IPI HomePublicationsPolicy PapersSecurity-Sector Reform Applied: Nine Ways to Move from Policy to Implementation

 

print print  |  share share back back

Policy Papers - February 16, 2012

Security-Sector Reform Applied: Nine Ways to Move from Policy to Implementation

Rory Keane and Mark Downes

 

 

Security sector reform (SSR) remains a relatively new and evolving concept, one that brings together practitioners and academics from many different backgrounds. The application of SSR differs from one context to the other, each with its own complications.

However, most of the writing on SSR has a policy focus rather than dealing with the practical issues of implementation. Not much focuses on the “little secrets and skills” required to practically apply SSR policy in post-conflict settings.

This policy paper provides nine recommendations for practitioners to increase their effectiveness in supporting SSR processes in such contexts. While local context should determine how SSR is implemented, these recommendations can help practitioners to accelerate progress on the ground. Though not an exhaustive list, small, smart steps, the paper argues, can go a long way.

The paper’s recommendations on how to practically apply SSR policy are:

1. Locate entry points for ownership
2. Decentralize via second-generation SSR
3. Understand the context, be flexible, and take an iterative approach
4. Reduce uncertainty and build up trust
5. Forge relations between police investigators and prosecutors
6. Support sustainable reforms
7. Build up the “missing middle” within the civil service
8. Consider a low-tech approach for higher yields
9. Put the right skills and systems in place

About the authors:

Rory Keane is the SSR advisor to the head of the UN mission in Liberia.

Mark Downes is Head of the International Security Sector Advisory Team (ISSAT) at the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF).

The Global Observatory

Ukraine Steels Itself for Winter as Putin Forges Ahead with Novorossiya
As Ukraine searches for a unifying national identity, Russian-sponsored statebuilding in the east could lead to an emboldened 'Novorossiya' project.

Key Global Events to Watch in October
A list of key upcoming meetings and events with implications for global affairs.

2014 Top 10 Issues to Watch in Peace & Security: The Global Arena
A list of ten key issues to watch that are likely to impact international peace and security in 2014, compiled by IPI's Francesco Mancini.

The Global Observatory, produced by IPI, provides timely analysis on peace and security issues, interviews with leading policymakers, interactive maps, and more.

Recent Events

October 09, 2014
Rethinking Women and Forced Migration
The drastic increase in conflicts around the globe has seen the world’s displaced population pass 55 million people, and the fact that 80% of them are women and children is prompting many to rethink how the international community is responding.

October 09, 2014
Africa: China’s Second Continent
Speaking at an IPI Distinguished Author Series event on October 9th, author Howard French made a case for how Western underestimation of Africa’s economic promise has enabled China to establish an economic and human presence on the continent, leading to the permanent migration there of nearly 2 million Chinese.

September 30, 2014
Vike-Freiberga: Rethinking the United Nations
In a speech delivered at IPI on September 30th, Dr. Vaira Vike-Freiberga gave a sobering historical analysis of the gains and setbacks made by the international system over the past century and, focusing on the UN, she called for a rethinking of the organization’s structure and approach to peace.

View More