Shifting norms: development policy and the role of security sector reform in advancing human security.

Author:Riley, John
Position:P. 171-199

Internalization of SSR

In 2000, the UK began integrating SSR into its International Development Strategies, (87) followed an interdepartmental strategy for the FCO, MoD, and DFID. (88) Critically important was the initial MoD funding that allowed the organizations to stand up the Conflict Prevention Pool, (89) which then became the financial source for "two institutions that have come to play a leading role in British SSR activities: the Defence Advisory Team (DAT) (90) and the Global Facilitation Network for Security Sector Reform (GFN-SSR)." (91) Similarly, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs tasked the Clingendael Institute, a Dutch non-profit, for help in drafting a SSR policy framework for its development tasks. (92)

As far as the international promotion of SSR was concerned, Short's 1999 speech outlined a plan to increase support for the concept, stating that "[we] want increasingly to integrate a security sector reform perspective into our country programmes and into the thinking of other donors and multilateral development institutions, such as the European Union and the international financial institutions." (93) The results can be seen across a number of institutions. When the UK held the presidency of the EU in the second half of 2005, the concept for European Security and Defense Policy Support to SSR was launched and then adopted under the Austrian, and implemented under the Finnish presidency. (94) Previously, the UK-held EU presidency "co-organized, in conjunction with the EC and the nongovernmental organizations Saferworld and International Alert, a seminar on 'Developing a SSR Concept/Strategy for the EU' in November 2005." (93)

DFID officials pushed SSR onto a wider international agenda, particularly through the use of the OECD as a platform for the promotion of SSR. Key players, such as Marc White, Marc Downs, and Graham Thompson, did not only perceive a need for SSR in order to achieve meaningful results in international development, but also saw a chance to launch their careers by promoting the concept internationally. (96) 2003-2004 proved to be critical years as the OECD developed the Guidelines for SSR.

The emergence of SSR at the OECD did more than change the organization's approach to development; it also challenged its long-standing policies. Most notably, the guidelines for which activities and programs could be counted as Official Development Assistance (ODA) were greatly expanded. As Law and Myshlovkska note, "until 2004, the main categories of development assistance were education, health and population, production, debt relief, other social infrastructure, emergency aid, economic infrastructure, and programme assistance." (97) Funding for these programs amounted to almost half of the OECD's spending. The decision to adopt the SSR model led the OECD to begin funding a wide range of conflict prevention issues that had previously been seen outside of the development community's portfolio. These included: management of security expenditures, enhancing civil society's role in the security system, issues related to child soldiers, and controlling as well as preventing the proliferation of small arms and light weapons. (98)

In this context, the impact of SSR on policy preferences of the OECD becomes apparent. While ODA was mainly aimed at poverty alleviation and other socio-economic themes prior to 2004, the security sector was brought into the constructs of development policy. Beyond budgetary priorities, the shift in the OECD's approach to development required a more fundamental institutional change. As Downes and Thompson observed:

[I]n many cases [SSR] will require a culture change within security institutions, as the state's understanding of security evolves from one with an emphasis on regime security to one which espouses principles of human security. SSR is an inherently political process, dealing as it does with issues of power and control. It requires, however, significant technical input that encompasses a wide variety of expertise that include security and justice capacity, issues of management, and experience in development for procedures for accountability and oversight. (99) Ultimately, SSR posed a challenge for recipient countries and the OECD itself. SSR required a new understanding what development cooperation entailed, and for the OECD this translated into relying on a wide range of experts who transformed the institution's goals, approach, and operations.

The European Union was also receptive to the SSR approach and included it as one of its external policy tools in the first European Security Strategy. (100) However, the lack of an overarching framework ultimately limited the EU's support for SSR activities, (101) and it was not until 2007 that the EU launched its first SSR program in the Democratic Republic of Congo. (102) Here, the influence of the OECD's embrace of SSR can be seen clearly. The EU has not formulated an explicit SSR strategic framework; however, "both the Commission and the Council have in 2005 and 2006, respectively, engaged with a SSR policy framework that have codified EU practice [in SSR]" (103) by "drawing heavily on the Guidelines developed by the OECD." (104) The OECD definition of SSR was adopted verbatim by the EU.

As compared to the rest of the OECD, the US was relatively late in adopting SSR and it did so in an ad hoc and inchoate fashion. In part, the resistance to adopt an SSR approach can be attributed to the US foreign policy setup. (105) The US Agency for International Development (USAID), the strongest potential proponent of a holistic development model in the US, was strictly barred from exercising any military-related activities in host countries. (106) Some within the US State Department were also weary that securitization of development issues could lead to even greater Department of Defense (DOD) encroachment on traditional State Department turf. (107) DOD had implemented some SSR programs in an ad hoc fashion, but the department continued to follow the train and equip model throughout the early 2000s. (108)

A tipping point came in November 2005, when the US participated in a UK workshop on SSR. The meeting ultimately led to the creation of the first US interagency working group on SSR that was co-chaired by the Department of State, USAID, and DOD, and the group proactively worked to push the US government adopt an SSR approach. (109) Additionally, the US-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan provided momentum. As it became clear that the traditional train and equip approach was not going to create stable regimes in either state, the DOD became increasingly receptive to new strategies. (110) As one observer emphasized, the US was persuaded to go along with SSR, while the approach also offered a sound technical solution to the problems of post-conflict reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan. (111) Finally, British partnership in both war coalitions and their endorsement of the SSR approach provided valuable support for SSR advocates in Washington.

In an effort to produce a common interagency statement on SSR, the working group used the OECD-DACs Guidelines and Handbook on Security Sector Reform and "attempted to translate these international standards into a US context." (112) This tri-departmental paper or "3D Statement" provided the "common vocabulary" and analytical framework that would reconfigure Washington's foreign policy institutions to support a holistic approach to development. Ultimately, SSR became part of US formal doctrine as stated in the Army Field Manual 3-07: Stability Operations (113) and the US National Security Strategy. (114)

The path of SSR to the United Nations was also uneven. The UN has been the principal international organization concerned with issues of peace and conflict for decades, but compared to the OECD and EU, the UN took up SSR relatively late. There were three main reasons for the delay. First, southern countries were critical of the entire enterprise, and many viewed SSR as yet another neo-colonial effort to impose western culture and standards. (115) There was also some division among donor states. The US and UK led the effort to put SSR on the UN agenda, but the other European states, such as Norway, questioned what the added value of the UN would be. (116) Finally, the UN bureaucracy would prove critical.

When SSR finally reached the UN in 2006, the organization found itself at cross purposes. Since its inception, the UN had been an important guardian of state sovereignty and protector of the state's right of non-interference in domestic affairs. This role, however, often ran counter to their support for universal human rights, human-centric security and the concept of Responsibility to Protect. Predictably, the bureaucratic divisions fell in line with the UN Development Program (UNDP) advocating for SSR and UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (UNDPKO) opposed to it. (117)

UNDP missions often require a long-term presence in a country, and UNDP historically worked on...

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