To keep the national state secure and defended, you need national security—regarded as government’s duty—so as to maintain the safety of citizens, institutions, and economy as well as the survival of the state itself. Although this concept appeared after World War II and was initially developed as a means of protection against military attacks, it now ensures security for a larger range of dimensions, including crimes, economy, environment, food, but also terrorism and cybersecurity.
Keeping the state secure means also to minimize the risks that can be produced by other nations, violent non-state actors, non-governmental organizations, narcotic cartels, multinational corporations, some even including natural disasters along with the aforesaid. To do this, the governments rely on a range of multi-disciplinary methods including diplomacy and military, political, and economic power while also protecting the state by reducing nuclear proliferation and other elements that cause insecurity like climate change and economic inequality.
Some of the concrete measures taken by the government to ensure security are the usage of diplomacy to rally allies, the maintenance of armed forces in case a critical event occurs, and the avoidance of threats and espionage by protecting classified information using counterintelligence services.
As such, the government needs to provide a different set of categories that can be divided into: physical security, ecologic security, natural resources security, economic security, infrastructure security and last but not least, computer security. Hence, each country has a different perspective and approach as well as they are dealing with different sets of issues. To give example, one cannot compare the national security from India to the one in the United Kingdom, as each has a different set of standards and confront distinctive concerns.
However, there are some issues concerning national security that can generally be applied to each of them. These are widely split in: consistency of approach, the conflict between national and transnational security, and the impact on human rights and civil liberties.
Thus, as mentioned previously, since there are different sets of categories for which safety needs to be provided (physical, economic, ecological, infrastructural, etc.), tensions between these can bloom for in certain situations, they may be in conflict with one another. If these conflicts are not managed properly, the policies and actions created may be ineffective. This is where the national security fights with concerns regarding the consistency of approach because there are times when hypothetically, you need military forces to ensure the safety of the nation, but the limited economy of the state can constrain the expenditure.
To add up, national security cannot fulfill the desired outcome without first providing security in a regional and international context. For example, a government cannot ensure safety regarding climate change or natural resources without the cooperation of the other nations, case in which their different perspectives need to be discussed and negotiated and reduce antagonism between the parties in order to provide a favorable environment to develop a relationship of equity between them.
Nonetheless, such approaches may have a great impact on civil liberties and human rights. In the eventuality of war, the question of ensuring a proper environment for citizens to exercise their rights still remains unanswered. Also, using militarized police forces to control public behavior and mass surveillance including cyberspace has already affected the rights and liberties of the citizens.
Even so, this is a broad subject as it relates to each nation separately, but also to their intercommunication. The Journal of Global Security and Military Studies presents articles on the latest national security developments as well as informing our readers on the forthcoming issues related to this subject.