Funding needed for Defence Review implementation


The South African Department of Defence (DoD) is still pushing to fully implement the 2015 Defence Review, but points out that additional funding is necessary to achieve Milestone 1, arresting the decline of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF). To address this, it is developing a Defence Funding Model.

As little can be done without funding, the DoD states in its 2017 Annual Performance Plan document that, “as and when additional funding is allocated, the priority cost driven [Defence Review] interventions, which are focussed on the execution of ordered defence commitments, will be implemented.”

It adds that “the approved DoD Plan to Arrest the Decline will form the basis of a strategic level negotiation process between stakeholders, the DoD and National Treasury…to ensure the appropriate resourcing of the defence portfolio.
“Notwithstanding this, the DoD will continue to implement the interventions that can be achieved within the MTEF [Medium Term Expenditure Framework] defence allocation…. These interventions will be focussed on achieving improved organisational effectiveness and efficiency.”

A lack of funding is affecting not just the Defence Review but the entire SANDF. As stated in the Annual Performance Plan, “the DoD will continue to consider the disjuncture between its current budget allocation, its level of ambition as articulated by Government through the SA Defence Review 2015, collective requirements of the UN, AU, Southern African Development Community (SADC) and its Constitutional and Legislative mandate.”

The Defence Review, which sets out the long-term policy for meeting the country’s defence needs over the next 20 to 30 years, was developed without a funding model, but the DoD states that “the Defence Funding Model for the implementation of the review, developed in partnership with the Treasury, is scheduled for completion in the FY2017/18.”

With regard to the Defence Funding Model, the Annual Performance Plan stated that, “against the current global economic climate, the national economy and the Country’s fiscal position as well as the need to fund the implementation of the SA Defence Review 2015, the DOD intends to possibly alleviate the funding burden on the national fiscus by developing alternative funding solutions for the short-, medium- and long-term defence trajectory.
“This initiative will be addressed within the policy and strategy of the Defence Funding Model that is at an advanced stage of development and will form the basis of discussion with internal and external stakeholders to enable the identification and attraction of financial resourcing through various streams of revenue generation to fund the Defence portfolio.”

The SA Defence Review was approved by Cabinet on 19 March 2014, and endorsed by the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces in June 2015 but there has been slow progress since then in implementing it.

The Review has five milestones, with Milestone 1 directed at arresting the decline in the SANDF’s critical capabilities. Milestone 2 aims to re-balance and re-organise the Defence Force while Milestone 3 will create a sustainable Defence Force able to meet ordered defence commitments. Milestone 4 aims to enhance the Defence Force’s capacity to respond to emerging threats and a wide range of strategic challenges. Finally, Milestone 5 intends to ensure the SANDF can defence South Africa against any threat.

Between 2015 and 2020 the DoD aims to implement Milestone 1 “within the available resource allocation”. The plan to arrest the decline of the SANDF will include “identification of the minimal cost-driven interventions that will improve efficiencies and effectiveness within the DOD,” and “identification of cost-driven urgent preservation funding interventions for those capabilities that are required to support existing ordered operational commitments.”

Assisting the implementation of the Defence Review will be the development of the Defence Funding Model, human resources renewal and capability renewal.

According to the 2017 Annual Performance Plan, Defence Review deliverables for the 2017 Medium Term Expenditure Framework include implementing the Defence Review implementation plan, establishing a cyber warfare capability, developing a restructuring plan, and defence industry policy. Various strategies will be ‘promulgated’ including the Military Strategy, Blueprint Force Design, Joint Force Employment Strategy, Border Safeguarding Strategy, HR Strategy, Defence Secretariat Strategy, Defence International Engagements Strategy and Defence Industry Policy.

SANDF Chief, General Solly Shoke, stated that in the 2017/18 financial year the DoD “will also make a concerted effort to…restructure itself within the dictates of the new defence policy (SA Defence Review 2015) and a Military Strategy which will give strategic pointers on the most appropriate ways to utilise the military resources of the country.
“At the apex of the SANDF outputs for the FY2017/18 is the promulgation of a new Military Strategy with the corresponding Force Design and Force Structure as well as the enhancement of the landward and maritime capabilities.”

Restructuring the SANDF will involve changes within a newly designed command and control philosophy recognising the significance of civil control. “This command and control philosophy will provide clear distinction between command and staff functions,” he stated.