What is the price for national and collective security in an evolving New World Order?
In an increasingly volatile post-cold War security order and era of autocratic heads of state acting like robber barons to their own citizens and double faced saviors to ethnic minority diaspora in neighboring states, never have early warning and deception exposure systems and alliances become more crucial for “civil society” states survival.
Past conventional security paradigms, foundations and performance measures have to some degree been insidiously overshadowed by new age technological warfare and sabre rattling via cyberattacks on key state entities and businesses, Internet activism via Wikileaks and social media subterfuge via release of confidential and/ or dubious information. Added to this mix, we have seen the rise of territorial counter sovereignty claims and no established, agreed cyber space rules of engagement. A heady smorgasbord of potential 21st century security challenges, threats and countermeasures with less than ideal responses.
Australia, post-world War II, accepted thousands of Balts, Poles, Ukrainians and other Europeans seeking safe havens, where freedom of expression, self-determination, right to exist as master of one’s future, underpinned by a secure environment without foreign coercion. These freedom-seeking people envisioned Australia as a safe haven, a long way away from the harsh totalitarian imposed regimes and associated impoverished living conditions that would exist in their European homelands for decades to come. These same aspirations have again become prominent goals for past and present generations in Eastern Europe and also more broadly across the world to reinvigorate, reinforce and re-secure, as basic freedoms, liberties and accepted values.
Globalization, power base shifts, state sponsored terrorism, alliance and allegiance uncertainties, and mass unrestricted people movement across continents, has rapidly diminished the past confidence in and underpinning basis of safe havens as an escape of last resort solution.
As some countries commemorate the cessation of World War II hostilities in Europe some 72 years ago with massive displays of military might - hardware and personnel, one ponders whether its salutary to revisit the past in reference to undertaking evaluations and sanity checks on prevailing security systems and conditions. It’s timely to consider the security circumstances that countries in Eastern Europe now find themselves in. It’s timely to consider what security lessons and measures of the past are still relevant today and what will work best, so as not to be backed into an unviable no win corner. Where there is a lack of tenacity, resolve and confidence, a lack of constantly evolving, evaluated, effective and responsive security strategies and measures, the list of palatable options and desirable outcomes diminishes, while the list of undesirable consequences increases.
Social unity, voluntary ethnic minority assimilation into the host state ethos, secure borders, customs controls, cohesive and accepted national visions and goals, minimal corruption levels, enhanced surveillance, intelligence gathering and close scrutiny of antisocial and anti- democratic nefarious elements within society, are just some of the indispensable elements of a viable, tangible and resilient national security architecture. This begs the question of whether a borderless, free movement, geopolitically diverse and geo-economically dynamic free trade focused and globalized world order can work in synchronization and harmony with national and regional security stability and alliance partnership needs.
Less security adept and savvy nations with populations containing unassimilated and un-integrated ethnic minorities with uncertain allegiances to the host nation’s ethos, laws, governing bodies and language have particularly challenging internal security dilemmas.
Conventional measures of security, defense and deterrence e.g. bombs, bullets and troops that a nation or an alliance of nations can mount and commit to security, is undergoing a digital, disruptive, and personalized revolution. Never before have individuals and small groups of individuals been able to conceal finance sources and sponsors, use the medium of cyberspace, software programs offensively and disruptively, to cheaply and insidiously challenge the power and authority of nation states with so few tools of war and resources.
What does this mean for the Balts, Poles, Ukrainians, Nords and others?
Well, one perspective is that these half dozen or so nations straddling the east/west divide at a crucial boundary juncture in Europe, are indispensable to the wider security and stability of Europe and beyond. These nations located as they are at the interface between the giants of the west (including Germany, France and U.S.), and east (including Russia and China) are more crucial to regional security than before and more capable than their individual military, economic and population sizes might first suggest.
Australia’s membership in the Five Eyes (Anglo version model) intelligence partnership has worked well from a values match and fit, with member countries like the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, and New Zealand. For any partnership or alliance to work long term, there needs to be a degree of common base values and ethos in a cultural, spiritual, legal, economic, political and military sense.
This Five Eyes intelligence partnership (Anglo version model) is just such a cohesive, common values and ethos alliance, in essence formed to undertake early warning surveillance activities in response to Cold War demands for real time signals intelligence. Post Cold War, Five Eyes activities were expanded to include terrorist monitoring.
So, if common fraternity, history, challenges in war and peace, regional security needs and interests existed and still exist between Australia, New Zealand, Canada, United States, and United Kingdom is there a parallel historical, cultural, political, military fraternity commonality and rationale for the Balts, Poles, Ukrainians and Nords to form a similar unified intelligence sharing, surveillance partnership? A Euro version model of the Five Eyes Anglo version model that could reinforce NATO’S first line of early warning of threats, deception exposure from all directions, internal and external, at the east/west interface.
A Five Eyes (Euro version model) – Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, or Six Eyes (including Finland) or Eight Eyes (including Sweden and Norway) alliance surveillance version, working to mutually reinforce and enhance regional security cooperation and stability. A collaboration with scope to share certain agreed lessons learned, intelligence and surveillance material akin to Interpol operations, between trusted partners of both Five Eyes (Anglo version model) and Five or Six or Eight Eyes (Euro version model).
Using the lessons learned from the Five Eyes (Anglo version model) the terms of reference or vision/objectives for the Euro version model Five, Six or Eight Eyes security surveillance partnership could include the following terms of reference (TOR).
TOR - mutually agreed security objectives and performance measures; interoperable safeguard mechanisms to protect each partner’s data, information and interests; reciprocal sharing of agreed intelligence on nefarious and maliciously intent adversaries; monitoring of signals relevant to people of interest e.g. on Un-restricted movements or sanctions lists; monitoring malicious cyber and transnational crime activities; developing a Who’s Who list of malicious cyber space activists etc. The “knock on” benefits could include greater security cohesion and cooperation; more effective and efficient exposure of internal and external security threats and terrorist links between nations; raising security awareness amongst the citizenry and consequently elevating real time community responsiveness levels; fostering joint and/or multilateral projects, research, analysis, reporting, publishing of papers, raising media attention to threats, etc.
An alert, well-informed and savvy citizenry, attuned to security changes and challenges, taking an interest in security at personal, community and national levels, is far better prepared to act decisively and resolutely when called upon to do so and far less prone to deception attacks. In fact, such a citizenry base is an indispensable ally to the smaller cohort of professional security practitioners tasked with protecting the nation more formally.
The price of national security and stability has never been small, and the price of hoping for the best in the absence of determined security efforts has always been unacceptable. If the last 100 years of European history is any guide to go by for security policy makers and practitioners, a Euro version model of Five, Six or Eight Eyes surveillance and intelligence security partnership, merits serious consideration as a positive security game changer. There may already be individual surveillance, intelligence, signals and security best practice elements within the interface nations, waiting to be enhanced, integrated and coordinated formally in a Five, Six. Or Eight Eyes (Euro version model).
The impacts of just a few security failures such as the Bali bombing (2002), downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 (2014) and malicious cyber attacks in 2007 against Estonia, signaled for countries in the South Pacific and Eastern Europe respectively, that security measures in the southern and northern hemispheres need significant enhancement.
While no security alliances, including those that have been tested in “blood, sweat and tears” over many decades can prevent every security breach/failure, expose every deception, every time, they can when operating efficiently, effectively and resolutely, reduce the frequency and severity of security breaches/failures /deceptions and attacks. Such security alliances can make an adversary’s task of fomenting unrest, breaching data and information systems security, inserting malicious codes and moles and generally creating conditions for instability, disruption and subterfuge, far more costly, less effective and far less rewarding.
Gregory Jarosch is a member of the Australian Institute of Management (AIM), Australian Institute of Project Managers (AIPM) and most recently have been added as an Alumni (Masters level) of the National Security College (NSC), Australian National University (ANU), Canberra, Australia.