By Haftu Gebrezgabiherer
Ethiopia’s Foreign Affairs and National Security Policy and Strategy dictates that the economy and defense sectors should benefit one another and thus factories which are designed for military purposes should also be geared to produce commodities that are needed by the civilian community.
In line with this, hence the Army has been participating in various development activities including the construction of major roads, building schools and health posts in collaboration with and high participation of local community in a manner to respond to natural disasters and fight against poverty.
They are also participating in the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) mainly in the electromechanical activities for the last six years and raised financial contribution which accounts for 810 million birr to the construction of the pioneer project in the stride to achieve the middle income economy status, Defense Forces Public Relations Acting Director Colonel Kahsay Berhe told The Ethiopian Herald.
In addition to the development activities, the troops are ensuring their civility taking part in farming operations such as tilling, nurturing seedlings, watering, harvesting, conserving and protecting the environment.
The Ethiopian National Security and the economy as with many other countries are feeding each other in the process of modernizing the army force, both intellectually and in regards to materiel systems.
The goal is to reducing the expenditure of military on the economy. In developing this guidance, the Ethiopian security planners attempted to address both the challenges and opportunities of defense spending. Sources indicate that the military spending is healthy which accounts for less than two percent of the GDP.
According to the mission analysis done by Prof. Bernard F. Griffard and Professor John F. Troxell, U.S. Army War College, the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) has been strengthening the economy and created massive job opportunities for citizens.
The Ethiopian Defense Industrial Base is set with the objective to take care of defense requirements, primarily in terms of ammunition and partly in terms of armaments, as the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi wrote in 2009 in relation to the establishment of the Ethiopian Defense Industrial Base.
Thus, to modernize the Defense Industry several defense factories were established in many parts of the country. The industries, hence, are contributing a lot in country’s economy through import substitution, mainly supplying spare parts for the manufacturing industries, creation of jobs and advancing technology.
Some examples of the existing Ethiopian Defense Industry capability according to Professor Bernard are: the Hibret Machine Tools. Its civilian output includes hand tools, hospital beds, aluminum saddles, and household and office furniture.
The Homicho Ammunition Engineering Complex also produces various metal products that are inputs to civil industries.
Bishoftu Motorization Engineering Complex which repairs and overhaul center for heavy armament, tanks and military as well as assembling vehicles. Dejen Aviation Engineering Complex (DAVEC) and Center for overhauling and upgrading military aircraft. Nazareth Canvas and Garment Factory which is producing and supplies military uniforms, canvas, leather and strap products to the Ethiopian National Defense Force since 2007.
The Economic Impacts of Defense Strategy Development given the importance of the domestic defense industry to Ethiopia’s execution of its national security strategy.
The researchers wrote for Center for Strategic Leadership that the general academic curriculum in Ethiopia is standardized with the accredited national institution and is dynamic.
The US Army instructors present that the end product to modernize the Ethiopian Army and its contribution to the development of the nation is designed to an “Ethio-centric” course based on the unique Ethiopian situation and built partially upon a foundation of U.S. doctrine.
The Military Command and Staff College of Ethiopia has been concentrated on operational to strategic-level studies.