Security Sector Reform

Security Sector Reform is about ensuring a state’s institutions serve and protect its own population, including political and technical responses to address security architecture as a whole

‘Reforming the security sector in post-conflict environments is critical to the consolidation of peace and stability, promoting poverty reduction, rule of law and good governance, extending legitimate State authority and preventing countries from relapsing into conflict.’

United Nations Security Council Resolution 2151 (UNSCR 2151)

On 28 April 2014, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted its first standalone resolution on Security Sector Reform (SSR). UNSCR 2151 is the culmination of international efforts, experiences and lessons learned over the past decade. SSR has evolved from what was a narrow activity to build local defence capacity so that UN peacekeepers could withdraw, to now constitute a core component of conflict prevention, stabilisation, and development efforts in support of fragile and conflict-affected states.

SSR is about ensuring a state’s institutions serve and protect its own population, including political and technical responses to address security architecture as a whole—bringing together civilian, military and police actors, and ensuring international experts work closely with affected states.

Australia’s expertise and understanding of SSR has evolved over recent contingencies. In Timor-Leste and the Solomon Islands, civilian, military and police agencies worked in partnership with the host country and with international and non-government actors to address security sector challenges. SSR provides a foundation for long-term security and development.

There have been significant developments in mainstreaming SSR in UNSCR mandates for intervention, and in programs supporting fragile and conflict-affected states. Nevertheless, the implementation of effective SSR programs continues to present challenges.

There is as yet no single agreed definition for SSR. Greater investment is required to coordinate civilian, military and police actors across programs such as governance and institution building, law and justice sector development, and capacity building of security services (including police). Similarly, more effective accountability, monitoring and evaluation is needed.

The ACMC’s SSR program is focused on supporting the development of Australia’s civil, military and police capabilities to respond to security sector challenges overseas. The first tranche of the program will be completed in 2014 with the publication of three foundation papers:

Subsequent to the foundation papers is Security Sector Reform Trends: Conflict-Affected States and International Responses. Do download this paper, please click here.