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Call for Papers: SSR Paper on Security Sector Governance/Reform and Digitalization

DCAF – Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance is dedicated to improving the security of states and their people within a framework of democratic governance, the rule of law, and respect for human rights. DCAF contributes to making peace and development more sustainable by assisting partner states and international actors supporting these states, to improve the governance of their security sector through inclusive and participatory reforms. It creates innovative knowledge products, promotes norms and good practices, provides legal and policy advice, and supports capacity‐building of both state and non‐state security sector stakeholders.

DCAF's Foundation Council comprises 63 member states, the Canton of Geneva and six permanent observers. Active in over 70 countries, DCAF is internationally recognized as one of the world's leading centres of excellence for security sector governance (SSG) and security sector reform (SSR). DCAF is guided by the operational principles of neutrality, impartiality, local ownership, inclusive participation, and gender equality. DCAF embraces and promotes values of accountability, excellence, inclusivity, integrity and respect. For more information, please visit

The Policy & Research Division (PRDiv) produces empirically grounded and policy-oriented comparative research on global thematic topics relating to security sector governance. PRDiv is also responsible for working with multilateral organisations, such as the UN and OSCE, to improve and harmonize their security sector governance programming, particularly in the context of the UN’s Sustaining Peace Agenda and Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development. Finally, PRDiv conducts research on global approaches to monitoring and evaluating projects related to security sector governance.

Background & Rationale
Currently, little work has been done to link SSG/R with the digitalization of all aspects of public and private life despite there being considerable overlap between the two realms. In this context, DCAF’s Policy and Research Division seeks to commit a policy research-oriented study which focuses on mapping out SSG/R`s linkages with digitalization, in particular with the challenges and opportunities that digitalization poses to peace and security, justice provision and security oversight, as well as resilient democratic institutions. The study would lead to recommendations for policy makers on formulating new policies or amending existing policies to address the challenges of digitalization as well as guiding questions for future research. 

Digitalization is the way many domains of social life are restructured around digital communication and media infrastructures. It refers to the adoption or increase in use of digital or computer technology (by an organisation, an industry, or a country) and therefore broadly describes the way digitalization is affecting economy and society and by extension the way the security sector is governed. Digital space refers not only to the networks and devices used to share information with each other, but also the relevant actors, various processes, and interactions. Like other spaces such as land, sea, or air spaces, digital space (similar to outer space) is viewed as a new dimension which extends beyond national borders. 

The security sector is composed of all the structures, institutions and personnel responsible for security provision, management and oversight at national and local levels. The security sector includes both actors that use force and those responsible for controlling how force is used through management and oversight, including both: security providers, such as the armed forces, police, border guards, intelligence services, penal and corrections institutions and commercial and non-state security actors, among many others; and security management and oversight bodies, such as government ministries, parliament, special statutory oversight institutions, parts of the justice sector and civil society actors with a stake in high standards of public security provision, including women’s organizations and the media, among others.

Good SSG describes how the principles of good governance apply to security provision, management, and oversight by state and nonstate actors. The principles of good governance are accountability, transparency, rule of law, participation, responsiveness, effectiveness, and efficiency. Good SSG means that the security sector provides state and human security, effectively and accountably, within a framework of democratic civilian control, rule of law and respect for human rights. Good SSG is a specific type of security governance based on a normative standard for how the state security sector should work in a democracy.  

The committed study is expected to analyse existing and potential impacts as well as challenges and opportunities that digitalization poses to SSG/R, the extent to which key security actors and its overseers have adapted to the massive inroads that digitalization has made in their domains of activity, and how the good governance of the security sector can be a solution to the rapidly expanding digital space to strengthen the positive effects of digitalization on individuals, states and society and to minimize all insecurities generated by digitalization processes. 

This publication will be part of a broader project that will also produce a policy-oriented research report based on collaboration with experts in the field by using the Delphi method, as well as a SSR Backgrounder on this topic. The publication can have a global focus and/or can be bound to specific regional or national contexts. DCAF’s objective as part of this project is to highlight the importance of digitalization for SSG/R as well as the need for the security sector to adapt its frameworks of security provision, management and oversight to the new challenges and opportunities raised by digitalization processes.

Publication type
The paper will be published as part of DCAF’s SSR Papers series. SSR Papers are a flagship DCAF publication series intended to contribute innovative thinking on important themes and approaches relating to SSR in the broader context of SSG. Papers provide original and provocative analysis on topics that are directly linked to (emerging global security) challenges of a governance-driven security sector reform agenda. SSR Papers are intended for researchers, policymakers and practitioners involved in this field. SSR Papers are approximately 30,000 words in length. They are published independently by the Ubiquity Press and are subjected to a double-blind peer review process.

Submission procedure
PRDiv invites you to submit your application to by 15 September 2021 with the subject heading “SSR Paper on SSG/R - Digitalization”, enclosing:
•    A 500-word abstract
•    An annotated table of contents 
•    A copy of your CV, including a list of publications and indicating your research expertise

We welcome submissions from established but also younger promising researchers.

Starting date: Upon mutual agreement
Duration:Upon mutual agreement (Expected date of author`s initial draft submission is in the end of 2021)

The SSR Paper will be compensated with a 6,000 CHF honorarium.

Only candidates whose submission has been short-listed will be contacted.

DCAF is committed to equality of opportunity and encourages submissions from all qualified individuals regardless of sex, age, disability, gender identity, religion, or ethnicity.