Defence review, IONS – anything new?

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Defence minister Lindiwe Sisulu has received a draft of a long-awaited defence review against the backdrop of the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS).

The draft was prepared by a committee chaired by Roelf Meyer, while IONS is now underway in Cape Town.

The value of IONS lies in that this is a properly-minuted intergovernmental meeting of naval chiefs. IONS can be said to have an authority and responsibility. Unlike commercially-organised conferences, of which there have been many in the last three years, they can prepare plans-of-action. Their governments – and us – can expect results. Whether these are forthcoming is another matter, for another time…

Trouble with conferences is that speakers often repeat either what is trite or what was said at previous conferences. At this conference, which ends tomorrow, one hopes the focus is on future action in the Indian Ocean basin.

Meanwhile, Sisulu has received a draft of the defence review, awaited since about 2005. Prepared by a committee chaired by Roelf Meyer, the draft is now available for public comment at www.sadefencereview2012.org and will be tabled in Parliament next week. It will then be good to compare the IONS outcomes, the review and other comments made – about the management of fisheries vessel, Operation Copper, etc. To this one can add her Industry Day speech, which deserves several readings, in the words of AAFJ editor Peter McIntosh. He is right! (All are available here on defenceWeb.)