This article examines the links between post-conflict states’ troop contributions to international peacekeeping missions and security sector reform (SSR). It shows how SSR and troop-contribution preparations are increasingly interwoven and at times perceived as complementary by both external and internal actors. Some of the objectives sought after in SSR, such as the modernization of the military forces and the institutionalization of international norms, overlap with the aim of external partners’ pre-deployment training programmes and formations.
Yet, it is argued that there are several unintended consequences with establishing links between SSR and peacekeeping capacity-building that are too strong, including the reinforcement of the troop-contributing government which, in case the government has authoritarian tendencies, undermines democratic reforms and transparency. There is also a risk that donors increasingly prefer to support pre-deployment training that has tangible and rapid results rather than investing funds in SSR, which is politically difficult with few examples of success. Donors and national actors alike are therefore encouraged to reflect on whether post-conflict states should contribute troops in the immediate aftermath of conflict before SSR has been completed. The answer is likely to vary depending on context-specific issues, which makes it difficult to generalize across cases, but the question remains nevertheless essential.
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