The Evolution of the Security Sector Reform Agenda

  • Citation: Ball, Nicole. “The Evolution of the Security Sector Reform Agenda.” Edited by Mark Sedra. The Future of Security Sector Reform, 2010.
    • Topics:
    • Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding
    • Keywords:
    • security sector reform (SSR)
    • SSR agenda
    • Cold War
    • Development Assistance Committee (DAC)

The security sector reform (SSR) agenda emerged within development and security policy circles in the late 1990s in recognition of the need for a broader approach to security assistance and an alternative way of thinking about the role of the security services in the political and economic lives of countries. Somewhat surprisingly, the development assistance community, which had consistently avoided addressing issues related to security and frequently justice, for much of the post-1945 period, came to champion the concept of SSR. Indeed, without the advocacy of then UK Secretary of State for Development Clare Short, it is conceivable that the dominant strain of the SSR agenda as expressed in various policy statements and papers of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) — with its emphasis on democratic governance of the security sector — would not exist today. However, it is important not to confuse support for SSR at the rhetorical and, in some cases, the policy level with an understanding of the concept, an awareness of its importance or a commitment to promoting its agenda — either at home or abroad.

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