Research Area C6 - Project summary

 

Research Project C6 –- Exporting the State Monopoly on Violence: Security Governance Transfers to Areas of Limited Statehood

 

Extended Project Summary

The project asks under which conditions comprehensive transfers of the state monopoly on violence to areas of limited statehood are fully or partially successful and when they fail. As its main research objective, the project aims to explain the quite considerable variation in the output (understood as the institutionalisation of rules and the provision of administrative structures, instruments and services in the assisted regions) of recent international security governance transfers. To assess how and with what results external actors (re‐)construct state monopolies on violence in areas of limited statehood, the project compares the transfer of security‐related institutional rules, organisational structures and technical capacities to Timor-Leste, Liberia and the Palestinian Territories. In this context, the project aims to isolate the causal mechanisms that link international security governance transfers to the emergence of effective and legitimate security governance in a recipient state (SFB Goal 3: Effectiveness and Legitimacy of Governance).

The project further contributes to other core questions raised in the SFB’s framework proposal: for the case of the state monopoly on violence, i.e. for the core institution of state sovereignty, the project assesses how, to what extent and with what results governance institutions are transferable to areas of limited statehood (SFB Main Research Agenda (Rahmenantrag)). To answer this research question, the project inquires both the influence of different modes of governance used in international transfers (SFB Goal 1: Modes of Negotiation, Coordination and Power Relations) and the role of variation in the domestic shadow of hierarchy for determining the output of international security governance transfers (SFB Goal 2: Statehood as Enabling Condition for Governance). Finally, by providing a fine‐grained comparative analysis of different cases of international security governance transfers, the project aims to come to a better understanding of the collisions and combinations of normative and organisational security orders that can result from them (SFB Goal 4: Processes of Adaptation and Resistance).

The project starts from the observation that international efforts to strengthen or reconstruct effective and legitimate security architectures in areas of limited statehood have rapidly risen in relevance, number and scale in recent years. Despite initial empirical evidence of failed or fragmentary security transfers, existing research has not generated systematic knowledge about the effects of international security sector reform (SSR). As a result, we know little about the patterns of institutional transfers in the field of security and lack a clear understanding of the intended and unintended consequences of exporting comprehensive security orders into areas of limited statehood. The project aims to contribute to closing this research gap by explaining variation in transfer output across cases. Under which conditions do international transfers lead to comprehensive reforms of a security sector, when do transfers remain incomplete, and when do they fail or have adverse effects? Ultimately, the project outlines why security governance transfers frequently do not lead to the full replication of Western security architectures in assisted states, and it explains the emergence of only partially reformed, incoherent or hybrid forms of security governance in areas of limited statehood. To do so, it aims to causally link the differences in the outputs of international transfers to specific sets of conditions that prevail during the transfer process or at the domestic level of the assisted states. It follows a structured and focused comparative research design and conducts qualitative studies of large‐scale international defence and police reforms that the European Union, the United Nations and several bilateral donors have conducted in the Palestinian Territories, Liberia and Timor-Leste during the past decade. In essence, the project aims to isolate the conditions under which security transfers encompassing institutional rules, organisational structures and technical capacities lead to comprehensive, partial or failed transfer outputs, while stopping short of assessing the larger impact of transfer processes on security governance in a specific region. The project uses its empirical insights to develop a typology of possible transfer outputs of external SSR projects in areas of limited statehood. 

State of the Art in Current Research

Since the end of the Cold War, both scope and scale of international security governance transfers have expanded rapidly. Often taking place within larger international statebuilding or post-conflict reconstruction missions, the new SSR programmes intend to foster both effective and well-governed security architectures in areas of limited statehood. In a departure from classical security transfers that primarily focus on enhancing the effectiveness of security agencies, comprehensive security governance transfers aim to replicate the entire set of institutional rule and organisational structures of the Westphalian state’s monopoly on violence in a recipient state. Cases that exemplify this broadened scope of international security governance transfers are the UN interim administrations in Kosovo (UNMIK), Bosnia (UNMIBH) and Timor-Leste (UNTAET/UNMIT), as well as the UN missions to Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL/UNIOSIL) or Haiti (MINUSTAH). Other major security governance transfers occurred during the enlargement of the European Union and of NATO, which led to an unprecedented export of political and security institutions to Eastern and South-Eastern European states transitioning from communism to democracy. Currently, the European Union alone is actively supporting SSR in over 70 states (see European Commission 2006a). As a result of these reforms, particularly in areas of limited and weak statehood that emerge from conflict or remain under international administration, the provision of security is no longer the exclusive privilege of the state. On the contrary, the involvement of a variety of domestic and international as well as public and private actors can result in complicated, multilevel security governance arrangements in which indigenous and imported security institutions coexist side by side.

Yet, despite their rising number and the increasing resources dedicated to the international transfer of security institutions, we know relatively little about their output and it remains largely unclear how they influence the security institutions of assisted states. Policy-driven and primarily written by and for actors in the SSR community itself, current analyses of SSR are dominated by single-case studies that treat each case as one of a kind rather than comparing the assistance efforts across cases (but see Jones et al. 2005, 2006). Further, the dearth of theory-led explanations in the research field is striking. To help close these research gaps, the proposed project develops a comparative research design that enables it to conceptualise and explain patterns and outputs of international security transfers. To do so, the project draws on several interrelated strands of literature: looking beyond studies in the immediate research field of international peace- and statebuilding, the project also draws on conceptual work on policy and institutional transfers developed in the fields of public policy, international relations and European studies.

Empirical Research on Statebuilding and SSR

Reforms of the police, justice and military institutions and their respective civilian oversight bodies in areas of limited statehood frequently take place in the context of larger international peace- or statebuilding efforts. A growing set of literature debates the prospects and limits of externally-led programmes to (re-)construct and reform state institutions in crisis or transition (see Fukuyama 2004; Milliken 2003; Ottaway 2002 for overviews). One particular focus of this literature is on the dilemmas and contradictions of major international statebuilding strategies (see Schneckener 2007 for an overview). Although most studies agree that international statebuilding goals need to be prioritised, researchers are divided about the best way to sequence international assistance. While ‘security first’-approaches prioritise the provision of security over the aim of democratisation (Etzioni 2007; see also Koehler 2008), others argue that the reconstruction of effective state institutions is the essential first step (Paris 2004) or, finally, that only the development of a strong civil society will in the long-term stabilise states in crisis. A set of complementary studies specifies the different hurdles and hindrances in the way of international reformers. Recent studies cluster around issues of domestic power-sharing and the design of electoral systems and post-conflict elections (Rothchild/Roeder 2005; Lyons 2004), the challenges of economic reconstruction (Snodgrass 2004) and the need for rebuilding trust and civil societies in post-war states (Widner 2004; Pouligny 2005). Outside these discussions of different functional (i.e. institutional, economic, political and social) aspects of international statebuilding, the bulk of literature on peace- and statebuilding remains limited to single case analyses of assistance to individual states in crisis.

A similar picture emerges within the rapidly expanding number of studies on SSR processes. Since international actors involved in SSR are also the main motors of SSR-related research and expertise (above all the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee), ‘grey’ literature on SSR advances in specific countries and dominates the field (see e.g. OECD DAC 2005, 2007). Very few studies are theory-led and lead to generalisable conclusions. Further, as Hills (2008: 22) noted, these empirical studies of SSR tend to be normatively driven and often focus on the short-term policy implications of security transfers. Accordingly, the literature has placed particular emphasis on the establishment of civilian oversight and accountability procedures (Born et al. 2003; Wagner 2006), on the necessity for local ownership in reform processes (e.g. Laurie 2007) and on ways of enhancing the overall comprehensiveness of security transfers (e.g. Ball 2004; Bryden/Hänggi 2004; Chanaa 2002). A second set of dedicated empirical studies has inductively generated knowledge about the problems and pitfalls of individual SSR programmes (for instance Sedra 2006; Friedrich 2004; Vetschera/Damian 2006). Here, insights gleaned from the large SSR missions in South Africa, the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan dominate the literature (see exemplary International Crisis Group 2005, 2008).

Going beyond the many descriptive country-studies, several attempts have been made to link reform outcomes to the specifics of the domestic conditions found in the recipient states. In a first and not uncontested attempt to generalise across cases, Bryden and Hänggi (2004: 5f) distinguished between three types of reform contexts and their effects on SSR success: developmental, post-conflict and post-authoritarian reform contexts. In a second attempt to produce a ‘scale of SSR potentials’, Wulf (2004) identifies seven categories that range between countries at war to societies in transition to peace, with increasing potentials for successful SSR. As Hänggi (2004) further outlines, the three identified contexts differ with regard to the strength of domestic institutions and also with regard to the external rationale of SSR. In developmental contexts, the goal of SSR is to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of other development policies. Often heavily donor-led, the outcomes of reform processes are expected to vary mainly along differences in the political, societal and economic situation on the ground. In the case of security assistance to post-authoritarian states, the domestic situation is often characterised by strong political and security institutions, but also by oversized security sectors and a democratic deficit. Reform efforts have focused here on the transition of Eastern and Central European states from communist to democratic rule. The third domestic reform context arises in post-conflict situations. Here, the specific and often fragile security situation on the ground combines with the challenges of weak and contested state and security institutions and power structures. The transfer of security institutions in these cases often aims at the wholesale reconstruction of collapsed, bloated and factionalised post-war security institutions (see further Brzoska 2006; Brzoska/Heineman-Grüder 2004). Overall, the chance of successful reform in a post-authoritarian context is, particularly in contrast to the other two reform contexts, expected to be “rather good” (Hänggi 2004: 6). In the adverse settings of post-war contexts, success is seen as considerably more difficult to achieve. Yet, somewhat counter-intuitively, post-war contexts also represent ‘windows of opportunity’ for reformers, since “in such societies there is a strong will to accept external support for all kinds of reforms, even in the most sensitive areas such as the security sector” (Hänggi 2004: 8). Post-conflict situations will therefore have the most variation in outcomes.

On the whole, though, whether the specific effects of SSR co-vary with the domestic reform contexts as outlined above, it remains contested in the literature. Studies in this relatively young research field have made few attempts to address questions of international security transfers in a comparative and theoretically informed manner. Although existing studies certainly provide in-depth analyses of individual cases, most research does not strive to synthesise these findings into generalisable conclusions. As a result, we know little about patterns of institutional transfers in the field of security and lack an understanding of the effects of international transfers in areas of limited statehood. This project intends to help closing this research gap.

Theoretical Approaches to the International Transfers of Norms, Policies and Capacities

While international security governance transfers to areas of limited statehood have rarely been studied from a theoretical perspective, theory-driven analyses of international norms and policy transfers have a long tradition in other research areas. This project therefore adapts existing conceptual work in the field of international policy and norm transfers to the case of security governance transfers and uses it to identify relevant factors and mechanisms that can account for the results of international security governance transfers. Generally, the export of the state monopoly on violence constitutes a ‘hard case’ for the feasibility of international policy and norm transfers, since the sovereignty of the modern state is closely linked to its coercive capacity. As a result, external interferences into the organisation of a state’s monopoly on the use of force are normally not taken lightly. Particularly instructive for the questions at stake in this project are the fields of (1) policy transfer research, (2) Europeanisation and compliance research and (3) research on the international diffusion of norms.

Ad 1: Public policy approaches to the study of policy transfers and provides a useful starting point for the inquiry (see Lütz 2007 for an overview). Developed predominantly by Dolowitz and Marsh (1996, 2000), a common theme of researchers investigating international policy transfers is the question of how knowledge about specific policies, institutions and ideas is re-used in other political systems. Interested in conceptualising patterns of policy transfers, Dolowitz and Marsh design a comprehensive typology of transfer processes and outcomes. On the side of transfer outcomes, they distinguish between different degrees of transfers that involve either the direct and complete transfer of a policy (copying), the transfer of the idea behind a policy or programme (emulation), the combination and mixture of different policies (combination) and the inspiration of policy change through another model (inspiration) (see Dolowitz/Marsh 1996: 351). They further distinguish between different transfer mechanisms along the following continuum: with declining levels of hierarchy employed, mechanisms range from coercive transfers and the direct imposition of policies to different forms of external conditionality, voluntary transfers and, finally, lesson-drawing (Dolowitz/Marsh 2000: 13). Bulmer and Padgett (2004) specify this model for the case of policy transfer in the European Union and show how policy transfers vary across different modes of EU governance. They contend that differences in transfer mechanisms (negotiation and facilitated unilateralism) will result in variance of transfer outcomes and they hold that hierarchical transfers (e.g. Community method transfers) “will generate the strongest form of policy transfer, with outcomes falling within the range from emulation to synthesis” (Bulmer/Pagett 2004.). In a related study, Holzinger and Knill (2005) identify five mechanisms that can lead to cross-national policy convergence (imposition, harmonisation, competition, communication or problem solving). Finally, social learning and lesson drawing models assess voluntary policy transfers beyond models prioritising the relevance of external imposition and incentives (see e.g. Rose 1993). In this context, transfer models of social learning are based on the notions of voluntary imitation, argumentation or influence (see e.g. Checkel 2004). This means that states will adopt specific rules if they are persuaded of the appropriateness of the rule. In social learning models, actors adopt rules through a process of normative internalisation. The various transfer mechanisms identified in the literature resemble closely the modes of action coordination identified in the SFB Main Research Agenda (Rahmenantrag).

In brief, policy transfer research posits that differences in the mechanism of transfers can explain variance in transfer outcomes. How institutional and organisational transfers happen, has an impact on their effects. Across the outlined approaches to policy transfers, a major factor in determining variation in transfer effects is the level of hierarchy employed in the transfer pro-cess: are transfers more effective if international actors hierarchically impose specific institutions on a recipient state or are voluntary and incentives-based models more likely to lead to comprehensive transfers (SFB-Goal 1: Modes of Negotiation, Coordination and Power Relations)?

Ad 2: The research fields of Europeanisation and compliance add their own distinct perspective on questions of policy and norm transfers. Interested primarily in the impact of the EU on its member and accession states, studies in the field of Europeanisation have focused on explaining variation in the domestic impact of Europe. Knill and Lehmkuhl (1999) show that the EU can affect its member states through three mechanisms: direct institutional pressure, the changing of domestic opportunity structures, and the altering of beliefs and expectations. Börzel and Risse (2003) and Börzel (2005) further specify how European rules and legislation impact on the domestic structures of its member states. They hold that some degree of ‘misfit’ or incompatibility of European-level with domestic-level processes is a necessary condition for expecting domestic changes in response to Europeanisation. Clearly, this type of misfit is a given and constant factor in studies of SSR processes. Radaelli (2000, 2003) more specifically investigates how different policy transfer mechanisms (coercion, normative pressure and mimetism) can provide legitimacy for intra-EU transfers and identifies four possible outcomes of Europeanisation (retrenchment, inertia, absorption and transformation). Studies in the field of European enlargement explain the types of domestic change (i.e. formal and behavioural changes) that the EU elicits in the new Eastern and Central European member states. In the absence of direct coercive transfer mechanisms, Schimmelfennig and Sedelmeier (2004, 2005) show that external incentives gave the best explanation for the pattern of EU rule transfer to Central and Eastern Europe. Europeanisation was driven by the EU’s strategy of rewards and incentives during the process of EU accession that changed the cost-benefit calculations of the target state. Voluntary social learning or lesson drawing, on the other hand, did not drive the process of rule adoption. Finally, a last and relatively recent research field assesses the external role of the European Union as a promoter of norms and ideas in its neighbourhood (Schimmelfennig 2007; Lavenex 2004; Youngs 2001). Yet, in its external relations the European Union has not used positive and negative conditionality levers to any avail. Indeed, political conditionality seems “to have been declaratory rather than practical policy” so far (Schimmelfennig 2007). All in all, the literature remains divided over whether recent EU attempts at external norm transfers (i.e. democracy promotion and human right policies) have been effective, regardless of the transfer mechanism in use.

In contrast to processes of policy and rule transfer within the European Union and its member states, research on EU transfers to its neighbourhood and beyond is still in its infancy and only very few comparative empirical studies of the external diffusion of EU rules and institutions exist (see, however, B2 Börzel). The input of this research strand to the question of how international security governance transfers work, is therefore necessarily limited. Generally though, the differentiation of three different transfer mechanisms (direct coercive, external incentives model, voluntary social learning) developed in the Europeanisation and compliance literature can be instructive for the further analysis of security governance transfers to areas of limited statehood (see also SFB Main Research Agenda (Rahmenantrag) on modes of coordination). The question here is whether voluntary transfers based on lesson drawing and social learning will lead to a more comprehensive transfer of both security norms and infrastructure to assisted regions than hierarchical transfers.

Ad 3: Finally, research in the field of International Relations has studied the international diffusion of norms to national and sub-national settings. In the absence of hierarchical modes of governance in the international system of states, the diffusion of specific global norms (i.e. human rights norms, rules of warfare, suffrage norms) has occurred through processes of voluntary adoption. Different arguments have been made with regard to the causal mechanisms and specific dynamics of international norm diffusion. Some accounts argue that norm entrepreneurs, for instance transnational advocacy networks (Keck/Sikkink 1998; Risse et al. 1999), are necessary for the sustainable diffusion of norms. Particularly in the initial stages, the persuasion of states and their leaders by norm entrepreneurs and their longer-term socialisation are the main mechanisms of norm diffusion and voluntary norm adoption. Persuasion, in a ‘thick’ sense, has been defined as the process of changing attitudes about causes and effects in the absence of overt coercion (Checkel 2002). In their comparative analysis of the conditions under which human right regimes are internalised, Risse, Ropp and Sikkink (1999) hold that processes of norm internalisation by socialisation can be promoted by strategic bargaining, habitualisation or argumentation (see further Risse 2000). In the security field, the international transfer of specific security norms has recently been discussed by Gheciu (2005). Analysing NATO’s Eastern expansion, she shows how NATO projected liberal democratic norms in the area of security to the states of Central and Eastern Europe. By socialising CEE actors into NATO’s normative framework, NATO participated in a process of ‘state crafting’ that aimed to transfer Western norms governing the relationship between different branches of security architectures, norms of transparency and accountability in the armed forces and civilian oversight norms into the states of Central and Eastern Europe. In sum, the literature on norm diffusion in International Relations discusses voluntary processes of persuasion and socialisation, but has so far stayed clear of dealing with the coercive imposition of specific rules and norms on states. Yet, particularly in areas of limited or failing statehood, international actors have frequently used coercion in their interventions into crisis states (e.g. Afghanistan, cf. C1 Zürcher), while the international community has established a series of international ‘protectorates’ in post-conflict states in which sovereignty lies in the hands of international actors (e.g. Bosnia, Timor-Leste, Kosovo).

In brief, the discussed literature shares an interest in the different ‘modes’ or mechanisms of governance transfers and their diverging effects on the domestic recipients of transfers. While each strand of literature selectively focuses on different aspects of international norm and policy transfers, taken together, the three strands reveal a comprehensive picture of existing modes of norms and policy transfers. As a synopsis of the discussed approaches, we conflate the different modes of transfer into three ideal types which closely resemble the modes of action coordination identified in the SFB Main Research Agenda (Rahmenantrag): hierarchical modes of governance (i.e. the direct coercive imposition of rules and institutions), incentive-based modes of governance (i.e. voluntary transfers via positive or negative incentives, bargaining), and social learning-based modes of governance (i.e. voluntary transfers via persuasion and lesson drawing). These three modes of governance will be used to structure the project’s inquiry into the output of security governance transfers (SFB-Goal 1: Modes of Negotiation, Coordination and Power Relations)

Project Plan

Research Goals and Thematic Questions

The project explains variation in the output of international programmes that foster or reconstruct an effective and legitimate state monopoly on violence in areas of limited statehood. By means of structured and focused comparisons of large‐scale international defence and police reforms in the Palestinian Territories, Liberia and Timor-Leste, it assesses under what conditions comprehensive security governance transfers are entirely or partially successful and when they fail. The project investigates how variation in the modes of governance prevalent in international transfers, on the one hand, and the ‘shadow of hierarchy’ cast by the target states, on the other hand, affects the output of international SSR.

Ultimately, the project seeks to explain the effects of international security transfers on security governance in assisted states. It specifically asks what conditions promote or hinder the replication of the Westphalian state monopoly on violence in areas of limited statehood: when do transfers lead to the stated comprehensive political aims, when do transfers remain incomplete and when do they fail or lead to unintended outcomes? In this context, the project aims to isolate the causal mechanisms that link security governance transfers to the emergence of effective and legitimate security governance in a recipient state (SFB Goal 3: Effectiveness and Legitimacy of Governance). The project will link the emergence of partial transfer outputs to specific sets of conditions that prevail either during the transfer process or at the domestic level of the assisted states. In essence, the project studies the conditions under which security transfers lead to comprehensive, partial or failed transfer outputs. At the same time, the project stops short of assessing the larger outcomes or impact of transfer processes on security governance in a specific region. The project does not focus on changes in the behaviour of security actors in assisted regions, nor does it tackle the question of whether SSR (SSR) programmes were able to enhance the security of a specific population in a given area.

Throughout this project, output refers to the institutionalisation of rules and the provision of administrative structures, instruments and services in the assisted regions (SFB Main Research Agenda (Rahmenantrag)). To assess how and with what results external actors (re‐)construct state monopolies on violence in areas of limited statehood, the project compares the implementation of comprehensive SSR (SSR) programmes in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. In doing so, the project addresses one of the core questions raised in the SFB’s framework proposal: how, to what extent and with what results are governance institutions transferable to areas of limited statehood (SFB Main Research Agenda (Rahmenantrag))? Touching upon the core of state sovereignty, the export of the ‘Westphalian’ idea of a state monopoly on the legitimate use of force to areas of limited statehood constitutes a hard case for the international transferability of governance institutions.

The project starts from the empirical observation that in the past decade, external strategies for the reform of security architectures in areas of limited statehood have changed considerably in terms of both their scope and scale. Departing from classical forms of security assistance that mostly fostered the effectiveness of security actors in allied states, more and more states and international organisations have started to implement comprehensive SSR programmes and missions. Essentially, these new programmes aim to replicate a ‘Westphalian’ model of statehood – with a state monopoly on the legitimate use of force at its core – in states in crisis or transition. In brief, comprehensive security governance transfers have the dual aim of diffusing norms of good governance and democratic oversight over the security sector and of (re‐)constructing effective internal and external security architectures in areas of limited statehood. Thus, this project leaves aside the still considerable portion of, mostly bilateral, security assistance that primarily aims to enhance the performance of an assisted state in specific fields and focuses specifically on comprehensive security governance transfers. Recent cases of the more traditional, limited security assistance have focused on fostering the counter‐insurgency, counter‐crime or counter‐terrorism capacities of, among others, Pakistan, Afghanistan or Iraq. In essence, states pursue these forms of security assistance as part and parcel of foreign and security policies that aim to ward off security threats emanating from states in areas of limited statehood.

Comprehensive transfers, on the other hand, developed through the understanding that politicised and ineffective security sectors are themselves a source of instability and insecurity (see e.g. Ball 2004: 511), is a point of view that is promoted particularly by actors in the development community. Comprehensive SSR are, in this perspective, a necessary precondition not only for stability, but also for the sustainable development of a state. Broadly, the new and comprehensive reforms aim to “develop a secure environment based on development, rule of law, good governance and local ownership of security actors” (GFN‐SSR 2007, see further OECD DAC 2007). In line with the general broadening of security concepts after the end of the Cold War (see Baldwin 1997; Buzan et al. 1998), ‘security’ refers not only to the security and stability of the state, but also to the security of individuals and societal groups living in a specific territory. Furthermore, comprehensive security governance transfers stand out for their integration of a large range of actors into their programmes. Reforms touch not only on the classical national security apparatus (the police, the military, the intelligence services, the judicial and penal institutions), but also focus on their civilian oversight bodies (the relevant ministries, parliament, parliamentary committees, judicial bodies). Finally, security governance transfers have also started to pay attention to the relevance of a proliferating number of non‐state security actors in areas of limited statehood. Warlords, private armies or militias as well as commercial private security providers (C2 Chojnacki) increasingly complement, and sometimes even supersede, the state’s control over the monopoly on violence in areas of limited statehood. Some comprehensive SSR concepts have therefore incorporated private actors into reform programmes that had so far targeted solely the public security sectors (see Abrahamsen/Williams 2006; Bryden/Caparini 2006).

Exporting the State Monopoly on Violence: The Triad of Rules, Organisations and Capacities

To specify the particular scope and scale of the comprehensive security governance transfers, the project uses the definition put forward by the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC), the agency that has taken the lead in developing comprehensive SSR strategies and mainstreaming them into current international assistance programmes. The project understands security governance transfers as comprehensive if they seek to increase partner countries’ abilities to “meet the range of security needs within their societies in a manner consistent with democratic norms and sound principles of governance, transparency and the rule of law. SSR includes, but extends well beyond, the narrower focus of more traditional security assistance on defence, intelligence and policing” (OECD 2004: 81). Comprehensive concepts for security governance transfers contain prescriptive models of the legitimate use of force by a state, since they include not only technical assistance, but also the parallel transfer of specific sets of norms and rules that govern the use of force in most OECD states. To be able to specify success and failure of these new models, we distinguish three major elements of comprehensive security transfers: an overarching set of institutional rules that governs the conduct of the state in its use of violence, the organisational structures of a state’s security sector and finally the ‘muscle’ or technical capacities of the state monopoly on violence, i.e. trained personnel and equipment. Examples for the transfer of institutional rules are the establishment of military rules of engagement, of police laws, or of specific laws that concern the safeguarding of civil liberties or human rights through security actors. The organisational aspects of security transfers concern, for instance, the establishment of training and education structures, e.g. police academies, the creation of civilian oversight structures or the organisational separation of police and military structures. Finally, capacity transfers include the training of armed and law enforcement personnel as well as the transfer of military and police equipment. The success or failure of comprehensive international SSR missions will be measured against their ability to replicate the triad of rules, organisations and capacities that make up the Westphalian state’s monopoly on violence within areas of limited statehood.

Types of Transfer Output: Comprehensive, Partial and Failed Transfers

Although current political strategies invariably stress the need for ‘comprehensive and crosscutting’ policy solutions, for ‘holistic’ and ‘whole of government’‐approaches (see Council of the European Union 2005; European Commission 2006b; DFID 2002), empirical observations show that the output of security governance transfers is rarely comprehensive. The high costs of comprehensive transfers for both international and domestic actors, the sheer complexity of the task and the possibility of adverse conditions in the recipient states make complete transfers of all three elements of the Westphalian state monopoly on violence very difficult. Initial evidence indicates that the likelihood that transfers remain incomplete or unsuccessful is higher than the likelihood that the output of transfers is comprehensive. Therefore, the study distinguishes between three categories of transfer outputs: comprehensive, partial and failed transfers. Comprehensive transfers and transfer failures represent the opposite ends of a continuum of transfer outputs. In the former case, the entire set of Western security norms, organisational structures and capacities is replicated in the recipient state. In the latter case of failed security transfers, international attempts to transfer security institutions are completely unsuccessful.

The failure to comprehensively transplant a particular governance system from its country of origin into a receiving societal order is not surprising in itself. From a historical perspective, the wholesale transplantation of complex institutions from one country to the next is very unlikely. Studies of the historical record of state formation in Europe have emphasised the complex and protracted nature of the evolution of the Westphalian state monopoly on violence (see Tilly 1975; Giddens 1985; Mann 1993). Hence, failures to export an institutional model that had been in the making for hundreds of years in its original location are to be expected. Perhaps more puzzling is the phenomenon that transfers usually do not fail in their entirety: often, international actors succeed in piecemeal transfers of specific rules, institutions or capacities to a territory. This third and largest group of incomplete or partial transfer outputs constitutes the core interest of the research project. In these cases, the transfers of institutional rules, organizational structures and capacities are not comprehensive, but disconnected. Even transfers that are comprehensive at the outset are likely to result in only partially reformed security orders in an assisted state. Indeed, initial empirical evidence points to the phenomenon that the forms of security governance that emerge in assisted states often combine elements of Western institutional norms, organisational structures and technical capacities with existing domestic security institutions. In some cases, e.g. in Bosnia and Herzegovina, international actors have not transferred one single model of law enforcement and criminal justice institutions, but several. Resulting from the fragmentation of comprehensive and multilateral UN or EU transfer strategies into different territorial missions headed by different lead nations, a variety of legal systems are in place across Bosnia today. Also in many other cases, transfers have resulted in several distinct and oftentimes disjoint layers of security competences and organisational structures, instead of creating a single model of security governance. The project develops an initial typology of these forms of partial security governance transfers that will later be revised in light of the empirical evidence.

By providing a fine‐grained comparative analysis of different cases of international security governance transfers, the project aims at a better understanding of the collisions and combinations of normative and organisational security orders that can result from them. The project traces how externally induced rules and organisational structures are translated and modified by existing domestic institutional settings (SFB Goal 4: Processes of Adaptation and Resistance). It further analyses whether external security transfers lead to the emergence of new forms of multi‐level security governance in assisted states and regions. Finally, it assesses whether and when partial transfers of security norms and architectures can lead to negative and unintended consequences for donor or target states (SFB Goal 3: Effectiveness and Legitimacy of Governance). As one of its main research outcomes, the project uses the empirical insights to develop a typology of different transfer outputs of external SSR projects in areas of limited statehood.

Explanatory Framework

The project’s research design seeks to explain variation in the output of international security governance transfers to areas of limited statehood. The generation of hypotheses on the successes and failures of SSR in this young and so far not consolidated research area has not progressed far. Therefore, the project presents a theoretically informed but partially inductive research design that draws on studies of policy and norm transfers conducted in other research fields. The project approaches the issue of security governance transfers from two major angles: First, it focuses on the ‘modes of governance’ employed in each security transfer process (SFB Goal 1: Modes of Negotiation, Coordination and Power Relations). Second, it takes into account the influence of differences in domestic conditions encountered in assisted states or regions on the results of security transfers (SFB Goal 2: Statehood as Enabling Condition for Governance). The project compares and contrasts the specific interplay of external and domestic factors that determine the output of security governance transfers. Finally, the study controls a variety of other domestic and external factors.

 

Modes of Governance

The study assesses how different transfer mechanisms influence their results. Drawing on arguments about the dynamics of rule and policy transfers developed within the literatures on Europeanisation and international norm diffusion (see 3.3.1), the project applies insights from these literatures to the international transfers of norms, organisations and capacities. Summing up the current discussion on different modes of governance in the literature, the project distinguishes between three modes of governance that can be employed during security transfers: hierarchical (i.e. the direct coercive imposition of rules and institutions), external incentive‐based (i.e. voluntary transfers via positive or negative incentives, bargaining) and social learning‐based (i.e. voluntary transfers via persuasion, argumentation or lesson drawing). External transfer agents can impose rules, create incentives for rule‐following, or persuade the recipients to adopt a rule. Each mode identifies different conditions for the effectiveness and success‐rate of external reform initiatives. In the first case of hierarchical transfers, the success of transfers depends on a strongly hierarchical relationship between donor and target actors. In the ‘external incentives’‐mode, the size and credibility of incentives, as well as the domestic adoption costs play a large role in the success of transfers. As Schimmelfennig (2005: 4) holds, a state will comply with external incentives if their benefits exceed the domestic adoption costs. Finally, social learning models expect that the adoption of external reforms depends on the degree to which a state is persuaded by them and regards them as appropriate in light of its collective identity, values and norms. As ideal‐types, designed to capture different ways in which actors can exert influence, the three modes of governance typically appear in combinations, while ‘pure’ modes are comparatively rare. The project will analyse which mode dominates in the respective cases and how this affects the results of security transfers.

In general, all three modes of governance have been employed in different combinations and at different times. Highly coercive transfers took place during the colonial era, when colonisers exported complete security architectures to their colonies. India’s Imperial Police, the Palestine Police Force or the South African Police are examples of externally created colonial police forces that shared their traditional constabulary police duties with the overriding aim of colonial regime maintenance. Police and military train and equip programmes conducted within international protectorates or transitional UN administrations similarly qualify as instances of hierarchical governance transfers. Starting with the earliest UN transitional authorities in Cambodia (UNTAC) and Eastern Slavonia (UNTAES) in the early 1990s and continuing with the recent and ongoing international administrations in Timor-Leste (UNTAET), Bosnia (UNMIBH) and Kosovo (UNMIK), the United Nations have had unprecedented authority over the domestic arrangements and the sovereignty of the internationally administered regions (see Stahn 2008; Zaum 2007).

In contrast to these hierarchical forms of transfers, voluntary transfers also have a long historical pedigree in the field of security transfers. For instance in the case of Ottoman Egypt, the first attempt to transplant French and Prussian military organisational structures into the region was made by Muhammad Ali in the early part of the 19th century (see Ralston 1990; Fahmy 1997). More recently, during the transition from the apartheid regime since 1990, South Africa pursued an internally‐led police reform process that voluntarily drew on outside expertise and earlier lessons of police reforms in other countries (see Malan 2000). Finally, nearly all current and recent transfers share elements of the ‘external incentives’ and ‘social learning’ modes of governance. The large‐scale security assistance programmes during the Cold War were based on economic rewards. Equally, the governance transfers in the context of EU and NATO enlargement were driven by external incentives (see Schimmelfennig/Sedelmeier 2004, 2005) and, to some extent, social learning modes (see Gheciu 2005).

It remains unclear, however, which mode of governance will yield the most successful results. The ability of international actors to impose specific ideas and organisational structures on the assisted state or region is clearly highest in the highly hierarchical settings of international administrations. But are hierarchical security governance transfers really more successful than voluntary transfers based on lesson drawing, social learning or external incentives in the cases under consideration here? Proponents of the social learning models argue otherwise. In brief, the project seeks to single out the influence of different governance modes on the comprehensiveness, or a lack thereof, of policy transfer outputs.

State Capacity and Legitimacy

As a second explanatory factor, the project introduces the influence of the state of the assisted state’s domestic institutions into the equation. The empirical literature on SSR agrees that domestic factors play a large role in determining the effectiveness of security governance transfers, but it has not come to conclusions about the influence of specific domestic factors. The project differentiates between the conditions of domestic reform contexts according to the specific strength of the assisted state and the resulting ‘shadow of hierarchy’ C6 Schröder 647 (SFB Goal 2: Statehood as Enabling Condition for Governance). Primarily, the project focuses on the role which strong or weak security institutions of the target state play in determining the results of international security transfers.

Building upon the SFB’s conceptualisation of statehood (SFB Main Research Agenda (Rahmenantrag); see also Fukuyama 2004: 6) and adding to it Holsti’s (1996: 82) focus on legitimacy as a measurement of state strength, the project differentiates between two dimensions of a state’s monopoly on violence: institutional capacities, on the one hand, and the legitimacy of the state’s security apparatus, on the other. The first dimension, state capacity, refers to the institutional capacity of a state to implement political decisions and to follow through on its reform plans. Without the necessary domestic state capacity, external reform efforts are less likely to succeed. The second dimension, state legitimacy, refers to the relationship of a state to its citizens. Since security institutions can be both sources of violence and sources of security for a state’s citizens, trust in security institutions is not a given. Indeed, areas of limited statehood are frequently characterised by the mistrust of citizens in the security sectors of their own states, be it as a result of violent colonial histories or traditions of rent seeking by governments. Trust, or a lack thereof, in a state’s security institutions is expected to strongly influence the effects of reform efforts: reforms should be difficult to implement if security institutions are ineffective, biased or violent. In areas of limited statehood, states are expected to be weak in terms of their capacity and in terms of their legitimacy, which adds to the problems of effectively implementing SSR from the outside.

Excluded Explanatory Perspectives

This project aims to develop hypotheses that causally link transfer mechanisms with their results and it additionally focuses on the impact of a specific set of domestic conditions on the success of transfers. Apart from these two main explanatory accounts, it controls the influence of several additional factors: the role of non‐state actors in transfers, the substance and scale of transfers and the ‘fit’ of external institutions with domestic ones.

First, this project differs from other projects in Research Area C that emphasise the role of non-state security actors (C1 Zürcher, C2 Chojnacki). In the case of international security governance transfers, the set of actors remains mostly limited to traditional actors that make up the state’s monopoly on violence. On both sides, transfers primarily involve – with some exceptions, e.g. the use of private military companies in police and military training – professionals from the armed and law enforcement services and their respective oversight bodies. Second, the substance of security transfers can vary considerably across involved donors. Whereas the new comprehensive transfers aim to export security rules, organisations and capacities, other types of transfers (e.g. counter‐terrorism assistance, counter‐insurgency or border control assistance) focus heavily on the export of technical infrastructure and capacity building. This project, however, focuses on large‐scale comprehensive transfers and therefore does not focus on classical security assistance policies. A final set of alternative explanations concerns the ‘fit’ of the transferred security institutions with the model of security governance already in place in a target state. In the field of EU studies, arguments about the structural and institutional feasibility of transfers have been expressed as ‘goodness of fit’‐hypotheses. The higher the mismatch between external demands and domestic structures, the higher the adoption costs for domestic actors (see Featherstone/Radaelli 2003; Gregory 2005; Börzel/Risse 2003). Yet, the goodness of fit of rules and organisational structures does not vary much in the case of security transfers to areas of limited statehood. SSR are only initiated in cases of substantial misfit between the domestic rules and institutions of a target state and external actors’ forms of security governance.

Operationalisation and Case Selection

Operationalisation

The study operationalises its main dependent variable, the ‘output’ of international security governance transfers, as follows: the output of a policy transfer refers to the first stage of the implementation process, i.e. to the transfer of the legal and administrative measures, necessary to put a policy into practice (see Easton 1965; see also SFB Main Research Agenda (Rahmenantrag)). In concrete terms, output in our case refers to the ability of external actors to create new sets of security norms, organisational structures and technical capabilities in assisted states. The transfer of security norms and rules is indicated, for instance, by formal changes in the overarching constitutional framework, governing the security architecture of a state by the adoption of relevant international conventions, e.g. those referring to ius in bello, or by the establishment of formal civilian oversight bodies for the security sector. Furthermore, the reform or establishment of specific organisational bodies and security infrastructures, e.g. the creation of a police academy or police college, indicates the transfer of security organisations. On the level of capacities, the numbers of forces trained and the type of technical infrastructure transferred to the assisted state, measure transfer output. If international actors manage to transfer all three elements, the transfer output is characterised comprehensive. If they establish only one or two of the outlined elements, the output of transfers remains incomplete.

The project selects its cases on the dependent variable: it chooses cases that vary in terms of the output that international transfers have produced. This selection is necessarily preliminary, since existing empirical knowledge about the output of security governance transfers is still limited. Furthermore, the two main explanatory factors ‐ the modes of governance employed in international transfers and the strength of assisted states – appear to vary sufficiently across the selected cases. Finally, the project chooses cases that have a series of matching properties to allow for a controlled comparison: in all cases, the timing, transfer substance and scale, as well as the set of actors involved are similar. The project roughly covers the time span 2000‐2012, during which the majority of comprehensive SSR missions were deployed.

The universe of cases is limited to a relatively small and recent set of large‐scale and multi‐actor international assistance missions. Comprehensive reforms have been attempted in Central, South Eastern and Eastern Europe, in some states in South and West Africa (South Africa, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Congo, Guinea Bissau), in some parts of Asia (Indonesia and Timor-Leste, Cambodia, to some extent Afghanistan), in very few cases in Latin America (particularly Haiti, also in Guatemala) and in some parts of the Middle East and Maghreb (Iraq, Palestinian Territories, Lebanon). Within this universe, some practical considerations played a role in case selection: to facilitate the collection of empirical data, the project focuses on cases of ‘open’ and publicly discussed reform processes, excluding the ‘stealth’ reforms (see OECD DAC, 2005) of many African states. Several states are currently embroiled in civil war or other conflicts, which makes field research on the status of the security sector difficult (for instance Afghanistan, Iraq, Congo and Haiti, among others). Of the remaining cases, the project first chooses three states that fit into the case selection criteria outlined above: Timor-Leste, Liberia and the Palestinian Territories.

 

 

(1) Timor-Leste

As the most comprehensive SSR programme in Asia to date, reforms in Timor-Leste are tackling the challenge of reconstructing an entire security system from scratch. The two services central to reform efforts are the police (the Polícia Nacional de Timor-Leste, PNTL) and the armed forces (the F-FDTL composed of the Forças Armadas de Libertação Nacional de Timor-Leste, FALINTIL, and the Forças de Defesa de Timor-Leste). While the police service was created from scratch in 2000 with considerable international support, the armed forces emerged from the Timorese independence movements and initially received less international assistance (see International Crisis Group 2008). The first case study in Timor-Leste assesses the output of the UN transitional administration’s (UNTAET, 1999-2002) mandate for police and justice reforms and subsequent efforts to establish police and military forces in Timor-Leste after Indonesia withdrew in 1999, leaving the country without functioning state or security institutions. UNTAET’s initial failure to establish sustainable and effective security institutions is compared to the work of the follow-up support missions UNMISET (2002-2005), UNOTIL (2005-2006) and UNMIT (2006-today).

Going far beyond the involvement of the UN in Timor-Leste, the majority of support was in fact bilateral and included Australia, which is also a leading contributor to ongoing peacekeeping efforts, as well as China, Portugal, Brazil and Malaysia. In terms of bilateral donors, Timor-Leste is an outlier case that has attracted an unusual mix of actors, thus making it an interesting study of different external approaches to SSR. Moving from the hierarchical imposition of order during the period of the UN interim administration to independence and later to conflict and the deployment of international peacekeeping troops, the choice of state also allows for assessing the effects of variation in the mode of governance used in external security governance transfers.

(2) Liberia

After 14 years of civil war finally ended in 2003, the security sector in Liberia was characterised by “redundancy, inadequate control, and incoherence” (Malan 2008: 10) and thus in dire need of reform. In a shared effort between the Liberian government under president Johnson-Sirleaf and a variety of international actors, SSR in Liberia have been “unprecedented in ambition”, yet they have yielded “mixed results” (International Crisis Group 2009: i). Liberia together with Sierra Leone and South Africa is thus one of the few examples in Africa where comprehensive and radical SSR has so far been attempted. Although initial attempts to reform the armed forces were provided for under the terms of the Abuja Peace Accords, a return to violence in the late 1990s made progress impossible. Meaningful SSR thus only got off the ground in 2004 after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement for Liberia. Today, key actors in the reform of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) and the Liberian National Police (LNP) are the Liberian government itself, the United States and the UN’s Mission to Liberia - UNMIL.

In direct contrast to the case of Timor-Leste, the Liberian armed forces have undergone a complete and radical reform that rebuilt the whole organisation from scratch, while the reform of the police service built on existing personnel often drawn from other security services and marked by the legacy of the long civil war. In 2009, defence reform led by the U.S. and partially outsourced to private military companies has been classified as a ‘provisional success’ (International Crisis Group 2009: 9). Police reform, on the other hand, has been beset with a variety of problems. In 2005, the UNMIL-led process was declared a failure and today, the police are still widely perceived to be ineffective and corrupt. Finally, one decisive element lacking in the reform process of both internal and external security institutions was a national security strategy indicating the main objectives of the reform process as well as decisive legislation setting out the missions of the armed and law enforcement services. In sum, Liberian SSR can be classified as a case of partial transfers: while some reforms clearly failed, others, at least early on in the process, proved to be relatively successful.

 

(3) Palestinian Territories

The reform of the Palestinian security sector plays a key role in the Middle East peace process. Different bilateral and international actors are engaged in a series of reform programmes aimed at reducing the size of the overly large Palestinian security sector, at enhancing legislative oversight over its different organisations and at making it more credible and effective (see Friedrich 2004 for an overview).The Palestinian Authority’s security forces are to a large extent sponsored by the international community and regulated by the 1993 Oslo Accords. Formally, they remain limited to domestic policing tasks in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Yet, not only their size, but also their actual tasks regularly surpass the limits imposed by the accords. In fact, not only do the Palestinian Territories boast at least 12 different security agencies that have additional separate branches in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, they also have the highest ratio of security personnel to civilian population in the world.

The second uprising or Intifada, Hamas’ rise to power in Gaza in 2006, the continuing significance of non-statutory security forces and Israel’s recent incursions into the Gaza Strip combine to create a particularly difficult domestic situation for SSR. Nevertheless, the Palestinian Authority has received large scale bi- and multilateral security assistance from a variety of sources. Major actors involved in different reform projects are the U.S., the U.K., the EU, as well as Jordan and Egypt. While currently limited to the West Bank, major external reform initiatives have assisted in enhancing the Palestinian Authority’s control of its security forces and in making the security sector both more effective and credible since 2002. In the past, European and U.S. approaches to Palestinian SSR have differed considerably in their strategies. While the U.S. aimed at reorganising the security forces mainly in line with Israeli security concerns, the broader ‘reformist’ approach of the EU and the Palestinian Authority itself, among other actors, aims to establish both more effective and more democratically accountable security forces. In the wake of Israeli military campaigns, the reconstruction of security capacities and the establishment of regional stability currently have priority. In sum, assistance to the Palestinian Territories has been beset with problems from the start and unequivocal successes have been scarce. In the context of the project, it is classified as a case of incomplete and partial transfer.

Relevance for Research Center 700

With its thematic focus on the transfer of security governance architectures, the C6 research programme responds to some of the key questions of the SFB 700 research agenda, including how effective and legitimate governance can be transferred from the transnational level to non-OECD states. As part of the Research Center´s “Security” programme, the C6 project asks how governance in areas of limited statehood is generated. Within the Security programme, the C6 research agenda presents an analysis of the hybrid governance structures that arise from national and international security orders in areas of limited statehood. This focus on the institutional conditions of effective and legitimate security governance in areas of limited statehood means that the project offers a useful contribution to existing debates about the provision of security. The C6 project also makes useful connections with other projects, including for example the line of questioning explored in the history project C5 (Rinke), which looks at security governance in the culturally heterogeneous border regions of Mexico/USA and Argentina/Chile. With its focus on classical state security actors in areas of limited statehood, the project C6 further complements the research perspectives of other SFB projects including C1 (Zürcher) and C2 (Chojnacki), which focus principally on the roles of commercial and private actors in new forms security governance.

In the context of the broader SFB research agenda, complementary research perspectives also exist with the research programme “Governance Institutions” (B), since the C6 project focuses on developing a conceptual understanding of the institutional conditions necessary for successful security governance. In this regard, project C6 is especially complementary to the project B2 (Börzel), which looks at the promotion of good governance through regional organisations in areas of limited statehood. Further synergies also exist with the project B7 (Schuppert), which studies the transfer of legal norms as well as project B6 (Harders), which focuses on transfers by local governance institutions.

Ultimately the project responds to four of the six questions that are central to the SFB research agenda: first of all, the project investigates the conditions under which international SSR efforts lead to effective and legitimate forms of security governance in areas of limited statehood (SFB Goal 3: Effectiveness and Legitimacy of Governance). Secondly, C6 contributes to answering questions that are especially relevant to the second phase of SFB research, about the utility and legitimacy of new forms of governance. The project asks how transferable the complex regulatory structures of the Western model of the state monopoly on the use of force really are, in particular with regard to the often neglected linkages between the transfer of technical elements (security infrastructure and capacity) and the transfer of security norms (rule of law and democratic control) (See SFB Main Research Agenda (Rahmenantrag)). Thirdly the project looks at the outcomes of international transfer efforts with a focus on the influence of various modes of negotiation and coordination (SFB Goal 1: Modes of Negotiation, Coordination and Power Relations), as well as on the role of a local “shadow of hierarchy” (SFB Goal 2: Statehood as Enabling Condition for Governance). Finally the project also explores the processes of adaptation and resistance that local actors adopt in response to the transfer of security norms, organisational forms and technical capacities (SFB Goal 4: Processes of Adaptation and Resistance).

 

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