Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Security: It's a Moral and Ethical Issue

Or so says Porfirio Lobo Sosa.

Background: the Center For Hemispheric Defense Studies (a US Defense program) held a workshop entitled "Workshop for the planning of National Security Strategies" last week in Honduras.

Lobo Sosa, who dedicated two days of his schedule to this, indicated that the objective was
"to understand that the theme of security is a question that needs to be confronted in an integrated manner. Eighty percent of the themes of the seminar have to do with creating the conditions by which Hondurans will be in better living conditions which permits a more effective prevention of crime."

Other Hondurans in attendance were presidential minister María Antonieta Guillén de Bográn, head of the Joint Chiefs General Carlos Cuéllar Castillo, defense Minister Marlon Pascua, and the vice-minister of Security, Roberto Romero Luna. Notably absent: Oscar Alvarez, minister of security.

La Tribuna also said unnamed members of the Honduran national congress and the command of the national police attended.

From the US side the most important person present was the present director of the Center For Hemispheric Defense Studies, Richard Downie. He is a retired US military officer. In 2001, he was the first commander of WHINSEC, the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (formerly the School of the Americas). Cresencio Arcos, the Center's advisor for political affairs, a former US ambassador to Honduras, also attended. Unnamed staff from the US embassy in Tegucigalpa were mentioned by La Tribuna.

So what is the Center For Hemispheric Defense Studies?

Created by Congress in 1997, it is sited at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C.. It is described as a Department of Defense regional studies institute that
uses applied policy educational and research for the strategic-level promotion of effective security policies.

In plain English, what that seems to mean is that they push policy. Translating their description of their activities in Washington, D.C., they counter the messages of terrorists and extremists, try to build a consensus on common security challenges, and align the national security apparatus with civilian-military relations.

The Center defines National Security Workshops like the one held in Tegucigalpa as one of their main approaches. They believe they develop personal relationships with emerging leaders and foster bilateral relationships, enhancing US ties with civilian and military leaders in participating countries.

Lobo Sosa, in his comments after the seminar, indicated that life gets better with a better education, not just a formal education, but also an education in morals and ethics.

So the results of this workshop were a decision to add moral and ethical training to the national education curriculum.

Oh, and more joint operations between the police and military.

Not sure if that adds to the moral or the ethical training of the nation...

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