Exclusive: Independent Report Gives Thumbs Up to Spaceguard; Recommends Change in ‘Neutrality Clause’

Sanctus – The Sanctarian National Times can reveal exclusively this morning that an independent report sought by the Department of Homeland Security into military readiness will advise the government to amend the Constitution to remove or “amend” the long-standing neutrality clause. It will also recommend that a dedicated space arm of the Sanctarian Defence Forces should be established, in line with a proposal earlier this year by the Sanctarian Conservative Party that would have created a Spaceguard.

Although the Independent Commission on the Future of the Sanctarian Defence Forces and its State of Military Readiness, established before the summer recess, did not have the nation’s neutrality position within its scope, its report will apparently state that the “nation’s military readiness and the nation’s reliance on its neutrality are too closely linked to ignore”. Sources close to the report’s authors have said that it will “somewhat praise” the past number of governments for substantially increasing funding to, and the profile of, the SDF, but will “eviscerate the laziness of every government since the foundation of the state” for using the Constitution’s neutrality clause as a “crutch to ignore the SDF”.

Though the report will make difficult reading for Homeland Security Secretary Nicola Allman, and the government as a whole, the recommendation to revisit the neutrality clause is likely to fall on deaf ear. Both the DLP and the Green Party can point to their election manifestos, which separately backed each party’s commitment to keeping the clause as-is, as grounds for not moving forward with that particular recommendation. The SCP, on the other hand, has committed to a referendum on the matter the next time it enters government.

Another policy on which the SCP and the Independent Commission seem aligned is the creation of a Spaceguard. Shut down by Allman earlier this year, the Commission will say it has “become the standard position of militaries across the IDU” to have a separate branch of the military dedicated to the increasing space operations the region is likely to see in the next decades. It is understood that as part of its work, members of the Commission interviewed chiefs of defence staff, or equivalent, in other militaries, as well as in the SDF, to come to a consensus on the matter. Admiral Mark Simpson, Chief of Staff of the Sanctarian Defence Forces, had previously publicly commented that something like a Spaceguard or Space Force was “worth consideration”.

In terms of military readiness, the Commission will recommend the government to “substantially” increase the numbers of active personnel, as well as increase funding “particularly to the air force, and a new spaceguard if accepted” as it claims that branch in particular has faced decades of undervalue and underfunding. It does say the nation’s Navy and Armed Forces “exceed the levels of resourcing, staffing, and readiness that would be expected of forces of similar sizes and standard” but does suggesting increasing the numbers of ships per fleet, and number of battalions stationed in bases overseas; and with regards to overseas bases, the Department of Homeland Security will be advised to “increase” the number and aim to have a “significant presence on most continents”.

The report, which will be officially published this Wednesday, would mark the biggest shift in Sanctarian military policy since the foundation of the state if all of its recommendations are accepted and acted upon. For the government, it will be tricky to manoeuvre, as increased military spending goes against the Green Party’s ethos and policies, while abandoning the neutrality clause would anger not just the bases of both parties, but at last polling 63% of the general public too. Industry experts, and military peers, however say the government will need to implement at least 80% of the 150 recommendations if the nation’s defence forces are to match its economic and political might.

GWEN COPLEY, National Security Correspondent

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