Tool 1 : Political Leadership and National Ownership of Security Sector Reform Processes

Tool 1 of the Toolkit for Security Sector Reform and Governance in West Africa by DCAF addresses political will and national ownership, fundamental requirements of SSR processes.

Without the strong political commitment of national authorities, SSR will fail, regardless of the material resources and technical expertise invested into it. SSR must be home-grown, designed to meet country-specific needs, and led by national stakeholders who take full responsibility for it. For SSR to produce sustainable results, it is also essential to ensure the active involvement of a critical mass of citizens - men and women - from all strata of society in the definition and implementation of a reform agenda that reflects a shared vision of security. Unless it relies on an inclusively defined and widely shared vision of security, SSR cannot succeed.

Acknowledging the challenges that may arise in the process of operationalising these principles, Tool 1 offers practical guidance on how to reinforce national ownership and leadership while defining an inclusive, national vision of security as a basis for a security sector reform. It provides an overview of potential entry points for SSR in the broader framework of national governance in a West African setting. It also suggests how to institutionalise the national leadership and coordination of an SSR process, including through strategic communication.

The Tool is primarily intended for policy and other strategic decision makers, government officials involved in security sector governance, national SSR advisers and practitioners. It will also provide members of parliament, other oversight institutions, civil society organisations and development partners with an overview of the responsibilities of the executive in SSR and how to uphold national ownership throughout the process.

For more information on the tool Political Leadership and National Ownership of Security Sector Reform Processes, kindly follow the link to the DCAF website.

Follow the links to access the other documents in the Toolkit for Security Sector Reform and Governance in West Africa: 

Tool 2: Security Sector Reform Programming

Tool 4: Effective Management of External Support to Security Sector Reform

Tool 6: Civil Society Involvement in Security Sector Reform and Governance

The publication is also available in français and português.



Security Sector Transformation in North Africa and the Middle East - Part 1

On May 10, 2012, the USIP Center of Innovation for Security Sector Governance held its third annual conference. For the second year running, the conference focused on the pressing question of security sector reform in North Africa and the Middle East.

Part I:

9:00 a.m. - 9:15 a.m.  Welcome and Opening Remarks

9:15 a.m. - 10:45 a.m.  Panel of Representatives from the Region

  • Magda Boutros, Director, Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, Egypt
  • Najla Elmangoush, former member of the National Transitional Council's Public Engagement Unit, Libya
  • Rana Jarhum, Human Rights Activist, Yemen
  • Dr. Murhaf Jouejati, Chairman of the National Consensus Movement and Member of the Syrian National Council, Syria
  • Dr. Radwan Masmoudi, President of the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy, Tunisia
  • Hesham Sallam, Researcher, Egypt

Security Sector Transformation in North Africa and the Middle East - Part 2

On May 10, 2012, the USIP Center of Innovation for Security Sector Governance held its third annual conference. For the second year running, the conference focused on the pressing question of security sector reform in North Africa and the Middle East. 

Part II:

10:45 a.m. - 11:50 a.m.  Panel of Former U.S. Ambassadors to the Region

  • Ambassador Barbara Bodine, Former U.S. Ambassador to Yemen (1997-2001)
  • Ambassador Rust Deming, Former U.S. Ambassador to Tunisia (2000-2003)
  • Ambassador Deborah Jones, Former U.S. Ambassador to Kuwait (2008-2011)
  • Ambassador Thomas Riley, Former U.S. Ambassador to Morocco (2003-2009)

11:50 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.  Closing Remarks


Linking change-makers in the Middle East with democratic reformers of post-communist Europe

Representatives of PASOS and the Belgrade Centre for Security Policy (BCSP) held a four-day training seminar in Egypt May 10-13 for Egyptian NGOs. The sessions were part of a program to link reformers in Central and Eastern Europe with Middle East organizations working on democratic reform. The training focused on security-sector reform and capacity-building for think tanks. The training was led by Sonja Stojanović, Filip Ejdus, and Marija Marović of BCSP. They drew on Serbia's transformation experience, encouraged the 15 participants to debate the issues facing post-revolutionary Egypt, and led interactive workshops. The seminar was part of the PASOS project "Linking change-makers in the Middle East & North Africa with democratic reformers of post-communist (Central and Eastern) Europe."


Policy and Research Papers

Security Sector Transformation in the Arab Awakening

  • The Arab Awakening opened the door to democratic political change in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Security sector reform (SSR) is an integral component of the nascent democratic process in the region. While SSR is a long-term process, it should be a key part of institution building in the new democracies. Democracy requires security institutions that  are open, professional, and responsive to public needs.
  • The transitions to democracy are varied in nature and scope. SSR will differ by country and must be tailored to the political realities and specific circumstances of each state. The international community can foster successful SSR processes by calibrating its assistance according to the reform efforts in each country. A general or “one-size-fits-all” approach to SSR will not be successful.
  • A sense of political powerlessness, an unresponsive bureaucracy, a general lack of opportunity, economic stagnation (including high unemployment), and repressive security forces all contributed to the Arab Awakening. As a result of the upheaval, democratic forces in several of the MENA countries are pushing for transparency and accountability in the security services.
  • SSR must be undertaken in a holistic manner, couched within the framework of overall democratic reform and linked to other broad policies such as justice sector reform, evolution of the political process, and economic development. SSR will only be achieved if it is integrated and pursued in unison with these larger processes of democratic change. 
  • The international community, especially the United States and the European Union, need to foster democratic developments and, in particular, to support and coordinate SSR.

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Statebuilding and Police Reform

This book explores how and why police reform became an international phenomenon in the era of statebuilding that followed the end of the Cold War. Police reform has become an indispensible element in the spread of liberal democracy. Policing is distinguished by its ability to combine reasonable and forcible methods to preserve and spread liberal values. The book examines the reason police reform was introduced as a method of building consensus in Latin America and the Balkans and documents the development of its use in Africa, the Middle East and the Caucasus region. It illustrates how police power binds the liberal value of freedom to the security needs of post-conflict regions and discusses its force as a strategy to bring law and order to a global security domain. Drawing on a multi-disciplinary approach to the subject, the book delves deeply into policing as a method to bring coherence to global security. It traces the presence of coherent police strategies in contemporary international relations through studies of the United Nations, the European Union and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. By contrasting police reform with security sector reform, the book explores how liberal peace is imagined by the international NGO sector, state aid agencies and international organizations. This book will be of much interest to students of statebuilding, post-conflict reconstruction, critical security studies, development studies and IR in general.


Reform And Reconstruction of the Security Sector

Security sector reform (SSR) is widely recognized as key to conflict prevention, peace-building, sustainable development, and democratization. SSR has gained most practical relevance in the context of post-conflict reconstruction of so-called "failed states'" and states emerging from violent internal or inter-state conflict. As this volume shows, almost all states need to reform their security sectors to a greater or lesser extent, according to the specific security, political and socio-economic contexts, as well as in response to the new security challenges resulting from globalization and post-9/11 developments. Alan Bryden is a researcher at the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces. Heiner Hnggi is assistant director of the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces.


The European Union and Security Sector Reform

The EU has emerged as a key worldwide player in security sector reform in the last few years, reflecting its twin role as the world’s largest source of development assistance and, ever increasingly, a major partner in international peacekeeping and police operations. In this comprehensive new study (February 2008), published in association with the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF), the authors: 
• explain the origins of SSR as a concept and the EU’s embrace of it, culminating in the adoption of an overall EU framework for SSR in 2006 • show how SSR relates to the EU’s development, enlargement, justice and home affairs and other key policy concerns • look at the multiplicity of resources, financial and human, the EU brings to bear to support SSR around the globe • discuss the tensions between the Commission’s and Council’s concepts and engagement in SSR and the efforts being made to coordinate action • show how the EU works in partnership with other international players such as the OECD and NATO • provide a series of detailed case studies of EU support for SSR in action – in the Balkans, former Soviet Union, Congo, the Middle East and North Africa and Indonesia 


Understanding Military Justice

The bilingual toolkit contains a number of booklets in English and Arabic that provide norms and standards, guidebooks as well as practical examples of model laws in various areas of security sector legislation.
The following series have been published or are being processed:

• Police legislation
• Intelligence legislation
• Military Justice legislation
• Status of Forces Agreements

Additional series will be added as the needs arise. The existing series can easily be expanded through the addition of new booklets, based on demandfrom the Arab region. The toolkit seeks to assist lawmakers in the Arab region in responding to citizens’ expectations. Arab citizens demand professional service from police and security forces, which should be effective, efficient and responsive to their needs. They want police and security organisations and their members to abide by the law and human right norms and to be accountable for their performance and conduct. The toolkit thus promotes international standards in security sector legislation, such as democratic oversight, good governance and transparency. 

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