Pic: A Project Xena patrol boat acquired for the SA Navy’s maritime reaction squadron. The squadron was created as a result of lessons learned during African peacekeeping missions, specifically Operation Curriculum, SA’s support to peace in Burundi. (These lessonsare to be discussed at next week’s defenceWeb maritime security conference.)
“Defence Strategy 2010- 2030”, the latest iteration of a long-delayed update of the 1996 White Paper on Defence and the 1998 Defence Review will have a material effect on Strategic Capital Acquisition Master Plan (SCAMP) priorities.
Acting Secretary for Defence Tsepe Motumi writes in his “Report of the Accounting Officer for the year ended 31 March 2009 contained in the latest annual report of the Department of Defence that the document has “a bearing on the reprioritisation of the SCAMP.”
SCAMP is a classified rolling 30-year acquisition programme schedule for the South African National Defence Force. It has been said the plan “is a strategic management tool which the DoD employs to assess and organise its capital acquisition requirements” and that it “assists in prioritising … needs.”
Deputy Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Thabang Makwetla last month said the strategy document should reach Parliament and the public domain next month.
Speaking at a Reserve Force symposium he told conferees that the main purpose of the update was “to re-appreciate the changed strategic environment which faces the RSA and consequently the impact this has on the role of the SANDF.
“This document takes into consideration the changing nature of conflict that faces military forces all over the world, the ever increasing demands placed on the SANDF by government and the expectations placed on us by the international community,” he added.
The DoD annual report notes that an earlier draft, Defence Update 2025, was submitted to Cabinet for consideration in August last year.
“This document sought to strategically align the DOD with the strategic framework
of Government. Cabinet decided to stay the decision on this matter until after the 2009 general elections,” the annual report says.
Motumi warns in his report that among the strategic issues facing the DoD remains that the “cost of defence capabilities required to satisfy the DoD`s legislative mandate is higher than the current and projected budget allocation.”
He also reports that at financial year-end a process for the development of a Defence Related Industry Strategy was underway. “The DoD, the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Public Enterprise are important parties to this process. At the same time, work is being carried out to refine the definition, scope and scale of strategic capabilities and the implications thereof for the defence industry, domestically and globally.
The now-dated 1999 White Paper on the South African Defence Related Industries listed five strategic technologies and capabilities, namely:
· Logistic support, repair and maintenance of equipment and systems
· Systems integration
· Command, Control and Communication systems
· Sensors, signal processing and data processing
· Combat systems software and support
· Simulation systems and war gaming