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The Handbook of Global Security Policy by Mary Kaldor, Iavor Rangelov

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Chapter 16 Strengthening Democratic Governance in the Security Sector: The Unfulfilled Promise of Security Sector Reform

Nicole Ball

Security sector reform (SSR) can play a critical role in helping governments and populations meet the multiple security challenges confronting their societies. In particular, it can help answer the questions of who primarily benefits from the existing security arrangements, what makes people insecure and what changes are necessary to deliver broad based security. SSR began to makes its way onto the policy agenda in the late 1990s. Now, over a decade later, there is growing acceptance of the concept of security sector reform at the policy level and some progress has been made in embedding these principles in the practical application of the “SSR” agenda. Yet there remains a considerable way to go before the SSR agenda can be effectively and reliably implemented.

This chapter begins by defining SSR and briefly reviewing the evolution of the concept and its application. It then considers four of the more important challenges currently facing the effective and reliable implementation of the concept: the international political and security climate, the degree to which reforming countries own SSR efforts, the ability of international actors to navigate the political waters of reforming countries, and the effectiveness of donor approaches to SSR. The chapter concludes by discussing the importance of greater attention to process in producing more successful ...

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