The national strategy

One of the very first definitions I internalized when I was working on my Master’s in National Security Administration degree at the National Defense College of the Philippines 30 years ago, was that of national strategy.

The NDCP defines national strategy as the overall plan of employing all available resources to enhance national interests or national objectives. US Joint Doctrine Note 2-19 states that national strategy secures and advances a nation’s long-term, enduring, core interests over time.

The country has a new national administration and will have its plans for the period 2023-2028.

The National Economic Development Authority has released its primer on the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028. The National Security Council will be coming out with its National Security Policy for the same period. Other government offices will do the same.

All of these plans will have to be lined, tied up, and implemented with a grand or national strategy.

It is with this background that the NDCP Alumni Association and the NDCP invited National Security Adviser, Dr. Clarita Carlos, who was also past president of the College, to speak on “The National Strategy Framework” last week.

Dr. Carlos started with a backgrounder on certain historical and international events that have to be understood in the formulation of national strategy. She stated that our national strategy is a grand framework that will be the basis for the planning of all branches of government. This framework is underpinned by our country’s core interests — territorial integrity, and internal and external sovereignty. Specific goals are food security, health security, education, energy security and ecological balance.

She gave the context of our national strategy: an archipelagic and maritime country with 110 million citizens living under a liberal democratic framework; a predominantly young population and a large pool of numerous professionals; the fifth most mineralized country in the world; one of the megadiverse countries; with its coral reef system said to be the second largest in Southeast Asia.

Dr. Carlos identified the principles to which the national strategy will adhere to: human security; respect for the dignity of the individual and human rights; religious and ethnic diversity; freedom, equality, justice, peace, cooperation, and friendship with all nations; adoption of generally accepted principles of international law; and support for efforts to combat the consequences of climate change.

The goals of the national strategy are as follows: to eliminate absolute poverty; water, energy, and food security; high-quality healthcare; decent and affordable housing; inclusive and equitable quality education; establishment of the Philippine defense industry; effective exercise of Philippine rights over land, airspace, and sea; research agenda for national development and security; development of the country as a major maritime trading hub; national identity; a citizenry willing and able to defend the nation; and taking the lead in the regional integration of the ASEAN community.

Our National Security Adviser will be getting inputs from all government agencies and various sectors of society in the formulation of the national strategy. Once the process is completed, it will be presented to the Cabinet and the National Security Council.

This participative process of formulating our national strategy should theoretically be able to get the best inputs, result in buy-in from the people, and make its implementation easier.
Let us all support it.

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