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Is the country’s national defence policy or national security strategy debated and publicly available?

3a. Scope of involvement


SCORE: 0/100

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3b. Scope of debate



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3c. Public consultations


SCORE: 0/100

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3d. Transparency


SCORE: 0/100

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There is very little debate on defence and security policy in Albania. The main security policy documents are the National Security Strategy, the Military Strategy [1, 2]. In 2015 the Long-Term Plan on the Development of the Armed Forces also was adopted for the first time [3].
The draft documents are prepared by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and the Ministry of Defence (MoD). The drafting process doesn’t entail any formal consultation with the involvement of the public.
The process of the discussion and adoption of the documents in the parliament tends to be very short and therefore does not allow for substantial discussions. The draft documents are presented by the respective ministries in the Committee on National Security (CNS) and tend to be adopted shortly thereafter in the Assembly’s plenary.
The National Security Strategy was presented to the CNS on May 21, 2014, and was adopted after ten days, on May 31, 2014. Similarly, the draft military strategy and long term plan on the development of the armed forces remained in parliament for two and three days respectively.
NGO representatives have been invited to attend the discussion of the national security strategy but more as a showcase because the no modifications were made to the draft proposed by the MFA [4].

The focus of debates varies depending on the document discussed. In the discussions on the national security strategy and military strategy, the debate in the CNS has been on the nature of the threats and the kind of responses needed.
However rather than a proper debate the discussions tend to be general and focus on commending the ministries for the draft presented when articulated by the ruling majority MPs, or criticism that may not entirely be related with the documents when articulated by the opposition MPs [1, 2, 3]. The discussions in the CNS on the Long-Term Plan on the Development of the Armed Forces have been focused on the priorities of the acquisitions and its links with Military Strategy [2, 3]. No amendments have been made to the draft documents following the discussion in the CNS. Overall, the parliament has little or no influence over the content of the documents adopted.

The CNS has a list of NGO representatives and experts who are invited to attend meetings where the policy documents or laws related to security and defence are discussed [1]. However, the speedy nature of the process, as well as the late phase of public involvement, leaves no room for meaningful inputs and discussions from the public stakeholders is integrated into the documents [2]. Most of the CNS meetings are open to the media which reports on the process.

The national security policy and military strategy documents are made available publically in its complete form when the drafts reach the parliament. Usually, documents are uploaded to the parliament’s website one or two weeks before the discussions in the CNS [1].

There are former individuals of the Algerian government, the Deputy Defence Minister and the former Foreign Minister, who have issued statements about security matters. However, no evidence could be found that the government has spoken about defence policies, including measures and strategies it intends to undertake; there is no evidence that there is an active debate about it.

Former President Bouteflika, who was also Defence Minister, had not addressed the country directly since his stroke six years ago (1). In March 2018, Deputy Defence Minister Ahmed Gaïd Salah spoke vaguely about the security doctrine at an international symposium on “The Military Doctrine of the Revolution of November 1954.” In the speech, he said that the doctrine of the ANP is the same as that of the Revolution, namely the determination to be victorious over Algeria’s enemies. The Revolution of November 1954 refers to the beginning of Algeria’s War of Independence against France. According to a newspaper article on the speech, he mostly referred to the success of the armed forces during the war; he did not present a general strategy (2). In other statements, he mentioned that the fight against terrorism is a mission of the country, which will continue (3). He has also saluted successes in the fight against organized crime (4). Former Foreign Minister Abdelkader Messahel has also highlighted Algeria’s efforts in the fight against terrorism (5).

As there is no public debate on defence policy, this indicator has been marked Not Applicable. Statements from the Algerian government on defence and security policy can only be considered superficial. They have mainly focused on major security challenges to the country, i.e. terrorism and organized crime. In this regard, the government usually highlights the country’s historical experience in the fight against terrorism (1), (2). In 2017, the government announced that it had allocated USD 100 million for five Sahel countries (Chad, Mali, Niger, Mauritania, Libya) for the fight against terrorism (3). For example, a debate on national defence spending could not be found. Additionally, the military magazine only broadly and abstractly addresses issues such as defence strategy (4).

No evidence could be found that there is a formal consultation process involving the public. For example, the Open Budget Service scores Algeria 0 out of 100 concerning the opportunity for the public to engage in the budget process, which naturally includes the spending on defence (1). There is also no evidence that the public is included in parliamentary events on defence issues, for example on terrorism (2).

No formal or genuine document on Algeria’s defence policy or national security strategy could be found during the research. The website of the defence ministry does not provide specific information on the national defence policy or security strategy. However, there is some information about the military’s fight against terrorism and organized crime on the website (1). The military publishes a monthly magazine, which has a section “Strategy and Defence” under which authors write in broader terms about this topic (see for example 2 and 3). In the government’s action plan for the implementation of the President’s program, the role of the PNA also is only broadly outlined saying that its mission is, “the securing of the country’s borders, the fight against terrorism, as well as the fight against contraband and cross-border crime.” The document also proclaims that “the Government will support the mobilization of the required means and resources, the professionalization and modernization of the National People’s Army, so that it has the necessary capabilities to safeguard national independence, defend the country’s national sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity, and protect its land, air and maritime space” (4).

More information on the Algerian defence policy can be found in international think tank publications (5) (6) (7). Numerous analysts have examined Algeria’s security and foreign policy, and have mainly focused on the country’s fight against terrorism and its non-intervention policy. Since its independence in 1962, the country has followed the foundational principle of non-interventionism. This is laid out in Art. 29 of the constitution, which states that “Algeria does not resort to war in order to undermine the legitimate sovereignty and the freedom of other peoples. It puts forth its efforts to settle international disputes through peaceful means” (translation of Porter, 6).

Plenary discussions in Parliament on defence policy are limited and selective they mainly focus on state budget issues. Review of legislation and cooperation accords takes place behind closed doors in the specialized 2nd Parliamentary Commission. The presidency has a consultative body on defence and security, the National Security Council (Art. 136 of the constitution) (1). It includes the president, vice-president, president of the National Assembly, chief justices of the Constitutional and Supreme courts, the attorney general, nine cabinet ministers, the chief of staff of the armed forces, the general police commander, and the heads of the external and domestic intelligence agencies as well as the criminal police (1). The discussions are internal and not made public. Nevertheless, there is some degree of discussion in the media (2).

Press releases on meetings of the National Security Council are generally brief, such as the March 9th session (“several matters were discussed”). However, according to private media, the discussions in the same session also included alleged corruption cases involving senior officials of the armed forces (3).

Because there is no public debate over national defence policy, this indicator has been marked Not Applicable.

Discussions in the parliament occasionally focus on major regional security threats, such as terrorism and illegal migration, but commonly deal with the state budget and defence-related legislation.

In 2018, the 2nd Commission was involved in reviewing the package of bills on the armed forces that were passed in July 2018 (1).

On October 20th 2016, the parliament held a debate session on migration and terrorism in Africa, in the presence of the Defence Attachés of South Africa, the Republic of the Congo, Zambia, Namibia, Nigeria and Zimbabwe (2).

Also, on August 30th 2016, Jornal De Angola reported a parliamentary session during which the Minister of Finance clarified to deputies the priorities of the revised General State Budget (3).

There is no record of a formal public consultation process regarding defence and security matters in the last five years. Generally, there is little public information on legislative processes beyond the scheduled parliamentary sessions, and draft bills are rarely published on official channels. Public consultations have taken place about major pieces of legislation, such as the Criminal Code, the media laws or the Constitution, but the processes have not been transparent either (1).

For instance, in July of 2012, one month ahead of the elections Parliament approved a new National Defense Law to replace the 1993 law, as well as laws on the protection of the interior and the preservation of state security. However, the laws appear to have never been published. The bills are not accessible on official websites, and no updates on the process were made public. In its government program for 2017-2022, the MPLA established again as a goal the review of the 1993 National Defence Law (2).

Official information and documents on the defence policy or security strategy are available to the public only in part or abbreviated form. Neither the website of the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Defence or Parliament, contain relevant documents, reports or legislation, apart from news and basic institutional information. Official information is regularly channelled through state-owned media (TPA, RNA, Angop, Jornal de Angola), however often in an abbreviated form and not free from censorship. The official gazette, Diário da República, contains all legislation, decrees and dispatches, but is not accessible online free of charge (1), (2), (3), (4).

The defence policy or security strategy is subject to debate and includes the participation of the media. However, the debate is irregular and does not continue over time. The definition of the Defence Policy corresponds, according to the National Defence Planning Cycle (decree 1729/07), to the proposal of the Ministry of Defence and is signed by the President. [1] In that cycle the debate is not foreseen for its configuration and is the exclusive power of the Executive Power. The analysed cycle corresponds to the DPDN of 2018. Although there is an academic community specialised in security and defence issues, the debate is only transferred to the public through short-term situations. An example of this is the debate that arose as a result of the collapse of the ARA San Juan and the new defence directives. Presidential Decree 683/18, which modifies the regulatory decree of the Defense Law (No. 727/06) and repeals the Organisation and Operation Directive of the Armed Forces ( Decree No. 1691/06), led to a debate around the defence policy that was observed both in the media, [2] in the academic and university circles, [3] in civil society organisations, [4] and also in the legislative field. In the case of the PL, the debate is also reflected in the projects presented aimed at repealing and/or modifying the instructions of the EP. There are, for example, as of May 2019, five projects in the Commission for the Defence of Deputies that aim to repeal Presidential Decree 683/18. Thus, the debate about the creation of the Bicameral Commission resurfaced after the investigative events surrounding the sinking of the ARA San Juan submarine.

The discussion on defence policy is rather restricted and takes place around crucial issues. Although there is an academic community on the subject, it does not generally transcend the mass media, and the debate arises from specific issues that act as the spearhead of the debate, from the budget to the definition of the military strategy. Juan Battaleme (2018) points out that the situation of the sinking of the ARA San Juan submarine generated an awareness, but that it was encapsulated in a specific niche of the forces or people who discuss defence issues. He also adds that although there is a political will to move forward in more specific discussions, its magnitude is so great and the costs are so high that it occupies a marginal priority for the sector. [1] Another security specialist, Rut Diamint, [2] points out that defence is not yet a public policy and this contributes to its limited debate and professionalisation of those with sufficient knowledge in the field. However, the modifications introduced by the Executive Power since 2016 regarding the functions of the Armed Forces have generated debate in the press, civil organisations, academic communities, and also in Congress. The debate was especially poignant in 2018 during the Argentine Council of International Relations’ (CARI) Defence and Security Analysis Day, [3] when the Center for Legal and Social Studies (CELS) published documents which stated “Involving the armed forces in internal security is deprofessionalising them and putting their civil government and human rights at risk,” [4] and at the University of Defence (UNDEF) with its colloquium the “Prospective of National Defence.” [5]

There has been no process of formal consultations on defence policy or on security strategies after those made for the publication of the 2015 White Paper on Defence. In the section of public consultations on the official government website, [1] which serves as a dialogue and debate channel that allows interaction between the government and the community, there is no evidence that there has been any discussion regarding defence issues and security. Although some surveys indicate that insecurity is one of the main concerns of Argentinians, [2] it is not part of the topics submitted for public consultation. In the same way, despite the debate between specialists and the media as a result of the changes introduced by the government in relation to the functions and roles of the Armed Forces (Decree 683 and 703 of 2018), there is no evidence that the issue has been raised for public consultation by civil society.

While there are advances in the regulation regarding the publicity and transparency of State bodies, including the Ministries of Defence and Security, not all documents/information regarding all aspects of defence policy or security strategy are available. The law on access to public information has been in force since September 2017 [1] and constitutes an advance in terms of transparency, creating the Agency for Access to Public Information and Data Protection at the Executive Power level. The law requires, among other things, that all state agencies actively publish information regarding their organisational structure, payroll of authorities and personnel, salary scales, budget by area and programme, list of contracts, internal audit reports, administrative acts, among other obligations (Art. 32 Law 27.275). In this sense, on the official websites of both the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Security there is a specific tab that allows citizens to access information directly or through links to other more specific websites, as well as the option to request information through telephone or e-mail. According to the regime, the information must also comply with the maximum haste, with response required by law within 15 business days. The Agency established by law publishes a survey of the degree of compliance (in percentages) with the so-called active transparency measures. In August 2019 the Ministry of Defence received a 100% rating in all its axes, as did the Ministry of Security, with the exception of the internal audit, which received a 50%. [2] Notwithstanding the foregoing, the documents are not published well enough in advance. Thus, the totality of the information required by law beyond the list on the websites of each one is not yet evident and when requesting access to public information this usually takes longer than established or there is usually an incomplete response, which can be observed in the claims that are registered on the website of the Agency for Access to Public Information, [3] where some claims of non-compliance by the Ministry of Defence or the Armed Forces are published. [4] The Amnesty International Argentina website also publishes requests for public information they have made and the responses obtained from those. [5] It should also be added that while the law establishes the principle of transparency and maximum disclosure, Article 8 establishes exceptions, including information classified as reserved for defence and foreign policy reasons. Although, it clarifies that this does not include the necessary information required to evaluate the definition of security, defence, and foreign policies (Art. 8. to Law 27.275). [6]

The new National Security Strategy has been adopted in July 2020. As part of the development of the new strategy, the Security Council met with representatives of both the legislative and executive branches of government, as well as leaders of political parties (factions “My Step”, “Prosperous Armenia”, “Enlightened Armenia”) including extra-parliamentary ones [1], expert community [2, 3], as well as with civil society representatives [4]. Also, the Ministry of Defense through public relations works with the media and NGOs, responds to a variety of questions, provides clarifications on defense policy directions.

On July 26, 2019, the National Security Secretary held a press conference, stressing the importance of “multifunctional discussions of professional, expert, civil, political and academic community and an open platform for the cooperation in the entire process of drafting the document” [1]. The first session of the Interagency Committee on Development of the National Security Strategy was held chaired by the Security Council Secretary. The secretary announced about the launch of the work on the new NSS. The secretary said, “… we are ready to take the lead in the process … ensuring active involvement of not only public administration bodies but also the public circles in the whole process of drafting the document” [2].
The scope of debate did not include areas of budget, procurement plan and personnel as they are absent in the new strategy.

After April 2016, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the government was under heavy pressure to review and revisit its defence strategy. The allegations of corruption, mismanagement of defence spending and misappropriation of funds have pushed the MoD to become more accountable about its policy. After the appointment of Vigen Sargsyan as new defence minister, the ministry became heavily involved in the discussions aimed to change the public image of the MoD. He served one and a half years and was able to drastically change several practices which though became under heavy attack. Both the National Assembly (NA) and the MoD have been very much into including different public groups in discussing major policies and programs that have public resonance. Thus, depending on the topic and particularly interested by the stakeholders, the MoD organized meetings and discussion with different groups [1, 2, 3, 4]. See also 3A.

The public can access information on proposed law drafts and initiatives through a common portal [1]. This portal allows the public to engage in discussing any drafts and provide feedback on any aspect of public life. Information is also stored on the NA’s website.
National Security Strategy is publicly available. [2]

The major Department of Defence strategy paper is the Defence White Paper, which has been consistently publicly released in successive iterations since 1976 [1]. The debate around the White Paper is wide-ranging, with many actors, including the media, being involved. At the time of writing in October 2019, there are two active debates related to the Defence White Paper and Australian defence strategy. First, there has been a debate around whether the 2016 Defence White Paper should be updated, and what should be prioritised in the next white paper, as the world “changes fundamentally”, going on in think tanks and the media [2-5]. Second, a more recent debate about the strategic implications of a more aggressive China, fuelled by an op-ed written by MP and chair of the Parliamentary Joint Committee for Intelligence and Security Andrew Hastie, has taken shape in the media [6-9]. High-ranking defence officials put their stamp on the debate by publicly airing their own concerns and opinions [10, 11]. Beyond the Defence White Paper, other major elements of defence strategy are widely debated, for example various aspects of the Future Submarines Program [12].

Particularly at the think-tank level, as reported in the media, the debate around defence strategy is wide-ranging. Analysts and the media urge the Government to bring capabilities back to the Australian northern defences from Middle East operations [1]; call for investment in missile and submarine technology to combat emerging threats [2]; and examine capabilities currently being on-boarded sceptically [3]. Indeed, an expert analyst stated that specific and deep debate on broad strategic decisions is widely published with little to no opposition from Government [4].

Formal public consultation on defence strategy takes place through public submissions to parliamentary inquiries on aspects of defence strategy and the formal consultation process surrounding the Defence White Paper, but these are not regular. Submissions from the public to parliamentary inquiries are regular [1], but since Parliament is inconsistent in its engagement with issues of defence strategy and is limited in its ability to actually make change to strategy (see Q2D, Q2E, and Q2F), this is not an effective way for the public to regularly be consulted and make change to strategic issues. The formation process for the Defence White Paper usually includes a formal consultation process through which stakeholders and the public are reached out to and encouraged to share their views, resulting in a synthesis report prepared by an expert panel that provides specific recommendations to defence [2]. However, there are shortcomings of this consultation process. First, this formal consultation process only occurs every few years when the white paper is being written (with the Defence White Paper 2013 forgoing the process entirely [3]) rather than being ongoing [4]. Second, how and to what extent these consultations actually inform the final white paper is unclear [3, p74]. Third, there is a low level of participation in the consultation process: during the Defence White Paper 2016 consultation process, a total of 500 members of the public were present over the 40 meetings scheduled by defence, or around 12-13 people per meeting [5]. Despite the very first recommendation resulting from the Defence White Paper consultation process being that Defence should increase “engagement with the community as a way to deepen public understanding of the modern Defence organisation and how it contributes to Australia’s security,” [6] defence watchers have pointed out that Defence has actually become less transparent, both towards the public and towards oversight institutions [7, 8, 9].

The current Defence White Paper process involves releasing a defence issues paper, which is a discussion paper used to inform expert and public consultation [1], followed by the consultation process, and then the final release of the White Paper. The final Defence White Paper is adopted at the same time that it is publicly released [2], meaning there is no further scope for public scrutiny once the final version has been released. While the Defence White Paper is fully publicly available, nearly all documents that expand on the Defence strategy or update aspects of the strategy between releases of Defence White Papers are classified [3].

There are four major documents on Security and Defence: National Security Concept in 2007 (1), the Military Doctrine in 2010 (2), the Maritime Security Strategy in 2013 (3) and the Strategic Defence Review (SDR) (4). Two documents, the National Security Concept and the Military Doctrine are due to be discussed in parliament (5) but there was not any public (NGO) participation (6). The deputy minister of defence participated in the discussion of the military doctrine in the parliamentary committee (7). On June 9, 2010, a member of the CDSAC, Panah Huseyn said the government was indifferent to Military Doctrine because all the power structures did not participate in the discussion of this document (5). There was only one day for parliamentary discussion, at the end of the day, parliament adopted the Military Doctrine, while some MPs were dissatisfied (5).
The discussions about Maritime Security Strategy and Strategic Defence Review were behind closed doors. There is no information about the discussions on these documents. There were some statements and interviews from government officials about the documents, for example about the Military Doctrine (8, 9) before and after adoption.

There has been no serious discussion of defence policy and strategy in recent years. Discussions that were conducted were very superficial, and important issues were not discussed (1). Issues such as the threats facing the country, the plans for procurement, decisions on the defence budget, the use of defence capability remain unclear to the public. Defence Minister Zakir Hasanov spoke at a recent press conference (2), he talked about the professionalism of the armed forces, the acquisition of new weapons, the preparation of the war and the provision of personnel. Hasanov said the army uses 500 tonnes of meat per month, and that 15 per cent of those serving in the army are conscript soldiers, and the remaining 80 per cent – officers, and contractors (3). Hasanov also said that 60 per cent of the military personnel, more than 50,000 servicemen, are serving in the front line. Up to 21,000 civilians have been recruited to the army. This was the first statistic in recent years, which led to public discussions in the media (4).

There has been no formal consultation process involving the public in the last five years (1, 2).

Besides the Strategic Defence Review, all three documents (National Security Concept, the Military Doctrine and the Maritime Security Strategy) are publically available (1, 2, 3) with comprehensive text after they are adopted. However, the public cannot access documents and regularly updated information on all aspects of the defence policy or security strategy. For example, the text of the Strategic Defence Review (SDR) and the Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) with NATO is not publicly available. According to an interview with a NATO official, “even in case of Georgia and Armenia some parts of IPAP and other bilateral documents are available to the public. It is the decision of NATO’s partner country to release partly, fully or not at all” (4). However, in general, strategic documents are not disclosed for public discussion before they are adopted. Only the drafts of the Military Doctrine and the National Security Concept were made public shortly before their adoption. However, this was too limited for them to be widely discussed (5, 6).

Neither a defence policy or defence strategy is published, nor debated publicly. As sources confirmed through interviews, any details about security and defence are considered confidential and banned from public deliberations [1, 2, 3]. There are no debates on it at different levels of the country, including the executive, the legislature, the juridical or from journalists.

As there are no public deliberations or debate on defence policy/strategy, this indicator has been marked ‘Not Applicable’ [1, 2, 3].

There have not been any formal or informal consultations or debate. Writers and civil society organization (CSO) activists are restricted and unable (through censoring) to discuss defence issues in Bahrain [1, 2, 3, 4].

There are no documents about defence strategy or the defence policies of Bahrain. Interviewees have stated that these policies and strategies (if they exist) are not made public at all for confidentiality reasons [1, 2, 3].

Defence policy has not been debated at all in the last year. However, in September 2019, the PSCMoD endorsed a proposal by the Bangladesh Army to erect fencing around Rohingya camps [1].

Limited public debate on issues of defence takes place on an irregular basis following the passage of the annual budget by Parliament in June every year. These discussions focus on transparency issues regarding defence expenditure. Some retired military officials or leading CSO actors write opinion pieces on this issue in selected newspapers, while a few TV channels organise talkshows. Previously, there has been some public debate on draft defence policy organised in the form of seminars and roundtables, for example back in 2010 and 2012. There has also been some debate on corruption allegations in specific defence purchase cases, such as the MiG-21 purchase or sponsored discussions by some think tanks on whether Bangladesh really needs to buy Chinese submarines, etc. With regard to the substance of discussions, these debates and media reports provide little value in terms of influencing defence policy [1].

In the case of rules or regulations, public consultations are a statutory requirement under the Rules of Business of 1996 [1]. However, there is no such regulatory provision for soliciting public opinion on policy matters, unless the respective Ministry proactively consults public feedback on draft policy. This has not happened during the formulation of defence policy.

The most recent defence policy of 2018 is not available on the websites of the Ministry of Defence or the Bangladesh Military [1,2].

Defence policy is discussed in the Commission of Defence, which can be attended by press representatives. The meeting is also broadcasted online for the public, and its records are published online as well. Academic and policy experts are sometimes invited to present their point of view on a certain topic [1].

Regarding the security strategy, the Minister of Defence provides her/his Strategic Vision after he or she assumes office. During the last two legislatures, this vision was informed by the recommendations of an expert committee consisting of academics, diplomats and senior military staff. Lastly, debates on ‘controversial’ elements of defence policies take place in the media, featuring politicians and experts [2]. While defence policy or security strategy is heavily debated by the executive and the legislature, many are of the opinion that the quality of the public debate proves wanting. This is mainly due to a lack of interest by the broader public and, as a consequence, lack of expertise on military matters [3, 4].

Defence policy is discussed on a number of levels and in a number of formats. Security threats, procurement decisions, the link between threats and decisions on procurement, personnel and budget, and the use of defence capability, are all addressed in the Strategic Vision, which is updated each legislature (5 year cycle) [1].

This document is then discussed in the Commission of Defence before being accepted. As it is the guiding principle for defence policy in the next legislature, individual elements of its content are often topic of discussion in the Parliament. Independently, the Royal Higher Institute for Defence fulfils a think tank role for the Ministry of Defence [2].

In this position, it is responsible for defence and security studies relating to Belgian Defence. Lastly, discussion on the points mentioned above happens in the public sphere, with both politicians and experts [3].

Public consultations happen formallly and informally, on a semi-regular basis. First, the drafting of the Strategic Vision is preceded by debates on defence policy and security strategy. Since 2015, each Minister of Defence has appointed a committee consisting of academic experts, military personnel and public officials to provide an analysis of defence policy and security strategy. Their report of recommendations is published online and serves as inspiration for the drafting of the Strategic Vision [1, 2].

Second, policy and strategy are also debated in Parliament, more specifically in the Commission of Defence. Reports of these meetings are published online [3]. Lastly, academic experts and journalists debate national defence policy and security policy in the public sphere, for example at universities or in the media.

The public can easily access documents, reports and laws on most aspects of the defence policy or security strategy [1, 2]. Information may be redacted to ensure the safety of military personel and the integrity of ongoing processes. However, citizens may always request insight into classified materials based on the Law of Freedom of Information [3]. Information is generally provided in a timely manner, although delays sometimes occur.

Since the last Defence Policy of Bosnia and Herzegovina, was adopted in 2008 by the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, there has not been any debate on the defence policy in recent years [1, 2]. The Presidency adopted a document regulating the security policy in 2008 [3]. Consequently, there also has not been debated on the security policy over recent years.
Although a strategy regulating the fight against organized crime, titled Strategy for Combating Organized Crime in Bosnia and Herzegovina for the period 2017-2020 [4], was adopted by the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2017, there has not been any debate on this issue except the one that was held during the session of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina when the ministers had to vote on this issue. The transcripts from the session of the Council of Ministers are not publicly available.

This indicator has been marked Not Applicable, due to the fact that there is no debate in the country, as outlined in 3A.

Documents that regulate the defence and security policy were adopted by the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2008, and these documents are still in force [1, 2]. Since then, there have not been any kinds of significant consultation in recent years.
Pursuant to Article 10 paragraph C, the Bosnia and Herzegovina Parliamentary Assembly also has the duty to exercise democratic parliamentary control over the armed forces and all defence institutions at the national level of Bosnia and Herzegovina and thus affects the defence policy. Since 2016 the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina have at their disposal the web platform for participation in consultations, but for example, the draft of the Strategy for Combating Organized Crime in Bosnia and Herzegovina for the period 2017-2020 was not put on the web platform [3].

As both aforementioned documents that regulate the defence and security policies are ten years old and even though the platform for the implementation of public consultations was established in 2016, the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina have not had the chance to participate in the process of public consultations with regards to these two documents [1, 2]. The listed strategy on combating the organised crimes was not set up on the e-consultation webpage [1].

Although a defence policy document, the White Book from 2005, is published on the Ministry of Defence’s website, the latest defence document, the Defence Review and Plan of Development (2016) that was adopted by the executive branch, it is not publicly available [1, 2].

The country does not have a Defence Policy or a National Security Strategy that is debated and publicly available [1]. In 2019, a paper by retired Brigadier General Gaseikannwe Peke, said that Bostwana does not have a Defence Policy or a National Security Strategy but instead depends on several directives and other pronouncements by the Executive and other relevant Defence officials [1]. It has further been observed that, in the strict sense of definitions, Botswana does not have a National Security Strategy but rather relies heavily on the legislative instruments in the form of the respective Acts of Parliament about Defence, Public Safety, Justice, Intelligence etc [1]. The Vision 2016 and these legislative instruments have since formed the national core points of entry for any strategic considerations [1]. Of course, these pieces of legislation have been found wanting over time, hence the need for a comprehensive national security strategy became evident in the quest for an effective and accountable security architecture [1].

This indicator is marked ‘Not Applicable’ because, as noted in 3A, Botswana does not have a Defence Policy or National Security Strategy [1]. For over 10 years, Botswana is still in consultation over the enactment of the Defence Policy [1]. In early September 2007, it was agreed that the National Security Strategy Review process would be driven by three stakeholder components viz: The Steering Group (SG) comprising some security department leaders at Permanent Secretary level and chaired by the Minister for Defence Justice and Security (MDJS); The Working Group (WG) of same stakeholder departments and chaired by the Permanent Secretary (MDJS); and The Secretariat (a team of six) drawn from stakeholder officials at the minimum level of Deputy Director and headed by a National Security Strategy Review Coordinator – a Brigadier General from the BDF [1,2].

It follows from 3A and 3B that there have not been any public consultations in the last 5 years. This is because the country does not have a Defence Policy or a National Security Strategy. Internal consultations are the ones that have been reported to be going on. It has been noted that around mid-March 2003 the Defence Council accepted in principle that there should be a Defence Policy Review Commission and that the Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration should motivate a draft Cabinet Memorandum for consideration by Cabinet [1]. It was not until the end of May 2005 (6 months after the general election) that the Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP) circulated a draft cabinet memorandum to that effect [1]. The long period between the motivation in 2003 and plan of action in 2006 could be attributed to the preparations for the 2004 general elections taking priority on the Executive’s calendar. The subsequent new Ministerial appointments post the elections could possibly have slowed down the motivation [1]. It would appear that the Ministry for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration was not adequately resourced in human capital to undertake the defence policy review (no Ministry of Defence then).

This indicator is marked ‘Not Applicable’ because, as noted in 3A, Botswana does not have a Defence Policy or National Security Strategy. As such, no such documents are available to the public in the spirit of transparency [1]. Botswana has committed to Transparency, for this reason, Vision 2036, provides inter alia that, the country commits to improving more transparency in governance [2].

There have been no major institutional modifications on civilian participation in the Brazilian defence policies since the last edition of Transparency International’s Government Defence Integrity Index (published in 2015). As mentioned in Q2, there is little public debate regarding the specificities of Brazilian defence policy and strategy. The debate remains within executive or the legislative committees and, as mentioned, there was no information regarding a public consultation by the Ministry of Defence regarding Brazil’s defence policy documents. The consistency, depth and regularity of the debate within the legislature and executive are dominated by the military as the Ministry of Defence consists mainly of active duty or retired military officials. The legislative commissions do not have enough specialists, despite the frequent meetings and public hearings. There is a vibrant discussion of security and defence in Brazilian academia. There are several defence/strategic studies departments at universities, a large body of dedicated scholars who also provide input to strategies and policy-making. There is a dedicated association the Associação Brasileira de Estudos de Defesa (ABED) whose conferences at least provide a forum for debate between students/academics and the military. There are also some numbers that show progress in terms of civilian involvement in the elaboration and discussion of these documents. Data on the political makeup of the committees that drafted National Defence Policies (NDP), from Amorim Neto’s article, shows increasing but inconsistent civilian participation in these matters: the 1996 NDP elaboration counted with 44% of civilians; the 2005 NDP elaboration counted with 80.9% civilians, and the 2012 White Paper elaboration counted with 66.7% civilians [1]. By civilians, the author means a mix of civil servants, civil society and diplomats. The variation and lack of institutionalization of this civilian participation in the formulation of defence policies during these years is an issue especially with the impeachment that led Michel Temer to the presidency, and with the election of Jair Bolsonaro. Both presidents had/have a tendency of fulfilling government positions with military personnel, both within and outside the defence realm [2]. In this context, calling civilians to debate defence policy seems unlikely, if there are no formal obligations to do so.

The author excludes from its sample the 2008 National Strategy of Defence (NSD 2008) “because it was meant to present the operational instruments of Brazil’s defence policy. Moreover, the NSD 2008 drafting committee was not meant to be inclusive. So NSD 2008 is of a different nature than that of the other three documents, and should thus be set apart” (p. 4, 2019).

The debates are extremely superficial. According to the transcription of the Senate’s voting of the last version of the defence policy documents, no single senator made propositions or observations regarding the matter. The decree was approved in the 1st round of voting, with no debate [1]. Before that, in the Chamber of Deputies, there were three deliberative sessions to discuss the Defence plans. In the first session, the deputies used the time to talk about everything but defence, as the transcription of the session shows [2]. The second session resulted in a little debate about the defence documents. Only four deputies discussed the matter, and one of them criticized the absence of discussions regarding what defence and sovereignty should mean, questioning Brazil’s White Book evaluation of the United Nations Stabilisation Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), among other observations. The topics discussed focused on major defence decisions and deployments, the budget cuts and its probable consequence: the inability of the armed forces to protect the Amazon forest, and also the deployment of the army in public security, which was considered inappropriate. No data was presented, nor were elaborate discourses made. Historically, the two legislative commissions unfairly divide their attention between defence and foreign affairs. However, the rise of Bolsonaro’s militarist view of governing is changing the frequency of how often defence topics are being mentioned in the specialized commissions and the media. No evidence of the prevalence of foreign affairs on the agenda in the list of topics discussed in 2019 by the Senate Commission was found; the website’s search engine was not working properly [3]. The commission from the Chamber of Deputies [4], in turn, presented a high number of audiences regarding national defence projects, which can be explained by the commission’s president, the son of the former military officer and current president Jair Bolsonaro.

Brazilian defence policy documents were revised in 2016 and made public in May of 2017. The Ministry of Defence made a public consultation [1] regarding these revisions from May to September of the same year, through the platform In spite of the attempt at openness, civilian participation in the debates was considerably low. The comments, available on the platform, were limited to sixteen; many of them made by military officials. Not all the comments identified the author, which makes impossible to exactly measure civilian versus military participation.

This type of policy cannot be enacted without legislative approval. The transparency system of the federal legislative branch is quite effective since it shows all the steps of the process of debating an issue: auditions with specialists and government officials are recorded, the transcriptions of plenary debates are made available, and also the modification proposals made by commissions or individual representatives [1, 2]; this related to the debate part of defence policy. Nevertheless, the legal obligation to provude information on defence and security issues is frequently overuled by military secrecy, which results in requests to access documents being refused [3]. Information pertaining to the the deployment and missions of each of the armed forces for instance can be difficult to access.

Generally, the government has rarely engaged in official debates on defence sector policy. The public is reacting to the lack of information regarding defence policy and security strategy. The legislative and executive branches are hardly involved in any debate with the public about defence policy and strategy (1), (2), (3), (5). The BTI 2018 Burkina Faso Country Report points out that “accessing government information remains difficult” (1), (2). Media reports state that the people that the defence sector is supposed to protect have recently violently criticised their defence sector for its strong implication in politics (1), (2), (3). Among these actors are media, civil society organizations, local and international NGOs, universities and related research institutions (1), (2), (3), (4), (5), (6), (7).

BTI (2018) reports “In 2015, the government passed a new anti-corruption law. However, enforcement is weak due to poor access to information… The Information Code grants journalists free access to sources of information, with exceptions for information pertaining to the internal or external security of the state, military secrets, strategic economic interests, ongoing investigations or legal proceedings, and anything that threatens people’s dignity and privacy. In practice, officials use these exceptions frequently, and accessing government information remains difficult’ (2).

Until recently, neither the national defence policy nor the security strategy was discussed in public. However, in the aftermath of the 2014 uprising, public debates over military strategy and policy, are still on-going, These public debates on military policy and strategy have strengthened because of the September 16, 2015, military coup attempt against the transitional government; thousands of people, political parties and CSOs have asked the military to hand over power to the transitional government (1), (2), (3), (4) On several occasions, the military has met with religious and traditional leaders to explain their strategy, policy and interests, These events were debated on media throughout the country and beyond. Unfortunately, most of these debates have not resulted in significant recommendations towards reforming and strengthening policy in the defence sector (5). Debates on the defence institutions significantly increased during the course of 2017 with the hearings of the leader of the September 2015 failed military coup and his allies (5).

Saidou (2017) writes “… according to Jean Pierre Bayala, retired magistrate-colonel, only the option of “States General” can allow a structural reform of the army. The decision to exclude civilians from thinking about the military reflects the reluctance of the military to open the field of defence to civilian control. As Augustin Loada and Mathieu Hilgers point out, in Burkina, “military and security issues appear as taboo areas in public space” (5).

The current national security strategy was adopted in 2010 covering the period 2011 through 2020; it is available online (1). However, given the fact that the country at present has an illiteracy rate of about 80%, and only 3% of the population has access to the internet (2), the real availability of the strategy is difficult to ascertain (2). The government does not release its information to the public easily (4). Usually, it holds press conferences to brief the population on its security policy only when attacks occur. Nevertheless, efforts are being made by civil society organizations (CSOs), national and international NGOs, and the media, which often makes security strategies available (3).

Saidou (2017) says “… according to Jean Pierre Bayala, retired magistrate-colonel, only the option of “States General” can allow a structural reform of the army. The decision to exclude civilians from thinking about the military reflects the reluctance of the military to open the field of defence to civilian control. As Augustin Loada and Mathieu Hilgers point out, in Burkina, “military and security issues appear as taboo areas in public space” (5).

The 2018 BTI Burkina Faso Country Report reveals some criticisms about the government, which does not make information publicly available (1). This inevitably demonstrates a lack of transparency. The law implements penalties whenever someone is found guilty of corruption, but the government has never implemented these penalties fully (2).

Saidou (2017) says “…. according to Jean Pierre Bayala, retired magistrate-colonel, only the option of “States General” can allow a structural reform of the army. The decision to exclude civilians from thinking about the military reflects the reluctance of the military to open the field of defence to civilian control. As Augustin Loada and Mathieu Hilgers point out, in Burkina, “military and security issues appear as taboo areas in public space” (3).

The National Defence Policy and the National Security Strategy are considered to be state secrets, meant only for the top ranking military officials at the strategic level, and are therefore not publicly available and have not been debated at all in the last year [1]. One senior military officer at the Ministry of Defence said the National Defence Strategy is the heart of the country, which is not opened up to everybody. According to him, the National Defence Strategy is taught only in military institutions and at the strategic level [1] [2].

The National Defence Policy and the National Security Strategy are considered to be state secrets, meant only for the top ranking military officials at the strategic level [1]. There is no evidence that they are debated at all. Thus, this indicator has been marked Not Applicable.

The National Defence Policy and the National Security Strategy are considered to be state secrets, meant only for the top ranking military officials at the strategic level [1].

The National Defence Policy and the National Security Strategy are considered to be state secrets, meant only for the top ranking military officials at the strategic level [1].

The latest national strategy was the product of a year-long process of public consultation and roundtables involving experts, stakeholder groups, and opportunities for individuals to comment during the process. This represents an abnormally high degree of engagement and transparency in the policy process for defence in Canada. [1] However, after an initial spate of commentary on the published strategy, discussion died down, and defence became a low priority issue for the public as is more usual. Defence is not expected to be a priority in the pending election. [2] [3]

Discussion around the new national strategy focused primarily on Canada’s role as a middle power, and procurement. There was little discussion of operations, threats, or the viability of long term spending projections despite significant projected increases in spending. [1] [2] The broad scope of public consultation regarding Canada’s 2017 defence stragegy amplified the level of debate in Canada regarding defence policy. However this has not been the norm under previous governments. [3]

While the public consultations for Strong, Secure, Engaged were extensive, they were unusual in Canadian practice, and a response to criticism about lack of transparency for the previous iteration, the Canada First Defence Strategy. [1] There is no formal commitment or requirement to have consultations of that extent in the future. Additionally, there is little reason to believe the final product was substantially informed by consultation, and some instances where it seems clear it was not. [2]

The new defence strategy, Strong, Secure, Engaged (2017) is publicly available. [1] Budget information and disaggregated information about strategy is not publicly available, as such information may be sensitive or classified. Journalists covering defence have frequently decried the lack of transparency of decisions, documents, and overall policy. [2] [3] [4] While the broad strategic document has been released and is easily accessible by the public, detailed information of plans are not always made available prior to decisions being made. However documentation around decision planning (even with little lead time) is generally available.

The scope of participation in the country’s defence policy or security strategy is almost always limited to formal consultation within the legislative process and other instances organised by the Ministry of National Defence (MDN). With one notable exception, the debate on the repealing and replacement of the Reserved Law of Copper, the participation of civil society organisations and the media in the discussion of national security and defence policy has been minimal. The reasons for this are both institutional and political. On the one hand, the strategic planning and policy defence has occurred through organisations and agencies within the system of national defence [1], in charge of the MDN, a senior advisory council, or Estado Mayor Conjunto (EMCO), and the armed forces. While civil society organisations have been invited to participate in thematic seminars organised in Santiago and other regions, the content and conclusions of those instances are not informed. On the other hand, informants claim that strategic or political planning occurs in a culture of closeness and opacity [2]. For instance, Chilean legislation defines the creation of civil society councils in each ministry [3]. In the MDN, the civil society council has only been operative since 2015, and it is composed of representatives of CSOs [4]. The universe of the organisations considered is not well-defined. In the current council, nine of the eleven members are from civil organisations related to the armed and security forces, the remaining two representatives are from the Pentecostal Church and the National Association of Volunteers. Concerning the scope of the public debate in the mass media, the discussion focuses on specific and contingent issues, usually triggered by a political or administrative scandal (e.g., the “Milicogate”). One crucial but exceptional case was the debate on the Reserved Law of Copper. This was a lengthy debate on the financing mechanism of the Armed Forces, which was widely covered by the media [5, 6]. It also deserved the attention of policy experts and advisers from different sides of the political spectrum [7, 8, 9].

While there is a regular discussion of defence issues in the permanent Commission of National Defence in both the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies, not all the topics listed in the question are actively debated. A content analysis of reports submitted by permanent commissions of defence points to discussions on diverse issues, but not systematic engagement in the country’s national defence policy or national security strategy [1, 2]. Except for the debate of a new mechanism for the funding of the strategic capabilities for national defence [3], most of the reports and sessions are concerned with subject issues related to telecommunications, arms control, management of ports, etc. Concerning the national defence policy or national security strategy, the 2010 Organic Law of the MDN [4] broadened the scope of the definition of the national defence policy and planning. It established a “primary” or political plan for the sector. Initial planning specifies the role of the president and the minister of national defence in the strategic and political orientation in matters of defence and security threats [5]. This task involves the formulation of policies, plans, and doctrine through the sub-secretary of defence; the formulation of policies and management of operative and administrative processes through the sub-secretary of the armed forces; and the advice in the deployment of mediums of force through the minister of defence. However, for the most part, this strategic or political planning occurs without broad public involvement, and according to some informants, occurs within a culture of closeness and opacity [6]. Procurement decisions –including investments, operations, and maintenance are debated in the annual Budget of the Public Sector, but only about the amounts of specific items and under time restrictions [7]. Decisions on resources that belonged to the Reversed Law of Copper (Ley 13.196) were not subject to public debate whatsoever.

Based on dispositions in the 2010 Law of Citizen Participation [1], in 2015, the MDN created a Civil Society Council (COSOC) for the defence sector [2]. The COSOC is integrated by members of civil society from non-profit organisations related to the defence and security sector and, in theory, should have voice over policies, plans, programs, and actions informed by the MDN as well as issues of general interest in the area. The COSOC developed working plans with goals for the 2015-17 period, and it is currently in the process of developing a new plan. Sessions are held regularly, and proceedings for each meeting are made public. However, both the composition council and the depth of involvement of their members are matters of concern. On the one hand, there is an over-representation of members of civil organisations directly or indirectly associated with the armed and security forces, which might raise concerns on the representativeness of the plurality of civil society organisations as well as eventual conflicts of interest. On the other, as mechanisms for public involvement and participation, the COSOCs have been criticised for their sporadic work and lack of involvement in issues of relevance [3]. Concerning the defence sector, it is not clear how and the extent to which contributions made by the COSOC have been incorporated in the MDN’s priorities and policies. A similar lack of information is perceived in the work of twelve thematic seminars organised for consultation in the construction of the National Book of Defence [4]. There is no mention of contributions by or participation of members of the COSOC. Finally, the COSOC has not functioned as a watchdog in cases of irregularities; nor has it served to channel the concerns of society in the recent corruption scandals in the defence sector.

Documents and reports on the defence and policy strategy are hardly available to the public for scrutiny and debate. The National Book of Defence [1], which establishes the vision and strategic plans for the sector every two or three years, is published post hoc after key decisions have been made. In budgetary and financial issues, though information on aggregated funds is publicly available through the Direction of Budget (DIPRES) of the Ministry of Finance [2], the details of spending, as well as the criteria for allocation and investment, are not known for the public [3]. Secrecy is maintained in items that belong to the Restricted Law of Copper (Ley 13.196), the content was publicly known only in 2016 [4], and in topics that, broadly speaking, concern “national security” [5]. It is possible to request information through the Law of Access to Public Information [6], as this regulation also applies to the institutions of the armed and security forces. However, at the same time, the law specifies that information can be denied, either totally or partially, when its publicity, communication or knowledge affects the security of the Nation, particularly if it refers to national defence or the maintenance of public order or security (Art. 21). This exception interpreted broadly has been used repeatedly to deny access to sensitive information in the defence and military sector.

There are elements of a public discussion on defence policy taking place in China, but this is rather fragmented and does not involve debate with policy makers, while the scope of criticism is extremely limited. China’s defence policy is publicly discussed in the traditional media involving PLA academics/researchers and retired officers who provide opinions and analyse China’s national defence. [1,2,3,6] State think tanks such as the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR) analyse China’s defence policy and provide recommendations, often published in journals such as the Xiandai Guoji Guanxi. In addition, the Chinese public comments on the country’s national defence in online social network platforms and forums hosted by official media, such as the Strong Nation Forum (强国论坛). However, this discussion does not challenge the main defence policy directions of the CCP, nor does it criticize the Chinese government. The Chinese state has significant capacity for censorship and control of online debates [4] and, especially in recent years, has demonstrated decreasing tolerance of criticism coming from society, including investigative reporting. [5] In this context we can conclude that, although debate takes place, this involves limited and highly scripted interaction between the public and authorities, and narrow scope for criticism.

The scope of the debate on national defence in China focuses mainly on key rivals (USA, Japan), internal threats (Xinjiang separatism and terrorism) and defence spending. However, given that the CCP maintains significant capacity to control the flow of information and silence critics, [1] the debate on these issues does not take the form of open criticism. The only exception is criticism occasionally raised by nationalist circles through the publication of books and articles advocating in favour of a more assertive stance on international affairs and military issues. [2,3]

The concept of “Consultative Authoritarianism” has been used to describe consultation processes within the Chinese regime involving policymakers from different ministries and organisations, as well as those designed to bring limited societal feedback in the policy making process. [1,2,3] This process of consultation is very limited, though, with the Party acting as a gatekeeper controlling the flow and nature of the comments, and does not involve politically sensitive topics, including defence policy and corruption.

The CCP publishes information on defence policy through state controlled media and in White Papers (every 3-4 years). The information available is selective and incomplete. Defence budgets are presented in summary form, defence strategy in broad terms and procurement decisions are loosely justified. [1,2,3]

The defence and security policy in Colombia is defined at the ministerial and sectoral level, based on the dialogue within the Executive. In February 2019, the President of the Republic Iván Duque and the Minister of Defence presented the “Defense and Security Policy for Legality, Entrepreneurship and Equity.” The main objective of this Policy is to address the country’s internal and external threats, and the continuing innovation on the inclusion of biodiversity and natural resources among the axes of strategic transformation. According to the Office of the President, this document was made by the Ministry of Defence, the National Security Counsel, and the Armed Forces. They held dozens of meetings with local authorities, components of the Military and National Police Forces, and civil society organisations. [1] However, there is no information on the social organisations that participated in the construction of the policy, nor on the political stance during their participation in the process. Additional reports found that the space where these talks took place were during the thematic Security Council sessions led by the President, the sessions of the Joint Intelligence Board, and the institutional spaces of the Ministries and state agencies. [2] Finally, this defence and security policy omits any mention of the final Peace Agreement signed by the government and the former FARC-EP (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) members. [3] This ignores some of the security bodies and standards, which were defined after the participation of various social sectors in the negotiation process, and which were based on an understanding of human security with respect to dignity and human rights. Among these are the Comprehensive System of Security Guarantees for the Exercise of Policy (created from Decree Law 895 of 2017); [4] the National Security Guarantees Commission (created as of Decree Law 154 of 2017), [5] which has the participation of representatives of civil society; and the Comprehensive Security and Protection Program for Communities and Organizations in the Territories (created as of Decree 660 of 2018), [6] currently inactive. Given the above, there is insufficient evidence to argue that there has been broad involvement of different actors in the construction of a security and defence policy, even if institutional routes are followed and the policy for general knowledge is published.

The discussion about defence and security policy focuses largely on identifying threats, but it lacks depth in addressing strategies to deal with them. The Document presented by the current government as a defence and security policy lacks technical rigor and precision. Although it proposes a series of objectives and numerous tasks, the content is vague and does not contain the elements of a true public policy. [1] The Defense and Security Policy identifies six lines of policy: a) deterrence and diplomacy for defence and security; b) protection of the population and public safety; c) unified actions; d) substitution of the illicit economy for a licit one; e) institutional strengthening, efficiency, and well-being. It also describes three areas of priority for government intervention: (i) strategic areas for comprehensive intervention, spaces where the state presence is precarious; (ii) legality construction zones, territories where minimal security conditions exist; and (iii) zones of legality, entrepreneurship and equity, where threats come mainly from common crime. [2] However, it omits specifics on the municipalities and regions of the country with these characteristics and in which these lines of policy would operate. It also omits topics such as: a) the integration of women into the security forces; b) budgetary support for the sector; c) the comprehensive reform of the Ministry of Defence; d) the size of troop strength; e) the increase in salaries of soldiers and police officers, and lastly, it does not make clear how issues should be prioritisation in relation to the available budget. [1] Despite this, it should be noted that considerable debate has arisen after the Document’s publication thanks to public interest and academia, civil society organisations, the press, and other media. [3] That is why the effort to adopt a multidimensional approach and the recognition of water, biodiversity, and the environment as necessary protection assets has been highlighted. The return to past administrations’ practices, such as the promotion of civic support networks that emulate the Convivir, precursors of paramilitarism, has been strongly criticized—so has the approach of militarisation of territories that ignores alternatives to community security based on respect for human rights. [4] The insistence on securitisation has justified “the adoption of extraordinary policies that distance their management from normal democratic channels,” constituting one of the greatest risks in terms of corruption by the Armed Forces and the Police. [5] Given the above, in Colombia the discussion on defence and security policy focuses mainly on the threats of illegal actors in the territories.

Citizen consultation processes are promoted through a variety of different areas of participation, such as through formal mechanisms like the Citizen Oversight Committees established by Law 850 of 2003. [1] This legislation ensures that community organisations exercise control and surveillance over public or administrative management, but does not specify action in the field of defence and security. The Citizens’ Security and Cohabitation Councils (Decree 1284 of 2017), [2] is an interinstitutional coordination body between territorial political-administrative authorities, which allows for civil society participation and open thematic sessions with the territorial actors, emphasizing cooperation and information sharing to dismantle organised crime. [3] Such legislation does not then require public and security entities to link or define the elements of the participation of citizens. On the other hand, there are the bodies and standards developed in the field of security, defined in the Peace Agreement signed between the Government of Colombia and the former FARC-EP, which clearly establish instances of citizen participation, such as the Comprehensive System of Security Guarantees for the Exercise of Policy (created from Decree Law 895 of 2017); [4] the National Security Guarantees Commission (created as of Decree Law 154 of 2017), [5] which has the participation of representatives of civil society; and the Comprehensive Security and Protection Program for Communities and Organizations in the Territories (created from Decree 660 of 2018), [6] which is currently inactive. Therefore, although there are instances of participation, many of these spaces are inactive or their conclusions are not included within the defence and security policy.

The adoption of the Transparency Act in 2014 achieved a major shift towards greater publicity and access to information corresponding to the accounts, decisions, and budgets of public entities, including those in the defence sector. [1] Between 2014 and 2018, there was a transformation of virtual platforms and greater accessibility for the public to official documents. According to the Transparency Index, for 2015-2016 the Ministry of Defence was ranked 9 of 77 entities nationally, placing it at a moderate level of risk. The visibility factor for public information had a rating of 73.3; institutionality scored 73.4; and finally the control and sanction factor had a score of 88.7. [2] In relation to budget information, expenditures, and public purchases, the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit has a tool called the “economic transparency portal” that reports information on all income, expenses, and contracts of the Nation and therefore of the Ministry of Defence. [3] There is also a larger publication of information related to the procurement and tendering process of the Ministry, via the ‘Colombia Buys Efficiently’ (Colombia Compra Eficiente) portal, which allows greater access to public information. In view of the above, it can be said that the defence sector has made significant progress in the processes of transparency of information. However, there are still shortcomings related to the updating of some documents, delayed publication of some reports, and the difficulty in accessing classified information. [4]

Members of the executive may relay issues of national security to other branches of government and the public about recurrent military uprisings or counter-terrorism initiatives in the aftermath of the attack in Grand Bassam in March 2016. But there is little evidence that defence policy issues are forwarded by default to the NA for public debates. This is a narrow scope of institutional involvement. There is also no procedure in place for such information to be systematically released to the media to engage civil society in dialogue by way of interviews, op-eds or articles. As per the Bertelsmann Transformation Index (BTI 2018), access to defence policy issues remain largely muted and the NA appears ineffective as an oversight mechanism (1). According to the BTI 2018, “the many years of political instability and territorial division have made access to balanced information very difficult. Although the situation has changed since 2011, opposition media remain subject to threats and pressures from the government, especially during electoral campaigns…The most recent parliamentary elections (December 2016) reestablished a fully legitimate parliament, but the meager representation of the opposition reduced the possibility that parliament will become an effective institution of governmental oversight within the current legislative term (2016-2021)” (1).

As per the Accountability metrics of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPA) report on the NA, the president is the exclusive bearer of executive power and is the head of the civil service. The President’s accountability to parliament is ranked as a ‘No’ and the quality of government reporting to parliament is ranked as a ‘Not applicable’. Finally, the NA monitors national defence policy only when the finance bill is being examined (2).
With the adoption of the Military Planning Act (Loi de Programmation Militaire), part of a reform program through 2020, the MoD has signalled that improved planning of defence and national security issues will strengthen the country’s defence establishment. The vice president of Côte d’Ivoire, quoted by the government website, characterized the Military Planning Act in the following terms in July 2018:

“On 20 July 2018, Ivorian Vice-President Daniel Kablan Duncan indicated that the Military Planning Act enshrines the strengthening of the governance of defense and security tools. “This important law establishes the objective of strengthening the governance of our defense and security tools through a stronger planning and programming action, as requested by the President of the Republic, Alassane Ouattara, the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces” (3).

The Military Planning Act also foresees a rebranding of the armed forces. According to the MoD website, this is not only an attempt to turn the page on the post-electoral crisis of 2010-2011; but also a way to make the communications about defence policy more fluid (4). According to the MoD website, “in this respect, the Minister of Defense of Côte d’Ivoire wishes to move toward a more adapted communication strategy which will focus mainly on the “improved knowledge of defense policy” and the “reinforcement of the links between the armed forces and the nation,” a continuation of the revamping and professionalization of the Defense forces by developing a more modern image of the Armed Forces…” (4).

Because there is no public debate on defence policy, this indicator has been marked Not Applicable.

The NA has been neutralized by years of political instability, a post-electoral crisis (2010-2011) verging on civil-war and the excessive concentration of power in the executive branch. There is little evidence that the NA discusses defence and security policy issues in-depth, that it participates in procurement decisions or that it significantly contributes to defence expenditure decisions. The accountability metrics of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPA) on Côte d’Ivoire’s NA describe the president as the exclusive bearer of executive power. The president’s accountability to parliament is ranked as a ‘No’ and the quality of government reporting to parliament is ranked as a ‘Not applicable’. In Côte d’Ivoire, the NA controls national defence policy only when the state budget law is being examined (1). According to the Bertelsmann Transformation Index (BTI 2018), despite the parliamentary elections of December 2016, the strongest effective check on the executive are the members of the security apparatus with de facto veto power on executive decisions (2). According to BTI 2018, “The most recent parliamentary elections (December 2016) reestablished a fully legitimate parliament, but the meager representation of the opposition reduced the possibility that parliament will become an effective institution of governmental oversight within the current legislative term (2016-2021). The elections could thus not reverse the structural annihilation of parliamentary oversight, a situation initially justified by the emergency situation in which the Ivorian state found itself in the post-2002 period…The strongest effective check on government likely remains the extra-constitutional veto players in the security apparatus. The judiciary can only insufficiently balance the hegemony of the executive.”

There is no evidence that formal public consultations on defence take place or that such consultations lead to findings that are later incorporated by the NA. According to sources, this lack of public consultations can be attributed to the excessive concentration of power in the executive and to the fact that the NA only debates defence or security policy during sessions dedicated to the State Budget Law (Loi de Finances). As in sub-indicator 3A, the 2018 country report of the Bertelsmann Transformation Index (BTI 2018) states that public access to defence policy issues remains largely muted and that the NA is ineffective as an oversight mechanism because of years of political instability that have stymied the public consultation process (1).

“The many years of political instability and territorial division have made access to balanced information very difficult. Although the situation has changed since 2011, opposition media remain subject to threats and pressures from the government, especially during electoral campaigns. The most recent parliamentary elections (December 2016) reestablished a fully legitimate parliament, but the meager representation of the opposition reduced the possibility that parliament will become an effective institution of governmental
oversight within the current legislative term (2016-2021)” (1).

The public access to policy documents and information on defence or security strategy does not take place in practice. Hence, there is no evidence of public scrutiny of defence policy issues. Public access to information is enshrined in Article 18 of the 2016 Constitution. However, it is difficult to access. Article 18 states “citizens have the right to information and access to public documents under the conditions established by the law” (1).
According to the 2018 country report by Freedom House, the indicator for ‘Does the government operate with openness and transparency?” is ranked with a 1 out of 4. “Access to up-to-date information from government ministries is difficult for ordinary citizens to acquire, although some ministries do publish information online. In 2013, the National Assembly passed an access to information law, but enforcement has been inconsistent” (2). As with the sub-indicators above, the 2018 country report of the Bertelsmann Transformation Index (BTI 2018) states that public access to defence policy issues remains largely muted. “The many years of political instability and territorial division have made access to balanced information very difficult. Although the situation has changed since 2011, opposition media remain subject to threats and pressures from the government, especially during electoral campaigns….” (3). Information and documents on the defence policy or security strategy are available to the public only in part or abbreviated form. For instance, some information is available in the official newspaper which costs approximately USD 10. Also, information about security sector reform is available online (4), (5), (6).

There is evidence that ministers and policymakers participate in the public debate specifically about defence policy and security strategy: for instance, the incumbent Defence Minister has written an op-ed in a Danish newspaper in August 2019 [1] and in September 2019 the Defence Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs co-authored an op-ed in a national daily paper [2]. Further, ministers and policymakers participate in public debates and seminars arranged by civil society, the media and academia. For instance, the Minister of Foreign Affairs participated in a public debate on the direction of Danish foreign policy at the University of Copenhagen in February 2020 [3]. Public debate about the defence policy and security strategy is extensive during periods where these are negotiated, and it takes place in a variety of venues and platforms [4, 5, 6]. See Q3B for further elaboration.

The defence policy, as laid out in the “Defence Agreement”, is reached by political agreement. As such, all parameters of the defence policy are subject to parliamentary discussions. The decision to adopt the “Supplemental Agreement for the Danish Defence 2018-2023” [1] indicates that the defence and security policy is regularly debated and reviewed in parliament. Note that it is the prerogative of the incumbent government to formulate and conduct the country’s foreign policy. As such, the national foreign and security strategy is not necessarily subject to parliamentary debate, but it is formulated by the government [2]. Discussions on the defence policy (as expressed in the Defence Agreement) is, as noted, extensive in the periods when this is negotiated, published and implemented [3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9]. Collectively, the different op-eds, seminars, conferences, interviews etc. amount to an in-depth treatment of issues spanning from articulation of threat to procurement, personnel and budgets. Participants in these debates span from members of parliament, ministers, armed officers, service chiefs, civil servants, researchers, experts, and journalists to private individuals.

The Defence Committee conducts public hearings on issues relevant to the defence policy, but not specifically on the Defence Agreement. However, these hearings are not regular nor many. From 2017-2020, the Defence Committee conducted four open hearings [1]. The Foreign Policy Committee (“Udenrigsudvalget”) also conducts hearings on issues relevant to the state of foreign and security affairs, however not directly on security strategy. The Foreign Policy Committee held six such hearings (of which two were cancelled) between 2017-2020 [2]. Interviewees have indicated that expert input is incorporated into or actively used in the development of defence policy [3, 4].

The Danish white paper on foreign and security policy (formulated by the incumbent government) and the Defence Agreement are avaible online along with different resumes, information pages and illustrations [1, 2, 3]. Commission and (some) consultancy reports are also easily accessible [4]. The activities of the Defence Committee are also available online, including a wealth of information in the form of detailed documents of the Committee’s treatment of motions and bills, opportunities to stream recordings of open hearings, questions posed to the minister (including the Minister’s reply), etc. [5]. Background material on the Committee’s treatment of motions and questions is also available. It is possible for the public to follow a very detailed trail of motions being treated in the Committee. It is unknown how fast this information is made available online, however indications from the Parliaments’ online archive indicate that this information is updated on a daily basis. Defence Agreements are made available instantly. As a public institution, The Ministry of Defence is required by law to inform the public of its work and activities [6]. According to the Ministry’s guidelines, all information on the website is updated once a year, and further on an ad hoc basis according to the character of the information [7].

According to our sources, there is no debate within the executive with a focus on defence policy. Any security or defence operation/strategy is not put forward for discussion (1), (2), (3). There is no discussion within the executive to harmonize the defence policy with other state policies (e.g. foreign policy). Even though Art. 4 of Law no. 21 (2014) states that the military policy document should be in harmony with other “specialized policies” (4). Although this implies that individuals within the executive might be speaking about the policy, there is virtually very little to no public debate or discussion, and the little debate that occurs would put those involved at immense risk if they adopt even a slightly critical approach (5).

According to sources, there is very limited debate from journalists and academics about defence strategic operations (such as the one in Sinai)(1). However, most of these debates are supportive of the military (2), (3), (4). Independent debate in Egypt about defence policy is not tolerated. If someone attempts to start a debate, like Egypt’s former chief auditor Hisham Geneina, they are very quickly silenced or prosecuted (5).

According to our sources, there has not been any kind of public consultation with regards to the defence sector in the last five years (1), (2), (3). There are no requirements within the relevant laws that call for defence or national security policies or strategies to be subject to a formal process of public consultation.

It is prohibited by law to publish documents on defence policy or security strategy. Law no. 14 (1967) prohibits the publishing or broadcasting of any information or news about the armed forces and its formations, movement, armaments and personnel, and everything related to the military and strategic aspects except after obtaining a written approval from the director of the military intelligence department (1), (2), (3), (4).

In accordance with the Peacetime National Defence Act, [1] the government approves a ten-year National Defence Development Plan, after having heard the opinion of the National Defence Committee of the Riigikogu. Therefore, some debate has to take place by law. [2] This development plan is the pillar of Estonia’s long-term defence policy. [3] Besides this, the government approves the Defence Strategy at the proposal of the Minister of Defence. [2]
The National Defence Committee regularly involves experts and executives in the discussions about Estonia’s defence policy and strategy, as indicated by the interviewee, a member of the National Defence Committee. [4]
Based on interviews with different experts (media and civil society), the media usually covers the publishing of the National Defence Development Plan, and broadly discusses different aspects of it such as the press releases of the Ministry of Defence or other defence-related institutions, some success stories of local military-related enterprises, and formal statements of the high-ranking military both in Estonia and NATO. According to some accounts, there is no broad and well-argued debate about either the defence policy or the national security strategy in Estonia. Argued and balanced debates on security are very rare. Moreover, with some exceptions, the strategy is rarely criticised and/or scrutinised by the civil society and the public, due to the unanimity in the overall directions of defence policy amongst the Estonian society. The latter has been pointed out by several expert interviewees. [5,6,11]
The parliament has made little effort to include the public and the media in the debates on defence strategies. One of the most recent debates on defence issues organised by the Parliament took place back in February 2016. [7] Some debates have also been organised by an NGO, the Estonian Atlantic Treaty Association. For example, before the recent “National Security Concept 2017” was approved by the Parliament in 2017, [8] it was only very briefly discussed publicly at the Riigikogu [9] and the public was very briefly informed about the new version of the strategy document only in the final phase [10]. The same applies to the National Defence Development Plan 2017-2026 [12].

The debate revolves mostly around security threats and defence spending. The security threats stemming from Russia are widely discussed both in the public as well as amongst members of the legislature and the executive. It is one of the most widely discussed topics due to Estonia’s geopolitical situation. It became even more apparent during the annexation of Crimea in 2014 – how to avoid security threats in the transatlantic security framework (lately with the clear focus on the decisions of the Trump administration) and increasing country’s readiness to resist Russia’s potential attacks at all possible levels. [1] During this period of time, Estonian online news outlets published daily about security threats. [2] The second most spoken topic is Estonia’s national defence budget [4], referred to as one of “the next best performers in terms of meeting the GDP target” amongst NATO member states. [3] The level of defence spending is highly politicized, which may produce additional risk of corruption. [5] Critical voices are rare, however.
Moreover, procurement decisions remain a less covered topic. If they are covered, then it is in a one-sided way, with very little criticism involved.
The media monitors bigger procurements, but the debate only involves a few institutions and experts. The media also covers the links between the threats and decisions and the operations, as pointed out by an interviewee, a media and defence expert. [6]
Overall, actual thorough debate is limited to a few experts and institutions, and not the public. Overall, the debate is one-sided and lacks critical notes as well as in-depth analyses.

A systematic and regular consultation process does not exist in Estonia in the defence sector. Regular Riigikogu sessions (not just on defence topics) – involving both experts and members of the Riigikogu – are publicly accessible both live on television as well as through transcripts on the Riigikogu’s website (and later published on the Riigikogu’s Youtube channel). [2] The Riigikogu also approves the basis of the security policy as stated by the Foreign Relations Act. [1] The more detailed and thorough National Defence Development Plan is assessed during the National Defence Committee’s meetings that include views from different fields. These meetings, however, are generally private, unless the committee decides to make them public in case of high public interest, in accordance with the Riigikogu Rules of Procedure and Internal Rules Act. This rarely happens.
There is some information available to the public that could be incorporated in public discussions, but in reality, large regular public consultations on security and defence issues do not take place. [3] Some press briefings are done after relevant documents have already been published, as indicated by an interviewee, a media and defence expert. [4] However, in most parliamentary and governmental discussions, even if they are made publicly available, the public is not included and remains passive. There is no systematic or regular way to include the public and the media in the consultations on defence policy or security strategy. The only institution that focuses on involving the public is the Estonian Atlantic Treaty Association (EATA), but this is an NGO set up to introduce the activities and goals of NATO. [5]

The relevant government institutions have the obligation to review relevant documents concerning defence strategy and submit their proposals to the National Defence Committee before the documents are published. [1] The laws are ratified by the President two weeks after they are published in the Riigi Teataja. However, in accordance with the National Defence Act, [2] a development plan that contains state secrets does not have to be submitted to the Riigikogu for discussion. Before submitting the development plan to the Government for approval, the Prime Minister hears the opinion of the National Defence Committee of the Riigikogu.
Defence policy documents are typically made publicly available after their ratification (the development plans, strategies and the basis of the defence policy), but the public documents are mostly summaries of the original documents. [3] For example, the strategic and military part of the national defence development plan for 2017-2026 (including basic information, current situation, regulations, results of the audit on the implementation of the previous development plan, and new development activities) is not available to the public at all. [4] This has been justified using the argument that it is classified information. [5] This makes the wider public discussion limited and it is generally not clear what the scope of the publicly available material is. Hence a major problem is the lack of comprehensive public debate on security and defence issues. A high level of securitisation in society means that the debate focuses mostly on threats, taking a populist or dogmatic view, and the details of credible defence-planning can be hidden.

The Government’s Defence Report is publicly available on the website of the Ministry of Defence. [1] In Finland, defence policy is part of the comprehensive security framework (alongside the Government Report on Finnish Foreign and Security Policy, the Internal Security Strategy and a number of more specific strategies such as the national counter-terrorism strategy, the national CRBN strategy, the national cybersecurity strategy, and so forth) defined in the Security Strategy for Society, which is available on the website of the Security Committee. [2]

Ministers, Parliament Representatives, representatives of the Defence Forces (with the authority discuss matters in public), as well as representatives of the Ministry of Defence (with the authority to discuss matters in public), Researchers, Security Analysts, CSOs, and so forth participate in the discussion on television, printed press, radio, online platforms and in public seminars, roundtables, panel discussions and so forth. Discussion is even more free on social media (twitter, facebook, and so on) so that, for example, the employees of the Defence Forces can share their views even if they do not have the official speaker’s status.

Security Strategy for Society defines the core societal functions to be safeguarded in all security situations and arrangements for so doing. The body coordinating comprehensive security is the Security Committee, which operates independently, even if is administratively located under the Ministry of Defence. The Security Committee assists the Finnish Government and ministries in comprehensive security matters. The operations and responsibilities of the Security Committee are legislated in the decree of the Finnish Government on the Security Committee (77/2013). [3]

Discussion on security threats is ongoing, but becomes clearer when any of the national strategies (the Security Strategy for Society, the Government’s Defence Report, Internal Security Strategy, or any security related sub-strategy) are discussed in the Parliament, or when there are important national or international events. Similarly, discussion on defence spending is explicit when the State budget is discussed in the Parliament, when something takes place in relation to, for example, the ongoing crisis management operations or major procurement projects.

The interconnection between threats and finances is discussed in media, and CSOs and laymen keep questioning decisions made around defence spending – both asking for more and requesting for less. Currently, the discussion focuses both in media and social media on two major procurement projects: HX-project to replace Hornet-18 jet fighters, and Squadron 2020-project to replace seven Navy vessels.

The Ministry of Defence has put up a special website for sharing information about the projects.[1] Topics include: conscription, the renewed method of fighting, the structural reorganisation of the Defence Forces (carried out between 2012 and 2015), defensive excercises (either national or multi-national), participation in crisis management, and lately the use of drones raise public discussion alike. [2]

No formal public consultation on defence policy has taken place, but a public consultation on Security Strategy for Society occured in 2017. In addition, a number of expert consultations takes place in different stages of the preparation process of national security strategies and policies. For example, when the Parliamentary Defence Committee scrutinised the Government’s Defence Report in 2017, it heard a number of experts both within and outside the defence establishment [1]. Similarly, when the Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee, Administration Committee and Finance Committee gave their statements on the matter, they heard a number of experts of which some were the same as the experts heard in other Committees [2].

When the cross-administration committee lead by the Ministry of Defence prepared the report, it also heard a number of experts [3]. Since June 2014 public consultations have been carried out through an online statement service administered by the Ministry of Justice ( The goal is that all public consultations with public administration will be carried out on the online service and include statements requested from authorities, CSOs, private citizens, and other stakeholders alike. [4]

When searching with the keyword “defence”, nine consultations between 2017 and 2021 were found regarding particular acts and decrees, working group memos, and treaty ratification. When searching with the keyword “security”, 46 consultations between 2016 and 2021 were found, including the 2017 consultation on Security Strategy for Society, but also weighing legislation (all actions of authorities need to be based on law). [5] Security Stategy for Society is the prime national security document in Finland, supplemented by other strategies, documents and programmes – including the ones on national defence which have not so far been subjected to public consultation, for example, through the online service.

The documents are publicly available, but often only after being published or when submitted as Government proposals to the Parliament. Sometimes, even if the strategies themselves are public, the detailed implementation programmes are not – or there are public and non-public versions of the documents. On the basis of the freedom of information act, however, anyone can request further information on defence and security related matters from the Ministries, coordination bodies, the Defence Forces, and so forth.

The country’s defence policy is mostly debated by the Parliament on two specific occasions in the parliamentary agenda: the yearly Finance law vote (including voting on the army budget) and the Military Programming Law (LPM) vote every 6 years. During the review of the LPM 2019-2025, 480 amendments (including 473 by MPs and 7 by the government) were tabled in the Commission, 349 in the session. [1]
In addition to this, the launch or renewal of external operations (OPEX), a surge in involvement, or a military setback, are one-off occasions for parliamentarian debate about the defence policy. These moments are also when the media and public tend to show interest in defence matters (given that the general level of interest of the French public towards defence questions is rather low). [2] Most prominent newspapers employ a journalist specialised in defence issues, and host a blog specifically addressing defence matters, which tends to amplify the lack of knowledge and interest of the public, as defence matters are perceived as complex and stored away from the “general information” headlines. [3]

Although the parliament, the media and the public do sometimes debate about defence policy, the executive does not participate.
Apart from the weekly “questions to the government”, when any MP can ask questions of the minister of Defence or any other minister, the executive is not involved in debates about the defence policy. It takes defence decisions on its own. For instance, the executive can decide to launch OPEX without consulting Parliament, and only has to inform Parliament of the move up to three days after the start of the operation. The government must explain the objective of the operation, but in the form and to the extent it wishes to. Although a debate can be held at the Assembly, this debate can never lead to a vote about the decision to engage troops. When the operation exceeds four months, the Parliament has to authorise its prolongation. If it does, then the authorisation is valid with no time limit, and no other vote is ever needed to extend the operation. [4]

Also, it is notable that, though MPs can question the Defence minister during the weekly “questions to the government”, the “Secret-défense” can be used to block them any time the scope of questioning nears operations, strategy, arms deals, etc.

Discussion of the defence policy or security strategy focuses primarily on major threats (potential and existing), through the publication of a “White Paper” (“Livre Blanc sur la Défense et la Sécurité Nationale”) that lays out the strategic orientation of the National Defence Policy. The latest “White Paper” was published in 2013 at the request of President Hollande. [1] There is also evidence of parliamentary debate in the drafting of the Strategic Defence and National Security Review, which articulates the security threats that the country is facing. [2] Discussion of the defence policy or security strategy also deals with the level of defence spending (the Finance law once a year and LPM vote every 6 years). [3] Procurement decisions or information about operations and defence capability aren’t publicly debated, as they are most of the time covered by the “Secret-défense”. [4]

No record of public consultations was found in the last five years. Defence is not a field in which the executive is open to external input, as an expert from IRIS research institute explains: [1] “Public debates on defence appear to have a less sustained pace, intensity and degree of technicality in France than those taking place, for example, in the United Kingdom, a Member State of the European Union with the closest characteristics to France in terms of defence (international ambitions, nuclear power, defence tool, etc.). The broad consensus that exists on most of the major defence issues between the main French political groups, which leads to a certain “depoliticisation” of defence issues in the absence of marked and frequent contradictory debates, certainly explains this gap.”
The ministry of Defence and Parliament share some of their work with the public: the White Paper [2] as well as Defence laws like the LPM [3] are available to the public to read online. Questions to the government are broadcast live on public television, debates at the Parliament and inside the National defence and armed forces commission of the National Assembly (CDNFA) are available on the streaming and catch-up video website of the National Assembly. [4] Debates held within the CDNFA are mostly open to the press, [5] but can be held in during a closed hearing, when dealing with sensitive matters such as the intelligence services, OPEX, procurement, or arms exports. [6]
However, this is a one-way interaction. No channels for providing input for the defence policy or security strategy from the citizens to the executive, nor any record of consultations with representatives of civil society were found.

The White Paper [1] as well as Defence laws like the LPM [2] are available for the public to read online. Questions to the government are broadcast live on public television, and debates at the Parliament and inside the CDNFA are available on the streaming and catch-up video website of the National Assembly. [3] Debates held within the CDNFA are mostly open to the press, [4] but can be held during a closed hearing, when dealing with sensitive matters such as the intelligence services, OPEX, procurement, or arms exports. [5]
Detailed information about operations, procurement and arms exports can often be placed under the very broad and vague “Secret Défense” label: according to article 413-9 of the Penal Code, it concerns all “processes, objects, documents, information, computer networks, computerised data or files whose disclosure or access is likely to be prejudicial to national defense or could lead to the discovery of a national defence secret”. [6] [7]
Information classified “secret-défense” are not available to the public or the press.
Four MPs and four senate members have a “secret-défense” clearance. They together constitute the parliamentary Delegation on Intelligence (DPR), which can access classified documents, information and places. The presidents of the Defence and of the Laws commissions of the National Assembly and the Senate are ex-officio members. Its work is covered by the secrecy requirement of national defence. Each year, it draws up a public report summarising its activities. [8]
Members of Parliament in commissions, whether permanent or special, can ask the Consultative Commission of the Secrecy of National Defence (CCSDN) to declassify “Secret-Défense” documents within the framework of an “investigative mission”. [9] But the CCSDN has 5 members, 3 of which are directly appointed by the President, confirming once more the imbalance of powers between the executive and the legislative where defence matters are concerned.

Germany has two main policy documents: a) the ‘White Paper on Security Policy and the Future of the Bundeswehr’ of 2016, which provides an overview of the geostrategic position of the country and its allies and outlines conclusions for the capability development of the Bundeswehr [1]. It is at the top of the hierarchy of basic security policy documents, followed by the more specific b) Defence Policy Guidelines 2011 (Verteidigungspolitische Richtlinien) [2].

The 2016 White Paper on Security Policy and the Future of the Bundeswehr presents possibilities for making government action in the field of security and defence policy transparent, both nationally and internationally. It is publicly available [1]. This policy document sets out the security guidelines for the coming years and also helps to promote public debate on security policy. The challenges for German security policy are prominently outlined in the chapter on Germany’s security environment. From this, the Bundeswehr’s strategic priorities, security policy fields and mission and tasks are derived. The strategic framework for the capability-oriented structure of the fields of procurement and armaments, as well as financing and personnel, is also outlined. The Bundeswehr Concept (KdB), which is also publicly accessible, concretizes and determines the long-term principles of Germany’s military defence, derived from the 2016 White Paper [3]. Taking into account current political guidelines, it defines the principles of how the Bundeswehr is oriented towards the future, both conceptually and in terms of planning, and how it is continuously being modernised. The defence policy and security strategy are debated by the executive, legislature and the public.

The public debate involves the media, however, debates are inconsistent and not sustained over time. While some specialist organisations, such as the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP) [4] and Informationsstelle Militarisierung (IMI) [5], consistently debate and address defence policy, their audience is not as broad as traditional media outlets, which cover these issues with much less regularity. Moreover, while the publication of both the White Paper on Security Policy and the Future of the Bundeswehr and the Defence Policy Guidelines often lead to a lively public debate, it is problematic that they are both published irregularly. The White Paper was published five times in the 1970s and twice in the 1980s, but since then has only been renewed three times, in 1994, 2006 and 2016. The Defence Policy Guidelines, which in contrast to the Weissbuch are only meant to be published every 10 to 15 years, have been published five times since 1972, most recently in 2003 and 2011. The most recent Defence Policy Guidelines acknowledged that the political situation needs to be reviewed more often, and it is expected that new guidelines will be published more frequently than before. However, no plans have been released for a new update, and it is unlikely that the BMVg will itself commit to an updated schedule for new guidelines.

There are in-depth public discussions that address all of the following issues: a) a clear articulation of the security threats that the country is facing, b) procurement decisions (five-year plan) and the level of defence spending, c) the link between threats and decisions on procurement, personnel and budget, and d) use of defence capability (operations). There are several documents available online, such as the ‘Strategy Paper of the Federal Government on Strengthening the Defence Industry in Germany’ [1] and a description and explanation of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) [2].

Furthermore, there is the ‘Richtlinie der Bundesregierung zur Korruptionsprävention in der Bundesverwaltung (Federal Government Directive Concerning the Prevention of Corruption in the Federal Administration)’, published in 2004 and coordinated by the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community [3], as well as the first National Action Plan for the Open Government Partnership 2017-2019 (OGP), which addresses transparency (strengthening open government and open data), financial transparency within the framework of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), transparency in development policy and the strengthening of citizen participation [4]. An independent review of the latter’s implementation is currently underway. The body responsible for coordinating Germany’s activities as regards its participation in the OGP is the Federal Chancellory.

There is also the Koalitionsvertrag (coalition treaty) (2018-2021), which addresses some issues relating to transparency/anti-corruption: open government, open data, citizen participation (‘Beteiliungsplatform’) and the simplification of procurement legislation. CSOs have complained that a lobbying registry, which was initially planned, has been omitted from the final treaty and that plans to reform the Access to Information Law and comprehensive whistleblower protection have not been included [5]. However, the population is often accused of a ‘friendly disinterest’ in the Bundeswehr. At the same time, there is no public debate regarding the military role that Germany should play internationally [6,7].

The White Paper on Security Policy and the Future of the Bundeswehr was published in 2016 and presents possibilities for making government action in the field of security and defence policy transparent, both nationally and internationally. It is publicly available [1]. There are regular formal public consultations on defence policy and the security strategy. However, these consultations are not advertised well and there is no information about the regularity. The defence policy and the security strategy seem to incorporate the resulting findings. For example, governmental institutions engage and communicate with academia [2] and civil society organisations [3]. Furthermore, ‘in order to improve the transparency, modernisation and optimisation of the Bundeswehr’s procurement projects, the Ministry of Defence and the BDSV Federal Association of the German Security and Defence Industry agreed at the end of 2014 to meet regularly for top-level and specialist discussions. Since then, issues such as contracting, project management in procurement, operational readiness, sustainability and innovation have been discussed in various expert panels. Concrete recommendations have been developed for modern, optimised and transparent processes in the field of defence, for example, a common risk management policy, which should help the Bundeswehr and the defence industry to plan time frames and budgets for large projects more reliably than before’ [4].

However, the German population is often accused of a ‘friendly disinterest’ in the Bundeswehr. At the same time, there is no public debate regarding the military role Germany that should play internationally [5,6]. Furthermore, the process of participating in the White Paper was rated very differently and this does not seem to be an ongoing practice.

Overall, there is a strong focus on transparency and the majority of these documents are publicly available and widely discussed – with the exception of the Defence Committee’s closed sessions. However, not all documents are publicly available. Key documents relating to force planning, procurement and operations are not publicly accessible due to confidentiality. Nevertheless, the public can access documents and regularly updated information on various aspects of the defence policy and security strategy. However, documents are not released with adequate lead time before decisions are made (see 3C). There is a lot of information available and many meetings take place on a regular basis between the state’s institutions, private companies, civil society organisations and academia [1,2,3]. Moreover, ‘the Federal Ministry of Defence (BMVg) provides information on the current state of development and procurement of equipment and material in the “Report of the Federal Ministry of Defence on Armaments Matters”, which has been published every six months since March 2015 and whose open part is also published on the Internet. In addition, the BMVg publishes the “Report of the Commissioner for Competition and SMEs” on an annual basis, which contains figures and statistics on the contracts awarded in the previous year’ [4].

Especially during the last few years, one of the reasons for the lively debate on defence policy has been the relatively quick changes of command in the Ministry of Defence: the current Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer is the fifth Minister of Defence in the last five years [5]. On the one hand, this has led to a great deal of discussion about the overall strategic alignment of the Bundeswehr. On the other hand, it may end up delaying the process of reviewing the Defence Policy Guidelines.

Ghana’s defence policy and security strategy are not publicly available (4). There is a purported defence policy, but it is treated as a secret document and neither publicly debated or available, even to mid-level military officers (1), (2), (3). Some policy objectives are indicated in the Ministry of Defence’s National Medium Term Development Policy Framework (NMTDPF) (5) and in the Ministry of National Security’s Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) (6), which are published by the Ministry of Finance. However, these objectives are vaguely defined and do not include a clear definition of the security threats that the country is facing.

There is no evidence of public debates in parliament and within the general public with regards to Ghana’s defence and security strategy. The debate is limited within the National Security Council (composed by President, Vice-President, Ministers for Foreign Affairs, Defence, Interior, Finance, and top officials of the defence and security community) which provides the overall coordination of the national security policy (7). With particular reference to the activities of the Intelligence Agencies, the National Security Minister should submit an annual report to the parliament. However, issues of compliance have been raised (8).

Since there is no debate on defence policy, the indicator is scored Not Applicable.

There is no formal consultation process on defence policy or strategy (1), (2), (3).

There is reportedly a defence policy, but it is treated as a secret document, and it is not publicly debated or available to mid-level military officers (1), (2), (3).

There is a growing interest in defence and security issues due to the challenging security environment [1]. Ministers of Defence, Foreign Affairs, and Citizen Protection have sometimes debated aspects of defence and security policies [2]. There is no in-depth dialogue with the media, although individuals within the executive and legislature speak about defence policy (e.g. via TV news programmes, radio programmes and newspapers interviews). The 2015 White Paper is rarely discussed since the media focuses on contemporary developments. There is not much public interest in future defence policy.

The discussion of defence policy has focused on external threats (e.g. Turkish claims to the Aegean Sea) and the level of defence spending at a time of financial hardship [1, 2, 3]. Nevertheless, there is growing interest in national defence capabilities (e.g. the use of air power) and the professionalisation of the armed forces (e.g. recruiting and national defence industry).

There is a limited consultation process involving the Greek public through the website There is occasionally public consultation on draft legislative proposals covering defence and security [1, 2]. No public contributions were included in the drafting of the 2014 White Paper. There is no evidence of more active engagement beyond the website.

Only a few documents on defence and security are available to the public. The last version of The White Paper on Defence was published in 2014. There has been a culture of secrecy at least since the end of the Second World War. Two key documents remain classified: the Policy on National Defence and the National Military Strategy. As a result, there is very little transparency regarding defence policy.

The most recent National Security Strategy (NSS) of Hungary was adopted in 2012, a newer strategy has not been adopted. In 2012 there was no significant public debate on the strategy, only occasional commentaries were made [1]. Most of the drafting took place behind closed doors. Regarding defence policy in general, relevant decisions of the government are occasionally debated by some opposition MPs and independent media, but substantive, comprehensive debate is missing [2]. According to sources of the reviewer, the government has no intention of allowing a public debate.

Only superficial discussions take place publicly [1, 2]. The gradually increasing governmental control over the media in Hungary plays a key role in this [2]. There are fewer and fewer fora left, where debates can take place at all.

The few consultations that have taken place recently were all government-funded, both the mechanisms themselves and the actors involved. Counting and processing results of the consultations have been non-transparent, as there are no independent actors involved in the oversight [1]. Regarding defence in the wider sense, there was one consultation in May 2015 about terrorism and immigration, and another from October-December 2017, on the alleged “Soros Plan” [2] (an imagined plan of George Soros about flooding Europe with illegal migrants from the Middle East and Africa).

Except for the strategies themselves [1], most documents related to defence and security policy are not released to the public at all [2, 3]. This is mostly due to a modification of the Law on the Hungarian Defence Forces that took place in 2011 [4], it stipulates that “data on the organization structures, functioning, military equipment and materiel” are to be classified for thirty years. Strategies themselves are accepted by the parliament and available online [1].

India has displayed a preference for strategic restraint since Independence in 1947. The country adopted a policy of Non-Alignment during Jawaharlal Nehru’s tenure as Prime Minister and continues to be a member of the Non-ALigned Movement (NAM) [1]. India adopted a No First Use policy for Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) and believes nuclear weapons are for deterrence purposes alone [2].

Besides the above, India does not appear to have a well-defined defence policy or a unified national security strategy that is publicly available. Instead, there are some individual documents pertaining to a particular aspect of security such as the 2015 Indian Maritime Security Strategy publication [3][4].

Historically, the lack of strategic culture can find its roots in Indian political leaderships’ discomfort with the military as an institution for fear of it gaining too much power. As a result, India has struggled to truly articulate its core strategic and defence vision beyond defence indigenisation [5].

The current Ministry of Defence (MoD) website makes no mention of a defence policy but does have a defence production policy which is available to view and download [6]. The closest semblance to a defence policy in recent times is the 2017 Joint Armed Forces Doctrine [7]. According to a statement by the Ministry of Defence, “The Joint Doctrine Indian Armed Forces will serve as a cornerstone document for application of Military Power in a synergized manner leading to enhanced efficiency, optimum utilization of resources and financial savings. It will also establish a broad framework of concepts and principles to understand our approach to Joint Planning and conduct of operations across all the domains of conflict i.e. land, air, sea, space and cyber-space. In addition, the Doctrine will also serve as a reference document for all the three Services to plan integrated operations.”
The Doctrine mentions a National Security Strategy and outlines it in a paragraph [8]. According to the Doctrine, “Direction in the Civil-Military Relationship in any democracy is strictly the right of the political leadership and not bureaucracy.” The Doctrine recognises the need to strengthen civil-military relations.

There is some active debate by the Executive through a number of forums Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), Strategic Policy Group (SPG), National Security Council (NSC) and Monday Morning Meeting of Defence Minister. The legislature has number of Committees that including Standing Committee on Defence (SCoD) and External Affairs. The Commitee on External Affairs, for example, submitted a comprehensive reports on India-Pakistan relations and Doklam conflict with China [9][10].

As there is no well-defined defence policy or strategy, the scope of informal public debate centers on major threats, defence procurement and defence spending [1]. Debates in Parliament are mentioned in the Press. National media outlets such as CNN-News18, Times Now, NDTV and Republic discuss defence issues through live panel discussions, encouraging members of the public to watch/listen/comment/share [2][3][4][5].

India has no formal consultation process involving the general public. The MoD has engaged in consultations with the Indian defence industry regarding procurement and acquisition but this is not set in policy [1][2]. Indigenous content determination and procedures for “Buy and Make (Indian)” were based on recommendations from industry after consultations [3][4].

As there is no well-defined defence policy or strategy, there is not a lot of information outlining these areas. This does not seem to be due to a lack of transparency but more due to a lack of defined strategic vision [1]. Documents that are available publicly are the 2017 Joint Armed Forces Doctrine and the India Stands Strong 2018 Defence Ebook [2][3]. The latter is easily discoverable on the MoD website and is a well-designed and informative document pertaining to a variety of defence topics. Unlike other major powers, no unified document exists which details the strategic environment, MoD’s objectives and India’s strategic objectives [4].

According to Law No. 3/2002 concerning National Defence, the President established a General Policy on National Defence as a reference for planning, organising and supervising the national defence system. The General Policy on National Defence was established to form the basis for the Minister of Defence in establishing policies regarding the implementation of national defence and for the heads of ministries/institutions in setting policies according to their respective duties, functions and authorities related to defence. The policy for implementing national defence is determined by the Minister of Defence through a Minister of Defence Decree on National Defence Policy. Throughout the process of formulating national defence policies, starting with the General Policy on National Defence stipulated by the President and ending with its derivative, in the form of a national defence policy established by the Minister of Defence, there is a relatively high level of public involvement. This is especially possible due to the growing epistemic community of defence specialists with technical and policy-oriented post-democratisation expertise. Freedom of the press and the emergence of civil society groups have also boosted public participation in the formulation of defence policy. As well as formal forums such as parliamentary hearings or focus group discussions and seminars at the Ministry of Defence and the TNI Headquarters, public participation can also be observed in the contributions of experts in newspaper opinion columns or publications on academic channels, such as scientific journals [1,2]. Public academic input on defence policy has also been provided in discussion forums and academic seminars [3]. In 2015, the Ministry of Defence held a National Coordination Meeting on national defence. The normative objective of the meeting was to synchronise perceptions and build cross-sectoral commitment in the implementation of national defence. A number of stakeholders attended the meeting, including leaders of the defence industry and defence experts [4].

At least in the last two decades since democratisation, public discussions about the national defence policy system have covered quite a wide range of topics. Initially, public discussions navigated the dynamics of democratisation and security sector reform, focussing more on issues surrounding civil-military relations and the political role of the TNI [1,2]. Then, as democracy became consolidated and military professionalism developed, public discussion began to target more technical issues, ranging from reformulating perceptions of security threats [3], to defence diplomacy [4,5] and military operations [6,7], to cyber warfare [8]. A similar trend could also be observed in meetings between the government (Ministry of Defence and TNI) and Commission I. Compared to the period before the reformation, the awareness and understanding of defence issues among legislative members is relatively deeper. During the 2016-2018 period, working meetings between the government and Commission I began to focus on a number of more technocratic defence issues, including the matter of fulfilling the Minimum Essential Force and the development of the domestic defence industry [9,10].

In carrying out its duties in the fields of legislation, budgeting and supervision, the DPR RI’s Commission I can hold a Public Hearing Meeting (Rapat Dengar Pendapat Umum/RDPU), where input is provided by representatives of community organisations, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), the private sector, experts and academics. During the 2016-2018 period, Commission I organised a number of RDPUs, attended by experts and academics, to discuss several issues related to defence policy [1]. Within the Ministry of Defence, internal discussion forums are held in the form of regular focus group discussions. Experts and academics are invited to these focus groups to discuss relevant issues [2]. However, there is no strict schedule for these sorts of communication channels and they are typically held as closed-door meetings. In addition, the National Resilience Institute (Lembaga Ketahanan Nasional/Lemhannas) also regularly holds seminars, including on defence issues, for its students, who generally consist of national-level head officials, both civil and military [3]. Formally, the results of discussions at Lemhannas are usually submitted to the President, however it is unclear what the actual process is for integrating inputs beyond this. More academic public discussion events are also routinely held by the University of Defence, which is functionally under the auspices of the Ministry of Defence. Overall, despite the various forums for public consultation, it remains unclear if the actual policy and strategy incorporate the findings.

Law No. 14/2008 concerning Openness of Public Information stipulates that every public agency, in this case the Ministry of Defence, must grant requests for access to public information except for exempt information. One exempt form of information is public information that, if opened and made accessible, could endanger national defence and security [1]. As a derivative of Law No. 14/2008 and Government Regulation No. 61/2010 concerning the Implementation of Law No. 14/2008 concerning Openness of Public Information, the Minister of Defence issued Minister of Defence Decree No. 2/2015 concerning Management of Information and Documentation within the Ministry of Defence [2]. The rules stipulate the forms of information that are exempt in the Ministry of Defence, including information that could endanger the country, information relating to the technical specifications of defence equipment or the security of equipment, facilities and/or infrastructure for national defence, information relating to strategies, doctrines, operations, tactics, techniques, defence plans or strategies as well as information relating to military cooperation with other countries that is agreed to be confidential or highly confidential and finally, information relating to the interests of business protection from unfair competition in procurement within the Ministry of Defence. In practice, using these rules as a legal basis, the Minister of Defence has established an extensive list of exempt information within the Ministry of Defence. This list includes information such as the National Defence Doctrine, National Defence Strategy, National Defence Posture, policies relating to the handling of military threats and the rearrangement of defence territories, the Budget Needs Plan, Design and Evaluation of Strategic Plan Implementation, as well as details of the Ministry of Defence and the TNI budget allocation plans (including accountancy) [3]. In other words, although officially stating their commitment to the disclosure of public information, most information about defence policies and strategies is defined as exempt information, which limits public access to it.

Individuals within the executive and the legislative speak about the defence policy or security strategy, but there is little debate or discussion [1, 2]. Defence policy and security strategy are usually explained by military officials [3].

Discussion of defence policy and security strategy focuses on major threats, which are, according to Iranian officials, US “adventurism”, Israel, Saudi Arabia, terrorists, tackling armed insurgents, drug traffickers and hostile opposition groups operating inside and outside the country [1, 2]. Discussion also focuses on the defence budget in terms of comparing it to other countries budgets in the region and on the global stage [3, 4, 5]. However, the discussion is rather superficial, in that many of the officials tend to agree with one another that these threats exist and that the defence budget should be increased. There is little questioning or critique of these defence policies.

There is no formal consultation process on defence issues in place. A consultation like that is unheard of in Iran. For example, during the 2018 January protests against the government, which affected many cities and towns in Iran, protesters protested against Iran’s intervention in other countries in the region stating “No Gaza, No Lebanon, I will give my life for Iran” some shouted, as well as “Leave Syria [or Palestine] alone, do something for us!” [1]. These slogans refer to Iran’s security and defence orientated involvement in the region. Although, these were not the only slogans shouted by the protestors; the protests were multifaceted in nature; the government initially responded by dismissing the protests and cutting off internet access to stop the spread of the protests [2]. The chants of the protests have had no impact on Iran’s security-based regional policy [3].

No defence policy or strategy document has been released since the unveiling of the Civil Defence National Strategy Document in 2014, as was reported in the last assessment [1].

In previous years, Iraq’s NSS developed in coordination with the UNDP-I, was widely discussed and praised as invaluable to wider NSS reforms in the country. Iraq’s Council of Ministers approved the NSS in March 2016. Evidence of parliamentary discussions concerning this framework was not found due to non-disclosure [SN] of sensitive matters of national security. NSS identifies an exhaustive list of national concerns such as administrative crimes, mismanagement and a system that overrides the common good of the nation by facilitating political party interests (1), (2). A former UNDP advisor familiar with Iraq’s NSS raises important questions about the practicalities of implementing such a strategy. As he argues, “this requires the Government of Iraq (GoI) to adopt a coherent “whole of government” organisational process that aligns ministerial planning” connected to both the capital and provincial power centres (1). An extensive review of local and international coverage offers no evidence to support involvement on the part of the state, leading watchdogs and ministries. Debates are selective in scope about defence policies and affairs. Television outlets stand out as the most consistent platform where defence discussions are happening. Whether the government relies on the existing NSS as a point of reference when planning defence strategy could not be corroborated but looking back at the country’s preceding NSS (2010 – 2015) (3)a mandate is under formulation but implementation remains questionable.
It is perhaps of relevance to reference growing attempts from religious actors and the wider clerical establishment (Marjaiyya) to seek influence in politics and state affairs, which have included critical matters of security and defence, through religious means (4).

Reaching a full and accurate understanding of the scope of debates committee members are engaged in is improbable, as the only available evidence is that published on official state platforms often commending the efforts of the committee. References to the NSS are almost impossible to find. However, parliamentary minutes, at least those made public, offer a clear articulation of security threats but as of late, discussions have focused on matters of interest to the PMF, gains and sacrifices on the battlefield, the presence of mercenaries (1), (2), (3), and greatly involve National Security Advisor Faleh Fayyadh (4). Evidence of suggests that his alliance with Iran has proven powerful enough to override the independence of Iraqi courts, which may also influence debates at the national security level little evidence of this being used to shape and attenuate defence policy exists. The robustness of these discussions has been questioned by parliamentarians that cite long and unnecessary adjournments in the second legislative chapter (5), bureaucratic disarray and parliamentary fragmentation as recurring problems.

Evidence of wide-spanning and inclusive discussions can be found concerning the country’s preceding security strategy 2010 – 2015 (1), and the security strategy before that, ‘Iraq First’ (2007 – 2010) is available online (2). The latest strategy (2) ratified by the council of ministers in 2016 (3) has generated very little discussion online, limited to a small circle of figures who appear to have had a direct hand in architecting the NSS (3), (4). One source describes Iraq’s latest policy as “a starting point for the shaping of the peace that is expected to follow the defeat of IS” which also hinges on wider plans, formulated in partnership with the UNDP, to reform Iraq’s Security Sector. As a UNDP report underscores nationwide surveys were conducted jointly with the Iraqi Central Statistical Office and UN agencies and a participatory approach driving the formulation of the NSS (5), (6).
However, existing coverage reveals little evidence of public consultations with government defence figures, concerning defence and security strategies. Academics, whose recommendations and views are widely cited in relevant articles online, are offered a space to debate and advise on defence matters and policies which is not afforded to the public. Western academic institutions, have in large part helped to foster academic rigour. While this is necessary for the formulation of policies, is not a measure of interaction between the Iraqi state and the public. Orchestrated leaks from defence and security institutions serve to inform the public, but full clarity on the existing implementation of the NSS is lacking. Furthermore, there is no evidence that consultations are held with various security actors, let alone public actors could be found. Recently, the Green Zone was partially (7) opened for public visitations but in the past has been stormed by protesters as a symbol of corruption which seats the elite (8) but the move as was more accurately described by a U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad as “a temporary, let’s-see-how-it-goes situation” (8). As one researcher explained to TI, “Iraqi officials are protected by the Green Zone, which citizens cannot enter” (9)m arguing that urban segregation further denies citizens the chance to engage with officials on national security matters.

Through largely limited press reports and governmental publications, transparency on defence developments exist; however, with regards to the NSS, these efforts have done little to boost transparency. Defence and security documents which the public has access to are often leaked, as a military expert interviewed for the assessment confirmed, this type of information is ‘protected’ by a non-disclosure provision but is not the only factor to explain the absence of transparency and clarity over the NSS or relevant mechanisms. As he explained, “the failure stems from a number of factors; the absence of a clearly defined approach to the implementation of the NSS, interpretative judgments by political rivals, external meddling, publication bias and the policy of non-disclosure” (1). Further evidence of this, as MPs including Kazem al Sayadi, has hit out at the central government for its weak ability to manage internal affairs and ensure the security of all its citizens (2). Even in light of existing discussions over the country’s national security strategy, no institutional framework has been presented nor active steps that reflect state commitment towards instituting an official defence policy. Official announcements are often unscheduled, further evidence of the absence of official transparency requirements. For example, Iraq’s various security and intelligence agencies, each one publishes statements that have at times conflicted with the positions or announcements made by other security actors.

There are here and there some debates about the security strategy between the executive and legislative which the public can follow in the media (1). In August 2015, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) published its first formal defense doctrine which outlines the military’s strategic and operational responses to the main threats facing Israel (2). It is publicly available and was translated to Hebrew, so that a wider audience has access to it. The 62-pages “IDF Strategy” document presents the “changes the IDF needs to undergo in light of the future challenges and changes in the characteristics of the enemy, such as reinforcing and improving the effectiveness of ground maneuvers, diversifying operational capabilities in campaigns between wars, strengthening the cyber dimension, and preserving intelligence, aerial, and naval superiority. As to the use of the force, the strategy is based on unchanging principles — deterrence, early warning, defense, defeating the enemy, and victory.” (2) Furthermore, the approach sets out the command and control doctrine for combat with the aim of enabling the effective use of the IDF’s capabilities in the entire war theater. Israel’s National Security Strategy is also debated in public (3) and information is available, however, very superficial, although the main intentions are to interact with the Israeli public and inform it about the goals of the national defence policy (4). The document provides details related to the IDF’s abilities to handle and respond to various threats on the many different terrains of Israel’s borders, its multitude of enemies, and to shut down any criticism rambling in the Israeli public and political sector as far as the amount of money allocated to security and defence. Still, it has not become an annual habit of the IDF to release such a document.
Tthe Israeli media and Israeli academia frequently debate and discuss issues regarding the country’s national security. Articles, op-eds, public debates, academic  seminars and other forums are used for discussion of the security threats, operations and public spending on the security needs (5) (6).

There is wide ranging discussion of the defence policy or security strategy focuses primarily on major threats (potential and existing), and level of defence spending (1). Owing to the significance of the issue of the military and defence in Israel, discussions of these matters can be found in academia and large media publications. (2) (3) (4) However, according to civil society representatives, these discussion have little scope to influence defence decisions and often occur largely after major decisions and activities have been conducted (5). Information released by defence authorities is often generalised, without deep discussions and do not provide comprehensive insights due to security reasons. (6)

There are some formal public consultations with various experts from the entire political spectrum, many of whom are retired military or diplomats, on defence policy or the security strategy. These meetings also take place in an informal and unofficial settings due to security issues. Yet the defence policy or the security strategy fails to incorporate findings and in the end the final decision is taken by the Prime Minister, who in most of the cases only include a few people (1). The Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) sometimes provides some documents, e.g. policy papers, that describe and discuss the country’s national security strategy or rather the general guidelines (2).

Information and documents on the defence policy or security strategy are available to the public only in part or abbreviated form (1) (2). The publicly available defence strategy for instance, is the condensed “unclassified version” of the overall IDF strategy formulated as part of the IDF’s multi-year plans (1) (2) (3). Some strategically significant documents on the defence policy or security strategy are not released to the public at all due to the security situation. Security is a very sensitive and highly secret issue in Israel due to the “protection of the country and its citizens” (4). Some research institutes, such as the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), release analysis and guidelines on the strategy, however they do not seem to be regularly updated or go into extensive detail (5).
Finally, the Israeli Freedom of Information Act applies to the Ministry of defense and the IDF and information that is not published can be requested (6). However, owing to strict classification rules, the likelihood of strategically significant information being released under the Act is low.

Issues related to defence policy and security strategies are debated publicly and in different formats. It mainly occurs through interviews [1], articles on newspapers and web magazines [2], or through specialized media [3]. Information available to the wider public ranges from industrial considerations of the defence apparatus (via armament export policy, though national budgetary issues and decisions of the Minister of Defence) to aspects related to the personnel deployed in missions on the Italian territory and abroad.

According to the source consulted, discussion can reach an in-depth analysis. In this regards, the Istituto Affari Internazionali, a Rome-based think tank, produces research, briefs, and documents related to the Italian defence and security policies, as well as to the international organisations of which Italy is a member [1]. Additional specialised information can be found on specialised webzines [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]. Inside the parliament, discussion can be very detailed on several aspects of the defence policy [7] [8]. The available information includes a clear articulation of the security threats the country is facing, yearly procurement decisions and level of defence spending, Italy’s involvement in operations abroad (including information on capabilities and personnel deployed), and links between threats and decisions on personnel and budget.

Since there is no 5-year plan on procurement decisions and level of defence spending, discussions rarely cover pluriannual plans going over the 3-year period.

Public consultations do not occur regularly. During the preparation process of the 2015 White Paper on Defence, there was a public consultation process that was taken into account, as underlined by the document itself [1]. Nonetheless, public consultation by invitation has been carried out by the Senate. This kind of consultations concur in the formulation of opinion of the committees [2].

A more recent public consultation was related to the biannual plan on the review of regulations’ impact for the period 2019-2020 [3], however, there is no public evidence that consultations have been incorporated yet.

On the websites of various ministries – Defence, Foreign Affairs, Economic Development and Economy – as well as on those of the parliamentary standing committees [1] and of the Supreme Defence Council [2], it is possible to access updated and complete information on their meetings. Moreover, it is possible to access the relative documents and, when available, to see the streaming of the meetings on WebTv. The information available covers all aspects of defence policy and strategy, but documents are not always released with adequate lead time before decisions are made. For example, on operations abroad, the public is informed on the agreed decisions [3].

The executive contributes to debate on defence policy by making policy documents accessible, such as the National Security Strategy (adopted in 2013), the National defence Program Guidelines FY 2019- and the Medium Term Defence Program FY2019-FY2023. [1] The annual defence white paper is also easy to access. [2] Q & A from interviews with the Minister of Defence are regularly posted on the homepages of the MoD (for example, six times in July 2019). [3] Legislative debate on security policy primarily takes place in the committees that deal with defence issues and in connection with questions to the Minister of Defence. [4] The NDPG FY 2019- and MTDP FY 2019-FY2023 were each reviewed in two meetings by the Security Committee (HoR) and the Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee (HoC) (see Q2). The topic of the NDPG was also raised in questions to the ministers in the HoR in October 2018. [5] Civil society organisations such as Genron [6] and the Sasakawa Peace Foundation [7] do assess the defence policies of political parties and hold public lectures at times when issues are prominent, such as at election times. However, as assessments by Genron of the party manifestos at three recent general elections to the Diet show, public debate between political parties on defence policy or security strategy is not conducted consistently over time. The manifestos of several of the 8 main parties that competed in the 2016 Upper House election [8] and several of the 7 main parties that competed in the 2017 Lower House election [9] contained comprehensive arguments and reasonable justifications for priorities in defence policy. However, the manifestos of the 7 main parties that competed in the 2019 Upper House election were largely lists of slogans without comprehensive arguments, and economic and social welfare policy was more hotly debated than defence policy on that occasion. [6] Examples of debate on the NDPG FY 2019 can also be found in newspapers such as Asahi Shimbun [10] and Sankei Shimbun. [11] A few individuals contribute to debate on defence issues through the medium of blogs. Two examples are a Diet member [12] and a journalist who specialises in defence issues. [13]

While a few topics of general interest are debated during election campaigns, some topics are mostly discussed by decision makers and experts. Content analysis by the civil society organisation Genron of the election manifestos of the main parties competing in three recent general elections showed that North Korea’s policy was seen as an actual or potential threat by four of the eight main parties in the 2016 Upper House and all the seven main parties in the 2017 Lower House election. Chinese policy was viewed as an actual or potential threat by four parties in 2016, but only by the LDP in 2017. Few procurement decisions were raised, with missile defence being mentioned in one manifesto in 2016 and four in 2017. [1] [2] The Medium Term Defence Program (MTDP), which is a 5-year procurement plan, was mentioned once in 2017, by the LDP. The MTDP for FY 2019-2013 was not discussed by the media until they were informed of parts of it approximately one month before it was made public. When the content of the program was known it was discussed in press articles. [3] A few of the political parties surveyed by Genron touched on the link between threats and decisions on procurement. [4]

Diet committees can arrange public consultations on defence policy or the security strategy. They can hold public hearings at the national and local level to hear the opinions of experts and public speakers and use them as input in the deliberation of the budget and important legislation. A public hearing must be held before the vote on the budget for a new fiscal year. However, the content of budget proposals or bills are hardly ever revised to incorporate the opinions of public speakers. [1] Article 51 of the Diet Law deals with public hearings held by Diet committees. [2] No public hearing was held by the standing committees dealing with security and defence in recent years, but one was held by the Special Committee on Legislation for the Peace and Security of Japan and the International Community on July 13, 2015. [3] At this public hearing, five public speakers gave expert opinion on the introduction of legislation to allow collective self-defence. Within the timeframe of this GDI, there were public speakers on defence and security policy at the public hearings of the Budget committee twice. [4] The NDPG describes the Government’s defence policy and security strategy, and the MTDP describes the procurement plans that follow. Diet committees are seldom asked to provide input on these documents while they are being drafted. The Security Committee of the HoR and the Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee of the HoC receive explanation from the government on these documents, however. When these documents were discussed by the Security Committee on November 29, 2018, the month before the cabinet adopted them, committee members asked questions based on their background knowledge of the situation in Japan’s international surroundings and policy speeches held by ministers at the commencement of the Diet session, but without referring to any draft of the documents. At the meeting, the Minister of Defence and the Minister of Foreign Affairs said that the content of these documents would not be made public before they were finalised. [5] In the Diet session following the Cabinet’s adoption of a new NDPG and MTDP on December 18, 2018, the Security Committee met 11 times between March 5 and June 26. Several ministers, vice-ministers and parliamentary vice-ministers were present at these meetings. At the meetings, government representatives answered questions from the committee members. No requests were made by the committee members. [6]

Important government documents on Japan’s defence policy are publicly available and easily accessible. This is the case for the government documents listed in the answer to Q3A, such as the National Security Strategy (adopted in 2013), the National defence Program Guidelines FY 2019- and the Medium Term Defence Program FY2019-FY2023. [1] The annual defence white paper is also easy to access. [2] Q&A from interviews with the Minister of Defence are regularly posted on the homepages of the MoD. [3] A search of the major news media Asahi Shimbun [4] and Yomiuri Shimbun [5] did not reveal that the final version of the National Defence Program Guidelines FY 2019- had been made public before the day that they were approved by the Cabinet (December 18, 2018), or that the government explained the main contents of the new guidelines before that.

Defence and security strategies are not generally publicly debated, particularly those relating to the armed forces or the security agencies. Executives sometimes speak about defence policy/security strategies to the media, and in public statements, yet they do so superficially and without providing the public with in-depth information. A closer look into public debates shows that the Parliament is involved in some public debates related to the police and cyber-security [1]. However, very limited aspects of defence and security under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Interior, such as the Public Security Directorate including the police, have been publicly discussed in past years. The only example that is worth mentioning is the involvement of the Parliament in decisions regarding the minimum educational requirements for a Police Officer to be promoted to a second lieutenant [2]. Research into parliamentary news, local newspapers, and reports, show that there is no evidence of public debates taking place around defence/security strategies, except for some superficial decisions. Due to the lack of an effective Ministry of Defence, parliamentary questions around defence do not receive responses in Parliament. Civil society organisations rarely discuss security or defence strategy. According to sources, defence strategy in all aspects is not available, and cannot be debated in public as it is considered secret [3,4].

This sub-indicator has been marked Not Applicable because formal public debate around defence is non-existent [1,2].

There is no formal consultation process around defence and security in Jordan [1,2].

Some information around defence is available to the public, such as that of the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology on Cyber Security [1]. There are some media and/or press commentaries on national security, however, these are superficial and mostly discuss national security in relation to Jordan’s geopolitical context or to the struggle against terrorism, rather than actual defence strategies [2, 3]. There are many limitations regarding discussions and information related to the armed forces, due to the existence of laws that make such discussions illegal and punishable, such as the 1971 Protection of State Secrets and Classified Documents Law, the 1992 Defence Law, the 1998 Jordan Press Association Law, and the 1999 Press and Publications Law [4]. Additionally, in December 2016, a military court banned the publication of any data or news related to the armed forces due to external threats (such as ISIS). This criminalised the debate and discussion of any information related to the armed forces [5, 6].

On a macro-level, Kenya has developed a Grand Strategy which is informed by, among others, the Constitution, Vision 2030 blueprint, the Defence White Paper and the Foreign Policy. The Executive and the Ministry of Defence published the National Defernce Policy (Defence White paper) in 2017. [1] This is one of the rare times in its post-independence history that KDF has publicly published a Defence Policy. The impetus for developing Kenya’s Defence Policy can be attributed to, among other factors, the changes brought about by the Constitution in 2010. The Constitution established the National Security Council (NSC) which is composed of the Executive heads that is President, Deputy President and Cabinet Secretary for MOD, Foreign Affairs, Internal Security, Attorney-General, as well as Chief of KDF, Director General of National Intelligence Service and the Inspector-General of the National Police Service.

One of NSC’s main function of identifying and developing strategies that enable security organs to respond to internal and external threats to the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, anchors development of the national security policies such as the Defence strategy. [2] The Defence Council which consists of MOD’s cabinet secretary and Principal Secretary, Chief of Defence Forces and three service comanders of the Kenyan Army, Airforce & Navy has the overall mandate of development of Kenya’s Defence Policy. There is no legal provision that requires the Council to consult the public when developing the defence policy.

Correspondingly, there is limited evidence that the current Defence Policy which was launched on May 2017 was developed with the involvement of actors beyond the council or indeed the Executive. Discussions on Kenya’s Defence Policy in the public realm through the media are infrequent and they are mainly documentaries or features focusing on the historical achievements of the forces. [3] Dominant media discussions relate to operational, budget and recruitment issues. Recently, KDF initiated discussions on some of its defence policies, but they are general in nature, and few and far between. [4]

Although the MOD has published a Defence Policy (Defence White Paper), the policy mainly focuses on the exisiting and possible threats that Kenya faces and prescribes measures that the defence takes or has taken to ensure defence and security. [1] The Defence White paper does not include discussions on spending. Aspects of defence capabilities and spending areas have in the past 5 years been shared with the public in an ad-hoc manner, mainly through documentaries via the media. [2]

While a review of defence policy is seldom, some scholars have attempted to analyse and discuss it in depth. Some scholars have, for instance, attempted to examine its role in the country’s economic development. [3] Furthermore, a review of the defence policy in the media is rare and when done, it is analysed by reporters with limited defence or military background. One of the articles that has for instance analysed the defence policy was a media report following the launch of the white paper. [4] The reporter went as far as juxtaposing the some of the policies to defence spending analysis by established think-tanks such as SIPRI.

There has been no evidence of formal consultation process involving the public in the last 5 years in relation to the defence strategy. However, there were various consultations carried out by the DFAC on amendments to the Kenya Defence Act of 2012 in 2015 both in parliament and outside of the chambers. [1] Experts and civil societies presented their views to the committee opposing several aspects of the bill. [2]

In addition, some experts also published various views in media platforms such as op-eds opposing amendments to oversights mechanisms of KDF. [3] Most of the proposed amendments went through eventually while some were implemented. For instance, experts opposed amendment of section 24 of the Kenya Defence Act No. 25 of 2012 to allow the President to extend the term of office of the Chief of Defence Forcesas well as Vice Chief or Service Commanders. Despite the opposition, the law was amended and to allow the president to extend their term for one year in terms of war or emergency.

Furthermore, civil society organisations opposed amendment to section 8, subsection 3 that required the cabinet secretary to inform parliament appropriate details of any deployment of forces before military operations are conducted. However despite calls for not amending these provisions, the act was passed and the sections were deleted.

Although the defence policy document is available to the public via the Ministry of Defence website and the National Defence College Website, the process of developing and discussions relating to the polices are rarely done in the public domain. [1] Furthermore, publications relating to the defence policy, such as budgets which operationalise some aspects of the defence policy, are mainly published online by regulatory institutions such as parliament or Ministry of Finance. Some are printed and distributed by the goverment Printer in Nairobi. [2] This effectively makes the majority of these documents innaccessible by the general public.

Moreover, while budgetary documents are published by regulatory institutions, they are mainly published in technical formats and with limited information, often with the aim of budgetary review rather than review for the public scrutiny. In the past, parliament has raised concerns over the limited information and breakdown of defence budget documents. [3]

The public only gets a chance to see the documents after Parliament has reviewed and published them, and the public has limited chances of scrutinising the documents. For example, while budgetary documents are published at least a month ahead of budgetary review through parliamentar, this may not give enough time for non-legislative entities to scrutinise the documents. [4]

Kosovo does not have a National Defence Strategy in place. The Kosovo Security Council and the Kosovo Government approved the National Security Strategy in June 2019 [1, 2]. Following its adoption by the executive, the National Security Strategy was submitted to the Kosovo Assembly for review and final approval [2]. Based on current legislation, the National Security Strategy for Kosovo needs to be finally approved by the Kosovo Assembly [3] after being approved by the Security Council and the Government. Accordingly, this document has not yet entered into force as the Assembly have still not approved it. It is important to mention that the Assembly was dissolved in late August 2019 by two thirds of the Members of the Assembly in an unprecedented session [4] that will impact on and delay the approval of the National Security Strategy by the Assembly. The Assembly’s dissolution occurred following the resignation of the Prime Minister of Kosovo, Ramush Haradinaj in July 2019 [5]. There is no record of any public debate around this specific document on national security. There were internal meetings and workshops of the working group in charge for drafting the National Security Strategy; and the civil society organisations were involved. However, the working group meetings were internal [6] and the working group tasked with drafting the National Security Strategy was established in August 2018, and comprised representatives of all relevant state institutions, US Embassy in Kosovo, and civil society organisations as well, while the whole process was chaired by Deputy Minister of Defence and Secretariat of the Kosovo Security Council [7].

This indicator has been marked Not Applicable, as there is no National Defence Policy for Kosovo. Furthermore, no public debate has taken place until now regarding a National Security Strategy [1].

Since 2016 when Governmental Regulation No. 05/2016 on Minimum Standards for Public Consultation Process was approved by the Government [1], the online platform for public consultation was launched to ensure the implementation of these required minimum standards [2]. This platform enables citizens and civil society to be involved in shaping public policies [2]. The regulation stipulates that draft strategies (among other documents) can be subject to public consultation [3]. In the case of the National Security Strategy, its draft was not published on the online public consultation platform and therefore no formal consultation process occurred for this relevant document [4].

The National Security Strategy and its Action Plan have not been published by the relevant institutions leading the drafting process of this document. The National Security Strategy is not yet published on the online platform for public consultation, despite being approved by the Kosovo Security Council and the Kosovo Government [1]. With regards to the National Defence Policy or Defence Strategy, neither document has been drafted or prepared yet, and as such it is not in place.

Defence and security strategies are debated by the executive branch and Parliament. The public participates in these debates through traditional media outlets and social networking websites like Twitter but these debates can often be shallow. Intense discussions rarely last longer than two weeks at a time but they always get revived later on by opposition figures, social media or the media, officials and activists said (1, 2, 3, 4 and 5). Kuwait has at least six security-related debates over the years three years, which is not a small number for a country of 3.2 million (6).

These discussions do not include a 5-year procurement plan as that does not seem to exist in Kuwait and parliamentary discussions of defence strategy and spending tend to be private, according to officials, activists and journalists (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7). So the public does not hear usually hear lawmakers or officials linking their arms procurement to the security threats that they are facing, but they do articulate the threats Kuwait is facing clearly, and the military’s budget is disclosed.

Officials, lawmakers, the public and activists do not routinely discuss or comment on the country’s use of its defence capabilities or the soundness of its defence spending, mostly because its army is small and insignificant. It is also not involved in any armed conflict save for its very limited participation in the Saudi-led Arab coalition against the rebels in Yemen.

These comments are usually just private complaints about Kuwait’s continued military weakness, which started after the Iraq invasion in 1990, the aforementioned sources said.

There are public consultations on defence and security policies but only from public actors that are very supportive of the Government or ones that are at least funded by the Government, and even their input is not usually incorporated into new defence policies or decisions, officials and activists said (1, 2, 3, 4, 5and 6).

Documents on defence and security policies are not available to the public, officials and activists said (1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6). Kuwait’s state news agency, KUNA, publishes brief stories about some defence and security decisions but all of these stories are terse announcements of some arms deal, or some conference, random occurrence or workshop, with no details about the politics or logic behind these decisions.

National defence and security policy and strategies are publicly available and widely debated by the Parliament, government, as well as in public, given the topicality of the issue in the current security environment (perception of Russia as the most significant security threat after the evens in Ukraine, as well as direct intimidation activities directed against Latvia and the West at large).
Independent and government-related think tanks regularly organise public discussions and conferences on a wide variety of defence and security issues with the support of the governmental institutions, international organisations, private sector and non-governmental organisations. [1] [2] [3] [4] The Ministry of Defence adopts a communication plan annually.The MOD has regular consultations with civil society and NGOs and organises public debates.

Discussion of the defence policy and security strategy focuses primarily on major threats (Russia) and the level of defence spending (as a reaction to the major threats). The debate includes other issues as well, e.g. NATO decisions, the impact of international events, major procurements, operations abroad. However, communication related to the decisions on procurement has mostly been post-factum and one-sided (informative, but introverted and sticking to general lines of capabilities to be developed). For example, major arms procurement decisions were announced post-factum: the decision to procure CVR(T)s (2014), M109 155mm self-propelled howitzers (2017), or Stinger man-portable air-defence systems. [1] [2] [3]
On one recent occasion the communication was made prior to a decision – there is a recent example where the process of selection and procurement of off-road vehicles was announced with several contenders mentioned (2018). [4]

Public consultations take place at both parliamentary and ministerial level. Since the Deputy Prime Minister is also the Minister of Defence, the defence and security policy is incorporated in other sectoral policies, so the issue is treated in a more comprehensive manner. As demonstrated in the previous indicator, discussions have been active and have covered a wide spectrum of issues, while excluding inclusive debates on procurements. In year 2019 during the development of the State Defence Concept the MoD organised 5 public debates that were held in various regions across Latvia. The Minister of the Defence or the Defence Ministries Parliamentary secretary participated in these discussion. The discussions aimed to involve public in the consulations about the defence challenges and public was encouraged to ask questions about defence strategy [6]. On one hand, the Ministry of Defence has conducted regular surveys to research public opinion on various issues, [1] and regularly provides information to the media and thus to society directly (e.g. journal and portal “Sargs” [2]). On the other hand, the ministry tends to provide concrete narratives, expecting favourable coverage of its opinion while its level of criticism is low. [3] [4]

Draft legal acts and policy planning documents are usually availabe to the public well in advance, on the websites of the Ministry of Defence, Cabinet of Ministers and the Parliament [1] [2] [3] among others. Both the State Defence Concept (outlines the fundamental strategic principles of national defence, mid-term and long-term priorities and measures both in peacetime and in case national security is threatened) and the National Security Concept (lays out main strategy to mitigate threats and defence priorities) are publicly available. The Latvian MoD releases its Annual Review every year also. The document is publicly available on the MoD website. It contains future plans and the strategic vision of Latvia’s defence policy. In addition, it evaluates how well defence policies were implemented last year. Moreover, the document gives an overview of bilateral cooperation [6]. However, documents regarding the planning of procurements (e.g. long-term procurement plans) are not made public and are not discussed in public.

In the past year, defence policy and security strategy have not been debated nor established. However, government officials have expressed individually and on separate occasions the need to set a strategy (1). For example, President Michel Aoun promised to start discussing a national defence strategy following the parliamentary elections of May 2018 (2). The international community has urged the country to set a strategy for its national defence (3).

This sub-indicator has been marked Not Applicable because Lebanon had not begun debating the national defence strategy when the GDI research was conducted (1). Currently, the economic situation of the country has occupied the priorities of the government (2). After each time a unity cabinet is formed, it issues a formal statement of “least worst” common denominator priorities which includes basic assumptions tied to national security challenges facing the country. This enables the government to speak about defence affairs and the need for a strategy without laying out the steps leading to debate and operationalize the defence priorities in a formal strategy. Nonetheless, the LAF maintains a non-public CDP 2018-2022 that represents a minimal level of engagement between the executive branch and the military on defence, albeit inconsistently and without a public debate (3) (4).

Lebanon does not have a national defence strategy. Thus, there has been no formal consultation with the public (1). During the last consultations held by President Michel Suleiman between 2008-2012, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) were disengaged and showed little interest in the discussions held between political parties (2).

Lebanon does not have a defence strategy to share with the public. The last failed discussions were done during a national dialogue meeting under the former President Michel Suleiman’s reign (1). However, a draft strategy, set by former President Suleiman as a result of the dialogue, was published online (2). The Lebanese Armed Forces have produced no less than two substantial documents tied to capabilities development and just shy of a formal national military strategy (as opposed to a national defence strategy). Both of these Capabilities Development Plans (CDP) – one covering 2013-2017 and the other covering 2018-2022 are endorsed by the president, prime minister, speaker of parliament, and the minister of defence. While these documents have been shared with major donor partner nations, they are not readily available to the public at large (3) (4).

‘The main issues of national defence are considered and co-ordinated by the State Defence Council, which consists of the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister, the Speaker of the Seimas (unicameral parliament of Lithuania), the Minister of National Defence, and the Commander of the Armed Forces’ [1]. There is no formal public debate – the State Defence Council sessions are closed to the public [2]. However, the public has a possibility to send recommendations and other observations to the Parliament regarding defence and security draft legislation.
Moreover, according to the government reviewer, since 2014, each year MOD organizes at least one Defence Policy Seminar – an informal public debate on topical defence policy issues, such as the National Security Strategy, conscription, the implementation of the Agreement on the guidelines for the Lithuanian defence, Armed Forces’ vision, hybrid threats etc. [3,4,5,6]

Legally, the State Defence Council is supposed to meet once a month, although there is no set agenda in practice [1]. In 2018, the State Defence Council met only once in March, when the Council approved the state defence priorities. The National Security Advisor to the President argued that the security situation in the region remained complex and the tension in the neighbourhood was not decreasing. He therefore acknowledged that the security of people should be guaranteed and the country’s defence capabilities would be further strengthened through that the modernisation of the Lithuanian army [2]. According to a press release from the President’s office, the decision was made to increase the financing of the defence sector within the 2019 state budget. It was agreed that at least 2.05 percent of the country’s GDP would be allocated to the national defence sector [3]. There have also been other more public discussions about national security strategy, where for example parliamentarians, diplomats, members of the Special Investigation Service and State Security Department were involved [4]. The chairman of the Defence Committee mentioned in an interview that the Committee had also opened the debate to the public about the national defence strategy and had received around 200 remarks from universities, former ministers etc. [5].

The Law on Public Administration oversees formal consultations for entities within public administration [1]. These entities must consult on administrative decisions related to general legitimate public interests with organisations representing public interests within a particular field (associations, trade unions, public organisations and representatives of other NGOs), as well as with residents where required by law. However, it does not appear that these consultations are actually taking place. Alongside these face to face consultations, citizens supposedly have the possibility to participate electronically in public consultations [2].

The public can access information and documents regarding defence policy and security strategy once these are made official and if they do not include any sensitive information. However, documents are not released to the public with adequate lead time before government decisions are made. The information provided is free and can be accessed online. For example, the last time the Parliament approved a National Security Strategy was on 17 of January, 2017, and this was subsequently published on the Register of Legal Acts in less than 10 days [1].

According to the government reviewer, all the relevant defence documents strategic documents, planning documents, MOD reports) are available via MOD website [2]. The draft documents are made available to the public through the Parliamentary online registry

The currently maintained National Defence Policy (NDP) lacked legislative and public debate prior to and after its inception in 2010. However, public debate has improved over the formulation of the Malaysia Defence White Paper (DWP) which was tabled in parliament on December 2, 2019. There have been public online articles reporting and providing opinions on the Defence White Paper. [1] [2] There are also contributions from the public to the press in the form of opinion articles [3] [4] as well as interviews of academics by the media. [5] The DWP highlights three prior documents on defence: the NDP prepared by Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) and another two by the Malaysian Armed Forces, namely the 4D-MAF and the National Defence Strategy. The DWP is certainly reflective of the main directions of Malaysian defence policy, particularly the strategic aspects. The preparation of the DWP involved extensive processes, with input directly from the highest levels of miilitary and civilian leadership; it is therefore fair to claim that the DWP directions are reflective of the country’s defence strategy. [6] In fact, the DWP is explicit in describing Malaysia’s defence strategy as a 3 pillar strategy as enshrined in Chapter 3 of the DWP.

There is no evidence of public debate prior to or after the inception of the current NDP in 2010. However, public debate relating to the Defence White Paper has been more active, with discussions primarily focusing on existing national security threats, budget and defence spending. [1,2,3,4]

Whilst the current NDP lacked legislative and public debate and scrutiny prior to and after its release and publication in 2010, the Malaysia Defence White Paper which was presented to the Parliament on December 2, 2019 included discussions and engagements with the public, non-governmental organisations (NGO), defence industry players, academics and other ministries involved in the defence landscape. [1] [2] [3] A technical team consisting of members of the ministry’s policy planning division and related departments, representatives of all three services of the armed forces, researchers of the Malaysian Institute of Defence and Security (MiDAS), as well as academics in the field of strategic studies from local universities was established to discuss the directions and details of the DWP with stakeholders. Some 21,000 respondents participated in an online survey conducted by MiDAS. The Defence Ministry and the armed forces have engaged members of the public, industry and numerous government agencies and ministries in a series of public dialogues, workshops and meetings. [4] Additionally, a youth parliament and representatives from Undi 18 (an NGO which successfully campaigned for a constitutional amendment to reduce the voting age to 18) were also engaged. [5] Four sessions of the “Perwira Dialogue”, which involved experts, officers from ministries and agencies, military veterans, as well as members of civil societies and non-governmental organisations gathered views on issues ranging from big power relations to Southeast Asian security, the defence industry and people in defence. The Ministry also made an extra effort to explore and ensure extensive engagement beyond the government. For instance, it set up a special booth during the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition (Lima 2019) to allow visitors to contribute ideas to the DWP. There was also an Experts Panel involved in the discussions with MINDEF on the Defence White Paper. The inputs from all these multiple channels were debated and deliberated in-depth at various fora, with some issues brought to high-level meetings at the ministry level, for incorporation into the Defense White Paper.

The current NDP is available for public consultation in both Malay and English. [1] [2] However, the process of its formulation was kept secret. The progress of the Malaysia Defence White Paper which was recently tabled in Parliament, on the other hand, is widely reported on by the media and public opinion. [3] [4] [5] The Defence White Paper is available to the public through the Ministry’s website in both Malay and English. [6] There is also an infographic chart and a FAQ page to aid understanding.

The government has adopted a formal defence and security policy. It began with the Supreme Defence Council adopting a draft National Defence and Security Policy in December 2014. The policy is made up of two components. The first elaborates on the government’s concept for the employment of military forces. The General Statute for Members of the Armed Forces, adopted by parliament in 2016, deals with this first aspect.³ The second outlines a series of reforms for the armed forces [LOPM], which was adopted by the National Assembly in May 2015.
The LOPM provides for USD2.3 billion of investment for the armed forces and is set to recruit an additional 10,000 personnel between 2015 and 2019. As cited in 3B, the LOPM was debated in parliament. But the majority of media discussion relating to the policy came after the law was passed, indicating that public debate did not have much influence in determining what the policy should be.¹ ² ³ ⁴
A Malian journalist said that the general understanding of military policies among the wider population is limited.⁵ However, as part of the ‘Accord Pour la Paix et la Reconciliation au Mali’, the government has created local consultative security committees to discuss the security challenges in their region and to make recommendations to the executive.⁶ ⁷ ⁸ ⁹ ¹⁰ Each committee comprises representatives from religious associations, civil society groups, women’s groups, youth organisations and traditional leaders. In March 2017, the government organised a large conference to discuss how the country should ensure peace, unity and reconciliation, following on from the Algiers peace agreement.⁶ ⁷ ⁸ ⁹ ¹⁰ The conference involved participants from trade unions, religious associations, the armed forces, the police, civil society groups, women’s groups, youth organisations, the private sector, local development organisations, groups working with refugees and traditional leaders.⁶ ⁷ ⁸ ⁹ ¹⁰
Other smaller forums have either taken place or are planned in Mopti, Kidal, and other parts of the country to discuss how the country will overcome the present insecurity.⁶ ⁷ ⁸ ⁹ ¹⁰
These discussions show that individual members of the public and civil society organisations are involved in broader debates about national policies relating to ongoing security challenges. However, public debate about specific military strategies is comparatively muted.

The LOPM clearly outlines the problems facing the army and elucidates the five-year spending plan. The legislation stipulates that the equipment purchased and the recruitment of extra soldiers will better enable the FAMa to combat jihadist groups operating in the northern regions of the country. These aspects of the LOPM were debated in parliament before they were ratified.³ ⁴ The LOPM was also debated and scrutinised by the committee.⁵

As part of the ‘Accord Pour la Paix et la Reconciliation au Mali’, the government has created local consultative security committees to discuss the security challenges in their region and to make recommendations to the executive. Each committee comprises representatives from religious associations, civil society groups, women’s groups, youth organisations and traditional leaders.
In March 2017, the government organised a large conference to discuss how the country should ensure peace, unity and reconciliation, following on from the Algiers peace agreement. The conference involved participants from trade unions, religious associations, the armed forces, the police, civil society groups, women’s groups, youth organisations, the private sector, local development organisations, groups working with refugees and traditional leaders.
One of the recommendations that emerged from the conference was that the government should consider opening talks with Malian leaders of jihadist groups, Iyad Ag Ghaly and Amadou Koufa.⁵ This suggestion was publicly rejected by President IBK, highlighting the limitations of such forums.⁶ The Bertelsmann Stiftung notes that Mali’s dynamic CSOs and community-based activists are continuing to emphasise the need for military reform and greater discipline, and accountable governance, in light of the ongoing security threats.⁷ Nevertheless, it concludes that issues discussed by citizens or championed by civil society organisations are not necessarily transferred onto the political agenda.⁷
Other smaller forums have either taken place or are planned in Mopti, Kidal, and other parts of the country to discuss how the country will overcome the present insecurity. A member of the CDSPC told the assessor that the committee regularly works with organisations such as the US-based National Democratic Institute to organise public forums and to facilitate dialogue between CSOs and defence actors about the country’s security strategy.⁹ The NDI has an ongoing programme on Mali.¹⁰ One such event in 2015 brought together about 50 participants, from Bamako, Gao and Tombouctou to discuss the importance of CSOs in overseeing the programme of security sector reform.⁸

The majority of media coverage of the detailed plans within the LOPM came after the law was passed, indicating that public debate did not have much influence in determining what the policy should be. But details of the plan were widely discussed in the national media, ensuring that the public was informed about the policy. However, the assessor found only two instances of the full text of the LOPM being published online, one of which was three days after the bill had been ratified.³ ⁴ Most laws are available on the Journal Officiel website, but the assessor was surprisingly unable to find a copy of the LOPM here.

Recently, the debate on defence policy and security strategy has become more regular, which corresponds to the situation of violence that exists in the country, and to the demand by civil society organisations and by the media to have more spaces for dialogue with the government. [1]

However, the academic community and civil society organisations perceive that the national security policy is not formally debated and the discussions on this matter do not include all sectors involved. [2]

Debates on national defence policy or security strategy focus mainly on the threats facing the country, such as the fight against drug trafficking and organised crime, and on the formation of security forces to deal with these threats, such as the National Guard. Issues such as procurement and budgeting are not fully addressed. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

By constitutional mandate, both national security and the organisation, operation, and discipline of the Armed Forces cannot be the subject of public consultation – [1] understanding, in the strictest sense, that popular consultation is a formal instrument of participatory democracy.

It should be mentioned that there have been attempts to consult the public on hot topics such as the creation of the National Guard, and in fact, even to modify the constitutional mandate that prohibits it. However, these did not succeed. [2] [3] [4]

It is possible to access general information on defence policy on the official sites of the National Defense Commissions, SEDENA, and SEMAR, such as: sectoral programmes for six years, annual reports, guidelines, etc. Most of these documents are up to date. [1] [2]

Although there is an increasingly robust transparency system, for national security reasons information on all aspects of defence policy or security strategy is not available to the public.

The defence policy and security strategy were debated by Parliament and its Committees, but no public debates were organised. [1] [2] Instead, the strategies were presented by the executive to the media, without any active debate or discussion. [3] [4]

Public discussions of the defence policy and security strategy were conducted only by the Parliamentary Committee and the Parliament and these were very superficial. [1] [2] The Committee was provided with more detailed information on some issues related to the strategic documents, but only technical corrections were made. [2]

According to the website of the Ministry of Defence, there has been no formal consultation process on defence policy or security strategy involving the public in the last 5 years. [1] Representatives of the Ministry participated in some conferences organised by NGOs and on a few occasions invited some NGOs directly to provide comments on certain documents. [1] [2]

Defence and security strategies are adopted by the Parliament and published in the Official Gazette. [1] [2] A new Defence strategy is going through the Parliamentary procedure. [3] The strategies are publicly available as soon as they are submitted to the Parliament, but the Ministry of Defence publishes only a few documents related to these areas. [4]

The defence policy or security strategy has not been debated at all in the last year, neither by the executive, the legislature, nor the public:
– No mention of a debate in any form in Moroccan media (1)(2)(3)(4)(5)(6)
– No mention of a debate in any form in Parliament (within or outside the Commission on Foreign Affairs, national defence, Islamic affairs and Moroccan residents abroad) (7)(9)(10)(11)
– No mention of a debate of any form in the regional press (12)(13)(14)
– No mention of a debate in any form within Government (11)

No mention of a debate prior to the past year was found. Moreover individuals within the legislature and public had reportedly spoken about the defence policy or security strategy: On 25 May 2017, Hakim Benchamach, President of the House of Councillors and current Secretary General of Authenticity and Modernity Party (PAM), had reportedly spoken about the reform of security policies at the opening session of a seminar on “Parliamentary Oversight of Public Policies in the Security Sector”. At the same seminar, Mustafa Mannouzi, president of the Moroccan Center for Democracy and Security, had reportedly regretted the fact that monitoring the work of security services is still reserved domain of the King. Other public actors have been discussing reviewing the Kingdom’s defence policy or security strategy, although this debate is inconsistent.

The defence policy or security strategy has not been debated at all in the last year, neither by the executive, the legislature, nor the public:
– No mention of a debate in any form in Moroccan media (1)(2)(3)(4)(5)(6)
– No mention of a debate in any form in Parliament (within or outside the Commission on Foreign Affairs, national defence, Islamic affairs and Moroccan residents abroad) (7)(9)(10)(11)
– No mention of a debate of any form in the regional press (12)(13)(14)
– No mention of a debate in any form within Government (11)

No evidence of a formal consultation process on defence policy and security strategy in Morocco was found.

Documents on the defence policy or security strategy are not released to the public at all (1)(2)(3). No documents about defence policy or security strategy are available on the websites of the Moroccan Government and Parliament.No mention is made anywhere else on these websites that these documents might be available either on another website, or upon request (be it soft or hard copies). As a point of comparison, select documents pertaining to other sectors of government activity (housing, environment, transport, fishing, agriculture, tourism, education…) are released to the public.

When Parliament is in session, MPs can ask questions to the executive branch and relevant ministries. There were 29 questions asked by MPs about the Ministry of Defence but most of the questions relate to the military’s land acquisition [1]. In September 2019, Ms. Mi Kun Chan, a lawmaker in the Pyithu Hluttaw (Lower House) who represents Paung Township in Mon State, submitted a question to the Ministry of Defence concerning the Tatmadaw-backed militias. Deputy Defence Minister Major-General Myint Nwe responded to her question by stating that the Tatmadaw will keep people’s militias part of the defence policy because the militias play a key role in providing security and stability, especially in remote areas. The Deputy Defence Minister said that people’s militias are the first line of defence for the country [2]. Although parliamentarians can ask questions to the Ministry of Defence, there is little active debate or discussion about national defence policy or security strategy in Parliament. Defence and security questions such as ‘Is integration possible in the security sector? (Single Army)’ and ‘How can the armed conflict be ended?’ are debated in the DVB debate programme [3]. CDES, ISP and MIPS, which are think tanks and NGOs, discuss issues on security sector reform, the peace process, ceasefire and other defence issues [4,5,6]. Students at the University of Yangon who specialise in political science have discussed defence and security issues in class [7]. But the discussion on defence and security issues is limited because people who criticise the military are taken to court by the military. Under the NLD government, the military filed lawsuits against 96 individuals for criticising the military’s affairs [8].

There were 29 questions asked by MPs about the Ministry of Defence but most of the questions relate to the military’s land acquisition [1]. There were only three questions relating to defence policy. These questions were asked by MPs Daw Nan Khan Aye, U Sai Thiha Kyaw and U Shi Thee and they concerned mine planting, strong military build-up at the front line of the border areas and people’s militias [1]. Specific issues relating to procurement decisions, defence spending or defence strategy are never discussed in Parliament. There are discussions in the media about the peace process, military operations in ethnic areas and submarine procurement [2]. There are also publications about security sector reform, a comparative study of the defence white paper and a comparative study of the armed forces in five federal states published by MIPS [3]. There are also articles about defence spending and the role of the military in Myanmar’s politics [4].

There is no formal public consultation process for defence policy. There are discussions in Parliament about land acquisition, mine planting, strong military build-up in the front line area and people’s militias [1]. There was only one consultation among MPs about the defence budget for the 2019-2020 budget year [2], however, it was informal.

The Tatmadaw published a defence white paper in 2015. It is the first time that the Tatmadaw released this type of strategy document to outsiders. Experts on the Myanmar military called it ‘the low-profile publication’ because the white paper is not widely available to the public [1]. Only a few think tanks that work on security matters received a PDF file [2]. The general public is not aware of the defence white paper, nor does it have any idea what the defence policy and strategy of the Myanmar armed forces look like. The Tatmadaw has not updated the defence white paper since 2015.

The Netherlands has a culture of openly debating Dutch defence policy and security strategy. Broad policy is publicly outlined in a number of documents, including the 2018 Defence White Paper and the Integrated International Security Strategy 2018-2022 (IISS) [1,2]. However, discussions on the finer details of policy and strategy also take place among the executive and legislative branches of the government, as well as the public. For example, the short-term and medium-term impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the defence force is currently being debated through public parliamentary letters and media reports [3,4,5]. Media outlets frequently cover defence strategy and policy through interviews, opinion pieces and articles [5,6,7,8,9,10,11]. However, much of the in-depth public debate seems to occur ex-post (after important decisions are made or following the recognition of past mistakes).

The Ministry of Defence seeks to address a wide range of topics in strategic documents, including the clear articulation of the security threats facing the country, procurement decisions, the level of defence spending, links between threats and decisions on procurement, personnel, budget and operations. The 2018 Defence White Paper notes current security threats, such as the modernisation and strengthening of the Russian armed forces, instability in the Middle East, North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa and West Africa and hybrid warfare (see page 8) [1]. Procurement plans, including descriptions of projects costing over 25 million euros and the budget required, are detailed up to 2033, whilst the level of (planned) defence spending, along with the capabilities that the money will contribute to, are articulated up to 2021 (see page 28) [1]. Budgets are linked to the need for new advanced capabilities, based on the nature of threats faced (see page 27) [1]. The strategic vision for the defence force, as well as the capabilities that it will be possible to execute during operations once the investments are made, are also laid out (see pages 14-19) [1]. In the public sphere, think tanks have used documents, including the Defence White Paper and the Integrated International Security Strategy of 2018, to substantiate the threats and challenges facing the defence force and how these should shape procurement and budgetary priorities [2]. This document also states the way in which personnel decisions must adapt to a changing international environment, as well as how missions and mission areas will change and require different capabilities [2]. There is evidence to suggest that the content of this document will be reflected in future policy documents.

There is no recent evidence of the existence of formal public consultations on defence or security policy. The most recent online public consultation in the field of defence and security strategy was held in 2010 [1]. Policy papers are guided by the input of civil stakeholders, such as think tanks. As part of the PROGRESS programme, a Strategic Monitor is produced annually by two prominent Dutch think tanks, the Hague Centre for Strategic Studies (HCSS) and the Clingendael Institute [2]. This yearly process involves monthly reports, strategic alerts and trend reports, culminating in the annual report [3]. For each topic addressed throughout this process, an expert session is held, which brings together civil society, subject experts, think tank researchers and members of the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs [4]. All participants are given reading material in advance and are encouraged to comment and provide critique on the research. Each topic critically assesses Dutch foreign and defence policies in some form. These regular meetings and the reports that are subsequently formed are sometimes incorporated into Dutch defence strategy [4]. PROGRESS is explicitly funded by the government. Often, the advice of independent advice/research bodies, such as HCSS and Clingendael, as well as public-facing government-tied advice/research bodies, such as the Advisory Council on International Affairs (AIV), is not directly incorporated by the Ministry of Defence or Parliament. In practice, certain recommendations from reports will be adopted, but only the ones that support an existing preferred policy direction [5].

Moreover, informal consultations took place to gather input for such documents as the Defence Vision and the Defence White Paper. The Ministry of Defence organised stakeholder meetings where Members of Parliament and representatives from think tanks, businesses, other government bodies, NGOs and youth organisations were also invited to share their views on defence policy. These views are taken into account during the subsequent drafting process [6,7].

The public can easily access documents pertaining to defence policy or national security strategy online [1,2]. However, documents are not open to public scrutiny by means of a review process (drafts are not publicly circulated before official release to allow for changes).

Defence policy or security strategy is debated by the Executive, Legislature, and the public. The Minister of Defence regularly fields questions about defence policy in the House, the transcripts of which can be found online, if they are not usually available via live-television coverage [1, 2, 3, 4]. Excluding the general media, which is unrestricted in its ability to debate defence and security policy and strategy, there is a small but adequate arena for specialist public debate on defence and security policy and strategy. This includes magazines and journals, with newer publications such as the National Security Journal appearing from time to time [5, 6]. Public engagement is broad, though the degree of participation by the public is limited by their traditional disinterest in defence and security topics in general. Public participation in debate of policy and strategy can be found in public submissions on the Ministry of Defence website and the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee web page [7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13]. In addition, the public is formally invited to make submissions in writing and in person as part of the Defence White Paper process. These submissions are considered before policy decisions are made [14, 15].

The scope of debate is extensive. Disregarding debates in Parliament and the media, the list of publicly available documentation relating to the country’s national defence and security policy is numerous and detailed. Some of the most relevant publications include the MoD and NZDF Annual Reviews, Defence Capability Plans, and Major Projects Reports, Statements of Intent, and Appropriations by Vote, all of which contain detailed information that enables the public to understand and identify security threats facing the country, the procurements that are required to meet those threats, and the financial implications that these would have. The use of defence capability meanwhile is available in the Annual Reports and the various media releases by the MoD and the three services of the NZDF [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. Debates of defence matters such as transparency, culture, procurement, operations, and threats are published [8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17].

Public submissions are frequently made to the Ministry of Defence and the FADT Committee. During the formulation of the current Defence White Paper, in 2015 the Government requested and issued detailed guidance on public submissions [1]. Responses were later released in summary form and helped to inform the Defence White Paper 2016. However It would be difficult to measure how many of the public submissions were eventually incorporated into actual policy, as this would require sifting through all 300-odd public submissions [2]. The Government often invites specialists in relevant fields to consultation workshops for the purpose of brainstorming policy and strategy for possible inclusion in future policy documents and bills [3]. The Strategic Defence Policy Statement 2018 was consulted on with key New Zealand academics [6]. Another example includes discussion on the future amendments to the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002 in the wake of the 2019 Christchurch shootings [4]. It should be noted that although public submissions are incorporated into Defence White Papers, the level of public engagement for other, though admittedly less major, defence policy documents remain somewhat unclear. That wide-scale public engagement is absent for these is possibly admitted within the Strategic Defence Policy Statement 2018, whereby it acknowledges public submissions in the previous two Defence White Papers but makes no mention of the same initiative for this publication [5]. As the White Papers inform all defence policy initiatives, and as those documents included public submissions, the inference is that further policy is a reflection of the public sentiment.

Information can easily be obtained via the MoD or NZDF websites, which are routinely updated. There is a strong tradition of involving the public in discussion of high-level policy documents, such as the Defence White Paper, well before the date at which submissions close. However, documents pertaining to operational and internal administration are normally only released after the fact [1, 2]. The Defence White Paper draft was not released to the public, however the Public Consultation document did provide an overview of the security challenges facing New Zealand [3]. Observations from the Burnham Inquiry noted an increased concern towards the general use of classification of material, however most of the material pertaining to the Inquiry was, it is supposed, of an operational nature, and therefore not entirely reflective of defence policy and strategy as it pertains to this question [4].

Defence and security policy is debated by the executive, the legislature and the public. Niger has a strategy for development and security (SDS Sahel-Niger, 2011) (1), which follows the president’s position stated in the Renaissance programme. It is an integral part of the Economic and Social Development Plan (PDES 2012-2015) and the Strategy for Sustainable Development and Inclusive Growth (SDDCI Niger 2035). Its mechanism of implementation relies on a sector-piloting committee (CMP) coordinated by the prime minister. The programme includes State, civil society and development partners. It also involves the following actors: the High Authority for Peace Consolidation (HACP), the High Commission for 3N, Technical Ministries, Private Sector and Civil Society Organisations and other state structures, civil society organisations and development partners (1). The new Security and Defence Policy (PNSD) is under consideration and is to be adopted in 2018 (2). In December 2017, the National Center for Strategic and Security Studies (CNESS) organised the national forum for security and defence to reflect on the new PNSD. According to local media, it was the first forum of this kind because it included representatives from the government, defence and security forces, but also political parties as well as representatives from “different social sectors of the country” (2). Various aspects of the defence and security policy are regularly brought into the debate by the legislature through the Security and Defense Committee of the NA (see question 2). Finally, security and defence policy is also regularly debated in the local and international media through interviews, articles, press conferences etc. (see question 6) (3,4,5,6,7).
There is ample evidence that defence & security strategies are debated within the government of Niger, in the NA as well as in the public domain (interviews, op-eds, articles). There are also public media debates on the international military in Niger (France, US).

Two principle issues seem to be at the heart of the security and defence debate, involving civil society organisations, the legislative and the executive: the defence expenditure and international military presence. The latter has become particularly important in the media after the October 2017 Tongo-Tongo ambush, which resulted in five Nigerien and four American deaths (1). The increasing defence and security budget, which passed from 15% in 2017 (2) to 17.56 % in 2018 (3) is another issue. Civil society actors contested the adoption of the 2018 finance law, and they organised a series of mobilisations (4). Through November 2017 to March 2018, demonstrators claimed the law to be “anti-social” and protested against the international military presence (5,6). The legislative and executive responded to mobilisations by multiplying interviews and organising press conferences, where they explained the importance of international military presence as well as a necessity to increase military spending regarding the security threat (7, 8, 9, 10).
However, regardless of the intensity of this debate, other important topics are discussed far less. These include issues like procurement risks (for example, links between nature of the threat and specific decisions on procurement) or the implementation of military operations. It is difficult to say to what extent the debate focusing primarily on “security expenditure”, and foreign presence could be seen as a “distraction” from other issues. This finding also reflects the historical development of Niger’s security and defence forces, as well as the novelty of the current conflict situation that is taking place in the Sahel region.

There are formal public consultations on defence policy and the security strategy. However, it is difficult to establish with precision to what extent defence policy and security institutions incorporate their findings. There are at least three possible channels through which such consultations may be possible.
The first one is associated with the activities of the High Authority for the Consolidation of Peace (HACP). This is a government institution that was created in 1995 and reports directly to the President of the Republic. It is charged with dialogue, mediation and the implementation of peace accords (1). Among other recent projects, through 2015 – 2018 the HACP initiated and led projects in the Diffa region marked by the Boko Haram insurgency as well as on the Malian border aiming to reinforce dialogue and confidence between the security forces and the local population (2).
The second channel can be associated with the National Centre for Strategic Security Studies (CNESS) created in 2015. It is an advisory unit, a “think-tank” for security and defence policies directly responsible to the presidency. Its governing body is the Orientation Council that decides on essential proposals regarding security policy. Though CNESS is dependent on the military, it is assisted by the Scientific Council, which includes national non-military researchers who provide opinions on scientific programmes (3). Therefore, CNESS could be considered as one of the channels for public consultations.
The third channel is the National Observatory on Security Governance, which was inaugurated in January 2017. It was designed to act as a civil society think-tank for the control and monitoring of the security governance in Niger. A security official from the Ministry of Interior attended the organisation’s launch (4). However, its actual input to the formulation of security and defence policies could not be established. 
Finally, it should also be noted that in December 2017 the National Centre for Strategic and Security Studies (CNESS) organised the national forum for security and defence. The forum reflected on the new security and defence policy the PNSD, which is to be adopted in 2018 (5). According to local media, it was the first forum of its kind because it included representatives from the government and defence and security forces, as well as political parties and representatives from the “different social sectors of the country” (5). 
Compared to previous years, there has been an evident effort to improve public consultation processes on security and defence policy in Niger. Given that the work of the institutions (CNESS and National Observatory on Security Governance) mentioned above has only taken place recently, it may be too early to judge whether their findings have contributed to policy formulation.

The overall defence objectives are stated in the Constitution, which is publicly available (Article 66). It states that Niger’s armed forces are responsible for the defence of the integrity of the national territory against all external aggressors, it is charged with maintaining peace and security and upholding all the laws of the country (1). On a broader level, the strategy for development and security (SDS Sahel-Niger, 2011) is available online (2). The new security and defence policy (PNSD) has not yet been adopted, but the process of its development has been inclusive rather than exclusive (3). The first outlines of security and defence policy are presented in the third chapter of the Presidential Renaissance programme for 2016-2021, which is also publically available (4).
However, information and documents are not always accessible on all aspects of the defence policy or security strategy. This is especially the case with bilateral cooperation regarding armament acquisitions or deployment. However, this kind of information may be available from reports of international think-tanks who are active in Niger (e.g. see GRIP report on international military presence in Niger (5), ICG reports (6) or from foreign government websites (7,8)). Furthermore, international media may also publish specific information (8).
Finally, it should be also underlined that since the Tongo-Tongo October 2017 ambush, which publically revealed an important American military presence in Niger, political and military elites have been more willing to engage in a public debate on security and defence issues, therefore improving the government’s transparency and communication strategy (9, 10).

There is no evidence in the form of media reports or other publicly available material to indicate that the defence policy is debated. References to the national defence policy strongly indicate that it has not been debated in ten years (1). There is no legal instrument that empowers the parliament to either approve or reject policy and crisis management concepts for the military in Nigeria. Policy documents such as the national defence policy are usually sent to the parliament for informative purposes only.

Because there is no public debate of national defence policy, this indicator has been marked Not Applicable.

References to the national defence policy in the media by the executive or the senate are isolated. Such discussions tend to focus on threats faced by the nation, but these mentions are not substantive or comprehensive and are mainly concerned with perceived threats, and usually occur after recent attacks and security threats (1). The media and CSOs often question the effectiveness of the military leadership; given their failure to arrest the insecurity in the country. Policy documents such as the national defence policy are usually sent to the parliament for informative purposes only.

Although the Senate defence committees have the power to hold public hearings, there is no evidence that such hearings fully engage with Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and the wider public. Media reports indicate that there has been no review of the national defence policy or strategy in ten years. The national defence policy is not widely available nor does it contain significant input from the public, CSOs or media. There is evidence of the Senate Defence Committee holding public meetings on the security crisis and security strategy of the military in controlling terrorism in the northeast (1).

The House of Representatives Defence Committee has the power to hold public hearings and exercised it on August 1, 2017. These hearings fully engage with CSOs and the wider public in that they are allowed to make representations either orally or in writing.

Nevertheless, the House Committees do hold public hearings into the national defence issues. The problem is that because of the poor interface between the House and the executive it cannot be conclusively stated that any recommendations or findings are considered in the formulation of the national defence policy; particularly, as the NASS discussions occur independently of the executive policy formulation process. “The Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, and the Chairman, Senate Committee on Defence, Abubakar Kyari on Monday, disagreed on Boko Haram’s actual level of control of territory in Borno State. At Monday’s special town hall meeting on military issues and security that held in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital” (2).

The websites of the defence agencies do not contain any documents on the national defence policy. The MOD website has no publications on the national defence policy as well (1).

However, two key defence policy documents, National Security Strategy & NACTEST, are publicly available, though they are somewhat dated now and were approved by the previous administration (2), (3). The public can now formally request for copies of the document from the office of the NSA. The National Security Strategy 2014 remains available to the public. There is a National Counter-Terrorism Strategy document which was revised and published in August 2016. It is unclear the degree to which they guide current defence decision making (4).

Macedonian defence policies and security strategies have been frequently debated. Due to sharing responsibilities across the sectors of defence and security, executive and legislative bodies have each published a number of strategic documents [1]. In 2003, Parliament adopted the National Conception for Security and Defence. Five years later, in 2008, the Government of North Macedonia published the Strategy for National Security. In 2010, the Strategy of Defence of North Macedonia was adopted by the President’s Cabinet. The Ministry of Defence published a White Paper on defence in 2012 and the the Long-Term Defence Development Plan 2014-2023 in 2014 [2]. In June 2018, the Strategic Defence Review was also published by the Ministry of Defence [3]. In the same year, the Government published the National Strategies for the Prevention of Violent Extremism and the Fight Against Terrorism [4]. Due to the relative frequency of the publication of these documents, the country’s inherent defence and security concerns, and the country’s strategic plan to join NATO, many stakeholders are involved in the publication process. The President publicly communicated the Strategy of Defence on the occasion of the national Army Day [5]. The Ministry of Defence organised public debates around the Strategy for Defence [6], the Strategy for Defence Diplomacy [7] and for different aspects related to Macedonia’s Euro-Atlantic integration [8]. Moreover, the preamble and the structure of the recent Strategic Defence Review were been publicly communicated [9]. In addition, in the interest of promoting public debate, both the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Academia published international journals dealing with issues of security and defence [10]. Lastly, civil society, in particular in line with the country’s Euro-Atlantic perspectives, frequently organised a number of events and conferences addressing defence and security issues [11]. In 2019 a Long-term Defence Capability Development Plan (LTDCDP) 2019-2028 was adopted by the Parliament. [12] In 2020 new Strategy of Defence was adopted by the President. [13] All in all, there is a continual and vibrant defence and security debate in the country which includes both political and public stakeholders.

The core of recent debates has been shaped by major security threats such as terrorism and transnational organised crime including corruption, regional conflicts and crises, radical nationalism and extremism [1]. The EuroAtlantic Club notably organised a public debate and a conference on the interconnectedness of global security threats [2]. Lately, the refugee and migrant crisis and the associated security aspects have attracted major political and public attention [3]. The President and the Minister of Defence underlined the unsustainable levels of defence spending related to the crisis which surpassed Macedonia’s defence budget. This being said, the overall debate has continued to focus on general security threats and on decisions relating to procurement, personnel, and budget, rather than on links between threats [4].

In the last 5 years, a number of public consultations have been organised. In particular, the Ministry of Defence has been very active in carrying these out. In its calls for public debates, it encouraged the implementation of public proposals and suggestions to relevant documents [1]. The current Government actively supports the participation of civil society in shaping Government policies [2]. There is no evidence, however, of the extent to which Government actually directly incorporates these public suggestions into defence and security strategies.

Documents relating to defence and security are easily accessible to the public: they are declared public and as such are publicly available [1]. However, there can be delays in publishing, depending on the process of the preparation and finalisation of these documents. Still, as soon as documents are finalised, they are immediately shared with the public. Such was case, for instance, with the latest Strategic Defence Review. The Ministry of Defence website hosts these key documents and strategies [2].
According to the Active Index 2020, published by the Center for Civil Communications, the Ministry of Defence is a leader in active transparency in North Macedonia for 2020, with 97,9 points of the total score. [3]

There is a broad public debate on defence policy and security strategy in addition to the formal consultation process. There is also evidence of debate on defence and security issues within the media via interviews, op-eds and articles, although media coverage may sometimes be inconsistent and not sustained over time. However, there is no evidence of an in-depth internal debate on the defence and security policy in the Armed Forces [1]. Preparatory work on a new Long-term Defence Plan is a good illustration of how public debate on Norway’s defence policy and security strategy functions in practice. The new Long-term Defence Plan was sent for approval by Parliament in spring 2020, although the Government initiated preparatory workin 2018. First, the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment was given the mandate to prepare a basis for the plan [2]. In April 2019 the Ministry of Defence asked the Chief of Defence for military advice which was subsequently submitted in October 2019 [3, 4]. The event was preannounced and accompanied by a joint press conference led by the Minister of Defence and the Chief of Defence (also streamed online). Although a defence plan is not a law and a hearing round is not mandatory in such cases, the Ministry of Defence arranged a round of public consultations on the new plan [5]. Over 50 opinions from organisations, associations, research institutes and local authorities were submitted. A number of research seminars were organised in 2019, including an open seminar hosted by the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs in November 2019. The seminar focused on the future of defence and the new defence plan was a key topic [6]. The seminar was attended by the Minister of Defence, senior representatives of the Armed Forces, members of the Parliament and the Standing Committee of the Foreign Affairs and Defence. The programme included speeches, panel discussions and time for questions from the audience. That same month, the Ministry of Defence invited journalists to engage in dialogue via a meeting [7].

Public debate addresses a broad scope of issues, including clear articulation of security threats the country is facing; procurement decisions and the level of defence spending; the link between threats and decisions on procurement, personnel, and the budget; and the use of defence capability. However, with few exceptions, critical investigations of these issues are mostly conducted by research institutes which are either under the administrative authority of the Ministry of Defence or remain politically independent, but operate within the Norwegian Armed Forces [1, 2]. Journalists can apply for the Defence University College’s executive course (Sjefskurset) which provides an extensive introduction to the defence sector [3]. Nevertheless, media coverage with a few exceptions appears at times to lack in-depth insight and the capability to engage in a critical evaluation of the defence policy and security strategy [4]. At the same time, while there are few journalists with in-depth knowledge of defence issues in the Norwegian media landscape, new formats with a defence focus have recently emerged. For example, a cooperation between Nordlys (a newspaper from Northern Norway) and the newly established think tank Utsyn have produced a number of studies, commentaries and seminars on the long-term plan and other defence-related issues [5].

When the Government prepares a major item of legislation or an extensive revision of existing law, it usually appoints an expert committee or commission to study the matter. The commission submits a report including a draft bill to the relevant ministry. The ,inistry usually sends the report out for formal consultations known as hearings. In this way, all relevant government agencies, organisations, institutions and associations are given the opportunity to state their opinions. When comments from the hearings have been received, the ministry prepares its proposition [1]. For example, in 2017 the Ministry of Defence began preparatory work for the revision of the existing Intelligence Service Act. The hearing round lasted 3 months from November 2018 – February 2019. Over 100 government agencies, organisations, institutions, associations and individuals submitted their opinions [2]. Although the process of drafting of a bill requires thorough preparatory work, it is difficult to determine to what extent the Ministry of Defence considers submitted opinions.

Information on Norway’s defence policy is available and easily accessible via the Ministry of Defence’s website and publications. The website is regularly updated (for example, 36 news items between 1 January 2020 – 25 March 2020) [1]. The Armed Forces’ website also provides information on defence and security issues (62 news items between 1 January 2020 – 25 March 2020) [2]. The Ministry of Defence regularly releases relevant documents on its website. The most important documents, like budget proposals, bill drafts or defence policy plans, are released with adequate lead-time before decisions are made. A review of the available documents shows that other documents are usually released the same day that they take effect [3, 4].

There is no reference to a debate concerning defence or security on the al-Shura website (1). According to our sources, there is no public debate at all concerning defence strategies or policies except through normal news outlets. The news works as an information mechanism, but not as a tool to initiate a debate or justification to the public (2), (3). Media reports which mention defence connect it to foreign policy, such as strengthening military co-operation with India (4), the sultan meeting the US secretary of state, British-Omani army co-operation and training, and Oman’s neutrality in Yemen war (5). Thus, although some information is available on Oman’s defence relations, the news is published by Oman News Agency, a government body and remains formatted as press releases without analyses or critique (6). In June it was reported across Omani media outlets, the Muscat Daily and Oman Observer, that the sultan issued Royal Decree No 17/2018 for a “law on weapons, ammunition, and explosives related to military and security apparatuses” like the other media references to defence and security it remained descriptive absent of debate (7), (8). Policies presented through media are nominal and vague, lacking details; no debate is present on defence policy or security strategy. Additionally, there seems to be no formal debate at all within the al-Shura over defence issues in the country.

This sub-indicator has been marked as Not Applicable, as there is no formal debate or consultation around defence policies or strategies within Majlis al-Shura, the semi-parliament in Oman. There might be a little information about Oman’s strategy, but these remain superficial and only information revealed through government-run Oman News Agency is available on the media (1), (2), (3). According to our sources, there is no public discussion on the key defence policies or security in Oman. There is a high level of self-censorship with regards to defence and security issues in Oman in the media industry, which makes it difficult to initiate any debate (5), (6).

There is no formal debate or consultation around defence policies or strategies within the Majlis al-Shura. There might be some information about Oman’s strategy, but this remains superficial and information is only revealed through the government-run Oman News Agency, which releases it to the media (1), (2), (3). According to our sources, the absence of public debate is a result of the tight restrictions installed by the executive, who undermines any interference by other bodies (al-Shura council) or shut any media that tries to initiate a serious discussion about defence. It is seen as a threat to the executive (4), (5).

The defence strategy and policy is not available to the public. According to our sources, these documents are hard to obtain and treated as confidential documents (1), (2). However, some defence and security news is published on the Ministry of Defence website, for example, meetings with other heads of state to discuss defence ties and allied military visits, however, news items are vague and are written by the Oman News Agency (3). Some royal decrees on security and defence are publicly available: No.12/2011 on cybersecurity and crime (4); No.4/2017 ratifying civil defence cooperation between UAE and Oman originally signed in 2016 (5); No.16/2018 amending military judiciary law (6); and No 17/2018 royal decree for a “Law on weapons, ammunition and explosives related to military and security apparatuses” (7). Therefore, some information and documents on defence decisions are available to the public but are presented vaguely, and key documents on defence policy and security strategy are not made available to the public on the grounds of national security (8).

In Palestine, there is no national defence strategy. However, there is a sectoral security strategy from 2015 that contains the basic principles of a national defence strategy (1). This strategy focuses on the relationship between the Palestinians and the security apparatus. The 2017-2022 strategy describes the relationship between the citizens and the security agencies (2). However, it contains no action plan or direction on how and in what capacity the strategy will be implemented. Moreover, it has not been publicly debated thoroughly. According to many sources, the security strategy was only debated briefly (3), (4).

The security challenges facing the security sector are discussed in various fields. Sources discuss the challenges facing the work of the security forces, through workshops, reports, and studies that have been conducted in previous years to discuss issues of concern to the security institutions. (1). These conferences and discussions constitute one of the subjects considered in the development of strategic plans for the security sector (2).

There are no public consultations or deliberations on any issues related to either defence or general laws (1).

Not many reports on the defence or security sector are available, and few can be found on official websites (1), (2).

The National Security Policy (NSP) and the National Security Strategy of 2018 documents contain a statement of principles which sets out the strategic goals and objectives of the administration. The views of relevant government and non-government experts and other key stakeholders and members of civil society are sought, but there is little public debate or discussion of policy [1, 2]. Only those who are interested in defence and are familiar with the strategy have offered their viewson it [3, 4]. Members of the committee who review national security issues and concerns and formulate positions and/or solutions for consideration by the National Security Council include the President and some members of the executive and legislature, and only when the President designates it can other persons participate [5].

The issues and aspirations set out in the Philippines’ defence policy and defence strategy are modest and short-term [1, 2]. Both are geared towards realising the Duterte administration’s 2022 vision for the country. Discussions on these have also been focused on immediate threats and the level of defence spending in the short-term. While former President Aquino’s focus was on strengthening territorial defence, President Duterte has prioritised internal threats including crime and illegal drugs [3]. Regarding the Anti-Terrorism Act signed by Duterte in July 2020, the Defence Department has not clearly articulated its provisions or even its definition of terrorism [4].

The AFP established a Multi-Sectoral Governance Council (MSGC) which, composed of members from business, academia and civil society, is tasked with guiding the military in its professionalisation and modernisation agenda [1]. An interviewed MSGC member has explained that, although the council offers feedback or recommendations, it is up to the AFP to decide whether to act on it [2]. Meanwhile, neither the defence policy of 2017 nor the national strategy released in 2018 underwent public consultation pior to their release [3, 4].

The national security policy and security strategy of the current administration were published ten months and two years ago respectively after the President took office [1, 2]. The top security agenda of the current administration is described in these documents and is publicly accessible [1, 2].

The defence policy or security strategy is debated by the executive, legislature, and the public, but not consistently. There are no public consultations of draft documents before their approval. Legislature and the public can discuss only approved documents (and do it). The topic is discussed by industry media (Defence24), as well as general national media (Rzeczpospolita, Gazeta Wyborcza, [1], [2], [3], [4].

Discussion of the defence policy or security strategy focuses primarily on major threats (potential and existing), and the level of defence spending. Debate persists on high priority issues for some time, rather than being superficially addressed. The topic is taken up by industry media (Defence24), as well as general national media (Rzeczpospolita, Gazeta Wyborcza, [1], [2], [3], [4].

There is regular public debate among academics, journalists, opinion-formers, and CSOs about defence issues [1, 2, 3, 4]. However, the public debate is not the same as the public consultation process. There has been no formal consultation process involving the public in the last 5 years. The formal public consultation process should be formally started by the relevant authority and finished by a formal report, that includes information on which remarks have been adopted. Last strategic document which was formally consulted with the public was the governmental Strategy of Development of the National Security System of the Republic of Poland until 2022, adopted in April 2013 [5].

The public can easily access documents and regularly updated information on all aspects of the defence policy or security strategy. Documents on Polish national defence policy are widely available and discussed [1]. The website of the Ministry of National Defence contains provisions on Polish defence policy, international co-operation, armed forces modernisation priorities and external missions [2]. The 2014 However the draft documents are not released to the public or even defence committee for prior debate. National Security Strategy was discussed in the parliament, including a dedicated session of the National Defence Committee, several months after the strategy was signed [3]. The 2020 National Security Strategy has not been discussed publicly or at the defence committee meeting before its approval in May 2020. The committee is going to discuss the key elements of the document in October 2020, only [4].

There is evidence of discussion of the National Strategic Defence Concept (NSDC) in the executive and legislative branches of government when its review is pending [1, 2]. There is evidence of discussion in media outlets, namely in the form of opinion pieces [3, 4]. However, these are rare and do not occur in a structured manner (i.e. an ongoing forum or seminar series open to the public or third party organisations).

Defence policy discussions tend to focus on three topics: defence spending [1, 2], armed forces participation in internal affairs [3, 4] and, from 2017, the internal organisation of military policing and arms safekeeping [5]. Defence planning is not discussed extensively, and threats are only superficially discussed based on NATO priorities [6]. The National Defence Institute (NDI) provides extensive training which encompasses in-depth discussions on different defence-related issues [7].

The NSDC has been in force since 2013. It was reviewed by a government-nominated commission of well-known individuals based on individual merit [1], including individuals outside the Ministry of Defence (MoD)/military chains of command. There is evidence of public consultation inside [2] and outside [3, 4] of defence institutions. There is no evidence of ongoing consultations outside defence institutions; this is likely because there is no ongoing review.

The core defence policy documents, including the Government Programme [1], the National Strategic Defence Concept (NSDC) [2], the SMC [3], the Military Planning Act [4], the Military Infrastructure Act [5], the Ministerial Directive on Military Defence Planning [6] are available to the public complete form. The NSDC states that a monitoring and evaluation framework is to be implemented post-2013 [7], but there is no evidence that such monitoring was put in place or that reports were made. The SMC is not made available by official sources. However, public evidence of monitoring is limited to the Supreme Audit Institution (SAI) reports on the Military Planning Act [8] and appearances by the Minister of Defence before the National Defence Committee (NDC) and parliamentary plenary meetings.

In Qatar, evidence shows that there is no public debate of the country’s defence policy or security strategy. However, some representatives of the Executive talk about defence policy and strategy to the media, without providing any details. According to two major military figures in Qatar, there is a defence strategy and policy in place, but it is debated only within the military and the Emir office. A key Qatari figure informed us, “the strategy is a confidential document that must not be debated and available publicly.” However, other figures stress that sometimes it is necessary to provide media outlets with limited information about Qatar Defence Strategy, in order to inform external parties of the strategy. [1,2] The discussion around security and defence is limited and there is no reference to any debate within the parliament, or detailed information about the policy. An example of this is when Dr Khalid Al-Attiyah (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State and Defence Affairs), whilst discussing security issues in Qatar and the region, talked about Qatar’s relations with the West, without specific references to defence strategies or policies [3]. On a different occasion the Minister of Defence discussed the illegality of the siege on Qatar, and Qatar’s relationship with other Gulf countries [4,5]. He also commended the armed forces, describing them as very distinguished and the best forces in the region. However, these remarks and comments do not amount to a national defence policy or national security strategy, and there is no evidence of parliamentary debate around defence.

There is no public parliamentary debate of defence policy or strategy in the country and for this reason this sub-indicator has been marked as Not Applicable.

There is no public parliamentary debate of defence policy or strategy in the country and for this reason this sub-indicator has been marked as Not Applicable.

There is no defence strategy or policy available for the public. Such documents are treated as highly sensitive and confidential. [1,2] However, other strategies that do not include the armed forces are published, such as the cyber security defence strategy. [3,4]

The Military Doctrine is signed once every 5 years. The current doctrine is valid up to 2020. However, there are neither any active discussions on the progress of or amendments to the current doctrine, nor any public or executive debate about the next doctrine for 2021-2025. Once, in November 2018, the Federation Council Committee on Defense and Security recommended that the Russian Security Council discuss new policy on nuclear deterrence and develop a ‘National Military Strategy’ [1]. The recommendations were not taken further [2]. In 2017, without any widespread debate among the public or different branches of power, the ‘Basic State Policy for Naval Activities’ was signed into the law [3]. One journalist wrote that, according to their sources in the Ministry of Defence, a similar state policy was signed for space and aviation sectors [4]. Similarly, there was not any official information, nor any public debate, about it.

Whenever there is a debate about defence policy, it mainly concerns either threats, such as the expansion of NATO or new US weaponry, or military organisation [1]. The National Security Strategy, which discusses strategic priorities, interests, a much broader scope of threats to Russia’s security and security indicators, also lacks public and media attention [2]. A separate military policy for the Union State between Russia and Belarus also mainly reflects the ‘current geopolitical situation in the world’ [3].

The federal law ‘On Defence’ does not provide the public with the power to participate in the definition or reviewal of military policy [1]. All information about military policy is presented to the public, not for discussion, but simply to notify them [2,3]. In the last five years, no public consultations have taken place. For that reason, the human rights organisation Memorial developed a bill that would provide effective mechanisms for public control over the defence sector [4]. It did not receive official attention, however.

While the full content of the military doctrine, as well as the maritime doctrine and national security strategy [1], is available to the public, it lacks details about defence spending, procurement plans and defence operations [2].

The defence policy and security strategy have not been publicly debated within the last year. Defence policies and strategies are rarely communicated to the public (1), (2). At times, the government makes announcements or statements on new policies or decisions; however, debate on these is censored and not public. Authorities have jailed individuals for criticising the country’s security policy (3).

The central government does make public references to the Ministry of Defence’s strategy; however, it announces actions that have been approved. There is no indication that they are debated by relevant bodies such as the Committee on Security Affairs within the Consultative Council (4).

Whereas in the past, high-ranking princes may have had more independence in crafting and leading defence policies, since 2015 Mohammed bin Salman who serves as the country’s minister of defence, as well as head of the Council of Political and Security Affairs, has increasingly consolidated and centralised government authority, including in the defence sector (5). Other key institutions such as the Ministry of Interior and the Saudi Arabian National Guard are directed by young royals who owe their standing to Mohammed bin Salman and are deferent to him (6). Defence strategies appear to be almost unilaterally decided by the crown prince and his father King Salman (7), (8).

An expert on Gulf affairs substantiates this theory, “defence and security policies are driven almost completely by MBS. He is arbitrary and headstrong and not prone to take the advice of military analysts or experts. The Council for Political and Security Affairs was established immediately upon the death of [former king] Abdullah, and it was designed to undercut Interior Minister Mohammed bin Nayef by putting all military and security under the scrutiny of MBS. It was a ruthless and clever tactic, and it worked. It meant by the time that MBN was defenestrated in 2017 his power base was effectively undercut” (9).

There is no open debate about Saudi defence or national security policy, therefore this sub-indicator is not applicable (1), (2).

As there is no formal consultation process with the public on defence policy in Saudi Arabia, this sub-indicator is not applicable (1), (2).

Information on the defence policy and the national security strategy has traditionally been released to the public infrequently and on an ad hoc basis. Recently, however, there has been a small uptick in the government’s communication of its defence policy and greater openness about its overall strategy (1), (2). This coincides with the broader reform programme being implemented by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, which includes plans to localise 50% of military procurement by the year 2030, as well as the establishment of two military industry bodies, the General Authority for Military Industries and Saudi Arabian Military Industries (3), (4). The government has also been more vocal about the war it is pursuing in Yemen, a choice that appears to be designed to ramp up public support for the war (5) This information is nonetheless very broad in nature, with scarce details or specific released to the public.

GAMI, established in August 2017, acts as an industry regulator, issuing tenders and licenses and approving contracts, while SAMI, formed in May 2017, contracts directly with foreign companies. According to a regional consultant who has worked with the Saudi defence sector, the two bodies will be involved in procurement processes across various Saudi military and defence bodies such as the Saudi Arabian National Guard, the Royal Guard, the Presidency of State Security and the Ministry of Interior (6). Industry analysis publication Intelligence Online further stated that both SAMI and GAMI will be steered by inter-ministerial committees led by Mohammed bin Salman (7). Thus far, beyond information released on GAMI’s key “objectives” at the inauguration of the body (4), as well as press releases relating to SAMI’s deals with foreign contractors, there has been no information released regarding the operation of these two bodies, and no documents on defence policy or security strategy released to the public at all. However, regional experts and commentators have pointed to the significance of these two bodies in the new Saudi military architecture; notably, SAMI’s directors include high-ranking government ministers and political authorities, such as its chairman, Ahmed al-Khateeb (8).

A comprehensive debate on defence policy and national security strategy is not present in the public, certain aspects of the defence policy are rather discussed through individual and scattered efforts of the expert community. These efforts consist of event organization and media appearances and articles by several selected civil society organisations, academic community and individual experts.
For instance, Serbia, after almost a decade, has drafted a new National Security Strategy and Defence Strategy in 2018. In April 2018, the MoD published draft strategic documents and enabled only two weeks for an official public hearing, which entailed three events and provided the possibility for interested parties to send comments in written form [1]. Civil society organisations and the academic community have taken over the initiative and complemented the official discussion by organising separate events aimed at discussing draft strategic documents [2]. MoD representatives were not present at the debates organised by civil society organisations. Adoption of these documents will be followed by parliamentary debate.

Discussion of the defence policy or security strategy is superficial without discussion on key issues. Considering the time allotted, public discussions cannot reach the comprehensiveness necessary for deliberation of crucial defence and security policies. Instead of thoroughly analysing all the interlinked elements of the strategic documents, the public debate, both during the organised events and in the media, focused on the several most problematic points due to the lack of time (1).

The public is consulted in the process of shaping defence policies only formally. During the official discussion on strategic documents, faced with a series of questions from the participants, MoD representatives stated that the debate was not meant for someone to answer questions, but rather for different actors to hear each other [1]. Hence the impression is that the official debate represented a simulation of democratic procedures and was organised to satisfy the formal criteria, considering that public had no other opportunity to obtain clarifications and answers regarding the draft strategic documents, much less to debate possible amendments with the MoD. According to the MoD, the Ministry responded in writing to all questions regarding the draft strategic documents. As part of the public debate process, the Ministry received comments some of which were accepted and incorporated into the draft texts of the said documents. Also, the MoD indicates it drew up a report on the conducted public debate, which included the reasons why some of the comments were not accepted. The aforementioned report was posted on the MoD website.

Interested citizens, experts and civil society have been completely excluded from the drafting process of strategic documents. Since November 2016, an interministerial working group, formed to draft new strategies, operated behind closed doors, whereas the general and expert public remained deprived of the information and were not consulted in the process [1]. The working group comprised of representatives of the MoD, the General Secretariat of the President of the Republic, other relevant ministries, BIA and the European Integration Office. At the very end of the process, the MoD published draft strategies on its website, where all the interested parties could access the documents and engage in the public discussion. Since the MoD left only two weeks for the public hearing and did not promote it in a timely and appropriate manner through media [2], it can be concluded that the discussion only took place to satisfy the formal criteria.

There is ample evidence of a wide-ranging and enduring debate within the executive, legislature, and public over defence-related matters, although the topic of corruption only surfaces intermittently as incidents surface [1]. Academia and media regularly discuss defence matters and generally provide balanced arguments [2]. There also appears to be some effort by the government to improve its engagement with the public [3, 4].

There is a consistent effort to articulate the scope and scale of security threats faced by the country [1], and linking these challenges to procurement decisions and defence spending [2] , as well as operational requirements [3, 4]. The Parliamentary Committee of Supply debated on F-35 purchase. [5]
However, these debates remain focussed on broader strategic and policy matters, with procurement and operational aspects remaining consistently opaque.

Although there is an increasing interest in public feedback on National Service, the government maintains opaque on defence procurement processes and military operations. There is an advisory council comprised of members of the government and individuals from various industries as well as opposition parties, which makes recommendations that may be incorporated into policy and strategy [1, 2]. While the Advisory Council on Community Relations in Defence (ACCORD) and the Government Parliamentary Committee for Defence and Foreign Affairs (GPC-DFA) have provided input on several aspects of defence policy (such as welfare), there is no evidence that public consultations on procurement have taken place.

The public can easily access defence policy documents on MINDEF’s website, as well as other affiliated agencies [1, 2], although these are largely superficial and do not articulate and justify Singapore’s defence policies and procurement activities. What is often assumed to be Singapore’s defence white paper, “Defending Singapore in the 21st Century” was published in 2000 but it lacks the analytical rigour of typical defence white papers published by other countries. It is accessible as an e-book together with other ‘commemorative’ books on the MINDEF website [3]. Moreover, the government does not release documents ahead of official publication for public discussion or debate [4].

The South African Defence Review 2012 was undertaken by a committee that included a public participation programme that engaged with key stakeholder organisations and civil society over a period of sixth months. The outcome of the review was the 2014 Defence Review, which in turn, received scrutiny through parliamentary oversight through the Joint Standing Committee on Defence [1].
While contentious, the 2014 Defence Review remains evidence of a relatively robust combination of parliamentary oversight and public and formal consultation, coupled with comprehensive media coverage enabled by publicly available materials. The Defence Review is South Africa’s overarching national defence policy and guiding strategy legislation [2]. However, since the adoption of the Defence Review, there has been very little progress made in adopting its recommendations; largely as a result of a declining defence budget, which both the minister and the South African National Defence Force’s (SANDF) senior command have been powerless to prevent or reverse. This has largely rendered the Defence Review irrelevant.

Debate on the Defence Review was undertaken at a relatively sophisticated level in some instances, including seminars and conferences held with academic and stakeholder organisations that addressed national security threats, procurement policy, and proposed defence capabilities for operations [1].

Parliamentary oversight committees regularly hold public consultations on defence policy. The 2012~2014 Defence Review has not been replaced by a new process [1]. There are strong indications that the current defence committees are serious about public consultation on defence policy matters and they have begun several positive initiatives, including colloquia and direct engagements with outside experts. The defence department, as a whole, does not do enough public consultation at this level of policy [2].

Documents for the Defence Review were made available to the public during the public participation programme [1]. The subsequent 2014 draft of the Defence Review was made available for parliamentary oversight (albeit, that oversight was delayed by the oversight committee itself). In essence, however, the process was relatively transparent.

In South Korea, national defence policy is publicly discussed among the executive, lawmakers and public. Due to the defence and security environment in the divided Korean peninsula, the public has shown significant attention to defence policy in comparison with other policy. [1] The media actively cover stories on it and is likely to focus more on defence policy or security strategy relating to North Korea. [2] [3] [4] The National Defence Committee at the National Assembly actively engages in reviewing defence policy through the committee’s official meetings or open forums by regularly inviting the government and media (see Q6). The executive also encourages the public to participate in discussing defence policy. As part of the current government’s "Defence Reform 2.0" agenda, which includes mid-term defence policy plans, the “Defence Budget Conference with Citizens” occurred in May 2018, to reflect citizens’ ideas on the 2019 defence budget plan. Through the online public recruitment process, 100 citizens were selected alongside 100 soldiers and 20 defence experts to exchange ideas on the defence budget. Some ideas, including providing winter clothes for soldiers in the service, have been reflected in the approved budget. [5] [6] While overall defence policy is publicly discussed on a regular basis, the discussion on developing the national security strategy, which is often related to North Korea, is carried out within a limited scope, according to a defence expert. [7] The national security strategy reflects the ideas of the President, the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces, and it is likely to be discussed between the President and the ruling party privately, rather than being debated openly. [7]

The Ministry of National Defence (MND) publishes the Defence White Paper twice a year to convey the overall defence policy, security environment and threats, which are mostly related to North Korea, to the public. It includes information on security threats and decisions on procurement, personnel and budget involved in the threats. The use of military operations, including Army, Navy and Air Force is described alongside information on the type of defence arms at each armed force. [1] The MND publishes the mid-term national defence plan, which contains potential defence purchases with the 5 years plan, but it only includes limited information without providing the full detail of each purchase. [2]

There are formal public consultations on defence policy, however, only limited defence policies, which are closely linked to the public, are debated in public consultations. Due to the existence of compulsory conscription for all able-bodied men, the public consultation on the military service policy was launched to receive public opinions. In 2018, the consultation occurred on whether the government allows conscientious objectors to work in prisons instead of completing compulsory military service. [1] [2] As a result of this consultation, the MND introduced legislation allowing conscientious objectors to work in prisons for two years.[3] However, it is difficult to say that public consultations on a wide range of defence policies occur regularly, and it depends on the policy and public interest. [4]

The MND proactively publishes documents on several aspects of defence policies and pending issues on its website. [4] [5].
However, a review of media sources, relevant government publications and interviews with defence journalists indicate that limited information and documents are available in detail. [1] [2] For example, the mid-term national defence plan published by the MND does not disclose the full detail of potential defence purchases, although defence purchases require significant amounts of the defence budget in the long-term. [3]

The formulation of the SPLA White Paper on Defence, for instance, involved only the executive and the National Legislative Assembly (NLA). There is evidence to suggest that the military and the Committee engaged the media. The reason for media outreach, however, was to allay fears about what Khartoum would think as, at the time, the country was still joined as a result of the interim period preceding secession in 2011. [1] Debates were limited to members of the National Legislative Assembly [2]. At the time also, the civil society landscape was thin or non-existent. South Sudan’s nascent civil society began to emerge only after independence.

Historically, major threats elicit discussion, dating as far back as when the SPLA White Paper on Defence was drafted, [1] e.g. the threat of invasion from the North. Security incidents, such as the random shootings attributed to the phenomenon of the “unknown gunmen”, tend to spark discussion within the Committee of Security, Defence, and Public Order, resulting in summons of the ministers responsible. [2] Long-term strategic issues do not appear to be of interest to the Committee members. For instance, in January 2018, South Sudan and South Africa signed a military defence pact. [3] To date, it appears that the issue has not been discussed in the National Legislative Assembly. [4] Furthermore, there are no media reports to indicate that members of the Assembly have reached out to the public on the matter.

Although the SPLA White Paper on Defence was developed in March 2008, there is scant evidence to suggest that the final draft involved wide consultation that included civil society and other segments of the population. [1] There is no reference in the text to a process of wide consultation. Nevertheless, when the National Security Policy was drafted in 2013, the process involved a country-wide consultation that involved state governments, state legislatures, state judiciaries, women, youth, civil society organisations, traditional authorities and religious leaders. An estimated 4,000 people were involved in the consultation. [2] But in the last five years, there has been no formal review that involved consultations. [3]

Access to official defence documents is difficult. First, there is no culture of accountability to the public. [1] The need to make documents available to the public is hindered by this lack of a culture of being accountable to the public. The documents may be in the possession of senior officials and a limited number of copies may be printed. But mass circulation to the public is missing. Government offices often lack printers, computers and electricity, meaning that the resources needed to print official documents in large numbers for the public are unavailable. Also, all parts of the policy may not be available to the public. For example, while the SPLA White Paper on Defence (which is a public document) contains all the information that may be of interest to the public, documents on a key component of the White Paper – Force Transformation – are not available to the public. Then there is also the issue of the restrictive political environment in the country, which deters access to such documents and hinders research on security and defence matters in general. [2]

The main defence policies are created by the government, and there is no in-depth debate in Parliament, which receives defence policies for information purposes, although there are customary parliamentary mechanisms to request explanations from the minister.

The 2017 National Security Strategy received considerable media coverage, consisting mainly of short news stories in the media and specialised organisations. Since 2014, there have been analyses of the Department of National Security as well, but it is very limited and includes articles from academic think tanks and civil society entities carried out afterwards, and with no capacity to modify its contents [1, 2, 3].

In both cases, these are documents that serve to set the main guidelines for the defence of the country, but which are developed with specific legislative measures that are the subject of a more in-depth parliamentary debate [4].

Since 2014, the National Security Department of the Cabinet of the Presidency of the Government annually publishes a detailed national security report in which security threats and the government’s strategy in this regard are analysed in-depth. However, it lacks specificity on the relationship between budget forecasts, arms procurement, and needs based on responses to identified security threats [1]. The publicly available content of defence policies is limited.

The 2017 National Security Strategy focuses on security threats with general references to issues related to the country’s modernisation and military capabilities, with detailed information on the objectives and lines of action, as well as the decision-making structure regarding security [2]. The 2020 National Security Directive, like its 2012 predecessor, briefly shows the defence policy lines of the current government [3].

Institutions and mass media report and analyse National Security Strategy and related documents when they are made public, moreover a few civil society organisations that specialise in security contribute to the public debate on national security strategies in Spain [4, 5, 6].

The process of preparing the National Security Strategy and the annual national security reports incorporates government experts from various ministries. An increase in the participation of non-governmental experts was announced in the 2019 report, “one hundred and sixteen experts from the administration, the private sector and the fields of science have participated in the 2019/2022 National Security Risk Analysis and research” [1], although there is no information about experts’ affiliation or ideology, there used to be members of think tanks close to the Ministry of Defence such as Elcano or the Instituto Español de Estudios Estratégicos (IEEE), professors, and experts on defence and security among others [2, 3].

Both the Ministry of Defence and the Department of National Security of the Cabinet of the Presidency of the Government publish the main national security documents online once they have been approved, in their final version [1]. This must be added to the government’s Transparency Portal [2].

Prior to the 2018-19 popular uprisings that resulted in the ouster of former President Bashir and his government, little information about Sudan’s defence policy or security strategy was accessible to the public or even to ministries. Bashir had directly and opaquely issued instructions or otherwise indicated his tolerance of or support for various paramilitary commanders and forces, to form a security sector in which various actors checked other actors’ prospects of gaining enough power to challenge him or his regime [1]. While the 2005 constitution recognised press freedom, in reality, ‘authorities censor[ed] the media by confiscating newspapers and targeting journalists… [T]he government…instructed editors not to cross certain ‘red lines’ in their coverage, which implies not publishing articles which portray elections negatively, criticise the armed forces or the government’s economic policy, report low voter turnout, mention the situation in Darfur or the armed conflicts in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile. The government…also imposed severe restrictions on the operation and mandates of civil society organisations, and a number have been forcibly closed’ [2]. With the transitional processes, there was initially some government tolerance of limited debate, for example, about the need for the soldiers who committed atrocities during the June 2019 massacre in Khartoum to be held accountable. However, near the end of 2020, the International Federation of Journalists reported that security forces had made efforts to prevent the media from reporting on the demonstrations drawing attention to violent crackdowns on civilian protests [3]. The Federation further reported that the government used COVID-19 as a pretext for initiating new laws that allow ‘heavy punishment of critical reporting’ [3]. Human Rights Watch reported that on July 18, 2020, the army appointed ‘a special commissioner’ to prosecute people ‘who ‘insult’ the military online, both inside and outside the country’ [4]. The hostility towards and threats against the media effectively continue to inhibit open debate even about individual actions by defence and security forces, let alone about broader defence or security strategy – or urgently needed security sector reform.

Debate concerning defence policy and security strategy has long been almost entirely obstructed by a lack of verifiable information about actual policy, strategy and resources related to the defence and security sectors, as well as by a fear of reprisal by the regime’s formal and informally aligned institutions [1]. Under the Bashir regime, there was no debate at all regarding defence policy or security strategy. Debate in 2019-2020 did not focus primarily on policy or strategy, but rather on the transcendent issue of who will get to make, execute and monitor policy and strategy. It has focussed especially on the establishment of different interest groups and their ability to use transitional structures and processes to entrench or change the extent to which long-standing military, paramilitary and other armed forces leaders can continue to privately and opaquely amass and distribute resources through long-standing patronage systems, or whether they will yield to civilian leadership and oversight of defence and security sectors. Numerous sources have flagged that, while some transitional processes seem to indicate positive momentum towards peaceful transition, in fact, this ‘progress’ has left behind Sudanese civil society and even the FFC members who are themselves part of the Sovereignty Council – instead being largely led and negotiated by military members of the Council and militarised counterparts that are not legitimate representatives of the civilian populations where they operate [2,3].

Former President Bashir’s regime did not consult the public about national defence policy or national security strategy. Two experts on Sudan’s defence sector confirmed this [1,2]. To the extent that the Forces for Freedom and Change, and the neighbourhood resistance committees that helped to catalyse the end of President Bashir’s government, are representative of the public, one could say that the negotiations that ultimately led to the establishment of the 2019 Constitution document were a type of formal public consultation. However, the consultation was hardly voluntary on the part of the military, which – as demonstrated by a Middle East Eye article and other articles by Mohammed Amin in Sudan – was heavily pressured by Sudanese protestors and the international community into participating in consultations with civilian groups [3]. However, this consultation was focussed on drafting the Constitutional Charter, not on defence or national security strategy or policy. Moreover, since then, military and civilian leadership on defence and security priorities and initiatives has largely moved forward without substantial consultation with the public. Specifically, no national security or defence strategy has been shared or discussed publicly at all. In November 2020, resistance committee members walked out of a meeting called by the FFC to discuss moving forward with the appointment of a transitional legislative council, accusing the FFC of failing to adequately include or consult them when agreeing to the number of seats apportioned to rebel groups and others in the Juba Peace Agreement the previous month [4].

A search of the Ministry of Defence’s online library in mid-2020 found that the most recent policy or strategy document available (concerning the whole of government, not specific to defence and security) was for 2017 [1]. Since there is no evidence that transitional institutions have yet completed a defence policy or security strategy document, which a security sector expert independently verified in a phone interview [2], it can be concluded that the transitional government has not yet shared this information. A report published by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies in November 2020 notes that, while Article 8.12 of the Constitutional Charter designates the military as the actor responsible for reforming itself, this ‘overlooks the fact that in a democracy, civilians have a vital role in setting the vision and strategic policy of the security sector. Likewise, members of parliament and civil society have important oversight functions’ [3].

The Swedish defence policy is discussed and prepared by the government, the Defence Commission, and the Parliamentary Defence Committee, and then debated and passed as a bill in parliament, which ensures broad multi-party support and parliamentary involvement (see Q1 and Q2). Parliamentary debates can be atteneded by anyone, and they are also normally televised or streamed online. The most contentious issues which the defence policy addresses – such as the combat readiness of the Swedish Armed Forces (SAF), relations with NATO, reinstated universal conscription, upcoming major arms procurements, and so on – are widely and regularly debated by the public and the media [1] [2] [3]. A conference on defence and security issues is held annually by Folk & Försvar, to which senior figures from the defence establishment, politicians, industry representatives, the media, and some civil society organisations are invited [4].

Discussions in parliament regarding defence policy, including the five year defence resolutions, are in-depth and address topics such as the security threats that the country is facing, procurements and the level of defence spending, the link between threats and decisions on procurement, personnel, and budget, and the SAF operational capability [1].

Public consultations on defence policy and the security strategy are a regular occurrence, and an important part of the Defence Committee’s scrutiny. For instance, in 2018, the Defence Committee held a public hearing on cybersecuriy with relevant government agencies and ministries [1] [2]. Hearings are advertised on the Committees website and often broadcasted live on public television [3]. The findings in these hearings are then incorporated into Committee recommendations for defence policy and defence budgets (see also Q2A).

All documents pertaining to Swedish defence policy are defined as public information and are available to the public according to the Public Access Law [1] as well as the Law on Freedom of the Press [2]. Defence policy is published well in advance of parliamentary votes. For instance, the government’s 2015 defence resolution [3] was published in April, and the final vote in parliament was held in June. This general time frame seems to be followed consistently every time a new defence resoultion is published, which is every fifth year (see also Q1B).

All defence planning is based in the Federal Councils’ strategy (“Rüstungsstrategie”) [1]. The first step in defence planning is the so-called MASTERPLAN developed by the General Staff. It covers the planning for eight years and the MASTERPLAN is continuously re-worked. [2]. Parliament plays little to no role in the conception of the plan [3]. However, the Federal Assembly systematically deliberates the implementation of the plan. Every year the government submits a “Message” (“Armeebotschaft”) to Parliament containing a defence spending plan (“Rüstungsprogramm”) and a property plan (“Immobilienprogramm”) which gets discussed in Parliament [4]. Since 2017 the Armeebotschaft also contains so-called framework credits for military materiel [5]. Currently, the Parliament defines the “payment frame” (“Zahlungsrahmen”) for four years. It did so for the first time in 2016 [6]. The “Zahlungsrahmen” is subdivided into several specific credits including financing of current effectiveness and needs, Equipment and Renewal (AEB), Projects, Testing and Procurement preparation (PEB), Ammunition (AMB), and the property plan [4, 6]. Then the Parliament decides on the yearly spending credits. Procurements of a certain size are typically decided and discussed separately by the Parliament. Bigger procurements are subject to a potential referendums. With 100,000 signatures popular initiatives can set the agenda or referenda can be forced by 50,000 signatures (Article 139 of the Swiss Constitution) [7]. Such referenda spur extensive public discussions of strategic and tactical necessity. Especially the purchase of fighter jets have repeatedly led to such referenda [8, 9, 10]. The Swiss government is a broad multiparty coalition and follows the principle of collegiality. Article 177 of the Federal Constitution states that “[t]he Federal Council reaches its decisions as a collegial body” [11]. This ensures that defence policy and strategy is discussed by the executive. The general strategy is discussed and commented in national media, and there are currently efforts underway to charge Parliament with the development and renewal of the strategy every four years [12].

When the Parliament discusses the annual “Armeebotschaft” current threats are regularly discussed. For example, during the discussions around the annual military proposals from 2018 and 2019, there are several mentions in French and German of the current threat profile, namely the role of terrorism and cyberthreats play [1, 2]. Since 2017, the Armeebotschaft also contains so-called framework credits for military materiel. Currently, the Parliament defines then the “payment frame” (“Zahlungsrahmen”) for four years. It did so for the first time in 2016 [3]. The “Zahlungsrahmen” is subdivided into several specific credits including financing of current effectiveness and needs, Equipment and Renewal (AEB), Projects, Testing and Procurement preparation (PEB), Ammunition (AMB), and the property plan[4]. Then the Parliament decides on the yearly spending credits. Procurements reaching a certain size are typically decided and discussed separately by the Parliament. The discussions often go into detail for a specific item and their appropriateness. For example, in the 2018 “Armeebotschaft” one of the most contentious points in the discussions was the procurement of bulletproof vests for 199 million Swiss Francs [1]. As far as operations are concerned, in Switzerland, the discussions are mainly centred on peace promotion and a few operations the Swiss military is involved in. Due to the importance that is given to Switzerland’s self-imposed neutrality (Article 173.1 and Article 185.1 of the Constitution),[5] all operations are very controversial and hence discussed in detail by the Federal Assembly, either specifically [6] or within the framework of a general strategy [7].

In Switzerland, there is a formal consultation mechanism that plays an important role in the creation of legislation and ordinances in general. This is to ensure broad support for proposals and prevent them from being blocked at the end of the process through direct democratic means. However, this does only systematically apply to law projects and for “ordinances and other projects of major political, financial, economic, ecological, social or cultural significance” (Article 3.1 CPA) [1]. As a consequence, some defence policy proposals or strategic issues will be subject to the consultation procedures some others will not. In practice, this primarily applies to major projects. The government also publishes a Security Policy Report (last time in 2016) [2], which includes non-governmental expert hearings in its preparation [3]. This report is debated in parliament. In combination with the pressures of the direct democratic system, the system in some cases does spur consultation of some non-governmental actors and the inclusion of their feedback.

All non-classified documents that are the basis of parliamentarian deliberations are easily accessible on the Curia Vista portion of the website of the Swiss Federal Assembly [1]. Additionally, the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS) publishes documents, summaries and related information on its website and links to related documents from the parliamentarian process [2]. If it is part of the formal consultation procedures, the “duration of the consultation period is at least three months” (Article 7.1 CPA) [3]. The Parliament Act also lays out time frames: as the Federal Assembly has four regular sessions a year and submissions by the government have typically to happen at least one month before the session [4], There are usually more than four weeks available for scrutiny.

The National Defence Act requires the MND to publish three major documents annually together with the MND’s annual budget proposals to the LY for review: the Report on Mainland China’s Military Forces, the Five-year Force Buildup Plan of the ROC Armed Forces, and the Ministerial Administration Plan. These documents are compiled in-house by the MND and serve as instruments for budget approval by LY [1].

The National Defence Act also requires the MND to publish the National Defence Report (NDR) biannually and submit a Quadrennial Defence Review (QDR) to the LY within ten months after each presidential inauguration in order to inform the public of the government’s defence policies. The latest QDR was published in March 2017, and the latest NDR was released in December 2017. Compilations of these documents help small panels of experts to provide suggestions to the MND [2, 3].

All compilations of these documents are done in-house by the MND, with discussions limited to small and selected panels of experts. Both the latest QDR published in March 2017 and the latest NDR released in December 2017 were compiled in-house by the MND with discussions limited to small and selected panels of experts. Debate within the media and civil society are not taken into account during the compilation of these two documents.

However, the general debate on defence policy and national security is active. It includes legislators, academics, civil society and media.
The “Self-reliant defence” is one of the examples. The concept was proposed by the government and discussed broadly. The media, non-governmental organization, and the public participated in the discussion. The “Self-reliant defence” was written in the “Quadrennial Defense Review” year of 2017 and the “National Defense Report” year of 2017 and 2019. The LY invited representatives from executive, academic, and industry to join the public hearing about legalization of self-reliant defense. Taiwan Defense Industry Development Association, which is a civil society organisation, held seminars to discuss the draft of the National Defense Industry Development Act in 2018. The National Defense Industry Development Act conducted by the Executive Yuan was passed by the LY on May 31st 2019. [4,5,6,7,8]

Key issues concerning national defence and military security are illustrated and orchestrated by the MND in these official reports, ranging from strategic security environment and related threats, overall defense concept (ODC), resource allocations including defence spending and personnel management, military building-up for training and procurements, and the pol-mil interactions [1, 2, 3, 4].

These documents are compiled in-house by the MND with discussion limited to small and selected panels of experts. As critics have highlighted, discussions of these government papers on defence policy focus primarily on direct threats from China; public attention is not drawn towards the level of defence spending and defence resources.

The general debate on national security concentrates mainly on major threats (potential and existing), and level of defence spending [5,6,7,8]

Meetings and panel discussions of experts are part of the processes of compiling these official documents. However, probably due to the specilities of defence and security, the defence policy and strategy are only debated amongst the executive branches, legislators, and specific interest groups. The discussions, debates, and consultations of defence policy and strategy are rarely observed in the public sphere [1, 2].

Specific interest groups in Taiwan’s defence sector ( e.g. media or political PR companies) are mainly comprised of proxies of defence contractors domestic and foreign, academics, and the media.

The National Defence Act also requires the MND to publish the National Defence Report (NDR) bianually and submit a Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) to the LY within 10 months after each presidential inauguration. These two documents, published in Chinese and English versions, are available to the domestic and foreign public in print and online, and serve as the primary means through which Taiwan’s defence policy, military stratregy, and security information are made transparent to the public [1, 2]. The National Defence Act also requires the MND to send three major defence documents in the third quater of each fiscal year, together with the MND annual budget proposals to the LY for review. However, both the National Security Strategy and the National Defence Strategy were not compiled or released from 2015 to 2020 [3].

The National Defence Policy of 2004 is the extant policy, but the security environment has changed so much that it is no longer relevant. Issues of policy and strategy are raised by the government, for example in the Minister for Defence’s annual budget speech which mentions any threats, such as the situation in Mozambique. However, there are no public debates on shaping a policy or strategic response to this. [1]

There is very limited public discussion in parliament, by the executive or in the media about security issues, particularly if they involve external threats. An example of this is the conflict in Northern Mozambique, and a related attack in Southern Tanzania in October 2020. The Tanzania attack, on 14 October, was not reported by the country’s leading English language newspaper until a week later. [1]

The Standing Committee for Foreign Affairs, Defence, and Security has called every year since 2016 for a new policy to be formulated and been ignored, so there is no scope for the committee to consult with the public. [1]

Getting any detail of security strategy and defence policy is not easy. No significant documentation on the structure or size of the military, its domestic and international roles, or management processes are available. The website of the Ministry of Defence and National Service was visited. No significant documentation was available. Links to websites for the Tanzania People’s Defence Force and Tanzania National Service were not working as of May 7, 2021. [1]

During the NCPO’s regime, US-based think tank Freedom House criticised the NCPO’s far-reaching bans on political association and activity as well as its systematic use of censorship and intimidation to suppress dissent in the press, in academia or online, demonstrating the lack of public debate on defence policy in Thailand [1]. Even during the general election in 2019, TV host Orawan Choodee was removed from the debate programme ‘Election War ’19’ after she allowed 100 students attending the televised debate on 28 February to voice their opposition to the NCPO government’s agenda [2].

After the election, the government of PM Prayut Chan-ocha finally released Thailand’s 2019–22 National Security Policy and Plan, which had long been prepared by the NCPO [3]. The plan was designed based on the 2017-2021 National Security Policy and the 2018-2020 National Security Plan, which were implemented through the use of the Internal Security Operations Command, suppressing their public critics [4]. According to Nikkei Asian Review, this means that Thailand’s ruling generals will ensure the country remains in their grip for at least the next 20 years through the implementation of the national strategy. Lawmakers described this move as the making of a ‘Thai-style military state’ as it rewrote the political landscape of the future to protect the military’s interests [5].

After the general election in 2019, a public discussion was finally conducted in parliament for the first time in five years [6]. However, defence policy was not widely discussed due to the influence of senators and the fact that parliament, as well as any successive government, could not implement any policies that contradict the 20-year national reform strategic plan laid out by the NCPO; in other words, the voters’ electoral mandate was less meaningful because the elected government was placed under the control of the unelected minority elites, with the military at the top of the power structure [7].

Once parliamentary debate returned, some major issues relating to defence policy and national security were discussed, as illustrated by the following examples. In June 2019, the national reform plan drafted by the NCPO was brought into question, including the freedom of expression issue, criminal justice system reforms and corruption scandals in the military [1]. In July 2019, the opposition party addressed the problem of defence policy for South Thailand insurgency, the use of martial law and military conscription [2]. In January 2020, the House debated the 3.2-trillion-baht budget bill for the 2020 fiscal year and lawmakers debated, at length, Section 8 of the bill, which involves the Ministry of Defence’s proposed budget. The focus of their criticism was the planned purchase of two submarines worth 22.5 billion baht [3].

After the NCPO staged a coup in 2014, there were not any public consultations for four years [1]. The members of the Senate, who should be elected professionals and experts representing 10 professional and social groups, such as bureaucrats, teachers, judges, farmers and private companies, were also appointed by the junta shortly before the general election [2,3]. Of the 250 seats, a large majority were hand-picked by the ruling National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO). A further six were reserved for the armed forces leaders, the supreme commander, the defence permanent secretary and the national police chief [3]. Critics said the plan is a tool to prolong the power of the military junta and to reduce the chance of public consultations [4]. Additionally, the 2019-2022 policy formulation process did not involve consultations with public actors. After the election, the government of PM Prayut Chan-ocha launched Thailand’s 2019–22 National Security Policy and Plan, which had long been prepared by the NCPO based on the 2017-2021 National Security Policy and the 2018-2020 National Security Plan, implemented through the use of Internal Security Operations Command [5].

According to Section 65 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand, the State should develop a national strategy to be employed as the country’s goal for sustainable national development. As a result, the National Strategy Act 2017 was drawn up and the National Strategy Committee (NSC) has been mandated to develop the draft National Strategy, which includes long-term defence policy [1]. Subsequently, the MoD revised and published the MoD action plan 2016-2019 to present the ministry’s defence and national security strategy [2].

It should be noted that Thailand created the Official Information Act in 1997. This act allows citizens and, to a more limited extent, non-citizens to demand information, which is not in a public document, from all levels of government. However, there are some vague categories of exemption, including national security, and implementation needs significant improvement. For example, Section 15 states that the disclosure of official information that can jeopardise national security, international relations or national economic or financial security is prohibited [3]; therefore, it is questionable whether or not the information accessible to the public presents all significant matters.

According to our sources, the legislative council have on many occasions debated the defence and security policy, however, these debates were not in-depth and lack many aspects such as recommendations and publicity. Besides that, the nature of the debate remains outside NGOs and media outlets(1,2). The Assembly of Peoples’ Representatives held multiple general sessions to hear the Ministries of Defence and the Interior (3). Various issues have been debated with the Minister of Defence in particular, on the disposition of its department to ensure public safety, the strategy adopted in this framework and the national service (4). Also, the Defence and Security committee held hearing sessions with Ministers of Justice, Interior, and Defence to discuss various threats to public safety (5).

According to our sources, there is a variety of levels of discussion that range from superficial to real debates on serious issues( terrorism). These discussions lack clear recommendations and follow up. Therefore, the debates do no cover all defence and security aspects(1,2). Before the Defence and Security committee, various issues have been discussed with the Ministers of Defence, Interior and Justice including terrorism, measures taken to manage the return of Tunisian fighters abroad, intelligence, national service, measures taken to protect national borders, measures taken to improve the salaries of the pilots of the air force, etc. (3). Level of defence spending is discussed in a general way without addressing the details (4).

There has been public debate on the legislation regarding the declaration of a national emergency, specifically about the MoD announcement of the need for reformulating or adopting a new law regulating the declaration of national emergency (5).

According to our sources, until today, the experience of Tunis is to keep discussions and debates on military and security within the official and governmental institutions(1,2). There is no formal consultation of the public and there is no evidence that such consultations exist (3).

Some information relating to the security strategy is made public. The National strategy on combating extremism and terrorism which contains some elements about how security forces plan to combat terrorism is available online (1,2,3). However, official information and documents about defence policy could not be found. The website of the Ministry of Defence contains a section dedicated to access of information and administrative documents but there are no published documents concerning defence policy on this website (4).

The Secretary of the National Security Council, the state institution in charge of the development of the National Security Policy Document (MGSB), has been dysfunctional since summer 2018 and there is ongoing institutional confusion as to which state apparatus is in charge of the development/coordination of the MGSB [1]. Traditionally speaking, neither parliament nor civil society has access to the debates around this ‘cosmic top secret’ document [2]. I conducted open-source research and did not find a single report/opinion piece reviewing how, by whom or through which mechanisms this document is to be updated in parallel with the transformation from a parliamentary system to an executive presidency. However, my sources at the Turkish General Staff and Ministry of Defence underline that there has been coordination between the Ministry of Defence and the presidential palace to update the document.

So, overall, we may suggest that there seems to be a coordination process between the Ministry of Defence and the presidential palace, in which both parliament and civil society actors, such as academia and think tanks, are excluded [3]. Interviewee 1’s observations confirm these suggestions [4]. Yaprak Gursoy has written a good book chapter about the production process and scope of the National Security Document [5].

After the coup on September 12, 1980, the institutionalisation of the ‘national security state’ reached its peak and, since summer 2018, President Erdogan’s cabinet has enjoyed the secrecy and privileges of this institutional framework, keeping defence policy and military strategy-making processes away from the scrutiny of parliament and civil society. Currently, neither parliament nor civil society actors, such as academia and think tanks, are involved in defence policy or military strategy-making processes. In Erdogan’s super presidency, as in the past, defence/security polices are considered ‘high politics’, which should be developed and implemented in close circles, behind closed doors at the presidential palace. There are three main strategy documents, listed below, which shape the defence and military strategy-making processes in Turkey [1]. They all are ‘top secret’ documents that are not accessible to the public.

• National Security Policy Document (MGSB): a framework national strategy document, commonly known as the ‘Red Book’ in Turkey, currently being developed between the presidential palace and the Ministry of Defence.

• National Military Strategy of Turkey (TUMAS – Turkiye’nin Milli Askeri Stratejisi): this document defines the general framework for military strategic planning and threat perceptions of Turkey, but is generally vague on the operational and military intelligence side of the story. Mainly shaped by the Ministry of Defence and the Presidency of National Intelligence (MIT) [2].

• Strategic Targets Plan (SHP): primary budgeting and procurement document, based on the TUMAS and Operational Requirements Plan (ORP). Mainly developed between the Ministry of Defence and the Presidency of Defence Industries [3].

In terms of the scope and quality of independent/critical debate and public discussions on defence/security policy and national security issues in Turkey, in light of the existing open-source materials, one would assert that debate in Turkey is not fully free, overly politicised over party lines and not data-driven. That is why the scope of debate is limited and is run in a partisan fashion. The ideologicial rivalries among the strategic community also toxifies the quality of the debate. These setbacks create problems with transperancy and accountability.

From time to time, the presidential palace and Ministry of Defence invite scholars and experts (mainly pro-government ones since the start of super presidency) to deliver their opinions/suggestions, which are then used to develop the three strategy documents. Interviewee 2 emphasised that he has been called to the presidency several times for consultation [1].

In addition, the Security and Foreign Policy Committee formed under the presidential palace as an advisory board to provide assessments to the executive bodies. Nine members of the council are academics and there are also professional advisors and journalists with personal connections to the president. As with all the other presidential committees, the President is the official chair of the Security and Foreign Policy Committee [2]. However, in practice, İbrahim Kalın, the Chief Advisor to the President, currently acts as the deputy chair. Members of the Security and Foreign Policy Committee and the team of advisors within the presidency are publicly known; we have also managed to identify some of the un-appointed advisors from outside the presidency. In security and defence policy, the government effectively benefits from the output of pro-government think tanks such as SETA (Siyaset, Ekonomi ve Toplum Araştırmaları Vakfı, the Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research). The co-opted experts produce evidence for, support, and legitimise the defence policy re-orientation. [3]

It is worth noting the apparent lack of appointed members with formal connections to the MIT, the regular military or former or current diplomats, who one would assume could provide valuable information/knowledge on defence/security policy developments. It is also worth noting that the committee has no permanent secretary, meaning that there is no regulative mechanism delivering the committee’s recommendations to the President in an institutional fashion [2].

Please note that the three strategic documents presented above are classified as the ‘Cosmic Top Secret’ level of secrecy, meaning that even upper-mid level officers and defence officials cannot access them. Interviewee 3, who served as a top-level general in the Turkish General Staff, emphasised that even he had limited access to these documents [1]. Interviewee 6 said that, despite his service at the top level of the Ministry of Defence, he could not see the copies of these top strategic documents [2].

Put simply, there is no official publication about the strategy published by the Ministry of Defence or any other defence/security institution in Turkey that is publicly accessible.

There are a few instances where debates on defence policy take place on the floor of Parliament and at the executive [1]. However, on many occasions, these debates indicate that Parliament had a rough time with the defence and Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) [2] officials as they demanded answers. There is also limited public involvement in the debate and discussion on defence policy, security strategy, and a few of those individuals or groups involved are usually those already in the security circles. There are cases where the public can only discuss some of these issues when they are meeting their representatives at Parliament. However, even politicians have very little say on certain issues which affect their constituents [3]. At some point, politicians demanded that the UPDF withdraw the army from the lakes, but the army responded, saying that the Parliament did not have that power [4]. With a few exceptions, such as media interviews and op-eds, the debate and discussions in the defence sector are usually in the executive or Parliament. Therefore, defence issues are usually confined and debated in Parliament and the executive.

The Ministry of Defence and Veterans Affairs (MoDVA) has often informed the Parliament and the country, in general, of imminent security threats [1]. The public is not able to verify them since there are no mechanisms of doing so. Policy and strategy are often debated at least twice a year; however, classified materials are never debated on the floor of Parliament. However, some of the scandals are revealed and known to the public by the press [2]. There are many classified budgets by the ministry of defence and veteran affairs [3]. Also, personnel and classified budgets are debated by only a select team of MPs (sub-committee) and defence sector players. The select team or sub-committee never presents a report to Parliament, and therefore not all MPs are privy to the debate on personnel and classified budget. Corruption may occur because the sub-committee members can be bribed or paid to just approve the procurement plans, or not question why certain decisions have been taken or will be taken. The defence sector can also inflate costs or numbers of personnel or present huge budgets which do not match the actual need and also existing threats may be overhyped to increase funding to the sector. Some of these issues normally come up during the Public Accounts Committee and MoDVA interactions in Parliament [4]. There are limited debates by NGOs on defence and security issues. In many instances, media houses have been closed because of discussing security and defence issues [5].

The defence sector, has in the last five years, held formal consultations which it has called annual review meetings. However, participants at these meetings are from supportive government agencies within the sector or those funded by the government, such as the parliamentary Committee on Defence and Internal Affairs and Presidential Affairs. The Ministry of Defence organises the annual sector review and usually invites the Internal Security Organisation and External Security Organisation to the annual security review workshop. The workshop aims at enhancing cooperation in performance measurement, effective planning and management [1, 2]. Only a few opposition politicians are occasionally invited to participate during such meetings.

There is a low level of transparency in the sector because the public is usually given partial information in the guise of not exposing the country’s strategy and plans to exist and potential enemies [1]. The public, however, has access to the policies, strategies and non-classified budgets of the sector. The ministerial policy statement for defence discloses information that is accessible to the public, particularly on the ministry of finance website and parliament. The MoDVA website has also a number of documents that the public can access to use and also gain insight into what drives the security sector, what has been done and the vision for the future [2, 3]. The public can access Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) magazines press releases, leadership and organogram of the ministry, ranks and insignia of personnel and also the White Paper on Defence Transformation, UPDF Act and Code of Conduct.

The main defence policies and security strategy are debated by the executive, the president, the legislature and the public, although the latter three seem to be more active than the executive. These debates mostly come up at the phase of defence policies and security strategy development, consideration by the Rada, and some period after they are adopted. Public debates include interviews [1], op-eds [2] and articles [3]. Nevertheless, there is no evidence that these debates are sustained over time as well as no evidence of in-depth dialogue with the media or civil society actors. Even though the Centre for Support of Reforms and the National Reforms Council are supposed to be debate platforms, there is no evidence [4] of valuable government-to-civil society discussions on defence and security as well as civil societies influence on these issues.

In their debates around the defence policies and security strategy in Ukraine the executive, the president, the VRU and the public address issues such as security threats, approaches to drafting policies, recommendations on the alteration of those policies [1, 2], conceptual issues [3], conceptual alterations [4], in-depth analyses [5], and even alternative versions drafted by CSOs [6]. These discussions also address issues of procurement decisions [7, 8] and the use of defence capabilities [9]. At the same time, in-depth discussions are not widespread among all actors (the executive, the president, the VRU and the public) are more common for civil society and few MPs. Additionally, these in-depth discussions occur mostly in regards to the most important defence policies and security strategies, and normally they do not bring up issues of procurement decisions (5-year plan).

There is a lack of evidence that the government holds formal, regular public consultations on defence policy and security strategy; main defence policies come into force when revised by the government (i.e. the Law of Ukraine № 2268-VIII: On the peculiarities of the state policy of ensuring the state sovereignty of Ukraine in temporarily occupied territories in the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts). If CSO representatives participate in some consultations on defence policies, they tend to be able to discuss, but not to influence the government’s decisions. At the same time, CSOs contribute to miscellaneous issues i.e. the Annual National Program Ukraine-NATO, the development of the MoD Anticorruption Program [1] as well as contribute to the development and advocacy of draft laws on defence [2].

The main defence policies and security strategy are easily available on the VRU and President of Ukraine official websites. However, there are exceptions such as the State Target Program for the Reform and Development of the Defence Industrial Complex of Ukraine 2021 [1]. At the same time, defence policies at the operational and tactical level are not always publicly available. For instance: State Defence Order [3] or some of the NSDC decisions [4]. Although the Ukrainian State Defence Order is a classified document, according to the Ukrainian legislation, its analogous documents in Western countries are publicly available. Moreover, relevant drafts are not always released at least four weeks before decisions are made. For instance, the draft Law of Ukraine On the peculiarities of the state policy of ensuring the state sovereignty of Ukraine in temporarily occupied territories in the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts was introduced to the VRU on October 4, 2017, with the first reading taking place only two days later, on October 6, 2017 [2].

There is no evidence of any public debate over the country’s national defence policy or a national security strategy debate in the UAE (1). The debates and discussions taking place within the FNC’s session focus on restrictions over internet use, mixed marriages and environmental matters. Defence and security policies are confidential and not available to the public or researchers (2), (3).

This sub-indicator has been marked as Not Applicable, as there is no evidence of the national defence policy or the national security strategy being debated in the parliament because such debate does not exist (1), (2).

This sub-indicator has been marked as Not Applicable, as there is no evidence of the national defence policy or the national security strategy being debated in the parliament because such debate does not exist (1), (2).

In the UAE, documents on the defence policy or security strategy are not released to the public at all. Official government websites, particularly the Ministry of Defence, do not publish any information about defence policies or strategies (1). There is a high level of self-censorship over the publication of any of defence documents or triggering debate over them (2), (3).

The UK’s defence policy and national security strategy is debated by the executive [1], the legislative [2, 3] and the public [4, 5]. Public debate involved the media, and includes interviews, op-eds, articles [2, 5].

Discussion is in-depth, and addresses all of the following issues: clear articulation of the security threats that the country is facing [1], procurement decisions (5 year plan) and level of defence spending [2], link between threats and decisions on procurement, personnel, and budget [3], use of defence capability (operations) [4].

Research suggests that formal consultations on defence policy exist and that they take place regularly. For example, formal public consultations were held following the launch of the Modernising Defence Programme [1], and of the Strategy for Veterans [2]. However, while public consultations are held, it appears that they are not held on all major subjects concerning defence policy/security strategy, and it is not clear to what extent subsequent findings are incorporated [1, 2]. It is also worth noting that, while public consultations were held, in 2020, the ‘Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy’, held allegations, coming from civil society representatives, that this consultation process failed to properly engage civil society and lacked transparency [3].

The public can easily access documents and regularly updated information on all aspects of defence policy or security strategy [1, 2] and documents are normally released at least four weeks before decisions are made [2]. In Parliament, Bills undergo multiple stages of debate, and some Bills are published in draft for consultation before introduction in the legislative programme [3].

The National Security Strategy Report (NSS) is published by the executive branch of the United States government [1]. It has been a congressionally mandated annual requirement since the signing of the Goldwater-Nichols Act in 1986, however, President Trump only produced one report since being in office and, similarly, President Obama only produced two reports during his eight-year term [1,2]. The NSS is supposed to review the goals and objectives of the US, propose future uses of political and military power and the means by which the administration intends to achieve its vision [3]. The NSS, however, is often criticised as being a ‘wish list’ rather than a guiding document for budgetary and procurement decisions [4].

The NSS produced by the executive is subsequently absorbed into the National Defense Strategy (NDS), which is produced by the DoD. The 2017 National Defense Authorisation Act (NDAA) replaced the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) with the NDS [5,6]. Previously, the 1997 National Defense Authorisation Act mandated that a QDR would be produced every four years to outline the long-term strategy and priorities of the DoD [7]. The QDR was an unclassified document whereas the NDS is classified, with only an unclassified summary released to the public [5,8]. Finally, the National Military Strategy is the operational version of the NDS, which outlines how the military will execute the goals of the NDS and is produced by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff [9]. The 2018 NDS was reviewed by the Commission on the National Defense Strategy [10]. The Commission was a congressional bipartisan effort [10]. The NDS was produced by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, as an articulation of the NSS produced by the Executive. As such, there is no debate by Congress in the lead-up to publication. In Sec. 942, Title IX, of the NDAA 2017, Congress authorised the Commission on the National Defense Strategy to examine and make recommendations regarding the 2018 National Defense Strategy [11,12]. This independent, bipartisan review was published 11 months after the NDS, so it was a reflection on, not a contribution to, the formulation of the strategy [13].

The publication of the NDS was covered by major news outlets, although not always in great depth [14]. It was covered more widely by various defence-specific media outlets, such as DefenseNews and DefenseOne [15], academic outlets, such as War on the Rocks, and think tanks focused on defence issues, such as Brookings and CSIS [6,16,17]. The mainstream media marked the publication of both the NDS and the Commission’s review, however, there was no sustained engagement during or after this period [18,19,20].

The scope of congressional debate around the annual NDAA is generally fairly extensive and a search of the Congress records shows some debates and reports on defence-related issues. With regard to the National Security Strategy, as it is not legislation, there does not appear to have been extensive debate about the strategy since its publication in December 2017. Debate in the media, and particularly across civil society and the defence community, is extensive. For example, the following articles address security threats, procurement, defence capability and the strategy’s link to US strategy [1,2,3,4,5].

There does not appear to have been any public consultation during the production of the National Defense Strategy prior to its publication in 2018. Historically, it seems that the National Security Strategy is written as a top-down document, which does not involve external contributions [1]. There is evidence that the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review, a supporting strategic document, was influenced by companies with vested interests in an expansive modernisation plan [2].

The National Security Strategy Report is publicly available [1]. The National Defense Strategy is classified and therefore not publicly available, however, an unclassified summary of the NDS was published [2]. The 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review [3], which the NDS replaced, was public, and so the classification of the 2018 NDS reflects a move away from transparency. The National Military Strategy is also classified, with only an unclassified summary published six months after the strategy itself was published [4,5]. The three strategy documents were only made public as they came into effect, although it was known that the DoD was drafting the strategy documents. Supporting policy documents, such as the ‘Nuclear Posture Review’ and the ‘Missile Defence Review’, which outline the policies and strategies that guide the DoD on these issues, are made public [6,7].

The executive has not debated its defence strategy in recent years and very little is known about specific security policies. Announcements made about these policies by the executive or members of the military are occasional, and are only covered by media that have not criticised the regime or that have expressed open support for it [1, 2].

Complaints from social organisations and media about censorship in Venezuela have been exacerbated in recent years with the closure of radio stations and the purchase or expropriation of TV channels, and other actions taken against media that have directly criticised the regime. For this reason, there is no official information about the implementation of security plans, nor are open interviews given to national media that seek to critically investigate the regime’s strategies [3, 4]. The little debate sustained by academics, the press, and social organisations produces risks for actors who criticise the system.

It is common to encounter complaints from media and civil organisations, that maintain critical stances for which journalists and organizational representatives are persecuted, or who experience confiscation of information at the hands of military and intelligence officials [5]. In addition, it is worth considering the limited social control over executive decisions, given that the political and economic crisis has distanced citizens from political debate and diminished their ability to influence decisions, particularly in recent years [6].

The legislative and public debate on defence strategy and policies is conducted based on unofficial information, since the executive does not present documents to the NA and only makes statements through official media that are not critical of the regime [1, 2]. Due to the lack of official information, public discussions are limited and cannot count on reliable information.

Social organisations have compiled cases of corruption in military companies [3], of the direct involvement of military and police officials in criminal activities [4], of violations of human rights taking place in security operations [5], and of crisis situations in the governance of the FANB [6, 7]. However, these cases do not give rise to a broad public debate since media coverage is limited, there are high security risks, and the country’s political and economic crisis diverts the attention of the public.

Although the constitution and the AN’s Internal Regulations allow for consultations with other state entities and with the public for debates on bills, in recent years there have been no calls for public consultations for projects related to security and defence policy [1, 2].

The Defence and Security Committee has requested the participation of FANB entities and MPPD officials for the bill to reform the Code of Military Justice [3], as well as calling on experts in the military academy for the Military Career Law [4] that is currently under discussion. However, these appeals are to specific individuals and no public consultation processes have been opened, as previously done for other bills from other commissions [5]. Despite the calls made by the NA committee to these representatives, there is no evidence to show that they have responded or participated by sending recommendations as requested [6].

In terms of security policies, the government does not make publicly availble any documents that set out detailed policies, nor is it accountable for the implementation of plans, policies, and the budget [1, 2]. Amongst the few documents that have been made publicly available are the Security and Defence Strategy 2015-2019 and the Social and Economic Development Plan for 2013–2019 – the Patria Plan [3, 4]. Both documents present the general guidelines of the security policy in a vague manner without the inclusion of specific indicators or actions. Together with the lack of public policy documents and accountability reports, this prevents the NA and civil society organisations from following up to evaluate whether this proposed strategy is taken into account in defence decisions.

There is debate on defence policy; however, the media, civil society and opposition political parties, particularly the Movement For Democratic Change (MDC), have for the past two decades been focusing on what is now referred to in Zimbabwe as Security Sector Reform (SSR). There is little discussion between the public and the government in respect to this subject. The calls for security sector reform continue to be labelled as part of western sponsored regime change agenda. A researcher at the Zimbabwean Parliament released a paper stating that the calls by Zimbabwean activists and media are literal copy and pastes from western discourse [1]. However, the issues raised by the public are well detailed, specifically outlining that the military must not be involved in politics, that there must be clarity between retirement before deployment to independent commissions and that there must be reform around the involvement of the military in commercial activity [2]. Civil society has also been arguing that an independent complaints mechanism be established against members of the security sector provided in Section 210 of the Zimbabwean Constitution [3, 4].

Discussions on defence policy are largely focused on the political economy of the military, the debates centre around security sector reform. The military in Zimbabwe forms inextricably part of the ruling elite. There is a thin line between the ruling party ZANU-PF, the government, the military and industry in Zimbabwe. The country is not yet at a stage where a citizen can contribute to the details of military strategy and defence policy. Policy opinions are simply not solicited from the public or its organised representatives like civil society organisations and associations [1, 2].

There is no formal consultation of the public concerning defence policy, the closest interaction between the public and government on defence policy is the Zimbabwe Peace and Security Programme, its lack of funding meant that the program could not continue, and the interaction has somehow died with it [1]. According to a former parliamentarian on the Defence and Security Committee, requests to discuss defence policy were denied by the executive branch [2].

There has not been a release of documents as yet to the public relating to defence policy and strategy. However, the impending completion of the Defence Policy provides an opportunity. The government may for once release documents. However, so far, the trend has been that the government of Zimbabwe views any defence and security strategy and policy as classified. This is why all the budgets of the Ministry of Defence are not disaggregated beyond general budget lines.

Country Sort by Country 3a. Scope of involvement Sort By Subindicator 3b. Scope of debate Sort By Subindicator 3c. Public consultations Sort By Subindicator 3d. Transparency Sort By Subindicator
Albania 50 / 100 50 / 100 50 / 100 75 / 100
Algeria 0 / 100 NA 0 / 100 25 / 100
Angola 0 / 100 NA 0 / 100 25 / 100
Argentina 50 / 100 50 / 100 0 / 100 50 / 100
Armenia 100 / 100 50 / 100 75 / 100 75 / 100
Australia 100 / 100 100 / 100 75 / 100 50 / 100
Azerbaijan 25 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100 50 / 100
Bahrain 0 / 100 NA 0 / 100 0 / 100
Bangladesh 0 / 100 25 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Belgium 75 / 100 100 / 100 75 / 100 75 / 100
Bosnia and Herzegovina 0 / 100 NA 0 / 100 0 / 100
Botswana 0 / 100 NA 0 / 100 NA
Brazil 25 / 100 0 / 100 50 / 100 50 / 100
Burkina Faso 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Cameroon 0 / 100 NA 0 / 100 0 / 100
Canada 75 / 100 75 / 100 50 / 100 75 / 100
Chile 50 / 100 50 / 100 50 / 100 25 / 100
China 50 / 100 50 / 100 0 / 100 25 / 100
Colombia 25 / 100 50 / 100 50 / 100 50 / 100
Cote d'Ivoire 0 / 100 NA 0 / 100 25 / 100
Denmark 100 / 100 100 / 100 75 / 100 100 / 100
Egypt 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Estonia 75 / 100 50 / 100 25 / 100 50 / 100
Finland 100 / 100 100 / 100 75 / 100 50 / 100
France 50 / 100 50 / 100 0 / 100 50 / 100
Germany 75 / 100 75 / 100 75 / 100 75 / 100
Ghana 0 / 100 NA 0 / 100 0 / 100
Greece 50 / 100 75 / 100 50 / 100 25 / 100
Hungary 25 / 100 0 / 100 25 / 100 25 / 100
India 50 / 100 50 / 100 0 / 100 50 / 100
Indonesia 75 / 100 100 / 100 50 / 100 25 / 100
Iran 25 / 100 25 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Iraq 25 / 100 50 / 100 25 / 100 25 / 100
Israel 75 / 100 50 / 100 50 / 100 25 / 100
Italy 100 / 100 75 / 100 75 / 100 50 / 100
Japan 75 / 100 75 / 100 50 / 100 75 / 100
Jordan 0 / 100 NA 0 / 100 25 / 100
Kenya 25 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100 50 / 100
Kosovo 25 / 100 NA 0 / 100 0 / 100
Kuwait 50 / 100 0 / 100 25 / 100 0 / 100
Latvia 100 / 100 75 / 100 75 / 100 75 / 100
Lebanon 0 / 100 NA 0 / 100 0 / 100
Lithuania 50 / 100 50 / 100 0 / 100 75 / 100
Malaysia 100 / 100 50 / 100 100 / 100 75 / 100
Mali 50 / 100 50 / 100 50 / 100 50 / 100
Mexico 50 / 100 50 / 100 0 / 100 50 / 100
Montenegro 25 / 100 0 / 100 25 / 100 50 / 100
Morocco 25 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Myanmar 50 / 100 50 / 100 0 / 100 25 / 100
Netherlands 75 / 100 100 / 100 25 / 100 75 / 100
New Zealand 100 / 100 100 / 100 100 / 100 100 / 100
Niger 50 / 100 50 / 100 50 / 100 25 / 100
Nigeria 0 / 100 NA 50 / 100 25 / 100
North Macedonia 100 / 100 50 / 100 50 / 100 75 / 100
Norway 75 / 100 75 / 100 75 / 100 75 / 100
Oman 0 / 100 NA 0 / 100 0 / 100
Palestine 25 / 100 50 / 100 0 / 100 25 / 100
Philippines 50 / 100 25 / 100 50 / 100 50 / 100
Poland 50 / 100 50 / 100 25 / 100 75 / 100
Portugal 25 / 100 75 / 100 25 / 100 50 / 100
Qatar 0 / 100 NA 0 / 100 0 / 100
Russia 25 / 100 50 / 100 0 / 100 50 / 100
Saudi Arabia 0 / 100 NA 0 / 100 25 / 100
Serbia 50 / 100 0 / 100 50 / 100 50 / 100
Singapore 100 / 100 50 / 100 50 / 100 50 / 100
South Africa 75 / 100 75 / 100 75 / 100 75 / 100
South Korea 100 / 100 75 / 100 75 / 100 50 / 100
South Sudan 50 / 100 50 / 100 0 / 100 25 / 100
Spain 50 / 100 50 / 100 75 / 100 75 / 100
Sudan 0 / 100 25 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Sweden 100 / 100 100 / 100 100 / 100 100 / 100
Switzerland 100 / 100 100 / 100 75 / 100 100 / 100
Taiwan 100 / 100 50 / 100 25 / 100 75 / 100
Tanzania 25 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Thailand 25 / 100 100 / 100 0 / 100 50 / 100
Tunisia 50 / 100 50 / 100 0 / 100 25 / 100
Turkey 25 / 100 50 / 100 25 / 100 0 / 100
Uganda 50 / 100 50 / 100 25 / 100 50 / 100
Ukraine 50 / 100 75 / 100 50 / 100 50 / 100
United Arab Emirates 0 / 100 NA 0 / 100 0 / 100
United Kingdom 100 / 100 100 / 100 50 / 100 100 / 100
United States 75 / 100 75 / 100 0 / 100 25 / 100
Venezuela 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100 25 / 100
Zimbabwe 25 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100

With thanks for support from the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs who have contributed to the Government Defence Integrity Index.

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