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Wednesday October 16, 2019

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Editor speaks on Internal Security Issue

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The use of drones to attack militant targets in Pakistan, Yemen and in the Gaza stirs high emotions, much resentment and some praise as well, amongst those practicing statecraft or at the receiving ends of the deadly missiles. The debate, for or against the drones, being put aside for the moment, what their use demonstrates is the ability of the State to reach targets that manpower dependent tactics cannot hope to achieve. These are quantum force multiplier, to use a military cliché. For they use precisely the tactics upon which militants survive, stealth, silence, low manpower and most important of all, surprise. All of which goes to prove their growing induction in professional militaries and security forces.

Governments manage to change the nature of the game by the superiority of the technologies deployed to counter threats.

Manpower dependent tactics are of a finite nature, always dependent on numbers to achieve parity and then domination. Whereas technology is infinite in its scope and application. In the game of security, external and internal, the use of technological innovation has changed the rules of the game. No longer do governments need the militants to make their moves before detection happens and neutralisation follows. Governments now have the options to identify, track, follow, extract greater information and then counteract before the militants can launch their attacks. Surprise and the resultant initiative, is now available with governments. And that game changer is largely because of the use of technology. The relevance of technology is limitless, owing to its inherently dynamic nature. And it is hampered only by the limitations imposed by a lack of innovative thinking. The instinctive inertia of the State is what stands between applying neutralising force through the use of technology and remaining dependent on the habitual manpower intensive tactics. For technology is about viewing options differently and squeezing the best results out of originality.

Humankind has displayed enormous dynamism in its pursuit of innovation and invention. What was unthinkable a decade back is now taken as a matter of routine. All of this is possible only because of the development and induction of technology, at various levels of application. From the overt, the intrusive, to the covert and lethal, technologies exist at differing levels and function. It is for the government to identify what is best suitable in its environment. And it is for the society to adapt to those uses, for there is a cost that technology extracts. Which has nothing to do with pricing, but more to do with privacy. When it comes to matters of security, privacy is a small price to pay. But for that attitudes have to change, both within and outside of government. Rampantly intrusive application is not the need of the hour. What is needed is a change of mindset, for identifying the threats, the technologies needed to counter them and sanctioning their uses. It isn’t simply the technologies that are going to win the battle, but the minds that need use them. And that is the biggest challenge before State and society.


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