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Spain - Security Policy

Defence policy determines national defence objectives, and the resources and actions necessary to achieve them. These objectives are defined in the National Defence Directive, which constitutes the basis of National and Military Defence Planning. Spain's security policy is integrates in the international context through its presence in international organizations, it participation in peace operations and its involvement in various treaties.

The current strategic setting is characterised by its complexity, uncertainty and potential danger. Current, and in all likelihood, future, conflicts are multi-dimensional issues the resolution of which is impossible by means of exclusively political, diplomatic, economic or military tools. Terrorism, organised crime, the proliferation of arms of mass destruction; crises generated by failed or weak states, or those undergoing a process of decomposition; the fight for access to basic resources; and the adverse impact of man on the environment, among others, represent a set of threats to world security and stability.

That is say, the traditional risks and threat to security, which called for military response, have been added to by others that, while they do not have the destructive capacity of a conventional war, stand in the way of and deteriorate social and economic development in countries and regions, with negative consequences both nationally and internationally. This is the context in which security and defence policy is developed. Spain considers that the best way to approach questions affecting international peace, security and stability is through a shared security system and collective defence, while maintaining Spain's own defensive capability.

NATO itself recognised in its 1999 Strategic Concept that first magnitude military means dedicated to the defence of its members territories were no longer sufficient to guarantee international peace and stability. In this new context, armies are now seen as ideal instruments to alleviate the suffering of countries torn by civil conflict, and also to impose a peaceful and stable order in those countries. The development of the new peace missions of the nineties meant a shift from an essentially static defence of national and allied soil to a much broader geographical area of action and to military capabilities based primarily on the projection and deployment of forces over prolonged periods of time in more or less far-off settings.

Organic Law 5/2005 of 17 November 2005 on National Defence holds that the purpose of defence policy is to protect Spanish society as a whole, its Constitution, its higher values, principles and institutions enshrined therein, civil society and the rule of law as well as the full exercise of rights and liberties and to ensure Spain's territorial independence and integrity. Likewise, its purpose is to contribute to the preservation of international peace and security within the framework of commitments undertaken by the Kingdom of Spain.

It is the parliament, therefore, that is responsible for setting out the general lines of the defence policy to be pursued. The Government determines defence policy and ensures its implementation. The Prime Minister manages this policy and specifies its goals. Lastly, the Minister of Defence is responsible for developing and carrying it out. The Prime Minister is responsible for drawing up the National Defence Directive, which lays out the general lines of the defence policy and the directives for its development. These directives serve as a guideline for the Defence Planning process.

The National Defence Directive must be integrated into a National Security Strategy that is consistent with the strategies adopted by the international organizations of which Spain is a member, while also guaranteeing the protection of our national interests and respecting the constitution and international agreements to which we have signed up. Moreover, it must provide an integrated response based on the analysis of threats to the state and the causes that give rise to these.

The Defence White Paper of December 2000, albeit responding to issues of a wider scope, lacked the binding character required to promote a genuine reform process. In the Final Provisions of the Prime Minister's National Defence Directive 1/2000 of 01 December 2000, the Minister of Defence was commissioned to draw up a Strategic Review of Defence. This review was aimed at integrating defence within the wider framework of shared security with our partners and allies, and at specifying the military capacity required to respond to the demands arising from these. Moreover, it expressly ordered that this review be carried out with the maximum, parliamentary, institutional and social consensus possible. The 2003 Strategic Review of Defence enabled the completion of a process of shared reflection, and even though, strictly speaking, it was the first time that any such a review had been carried out.

National Defence Directive 1/2008 refers to the need to draw up a National Security Plan to include values and interests to uphold same. Indeed, it analyses the risks, threats and vulnerabilities in addition to the their causes, as well as laying down the action framework and containing the bases upon which to provide an integrated response to ensure that national interests are protected, while at the same time ensuring observance of constitutional values and the international agreements to which Spain is a signatory.

The principles of the National Defence Directive are concretised by means of a defence planning cycle, regulated by Ministerial Order 37/2005 of 30 March 2005, during the course of which those decisions and initiatives that affect the design of our defence take shape. The process begins every four years, the first two of which are given over to its development and the last two to its revision. In this way it synchronises with the NATO planning cycle. The results of each planning cycle and the performance status of the Resources Plans that arise from it will serve as a reference and feedback point for the next process. This cycle unfolds by means of two parallel processes: the Military Planning one, which includes Force Planning and Operational Planning, and the Resources Planning one, which covers Financial Resources Planning, Human Resources Planning and Material Resources Planning.

A start was made on a new Planning Cycle with the signing of Defence Policy Directive 1/2009 on 05 May 2009 by the Minister of Defence, the project of which was drawn up by the Secretary-General for Defence Policy in his role as main collaborator with the Minister in the management of Defence Policy.

The 2012 National Defense Policy notes that Spain, due to its strategic location, must ensure that consolidate a secure framework, particularly in the Mediterranean, without forgetting that full stability in the Mediterranean basin will only be achieved if your immediate environment, Middle East and the Sahel, moving in the right direction, and ensures control over the illicit trafficking that have their origin in Latin America and the Gulf of Guinea.

The Latin American continent is an area of peace between States, but under the threat of drug trafficking and terrorism, so that no opportunity is should not be missed to show solidarity and support to the Ibero-American countries suffering from such threats.Spain first contribution to peace and international security is none other that guarantee itself with strength and decision and therefore must ensure capabilities that ensure deterrence against which have traditionally called "not shared threats".

The new risks and threats make it necessary to take a step towards a national security strategy, with the aim of pooling the efforts of all departments involved, promoting, together with defence policy, the rest of sectoral policies that are precise, also increasing coordination on matters relating to intelligence and information of the State.

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Page last modified: 16-01-2013 19:00:32 ZULU