The International Conference Building Security Capacity was held in Washington DC from 6-8 September 2011. Co-sponsored by the Australian Government’s Australian Civil-Military Centre (ACMC) and the US Center for Complex Operations (CCO), the two day conference highlighted issues, lessons learned and initiatives for strengthening security capacity in peace and stabilisation operations as well as in state building. Drawing on international academic, practitioner and policy expertise, the conference sought to enhance understanding of the role of security forces in these eﬀorts and to explore lessons from state and society transformation, drawing on activities such as institutional and police capacity building and disarmament, demobilisation, reintegration and rehabilitation (DDRR).
Conference participants were in general agreement on the need for robust civil-military approaches to peace and stabilisation operations. At the same time, a clear message from the majority of presentations is that ‘no one size ﬁts all’. Whether speaking of police strengthening, institutional capacity building or counter insurgency operations, strategies and approaches must be tailored to ﬁt context and be situationally speciﬁc and appropriate. Further, there must be a balance between military and civilian eﬀorts in building security capacity. In this, experience has demonstrated that the absence of a robust military intervention to create security can lead to protracted conﬂict and loss of any political, economic or social gains made and further, that it is civilian eﬀort that makes peace durable. Without political and economic development, security and peace dividends can quickly be reversed and result in a return to conﬂict