According to the government, provisions to establish a National Security and Foreign Policy Council were added to package of constitutional amendments based on the recommendations of the Royal Commission to Modernise the Political System passed to the Parliament.
The idea of a national security council is not new in Jordan, but a National Policies Council (NPC) has always existed as a consultatory body where the heads of the security apparatus and government meet once a week with His Majesty the King and His Deputy to discuss various issues related to Jordan’s policies. This new proposal is different as the council might include a Minister of Defence, and NPC will be the major player in shaping internal and external policies.
It is important for the state to revise its decision-making mechanisms, particularly since a lack of coordination and slow responses are the main challenge for decision makers. Even more so in a dynamic atmosphere like the Middle East, the concept of national security needs to be revised to successfully meet the challenges by providing effective and efficient tools to develop a more resilient society.
However, it is also important to remember that the new concept of national security cannot be limited to military and security issues as it has in recent years. It must successfully protect both citizens and the state against all threats and dangers. To do this, the new process must include a wider range of issues such as diplomacy, micro-economic development, economic power, inter and intra state relations as well as internal and external communications.
National security needs to become a set of cells in the state brain that comprehensively and progressively considers strategies, policies and solutions, and then implements them to navigate a path out of crisis. It must become a strategic mind that develops new and innovative solutions to problems of the state. It must become an essential component to boost the development process and enhance progressive thought in the country.
This kind of thinking is particularly needed in a country like Jordan. There are various areas that need this approach to deliver better results. Socio-economic and local development, food security, unemployment, education reform, agriculture, transportation and energy, security and progressive anti-terrorism strategies are just some of the serious challenges that need a new approach.
The Jordanian economy needs generational reform from the bottom up, and this needs to start now before it is too late. A dependent economy that relies on external services and support is no longer sustainable. It must become an independent and productive economy, and that can only happen with a clear roadmap that is followed.
Obviously, the new concept of national security must continue the deradicalisation process, enhancing the capacity of the security apparatus and evolve to address criminal and terrorism threats. It must partner with neighbours and the citizenry by building alliances and communicating more clearly to bring the power of the region to bear on these threats.
Integrating this new concept of national strategy should be part of the strategic vision of the state. Its role is to accurately diagnose the underlying issues and deliver effective and efficient solutions. It does not necessarily need a new organ in the state body, or a new institution, it can be done simply with a small and nimble unit that coordinates the work among the state institutions and teaches others how to think differently.
The idea is to add a functional cell to the current brain to organise and harmonise the movement of the body. Yet, it is important to ensure that governments should have a dominant position in executing policies with a high level of transparency and accountability, so this new approach must ensure that the council will not take over executive authority, especially if there is any plan to continue with elected governments in the future.