This think piece, prepared by Boubacar N’Diaye and Eboe Hutchful (ASSN) for the Learning Lab on Security Sector Governance in Africa, looks at the challenges and implications to improve ‘civil-military relations’ (CMR) for a better protection of a democratic public space. The document explains how, since the end of the Cold war, the academic field of CMR has gone into decline whilst SSR has been ascending. If CMR focused insufficiently on the micro-politics of security institutions, it is argued that SSR has not necessarily resulted in integrated approaches. SSR is thus particularly challenged in this sector, with weak budgetary and expenditure controls and corruption in the security sector. There is also a potential for reversals in current CMR, as has been demonstrated recently in Uganda and Congo-Brazzaville, where police, military and paramilitary forces were used to violently suppress protests. To engage in efforts to improve CMR in Africa, it is argued that it is important to identify states where efforts already started, under the leadership of a new generation of military leaders who are willing to embrace new roles and responsibilities for civilian institutions.