ESDC Core Course on Security Sector Reform

Monday 05 June 2017 Session

05 June - 09 June 2017 · Santahamina, Helsinki, Finland

Course Description

The ESDC Core Course on Security Sector Reform (SSR) is designed to enhance capabilities of experts assigned to become involved in the
assessment, design, development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of Security Sector Reform processes. The course is based on a
holistic SSR approach providing a comprehensive overview of all pillars of the SSR concept.

The course thus addresses all civil/military/police personnel that is already or will be involved in SSR activities in the future, as well as civil society
organisations working in the field of peacebuilding and human security. At the same time, the Core Course constitutes the perfect training opportunity for
members of the EU SSR Experts as well as national SSR experts, as it provides an excellent overview of the different segments of SSR and links
them to different contexts and political dimensions. 

The Finnish Defence Forces International Centre (FINCENT) is an internationally distinguished centre that provides military crisis management training and education with over 40 years of expertise. The course is organized by FINCENT in the framework of the Academic Programme of the European Security and Defence College (ESDC) and conducted in cooperation with the International Security Sector Advisory Team of the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF/ISSAT), with the support of Crisis Management Centre Finland (CMC). It will take place from 05-09 June 2017 at the premises of the FINCENT in Santahamina, Helsinki, Finland.

Aim and Purpose of the course

The course aims to enhance the knowledge, skills and competencies on the concept and principles of SSR as part of the EU's comprehensive approach and other related EU policy and concepts in particular "the EU wide strategic framework in support on Security Sector Reform". It will highlight the key components of SSR, the various tools and techniques used by SSR practitioners and the challenges that an SSR advisor could face. It also develops examples of good practice through the collective sharing of experience and provides tools to address future challenges and asses the needs in relation to SSR. The course also aims to strengthen a network of SSR experts, with a common understanding of EU SSR.

Participants will learn about the approaches of international organisations with a focus on the EU approach to SSR and will be familiarised with the main pillars of SSR such as defence, police, justice/courts and effective advising. Moreover, cross-cutting issues such as gender, human rights, the role of civil society, Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR), as well as governance will be discussed. In-depth knowledge on SSR and its hands-on implementation is provided through practical case studies and the discussion of best practices. The Core Course furthermore stresses the importance of cooperation among stakeholders from different segments of the security sector.

At the end of this course participants will have a holistic understanding of SSR, a clear view of different approaches to SSR, and will be familiar with the main pillars of such reform processes. Participants will be able to analyse and connect with various actors in the field of SSR, undertake activities in support of SSR.

Target group and Student Criteria

The course is open to participants from governments, civil society, the military, police, justice, international organisations, and the private sector. Potential participants should be preferably middle- to senior level professionals and are expected to have expertise in their respective areas of professional competence related to SSR and should currently be deployed or just about
to be deployed in support of a bilateral, regional or multilateral mission to support security and justice reform within EU or EU Member State - and/ or partner country structures. Interested representatives from the military, the police and the judiciary are equally encouraged to apply, as well as representatives from governmental bodies, international organizations, NGOs and other civil society actors working in in the wider context of SSR.

The course is also open to those involved in programming, program management and/or in political/policy dialogue. Since English will be the working language of the course, participants must have a good command of English to be able to engage in discussions and fully benefit from the training. No additional language training or translation is provided by FINCENT. Since the course is designed in a modular structure, participants who wish to arrive late or depart early cannot be accepted. The intense format of the programme does not allow for any additional commitments during the course.

Participants are expected to contribute actively during the course by sharing experiences and engaging in group activities. All selected participants are required to complete the obligatory e-learning modules prior to the residential course (The E-learning includes ESDC AKU2 the European Global Strategy and AKU6 CSDP Decision Shaping/Making and Introduction to SSR [ISSAT module] online. The introductory course on SSR can also be completed online on the website of DCAF/ISSAT- free access after registration on the website (
Introduction-to-Security-Sector-Reform). A separate e-learning message will be sent out to selected participants.

Priority is given to personnel from the EU Member States.

Application procedure

All the individuals interested in participating in the course should contact their National Designated Nominators. Applications are to be filled via the ESDC secure internet system ENLIST
(, by National designated nominators, not later than 10 MAY 2017. Registration will not be final until confirmed by the ESDC Secretariat and upon completion of the registration form by the nominated participant.

Applications from other than EU Member States should be sent to indicating:
- name of the course
- full name of the candidate
- personal e-mail address (functional mailboxes will not be accepted)
- institution
- reason how this course benefits applicant and CV

The national designated nominators should ensure that the applications should be submitted no later than 10 MAY 2017.


The cost of tuition, meals and accommodation are free of charge during the course dates and arranged by FINCENT. Participants are expected to cover their own travel and insurance expenses.

Accommodation and meals

Accommodation for the students is provided in Santahamina at the FINCENT Students’ Hotel.
The daily meals are served according to the course programme at the National Defence University’s dining hall in Santahamina.

Additional and General

Additional information regarding security, visas, the participant selection process and subsidies can be found in the OFFICIAL INVITATION, located in the "documents tab" on the left. 

General information concerning travel arrangements, accommodations, clothing, programme etc. will be included in the course confirmation sent to
the accepted students.


For further detailed information regarding the course, please contact

Phone +358 299 540 300 (Course Director)
+358 299 540 102 (Course Secretary)
Course Admin
P.O. BOX 7

Course Department
Phone: +358 299 540 300

05 June - 09 June 2017 (5 days)
Santahamina, Helsinki, Finland (60.149294, 25.048197)