Security sector reform

Authored by: Timothy Edmunds

The Routledge Handbook of Civil–Military Relations

Print publication date:  September  2012
Online publication date:  November  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415782739
eBook ISBN: 9780203105276
Adobe ISBN: 9781136253218


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The concept of security sector reform (SSR) has come to increasing prominence since the late 1990s. SSR aims to reform security institutions to make them better at creating a secure environment for individuals and communities, in a way that is consistent with democratic norms and principles of good governance. 1 It differs from earlier approaches in that it attempts to understand the “security sector” holistically, as a linked institutional complex rather than a series of distinct organizational domains. It is also explicit in its ambition to link security provision to good governance and human rights, in particular to emphasize the security of individuals in any reform process that does take place rather than simply that of the state itself. It has been promoted as a new mechanism for addressing the problems of insecurity, development, and democratization in states undergoing processes of political transformation, and is an increasingly important component of a range of different activities by Western states and international organizations, from development assistance, to democracy promotion, to stabilization operations, peacekeeping, and even counter-insurgency.

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