Interview of RAIDS ITALIA for Issue September 2020 with Assist. Prof. Dr. Nikolay Krushkov, Maj. Gen. (Ret.) author of the book Security Leadership Creativity, published by Luca Poggiali Editore, Italy in 2019

– Gen. Krushkov, your book Security Leadership Creativity, published in Italy in 2019, will be published in Bulgaria by the largest university – the University of National and World Economy (UNWE), as a textbook for the students at the Institute of Creative Industries and Business (ICIB) and the National and Regional Security Department of UNWE (NRSD – UNWE)

– That’s right, the positive reviews of the Rector of UNWE and the Director of ICIB preceded the decision to publish the book in Bulgaria. The pilot copies of the textbook are ready, and I am pleased to provide RAIDS ITALIA with photos of the edition. In my opinion, the greatest merit of the book, now a textbook for the students of the University of National and World Economy, must be sought in the balance between theory and practice, taking into account the current achievements in the field of security leadership worldwide.

– What are the current challenges to security management in Europe’s public sector?

– In both Europe and the United States, the so called Western world, we all live in a serious concern for the near future. I think that even non-specialists feel that we are on the verge of change in our Western civilization. We are increasingly losing our leadership role in the economy, in technology, in logistics, and I think even in the competitiveness of education as well. Years go by, and we continue to fail to notice this new reality. That is why, we cannot deal with the reasons that led the West to lag behind in the competition with the Far East. To be specific, this crisis of the West today has three main dimensions:

  • Western democracy is already like a media show business, behind which more and more people see tangible corporate interests. The breach of trust between the governing and the governed is increasingly visible. Many Europeans do not trust public authorities, which in recent decades seem to be existing and working mainly for themselves but not for the people.
  • Inconsistency of EU policies does not allow any strategic management based on long-term planning. Moreover, we have Brexit, as a phenomenon with dangerous consequences. Every person worldwide but not the leaders of the West can understand that only long-term predictability of relations allows consistency in legislation, competent and fast bureaucracy, sustainable economic development, strong partnerships and alliances, strength in every union. In Europe and the United States instead we have uncertainty as a growing factor in almost every sector of social-economic activity.
  • Science, mass education and culture, school sports, as well as other important social systems and activities are systematically neglected, underfunded and isolated, which leads to a change in core European values – tribal individualism and egocentrism are widely developing, while integrity and solidarity are so much marginalized that young European generations even do not believe they have ever existed.

– How do you see Europe’s complex problem with permanent immigration?

– The huge economic inequalities in the world are the main reason for the migration processes to Europe. Mass legal migration for economic reasons has become inevitable with the development of communication technologies and the Internet in the last 20 years. Everyone in the world sees in real time what is happening in every corner of the earth – every person compares, discovers differences, evaluates alternatives, sees opportunities. In the same time it is clear to specialists in the field of international security that these natural legal migration processes for economic reasons are used and supported, both officially and covertly, by political organizations, religious fractions, various intelligence structures, organized crime and others. In other words, even legal migration for economic reasons carries a number of security threats and risks that must be adequately managed. Of course, the more complex question for Europe is the illegal migration flow.

– How do you see the ongoing illegal migratory pressure on Europe and how should it be counteracted?

– If legal economic immigration is useful and historically necessary, the illegal immigration must be clearly distinguished by the EU authorities and drastically limited. There is no doubt that the implementation of centralized governance of the counteraction at EU level and centralized funding at EU is mandatory and includes activities at the place of origin, at the channels for transportation of illegal migrants and at the external borders of EU as follows:

  • A Long-term EU support to the places of origin of the illegal migration is for sure cost effective. Such European support must be carried out with the creation of EU Foreign Assistance Programs for the respective countries in Africa and the Middle East providing direct economic assistance, educational assistance, health and cultural assistance, security assistance to the population there. Not only from cost perspective but also from a cultural point of view, Foreign Assistance Programs are beneficial for all – young people in Africa and the Middle East will be helped to create similar opportunities as the ones in Europe, without having to live in countries with different traditions, habits, order, culture. Recent decades have shown to everyone that cultural integration is an extremely slow process and always takes several generations to start to fit in the local standards.
  • Effective blocking of all channels for transportation of illegal migrants from the respective regions to Europe through the creation of Joint EU External Border Protection Forces. This includes joint EU analysis and evaluation of the threats, joint EU planning of operations, joint EU response teams, joint EU operations and closure of existing security gaps. Of course, this means joint EU funding of this line of activity as well.
  • Zero tolerance when protecting external European borders against illegal immigrants. This includes immediate sanctions to the countries from the Middle East and Africa which allowed such international disorder, also turning back the illegal migrants under a short administrative procedure, of course confiscating the vehicles used for their transportation is mandatory, as well as identification of the illegal migrants and their input in a Joint EU Data Base of Illegal Migrants and Migration Attempts. Such Joint EU Data Base is needed in order to forbid any further attempts of the listed individuals. Creation of Joint EU External Border Protection Forces as well as Joint EU Internal Security Forces also seems unavoidable, which I think will be the first step to the creation of Joint EU Military Forces.

If the EU does not continue to integrate and converge, to set up common bodies, to have common policies on all security issues and a common response force, the future of the Union will not be bright.

– How do you see the steps for ensuring a high level of security in the EU?

– The approach to ensuring a high level of security both in Europe and in each country around the world is based on the following sequence of policies, which are in fact run in parallel:

  • Specialized course and short training of the top leadership (at regional level, at national level, at EU level) on strategic management of security: security environment; threats and risks assessment; gap analysis; abilities of the existing protection system; national, regional, and international coordination of security policies. For these short trainings it is necessary to establish an EU Strategic Security Management Institute since the number of trained EU and Member State high level personnel dealing with EU security issues is quite big. The subject training will unify the language on security, the understanding of the threats and risks, the approaches to ensure security, the methods of action, and the coordination and reporting process.
  • Development of a common European culture of respect for the leaders in any field of activity, which means precise selecting the best of the best for the management of any sector, which is of crucial importance for the sustainability, security and quick economic development of the EU.
  • Zero tolerance of corruption at all administrative levels in the public sector. Any corrupted decision directly affects the security of the EU. In Bulgaria, the word “corruption” relates to the embezzlement of any public funds and/or European funds for personal gain. One single case of corruption immediately creates dissatisfaction, protests, or tacit resistance from the citizens of the Union, who will for the most part condemn the entire system in which the EU operates.
  • Supporting integrity in the European society and strong belief in common European values, which generally means a conscious balance between personal and public interest, between personal expression and the role in favor of the European society. This may be achieved with the personal example of the EU and Member State leaders, their hard working, their commitment, devotion, and modesty.

The example with which I usually illustrate the proper understanding of “high level of security” is by taking down the process of ensuring security at microeconomic level – at the household level: any apartment in a building is really secured only when the building itself, the stairways, the garages and the area around the building are promptly maintained and lighted; all entrances to the building are access controlled; elevators are in serviceability; the roads to the building are wide, paved and clear; power supply, water supply, sewerage, and internet connection – guaranteed. It must be well known by anyone that individual security is just a chimera. It is always a matter of the unity of society.

Isn’t this “unity of society”, which you write about in your book, an utopia?

– In the times of egocentrism and public manifestation of personal material prosperity only, the idealistic return to the family, the neighborhood, the nation is in fact a salvation. This means that within the framework of Euro-Atlantic and European unity we should build national unity, unity of the city and the neighborhood, family unity and to promote this process as quick and as strong as possible. It is the culture of mutual trust and respect that is the culture of security. Common values, such as: “respect for science and education”, “systematic mutual support between the European citizens”, “tolerance and humanity in public and private communication in Europe”, “duty of respect for fellow citizens and all neighbors”, “respect for institutions and trust in leaders”, “concern for our Europe” should be nurtured from the early childhood. Unity and common values must be taught starting with the family, then in kindergarten, in primary education, at the university. I explain “unity of society” in front of my students with the need of a constant balance of efforts in defending the personal, but also the public interest of every European citizen or company, at all levels.

– What do you predict for the near future?

– The insecurity felt by people is a result from two things: from the widening gap between the growing number of poor people and the few super-rich, and also from the fear that current public leaders are not capable to identify the problems and to show the society the way out. Probably soon we will understand that the existing financial and economic Western model already distorts some of the fundamental foundations of unity within the Western society. We as society will have to turn back to the common values and common goals, to start to believe again in “we” and less in “I” in order to overcome the modern external challenges of the Far East and internal European distrust. In Europe, we need new type of leadership respecting the unity of society. Also, we will have to start working harder and better, and together with this we will have to redistribute what we have produced much more fairly and with mutual respect on all levels.

– What are the principles of the new type of leadership that EU and the so-called West need?

– Public leadership ensures:

  • Clearly defined and widely accepted by the society longstanding social-economic goals. The goals must include the development of independent technological capacity in every sphere of priority interest.
  • A longstanding management program and specific action plans for the achievement of the social-economic goals.
  • Provision of all the different recourses needed for the implementation of the longstanding management program.
  • Proper delegation of management powers for the implementation of the longstanding management program and the action plans.
  • Systematic public reporting to the society of the implementation progress on a quarterly basis.
  • Systematic amendment of the program and the action plans on an annual basis.
  • It must be clear that the leaders are followed by the society exactly because they are the ones who can best foresee the future; thus, they can set the longstanding strategic goals for the whole society. The real leaders show the way to the people. And it is of crucial importance to start understanding that the strategic goals of Europe should start covering a 50 years period. As to today’s European goals – they are neither clearly defined, nor widely accepted by the Member States. Moreover the EU goals are framed in the ballpark of the usual 4-year lasting political mandates. Also, it is not quite clear why in the EU some managerial topics and processes are overcentralized, and others are totally decentralized. Especially the funding process in EU is blurred. The principle should be – EU funding goes to activities that fulfil only strategic EU goals. The whole funding process in EU as well as the delegation of power in EU should assure implementation exactly of the strategic goals of the Union. I should add here that respect and trust in leaders and the respective institutions are another mandatory condition for the successful implementation of the strategic goals and tasks. And that is unfailing. Especially the respect and the trust in EU leaders should be unquestioned, based on several interrelated characteristics of the leader (s) of the European Union:
  • Promotion of the unity of the EU as the main goal of the European citizens and all domestic leaders, which provides functioning of all EU systems and subsystems in accordance with the strategic goals set.
  • Accepting the independence of the EU goals from narrow political party interests, structural changes, or any personal replacements of political leaders. EU goals and objectives are precisely formulated, communicated to the people, accepted, approved, and respected by the European nation.
  • Assuring sustainable requirements for occupying a managerial position on EU level. Subject requirements include impeccable professional reputation such as i) in-depth knowledge, skills, and previous successful experience in the field managed, and ii) strong belief in the need for European solidarity and integrity.
  • Respect for creativity. Constant encouragement of innovators who dared to look for, find and offer new type of solutions in unknown relationships and dependencies. Respect for creativity should be manifested on every managerial and expert level within EU.
  • Personal charisma, rhetoric ability and morale i) to exclude individualism and personal interest in work, which are the main factors attracting followers, ii) to encourage and inspire people on a large scale.
  • Understanding and applying of goal achievement control. Task performance control. Control over efficiency. Control over motivation. Control over integrity and rule of law within any system.
  • Systematic reporting to the public the progress in goals implementation and publicity of the results from the control over the effectiveness of the managers and employees payed by the EU budget.

– If you must summarize what would be the main message of your book?

The intelligence for the people is what the thin needle of the compass is for the ship – it leads the huge mass of wood and iron, and always points in the right direction. This comparison is by the distinguished American author Albert Pike, and in my book I try to find the practical dimensions of this exceptional comparison.