The Challenges of Sequencing National Security Policy and National Security Legislation in Timor-Leste

In Timor-Leste, the government’s intention was first to develop a national security policy, which would subsequently guide the development of national security legislation. However, following the 2006 security crisis, swift development of the legislation became a priority, so that the roles and responsibilities of the police and defence forces could be more clearly delineated. Legislation and policy thus advanced in parallel: the national security law would be led by the Office of the Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Defence, while national security policy would continue to be developed under the auspices of the Office
of the President and the Secretary of State for Security. In order to ensure links between the two processes, each of the institutions would comment in parallel on the draft law and draft policy. In practice this approach proved challenging; there were limited national resources to lead both processes, and equally limited international resources to support the national effort.  Finally, further delays in the policy-making process resulted in the national security law being adopted prior to the national security policy. As a result there was difficulty aligning policy with law, despite the fact that the law did not undergo the same broad consultative process as national security policy. After considerable national effort, law and policy were finally aligned, with a focus on supporting an integrated security sector.

Source found in: Security Sector Reform: Integrated Technical Guidance Notes, United Nations SSR Task Force, 2012. p. 125.