Overhauling the national security management system (2)

By John Amoda
THE structure of the military was for subjugation and domination while its function was to safeguard the sovereignty of the Independence populace.

This structure has been modified and modernised over the course of the past five decades and yet with its functional capability remaining unaltered. The Nigerian Military has thus functioned to maintain the structure of the colonial society and the effectiveness of government to govern within the context of the colonially structured society.

The Nigerian Military has never been the fighting wing of any Nigerian liberation movement. The professionalisation of the Nigerian Military has, however, had the unintended consequence of maintaining its imperial purpose as a means of subjugation, pacification, control and domination. It was created to fight the imperial enemies both internal and external. It has unwittingly maintained government as a structure of domination.

The Boko Haram is a new enemy that the military was not organised to defeat; an enemy that is waging an insurgency that is outside of the types of warfare the military is trained to win.

The Nigerian Military has fought and won a secessionist war- that war is within its colonial brief of protecting the integrity of colonial Nigeria. It has been used for pacification of rebellious and restive populations; that is also within its law and order brief. It has contributed troops for peace support international assignment- essentially policing and pacification tasks.

It presently faces demand for peace making in Mali and at home to defeat revolutionary state making insurgency, both of which are out-of-the-box task that entail adaptations that are tantamount to a reconstruction of the military. These new task are statemaking, creation of new orders of society and these are political tasks. International partners can contribute to the winning of the war but they cannot do the fighting that secures or establishes sovereigns.

ThisDay reports the opinion of experts on the reasons for the challenges faced by the security chiefs, including the National Security Adviser. “Experts locate the problem in the nature of the country’s security management system, particularly, in the area of intelligence. A retired Army officer and security expert, Col. Anthony Nyiam, told ThisDay in an interview in July: “There are gaps in our higher national security management organogram.

One of the principal gaps is that we do not have what you may call a chief of the Nigerian intelligence community, one with the responsibility for the coordination of our various intelligence agencies. State Security Service, SSS; NIA (National Intelligence Agency), and DIA (Defence Intelligence Agency).

We don’t have somebody who coordinates their efforts. The NSA cannot handle that role. The NSA is in charge of policy making and ensuring their implementation. Policy making is separate from operations.

Once policy makers start being in charge of operations there would be a conflict of interest, and that what leads to corruption. For external defense, we have a good co-ordinator who is the Chief of Defence Staff.

For internal security, we don’t have a coordinator”. Nyiam believes Nigeria security crisis has lingered because it is fighting an unconventional war against terrorism with convention war tactics. To overcome the problem, he recommends a security management strategy anchored on four core areas.

Chief coordinator of intelligence, whose occupant must be a spy master; chief of internal security operations, who should be a serving Army General, special forces who should be drawn from the Armed Forces and who should be volunteers; and the think-tanks, who should be people from the academic with national security strategic studies background”.

Colonel Nyiam’s main recommendation is to reorganise the government national security management and two contradictory justifications for his advice are offered. The first is the ‘gap’ theory- which explains the ineffectiveness of security management by the ineffectiveness of the NSA’s office.

The second explains the crises as a function of the kind of war the Armed Forces are fighting to defeat the enemy. The operational explanation is more convincing than the bureaucratic reorganisation proposal. The deficiency of the second inheres in Colonel Nyiam’s description of the NSA’s office. The dichotomy he makes between policy formulation and implementation and coordination of operations is untenable. The effectiveness of the NSA is the core of the office’s policy formulation and implementation raison d’etre.

The NSA must take steps to ensure that implementation of policies are effective. And if implementation is operations, the NSA must be the coordinator of the coordinators of operations. The NSA’s organogram must include the reports of operations evaluated by chiefs of operations for the attention of the NSA upon which his advice to the President on the national security situations, internal and external, are based.

All the suggestions on coordination of operations made by the Colonel are for the strengthening of the NSA’s office, for only in this sense that Nyiam’s recommendations cannot be construed as proposals for the bureaucratic enlargement of the National Security Management System.

This assessment of Nyiam’s proposal is supported by the first explanation for the ineffectiveness of the Military and Security Forces. “Nyiam believes Nigeria’s security crisis has lingered because the military is fighting unconventional war against terrorism with conventional war tactics”.

This explanation has its implications and the most important one being that reform of the intelligence system of the Armed Forces that continues to fight unconventional war against terrorism with conventional tactics will continue to be ineffective until it recognises that its failure is explained by its appreciation of the insurgency.

The advice from this operational level is clear and not a bureaucratic creation of jobs; “change your tactics, change your strategy and war plans”. We believe that the new strategy would entail the national security restructure of the society, a strategy that will impact both government and constitutional democratic governance. Most importantly the strategy would involve a waging of an unconventional war with unconventional tactics by an unconventional Armed and Security Forces.


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