The Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee has made the decision to establish a State Security Committee to improve the national security system and national security strategies.

Within China's State institutional system, the State Security Committee will be a high-level national security organ, coordinating both domestic and foreign issues and making corresponding plans covering defense, diplomacy, intelligence, public security, armed police, foreign trade and publicity.

Zhao Kejin
Zhao Kejin is an expert on China’s foreign policy and diplomacy. At Carnegie China, he runs a program that examines the development of China’s public diplomacy.
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The committee will build a national security system with a wide scope and strong capacity under the leadership of the CPC Central Committee, signaling that China has entered into a new stage when top-level design will be adopted to shape its overall security architecture.

Originally an engineering concept, top-level design refers to a method of studying an issue thoroughly from top to bottom, with its core ideals and objective deriving from the top level.

This effective method takes all factors of the issue into consideration, traces its origins, and makes overall plans to seek solutions on the highest level.

By strengthening top-level design in national security, the Chinese government will figure out a national security system against the backdrop of globalization and openness by taking into full account the relations among different levels, areas and elements, so that traditional and non-traditional security areas will be integrated in an organic state governance system.

The concept of the "state" has gradually been taking on different connotations with the development of globalization and the information revolution.

A nation will probably be exposed to risk due to both traditional security menaces abroad and internal non-traditional at home. That's why many countries have set up national security committees.

The higher degree of internationalization countries enjoyed, the earlier they encountered such a conundrum and established the committees.

The US set up a National Security Council in as early as 1947 to advise and assist the president on national security and foreign policies. It also served as the president's principal arm for coordinating these policies among various government agencies.

Brazil, Chile, South Africa, Turkey, Thailand, Malaysia and some other nations also set up similar security councils.

The establishment of a State Security Committee of China is a systematic engineering program pertinent to institutional reform in the Party and the government leadership.

Therefore the central authorities and local governments as well as departments at different levels should reach a common consensus on Beijing's diplomatic endeavors and improve the central authorities' leadership and coordination of foreign affairs by performing their own duties well.

In the first place, to design overall plans that coordinate domestic and foreign issues, Beijing should integrate security resources in national defense, diplomacy, intelligence, public security, economy, social development, science and technology as well as public opinion to actively turn its development advantages into strategic edges, effectively consolidating the strategic foundation of China as a great power in the international community.

Successful inter-departmental coordination calls for authorities concerned to cast away the idea of departmentalism and incorporate all the actors engaged in foreign services into a State security community.

These actors should honor their functional authority, give full play to their advantages, and abide by the principles of planning for deployment, guiding the inspection and join hands to build up a "greater security" framework led by the CPC Central Committee, coordinated by the State Security Committee and participated by all relevant parties.

Local administrations should be motivated to participate in national security affairs, in a proper and orderly way, in particular marine and overseas affairs under the guidance of the State Security Committee.

Local authorities are expected to fit their own development plans into the general security and development strategies of the country.

Finally, we must transform the traditional unilateral view that it is the government that should be responsible for ensuring national security, and strive to offer a new platform for official-civil interaction.

We can foster a multi-dimensional security architecture with the leadership of the Party, the dominance of the government and the participation of the whole society.

This article was originally published in Global Times.