15 October 2019

INTERVIEW with Teodor Frunzeti: We must provide a better security culture. It would increase nation’s resilience |VIDEO

Alexandru Costea

General (r) Teodor Frunzeti stated, in an interview for the Defence and Security Monitor, that security’s non-physical sources, which are the national will and coherence, should not be ignored. Frunzeti thinks that it should be provided a better security culture for the population.

General (r) Teodor Frunzeti talked, in an interview for the Defence and Security Monitor, within the D.S.M. Conference on “The national security policy, from strategic thinking to security and defence institutions”, about the 2% of GDP level allotted to national security and how the budgetary performance is being cumbered by the frequent changes within the Ministry of Defence.

 Also, the general (r) has explained that Romania needs armament investments to deter any attacks against our nation. Furthermore, Teodor Frunzeti thinks that due to the fact that Romania has national coherence issues, it must be ensured a better security culture, which would increase population’s resilience capacity to emergency situations.

We are presenting you the entire interview below:

Reporter: Related to what you were saying earlier, that is not ok to allot 2% of GDP for defence. What do you think we should do further on, should we increase this level?

General (r) Teodor Frunzeti: Is not the allotted percentage that’s the issue, but the administrative capacity for this budget to be properly spent and to ensure the operational capacity increase of the armed forces. The budget itself is just one of the issues. These 2% are now a success because Romania was, for many years, below these 2% level, and the merit only belongs to the current president, because the first political action of the president took place in January 2015, when he made possible this political consensus- ensure Army’s budget funding. As for what it is proper and what not, there are some NATO states whose percentage is higher than 2%, and we should not forget that Romania, out of these 2%, is also spending money on taking part to operations outside the national territory, which is seriously cumbering the budget. Other states, like Italy, for example, are doing so by spending money from a distinct budget ensured by the Government, which would definitely be good for Romania too. It would be adequate to allot more than 2%, but we should not dream that much. We must firstly be sure that we will continue to have these 2% and that they will be properly spent.

Reporter: Do you think that the political instability is, somehow, cumbering these institutions’ activity in terms of expenditures and the budgetary performance in the defence field?

General (r) Teodor Frunzeti:  The fact that the Ministry of Defence had more ministers during this governmental mandate, but also that those responsible with the defence investments, which is the Armament Department within the Defence Ministry, could not prove to be stable in terms of leadership, have definitely cumbered the administrative capacity within the Ministry of National Defence.

Reporter: It is true that, lately, the threats against national security are no longer conventional? Given this context, is there any better strategy to invest in armament or in other strategy to strengthen the national security and defence?

General (r) Teodor Frunzeti: We must firstly analyze them jointly, because we should not ignore the armament investments, the classic capacities, because they are also deterrence methods. The current deterrence and defence posture of NATO, which is also a special concept for NATO’s Eastern flank, is the one to ensure the coherence of deterrence efforts, and this is where we must have the deterrence capacity. If you are trustable enough, you will not get attacked. Indeed, we should not ignore the other confrontation fields, which is the cyber and the information fields, where there are daily aggressions.

Reporter: Which would be the main fields wherein the state contributes the most, now, for national security?

General (r) Teodor Frunzeti: They are all important. Firstly, national security has also some security sources, and the non-physical ones should be considered: the national will and coherence. I think we have some issues here, in terms of national coherence, which is this synergy of different social-professional groups and citizens all around the world. We must provide a better security culture, which would indeed increase population’s resilience capacity in emergency situations, in other words, it would increase the resilience at all.

Reporter: Do you have an idea or a strategy in terms of mobilizing the population to get to contribute to national security?

General (r) Teodor Frunzeti: This a complex concept. Mobilization is about increasing the operational capacity of the armed forces by bringing more reservists in the field. It is developed such vision, now, within the Ministry of Defence, though the General Staff of Defence, but this is not what I was talking about. I was actually talking about the fact that, though a security culture, citizens become more aware of the environment Romania is in now, of Romania’s risks, threats and domestic vulnerabilities.  In the end, this is not just an institutional issue, it is also our issue.