Asia Pacific Security Seminar
Co-Chairs’ Summary The Thirteenth Asia-Pacific Security Seminar
The National Institute for Defense Studies Tokyo, Japan November 14-20, 2006
- The National Institute for Defense Studies (NIDS) held the Thirteenth Asia-Pacific Security Seminar (APSS) under the theme of "Military in Transition and Asia-Pacific Security." Twenty-two countries from the region participated, including Australia, Brunei Darussalam, the Kingdom of Cambodia, Canada, the People’s Republic of China, India, the Republic of Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Mongolia, the Union of Myanmar, New Zealand, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, the Republic of the Philippines, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Singapore, the Kingdom of Thailand, the United States of America, and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
- Academic sessions consisted of a keynote speech and discussions. The keynote speech entitled, "Promotion of Security Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific Region," by Professor Yozo Yokota of Chuo University shed light on changing roles of the military in the new security environment.
- In academic sessions, the participants addressed three issues: "Emerging New Threats and Their Implications for National Defense Policy"; "International Peace Operations"; and "Addressing Diversity through Leadership, Organization and Management."
- On the first topic, "Emerging New Threats and Their Implications for National Defense Policy," the participants identified military threats such as the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, territorial disputes, competition for natural resources, terrorism, transnational crimes, pandemic diseases, massive population movements, and environmental challenges as the most important emerging threats. To deal effectively with them, they agreed that the countries in the region must promote (a) military transition and mechanisms for regional cooperation, (b) international cooperation on regional peacekeeping and disaster relief operations, (c) multilateral exercises and training, (d) intelligence/information sharing, (e) arms control/disarmament, (f) military support to law enforcement activities, and (g) transnational institution building. The participants discussed that in order to fulfill these goals, armed forces in the region must develop (a) human resources, (b) persistent command, control, communications, computer, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR), (c) ballistic missile defense and air defense capabilities, (d) training facilities, and (e) long-range transportation capabilities.
- On the second topic, "International Peace Operations," the participants examined both the positive and negative impacts of peace support operations (PSOs) on defense policy. On the positive side, PSOs can help improve operational skills to deal with different types of global challenges, including traditional military threats. PSOs also provide opportunities to enhance interoperability among participating countries, bolster morale, and improve country image. On the negative side, PSOs can reduce readiness and sustainability of forces and/or hinder the introduction of necessary assets to counter traditional threats. Armed forces in the region need to implement lessons learned from PSOs, for example, through clearly defining roles and missions, and formulating proven operational plans. Some participants called for seeking the lowest common denominator for standard operating procedures (SOPs) and expanding joint training/exercises.
- On the third topic, "Addressing Diversity through Leadership, Organization and Management," the participants understood that there are a wide range of diversity issues in the militaries in this region, such as ethnicity, religion, gender, educational backgrounds or generational gaps. Situations are different from country to country, and there are no common solutions. However, the participants shared the view that unity in diversity is a common goal. Each government makes an effort to achieve this. Diversity itself is not a weakness. It can be a source of strengths and provide advantages. Some countries’ military makes positive use of diversities. The military can contribute to social unity through, for example, widening recruitment or emphasizing equity in the organization. In some countries integration of minorities has been enhanced through military service. Countries in this region can help each other by exchanging experiences and suggesting solution models. Seminars or arrangements are useful tools.
- In meeting these new challenges, the participants agreed on the need for continued efforts to promote security dialogue among the Asia-Pacific countries. As part of this process, we could: expand participation to include representatives from the United Nations, other governmental agencies, and non-governmental organizations; include a desk-top exercise in the seminar agenda; and focus future seminars on human security and non-traditional security issues such as pandemic diseases.
- It was agreed that the results of the Thirteenth APSS be reported at the next ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Meeting of the Heads of Defense Universities/Colleges/Institutions. The participants also agreed to report the findings of the seminar to their respective authorities.
NOTE: The APSS has been held annually since 1994, has contributed greatly to deepening and widening security dialogue in this region since its inauguration. It started with delegates from 13 countries, but this year we welcomed participants from 22 countries. ?@The APSS shares much with the ARF Meeting of the Heads of Defense Universities/Colleges/Institutions in terms of the core objectives and agendas. In this context, the Co-Chairs’ Summary of the Twelfth APSS was submitted to the meeting held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in September 2006.