Jordan’s National Security Strategy
Expanding beyond the military and police
COL. MAMDOH SULAIMAN AL-AMERI, DIRECTOR OF JORDAN’S STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS UNIT
A country’s interests are the vital issues related to its sovereignty, security, safety, peace, constitution, laws, stability, strength, capabilities, development and resources. This includes all that is related to the political, economic, defense, social, commercial, industrial, cultural and other powers of the country, whether in the present or future.
According to changes in security concepts since the early 1990s, Jordan believes that the comprehensive concept of security is no longer limited to hard security cases. It goes beyond that to encompass soft security cases related by dimensions other than security.
In Jordan, stability and prosperity in the political, economic, social, technical, media and environmental fields are considered the true pillars of national security. Any violation of this stability and prosperity is deemed a serious threat and challenge to the country and society. From this perspective, the issues discussed in newspapers, such as poverty, unemployment, economic growth, inflation, population growth and the water problem, whether discussed in combination or individually, represent a threat to internal stability and prosperity. Consequently, they form a substantial challenge to national security.
The national security apparatus has two functions: security and defense. Defense is assigned mainly to the Armed Forces and security authorities, in addition to the secondary role played by the country’s civilian agencies. Security is mainly assigned to the country’s civilian agencies, though the Armed Forces and security authorities play a secondary role. Accordingly, all elements of the country’s authorities and civil society organizations become primary tools in pursuit of Jordanian national security. This means that traditionally specialized fields such as health, education and development will no longer remain specialized. Rather, they will fall within the scope of Jordanian national security. According to these standards, the national security vision includes political stability, economic and social development, foreign political relationships, deep understanding and accurate processing of international/regional environmental dynamics, and domestic politics.
Jordanian national security is not limited to the military, which protects the country’s sovereign borders. The Jordanian military is not the only answer to national security issues. The security of countries is a combination of patriotic and dynamic variables that ensure the country’s sovereignty, freedom in its political decisions, internal security, social stability, ability to meet the developmental, economic, political, social, scientific and technical requirements of its society, and the capacity to find innovative economic, scientific and political solutions for society’s national security issues.
Each country has vital matters it protects from outside interference. Great importance is placed on the procedures to guarantee and safeguard those matters. A top priority of Jordanian national security is to defend the country’s pillars (people, land, sovereignty and law), vital interests, internal stability, resources, wealth, strength, ability to develop the country, vital information and policy independence.
National security success requires effective coordination among its basic elements in different fields. In the military and security fields, the country must work on building Armed Forces able to protect its vital values because the internal and external security of the country comes before everything else. The military force includes a general framework that provides the security and protection of the country’s resources and capabilities in order to achieve growth, development and national security objectives in its comprehensive concept.
If the country’s external security requires developing a comprehensive military system for defense, then internal security includes ensuring citizens’ satisfaction by protecting such citizens’ rights with relation to each other, as well as securing, defending, and protecting citizens’ rights in the surrounding social environment.
As to the external policy field, the country must form a diplomatic authority and increase its efficiency in using its sources of power and international and regional organizations, mobilizing public opinion, and using the political power of other countries with interests in the region. This is all for the purpose of explaining the country’s objectives, increasing its global influence and managing the country’s external policy. Within this framework, it is possible to establish international and regional relationships, enter into alliances and make treaties to serve the country’s national objectives. It is necessary that this dimension assist and support other national security dimensions. It is impossible to have a strong economy or efficient military power without the support of effective policy.
Jordanian national security has specific features that allow it to protect the country and society and maintain its sovereignty and existence. There are two main aspects. The first is a material one, and its components can be easily determined and expressed quantitatively. They can also be easily calculated, assessed and compared with their counterparts in other countries and societies. The elements of strength and weakness can be differentiated.
The second aspect is one of morale and current politics. This is intangible and difficult to express quantitatively. Accurate calculations are replaced by the assessment of tangible effects and results (i.e., the power of the intangible aspect can be assessed by its effects).
For example, a fighting unit will be significantly depressed when it fails to accomplish its mission, despite being highly trained and equipped with high-quality weapons. Similarly, if the country’s agricultural production is below the required quantity and quality, in spite of the availability of all production elements, the country in general and the agricultural community in particular will suffer from low spirits.
Although it is difficult to quantify morale, any comprehensive security study must express tangible and intangible elements. When the national security concept contains these two aspects, it will identify weak points in the country’s strategy. Then the nation can work to overcome those weak elements by taking precautionary procedures, which ensure that the weakness will not result in the nation’s demise. Thus, the political theorist must cooperate with the military planner in developing political principals and planning precautionary procedures to maintain the nation’s existence and security.
The second aspect of national security is derived from the geopolitical characteristics of the territory. Thus, it is the result of interaction among its local, regional and international dimensions. However, each level is affected and impacted by:
Local factors related to protecting society from internal threats that are probably supported by external adversaries and inconsistent with the existing political system and the true principles of its people.
Regional factors related to the country’s relationship with other countries in the same territory, particularly geographically adjacent countries.
International factors, such as relationships linking the country with the international community, the nature of its alliances with others, and its relationship with the world order (i.e., its degree of dependency on superpowers in the world order).
Therefore, the national security concept tends to be related to rules of international and regional integration. On the one hand, these rules are derived from the geopolitical characteristics of the territory, represented by location, geographic phenomena, nature of the land, society, and resources, which constitute a form of balance among the (local) subjectivity to protect nationalism and patriotism. On the other hand, they are derived from the policy of peaceful coexistence, which is imposed by geographical proximity.