Sun, May 13, 2018 - Page 6 News List

Think tank required to maintain stability

By Guan Jehng-Jer 官政哲

At the inauguration ceremony for the Institute for National Defense and Security Research, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) expressed three hopes: that the institute could help the government identify changes in Taiwan’s strategic situation, that it would have talented strategy researchers and that it would become a platform for exchange and cooperation with other nations.

She also said that the establishment of a national defense think tank was necessitated by the serious diplomatic challenges facing the nation.

Think tank development is an emerging knowledge industry. It is internationally recognized as an important benchmark of a nation’s soft power, and is a driving force behind social progress.

A government’s raison d’etre is to provide a peaceful environment in which the citizenry can live and work safely. This means paying equal attention to domestic and foreign affairs: Without stability and order, there will be no national security.

National defense and security are important, but domestic social order, stability and a secure national territory must not be ignored. In particular, social order and stability are closely related to the public’s daily lives. They are also the foundation on which social progress is built.

Following the terrorist attacks in Paris, nations around the world reviewed and shored up their anti-terrorist response capabilities.

A review of Taiwan’s capability to respond to a terrorist attack is worrying. In recent years, the nation has faced a difficult domestic security situation with frequent disasters and accidents, while crime levels and the number of public protests have been increasing, and social order has been deteriorating.

It is necessary to review the government’s overall capability to maintain social order, stability and the security of our national territory, and to quickly set up a forward-looking research institution focused on improving the nation’s comprehensive security.

To be able to maintain public safety and guarantee no terror attacks, forward-looking research must include improvement of anti-terrorism, security and disaster response management, as well as infrastructure and digital security, laws and regulations, and the use of technology.

Tsai has promised to introduce several reforms to the police force, such as increasing the force to full strength, making field operation demands more reasonable, updating equipment, integrating technology into the management system, and providing education and training.

In practice, agencies do not have the resources and staff required to deal with daily operations, which makes one wonder how many of these reforms it will be possible to implement. Without the support of forward-looking research, it would be difficult to make concrete, effective and sound policy suggestions.

Advanced nations have multiple think tanks dealing with police, social order, stability and the security of national territory. Examples are the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Police Executive Research Forum and the Police Foundation. These institutes help the police resolve enforcement issues, research issues related to police organization and national security, and recommend laws about enforcement management and technology applications.

The Chinese Ministry of Public Security in 2015 set up two national think tanks on public security: one a research institute for developing public security strategy and the other for improving law enforcement standards and expertise. They participate in international activities and promote competitiveness and visibility.

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