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Threat matrix

Security is the absence of risk. Risk is a “situation involving exposure to danger.” Risk has a negative impact on everyone and everything so “every government in each country wants to be …. protected from risk.” A threat matrix is an “intelligence-based measure used in evaluating external and internal threats that challenge the national security of a nation.”

A threat matrix has five major elements: military, nuclear, terrorism, cyber and economic. Existential threats are threats that threaten the “unity, demography and integrity” of a nation-state. Conventional threats are “external threats to national security from outside the country.” Sub-conventional threats are “internal threats to national security from within the country.” Terrorism, cyber and economic threats are non-existential in nature in the sense that they do not threaten the very existence of Pakistan.

India: India’s military and nuclear threats are both existential threats as they threaten Pakistan’s ‘unity, demography and integrity’. India has been an existential threat since the creation of Pakistan and the Pakistan-India conflict continues to be one of the major conflicts in the world today.

Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Islamic State Khorasan Province (IS-KP): these are both sub-conventional, non-existential, asymmetric threats. The TTP and IS-KP both possess “unequal military resources” and “use unconventional tactics to exploit” Pakistan’s vulnerabilities. What we need is to design a comprehensive anti-terrorism infrastructure comprising an early warning capacity, a communications intercept capability, mass surveillance, preemptive neutralisation ability and a financing tracking mechanism.

The United States: for the US, ‘financial warfare’ is now a preferable alternative to military conflict. In the US, there has been an evolution of the treasury’s national security role. According to Jack Lew, the 76th US secretary of the treasury, “…we continue to employ – and increasingly rely upon – financial measures to help achieve our core foreign policy and national security goals.” According to the New York-based Eurasia Group: “Instead of fighting countries militarily, the US can now cripple them financially.”

We need to do four things. First, we need to deepen our engagement with the US. Second, map our financial fault-lines. Third, assess our non-military vulnerabilities. Fourth, map our critical financial functions.

The economy: economic security is the organic dimension of national security. To be certain, the economic dimension continues to be the most neglected dimension of our national security. Our national debt now stands at Rs50 trillion going up by Rs17 billion a day every day of the year. This is unsustainable, a real threat to our economy, our nation and our future generations. What is needed is fiscal responsibility on the part of the government.

Next, our national security depends on our economy and the foundation of our economy is the energy sector. The energy sector will make or break Pakistan’s economy-and circular debt will make or break Pakistan’s energy sector. Lo and behold, the Rs2.5 trillion circular debt is projected to hit Rs4 trillion by 2025. We need to do two things: bring down the Rs250 billion a year electricity theft and raise the bill-receivable ratio to collect an additional Rs100 billion a year.

Next, there’s a real bloodbath going on in our 195 government-run Public Sector Enterprises. The federal budget continues to dole out Rs900 billion a year in so-called ‘grants’ plus Rs200 billion a year in so-called ‘subsidies’. Lo and behold, PSEs annual burden amounts to Rs1.8 trillion. Just compare that to our Rs1.3 trillion annual defense allocation. We must privatize whatever we can and then implement the Public Sector Companies (Corporate Governance) Rules, 2013.

According to Chief of General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation Gen Valery Vasilyevich Gerasimov, “War is now conducted by a roughly 4:1 ratio of non-military and military measures.”

Email: farrukh15@hotmail.com

Dr Farrukh Saleem, "Threat matrix," The News. 2022-01-02.
Keywords: Political science , Political issues , Foreign policy , Military conflict , Taliban , Economy , Terrorism , Gen Valery Vasilyevich Gerasimov , Russia , New York , TTP , PSEs