October 2007 - n° 701
Speech by M. Nicolas Sarkozy, President of the Republic, on the occasion of the ambassadors’ conference, Elysée Palace, Paris, 27 August 2007.
The case for setting up the National Security Council that Nicolas Sarkozy, as a presidential candidate, called for is argued by Michel Rocard and Alain Bauer. After an analysis of the threats the authors look at the form such a council might take and the major constitutional changes this would require, and unreservedly suggest possible options.
The mission of the London-based independent Commission on National Security in the 21st Century set up in May this year is to review the current security landscape and suggest an independent security strategy for the United Kingdom. Co-Chair Lord Robertson of Port Ellen and Deputy Chair Ian Kearns set out their view of the threats and changes in the security landscape and suggest ways in which security should be re-thought. In particular they stress the urgent requirement to project governance more effectively into failed states and to create more effective international control and storage regimes for fissile nuclear material.
For decades the President of the Republic has used the title of Commander-in-Chief given to him by Article 15 of the Constitution to embark on overseas adventures without prior approval by Parliament. This interpretation is wrong. It is the law that must define how power is to be shared between the executive and legislative branches of government.
Hypercompetition puts business in a Darwinian situation, where weakness can be fatal. It has to combine cooperation, openness and safeguarding strategic information. Security is not a brake but quite the contrary, an essential condition for commercial development. Any player on the business scene who is incapable of reconciling these imperatives is doomed to extinction. Once this diagnosis has been accepted, it can only yield positive results if it has the support of the head of the company, the key to success of any security initiative in an organisation. Convincing leaders that performance is dependent on them is the prime factor in designing security measures.
Security/safety today has to be global and subtle, which requires the consequences for the orientation of training to be taken on board. It is now essential to pass on detailed knowledge on the working of the various functions of a company (production, marketing, finance, communication, human resources, legal affairs, etc.) to allow security experts to suggest working arrangements that are compatible with the primary goal of any company: continual improvement of its financial results. It is also important for overall security systems to be seen as temporary arrangements that can always be improved. Lastly, security must chime with competitiveness, not only in the private sector but also in the public, the latter being a decisive actor in businesses’ security.
In an increasingly uncertain international environment, the security of employees is an imperative for businesses. This article is concerned with the situation of French expatriates involved in the international development of companies, using the example of the large-scale retailing sector.
Serious internal security crises, or ‘hypercrises’, occur today in highly complex environments involving a great number of players. This change in the nature of crises highlights the inadequacy of traditional plans to counter them and calls into question existing schemes for preparation and training. New simulation and training techniques and innovative principles of operation, drawn in particular from the defence world, would seem to offer a way to prepare for the unthinkable in the future.
Complementary to the public version, private security has in the space of 30 years become an essential player in the economy. The many and varied missions it has to carry out have admittedly boosted its progress, but this rapidly growing sector is today at a crossroads. Hedged in by unauthorised competition and legal insecurity, it has got to work out, together with its partners–the State and customers–the conditions under which it can develop and guarantee its future.
The attacks of 11 September 2001 transformed the global political and economic situation. They confirmed that modern transport systems were prime targets; this is especially true of civil aviation, because of its symbolic status, media significance and economic and financial impact in Western countries. Faced with the still significant terrorist threat against civil aviation, it is appropriate to examine the technological arsenal that is now available or could be developed.
Could the mobile phone, the central point of professional privacy and secrecy, be our greatest enemy? The BlackBerry, which can receive e-mails, is at the heart of an espionage controversy that affects millions of people. A tool used by the Echelon network or simply a myth, business security experts no longer know what to believe. The source of the controversy and a witch-hunt, the SGDN is saying nothing.
Operators of telephone services in a growing number of countries will soon be offering a service for transferring money using GSM mobile phones. This is progress for users but also presents an opportunity for criminal (or terrorist) organisations to exploit mobile phones’ security loopholes: fraud, taking control of devices that are less well protected than computers, untraceable transfers of funds, and so on.
Non-lethal and reduced lethality weapons form part of a vast range available for the use of force but it is difficult to reach an internationally agreed definition, whereas internally they have already proved their worth in law and order enforcement. The attraction of these weapons is justifiable on moral grounds because of the intent not to kill but to neutralise an adversary temporarily, and to save men and equipment, but at the risk, among others, of leaving the soldier powerless against conventional weapons.
Modern societies have a complex, ambiguous relationship with the notion of risk. This paradoxical attitude, which affects armed forces’ thinking and actions, could call in question a characteristic of the profession of arms: intrinsically, the use of force by the military always entails an element of risk. The Armed Forces must accept the high level of risk involved in the defence of our interests and values if they are to lay claim to their place in French society. In an increasingly dangerous world, the acceptance of risk is not only a guarantee of operational effectiveness at the tactical level but is clearly a powerful lever for increasing France’s influence at the strategic level.
In its grand design, Europe has decided to renounce power. That choice stems from universalist or globalist political concepts that go so far as to question the State itself. So it is worth taking a look at two major political options that underlie these trends of thought: first, the dream of a universal democracy, and, second, distrust of unregulated human activity since it tends towards power. These two political options appear nevertheless to be ill-suited to the nature of Man, and political regimes founded on them head for failure. There is good reason to think that European Man and his City are no exception to the rule.
To become the peaceful and non-hegemonic power that France would like to see, the European Union will have to acquire and master the key technologies that will allow it to free itself from its traditional partners, beginning with the United States. Only the implementation of a determined policy of overall technological sovereignty, free of any complex, will allow Europe to attain its goal of becoming a world power. The problem of technological sovereignty really has to be taken on board, because it is not just a question of power but one of the continuance of our political, economic and social model.
Does the re-emergence of China onto the African stage herald an upsurge in its participation in the continent’s development and security? This new and uncertain situation has certainly not relegated France and the European Union to a mere outmoded and historic role, especially in the security field. Michèle Alliot-Marie, then Minister of Defence, officially suggested on 20 June 2006, when welcoming UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, that France was ready to provide aid for the formation of an African Gendarmerie Force, in liaison with the RECAMP programme, taking as a model the European Gendarmerie Force that is now operational. Such a goal must be implemented at a regional level and in the wake of the African Standby Forces (ASF), and in parallel with the peacekeeping architecture that is being created in Africa.