Tuesday 17 May 2011 11:55:17 am
Many thanks for this blog Alexander, very useful. I have experience of utilizing the Capacity and Integrity Framework (CiF) during a review of the Serbian police service in 2004 – see further http://www.osce.org/serbia/18310 - the team that was involved found the CiF an extremely useful tool. It provided a snap-shot of the key capacity and integrity challenges the police service faced, and provided an easy-to-understand way of presenting the key issues for the reader. What I like most about the CiF is that it ensures that you have to deal with both the individual and institutional aspects, as well as the capacity and integrity needs. As such it enshrines one of the key principles of SSR, of ensuring a balance between increasing the effectiveness of security and justice service provision while also enhancing the accountability of the services provided. I highly recommend it as an assessment tool.
Tuesday 17 May 2011 12:14:39 pm
A highly valuable lesson about assessing both 'what works' and the absorption capacity of national actors. A similar incident was discussing knowledge management in south Sudan for the Doctor John Garang Military Memorial Academy (DGMMA). The natural impulse with knowledge management is to talk about websites and computers and throw a lot of expensive equipment at a partner institution that won't be used. It wouldn't have done much good to help them develop a website when many of our partners were saying they couldn't work at home due to lack of electricity. So in our discussions, taking in the absorption capacity we scaled everything down, first stressing that they need to conduct their own needs assessment. But then we talked about basic filing systems for their library and record keeping of participants. We also discussed appropriate methods for themselves to record and track lessons learned from instructors and participants. So a lot of the main concepts of knowledge management were all there in discussion and planning, but it was a matter of seeing what were appropriate tools for implementing these concepts for the context.
Tuesday 31 May 2011 2:22:25 am
I have not been involved in training police per se, but I have done related work with military forces in places like Somalia, the Balkans and Africa.Your note reminds me of the old 'can-do' attitude that many countries succumb to when they want to help less developed societies. You then get keen police or military trainers that are rushed into theatre without too much concern about their teaching/mentoring skills, or, more problematically, without a solid understanding of the strategic program aims... if there are any.
Your thoughts about the usefulness of 'low-tech' measures in less developed societies strike me as reasonable, but one would hope that the overall (strategic) approach to SSR would have been thought out and designed before putting 'boots on the ground'. I understand that does not always happen, but now, as an older academic, I have gotten over my youthful enthusiasm and understand you need the 'big idea' first. If this is done well, then 'low-tech' tactical measures might well be the right selection to make when deciding how to implement SSR. My point is that 'low-tech', or 'any-tech' activity will hopefully result from a grander design that takes into account the civil-military relations model that is most appropriate for the society being assisted. Moreover, early 'low-tech' support might hopefully evolve into 'higher-tech' support when the host nation is ready for it.
This kind of research and program design can take place while a conflict is still in progress, on the expectation that some sort of SSR mission will be called for soon/eventually. In this way, this type of early research might be seen as 'strategic SSR intelligence' being developed in advance of eventual mission requirements. It can be used to inform SSR decision-making too.
Interesting stuff. I hope to keep abreast of all your ISSAT blog material.
Jim Cox, Ph.D.Brigadier-General (Retired)Ottawa, Ontario, CANADA
Monday 27 June 2011 10:46:49 pm
While true that SSR has traditionally not focused on informal institutions enough in the past, the community as of late has been opening up its scope to take into account informal security and justice providers. Methodologically in the field this has been lead by a ‘what-works’ approach , essentially moving past who ‘should’ provide justice and security in a local area, but rather seeing who ‘is’(See ISSAT OGN on 'Conducting a Security and Justice Assessment' in Tools and Resources section of the site). This is especially effective where state institutions have no reach, particularly rural areas in fragile states. Just to note this does not automatically accept that any non-state actor providing security and justice is necessarily doing it well, but trying to improve the service provided by those actors in the short term can have positive effects on the security of the general populace.
Good of course to be informed on other lenses like AVR to expand one's scope in what to look for.
Thursday 01 September 2011 9:27:28 am
Well done to point out an aspect of SSR that often is acknowledge, but not discussed very much. I agree, the South Sudanese are going to be dealing with right sizing a top heavy military where senior staff can hold a lot of sway (witness some of the insurrections). There is some work with the ICRC and a few other donors to develop skills with senior staff to run small businesses among other skills.Another issue with veterans associations is trying to identify who is an actual veteran. In Guinea-Bissau the veterans of the liberation movement are a very influential group, however, tracking who was actually part of the movement is quite difficult. With part of the group's demands being compensation, there is a percentage of the population that is just associating themselves with the veterans to gain additional benefits.Capacity building in the management of such organisations could play an alleviating factor, particularly on census and record keeping.
Tuesday 01 November 2011 1:09:25 pm
Hi James. This is a tough problem, and I fear there are no easy fixes. As long as solutions are expected from outside experts who are flown in for a matter of days or weeks rather than months or years, I'm afraid the measure they recommend will not be fully suited to local needs, will not be fully owned by the local people and will therefore not be sustainable. I don't think this is specific to SSR or to Western experts. A South Korean expert flown to Northern Europe to propose ways of reducing high rates of suicide in Scandinavia would suffer the same problems, not matter how knowledgeable and sensitive to local culture and politics he or she may be. I hate to be discouraging, but there it is. Even a wonderful training course could not teach our South Korean enough about Scandinavia.
Thursday 15 December 2011 9:32:11 am
Great to hear a good news story. I know there are plenty about, but the successful are usually busy going on to the next thing leaving no time to spread the news of their success in order to inspire others. Could you please enable the link to see the questions you sent the group. Thank you.
Wednesday 21 March 2012 4:52:44 pm
Thammy thank you for the great post. I look froward to reading the book in its entirety. Time permitting I have tried to read parts that are online. I dont have an example but I do have a question for debate and this may be covered in the book I am sure.My question is at what point does SSR begin and what point should it end. I am aware of the cycle and suggests SSR activities happen shortly after a brokered peace settlement and after fighting ends, but is there (and I refer specifically to Libya) an opportunity; or should there be an opportunity to engage much earlier, particularly with intervening forces such as NATO, and with the interim council to create awareness of the impact their actions would have and the difficulties in implementing SSR in the future? If we look at Libya today it appears as a complex environment where militias rule. Could some of the problems we are seeing emerge in Libya have been foreseen and managed differently if SSR activities were engaged earlier?
Sunday 25 March 2012 5:03:42 pm
Dear Mark,I totally agree with you, both on the content of your post regarding what is needed for police reform and on the fact that it is amazing how little has been learned over the last two decades. I find it rather disheartening how many mistakes have been made in Afghanistan, where I work, in ten years. Faced with the fast approaching withdrawal of international military presence and corresponding downturn in funding, it seems that we have achieved little progress given the amount of time, money and people invested. Though I am new to this sector, it strikes me that much of what you lay out above should be obvious and common sensical - so why have we failed again and again?
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