How to Measure Value From Defence Spending? The Malaysian Case Study
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More than ever, nations and their citizens demand clear evidence as to the benefits of defence spending and any subsequent value created. The opportunity cost of defence expenditure against other sectors is constantly queried, and the question of how to measure value remains highly contentious. Similarly, it is challenging to find consensus amongst traditional economists, policy-makers, and other stakeholders on how to measure value in the context of defence, where most outcomes are intangible. Hence, this article attempts to offer solutions using the case study of Malaysia, a maritime nation in Southeast Asia. The study uses a hypo-deductive approach underpinning qualitative research methodology. Primary data sources include open-ended and semi-structured interviews to produce a thematic discussion, as well as secondary resources such as journal articles, government reports, and online sources. The author argues that it is hard to appraise defence value, as measurements are case-specific, and even successful attempts cannot be generalised. Rather, the paper will use a novel "Triple-Defence Value Framework" to argue that value can be measured by dividing the role of defence into a primary level: for protection and safety; a secondary level: for socio-economic prosperity; and a tertiary level: for soft power projection. The paper concludes by using the framework to measure the value derived from the Malaysian defence sector.
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NPS Report NumberSYM-AM-21-074
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