Security and Defence Review (NSDR), or the DWP, was commissioned by the previous Qarase government on 2 September 2003. A three-member Committee comprising an USP professor, an independent Australian military analyst (who acted as chairman), and a taukei Fijian, prepared the DWP. It was submitted to Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase on 9 February 2004.

In their introduction to the DWP titled ‘Safeguarding Peace & Security’, the Committee declared that Fiji does not face an external military threat but the principle challenge was domestic instability. In Chapter 8 of the DWP, the Committee called upon the Government to answer a number of questions in relation to the future of the RFMF. The questions were: Does Fiji need a military for defence purposes? If not, how will the non-military functions (navy, engineers, and youth training) be redeployed? If it does need a military, what for? As a backstop to assist the Fiji Police Force (FPF) maintain order? For peacekeeping? And if so, at what level? 

In early May of 2006, Qarase, as Prime Minister, had confirmed that there was a Defence White Paper (DWP), but would not disclose any details. He said when his government got back into power after the 2006 elections; it would give serious attention to the recommendations in the White Paper.

Selection and Appointment of Commander
The view was put to the NSDR Committee that the Constitutional Offices Commission, to reduce the scope of nepotism, should appoint the Commander RFMF in the same manner as the Commissioner of Police. It was claimed that this would promote a professional military ethos and potentially lesson tensions that arise within the military when it is perceived that promotion to the highest ranks is not based on merit.

This suggestion was not deemed appropriate by the Committee because of military’s direct link with the Head of State, even if only symbolic; and the salience of ministerial responsibility for exercising civilian control of the military.

By convention, the outgoing commander advises the Minister on the options for his replacement. The Minister makes his decision and conveys it to the Commander-in-Chief (C-in-C) for agreement. The residual strength of the Fijian social structure, the DWP observed, meant that this was not just a symbolic process. Presidents can and have influenced the choice of commander. Although appointment on merit should be the norm, the DWP stated that the selection of a military commander was the prerogative of the government of the day. The Committee considered other options for selecting a commander, like a vote of the officer corps or parts thereof, but no satisfactory alternative emerged.

The term of appointment was not mandated, although Commodore Frank Bainimarama, was appointed for 5 years and had since been granted an extension. To improve accountability, the DWP recommended that consideration should be given to shortening the term of appointment of a commander to three years with the option of one extension not exceeding 3 years.

The letter of appointment should include: a list of outcomes the government expects the commander to achieve; a list of what would constitute grounds for dismissal; and a salary package. The DWP also recommends that the Constitution should be amended to require the Minister for Home Affairs to consult the Prime Minister on the appointment of a commander before making his recommendation to the C-in-C.


Anonymous said...

Catch 22.

Nothing basicly wrong with Viti maintaining a military.

Rank & File always been OK - problem lies within selected personel within current Officer core. Coincidental that decline in standards began with exposure to UN ME duties?

Jake said...

I fail to see the relevance of regurgitating a report that along with its sponsor’s was unceremoniously dumped from office.

I say good riddance for these people had stymied the growth of the nation all the while plundering the government’s coffers.

Anonymous said...

This is a no brainer, the in coming commander should first of all have had operational command in Lebanon experience as Company commander in Lebanon, CO IFR, has held a senoir post with UNIFIL such as COPS Officer, COS UNIFIL, or Deputy Commander UNIFIL.
Than with this comes the educational qualifications, from Cadet Schoool, through to Staff College. Throughtout the officers service his attachments, his expertise in field ops and admin, also his seniority.
We had so many worthy of the Commanders post after Rabuka. The two comdmanders after Rabuka were not worthy of the post. They didn't have the experience and expertise and most of all the education/knowledge.

mark manning said...

Fiji has no enemy except it's own Military !
So the question " does Fiji need a Military " is therefore mute !

Veli said...

A lot bull crap, the appointment should be on merit and not the recommendation of the outgoing Commander. No wonder we ended up with tin pot dictator.

Jake said...

As we have seen we need the military to kick out corupt governmnets and carry out the necessary clean up.

mark manning said...

@ jake
The Military's role is to defend the Country, not run an Administration, once you get that through your thick skull, everything will be okay in paradise !

Jakes Shadow said...

Mark, jake is too simpleton to understand that. He spends 100% of his time in the darkness(inside frankies pants) and is fed with bullshit.
Talks like him, sounds like him smells like him.....shit that what he is.

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