The National Security Plan: Clarification and examples
By drawing up a National Security Plan (‘NSP’), a government indicates which objectives it wants to pursue in tackling problems that threaten their national security. This usually includes a list of the most important threat phenomena according to that government. Many NSPs cover issues such as terrorism, organised crime and cybersecurity. In addition, references can be made to security issues that might be less obvious but can also have a major impact on the national security. By drafting such a security plan, the government not only provides a framework for what it considers to be a threat phenomenon, but also provides a framework for determining which security measures need to be taken. The NSP also often states that the values of democracy, the rule of law, human rights and freedoms are taken into account in the choice and implementation of the means it uses to address these phenomena. This is understandable, given that some measures may have an impact on the citizen itself (cf. surveillance measures). By subsequently publishing the NSP, it constitutes a communication to the citizens of that country enabling transparency between the government and its citizens.
In 2013, Austria published its own NSP. Compared to some other NSPs it is less extensive and it mainly discusses the most common threats. In addition, it also seems to place an emphasis on migration. The Austrian NSP emphasises the need for internal cooperation and reaffirmed cooperation within the EU framework and participation in UN peacekeeping operations as part of Austrian foreign policy. In addition, the Austrian government provides an overview of all the principles that it wishes to take into account when setting out its security policy.
In 2016, Belgium published its seventh NSP and focuses on two aspects: the ‘integrated’ cooperation between the local and federal police on the one hand, and the ‘integrated’ cooperation between the integrated police and its partners in the security chain on the other. The NSP of Belgium not only discusses measures aimed at Belgium itself, but also looks at international cooperation. In addition, the Belgian NSP focuses on ten different threats that are quite varied but are similar to the NSPs of other countries. Next, the Belgian NSP also stresses the need for optimisation, partnership and innovation within the operation of the police and pays sufficient attention to the follow-up and evaluation of the strategy.
Republic of Croatia
Cyprus has currently no specific NSP (you can find more information here).
The Czech Republic
Greece has currently no specific NSP.
Ireland has currently no specific NSP.
Italy’s White Paper on International Security and Defence was published in May 2015, replacing the former documents from 1987 and 2002. The White Paper briefly addresses the various threats envisaged by Italy’s security and defence strategy, while emphasising a more active role for the armed forces. In particular, the document aims to discuss the armed forces with a view to reforming the Ministry of Defence. It looks at the current state of affairs, what needs to be done and what changes are envisaged. These changes focus on the structure of the armed forces, but also on human resources (education, health, personnel structure, etc.). The importance of a more integrated approach is discussed, as well as the importance of further cooperation between different local and regional authorities and within the European Union itself. In addition, the need for technological innovation within defence is also discussed.
Malta has currently no specific NSP. However, your can find the Maltese National Defence Strategy (2016-2026) here.
The Netherlands published their latest NSP in 2019. It defines first and foremost the concept of ‘national security’, which immediately makes it clear that the Netherlands intends to address various threats under its security policy. The focus of their NSPs is on territorial, physical, economic, economic, ecological, political and social security. In addition, the Dutch NSP also considers the functioning of the international legal order. For example, the NSP indicates that the trends and developments are likely to affect national security and provides an integrated risk analysis. Moreover, it is indicated whether there is already an approach, whether it is adequate and which approaches are to be taken in the future. The strategy also states that it wants to continue to focus on scientific research and innovation. Lastly, it clarifies that the current NSP provides for a triennial cycle in which developments affecting national security, threats and risks to national security, as well as the degree of resilience to them, are periodically reviewed for implications for the strategic agenda or for the definition and approach of national security
Portugal has currently no specific NSP. However, you can find the Portuguese National Defence Strategic Concept (2013) here.
The United Kingdom drew up its first strategy in 2008 and has since modified its NSP on several occasions. In their most recent NSP of 2015, they first indicate what their vision is, and which values will be considered throughout the security plan. In addition, there is a clear focus on the usual threats towards their own citizens (cf. terrorism), but the UK is also clearly considering its position in the international order and what measures can be taken to influence security issues beyond the borders of the UK. The NSP also contains an economically oriented perspective as it intends to promote economic security and innovation and other opportunities worldwide to improve security in general. Lastly, the NSP focuses on the improvement of the operations of the government. For instance, by working together with experts, shareholders and so on.
You can find the National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review (2015) here.