[2306.AB] Abolish the Ministry of Defense

As we have seen, the SPSF can run itself without a Minister of Defense. The General Corps is full of perfectly capable people who are perfectly capable of running things on their own. And, in general, the politicization of the regional military is a bad idea. Not like the MoD ever did anything anyways, but still.

(Section 6)

## Minister of Defense

(13) The Minister of Defense will be the civilian leader of the armed forces of the Coalition, the South Pacific Special Forces. In conjunction with a group of Generals, the Minister of Defense will be responsible for the defense of the Coalition, building military activity, and conducting military operations.

(14) The Minister of Defense may elect to establish an intelligence office, in equal coordination with the Council on Regional Security.

Executive Authorities

(153) The executive may exercise the collective authority of executive orders, by unanimous consent among the Prime Minister and Cabinet ministers. Executive orders may only be issued to address an immediate and pressing issue created by ambiguity or holes in a particular law, which will immediately have the effect of law.

(164) Upon declaring an executive order, the order will be presented automatically to the Assembly for three days of debate, followed by a vote according to legislative rules, where it will expire and its effects shall be reversed if the Assembly does not incorporate it into law.

(175) The Prime Minister, Cabinet ministers, and other executive offices may elect to appoint deputies and advisors, who will be considered junior members of their respective offices, but will not have voting rights in any executive decision.

(Section 9)

(11) The Council on Regional Security shall designate an individual as Intelligence Coordinator, who must be notified of and approve all intelligence and counter-intelligence operations. The Intelligence Coordinator will be responsible for disseminating any and all intelligence to the Council on Regional Security and other bodies as needed. The Intelligence Coordinator and the Minister of Defense will maintain a regional intelligence classification system as necessary for ensuring information security.

(Section 10)

(2) The military will be led by the Minister of Defense, along with a corps of generals appointed by the Minister the general corps and approved by the Assembly. The Minister and general corps may establish further hierarchy, create programs, and appoint deputies as they see necessary.

(4) The Minister of Defense will coordinate with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, to ensure that no military activities harm the government’s diplomatic affairs or public relations.

There’s probably some other reference to the MoD somewhere that I have missed. If I have, let me know and I’ll add it here. This is a pretty straightforward removal of a ministry.

Quite frankly, I find it troubling the increasing willingness to detach our military from civilian government and oversight. And to say that the MoD never did anything is ridiculous to hear from someone who never served as PM, MoD, or MoFA. In my experience as a Cabinet official, the MoD always played a critical role in discussions surrounding our region’s foreign policy and as a representative voice of the SPSF.

What’s more, I don’t take kindly to the insinuation that there is a politicization of the military occurring. Ultimately, everything is political. Our military is a tool that our regional government can use and take advantage of to further our goals and agenda, and I don’t think that the general corps should be the only people to have a say in that. The elected civilian government deserve as much a role in the SPSF’s overall direction and outlook as they in the general corps. After all, it was the civilian government that brought us closer to the defender region we have today.

The talk of doing away with the MoD and completely detaching it from our civilian government looks a lot like how TRR does things, which is something we should avoid at all costs. Their fascination with the military being completely independent of civilian government creates needless hassles in foreign policy, especially in areas where policy goals affect both the civilian government and the military. If we replicate their way of doing things, we may as well create a bunch of those unnecessary hassles ourselves and severely weaken our capacity to implement whatever new, bold ideas that future defenders may have.

I say all of this from the personal experience of having to deal with trying to work with a TRR where the civilian government and the RRA are completely separate institutions. Hate to break it to you, but it is an absolute dogwater arrangement that makes it hard to work with TRR. I can only imagine how troublesome it will be for other defenders and the defender world at large if we copy what TRR has.

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On the day to day work, the Ministry of Defense has consistently done more than every other ministry combined. Not that I support this amendment in the slightest, for all the reasons Jay brought up. Foreign Affairs and Defense are two incredible linked Ministries and detaching the latter to serve its own interests comes at the cost of serving the region’s interests.

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I don’t actually agree with this amendment, but I do think it’s worth discussing what we actually envision civilian oversight of the military to look like.

I’d argue it’s more the South Pacific Special Forces than the Ministry of Defense that has ‘done things,’ but I think the fact that argument could easily be considered semantic nitpicking — and how easy it is to conflate the two in general — speaks a great deal about the weaknesses in our current system.

(To be clear, I’m not just talking about the time we’ve gone without a Minister of Defense — in hindsight, I think even the things I did while serving as Minister of Defense were much more a case of an officer emboldened to be more proactive than a civilian minister setting government policy.)

Foreign Affairs and Defense are two incredibly linked policy areas. I don’t believe their respective institutions are so closely linked, and for good reason. Just because someone is in the SPSF doesn’t mean they automatically become a great diplomat (and I’m totally not speaking for myself here), and it doesn’t mean they automatically become privy to our foreign policy decisions.

Our policies on foreign affairs and defense are ultimately linked by our legislation. Our legislation says we’re a defender region, and it does that by setting the general operational limits of our military. That legislation shapes what our military does, and it shapes the general contours of our foreign policy as well.

I’m not really in support of this particular draft as I think the Great Council versions of this proposal are more well thought out, but I think Jay’s post (especially the “we’ll become the RRA” fearmongering) is not really applicable to the way “Minister of Defense position abolition” is really being pushed.

I don’t think any proposals detach the SPSF from civilian oversight. They detach it from oversight via the mechanism of a three-times-per-year Minister election, but retain it in confirmation and recall of the General Corps.

I think your frustrations with working with a region where its government and its military negotiate entirely separately are valid, however that’s not what any proposal to remove the Minister of Defense does.

In TRR, the RRA is entirely legally distinct from the government of The Rejected Realms. Commanders of the RRA are not confirmed by their Assembly nor can they be recalled by it, in large part because the very existence of the RRA predates the existence of TRR’s current Constitutional government (a historical fact which is simply not applicable here). This means the RRA has a “say” in negotiating treaties and defining the scope of military operations which is where much of this frustration comes from. In order for TRR to form a mutual defense treaty, the RRA has to “sign off” on it because they are the entity which is ultimately responsible for defending the other party to the treaty and neither TRR’s Assembly nor its head of government have actual authority to force the RRA to do anything.

In a proposed system where the SPSF is operated by a team of Assembly-approved Generals rather than joint leadership between a Minister of Defense and the Generals, the SPSF remains a part of the government, defined by the Charter, and is accountable to the Assembly. This removes a lot of the headaches that you refer to in TRR’s model. For starters, the SPSF wouldn’t have independent sign-off prerogative over treaties negotiated by the PM/MoFA and then approved by the Assembly. The SPSF, as a part of our overall government, would be bound by those treaties. For another, the SPSF would still be structured around defender values as defined by the Assembly and the executive government, rather than autonomously determining what those values are and how they are enacted.

You try to draw a “doomsday” scenario by comparing the proposed SPSF to the RRA, which I think is inaccurate. A more apt comparison would be to the kind of system TITO has, where the Delegate conducts foreign policy and TITO Officers conduct military operations both at the behest/direction of the non-elected Chief Executive. A proposed “SPSF Generals leadership” model is similar, insofar as both the Cabinet and SPSF execute their authorities at the direction of the Assembly.

(I’ll also note, your doomsday scenario does a disservice to the good work that the RRA does and ignores the fact that we would never implement that kind of system because the RRA’s system is entirely unique to TRR’s history, the RRA’s history, and TRR’s political persuasion.)

Closed due to inactivity per the Legislative Procedure Act , Article 1, Section 6.