The Jame’ Asr Hassanal Bolkiah Mosque in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei.
Credit score: Depositphotos
On Could 31, Brunei launched the latest iteration of the nation’s protection white paper. Although the event was anticipated and considerably buried within the worldwide headlines amid different regional developments, it nonetheless supplied a way of the nation’s ongoing protection pondering and the way it suits in with its broader home and international coverage priorities.
Although the tiny, oil-rich sultanate is typically neglected inside Southeast Asia, it does train its personal affect in varied methods with respect to regional safety developments, be it in its position as a quiet claimant within the South China Sea disputes or the advancing of useful protection priorities comparable to counterterrorism and navy confidence-building throughout the Affiliation of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Brunei’s occasional launch of white papers has supplied an occasional glimpse into its protection priorities, which frequently do take a comparatively decrease profile. Following the primary publicly launched protection white paper in 2004 and the second and third in 2007 and 2011, the nation’s officers had been suggesting for a number of years now that the subsequent iteration could be launched in 2021, at the side of the sixtieth anniversary of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF), in addition to its holding of the rotating chairmanship of ASEAN.
On Could 31, Brunei lastly launched its new protection white paper, a growth that was considerably overshadowed headlines-wise by different regional developments throughout Brunei’s ASEAN chairmanship together with the political disaster in Myanmar and the COVID-19 pandemic. The Protection White Paper 2021 was formally launched by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and different senior officers at the side of the RBAF Diamond Jubilee Celebration, which came about on the Brunei Arts and Handicraft Coaching Heart within the nation’s capital Bandar Seri Begawan.
The white paper, which runs to 100 pages, is split into three substantive components: the nation’s strategic context with 5 key challenges specified for the subsequent 15 years, together with main energy dynamics, regional and world instability, terrorism and violent extremism, know-how, and pure disasters; its protection technique and answer, together with ideas, ends, and methods and means; and the nation’s strategic protection functionality necessities, which incorporates discussions of coaching and training, tools, personnel, intelligence and data, coverage, doctrine and ideas, group, infrastructure, and logistics.
The doc unsurprisingly builds on present foundations, together with the Wawasan 2035 imaginative and prescient and the three strategic protection pillars of deterrence and response, protection diplomacy, and holistic protection, or the seven precedence areas mirrored within the acronym IKWONDAMAI. But there are additionally notable modifications noticed on the outset and all through the doc, together with the concentrate on hybrid/gray zone threats, joint operations, and self-reliance, in addition to requires reforms in elements comparable to coaching and training, personnel administration, and drive construction. That general sense of getting to adapt to an more and more difficult safety panorama was additionally captured in official characterizations of the white paper launch, together with by the protection ministry.
To make sure, the utility of the doc will relaxation on the extent to which its suggestions are literally translated into follow with respect to Brunei’s protection outlook, such because the completion of what’s characterised as an “all-encompassing Drive Functionality Evaluation” as properly the transition to a regularized white paper launch each 5 years. Extra broadly, as helpful because the doc could also be in offering a way of Brunei’s common protection pondering, it is just one facet of broader protection coverage, which rests on different components, together with price range allocations, alignments, and risk prioritization.
Nonetheless, the brand new white paper on the very least supplies a recent guidepost to evaluate Brunei’s safety outlook, which frequently doesn’t get a lot publicity or make many worldwide headlines. As such, its growth and results on the nation will proceed to be vital to observe within the subsequent few years amid the nation’s evolving home and international coverage challenges.