By Fidel Amakye Owusu

1. A couple of months ago, I saw an interview of billionaire and tech investor Elon Musk. He was asked about the subjects and fields of study he would recommend for this and the next generation.

2. In response, the sometimes-controversial chief executive officer has mentioned several tech-related subjects. To the amazement of the host, he added History. The interviewer inquired more about his mention of history. He explained that history covers everything including technology.

3. Yes, history could partly account for the high optimism and enthusiasm Mr. Musk has for technological advancement. Before many revolutionary inventions were made, people generally considered them as impossibilities.

4. And so what?

5. In recent times, I have had the opportunity to discuss career prospects with college and master’s students interested in taking up security as a profession. My position has always been: that security is multidisciplinary and has no shortcuts. As a profession, the purpose of security is more on the preventive and management side.

6. This requires that experts become cautiously predictive and analytical. The success of these would depend on conscious attention to multiple subjects that have significant bearing on the field of study and its concomitant professional journey.

7. What are these?

8. Like Musk, I believe that history as a subject is indispensable in the field of security. This is so fundamental that a good appreciation of it makes a good security expert. As often said, there is nothing new under the sun. History offers a plethora of examples that guide the analyst’s forecast of the future.

9. Security players who have a good appreciation of all the various international regimes that had failed in Europe and the weakness of the League of Nations were equipped to evade them during the creation of the United Nations.

10. I also mention geography in these interactions. If one wants to have a grasp of events, where they happen is critical. It is easier to understand the volatility of the security situation in the DRC if you have the geography in your mind’s eye. Geopolitics is, therefore, intertwined with security.

11. The overwhelming roles of individual actors in security dynamics further make psychology important to a successful security career. This when put together with philosophy could give the analyst a good appreciation of individual actors. For example, to understand Kwame Nkrumah or Nelson Mandela, you need to appreciate their philosophical orientations.

12. Security is so all-encompassing that you will be unable to write off any field. One’s “basic” understanding of hydraulic engineering would be important in a comprehensive analysis of the tensions between Egypt and Ethiopia.

13. The multifaceted nature of security, therefore, requires open-mindedness and adjustable disposition.

By Fidel Amakye Owusu – International Relations and Security Analyst and Writer

Article Reproduced with Permission from Fidel Amakye Owusu

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