DCAFProgrammes › Defence Reform

Defence Reform

Effective and efficient state defence institutions under civilian and democratic control are fundamental to international peace and stability, and essential for international security cooperation. Many states are just beginning this long and difficult process, often with scarce resources and limited experience. Through its Defence reform programme DCAF assists partner states and international / regional organizations in carrying out and supporting these reforms. DCAF’s Defence Reform programme focuses primarily on the issues of transparency and accountability as well as integrity building and reducing corruption in the defence sector.


  • Fostering transparency and accountability in the defence sector, including aspects such as financial planning, resource allocation and management, military procurement and spending, compliance with international norms and practices in the defence sector such as export controls.
  • Optimising the management of defence establishments, building integrity and reducing corruption risks.
  • (Re-)developing legislative and institutional frameworks for effective civilian and democratic oversight of the defence sector.
  • Promoting civilian participation in defence and security policy formulation.

Types of work

  • Assessing security risks and national defence requirements, matched with developing and maintaining affordable, effective and efficient defence capabilities
  • Training and capacity-building, including the development of training curricula and training courses for defence sector personnel and civil society organizations working in the security sphere
  • Policy advice and guidance, as well as technical assistance on request to defence institutions and management structures (such as Defence Ministries).
  • Development of tools and knowledge products (handbooks, manuals) to facilitate the transfer of norms and good practices.

Who do we work with?

  • Defence institutions
  • Democratic institutions responsible for defence oversight, including parliaments and their defence and security committees
  • Civil society organizations
  • International / regional organisations


Since 2001
DCAF is involved in establishing transparency and accountability mechanisms across the security sector, with a special focus on Southeast Europe and the former Soviet Union.

the Partnership Action Plan for Defence Institution Building (PAP-DIB) is launched at NATO’s Istanbul Summit, and endorsed by the Heads of State and Government of 49 NATO and Partner countries.

DCAF begins supporting NATO in the implementation of the PAP-DIB.

DCAF and the NATO Directorate for Policy and Planning begin cooperation on Democratic Security Sector Governance programming in Ukraine.

DCAF presents PAP-DIB status reports on the countries of the South Caucasus, Central Asia and Moldova to NATO’s Political-Military Steering Committee.

DCAF supports NATO’s Building Integrity Initiative and develops Compendium of Best Practices on Building Integrity and Reducing Corruption in Defence (published 2010). DCAF also publishes Defence Management: An Introduction to introduce key best practices to new defence professionals in transition democracies.

DCAF publishes Essentials of Defence Institution Building as well as Defence Institution Building Self-Assessment Toolkit which pursue the PAP-DIB initiative.

Current and Recent Projects

Key Publications

Civilianisation of the Defence Ministry: A Functional Approach to a Modern Defence Institution (2011)
This paper seeks to contribute to an informed and constructive discussion on how the civilianisation of the defence ministry could be conceptualized and managed within the framework of an overall defence transformation.

Building Integrity and Reducing Corruption in Defence (2010)
This compendium, the product of cooperation between Transparency International UK, NATO and DCAF, focuses on concepts and tools for defence personnel, civilians in the defence sphere, and democratic institutions and is aimed at reducing risks of corruption in the defence sector.

Defence Institution Building Self-Assessment Kit (2010)
The Defence Institution Building Self-Assessment Kit is a diagnostic tool developed for states building their defence institutions.

Essentials of Defence Institution Building (2010)
Provides a concise overview of the core issues and tools at the heart of the PAP-DIB programme.

Governing the Bomb: Civilian Control and Democratic Accountability of Nuclear Weapons (2010)
A major publication that illuminates the structures and processes of nuclear weapons governance of eight nuclear-armed states: the USA, Russia, the UK, France and China as well as Israel, India and Pakistan.

Defence Management: An Introduction (2009)
This first volume in the Security and Defence Management Series focuses on practical aspects of democratic defence management through the eyes of practitioners.

Essentials of Defence Institution Building (2009)
Building on the PAP-DIB Sourcebook published in 2006, this book provides a focused view of the ten PAP-DIB objectives in response to public interest in the topic in PfP nations.

Defence Institution Building (2005)
Papers presented at the Conference on 2005 Partnership Action Plan on Defence Institutions Building (PAP-DIB) Regional Conference for the Caucasus and Republic of Moldova, held in Tbilisi, 25 April 2005.