Project on Defense Alternatives

Building Confidence Into the Security of Southern Africa

by Carl Conetta, Charles Knight and Lutz Unterseher
Project on Defense Alternatives Briefing Report #7
July 1996 (revised November 1996)

Table Of Contents

1. Introduction

2. Trust and Confidence: Military Requisites of Regional Security Co-operation

3. National Military Stability

4. Minimization of Imbalances in the Region

5. A Multinational Framework for Co-operation
Appendix - A Confidence-Building and Affordable South African Defence in 2001
Overall Complement and Composition of the SANDF
Complement and Composition
Main Equipment
Air Force
Complement and Composition
Main Equipment
Complement and Composition
Main Equipment
Medical Service
Complement and Composition
Main Equipment
Main Equipment Items Removed from Unit Assigned Inventory during Five Year Period
Main Equipment Acquisition During Five Year Period
Affordable Defense - Budget


1. Introduction

There seems to be a virtual consensus among national leaders in southern Africa that the security of the area's individual nations depends principally on establishing conditions of economic progress and socio-political stability throughout the region. This was recognized explicitly in the Programme of Nations adopted by thesouthern African Development Community in 1993 and restated in numerous official documents since then. All regional parties agree that the level of interstate threat in southern Africa is currently quite low, althoughsub-state actors pose some degree of cross-border military threat and the region as a whole suffers from a variety of transnational problems that impact military security, i.e., migratory flows and the illegal market in arms.

Regarding the future security environment, there exists a high level of uncertainty due to various factors of instability in the region. Sources of instability include serious economic and environmental problems exacerbated by long years of war; ethnic and tribal antagonisms; and internal political instability due to rapidpolitical change, overburdened state structures, or both. The citizens of most nations in southern Africa have been gravely harmed by the social and political conflicts of the last three decades and the accompanying economic dislocations. In many countries new democratic institutions are struggling to respond to the legacies of past conflicts which include high rates of crime and civil violence and the pressing demands of reconstruction. In this light, the most serious and likely of future threats to national security reside in the potential inability of state institutions to respond adequately to the needs of their citizens -- a failure that could fracture the civil compact that holds nations together.

Among the most encouraging aspects of the current regional environment is the express desire of all state actors to address the region's problems in a co-operative way and from a common perspective. Yet the experiential and institutional basis for regional co-operation is not yet mature enough to tackle effectively the range andmagnitude of problems that beset the region. Also, the impetus for co-operation is restrained by concerns about the profound disparities in power among the region's nations as well as suspicions remaining from the recent wars.

For these reasons most security policy planning and implementation proceeds on a unilateral national basis. Although this circumstance is understandable given the present lack of robust co-operative security institutions and regimes, there always exists the danger that unilateral national policy will undermine the basis for regionalco-operation. This concern need not assume ill will on the part of any player. Instead it reflects an appreciation for the ease with which nations can fall inadvertently into the security dilemma, whereby each pursues securityin ways that beggar their neighbor's. Extreme care must be taken, therefore, to ensure that each nation's posture (in its particulars) is consistent with and conducive to progress toward greater interstate trust, which is a necessary condition for any far-reaching co-operation. Direct co-operative initiatives -- such as joint peace-keeping -- are necessary but not sufficient. All aspects of military policy must meet a "confidence-building" criteria.

In addition to problems related to the security dilemma, there are other ways that adherence to "old era" military postures and policies could feed regional instabilities and undercut the broader goals of national strategy. For instance, in order to ameliorate the present sources of instability, which could give rise tomilitary threats tomorrow, state resources must be redirected to development programs. Maintaining "old era" levels of military funding could pinch this necessary redirection of resources. Moreover, in light of the 1990-1991 Gulf War, military bureaucracies can be easily seduced by the putative promise of ambitious, high-tech maneuver warfare -- even in those nations that lack the means to effectively employ or support such an approach and that have no urgent or immediate requirement to even try.

Another area of concern relates to ethnic conflict: many countries need to refashion their military organizations so that they neither reflect nor reinforce ethnic divisions and hierarchies, and so that they are less likely to fragment and feed ethnic conflicts. All of these concerns converge in a special requirement to furtherdemocratize the process of making security policy. This, because the recent regional-strategic revolution has made obsolete the basic axioms and imperatives that guided military policy since the end of the Second World War. The new era requires a new social consensus on military policy.

This paper offers a summary of what is required for national military policy to meet the "confidence-building" criteria. In addition, as an illustration of the kind of national military reform which would facilitate the emergence of regional security co-operation, the paper specifies in its appendix an option for restructuring the military of the region's leading economic and military power, the Republic of South Africa.

2. Trust and Confidence: The Military Requisites of Regional Security Co-operation

The primary requisite of effective security co-operation is international trust and confidence. This must be founded on stable regional military relations which, in turn, require stability measures at the level of national military policy, minimization of imbalances between nations, and a viable institutional framework formultinational co-operation.

3. National Military Stability

Military stabilization at the national level can be best achieved by an appropriate and affordable defense establishment and a sufficient, steadfast, and non-provocative defense posture. In addition, military structures must avoid contributing to the aggravation of existing or potential civil conflict.

An appropriate defense establishment is one that is suitable to the particular society it serves. In a region where the legacy of colonialism has frequently distorted the development of military organizations, nations should not imitate foreign structures, but rather build them in accord with the character of the nation and the skills of its people. Furthermore, if a nation's goals include economic renewal, democracy, social harmony, and international co-operation the norms and culture of the military establishment must reflect and reinforce thesegoals.

An affordable defense will achieve security within existing resource and demographic constraints. In the effort to meet affordability criteria nations that are confident of their defensive intent can exploit the structural andoperational efficiencies of a defensive orientation. These "home court" advantages include the high morale of troops defending home territory, intimate knowledge of the terrain, shorter lines of supply and communication,and the opportunity to intensively prepare the likely zones of combat. The inherent efficiencies of a defensive orientation also make easier the reconciliation of the various confidence-building defense criteria:nonprovocation, sufficiency, steadfastness, and affordability.

At this point in history most southern African nations are looking to spend less on defense and more on social and economic development; the consequence of this choice is that every defense expenditure must be considered in the context of a host of competing demands for resources. Notions of cost-effectiveness become foremost.

Sufficiency refers to how well a defense posture matches a threat matrix. The degree of "match" involves both qualitative and quantitative aspects of the threat(s). To provide a context for the measure of sufficiency it is important to undertake a broad review of national objectives. This process will help specify what is to beprotected and set the level of defense or deterrence certainty that a nation can or wishes to attain. Once objectives are clear, it is possible (although by no means easy) to determine military "sufficiency."

In many cases states will discover that they cannot hope to afford the highest degree of deterrence -- which requires a transparent and assured capability to quickly and easily defeat any aggression. Furthermore, such a level of deterrence may also be provocative to neighboring states, contributing to instability. However, lesserobjectives may be in reach and desirable -- for instance, a capacity to substantially raise the cost of any aggression and buy time for supportive intervention from allies.

A steadfast1 posture combines qualities of robustness and reliability. Robustness refers to the capacity of adefense array to absorb shock and suffer losses without undergoing catastrophic collapse; instead maintaining a cohesive combat capability. Even when facing an overwhelming level of threat, a robust defense force will degrade gracefully, buying time for regroupment, diplomatic intervention, or outside assistance. As a general rule a robust military posture will not exhibit an over-reliance on concentrated forces and base areas which provide lucrative targets for an enemy. Nor will it depend on a narrow set of technologies which an enemy couldcounter through a dedicated program of innovation.

Reliability is the second aspect of steadfastness, and it refers to the capacity of the military to perform as planned with high confidence across a wide variety of "environmental" circumstances. A reliable defense will avoid the security gamble implicit in "high risk" operational plans and in dependence on immature or poorly integrated technologies. Reliability is also a function of social relations in the armed forces and the society and of the motivation and training of personnel.2

A defense posture is regarded as nonprovocative if it (i) embodies little or no capacity for large-scale or surprise cross-border attack, and (ii) provides few, if any, high-value and vulnerable targets for an aggressor's attack. These guidelines pertain most strongly to the problem of crisis instability -- periods of rising political tension during which the fear of and opportunity for preemptive attack may precipitate an otherwise avoidable military clash.

The nonprovocation standard also addresses the larger issues of the security dilemma by seeking generally to reduce reliance on offensively-oriented military structures. In so doing it seeks to minimize the threat of aggression inherent in any organized armed force. Such threats often stimulate arms races and countervailingoffensive doctrines. By bringing military structures into line with defensive political ends, the nonprovocation standard aims to facilitate the emergence of positive political relations and trust among nations.

In contrast, any doctrine and force posture which is oriented to project power into other countries is provocative unless reliably restrained by political and organizational structures. A notable negative example is the South African doctrine of "forward defense" in which South Africa has aimed to fight its wars well north of its borders.

For countries that have experienced serious ethnic and political strife it is of great importance that the national security apparatus itself not contribute to centrifugal forces.3 Military functions must be depoliticized4 andpolice functions should not be militarized. The composition of forces should reflect the ethnic balance of the nation as closely as possible. Full-time troops should generally serve nationally, while a greater proportion ofpart-time troops serve locally. Both full-time and part-time (national and local) forces should be thoroughly integrated and interdependent so that national civilian control can be assured even in times of great strain tonational political consent.

Implementation of an effective confidence building defense must take into account context, international relations, and a process of optimization. In considering context, significant portions of the southern African region are remote and sparsely populated. An area-covering force reliant primarily on infantry would requirelarge numbers of troops, thus straining the affordability criteria. Therefore other means of achieving area coverage must be considered, such as infantry/artillery networks5 mixing the range of artillery fires withrelatively fewer infantry and light mechanized forces emphasizing missions of reconnaissance and protection of key points and lines of communication.

Forces optimized for defense will nonetheless retain considerable offensive capability on the tactical level. And this capability may have strategic significance from the perspective of smaller neighbors. Thus planning must be sensitive to the provocative nature of many military options, particularly in cases of large asymmetries in power among nations. While recognizing that defensive-restructuring of a national basis cannot by itself relinquish all offensive potential, planning options that minimize interstate tension and distrust6 should be preferred.

The planning problems inherent in the simultaneous objectives of affordability, robustness, reliability, and non-provocation require astute attention to optimization.7 An example may be found in planning for the future fighter force of the South African Air Force (SAAF).

Currently the priority mission of the SAAF is ground attack -- a key component of South Africa's "forward defense" which seeks to interdict (even, preempt) enemy forces before they reach South African borders. By contrast, a confidence building strategy would emphasize control of home air space using air superiority fightersand ground based air defense.

A problem presents itself in that South Africa's current inventory of supersonic fighters is not configured for an air superiority role. In the near term it would be very expensive -- probably prohibitively so -- to either reconfigure these fighters or to purchase a new fighter to fulfill this role. However, defensive restructuring could be achieved in an affordable way through a phased purchase of second-hand mid-life air superiority fighters available on the international market.8

Over the next ten years South Africa can replace the greater part of its current supersonic fighter fleet with two squadrons of all-weather air-superiority fighters with considerable life-cycle savings compared to the new aircraft option. In 2009 when the oldest of these jets are approaching the end of their useful lives, the process of modernization could continue with phased purchase of a more modern air superiority fighter. By setting such a fighter acquisition course South Africa would clearly indicate that it intends to adopt a less provocative air posture, maintain a sufficient and robust fighter capability in the context of regional threats, and achieve these objectives in an affordable way. This illustrates the essence of confidence building optimization.

4. Minimization of Imbalances in the Region

Regional confidence building must take into account the large asymmetries in real and potential military power among states in the region. The Republic of South Africa is a regional giant: it has four times the GDP and two times the defense expenditure of all other Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) members combined. Inlight of these realities, there can be no ignoring the hegemonic potential of South Africa.

In this context smaller states should emphasize the affordability and robustness of their defense structures; it is beyond their means, individually or as a group, to match South Africa's potential. Smaller states can achieve affordability and robustness in the construction of their national defenses by fully exploiting their "home advantages" -- which include the opportunity to prepare their territory and infrastructure to support defensive operations. Modernization must be very selective, avoiding tokens of technological status and instead looking for the occasional "enabling" technologies that can multiply the effectiveness of the main forces. Moreover, proven technologies are more likely than "cutting edge" technologies to be consistent with the objective of a low risk, robust defense. The overall technological mix of the forces must be realistic in light of resource constraints and suited to the available labor pool. Although taking this course cannot guarantee the deterrence or defeat oflarge-scale aggression, it can significantly raise the cost to the aggressor and buy valuable time for the nation under attack.

In the case of South Africa, the emphasis should be on reducing its military dominance vis-a-vis other countries in the region while displaying enlightened leadership in co-operative endeavors to improve collective security. This affirmative choice is particularly important in light of South Africa's applied strategy of forward defense which included in the recent past the occupation and invasion of neighboring countries.

South Africa should reduce its active force to the minimum level consistent with meeting immediate threats and preserving the basis for expansion or reconstitution should future threats arise. In our judgement in the year 2001 a full-time force of 50,000 and a part-time force of 120,000 would suffice. This projected force9 would be about one-third smaller than the South African defense establishment currently plans. Mobilization of the part-time force should emphasize generation of additional units optimized for defense, rather than strike formations.

Commensurate with the above, the end point of retrenchment and modernization should be a general reduction in the proportion of strike assets in the force. The structure of long-ranging, mobile forces should reflect missions of patrol and control of areas and lines of communication rather than strike. This means placing lower priority in the force structure composition on highly-mobile protected fire assets such as armored combat helicopters and tanks.

In this approach the Army's main standing combat units -- elements of a rapid deployment force -- would orient primarily toward control of border regions and secondarily toward reinforcement and force allocation tasks. For these missions a mixture of light and medium weight cavalry would be appropriate for the largest component.The Air Force should orient toward control of the national airspace, placing greater emphasis on air-superiority squadrons rather than fighter-ground attack squadrons. For the Navy the primary mission would be extended off-shore surveillance and patrol, requiring minimal investment in new strike assets in the coming decade.

A dispersed home based network making maximum practical use of civilian resources is the most robust and cost-effective manner of organizing logistical and medical combat service support. The current South African Medical Service is structured to support long-ranging military expeditions: this posture is unnecessarily expensive and provocative from the perspective of confidence building.

Mobile combat and service support assets that are tasked for possible regional peacekeeping or humanitarian operations will, of course, require cross border mobility. Mobility assets should be firmly integrated into the structures of regional co-operative security. This will reassure states in the region that these assets will not be used for illegitimate interventions.

A South African nationalist might well assert that the new RSA has good intentions and no good reason to "give away" military advantage vis a vis its neighbors. However, such a stance fails to appreciate that perceptions and capabilities are as important as intentions in building confidence. It is likely that a greater benefit will accrue to South Africa from secure, stable, and co-operative neighbors than from investment in large national forces well in excess of those needed for any realistic set of threats South Africa faces in the next fifteen years. And,it is a non-trivial effect that reduction of threat perception between nations in the region will make trust and co-operation easier to achieve on the political level.

5. A Multinational Framework for Co-operation

The future of regional security co-operation rests on the development of a well-resourced co-operative security institution, which could be founded on the already functioning SADC. This paper does not attempt to specify the components or functions of such a future co-operative security organisation, but instead offers some guidelinesfor building an effective and stable framework.10

The primary guideline is that the regional security organization must endeavor to combine inclusivity with the authority and the capacity to act decisively. This will enable it to use force effectively while claiming legitimacy and also to restrain any particularistic national interests from overcoming multinational consensus.The regional security agency must also be able to draw upon an extensive resource base; having access to a broad range of instruments -- political, economic, and military -- as well as the resources needed for their decisiveuse is often a prerequisite for effective action of even a limited type. The credible possibility of escalation of means enables progress at lower levels of effort. The worst policy is to make empty threats, enact porous sanctions, or publicly air the option of military intervention only to quash it for lack of means or will.

It is also vital to prepare for crises well before their event. A particular crisis will likely elicit strong expressions of national interest from specific sets of states. Hence, attempting to resolve general issues of crisis management in the course and context of specific crises virtually guarantees opposition to appropriateprinciples and measures from some states that might otherwise join the consensus. For this reason, the development of general principles, procedures, and institutions must be vigorously pursued on its own and in a forum independent and prior to crises.

Multinational participation in military operations should be balanced among participating countries with no one country dominating. Evolution toward multinational unit and command composition should be supported. In order to underwrite reassurance, legitimacy, and restraint, it is especially important that no one nation monopolize projection capabilities. In particular, strategic mobility capabilities should be structured in such a way that their effective exercise depends on multilateral co-operation.

Planned roles for rapidly-deployable fighter/attack aircraft, elite paratroopers and special operations forces should be minimized and their composition and support made multinational. Instead, rapid deployment intervention forces should be optimized for peacekeeping or defensive support; both are roles suitable for light to medium weight ground forces. Although it is conceivable that heavier manoeuvre/assault forces drawn from several nations will be needed at some point to repel an aggressor, these should not be supported for rapiddeployment. Instead regional security arrangements should rely on national forces (supplemented when needed by multinational defensive support forces11), to stop or slow an invader prior to a counter-offensive by later-arriving heavier forces. This approach is both in keeping with goals of regional reassurance and confidencebuilding and with desirable objectives of cost-effective investments in regional strategic mobility assets.

Rather than maintain large forces "earmarked" for regional interventions, wealthier nations should keep such forces modest in size and place a high priority on helping equip and finance dedicated regional security assets of poorer nations. Over time this will provide for greater equity of participation in regional security co-operation.

Reflecting on the foregoing guidelines it should be clear that achievement of a stable framework for co-operative regional military operations will take time, money, and leadership. In the near term, participation in humanitarian and traditional peacekeeping operations may be the most that is appropriate and affordable. Avery different level of military force and institutional functioning is needed for conflict limitation missions (i.e. Somalia and Bosnia) and collective security interventions. Because successful operations of these more demanding types will only be possible after years of investment in co-operative institutional development, there is an ancillary benefit to be had in that nations need not invest in the military requirements of these missionsin the meantime. Furthermore, premature investment in combat capabilities, especially if concentrated in one or two nations, will beggar the orderly development of an appropriate regional co-operative security institution.

In the end, the viability of co-operative security in the region is dependent on the development of trusting and stable relations among the nations in the region. This condition will not appear overnight, nor can there be any assurance that it will in the foreseeable future. Meanwhile a confidence building approach to national military policy can offer a defense posture that is cost-effective, low in risk, and stabilizing both domestically and internationally. On such a foundation nations can extend confidence building principles to emergent regional co-operative arrangements. Such a course will maximize the probability of the emergence of full and equitable security co-operation at a future date.

Appendix - A Confidence-Building and Affordable South African Defence in 2001

Overall Complement and Composition of the SANDF

1. Voluntary Full-time Force (FT) 50,000 (including 10,000 civilian personnel)
2. Voluntary Part-time Force (PT) 120,00012
3. Total Strength on Mobilization 170,000
4. Uniform Personnel 160,000


Full time force - defense of national territory, participation in regional peacekeeping andhumanitarian assistance.
Part time force - defense of national territory, border surveillance, rear areaprotection of objects and lines of communication.

Complement and Composition

FT - 35,000 (including 5,500 civilians) PT - 95,000


Main Equipment

600 armored reconnaissance vehicles (Rooikat and Eland)
700 armored infantry fighting vehicles (Ratel)
900 armored personnel carriers (Buffel, Casspir, and Mamba)
30 self-propelled howitzer (G-6)
70 towed howitzer (G-5)
130 MLRs (Batteleur and Valkiri)

Air Force


Control of national air space; defensive air defense; close air support of ground forces;reconnaissance/maritime patrolling; air lift of troops, supplies, and humanitarian aid; participation inpeacekeeping missions.

Complement and Composition
FT - 7,500 (including 2,000 civilians)
PT - 10,000

1 Territorial Area Command (plus supporting elements)

Main Equipment

20 air superiority fighters (new acquisition)15
28 fighter attack aircraft (Cheetah)
60 trainers (PC-7, Astra)
10 maritime patrol aircraft (new acquisition: custom outfitted
civilian or second hand naval turboprop aircraft)
40 medium to heavy transport aircraft (C-130B, C-160, and C-47TP)16
70 medium helicopters (Oryx)
70 armed and unarmed light observation/liaison helicopters (Alouette,
Dauphin, and new acquisition)



Offshore/oceanic area control; protection of natural resources/environmental monitoring;mine-clearing; search and rescue (SAR); participation in developmental regional maritime co-operative security.

Complement and Composition
FT - 5,000 (including 1,500 civilians)
PT - 5,000


Main Equipment

3 3000 ton extended offshore patrol vessels (new acquisition)17
3 400+ ton missile patrol vessels (Minister class)18
6 mine countermeasure craft (River and Kimberley class)
2 replenishment ships

Medical Service


Medical treatment of SANDF military personnel; humanitarian aid; participation in peacekeeping.

Complement and Composition

FT - 2,500 (including 1,000 civilians)
PT - 10,000


Less emphasis on (mobile) medical support of troops outside national territory; development ofintensified co-operation with and reliance on civilian medical infrastructure.

Main Equipment

Increased reliance on stationary (partially decentralized) infrastructure as a cost-effective and optimized environment for practice of modern medicine and application of medical technology.

Main Equipment Items Removed from Unit Assigned Inventory During Five Year Period19

250 tanks (Oliphant)
1100 armored reconnaissance vehicles (Eland)
800 infantry fighting vehicles (Ratel)
700 armored personnel carriers (Buffel and Casspir)
50 multiple launch rockets (Valkiri)
180 trainers/COIN aircraft (Impala I and II)
40 ground attack fighters (Mirage F-1)
40 medium and light helicopters (Puma and Alouette)
12 attack helicopters (Rooivalk)20
6 missile patrol vessels (Minister class)
3 submarines (Daphne class)
  various V.I.P. aircraft (substitute civilian charters in the future)

Main Equipment Acquisition During Five Year Period:

35 armored reconnaissance vehicles (Rooikat)
35 armed and unarmed light observation/liaison helicopters
10 self propelled howitzers (G6)
20 air superiority fighters
10 maritime patrol aircraft
3 3000 ton extended offshore patrol vessels

Affordable Defense -- Budget
The long-term planning of the defense budget should reflect the country's investment priorities, while making sure that the forces have robust and well-maintained equipment, operated by well- motivated and trained personnel.

The proposed posture would require for the year 2001 circa 7.5 Billion Rand (1995 constant Rand) for a peacetime operational level.

Components Year 2001 Percent Year 1995 Percent
Personnel 3.00 4021 3.56 34
Operations/Maintenance 1.88 25 3.46 33
Procurement/R&D 2.62 35 3.51 33
Total 7.50 100 10.53 100


1. Although in some sense encompassed by the notion of sufficiency, "steadfast-ness" refers to intrinsic (that is, non-relational) aspects of a defense posture. "Integrity" and "cohesion" are approximate synonyms for steadfast-ness.

2. In many countries military reliability is generally equated with loyalty of top military officers to the country's rulers. Military reliability, as we use the words here, has broader meaning. First, it means a culture in the military which values loyalty to a constituted civilian political decision-making structure, irrespective of the particular persons who hold office at a given time. Second, it means a military that is motivated and ready to conscientiously serve the state in a role that is understood to be both important and limited.

3. See "Issues of Internal Stability and Democracy" in Confidence-building Defense, Project on Defense Alternatives and Study Group on Alternative Security Policy, Commonwealth Institute, Cambridge, MA, USA, 1994, pp 101-116.

4. For a revealing account of how politicization of the Iraqi military contributed to general failure of their air defense in both Gulf wars see Stephen Biddle and Robert Zirkle, "Technology, Civil-Military Relations, and Warfare in the Developing World," paper presented at the American Political Science Association Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C., September 3, 1993.

5. For a fuller description of an infantry/artillery network as a component of selective area-defense see Carl Conetta, Charles Knight, Lutz Unterseher, "Toward Defensive Restructuring in the Middle East," Project on Defense Alternatives Research Monograph #1, February 1991, pp 16-19.

6. The institutionalization of confidence- and security-building measures (CSBMs) can normalize the exchange between states of doctrinal and defense planning information and provide forums for assessing regional impact of various national defense planning options. The notion of confidence building defense (CBD) includes most types of CSBMs. But while CSBMs emphasize matters of communication and procedure, confidence building defense pays particular attention to the impact of military structures and doctrines on confidence and stability.

7. Optimization of the application of resources toward attainment of objectives should be a goal of any institution. However, military policy options should be evaluated in the light of their impact on the matrix of intra- and inter-national social, political, and economic relations. Only then can focused military-technical considerations, such as tactical performance of particular weapons platforms, be understood for what they are: an important, but insufficient, basis for policy optimization.

8. Appropriate mid-life aircraft to consider, depending on availability and terms, include the Dassault-Breguet Mirage F-1C, the Saab Viggen JA37, and the General Dynamics Fighting Falcon F-16C. By purchasing mid-life aircraft South Africa can further benefit from other states first testing and proving new aircraft in their forces and from the likelihood of improvements to electronics/avionics being available at the time of South African acquisition. It should also be noted that moving from the Mirage family to the Saab family of fighters (Viggen/Gripen) might also have particular benefits for South Africa. Saab fighters are designed to operate from dispersed, rough landing strips and for storage in small dimension underground hangars -- both characteristics of optimization for a defensive role.

9. See Appendix for a full articulation of this proposed force structure for the SANDF.

10. Details of the institutional requirements for effective United Nations peace operations have been described in Carl Conetta and Charles Knight, Vital Force: A Proposal for the Overhaul of the UN Peace Operations System and for the Creation of a UN Legion, Project on Defense Alternatives Research Monograph #4, Commonwealth Institute, October, 1995. Many aspects of these requirements in scaled down proportions are applicable to a regional co-operative security agency.

11. Defensive Support forces are structured to rapidly reinforce the defenses of a nation threatened by aggression. To allay concerns about regional domination by large powers, defensive support units should be structurally dependent on the overall defensive array of the host nation. This means that defensive support forces emphasize combat support missions such as: reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition; rapid mine emplacement; air defense; artillery; anti-armor infantry; and communications. Although nations contributing defensive support forces to a co-operative security regime will want to maintain their independent capability to protect and withdraw forces, defensive support forces should be understood as specialized contributions to the host nation's defense rather than self-contained expeditionary forces.

12. Assumes substantial internal policing deployments are no longer necessary. If ongoing augmentation of the South African Police is necessary in 2001 force levels would have to be larger.

13. The soldiers of the airmobile brigade will receive special training for out-of-country peacekeeping missions, with the exception of the special operations battalion which normally would not participate in peace operations.

14. This mixed squadron would complete transition to an air superiority squadron by 2005.

15. These could be second hand fighters. Models to consider are the Dassault-Breguet Mirage F-1C, the Saab Viggen JA37, and the General Dynamics Fighting Falcon F-16C.

16. The SAAF transport fleet to be augmented by a civilian transport reserve program similar to the U.S. CRAF program.

17. These could be new ships of indigenous civilian design and manufacture outfitted with a marine (SAR/ASW) helicopter(s) and with sensors/weaponry transferred from the retiring Minister class missile patrol boats. Another affordable option would be the purchase of small second hand frigates.

18. By 2006 Minister class vessels would be replaced by 3000 ton extended offshore patrol vessels.

19. Some equipment removed from unit assignment would be scrapped, stored, transferred or sold immediately, others would be phased out. Numbers presented are derived from data in The Military Balance 1995-1996, The International Institute for Strategic Studies, London, 1995. IISS data do not consistently account for equipment in storage or inoperative for other reasons. Therefore some of this equipment may have already been withdrawn from service in the SANDF.

20. The Rooivalk is a recently developed indigenous model currently in production. However, this attack helicopter has no real place in the force structure and strategic posture proposed here. Although South Africa could include one squadron in its rapid deployment force, such a unit would add to the strike assets of the SANDF during a period in which confidence building goals call for a relative reduction of strike assets. In addition, an attack helicopter squadron is a very expensive military asset to operate and maintain. South Africa would likely be better off placing this holdover from a discarded offense-oriented defense strategy in storage. Any emergent threat that would warrant activation of these aircraft will develop with sufficient warning to allow for training of crews in combat maneuver support operations.

21. Relative to the historic pattern of SADF budgets there is a greater weighting on personnel. This is due to a greater percentage of the force serving full-time. In addition to the increased salary costs of a more professional military, the relative share of maintenance costs will decrease as large amounts of obsolete, maintenance-intensive equipment that outfitted the larger part-time force of the past is phased out of inventory.

Citation: Carl Conetta, Charles Knight and Lutz Unterseher, Building Confidence Into the Security of Southern Africa, Project on Defense Alternatives Briefing Report #7. Cambridge, MA: Commonwealth Institute, July 1996, revised November 1996.

Copyright ©: The Commonwealth Institute: 1996. All Rights Reserved.

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