DCAFProject › Security Sector Reform and Development

Security Sector Reform and Development

Since the introduction of the SSR concept in the late 1990s, an abundance of claims have been made in academic publications and policy statements about SSR’s importance for achieving development goals. These claims centred on the argument that improving the delivery of security services through reforms geared to enhance the effectiveness, management and governance of the security sector would contribute to providing a positive environment for development to occur. This core objective of SSR is the main focus of the 2011 DCAF Yearly Book and, as the analysis within this book shows, remains at the heart of SSR’s purpose and goals. Nonetheless, two obstacles in particular stand in the way of achieving this promise: a lack of evidence that SSR is designed in tandem with development objectives and produces a recognizable development dividend; and the absence of mutual learning, sharing of experience and planning between development and SSR communities.

The project aims at providing practitioners and academics within the larger development and security communities with lessons, suggestions and practical advice for approaching SSR as an instrument that serves both security and development objectives. It contributes to on-going discussions about the theoretical and practical relevance of SSR as an expression of the security-development nexus and discusses ways in which SSR can foster a positive interrelationship between security and development communities, supporting contributions to sustainable human and economic development.

While completed research activities pointed to considerable difficulties in identifying and applying an appropriate set of indicators to measure a correlation between SSR activities and objectives and development objectives and outcomes, the project now focusses on analysing and designing means to measure SSR-development links and interactions. How does one provide evidence of the nature of such linkages to SSR and development researchers, designers and practitioners to allow them to synchronize SSR programmes with development objectives and vice versa? Moreover, what does on-the-ground experience tell us about the costs of not tying SSR to development outcomes as well as the benefits of making SSR development-sensitive? Do past SSR programmes help us in answering these questions? The current phase of the project aims to create both a framework and an instrument for meeting the theoretical as well as practical needs for more clarity on the the benefits of integrally linking SSR programmes to development objectives.

Researchers: Albrecht Schnabel and Marc Krupanski, DCAF