Professor at the Institute for Defense and Peace Studies in the Faculty of Philosophy, "Sts. Cyril and Methodius" University, Skopje
Four years after the armed conflict and the signing of the Framework Agreement, the Republic of Macedonia is in a phase of post-conflict peace building. This is one of the reasons why consolidation of the consequences of the conflict and ensuring that the conflict is not repeated depend on the success of this phase. Thus, we should and must look at the end of the armed phase of a conflict as the start of a new phase in the prevention of a new wave of violence through active social building of peace.
Post-conflict peace building is facing a series of challenges and problems, and, as such, it is the subject of numerous analyses. Of course, one of these is the analysis of crisis management. In this sense the analysis should provide answers to these questions: first, will the creation of a national crisis management system help us deal timely and efficiently with the risks and threats that exist in the post-conflict peace building in Macedonia? Second, does effective implementation of this system mean that we will have a security system that will be capable of protecting the citizens' interests and creating conditions for development and implementation of the economic, social, and other policies that will enable stabilization of Macedonia?
In general, over the last period crisis management has been a priority issue in the security agendas of the international, government, and nongovernmental organizations. This time, it is a challenge arising from the new security surroundings, which are brimming with unconventional threats and challenges to the security. The engaging in prevention, managing, and post-conflict peace building has certainly opened a sphere of questions about which not enough lessons have been learned.
Thus, within the frames of this difficult and complicated process of post-conflict peace building in Macedonia, the crisis management concept could contribute positively. Namely, its inauguration could help build security and it could help create a country that produces security. There are serious indicators that point to the challenges and need for serious treatment of the crisis management concept within the frames of the process for post-conflict building of peace and security in Macedonia. Thus, there is no doubt that we need a consensus from all factors for the organizational instituting of the crisis management system, not just as a condition, that is, standard for our integration into the Euro Atlantic security structures, but primarily as our realistic need.
As a result, one of our priorities is to create a crisis management system that will be able to deal timely and efficiently with the risks and threats that are, unfortunately, still present in and around Macedonia. This means that we should be capable of resolving our problems by ourselves in the spirit of the democratic era in which we currently live. Besides, we should recognize and admit that the various needs and security risks cannot be incorporated into a universal systemic response to crisis management, and, as such, be included in a national civic crisis management. But this is why the basic principles of democratic control of the security sector should also include crisis management. Thus, the general strategy is just. Macedonia needs a crisis management system and law. They will help in the permanent monitoring of the situation, and in this post-conflict period they will prove to be a very important phase in the definite stabilization of the country. This is an exceptionally positive chance for Macedonia and it can only stimulate us further in the process for stabilization and integration into the Euro Atlantic security institutions.
The Need for a National Crisis Management System
The need for a national crisis management system arose as a conceptual response to a number of dimensions.
The first dimension is the different social context in which the crises appear and affect the unique characteristics and dimensions of the crisis itself. In the Republic of Macedonia, the causes of a future crisis – that is, whether the roots of the crisis are in the political, economic, social, or security challenges – are a result of the situation in the post-conflict period, when peace and the green light for stabilization, development, and integration give the crisis specific character and require an adequate mechanism for the managing of the same. Post-conflict peace building requires rapid diagnosing, that is, anticipating of crises in a different social context. But we should always take into consideration the specifics of the crises. They should always provide answers to who is dealing with the crisis, when, and how. Is it better to establish a crisis management system or a system that "will only cure, but not prevent"?
The second dimension is to raise the issue of the crisis in the context of a post-conflict Macedonia, which will contribute to successful diagnosing of the crisis and removal of the causes of crises.
Third, one of the key issues related to the security challenges in post-conflict Macedonia is how to respond to the demands for reforms in the security sector.
The fourth dimension is the new security surroundings and the challenges for the security. Over the last period, the Republic of Macedonia was able to experience the nature of asymmetric threats and face the consequences of insufficient coordination of the state organs and security services. Experience shows that the modern risks and threats operate among the ministry authorities, surpass the resources and capabilities of the various government institutions, and cross the borders of states. These threats do not only affect the security and defense policy, but also the policies of the other ministries: the foreign, economic, and social policies, health, and the policy for protection of the environment. Creating a security system that would be capable of dealing with these challenges and providing support to the overall government policy requires efficient coordination of these resources at the highest level.
The fifth dimension includes abandoning of the traditional defense and turning toward crises prevention. Namely, security in Europe today is basically characterized by strengthened mutual cooperation, which is one of the indicators that the possibilities for a large conventional war are being eliminated slowly, but surely. On the other hand, in certain regions such as Southeastern Europe, the disintegration of the bipolar world and large socialist states resulted in numerous crisis situations (as was the case with the Republic of Macedonia).
Also, the future strategic realities following the terrorist attacks in the United States, Spain and Russia indicate that the danger of unmilitary and asymmetric threats appear in unexpected forms and with destructive intensity.
Considering the current level of civilization progress, that is, as a result of the technical and technological progress, globalization, and climatic changes, there are more and more natural, technical and technological, and other disasters that often exceed the overall potentials of a single country.
Thus, states are forced to organize themselves so that they can deal with these crises and crisis situations. Namely, countries must find resolutions for crisis management, starting from prevention of crises to resolving of the same.
In this sense, the latest Concept for National Security and Defense of the Republic of Macedonia contains a special section called Crisis Management, which defines the directions and bases for the organization and development of this system. Thus, Macedonia's imperative is the building of a crisis management system.
Sixth, creating a crisis management system that would be capable to dealing timely and efficiently with the risks and threats to the modern world is the same as developing a security system that would also be capable of protecting the citizens' interests, creating conditions for maintainable development and implementation of the economic, social, and other policies of the government, and upgrading our country's foreign political credibility. The establishing of this mechanism would enable central monitoring and assessment of the threats and risks, analysis of the data, efficient civic control of the security system in crisis situations at the highest political level, and coordination of the state institutions and security services' activities.
The seventh dimension is the lack of regulation and practice in coordinating the assessment of the crisis. Thus, we must set the aims of the management process; we must plan the basic activities; and we must define the basic principles and structure frame through which we expect to influence the crisis. In conditions when the main threats are not present, they are replaced by many less predictable risks, which are very present, direct, difficult to analyze, and inconstant. All this indicates that there is a continued need for effective and controlled response, organized crisis management, measures and communication that could be included, separately or collectively, in the controlling of the crises, the shaping of the future directions, and the satisfying of the political factors and managers of the crises. Categorization of the aims of the crisis management system is extremely important: how to contribute toward reduction of the tensions and their prevention, which would have direct influence on the security of the state; efficient crisis management, which would prevent the same from escalating and turning into wars; and securing civic and military preparations. The complexity of the operation conditions a qualitatively different method of prevention through controlled response and readiness for action at all levels of the crisis. This approach strives for: use of political, economic, and social instruments, as well as military instruments; and bigger emphasis on prevention of conflicts, maintaining peace, and crisis management.
The need for the promoting of a crisis management system in the Republic of Macedonia indicates organization, system, and measures, with the aim of putting crises under control and securing conditions for modeling the future course of the crisis.
The process for coordinating the crisis in the Republic of Macedonia will also have to determine the chief activities of crisis management, accompanied by every crisis situation that suggests a simple matrix through the whole process of crisis management. The practice of coordinating the assessment of the crisis is necessary, considering that the activities included in the crisis management are complicated. They include: monitoring, uncovering of the crisis, reducing of the intensity of the crisis, negotiations, and building of peace.
The formal list of tasks should include implementation of all activities of the planning, accompanied by the formal decisions. It should also take into consideration the specific operations that are undertaken through strategic consideration and compulsory coordination with everyone during the crisis.
The eighth dimension is that in the system there is no institution responsible for preventing and dealing with crisis. For Macedonia, the creating of a crisis management system that would be capable of dealing timely and efficiently with the risks and threats to the modern world means building of a security system that would also be capable of protecting the citizens' interests and creating conditions for maintainable progress and implementation of the economic, social, and other policies. This would directly contribute to the upgrading of the country's foreign-policy credibility and the fulfilling of one of the conditions necessary for satisfying NATO and the EU's standards.
By forming an institution for prevention and dealing with crises, we should be able to avoid situations such as the one that we had before and during the conflict in year 2001. Then, our state reacted "ad hoc". The state organized the Coordinating Body for Crisis Management, which included the Crisis Management Center, during the war. This was a good resolution. But our priority is to create a crisis management system that would be able to deal timely and efficiently with the risks and threats that, unfortunately, are not bypassing Macedonia.
The Concept for a National Crisis Management System
In order to achieve the concept of crisis management, we undoubtedly require a series of assumptions, most important of which are:
- developing efficient organization of the crisis management system;
- the securing of legal and other conditions by the state with the aim of establishing a crisis management system that would be compatible with the world standards;
- permanent and mandatory training of the personnel who will work in this system.
One look at our experiences will show that:
- we need more comprehensive preparations, equipping, training and planning of all institutions of the system so that they would accept the challenges brought by conflicts and crises, considering that the development of a crisis is difficult to predict;
- we should establish a system of full transparency among all institutions that participate in the resolving of crises, and we should put into operation all available infrastructure and national resources;
- in peacetime we should fully regulate the status of those citizens who, as a result of the crisis, could become subjects of forced migrations due to certain political, economic, social, demographic, ethnic, or religious motives;
- the international institutions must be more efficient, timely, and complete if we want the consequences of the crises to be within tolerable boundaries;
- the international community must understand, support, and materially compensate the role and consequences suffered by the countries that will participate in this process;
- the issue of the national security of the countries that will participate in the resolving of the crises must be the priority issue of the international community and it must support the same;
- experience shows that the regional approach to overcoming crises, the regional contingents, and regional coordination are key for resolution of the crises;
- coordination and planning of the NATO, OSCE, and EU activities and missions proved necessary for resolution of the crises.
The government and Defense Ministry's efforts aimed at preparing the crisis management law are extremely important. The positive aspect of the law is that it proceeds from the regulations of the National Concept for Security and Defense, which, among other things, provides the directions for regulating the whole sphere related to security and defense of the citizens and their material values, as well as the security and defense of the state. Also, one segment of the law standardizes some resolutions from the NATO and EU member countries. The proposed text of the law will secure fulfilling of a few aims: it will improve the coordination of the intelligence communities and the quality of the information used to assess the threats to the country's security. The new law establishes a crisis management system that will have to secure timely, rapid, and efficient prevention and reaction in cases when the citizens' lives and property and the state's security are threatened. The law will also establish coordinated rational and efficient use of the resources during crisis situations in the country. The new version of the law also includes two novelties: the Assembly would have constant control over the state organs and government in the resolving of any crisis situation; and only the president of the country can make a decision on deploying part of the army for overcoming of the crisis situations.
Thus, in order to prepare a timely response to "a possible crisis" or "crisis situation" that could threaten the country's vital values, the Republic of Macedonia will have to organize a crisis management system. This conclusion ensues from the overall analysis, which also provides answers for the two questions set in the introduction. Namely, the analysis indicates that the Republic of Macedonia needs a crisis management system. Here we should proceed from an important determinant in the creating of the crisis management system: the already established Coordinating Body for Crisis Management and the Crisis Management Center. In order to manage the crisis operatively, efficiently, and professionally, the Macedonian Government formed these bodies during the crisis in year 2001.
The basic task of the Coordinating Body for Crisis Management was to coordinate, direct, and unite the state organs, army, and police units' activities in dealing with crises, and to propose deployment of the units for fight against terrorism.
In the interest of the efficient dealing with crises, the Macedonian Government also formed a working group for crisis management, that is, a Crisis Management Center.
The Crisis Management Center consists of:
- a director of the Center;
- a deputy director of the Center;
- one representative from each of the following institutions: Defense Ministry, Interior Ministry, Foreign Ministry, Intelligence Agency, the Macedonian Army, and the police.
The Crisis Management Center's tasks in dealing with crises are the following:
- to collect, process, analyze, and present data and information to the Coordinating Body for Crisis Management, and to propose measures and activities for dealing with crisis situations;
- to present information to the Defense Ministry, Interior Ministry, and Intelligence Agency.
With the aim of dealing with the crisis successfully, the state organs, Army, police, and Intelligence Agency have a task to present to the Crisis Management Center data related to the crisis situations.
Subgroups are also being formed within the Crisis Management Center:
- for collecting information;
- for planning;
- for analytics;
- for communications and informatics; and
- for general and legal issues.
These are the bases of the organization of the crisis management system. Namely, in order to achieve rapid and comprehensive activity, that is, in order to propose decisions and secure constant consultations, coordination, timely reaction, efficiency, and adequate exploitation of the available resources in the case of a crisis situation, as well as securing timely, quality, and real assessment of the threats to the country's security, the law proposes the following organization of the Crisis Management System: Managing Committee, Assessment Group, and a Crisis Management Board.
According to the law, the Managing Committee is a government body for coordination and managing with the Crisis Management System. The Managing Committee is composed of the interior minister, health minister, transport and communications minister, defense minister, foreign minister, and the head of the Assessment Group. The control mechanism is secured through the participation of a representative of the Macedonian Assembly's Security and Defense Committee and a representative of the Macedonian President's Office.
The Assessment Group is a government body that conducts constant assessment of the dangers and risks to Macedonia's security, and proposes measures and activities for their prevention, early warning, and dealing with the crisis situation. The Assessment Group is composed of the directors of the Public Security Bureau, the Security and Counterintelligence Department, and the Intelligence Agency; the directors and deputy directors of the Crisis Management Center and the Protection and Rescue Department; the deputy chief of the Macedonian Army General Staff; and the head of the Security and Intelligence Service in the Defense Ministry.
The Crisis Management Board is an independent state organ. This board conducts the following tasks as part of its activities related to crisis management: secures continuity in the inter-ministry and international cooperation; conducts consultations and coordination in the crisis management; prepares and updates a single assessment of the dangers and risks to Macedonia's security; and proposes measures and activities for the resolving of the crisis situation.
Instead of a Conclusion
All the important aspects of the organization and coordination of the institutions in securing security and defense of the Republic of Macedonia enable us to draw a few conclusions regarding a "better or more flexible" system from an organization and functional aspect.
First, there is no organization, procedures, and decision-making process between them for control of a crisis or crisis situation; (the crisis management system is supposed to overcome this problem);
Second, the crisis in the Republic of Macedonia opened all sensible issues related to the functioning of the political and security institutions in conditions when an urgent coordinated response is required;
Third, the crisis also showed that the institutions are unsuccessful in their attempts to recognize their authorities;
Fourth, they had difficulties coordinating their joint activities;
Fifth, the army and police also failed to provide a coordinated response. The problem arose between the key security institutions, that is, the division of responsibility between the army and police. These problems created an impression of bad simulation of the crisis.
Sixth, the post-conflict period turned a new leaf in the list of future problems, that is, the possibility of future post-conflict crises. The potential for instability or the potential for a conflict is not and cannot be completely eliminated. In this sense, not even theory recognizes sterile conflict-free societies. But it does indicate that the structure factors are not a sufficient element for the rule of democratic achieving of the interests and needs to be violated. Two other components are always necessary: possibilities and political will for the structure problems to be used. In the case of a post-conflict Macedonia, the possibilities/risks are still present: illegal weapons, corruption, outside support for armed violence, and illegal armed groups.5 In such conditions, the establishing of civic crisis management, which would secure civic and democratic control over the activities and forces, would help achieve coordination and efficiency of the system.
Thus, in this period the creating of a national crisis management system is one of the basic and challenging aims of the Macedonian Government. There are a number of reasons for this:
- in the Republic of Macedonia crisis management cannot be achieved efficiently through the functions of the security sector, which is still undergoing reforms and is searching for a clearly defined function;
- in the Republic of Macedonia there is no crisis management system as a new challenge;
- until recently there was no statutory regulation, that is, Crisis Management Law.
Thus, all these reasons and the need for overcoming all these negativities give us a chance to conclude:
- the Republic of Macedonia must establish an efficient national crisis management system;
- the crisis management system is organized and achieved for prevention, early warning, and dealing with crises resulting from the dangers and risks to the security of the Republic of Macedonia;
- crisis management should include gathering of information, assessment, analysis of the situation, establishing of the aims and tasks, development, and implementation of the necessary activities;
- consequently, the Crisis Management Law created a statutory possibility for the formation of a national crisis management system;
- the Crisis Management System consists of a Managing Committee, an Assessment Group, and a Crisis Management Board.
Respecting this information and recommendations, which are in the spirit of the establishing of a modern crisis management system, we must stress that we took into consideration resolutions that can be applied and that provide the basis for a new organization and functional establishing of a national Crisis Management Center in the Republic of Macedonia.
1. Vankovska B.: "Disarmament and building peace in Macedonia: 'Division of Labor' between the sexes", project on Prevention of conflicts, Friedrich Ebert Foundation, 2004, p 113
2. Ibid, p 11
3. Brown, M.E.: "The International Dimensions of Internal Conflict"; The MIT Press, Cambridge, 1996
4. Georgieva L.: "Crisis management: Regional Experiences and Dilemmas for Macedonia"; Sovremena Makedonska Odbrana, no. 10, Skopje, 2004, p 56
5. Buckovski V.: "Crisis Management in the Republic of Macedonia"; Defense Ministry of the Republic of Macedonia, 2005, p 13