In countries recovering from conflict, defence institutions may be particularly resistant to change, often because change would entail loss of political control or decreased access to wealth, including reduced ability to exploit natural resources. Although bilateral defence assistance has been a staple of international aid for decades, assistance to equip and train partner defence forces cannot be equated with defence sector reform. Such assistance may not address corruption, human rights abuses, or the likelihood of internal conflict in recipient countries, whereas the core principles of security sector (system) reform emphasize good governance, transparency, efficiency, fairness and equity in recruiting and promotion, accountable and sustainable financing, respect for human rights, and local ownership based on democratic norms. Failure to reform the defence sector in broad terms-including its governance and oversight-will likely impair a country's ability to build transparent, accountable, and efficient public institutions in general, and may also interfere with the larger economic recovery or development process. This practice note highlights good and bad practice and lessons learned regarding the design and implementation of defence sector reform programming.
Reports from 2009
Defense Sector Reform: A Note On Current Practice| Henry L. Stimson CenterPublished December 12, 2009
Protect and Serve or Train and Equip? U.S. Security Assistance and Protection of Civilians| Oxfam AmericaPublished November 1, 2009
Abstract: This paper looks at the implementation of US-supported SSR programs, and particularly at how they have integrated protection of civilians. The paper identifies current gaps between global standards of good practice—with which US doctrine and principles increasingly conform—on the one hand, and actual US practice in the field on the other. Oxfam believes that protection of civilians must be a cornerstone of US foreign policy, so effective links between SSR and protection must be present in practice as well as in principle. The paper concludes by offering legislative and policy recommendations that can help ensure that US-supported SSR serves as an instrument of protection.
Protecting Civilians in the Context of UN Peacekeeping Operations: Successes, Setbacks and Remaining Challenges| United NationsPublished November 1, 2009
Excerpt: Since 1999, an increasing number of United Nations peacekeeping missions have been expressly mandated to protect civilians. However, they continue to struggle to turn that ambition into reality on the ground. This independent study examines the drafting, interpretation, and implementation of such mandates over the last 10 years and takes stock of the successes and setbacks faced in this endeavor. It contains insights and recommendations for the entire range of United Nations protection actors, including the Security Council, troop and police contributing countries, the Secretariat, and the peacekeeping operations implementing protection of civilians mandates.
Somalia: Current Conditions and Prospects for a Lasting Peace| Congressional Research Service (CRS)Published October 21, 2009
Excerpt: In October 2002, the Inter-Governmental Authority for Development (IGAD) launched a peace process designed to end factional fighting in Somalia, led by the government of Kenya. In September 2003, the parties agreed on a Transitional National Charter (TNC). In August 2004, a 275-member Transitional Parliament was inaugurated in Kenya. In October 2004, parliament elected Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed as the new president of Somalia. In June 2006, the forces of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) took control of the capital, Mogadishu. During the six-month rule by the ICU, Mogadishu became relatively peaceful, but efforts to bring peace did not lead to a major breakthrough. On December 28, 2006, Ethiopian troops captured Mogadishu with little resistance from the ICU. The Ethiopian intervention led to more chaos and instability in Somalia over the past two years. Humanitarian, political, and security conditions continue to deteriorate across south-central Somalia. In the past two years, more than 22,000 civilians have been killed, an estimated 1.1 million people displaced, and 476,000 Somalis have fled to neighboring countries. In 2008, fighting between insurgent groups and Ethiopian-TFG forces intensified, and by late 2008, the TFG had lost control of most of south-central Somalia to insurgent groups. In January 2009, Ethiopian forces completed their withdrawal from Somalia. In late December 2008, President Yusuf resigned from office and left for Yemen.
In Our Stead: Developing and Enhancing International Security Assistance Capacities| The Stanley FoundationPublished October 15, 2009
In this paper, Ron Capps of Refugees International examines some existing security intervention capabilities, a few likely scenarios where they might be needed, and what the United States can do to help enhance existing and promote additional capacity. Capps uses the term "security intervention" to cover a range of activities including international peacekeeping, reconstruction and stability operations, and military intervention. The paper can also be found on the Stanley Foundation's site here.
Africa Command: U.S. Strategic Interests and the Role of the U.S. Military in Africa| Congressional Research Service (CRS)Published October 2, 2009
Excerpt: In recent years, analysts and U.S. policymakers have noted Africa’s growing strategic importance to U.S. interests. Among those interests are the increasing importance of Africa’s natural resources, particularly energy resources, and mounting concern over violent extremist activities and other potential threats posed by uncontrolled spaces, such as piracy and illicit trafficking. In addition, there is ongoing concern for Africa’s many humanitarian crises, armed conflicts, and more general challenges, such as the devastating effect of HIV/AIDS. In 2006, Congress authorized a feasibility study on the creation of a new command for Africa to consolidate current operations and activities on the continent under one commander. Congress has closely monitored the command since its establishment.This report provides a broad overview of U.S. strategic interests in Africa and the role of U.S. military efforts on the continent as they pertain to the creation of AFRICOM. A discussion of AFRICOM’s mission, its coordination with other government agencies, and its basing and manpower requirements is included.
Piracy off the Horn of Africa| Congressional Research Service (CRS)Published September 28, 2009
Excerpt: Pirate attacks in the waters off the Horn of Africa, including those on U.S.-flagged vessels, have brought new U.S. and international attention to the long-standing problem of piracy in the region. The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) recorded 111 attacks in the waters off the Horn of Africa in 2008, almost double the number in 2007. As of September 14, 2009, the U.S. State Department reported 156 attacks had occurred in those waters since January 2009, with 33 successful hijackings. Attacks remain concentrated in the Gulf of Aden between Yemen and the northern coast of Somalia and along Somalia’s eastern coastline. However, in July 2009, the United Nations Secretary General warned that “as a result of the military presence in the region, pirates have employed more daring operational tactics, operating further seawards, towards the Seychelles, and using more sophisticated weaponry.” Pirate attacks continue to threaten commercial shipping and relief shipments bound for East Africa and the Horn, amid a regional humanitarian crisis that experts are calling the worst since 1984.
Drawing on the Full Strength of America: Seeking Greater Civilian Capacity in U.S. Foreign Affairs| Refugees InternationalPublished September 1, 2009
Excerpt: The objective of this paper is to describe the causes and effects of the lack of human capital and capacity at State and USAID and offer suggestions on how to rebuild these capacities. The paper proposes that the atrophy of civilian capacity, and the resultant inability of the U.S. government to globally project elements of soft power, place an unfair burden on our military, present the wrong image of America to the world, and reduce our effectiveness in promoting international security, thus making America and the world less secure.
Protecting Civilians in Uncivil WarsPublished August 1, 2009
Abstract: This article proposes a framework for thinking about the different dimensions of a comprehensive and coherent civilian protection agenda: the nature of the problem i.e. threats facing civilians during armed conflict, the sources of the contemporary protection agenda, the pillars upon which the protection agenda should rest, and the principal agents of protection. Second, identifies several problems with the current agenda: the gap between capabilities and expectations, the lack of operational guidance, coordination and coherence problems, the tensions between internal and external modes of protection, and the role of the state. The article finishes by suggesting three important areas for further research and action: enhancing state capacity in relevant areas, bolstering the resilience of local communities at risk of harm, and strengthening the ability of peacekeepers to protect civilians.
United Nations Reform: U.S. Policy and International Perspectives| Congressional Research Service (CRS)Published July 27, 2009
Excerpt: Since its establishment in 1945, the United Nations has been in a constant state of transition as various international stakeholders seek ways to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the U.N. system. Recent controversies, such as corruption of the Iraq Oil-For-Food Program, allegations of sexual abuse by U.N. peacekeepers, and instances of waste, fraud and abuse by U.N. staff, have focused renewed attention on the need for change and improvement of the United Nations. Many in the international community, including the United States, have increased pressure on U.N. member states to implement substantive reforms. The 111th Congress will most likely continue to focus on U.N. reform as it considers appropriate levels of U.S. funding to the United Nations and monitors the progress and implementation of ongoing and previouslyapproved reform measures.