Browsing by Author "Vrey, Francois"
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- ItemAn analysis of the evolving military futures debate : explaining alternative military futures for the South African National Defence Force(Stellenbosch : University of Stellenbosch, 2006-04) Vrey, Francois; Roux, A.; University of Stellenbosch. Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences. School of Public Management and Planning. Institute for Futures Research (IFR).ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Twenty-first century armed forces increasingly have to operate amidst unprecedented uncertainty and complexity cascading onto the military domain. Not only are their roles and implicitly their whole being now constantly questioned; the historic rationale for their existence is also under pressure. New and even unorthodox responsibilities find their way into and increasingly begin to eclipse and challenge traditional elements that configure the military sphere. Adjustments towards new futures thus become essential, as the images of warless futures and endisms about war remain merely that - images. Subsequently, notions about the adaptive military and armed forces being open ended systems sensitive to and capable of remaining in step with unfolding futures, become imperatives. In addition to learning from history, military futures now increasingly co-feature as the domain to master in the pursuit of appropriate future armed forces. Exploring the future through a recognised field of study allows for alternative futures to unfold that are bound to differ from an historic review and its linear continuance. This also serves as a tenable argument for military futures. Only by systematically peeling away the dogma that armed forces are instruments for war and little else, can the required changes to and future contributions of military establishments towards alternative military futures be exposed. Subsequently, military forces become entities capable of changing alongside their societies towards futures not predominantly shaped for and by war. To this end, the topic of alternative military futures offers insights into the utility of armed forces as a more contributing and constructive future policy instrument. In researching alternative military futures through contiguous debates concerning the futuresmilitary nexus, military change, the Revolution in Military Affairs, and the unfolding strategic environment, it emerges that military change towards new futures is a rather slow and incremental process. Furthermore, the Revolution in Military Affairs, in spite of its prominence, offers limited future options to the majority of governments aspiring to exploit new ways and means for engaging military futures. In turn, the future strategic environment premises strategic futures leaving armed forces little choice but to prepare for a horizontal threat spectrum of simultaneity and complexity, and a vertical dimension of a destructive-constructive merger. This matrix calls for expanded military means to meet complex futures characterised by simultaneity and variety through a response hierarchy comprising destructive and constructive ways and means. These are future challenges also faced by the defence decision-makers and military practitioners in South Africa. Alternative military futures for the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) comprise some interface with the dynamics posited by theories on military change, contributions by the Revolution in Military Affairs and threat-response continuum posited by the future strategic environment. From this challenging premise alternative military futures embedded in the more constructive and preventative use of its military policy instrument towards Africa in particular, a South African defence paradigm is emerging for employing the South African National Defence Force in future. Renouncing the warfighting option to bring about change, accepting the volatile and complex African challenge and embracing democracy and multilaterism call for new defence thinking to probe the future. This search is bound to reveal the unfolding of alternative military futures that reach beyond the expectations of South African defence decision-makers and military practitioners from both the apartheid and struggle generations.
- ItemCollecting evidence on the use of parliamentary oversight tools : a South African case study(AOSIS, 2020) Van Rensburg, Wilhelm Janse; Vrey, Francois; Neethling, TheoBackground: Parliament, through its oversight function, plays a central role in holding the executive to account. In South Africa’s 2014 Defence Review policy document, it was stated that the ‘Defence Force is in a critical state of decline’. This brings about the question whether the South African Parliament effectively held the executive to account regarding developments around defence. Objectives: The article aims to gather evidence on the use of oversight tools by the South African Parliament over a 20-year period, within the post-1994 democratic dispensation, in order to determine the broader trajectory of parliamentary defence oversight. Method: To determine the trajectory of oversight, this article gathered evidence on the use of internationally recognised parliamentary oversight tools by South Africa’s two parliamentary defence committees from 1994 to 2014. The period allows for a 20-year review of oversight of defence, inclusive of four full parliamentary terms. Evidence was collected on parliamentary debates, questions, special inquiries, oversight visits and the use of external audits as oversight tools. Results: The article found that tools were used with varying degrees of success. Results for research on each oversight tool is discussed. Conclusion: Based on evidence on the use of oversight tools, this article concludes that over a 20-year period there was a declining trajectory in parliamentary oversight of the defence portfolio. The proven applicability of the criteria utilised in this article can serve to inform evaluations of the effectiveness of parliamentary oversight, specifically at committee level.
- ItemThe evolution of strategy : thinking war from antiquity to the present(Stellenbosch University, Faculty of Military Science (Military Academy), 2011) Vrey, FrancoisThe Evolution of Strategy: Thinking War from Antiquity to the Present is another welcome addition to the field of War Studies with its particular focus on strategy. The publication adds to a growing body of literature that explores new historical sources to anchor the theoretical departure of the work further, and attends to the emergent dilemmas of the future role(s) of the armed forces. At a time when critical stances about the utility of armed forces seem to have entered a growth period, The Evolution of Strategy contributes several well-argued perspectives to acknowledge and comment on questions related to the utility of armed coercion in contemporary times.
- ItemFrom Boleas to Bangui : parliamentary oversight of South African defence deployments(Stellenbosch University, Faculty of Military Science (Military Academy), 2020) Van Rensburg, Wilhelm Janse; Vrey, Francois; Neethling, TheoParliamentary oversight of the executive plays a key role in ensuring accountability and is therefore central to the system of checks and balances that characterises liberal democracies. After 1994, South Africa aligned itself with liberal democratic ideals and sought to foster accountability in governance. In the South African Parliament, committees are considered the engine rooms of the institution and are central to the oversight process. Members of Parliament serving on these committees also have specific tools at its disposal to conduct oversight. These include deliberations (debates), posing written and oral questions, oversight visits, special inquiries and external audit opinions. By reviewing the use of these tools in relation to defence deployments, this article aims to determine the long-term post-1994 trajectory of parliamentary oversight of deployments. The article uses the timeline between Operation Boleas (Lesotho, 1998) and the ‘Battle of Bangui’ (Central African Republic, 2013), two key post-1994 military deployments, as a demarcation for determining the trajectory of oversight. The article finds a negative trajectory in terms of the oversight of deployments. Committee meetings dedicated to deployments remained limited. Questions around deployments did not fill the vacuum left by a lack of committee activity. Oversight visits to deployment areas were limited while there was a complete dearth of in-depth inquiry into deployments through special inquiries and external audits. The article subsequently notes that the negative trajectory in terms of deployment oversight can not only be explained by the growing civil-military gap in South Africa, but arguably contributed to the widening gap.
- ItemIntroducing Stellenbosch University Open Access Journals(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2011-10) Simon, Carol; Thom, Johan; Botma, Gabriël; Botha, Willem; Brand, Gerrit; Visagie, Stephan E.; Van der Walt, Christa; Vrey, Francois; Khondowe, Oswell
- ItemOperation phakisa : reflections upon an ambitious maritime-led government initiative(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, Faculty of Military Science (Military Academy), 2019) Vrey, FrancoisOperation Phakisa enjoys ‘presidential’ status as a project launched by and housed within the Presidency of the Republic of South Africa during the Zuma administration. Phakisa is a most ambitious project, which includes a prominent maritime component. The maritime focus functions as one catalyst for positioning South Africa as an international maritime player by 2030 and in the process speeding up national development through delivery of public goods, economic growth and jobs. Aiming to be an international maritime player supposes that foreign policy elements also feature in the project considerations. Launched in 2014, Phakisa’s oceans leg now offers scope for scrutiny as mixed messages about its progress and failures routinely appear. The gist of the discussion is forward-looking, with Operation Phakisa’s progress, failures and prospects to achieve government’s 2030 maritime aims and objectives constituting the focus of the discussion. The study on which this article is based, found that Operation Phakisa’s oceans leg depicts an impressive government ambition to exploit a new frontier, one reflecting progress and failures with promises of rapid big results being the most visible failure.
- ItemParadigm shifts, South African Defence Policy and the South African National Defence Force : from here to where?(Stellenbosch University, Faculty of Military Science (Military Academy), 2004) Vrey, FrancoisElements of Kuhn's theory on scientific revolutions and its applicability to the political domain also promote explanations of military change. In this regard, changes in the South African defence realm during the past decade and the rise of the South African National Defence Force need not be viewed as inexplicable. These developments represent an opportunity to explain a prominent example of military change in Africa through an established theory. By making use of indicators drawn from the theory developed by Kuhn, an explanatory framework can be established to co-explain certain adjustments of the South African defence paradigm over the past 10 years. Of particular relevance is Kuhn’s view of an initial dominant shift, which continues to evolve with the assistance of subsequent incremental shifts. The South African paradigm that guided the pre-1994 Total Strategy defence outlook was later opposed and ousted by one that was more explanatory and embracing of the democratic features permeating and envisaged for South African society. This democratic imperative drove the dominant shift in the South African defence paradigm during the middle 1990s as it dramatically and extensively began to adjust the policy environment regarding the role and utilisation of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF). In explaining his theory, Kuhn avers that a range of smaller adjustments towards maturing the initial shift soon follows the earlier dramatic shift. Upon investigation of this secondary field of smaller changes, more incremental adjustments also become visible when analysing the South African case. In this regard, the Defence Review (1998), the Military Strategy (2001), the primary-secondary role debate emanating from the 1996 Defence White Paper, and the 2004 Defence Budget Vote represent prominent indicators of the ongoing maturation process. The theory of Kuhn on scientific revolutions furthermore holds that new paradigms also stand to be contested by rising challenges to its status. In the case of the South African defence realm and the SANDF in particular, advanced regional integration and the perceived decline of the role of the state, could once again challenge the post-1994 defence paradigm with its concomitant explanation and direction of South African thought on the preparation and deployment of the SANDF.
- ItemSouth Africa and the search for strategic effect in the Central African Republic(Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Military Science (Military Academy), 2016) Vrey, Francois; Esterhuyse, AbelThis article provides a critical assessment from a strategic perspective of the South African military involvement in the Central African Republic that culminated in the Battle of Bangui. The strategic assessment was aimed at an understanding of the South African armed forces and their government’s strategic approach and logic (i.e. strategic ways) through a consideration of, firstly, their strategic objectives and end states and, secondly, a critical reflection on the military means that were available and employed in the Central African Republic. The authors question the logic of South African political and military objectives through an emphasis on the absence of South African interests in the Central African Republic, the failure of the executive to inform parliament, the dubious and blurred intentions of the African National Congress government and the absence of a clear political–military nexus for the operation. The lack of sufficient military capabilities for the deployment was assessed through a consideration of overstretch, obsolescence, neglect and mismanagement of military resources. The article concludes that not only did the government set the military up for failure; it also succeeded in creating the perfect conditions for a strategic fiasco.
- ItemTheoretical approaches in international relations : the South African military as a foreign policy instrument(Stellenbosch University, Faculty of Military Science (Military Academy), 2015) Olivier, Laetitia; Neethling, Theo; Vrey, Francois; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Military Science. Dept. of Political Science.The utility of theoretical approaches in international relations can be found in the fact that such approaches provide ‘lenses’ that can be applied to enhance our understanding of the social dynamics of the world we live in. Theoretical approaches are also instrumental in shaping perceptions of what matters in international politics as a social activity. At least indirectly, such approaches inform the choices made by decision-makers on foreign policy and related defence planning. The aim of this article is to revisit those theoretical approaches in international relations that underlie security studies, and to evaluate the relevance of the approaches with regard to a scholarly understanding of militaries and specifically their roles and functions in a foreign policy context. The latter pertains to militaries in general but also to the South African military in particular regarding its role and function as a foreign policy instrument of the South African government.
- ItemTurning the tide : revisiting African maritime security(Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Military Science (Military Academy), 2013) Vrey, FrancoisMaritime security appears to be assuming an increasingly more prominent place on the African security agenda. Although the growing scholarly debate and international responses seem to attend to more than piracy, the latter unfortunately skews perceptions about Africa’s maritime landscape. The piracy focus suggests a limited problem-solving approach, but Africa’s offshore domain calls for a more critical stance that entails more than anti-piracy. Perceptions and realities of maritime terrorism, piracy, illegal oil bunkering, criminality and unsettled maritime boundaries increasingly complicate traditional African threats and vulnerabilities on land. The growing range of threats requires a framework to explain events taking shape off West and East Africa in particular better. In this regard, the constituent elements of good order at sea house a more critical line to view security off Africa through safe access to resources (food and minerals), safe sea routes, as well as dominium and jurisdiction. Opposition to threats off the African coast tends to privilege naval responses, but closer scrutiny reflects that responses are found to also display a profile of cooperation between numerous actors and agencies that securitise maritime threats beyond piracy. The resultant cooperation reveals landward and offshore initiatives that promote maritime security, rather than merely fighting piracy.