Inter-service Relations: Imperatives for Jointness (Part 5)


Let me introduce the concept of Inter-dependability of Security services and roles.

The division of domestic responsibility between the Military and Police, as two components (among others) of a State Security Tool Box, should, in my view, be contextualized holistically in terms of the broad spectrum of Human and National Security.  The reason for this is that there is a continuum of overlapping roles and responsibilities and codependence from domestic to external arenas. 

Recent experience has taught us that transnational problems can manifest domestically while apparently domestic issues can spill over borders.  It is also important to factor in the extension of the security arena into ill-geographically defined areas such as computer networks and the emergence of asymmetric threats (low intensity warfare) as the dominant paradigm for current and future Military operations other than war. 

Functionally, it makes sense that some of the domestic security responsibilities should be primary, based on core competence and capability to function as the first responder and lead agency.  Other responsibilities should be secondary, based on the need to provide depth to other agencies that are better oriented, equipped and maintained to be first responders to such matters in support of National Security.  (See Table below)


(Adapted from a presentation by Dr. Nowa Omoigui on “Civilian views of civil-Military relations in democratizing states” at the “Next Generation of African Military Leaders Program”, on January 24, 2006 – National Defense University, Washington DC.)

ResponsibilityMilitary rolePolice roleRole of other government departments
Prepare to fight and win wars, defend against foreign aggression and/or violation of air, land and sea bordersPrimarySecondarySecondary
Prevention and investigation of civil crimesNone (unless requested for support on a case-by-case basis)PrimarySecondary
Small scale emergency servicesNone (unless requested for support on a case-by-case basis)PrimaryCo-primary (Fire service, hospitals)
Assurance of State control of the machinery of governmentSecondary (could be primary in major insurrections, strikes, etc.)Primary (could be secondary)Secondary
Environmental securitySecondarySecondaryPrimary
Information securitySecondarySecondaryPrimary
Financial security (Counter-money laundering)NonePrimary (could be secondary)Secondary (could be primary)
Domestic IntelligenceSecondaryPrimary (could be secondary)Secondary (could be primary)
Counter-intelligenceSecondaryPrimary (could be secondary)Secondary (could be primary)
Immigration and Customs controlNone (However, Naval units have sometimes been tasked to assist)Secondary (may be primary in some countries)Primary (Customs)
Counter-SmugglingSecondary (e.g. maritime interception)Secondary (could be primary)Primary
Counter-Inland waterway PiracySecondary (could be primary)Primary (could be secondary)Secondary
Counter-Proliferation of small armsSecondary (could be primary)Primary (could be secondary)Secondary
Counter-Proliferation of weapons of mass destructionPrimary (could be secondary)SecondarySecondary (could be primary)
Anti-TerrorismSecondary (could be primary)Primary (could be secondary)Secondary
Counter-TerrorismSecondary (could be primary)Primary (could be secondary)Secondary
Drug enforcement (Counter-Drug operations)SecondarySecondaryPrimary (Drug Enforcement Agencies)
Critical Infrastructure Security/Key Asset protectionSecondary (could be primary)Secondary (could be primary)Secondary (could be primary)
Public Health securitySecondary (extreme cases)Secondary (extreme cases)Primary
Complex Disaster Search and Rescue; Evacuation and resettlement; Famine reliefPrimary (could be secondary)SecondarySecondary (could be primary if dedicated)
Civic works (roads, bridges, dams, irrigation projects etc.)SecondaryNonePrimary
Space explorationSecondary (could be primary)NonePrimary (could be secondary)

What this table shows is that the Military and the Police are only two among many inter-dependable partners for National Security. 


As we have seen, joint operations are not a new idea in Military history.   Nevertheless, the two primary reasons for contemporary “Military jointness” are as follows:

bulletIt enhances optimal matching of commitments, resources and capabilities, as the Armed Forces develops the ability to function seamlessly and in a timely manner within an integrated battle space that includes not only sub-surface, surface, near-surface, air and space environments, but also cyberspace. To attain this, joint vision, joint tactics, joint doctrine, joint staff procedures, joint budgeting and joint training must be developed and implemented.
bulletBased on the foregoing, jointness helps to win wars and ensure success of selected “military operations other than war” by allowing the Joint Commander to exercise any permutation and/or combination of choices in his tool box dictated by circumstances.

Similarly, the two primary reasons to minimize rivalry and enhance cooperation between the Military and Police are:

bulletIt saves resources, by allowing optimal matching of domestic commitments, resources and capabilities.
bulletIt enhances individual, public and state security by ensuring security inter-dependability.

Thus, from the standpoint of Military jointness, Nigeria should:

bulletFacilitate Joint Vision, Joint Values and Joint Ethics across the Military services for Defence
bulletReinvigorate individual service professionalism to enhance the quality of force generation.
bulletConsider separate career tracks for future service chiefs; one which leads to appointment of individual service chiefs on the basis of certain “individual service” criteria and the other for future Chiefs of Defence Staff, based on aptitude for and experience in “joint” appointments.  The system of rotation among the three services should be continued. The structure of the British Ministry of Defence and Joint HQ deserves further study to determine applicability to Nigeria.   
bulletStreamline membership of the National Defence and Security Councils to enhance jointness.  This may require constitutional amendment.
bulletEstablish Joint doctrines
bulletNegotiate a Joint concept of operations
bulletAdopt strategic capability planning as the basis for Force development
bulletRevisit the concept of unified commands and formalize the chain of command for operations to tighten any loopholes.
bulletMinimize the number of types of officer commissions to enhance officer cohesion
bulletConsolidate Joint Staff, Joint Intelligence, Joint Logistics, Joint Training, Joint Operations, Joint Procurement and Joint Personnel planning
bulletDevelop Joint Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) Tactics
bulletUpgrade Force generation measures and development of ethos at Service levels
bulletApply conditions of service in a consistent manner across the services.
bulletConsolidate and minimize the number of entry depots for non-commissioned officers and other ranks

From the standpoint of Military-Police cooperation, Nigeria should:

bulletFacilitate a Joint Vision, Joint Values and Joint Ethics across the Security services (including the Military and Police) for a variety of Security roles (See Table of domestic roles).   This will enable the introduction of super ordinate goals of high appeal value for both soldiers and Policemen whose attainment is beyond the resources and efforts of either group alone.
bulletEnsure that the Military and Police leadership understands that there is no such thing as a bad soldier or bad Policeman; only bad Military and Police officers.  It is the responsibility of the leadership to show good example to servicemen at lower rungs in the system and enforce professional values and ethics.  The notion that all is well between senior Military and Police officers, while their men shoot each other to death, is an unfortunate admission of command failure. 
bulletConsider establishing a Joint National Security Academy, where various courses that cut across the entire field of Human Security can be offered to service personnel at low, intermediate and senior levels drawn from Military, Police and other security agencies, as well as the public.  In the alternative, offer such training at Military and Police institutions to which service personnel from any service can subscribe or be sent.  This will support other efforts to nurture corporate esprit de corps at the supra-service level of “National Defence and Security.”
bulletExploit the opportunity presented by the threat of contemporary asymmetric, space, and cyber-space warfare to create new non-traditional joint Force Structures.  This could include establishing a Constabulary (or National Guard) to which soldiers and Policemen may be deployed (after re-training) on rotation for duties that fall in between traditional Military and Police roles.  During these rotations the Constabulary will enable soldiers and Policemen to co-exist, guided by joint etiquette, customs, ceremonies, and traditions.  
bulletConsolidate and minimize the number of entry depots for non-commissioned officers and other ranks.  
bulletIncrease the number of opportunities for the Military to attend educational programs at Police institutions particularly for operations other than war. 
bulletUpgrade physical, moral and academic requirements for entry into the Police.  Although Police training should be specialized and adapted to Police tasks, Military personnel should not be allowed to acquire the perception that the Police accept recruits of lower physical, moral and academic stature. 
bulletFormalize internal processes in the military for ensuring that its personnel maintain up-to-date driving (and riding) licenses and insurance documents.
bulletVigorously expand Joint Training (including Joint NCO training) for Internal Security duties.
bulletReinvigorate Police professionalism and assist the Police in its need for rebirth to enhance its public image.  It cannot seriously expect to be better respected by the Military if society as a whole has a poor image of it. 
bulletCreate mechanisms to allow Military and Police service personnel discuss Police-Military relations at open fora. 
bulletDevelop standard guidelines for investigating and responding to inter-service clashes, including creating opportunities not just for disciplining erring servicemen and women but also for psychological counseling of the units involved.
bulletMonitor joint Military and Police social events to ensure that opportunities for socialization are actually being exploited.  Inter-personal suspicions dating back to the days of Military rule have kept many officers and other ranks away from mess life.  Those social events that enhance inter-dependability should be encouraged.
bulletRevive the office of Military-Police Liaison officers at the Police and Defence Headquarters.  Liaison officers, preferably drawn from the Military Police, also need to be established at state and local levels.  These liaison officers should establish joint mechanisms for resolving misunderstandings before they get out of hand.  
bulletAvoid accepting applicants into the Police who have been rejected by the Military for any reason.
bulletDeliberately teach Inter-service rivalry and cooperation at Military, Police and other Security Academies.
bulletConsider co-location of Military and Police Barracks in future Force planning estimates. This will allow sharing of certain amenities like schools for children of service persons.
bulletVigorously address welfare issues and corruption in the Security sector as a whole.  There isn’t likely to be much progress if money budgeted for security ends up in personal bank accounts while under-trained and under-equipped poverty stricken servicemen and women are abandoned on the streets to fend for themselves.

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