ASEAN Defense Senior Officials Meet

In a meeting two weeks prior to the ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting (ADMM) in May, the ASEAN defense senior officials on April 28 and 29 took stock of the progress of cooperation within the ASEAN defense sector focusing on the various initiatives undertaken to include the establishment of an ASEAN Peacekeeping Centers Network, defense industry collaboration, cooperation with civil society organization for HA/DR, interaction programs and logistics support. 

In its assessment of the 2011-2013 Workplan of the defense sector, the ASEAN Secretariat stressed the good implementation undertaken but noted that some action items such as those on search and rescue need to be pursued further. Such items to include additional activities would be carried over in the 2014-2016 workplan which the ADSOM threshed out and would be presented for approval of the ministers when they meet in May. The deputy ASEAN secretary-general also emphasized that the progress of the ADMM should in parallel with developments in the ADMM-Plus.The senior officials also agreed to endorse for approval of the ministers two other initiatives namely the establishment of a direct communication link or hotlines and an additional protocol on the processes and procedures regarding the conduct of ADMM activities to ensure a more effective and efficient execution.

In his intervention, DND Assistant Secretary Raymund Quilop who headed the PH delegation stressed that both traditional and non-traditional security issues have become equally important. Thus, in additional to the current ADMM’s focus on non-traditional security issues, cooperation in traditional security should also be explored. And while the ADMM-Plus has been lauded for effective promotion of practical cooperation, efforts must be undertaken to ensure that developed capacities for dealing with a particular area (such as for HA/DR or maritime security) are equally useful for addressing other issues (such as counter-terrorism and peacekeeping operations). A balanced development of capabilities across various areas with too much focus on just one area (such as HA/DR) should be pursued.