The development of local security and justice sectors in developing, fragile and conflict-affected states has for a long time been an important strand in the UK’s approach to delivering its national security and development objectives. The 2009 White Paper on international development committed DFID to placing considerably greater emphasis on promoting security and access to justice in developing states. The Ministry of Defence’s Green Paper is likely to place greater emphasis on soft power, including security cooperation activities. In some countries, the UK has poured bilateral resources into this domain, from the training of Afghan military and police to the reform of the Sierra Leone security sector and the strengthening of various African militaries and police forces. DFID’s White Paper commitments come 10 years after then DFID Secretary of State Clare Short took the bold step of putting Security Sector Reform (SSR) squarely on the development agenda. In the interim, the UK has taken a leading role in undertaking SSR-related projects in its bilateral programmes and in shaping the international donor debate. The success of international lobbying by the UK has been reflected in documents such as the OECD DAC’s guidelines on SSR and the UN’s adoption of the concept. While security and justice is unlikely to become a Millenium Development goal, the fact that it is discussed as such is a tribute to the progress that this agenda has made. The UK’s recent (re)commitment to the security and justice agenda is a worthy enterprise. However, achieving success will require three things: further conceptual clarity, a revamped international influence campaign, and addressing serious capacity constraints on the delivery side.
This article uses a case-study of Iraq under the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) to address the planning and management processes and institutions required to make effective use of international resources. The importance of this perspective is underlined by an influential recent report to the United Nations which noted: ‘While there is a tendency to blame the limited success rate [of peacebuilding missions] on lack of resources, it is equally possible that the main problem is more related to a lack of coherent application of the resources already available.