Security Sector Reform Term Paper

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Security Sector Reform

Overview of the relevant arguments regarding Security Sector reform

The objective of security sector reform has to take care of the threats to the security of the state and the safety of its citizens. These arise often from the situation within the state and military responses may not be suitable. This leads on to an analysis of the government. The second article talks in a wider, more theoretical and less action oriented tone. It says that "existing constitutional frameworks have been used to maintain status quo than promote change." This much is certainly true and it is true not only of the countries with a security problem, but also of even United States wherein recently a justice of the Supreme Court was appointed, though she had no experience of being a judge, but she was a friend of the Chief Executive of the country. There are and will always be haves and have-nots in every country, whether Soviet Russia exists or not. Anyway from this there is a carry over to weak rule of law, inadequate accountability, and external donors pressing reforms on weak governments without thinking of the results of the proposed change.


In the article from DFID the clear assumption is that all analysis of security situations has to be based on the situation within the concerned country. For this purpose, it is advised that there should be a clear distinction between the responsibilities of the military and the police. One of the solutions suggested is that the government may be encouraged to "put greater emphasis on political, diplomatic, social and economic instruments to address security problems." (Understanding and supporting security sector reform) The question is that the situation in the country, though historical has been set up by the present government and generally due to feelings of independence, they would not like to change it.

The duty of the government is specified in the article from DFID to be "to manage national security accountability and to resolve differences before they develop into violent conflicts." (Understanding and supporting security sector reform) While this is no doubt true, all governments think that they are powerful enough to overcome all opposition and this is even truer in cases where there is no control on the government through a democratic opposition. The questions to which the answers are sought are however different and concentrate on the ability of the government to maintain security in a lawful and accountable manner; freedom of the country from paramilitary units, private armies, guerrilla forces and warlords; information, organization and resources with the government for implementing its defense and security policy; capability of the government in dealing with transnational and other organized crime; civil control over armed forces and security services; freedom of judiciary; confidence in the capacity of people in the state to maintain security; and action being taken to remedy problems that can be seen. (Understanding and supporting security sector reform)

All these questions are fine in theory, but positive answers to all these questions cannot be expected from any state at all times. In matters pertaining to control of organized crimes, let us remember that the mafia had prevailed in the U.S. with vigor and still the nation had set up and maintained a legal framework. There is however no practical civil control which could be exercised over the armed forces in any country in any part of the world and whenever a situation arises wherein police take action against the crime, there are several people who are of the opinion that the act taken is unjustified. Equality of all individuals is a dream and it might never be implemented as this is because all the countries of the world have division of society based on "haves" and "have-nots." What can be done at best is by the government since it is the responsibility of every government to promote harmony among the people so that armed action may not be initiated by any section of the society. All armed activities are not considered to be unjust or unfair as several of these activities have been undertaken for the purpose of bringing about freedom, or preventing the country to be divided on ethnic or religious grounds. At times armed activities have been undertaken in order to transfer the problems of one continent towards another land where the people are too impoverished and are too powerless to protest, as was witnessed in the case of Israel. Could any one say that managing conflicts tend to mean that the legitimate demands of the people need to be suppressed?

Talking of "weak rule of law, inadequate accountability, and external donors pressing reforms on weak governments" is an easy way of avoiding responsibility. (Enhancing Security Sector Governance: A Conceptual Framework for UNDP) These are certainly considered to be true and have been true right from the time when kingdoms and nations started to prevail and external kings had come and dominated a country. Change or variations is not bad in itself and change has never stopped forever and will also never stop. It comes in several different forms. After the Second World War, England and Germany were removed of their power as the rulers of the world and the then Soviet Union and America began to dominate the world. Then differences within the Soviet Union divided the nation according to the wishes of the people. The process of disintegration has however still not ended and there are still continuous fights going on in certain areas of the country.

Here there was no "weak rule of law, inadequate accountability or external donors." (Enhancing Security Sector Governance: A Conceptual Framework for UNDP) Ultimately it was the wish of the people which prevail and that cannot be stopped by any force. It is because all forms of security governance are made by the people. Remember what Abraham Lincoln had to say "for the people, by the people and of the people." Anything or anyone violating those principles will not last forever. Based on this understanding, Lincoln was successful in freeing the Black Americans within the U.S., though whether they were considered to be really free or not, or they are still free or not today need to be judged. The question remains as to that if the process was complete then, why should there be a Martin Luther King later on?

At the same time, the principles which are mentioned are considered to be true for all the governments in order to have an ideal form of security for the country. These are objectives or goals that every society would like to attain, but they are often not reached. This is because achievement does not usually depend on the desires or wishes of the government, or they are not even the total amount of mix of the people within a nation. This can be witnessed as is the case of Yugoslavia which was a nation for several years and had to ultimately get divided due to internal conflicts which killed many people. Some countries within the OECD are however near to these objectives, and that is the judgment of the authors of the document on "Enhancing Security Sector Governance: A Conceptual Framework for UNDP." But even they do not say that they have attained that level. Now it is being realized that the principles, policies, laws and structures which guide and promote the governance of the security sector have to be based in the reforming country's history, culture, legal framework and of the prevailing institutions. Countries can also borrow ideas with regard to security sector governance from one another and have also successfully done so. The adopted solutions have to be developed in local terms and also have to be appropriate to the context in which they are being implemented. (Enhancing Security Sector Governance: A Conceptual Framework for UNDP)

Now let us look at certain areas in the world which require solutions to security problems and one of them is South East Europe. The problems in this area consists first of historical legacies like ethnic divisions, inheritances of totalitarian and authoritarian governments. These inheritances do not stop development, but cause a lot of difficulties in implementing reforms, stop the fulfillment and often end up moving the reforms away from development of democratic processes. Some results of this are seen in the existence of weak governance and fragile civil society and also stop the reform of security situations. (Security Sector Reform in South East Europe)

The second problem of this area is politicization and security reforms are taking place in countries where there is high politicization, but, at the same time, one does not know what will be the result of these reforms as there are reformists on one side and nationalists on the other side. This again shows that there are political reasons behind social security reforms. In spite of all the efforts, these countries are still not able to provide security for the general public. This…

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