Frequently Asked Questions
09.09.2011 / 14:30
Q: What is the purpose of the Security Strategy?
The reviewed Strategy should fulfill the following main functions:
- Set priorities and tools to advance Czech security interests, improve coordination in implementing security policy and enable better allocation of resources;
- Reach out to domestic audiences with the aim to strengthen political consensus on security issues, increase the level of discussion and promote thinking on security and defence related issues.
Q: Why was the Strategy reviewed? How does the result differ from the 2003 Security Strategy?
The term “review” both partially signals the scope of changes and represents the continuity of the main principles of the Czech security policy. The fundamental principles and security interests – as defined in the 2003 document – remain valid. The Government took the decision to review the current Strategy in order to reflect the new NATO Strategic Concept as well as overall international and security developments. The 2011 Security Strategy takes account of changes in the security environment since 2003, including key challenges and threats to the Euro-Atlantic area. Its ambition is to provide a systemic and coordinated framework to advance Czech security interests. Compared to 2003, the current document puts more emphasis on the coordinated use of individual national, bilateral and multilateral tools.
Q: Was there enough time to conduct a proper analysis and review?
Initial work on the review started in the autumn of 2010. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was coordinating the process of inter-agency consultations in line with the schedule adopted by the National Security Council in November 2010. Compared to other departmental documents/strategies, this inter-agency “umbrella” document required a wider time-frame as it needed to reflect and reconcile inputs from a number of ministries and departments and provide sufficient time for consultation and analysis. The text was also consulted with the security community and Members of the Parliament of the Czech Republic.
Q: What is the relationship between the Security Strategy, the White Paper on Defence and other strategic documents?
The Security Strategy is a fundamental document of the Czech security policy and as such, it provides the umbrella as well as guidance for follow-up work by Government departments. In other words, it will serve as a reference framework for new departmental strategies and implementation documents in the area of security and defence. In case of the White Paper on Defence, the work on both documents was closely coordinated.
Q: Were expert groups and the academic community involved in the review process?
The academic community and expert groups were an integral part of the review process – both through informal consultations and two working seminars organised by the CEVRO Institute in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The first seminar on February 1 analysed the goals and structure of the Strategy as well as the international context. The participants discussed and commented on the Security Environment chapter which identifies the main trends in the security environment as well as key threats to the Czech Republic and its allies. The second seminar on March 31 provided an opportunity to discuss the draft document as a whole.
Q: How does the Strategy define security interests?
Czech security interests have not changed in any major way since the previous Strategy was adopted in 2003, and fall into three categories: vital; strategic; and significant. The vital interests remain: to safeguard the sovereign existence, territorial integrity and political independence of the Czech Republic and to preserve all the essentials of a democratic state and the rule of law, including guarantees for the protection and safeguarding of basic human rights and freedoms. Strategic interests serve to advance vital interests as well as to help ensure progress and prosperity.
Q: How does the Strategy identify threats?
Individual threats are identified based on the analysis of the security environment and the corresponding risk assessment. Apart from specific threats to the Czech Republic, the Strategy also reflects threats to its allies as identified in both NATO and EU strategic documents. The decision to state concrete threats was guided primarily by the need to focus resources on the development of specific capabilities, tools and measures. The Strategy identifies the following key threats: terrorism; proliferation of the weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery; cyber attacks; instability and regional conflicts in the Euro-Atlantic area and its neighbourhood; negative aspects of international migration; organised crime and corruption; threats to critical infrastructure; disruptions to supplies of strategic raw materials or energy; and natural and man-made disasters and other emergencies. To prevent and minimise the negative impact of these threats, the Czech Republic will apply comprehensive approach combining military and civilian tools.
Q: Is terrorism a priority threat for the Czech Republic?
The threats are not ranked hierarchically. Terrorism is a transnational threat. The Czech Republic is not an island and threats to its allies are relevant even if they may not have a direct impact on its territory. In this case, the Strategy focuses on preventive measures such as information sharing, financial flows control, etc.
Q: How serious is the threat of cyber attacks?
Cyber attacks are a serious threat to the Czech Republic and its allies. They are becoming more frequent and more organised and can inflict serious damage on the government administration, business, economy and potentially also transportation and supply networks and other critical infrastructure. Potential cyber attacks could have far-reaching consequences for the security of the Czech Republic – from threats to critical infrastructure to leaks/loss of strategic information and damage to the information systems of public institutions as well as private businesses that provide the basic services of the state. Both state and non-state actors can be the source of such attacks. Our dependence on information and communication technologies as well as the inter-connected systems increase our vulnerability.
Q: Does the Security strategy address budgetary issues?
As a framework document, the Strategy does not address budgetary issues nor does it provide specific budget-related guidance. However, in view of the priorities and ambitions it identifies as well as the current financial restrictions, it aims to guarantee a predictable and adequate fiscal framework, eliminate duplications and contribute to an effective use of international and national tools. The Strategy also focuses on helping create a prosperous economic environment and thus sufficient human, material and financial resources to advance the country’s security.
Q: Does the Strategy provide guidance for Czech engagement in international organizations?
The nature of contemporary security threats and trends requires a complex approach to security that combines both military political tools on national, bilateral and multilateral levels. Apart from its indisputable advantages, membership in the international organisations also means commitments. The Czech Republic aims to be an active player and not a security “free-rider”. As an example, it will continue to build and develop its forces’ CBRN specialisation and potentially add new areas. On the other hand, as part of the collective defence system, the Czech Republic does not need to develop the whole spectrum of capabilities that would be indispensable if it was to defend itself on its own.
Q: Will the Strategy be reviewed on a regular basis?
It is anticipated that the Strategy will be reviewed on a 5-year basis.
Q: Why are there no specific security scenarios?
The Strategy is a framework document. Security scenarios in specific areas can be, and in some cases are, part of the corresponding implementation documents.
Q: Is there a role for the citizens?
Although security provision is the primary responsibility of the Government, if advancing security interests is to be successful, it also requires an active participation by the citizens. Their active role strengthens the resilience of the society towards security threats. In this regard, the Government supports better preparedness/readiness and information for its citizens as well as their active participation.