View Full Version : Security Sector Reform SSR & FID (Catch All)

Rob Thornton
01-16-2008, 08:50 PM
Headed to an Inter-Agency conf at the end of the month in Gettysburg on Security Sector Reform and the Rule of Law - wondering if our well traveled and well read members have a "top 3" docs/readings they could recommend?

Thanks, Rob

01-16-2008, 11:11 PM
Rob - The US Institute of Peace (http://www.usip.org/) has done - and is doing - a lot of work in that regard. I recommend you just run a keyword search on their site and read everything that comes up. In any case, I'm sure you'll run into people affiliated with them at the conference.


Rex Brynen
01-16-2008, 11:47 PM
On SSR, you'll also find a useful database of documents here (http://www.ssronline.org/document_search.cfm). I realize that hardly helps with the search for the "top three" (although you'll never go wrong looking for stuff by Nicole Ball).

Rob Thornton
01-17-2008, 02:18 AM
Ted, Rex and Jeff, many thanks for the info - its a start in the right direction - one of the things I want to do is get a good flavor of how the other agencies, NGOs, IOs and think tanks are thinking about it.
Best, Rob

01-22-2008, 08:13 AM
Hi Rob,

A USAID paper entitled "Promoting SSR in Fragile States" outlines what USAID brings to the table and thoughts on how to best coordinate among interagency and other partners. USAID brought in Nicole Ball to do this study in 05. From my understanding, most of the stances stand today. Julie Werbel is USAID SSR point. Let me know if you would like me to put you in touch with her.

Best, Bronwen


01-22-2008, 09:06 PM
SSR and the Rule of Law pops up in the UK too. IISS has recently published an Adelphi Paper on the issues in Afghanistan (they have a DC office). It refers to the experience of Paddy Ashdown, the former "viceroy", sorry SRSG in Bosnia and I know he has published a book recently. He is on the short list for the SRSG role in Afghanistan.

Might be worth checking a few UK websites and the UK Defence Academy is a place to start.

Now dated the UK experience in Northern Ireland, at the start of 'The Troubles', in the early 1970's, led to some writing on the issues and much learning. A UK Army colonel wrote a book on the issues, alas details lost.

SSR & RoL was an issue in the regime change in SW Africa / Namibia and South Africa. There are many books on the later.

Will PM with a DC contact.


01-23-2008, 03:14 PM

The International Development Department here at the U of Bham has a contracted (from DFID, I believe) project, Global Facilitation Network for Security Sector Reform.

The web address, if you are interested, is: http://www.ssrnetwork.net/


Rob Thornton
01-23-2008, 06:54 PM
Terry, many thanks - how is the research coming? Rob

01-24-2008, 05:31 PM
Research on the USMC is going fine (well, they have not sent MEU (SOC) platoon to the UK to kick down my door yet, at any rate :eek: ), while my work on the Army and 'Transformation' is suffering a bit from a lack of being able to identify people to interview (heck, it is hard to even find out where the stuff I am interested in is even located - the Army is a truly distributed org; but I am working on it :)). Thanks for asking.

I hope you and your family had a trauma free move and are settling in well.

Rob Thornton
06-26-2008, 09:39 PM
While we now have a doctrinal definition of Security Force Assistance (SFA) forthcoming in the Army FM 3-07, and we have a Joint Proponent for SFA in U.S. SOCOM, there is still a good deal of discussion about what SFA is and what is the purpose of it. There are still different terms which get used as synonyms but in fact may have degrees of limiting functions based on the object which receives the action, the purpose to which the action was initiated, or the nature of the action itself.

The policy objective and the requirements derived from realizing it will shape the form of assistance provided. The object of assistance could be any type of security force & the assistance could be provided by the range of Joint, Inter-Agency, Inter-Governmental, and Multi-National Partners.

The security forces assisted could range from a regional organization, or those belonging to a state. The environment could be permissive, or non-permissive. The type of assistance itself could be broad, it could be minimal, or it could be extensive such as assistance during combat operations. The purposes could range from helping a state extend its ability to govern its defined territorial space, to protect itself from domestic and foreign threats, or to contribute security capacity to a regional security arrangement or organization. What is defining is that the USG conducts SFA in support of a legitimate authority. Titular authorities’ aside, part of what makes SFA comprehensive is a focus on understanding the requirements of the partner and the nature of the partner’s systems.

SFA as an approach is meant to assist Commanders and Planners in understanding the requirements and consequences of assisting a partner in reforming and/or developing their security forces in depth. It helps them get beyond a “train & equip” approach and into considering the nature of the partner’s environment. Some examples:

-With regard to a state, it might mean considering how reforming some existing component or developing some new capability within that partner’s security sector may enhance its security.

-With regard to developing a regional security organization’s capacity it may mean considering the impact on the donor states’ security sectors when those regional organizations are committed to regional purposes – and helping them develop the capabilities and capacities that allow them to more fully participate in that organization.

SFA’s aim is to assist the partner in reforming capabilities to make them more effective and/or efficient where possible, and to develop new capabilities and capacities where required to help that partner better achieve its security objectives.

Through this understanding of the partner’s security sector, the requirements and authorities required to realize the policy objectives - be they in time, types of assistance, exemptions or amendments to standing codes, etc. can be better articulated to USG leadership so they can understand and align their expectations. This is important because while by law the military may normally by standing authorities be prevented or limited from engaging with some aspects of a partner’s security sector, the scope of the task, standing commitments elsewhere, lack of capacity in the recognized agency, or the immediacy of the policy may require temporary or permanent changes to accomplish the objective. Having a holistic understanding of the partner’s security sector and its environment help us from learning in and ad-hoc fashion and committing our resources in a piecemeal fashion that is neither effective nor efficient, and risks the policy objective by protracting involvement and possibly exacerbating the problem.

A big part of what JCISFA actually does for the commands, offices and agencies it supports is advise them on SFA issues so they can better understand and consider what is relevant and what is not. As such I have attached a 6 step method of framing a security sector. Like the speak of CTCs – it is “a way”, not the only way.

Like always I wanted to put it up here because as a Community the SWC has allot of folks who are working through the same or related problem sets. Every other week I've been up here in D.C. going to another workshop or experiment where these issues are coming up. I'd be slacking if I did not put up the thoughts so more folks can consider it then just the folks in a single room.

Best Regards, Rob

06-27-2008, 03:38 PM
Nice brief document, Rob. Just out of interest, you make a point about defining the functions of the security sector (and its component). Are you also including or thinking about including a component to look for functional analogs?


John T. Fishel
06-27-2008, 11:44 PM

In your doc, I see what appears to me to be some confusion between structure and function. So, my first question would be, "what are the functions of the security sector?" My list would include (but not necessarily be limited to):
- external defense
- border control
- coastal/maritime law enforcement & patrol
- internal defense
- foreign intel
- counterintel
- riot control
- traffic policing
- local policing
- regional policing
- national criminal investigation
- security adjunication
- imprisonment (and other punishment to include execution)
My next question would be, "What structures (organizations/institutions) can or should perform these (and other security) functions?" In Panama, we (the US Forces Liaison Group and the Panamanian Ministry of Government and Justice) addressed most of these functions. Panama decided to essentially ignore the external defense function leaving it to the US. It opted for a National Police to deal with local policing, traffic plicing, riot control, border control, etc., a National Maritime Service to perform the functions of a Coast Guard, a National Air Service to provide transport to security forces, a Judicial Technical Police for criminal investigation, and an Institutional Protective Service (SPI) for VIP protection that evolved into a paramilitary force. Note that several functions were not addressed either by Americans or Panamanians. Note too that the SPI evolved in ways that its American sponsors neither desired nor approved of. Point being that the HN and SF being assisted have the decisive votes.

So, going back to my starting point: SFA needs to assess the security functions required (theoretically) by the HN, those the HN wants or can be convinced are required, those it can perform adequately, and those it needs help on. Then the SFA assessment must address the organizations that perform or could perform those functions. Only then can one design a plan to strengthen/reform current organizations and develop new ones. Oh, yeah, in Panama (and I expect lots of other places) we had to do all of this simulataneously along with designing and adapting USG military and civilian organizations to the SFA role. It is a wonder we did as well as we did!:D (helped that we had Panamanians as our counterparts.:cool:)



Rob Thornton
06-28-2008, 01:31 PM
I'm going to have to ask if what you mean by functional analogs are those outputs that share similarities with the outputs of of other functions in the system, or in related systems. I think that is one of the things the ongoing assessment has to account for because that is how you get to a point of understanding. The only problem I see is the natural bias we all use when evaluating and assessing. You could even be seeing similar outputs but the purpose they serve could be different then the one you attribute to it and that could lead you to some bad assumptions. This is one of the reasons a good assessment is so difficult and may require a substantially sized element to do.

Could you send me an example or put one up here - I think it'd help us think more about it.
Best, Rob

Rob Thornton
06-28-2008, 02:01 PM
Hi John,
I think you are right about the sequencing. I was initially using the brief to help articulate the security sector with an understanding that they'd already considered the broader systemic environment e.g. pol/econ/sec in this case and made some thoughts about how the functions of those identified sectors - that is important because they can vary both in function and ratio based on the broader environment. A client state of a powerful neighbor, or one with strong alliances may not require the structures as one that is isolated or is the proximate neighbor to a power unaligned neighbor. The functions you list out should start to emerge as you explore the existing structures - in some cases both the visible and the not so visible ones - a structure may not be only an organization, but a structured relationship

The second question gets to one of the questions the quality of the assessment brings up (it might not be the assessors fault - there are other factors such as time, etc that impact it). I would add "do" to "can" and "should" with regard to the functions organizations perform. I say that because if you are only looking for the latter you may miss the one that actually is. I think in some cases it may be that the security sector has grown a certain way because it met environmental needs that may still be required, and possibly best performed by that organization. We may not recognize it - and possibly Marc's points about functional analogs is what helps us distinguish and recognize - but reallocating that function to something else - either new, or existing may cause problems (and create work or drain resources). However, it may also be that either the environmental conditions have changed to the point where no amount of reforming an existing institution matters and the value to the sector and to the partner may be much higher to develop something new, or perhaps move a function to some other organization or institution that remains relevant with growth potential - we've done that here on occasion where authorities are amended, reorganized or temporarily modified to meet changes in the environment - in fact that is the ongoing discussion about inter-agency reform :D With regard to reform -the starting conditions matter - so in Iraq 2003 there may have been greater latitude for reforming or reorganizing then in other places where conditions may be politically constraining and have more adverse consequences.

So, going back to my starting point: SFA needs to assess the security functions required (theoretically) by the HN, those the HN wants or can be convinced are required, those it can perform adequately, and those it needs help on. Then the SFA assessment must address the organizations that perform or could perform those functions. Only then can one design a plan to strengthen/reform current organizations and develop new ones.

Spot on and I steal it shamelessly:D

Best, Rob

John T. Fishel
06-28-2008, 02:51 PM
Steal at will:cool:

06-28-2008, 03:30 PM
Hi Rob,

John and I are saying the same thing in a slightly different way. A "functional analog" is some institution (structure) that performs all or part of a function where you would not expect it even if that function is not formally recognized in the culture. Malinowski's Coral Gardens and their Magic is the classic example of such an analysis (Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Coral-gardens-their-magic-agricultural/dp/0486235971), Google (http://books.google.ca/books?id=5wvOpfr-uvoC&dq=%22Coral+Gardens+and+their+Magic+%22&pg=PP1&ots=CW_MZ--u3o&sig=DBrHQ9K6jfKtj4JVCkaXgxS9TcU&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=1&ct=result)), and probably explains why we (Anthropologists) adopted the concept but don't do our analyses that way :wry:.

To take a really simple example, in most strongly clan based societies of, say, 50-100 years ago (and to a lesser extent now), classic Western "Police" functions were conducted by the members of the kinship group, while inter-group conflicts (sub-state) were functionally controlled by an institution of feuding and whatever specific rituals were designed to end feuds (often marriages).

Functional analogs, specifically recognizing where hey are and what structures and institutions they are associated with, has some pretty serious implications for SFA. For example, let's take the concept of "border security". Is a state border even recognized, or is the functional analog for the majority of the population based on kinship network? As an example, most of the African states were carved out by the colonial powers and have almost nothing to do with the ethnic boundaries. In this case, "border security" is probably understood as fluid and based on kin group (ethnicity) and not on state boundary. Given this, could border security be handled by creating an institution that drew on kin groups to "police" their own ethnic borders? They will certainly let their own kin cross, but all other groups would be stopped. State level policy "permissions" could easily be created to match the reality of kin-group cross-border movement.


06-28-2008, 06:07 PM

Interesting post, and a good start. I note that you have identified that Security Forces do operate within a broader environment/greater governmental framework, however the necessary legal framework which directs and supports a Security Force should perhaps be examined in more detail.

Training, standing up, and supporting or 'improving' an existing Judiciary is a key component of the Security Force development effort. If one does not want extra-judicial punishment, meted out by 'Security Forces', to be the norm, then an acceptable (to the populace in question) rule of law needs to be agreed upon and followed.

My observations in Iraq were that the folks and facilities who operated/supported in/ the 'judicial' arm of the government were targeted by the insurgency. As a result of this targeting, the local populace was unable to work within the 'rule of law' in order to resolve disputes about criminal conduct, contracts, real & personal property, negotiable instruments (banking, credit, etc.) and other vital points of law that I am not mentioning or aware of.

During my tour we worked to build the infrastructure and capability of the local Judiciary so that there was a hand off from the Security Forces to the 'State'. While this building effort went on there was a simultaneous effort to build infrastructure and capability of the various Security Forces in our A.O. These efforts were two sides of the same coin, IMHO.



John T. Fishel
06-28-2008, 06:56 PM
"Six months ago, I couldn't even spell injuneer - now I are one!" So, formerly, I never hear of functional analogs, now I uses em!:eek:

Steve, Rob's slides do show the judicial system, but you are spot on to point out that if the legal and judicial systems don't work, then curing the security forces may be worse than the disease. In both El Salvador and Panama, the legal/judicial systems were the weakest link in the chain. And, remember, these were/are western legal and judicial systems, albeit based on the Napoleonic Code and its structures/procedures.

What I believe Rob is trying to get at is that SFA requires a holistic approach to complex systems by equally (or more) complex systems. If that is correct, it really represents a potential paradigm shift.



06-28-2008, 07:16 PM

I was fortunate and able to participate in a short visit to El Salvador (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Salvador) in '05. I would check in with the local constabulary of each village I visited to get a general 'lay of the land', noted the obvious strength of the military and also that the FMLN is still around in some parts of the country. There seemed to be an acceptable equilibrium (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_El_Salvador) but not everybody had forgotten what went before (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salvadoran_Civil_War). I would be interested in any reading recommendations on this topic that you have to share...



Rob Thornton
06-28-2008, 07:36 PM
Hey Steve,
The story that with went one of the questions on the last slide is an interesting one and one worth going over.

When I first got to Mosul the IA was really just starting to transition from junior partner to equal. The IA had primarily been in a MSR (Main Supply Route) security role and the IP were just starting get some organization that allowed it to do more then control their stations. Most of the detainees were not processed through the Iraqi system. Badush Prison just outside of Mosul on the road to Tal-Afar was just at that time mostly detainees that had been moved from somewhere else. As time progressed and the IA and IP got better, new challenges in the security sector were exposed as that sector was stressed by the increase in proficiency of the host nation forces.

Talking to a couple of folks that had worked DoJ corrections (one at Badush and one who'd been involved with Iraqi prisons since 2003)assistance I found out a couple of interesting things. We all know that pre-invasion Saddam had issued a legal pardon of all the incarcerated folks and pretty much disbanded the prison system - that made the news. What everyone does not consider is how difficult it has been to put that back together. One friend of mine said that when they got to the prison there was no cell doors or locks in most cases, and there certainly were no records. Under Saddam there was nothing like the prison system that comes to mind here. If inmates were to be fed - their families pretty much had to make it happen - remember we're talking about a regime that reportedly charged the families the cost of the rounds used in the execution. There were no rehab programs designed to rehabilitate and reintegrate reformed criminals back into the system - because the purpose of the system was not to reform, but strictly to punish those who the regime could not use or who stood against it. It was not used to punish in the way we think of as punish, it was used to isolate, remove and serve as an example of Rule by Dictator - more like a gulag in some respects. Hence cell doors and locks were not necessarily needed because if an inmate stepped across the line the response was to often to beat or shoot them. If they died as a result, then that was the price.

Our prisons go to great lengths to provide medical care, ensure prisoners have basic rights, and even to provide reform programs. Here we have some expectation that a convict will reenter society after serving all or some part of their sentence, it is not always so elsewhere. Under Saddam the prison system served a very different purpose.

Also true with the judiciary. By law we separate the executive, the legislative and the judiciary. In many places the judiciary works for the executive. Good or bad, this means the idea that the judiciary can come to an independent conclusion on sentencing or on other legal questions is invalid where there is no separation - the judiciary gets its marching orders from the executive.

Badush was evaluated as better then most other prisons in 2003. It does not mean it was a model, just that under the conditions it was better then the worst. As such many detainees from outside Ninewa Province were transferred to Badush. This created an interesting dynamic - for example we have multiple types of prisons here where we separate different types of convicts - we do this for a number of reasons such as ensuring the safety of the population, the amount of resources required to house particularly dangerous felons, the ability to reform those who have deviated from the norms of society too much, we separate by age, by gender, etc. If you mix types of inmate populations, we have found that you create new problems. However, we have a very developed (for the amount of resources we put toward it) prison and corrections system. In addition to infrastructure we have hiring standards, training standards, parole boards, parole officers, etc. that many systems don't. This not only reflects our values, but a system that is more able to handle the role its tasked to do, and as an institution its more able to sustain itself. This is true throughout the security sector be it the development of the judiciary, the prisons, the security services themselves or even the amount and diversity of competent litigators to represent suspects, assist with appeals or the host of other things lawyers do in our system.

So in Iraq you had a security sector that had been bent to serve a dictatorship, but you had a war in which the demands on that security sector were such that it could not be developed evenly across the board even if we'd had the resources because some things just take a minimal amount of time before there is sufficient progress.

So in Mosul you had a security sector that was trying to grow as fast as it could not only to meet the needs of its environment but had to also account for our domestic political concerns - e.g. one of the most visible sign of measurable progress our administration could point to was the number of IPs and IA units who had assumed "the lead" and were demonstratively doing those things which might demonstrate progress.

However as we started producing more capability and capacity in the IPs and IA we began to increase the burden on other parts of the security sector. TF 134 (and many JAG officers from the BCTs and DIVs had to work closely with the PRTs and Iraqi lawyers and judges to teach them how to build and process cases under Iraqi law. Throughout they ran into all kids of roadblocks from judges who were either intimidated or unduly influenced, to lawyers who had to get over apathy, to illiterate IPs or those impatient and ignorant of the system. These folks developed work-arounds such as bringing in judges from elsewhere to try cases until the provincial system could catch up, or the BCTs bringing in more resources to assist ministries that could not meet the needs of the IA or IP because they themselves were growing. This was all very ad-hoc in nature, and given the conditions perhaps there was not other way around it. However even as progress was made in the "visible" spectrum - there were challenges developing in other parts of the system.

Jails and Prisons were now exceeding the capacity they could deal with.
This was not just a matter of space, but also the number of qualified
personnel who could work corrections. As we've seen a real success story is developing in Bucca, but it has taken us awhile to understand the value of this. A friend of mine who was an advisor out at Badush had some real challenges just trying to get uniforms and training ammo back in 2006. The relationship between the prison guards and the Mosul IP and Mosul IA was strained both by inter-interoperability issues and service personalities. Soon there was bound to a breach in the system and in early 2007 a significant escape occurred from Badush.

Like I said there are other factors which drive the resources we apply , and all in all given the scope of the task I think our ad-hoc measures have been as effective as they could be. In some cases there were things that were as contingent on other parts of the sector be it political, economic - or the ability to produce literate human capital so regardless of the amount of energy we'd put into it - time was required. Getting back to full-spectrum planning though, what if we'd looked to understand the environment better - we might not have been able to fix everything, but at least we'd have been able to anticipate a few things better, recognize a few things better, and maybe avoid the more serious consequences of our actions and inactions. For the most part we don't go into a situation where we rebuild from the ground up - however even in this case understanding it and being able to articulate it can reduce the number of unknowns and manage fears and expectations better.

From a planner point of view it also allows me to better understand what the requirements are going to be, and what challenges I'm going to have in lining them up. While title law may say one thing, its not set in stone if the Congress can understand why we need an amendment or a change. So if the requirement to train host nation police clearly out paces the ability of the more appropriate titular authority, but the policy objective says it must be done beginning at a certain time, and with a certain amount of capacity by a certain time, then they may be willing to amend it so the agency with the capacity can make it happen. This way everybody goes in with a better understanding of what they are going to be required to do to meet the objective, vs. discovery learning.

Best, Rob

Rob Thornton
06-28-2008, 07:40 PM
What I believe Rob is trying to get at is that SFA requires a holistic approach to complex systems by equally (or more) complex systems. If that is correct, it really represents a potential paradigm shift.

Hi John - true dat:D

The good news is its not just Rob - more and more I see folks from S/CRS, OSD-P SOLIC and other commands, offices and agencies who understand it. I might put it up here for us to think about, but I've come into allot of very good folks across the board who are working together in grass roots fashion to help each other out.
Best, Rob

06-28-2008, 08:27 PM

Mosul (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mosul) was a very interesting experience for me. Security Forces and the Judiciary were hot topics resource-wise and politically during my tour. Some of my friends with police and corrections backgrounds were very involved with providing training, getting uniforms and equipment, and seeing if existing facilities could benefit from the application of US standards. Some of my attorney friends worked on capacity building with the local populace of attorneys. DOS was working on good governance in Mosul during this time as well. The grand re-opening of the judicial complex in the fall of '03 (not too far from the water & sewer departments - just around the corner in fact) was a kind of nexus for many different nation-building/stability practitioners and it sounds like we wrestled with the same issues that you did.

I often found that it was best to keep an eye out when dealing with local security forces. The Facilities Protection Service seemed to be underpaid, undertrained, and under-armed at the time, which lead to some 'interesting' situations for us. I didn't see too much of the local police except around the mayor's office, which I felt was a very dangerous area to be in. I would contrast this with my visits to Kurdistan, their police would be directing traffic among other things.

My reading on Vietnamization (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnamization#Vietnamization.2C_1969.E2.80.931975 ) since I got back, and other topics, has me convinced that there is much to learn from history. I may have mentioned in one of my previous posts that Alistair Horne, in his book A Savage War of Peace (ISBN 978-1-59017-218-6) mentions that over 4,000 Kepi's Bleu or Special Administration Section Officers were deployed in Algeria (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algerian_War_of_Independence). Not all of these guys acquitted themselves honorably but some of their tactics (to include functional arabic language skills) are an interesting COIN case-study about possible tactics for some of the problems we face. A google-drive-by on this subject turns up some French references and perhaps your French is better than mine; I would be interested to learn more about these guys.



John T. Fishel
06-28-2008, 11:27 PM
Steve, there is a lot of good stuff on El Sal during the war (and a lot of bad). El Salvador at War: An Oral History by Max Manwaring and Court Prisk (NDU Press) is excellent. Cynthia McClintock did a comparative book on El Sal and peru which is good. Perhaps, the best short piece is chapter 7 of Max and my Uncomfortable Wars Revisited (OU Press 2006) which also uses the Peru/El Sal comparison. Post War El Sal did a good job of incorporating the FMLN into the socio-political fabric. Indeed, the next President may actually come from the FMLN (now a political party). Back in 04 (more or less) the two best friends and collaborators on the Defense Committee of the Legislative Assembly were the chairman from ARENA, a retired army COL, and the "ranking member" from the FMLN, a former Comandante!

Rob, your Mosul prison story reminds me of our problem in getting Panama's Carcel Modelo back in business. Noiega, as Saddam did later, released all the inmates when the invasion hit. And the people looted the place! The new Commandant, needed to resupply just about everything - to the consternation of the commander of the 193d Inf Bde (COL Mike Snell) who was pressing me really hard to get the prison running because it was one of the preconditions to get his troops off the street.:wry: So, I took the Commandant, and a former PDF corporal who had been stationed there, out to Fort Cimarron, in my POV, where we believed we could get the supplies we needed. It was the day after the last sniper incident when we proved once again that Kevlar works. And I had neglected to coordinate the trip with the 82nd Airplane Div:o which controlled the place. So, I thought real fast as we approached their guard post on the hill and told my passengers to stay put. Stopped the car (little red Toyota), opened the door, put my hands on top of the door, stood up in soft cap and BDUs, and yelled at the top of my lungs, " Hey guys!!!!, I'm LTC Fishel of the US Forces Liaison Group. I have two Panamanian policemen in the car. May I come up and explain my business" - or something like that. Good troops - they let me. And that is how I made a successful assault on the 82nd!:confused: OBTW, we got what we needed and Mike got his infantry out of the police business.

Glad to see that you young guys are better at the business than we were.:D



06-29-2008, 01:40 AM
And I had neglected to coordinate the trip with the 82nd Airplane Div:o which controlled the place. So, I thought real fast as we approached their guard post on the hill and told my passengers to stay put. Stopped the car (little red Toyota), opened the door, put my hands on top of the door, stood up in soft cap and BDUs, and yelled at the top of my lungs, " Hey guys!!!!, I'm LTC Fishel of the US Forces Liaison Group. I have two Panamanian policemen in the car. May I come up and explain my business" - or something like that. Good troops - they let me. And that is how I made a successful assault on the 82nd!:confused: OBTW, we got what we needed and Mike got his infantry out of the police business.

Glad to see that you young guys are better at the business than we were.:D



Hi John, It was the May I ....that did it:)

06-29-2008, 02:18 PM
Hi Rob, this is for you. Tried to send/post before but couldn't find the right button. Slap

He is a 5 rings analysis for a country. I have permission to Post but it is copyrighted. This is about 10 years old and has been used on several countries and some cities.

The way to use it is to map the system exactly as it is now and then draw(map) another one of how you would like it to appear when you are finished. This can give you a clear end state to work towards when you are dealing with complex problems.

John T. Fishel
06-29-2008, 03:50 PM
You got that one right, Bubba!;)

All I know is that my pucker factor was rather high at the time...

09-02-2008, 09:00 PM
USIP, 1 Sep 08: Securing the Future: A Primer on Security Sector Reform in Conflict Countries (http://www.usip.org/pubs/specialreports/sr209.pdf)

Moderator adds:the link is defunct and the website does not go back to 2008 (ends)


• Since security is a precondition of sustainable development, security sector reform (SSR) is essential in the transition from war to peace in conflict-affected countries.

• SSR is the complex task of transforming the “security sector”—those organizations and institutions that safeguard the state and its citizens from security threats—into professional, effective, legitimate, apolitical, and accountable actors.

• SSR remains an unmet challenge for the United Nations and the international community, despite the growing demand for it in peacekeeping missions around the world. This lack of reform has perpetuated the cycle of violence and prolonged costly peacekeeping missions.

• Work on SSR remains in its early stages, with most organizations still focusing on common definitions and fundamental concepts and on “mainstreaming” their ideas within the larger international community.

• There is no U.S. government doctrine, best practices, or even common terminology concerning SSR. This is primarily due to SSR’s recent conceptual development, the inherent difficulty in implementing SSR programs, and the lack of an official interagency policy coordinating committee within the current administration.

• A comprehensive approach to SSR is needed if the United States plans to effectively support good governance programs in states emerging from hostilities. The United States also needs a formal interagency structure for managing SSR programs.

• SSR can be an effective instrument for conflict prevention and conflict management in changing threat environments. This report, however, focuses on the post-conflict application of SSR, since this is when comprehensive SSR is most often attempted.

02-12-2009, 01:08 PM
USIP, Jan 09: The Private Sector in Security Sector Reform: Essential But Not Yet Optimized (http://www.usip.org/pubs/usipeace_briefings/2009/1.PDF)

The U.S. experience in Iraq and Afghanistan demonstrates the extent to which the U.S. relies upon the private sector in stability operations. The range of services provided by contractors extends from armed security to food service. In SSR, private contractors do everything from build classrooms and train military and police personnel to advise senior defense and interior ministry officials on strategic planning and management. In terms of numbers, contractors make up more than half of the American and international personnel working on behalf of the U.S. government in Iraq and Afghanistan. In terms of cost, the bills for their services run into the tens of billions of dollars. What are the advantages and the downsides of this extensive reliance on the private sector?

04-14-2009, 10:02 PM
USIP continues to publish on Security Sector Reform:

The Role of the Ministerial Advisor in Security Sector Reform: Navigating Institutional Terrains (http://library.usip.org/articles/1012185.1094/1.PDF)

International actors in Security Sector Reform (SSR) are increasingly taking on roles as “advisors” to Ministries of Interior, Defense, and Justice. Rather than directly implement changes necessary for SSR, these advisors must persuasively articulate suggestions to their local counterparts. Advisors’ success depends on their ability to convey recommendations in a manner that makes change acceptable to their advisees. Ministerial and governmental advising is not the exclusive purview of any one entity. Rather, advising is undertaken by a diverse range of individuals from U.S. and foreign governments, militaries, NGOs, private contractors, and U.N. agencies. These actors have correspondingly diverse objectives and approaches to SSR; without coordination or consensus on SSR programming, advisors may find themselves working at cross-purposes. Furthermore, the multiplicity of advisors and institutions makes sharing best practices and improving over time and across conflicts extremely difficult.

What common challenges do foreign advisors face, and how might they pool intellectual resources and “lessons learned” to address these challenges? This question was addressed by a panel of distinguished experts at a recent meeting sponsored by the Institute’s Security Sector Reform Working Group.......

11-03-2009, 02:50 PM
CEIP, Oct 09: “Fixing Broken Windows”: Security Sector Reform in Palestine, Lebanon, and Yemen (http://www.carnegieendowment.org/files/security_sector_reform.pdf)

As they emerge from confl ict, states can rarely commence the arduous task of reconstruction and consolidate their governments until they undertake extensive restructuring of their security forces. Palestine, Lebanon, and Yemen are all fractured, quasi-democratic states with divided societies, and deep disagreement over what constitutes the national interest. Successful reform in each will require security institutions that answer to democratically-elected civilian leaders, but the U.S. and European approach has thus far focused largely on providing military training and equipment, targeted toward counterterrorist capabilities.

To enable real reform, the West must adopt a comprehensive approach which treats security reform as only one part of a broader political strategy, and encourage governments and security commanders in Palestine, Lebanon, and Yemen to buy into such a strategy. Donor states should invest resources commensurate with their declared objectives, improve coordination, and standardize practices. Above all, they should make it a priority to build the institutions and procedures that are essential for democratic governance of the security sector, without which reforms become bogged down in internal power struggles. Pursuing counterterrorism in the absence of the rule of law perpetuates the undemocratic governance of the security sector and undermines state building and post-conflict reconstruction.

11-03-2009, 04:13 PM
If I had a penny/dime for every report, speech, project I have read suggesting broad reform of the governance structure of Middle East States I'd have a tidy sum (perhaps even enough for law school!). COIN, military-to military and other non-conditional or politically entangling (domestically speaking) processes are often more cost effective and politically suitable stratgies for short term social engineering or problem solving. But as soon as we start "getting holistic" we enter the realms of fantasy. I remember opening the local English language paper upon first arriving in Yemen and reading that the Italian interior minister was in town giving the Salah government a lecture on how to reduce corruption! (Yes, you read that right).

Credibility issues aside I never stop being amazed at the political naivete of Western intellectuals, liberals and other similar do-gooders who think that foreign governments, and especially foreign Muslim governments, are about to agree to hand over their governance structures to foriegn inspection, oversight and control (which, in effect, is the logical outcome). It doesn't work when the IAEA does it (i.e., Iraq, Iran, North Korea) is a purely circumscribed issue area and it has barely, just barely, worked in Bosnia (due more to economic-geographical contiguity than anything else) and is a recipe for disaster in Lebanon, Yemen and Palestine. Essentialy such thinking is nothing more than a thinly veiled liberal internationalism/imperialism/interventionism assuming that a system of like (democratic) units will lead to greater stability, co-operation and human progress (and other similarly fuzzy-wuzzy goals). It won't. A democratic Palestine is as much likely to elect Hamas as Fatah or even someone even worse. A democratic Yemen, a truely representative yemen, will bring to power the Yemeni Islah (Muslim Borterhood style) party which will make Saudi Arabia look like Disney Land. In Lebanon introducing efficiency, representation and true democratic proceduralism will first have to dismantle the system of quotas constitutionally set aside for each of the confessions (such as who can be Prime Minister, Presdient, etc.). To do that you are going to have to go up against entrenched political movements (and their military arms, defunct but re-bootable) as well as the immense social upheaval that could lead to (i.e., another civil war).

Rex Brynen
11-03-2009, 10:35 PM
Credibility issues aside I never stop being amazed at the political naivete of Western intellectuals, liberals and other similar do-gooders who think that foreign governments, and especially foreign Muslim governments, are about to agree to hand over their governance structures to foriegn inspection, oversight and control (which, in effect, is the logical outcome).

If you actually read the report--written, it should be said, by a Palestinian scholar with an intimate knowledge of the Palestinian security forces (Yezid wrote the seminal book on the evolution of Palestinian armed struggle, was a negotiator/advisor for the PA/PLO, and has a long history of working on Palestinian reform efforts)--it says nothing of the sort.

Rather, it is a critique of donor-driven reform and poor donor coordination.

11-04-2009, 10:39 AM
Rather, it is a critique of donor-driven reform and poor donor coordination.

Sir, I did read the report and was, in the above post, making a general observation. Specifically, the problem of donor-co-ordination inevitably means having to take sides and backing one group against another which then also brings to the fore the issues of oversight etc. to which I was alluding. My point is/was that as soon as western backers do that they become an integral part of the problem (rather than being peripheral they now come to the fore) as was evinced in Vietnam by America and which the US and NATO has had to learn the hard way in Afghanistan and Iraq with their efforts at mobilising pro-reform/Allied forces on side. Furthermore, I do not think that the author of the article is any more reliable an authority on the matter than any other former PLO representative, ally or fellow traveller given their past track record (i.e., Camp David, Oslo, et al although, granted, Israel is as much to blame, but not, IMO, by that much).

SWJ Blog
01-19-2015, 10:01 PM
Quietly Raising an Army: Security Sector Reform in Liberia (http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/quietly-raising-an-army-security-sector-reform-in-liberia)

Entry Excerpt:

Read the full post (http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/quietly-raising-an-army-security-sector-reform-in-liberia) and make any comments at the SWJ Blog (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog).
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