SSR Support to Understand to Prevent

10/08/2015 - 29/04/2016

Target country


Understand to Prevent (U2P) was one of ten lines of development in the Multinational Capability Development Campaign (which consists of mostly NATO and like-minded nations – see also the MCDC website). The U2P line of development sought to elaborate the role that militaries can adopt, in partnership with other governmental departments and civil society, in preventing violent conflict.

The first iteration of meetings (in the last two-year cycle) produced the capstone ‘doctrine’ embodied in the Understand to Prevent Foundation Studies book linked below. Subsequently, the meetings sought to operationalise the doctrine into a more tangible Handbook of tools and process. Most of the military representatives involved came from their national concepts and doctrine development centres, so there was plentiful scope for open and out-of-the box thinking.

In January 2016, the U2P Handbook is looked at interoperability with the NATO Comprehensive Operational Planning Directive (COPD), and with NATO CIMIC doctrine and processes.

Further opportunities to trial the Handbook are welcome.

For full access to the U2P Handbook Understand to Prevent: the military contribution to the prevention of violent conflict, updated in 2017, kindly follow the link. 

Mandate outputs / products

  • Backstop on the SSR thematic section of the Handbook, and the interface of SSR with the other themes;
  • Assist with outreach for opportunities for upstream high-value reinforcement:
  • a.       trialing at pre-deployment training;
  • b.      introduction to ISSATs military strategic advisors, especially from the global south
  • c.       advocacy at policy and thematic discussions such with Transparency International, Global Action Against Mass Atrocity Crimes, Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, etc;
  • Attend and backstop some of the workshops and trialing exercises (dependent on total mandate drawdown);
  • Provide input to the monitoring and evaluation of the initiative, to help maximise outcomes and impact;
  • ISSAT continued involvement in backstopping this initiative would ensure coordination and potential collaboration between our interested GB members, their respective ministries, and other interested major players, such as the USA and Australia.

Outcome objectives of mandate

To further a better understanding of SSR among the militaries of MCDC, and to improve the holistic aspects of SSR programmes, activities, and interventions run by donor militaries in host nations. To assist in forging a role for donor militaries in the prevention of violent conflict, through upstream capacity building of resilience, early warning mechanisms, and early preventative action.

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Specific Lessons Identified