Handbook of International Security and Development
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Handbook of International Security and Development

Edited by Paul Jackson

The Handbook of International Security and Development provides a survey of current thinking within the field of security and development. With a wide range of chapters that offer a guide to the core approaches, methods and issues, this book explores the links between the two and includes contributions from both practitioners and academics. With topics ranging from the politics of aid by remote control through to intervention and the re-establishment of security and demobilisation of combatants, this Handbook provides a comprehensive introduction to the literature and approaches used in the field of security and development.
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Chapter 10: The rise and fall of security sector reform in development

Peter Albrecht and Finn Stepputat


This chapter provides insight into security sector reform (SSR) as a development instrument that emerged in the late 1990s and early 2000s and accentuated the security-development nexus. The chapter presents what its characteristics were, how and why it thrived and also the reasons for its demise rather than consolidation as a development approach per se. As a development approach, the concept of SSR was first coined by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) in the late 1990s. Subsequently, it was appropriated by other bilateral and multilateral donor agencies. As it emerged, the main focus was on transforming ‘failed’ and ‘collapsed’ states into ‘effective’ and ‘legitimate’ political entities and on preventing post-conflict states from relapsing into open conflict. Thus, SSR became an important item on the state building agenda and part of ‘the process of restoring (or building) the functionality of state institutions’ (UN and World Bank 2007: 22). ‘Holistic’ in scope and ‘politically sensitive’ in approach, SSR as a development approach did not aim primarily to make security forces more effective in their operational capacity. It was assumed that efforts to improve state effectiveness in the security domain would fail without corresponding governance improvements (Hendrickson 2009: 7). The primary concern was to strengthen the governability and accountability of security institutions through ministerial, parliamentary and civil society oversight. In this regard SSR involved institutional change across a range of sectors, reflecting that security was emerging as a ‘multidimensional condition’ where ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ dimensions were to be addressed simultaneously (ibid.: 5, 7).

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