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, and oppress his opponents.
The Defence White Paper recommended that the Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase lead coordination of national security policy making and implementation. In particular, it recommended the following:
(a) Responsibility for the direction and coordination of national security policy making and implementation be elevated to the PM’s office;
(b) A departmental CEO’s committee on national security (CEOC-NS) be formed to review all policy submissions to the National Security Council (NSC) and that it subsume the functions of the Fiji Intelligence Committee (FIC), and other national security related committees;
(c) A Directorate-General of National Security (DGNS) be formed within the PM’s Office to provide a focal point for the coordination of national security policy and implementation, to provide the secretariat to the NSC and CEOC-NS, and be responsible for policy and intelligence assessment;
(d) The Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration (MHA&I) be restructured on functional lines.
On the other hand, if the status quo was to be maintained, the DWP recommended that, (a) the capacity of the MHA&I be strengthened; and (b) the secretariat of the NSC be separated from the intelligence staff wither by forming a separate office or transferring responsibility to the PM’s office.
Regardless of which option was adopted, the DWP recommended that (a) membership of the NSC be explained to include the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation (MT&CA) and the ministers representing the provincial administration (currently Fijian Affairs and Rural Development), and the Minister for Women (MWSW&PA);
(b) the MHA&I give greater attention to personnel management, including education and training;
(c) the MHA&I define the national security and intelligence responsibilities of provincial administrators for inclusion in their character or contracts;
(d) the MHA&I be renamed the Ministry of National Security; and
(e) the University of South Pacific (USP) be encouraged to establish a centre for security studies or incorporate it in the Pacific Institute for Advanced Studies in Governance and Development;
(f) these recommendations take effect as soon as suitably qualified and experienced people can be found to coordinate the implementation of policy flowing from this review and ensure readiness of internationally mandated air and maritime transport security measures by mid-2004 and other deadlines.
Racial and Gender Composition
Some senior military officers expressed to the Committee a desire to redress the gross racial imbalance in the Fijian dominated military as a way of improving community acceptance. For a military with a role in internal security, the DWP noted that there was a strong desire for redressing the imbalance but it should be deferred until the policies that might flow from this review had been implemented.
Thereafter, the DWP recommended, that an affirmative action would be required to breach the cultural barriers obstructing other races and ethnic groups joining the RFMF.
The small size and nature of the RFMF did not leave a lot of scope to employ women but the DWP suggested the gender balance needed to be addressed on the same basis as that of racial composition.
TO BE CONTINUED