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

Key Global Events to Watch in September
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

August 25, 2014
High-Level Forum Examines Lessons of 1814 and 1914 for Today
2014 marks the centenary of the outbreak of World War One and the bicentenary of the opening of the Congress of Vienna–two dates that profoundly shaped the course of history.

August 05, 2014
Accra Meeting Examines Effective Governance in Challenging Environments
Despite undeniable progress, the continuous peace and security reverses witnessed across Africa illustrate the persistent gap that exists between aspirational good governance norms and principles and their actual implementation.

July 17, 2014
EU and UN Seek Ways to Improve Cooperation in Peacekeeping
The European Union is among the strongest supporters of UN peacekeeping missions around the globe, but the growing challenges faced by UN-led operations have raised the need for better EU-UN cooperation, both on the ground and at the planning level.

View More