Deputy Director-General Julio S. Amador III of the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) delivered a talk on interstate security cooperation in response to non-traditional security issues to the officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on 28 April 2016 at Bulwagang Mabini, Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo, Quezon City.
In his lecture “Security Cooperation and Non-Traditional Security Issues,” Mr. Amador first distinguished traditional and non-traditional security approaches: while the traditional approach emphasizes the protection of state sovereignty by the military, the non-traditional approach gives attention to threats that challenge the survival of both states and their peoples through non-military sources.
Citing Dr. Mely Anthony-Caballero, Mr. Amador further enumerated the seven distinct features of non-traditional security issues: (1) non-military in nature, (2) transnational in scope, (3) arises at very short notice, (4) transmits rapidly to other countries, (5) cannot be prevented but can be mitigated, (6) cannot be adequately addressed through national solutions, and (7) targets people as objects of security. Examples of these include climate change, infectious diseases, and natural disasters. Mr. Amador proposed regionalism as one solution but qualified that state capacity to implement the resulting regional agreements must also be improved.
Because the armed forces is an institution designed to respond to traditional security threats, Mr. Amador opened the discussion by asking where the military should intervene in non-traditional security issues and whether it should intervene at all. AFP officers, in response, said that such issues are beyond the functions of the military but are well within the competencies and jurisdiction of other government agencies. For instance, one mentioned that while the military is mandated to conduct disaster-risk response operations, local government units should still do their part. Mr. Amador explained that the structure of the AFP–its professionalism, efficiency, and expediency in doing its tasks–makes it convenient for political leaders to summon the military to respond to non-traditional security threats. In this sense, the military fills in gaps of governance in certain areas in the country. In the end, the officers assured that they are certainly prepared to come in where called for, but they also stressed that the resources of the armed forces should not be abused.
The lecture was part of the Think Tank Engagement series of the AFP’s Office for Strategic Studies and Strategy Management (OSSSM).