Security Sector Reform And Making Change Happen In A Defence Ministry

Dominic Scott, Huguette Labelle, Mark Pyman, Burak Bekdil, John Githongo, Ana Glenda Tager Rosado, 12th IACC, Plenary report, Human Security

Main Issues Covered


Corruption has to a certain extent retreated to the security sector in Africa. How can this be tackled?

The Turkish military is criticized (eg by EU) for having failed to reform. How can such reform be effected?

How to approach security sector reform in a country transitioning to democracy, with particular reference to Guatemala.

An outline of Transparency International UK’s defence sector work

An overview of recent security sector reform efforts in the Polish Ministry of National Defense


Main Outcomes


Turkey’s failure to ensure greater oversight of military budget and parliamentary scrutiny of extra budgetary funds must be addressed. This is applicable to many other countries.

As the protector against all foreign and domestic threats, the Turkish military can shirk the reform which government is trying to impose on it, as it privately views the government as a domestic threat.

Proper civilian control of government is prerequisite for democratic control of military (reference Turkey). The government cannot credibly push for the reform of the military until it is itself reformed such that it is transparent and accountable.

Corruption in security leads to the sector (eg the military) bleeding expenditures from other sectors

Security sector reform requires a holistic approach – intelligence, police, military must be tackled simultaneously and in tandem with reform of the judiciary.

Security sector reform must seek to strengthen democratic control, efficiency of institutions and promote regional initiatives.

Independent expertise, tender reviews, civil oversight and IPs, civilian procurement, independent reviews and interviews, electronic procurement, guide for control of offsets, confidence in external relationships are key to defence procurement reform.

Efforts by the Polish Ministry of Defence to fight corruption include: the appointment of an ethics director to create and implement an anti-corruption policy, efforts to fight conflicts of interest among members of tender commissions through strict enforcement of rules, greater competition in procurement, and more information on procurements, prosecutions (recently a general was charged for the first time in a corruption case), implementation Defence Integrity Pacts on VIP aircraft and transport helicopters, use of electronic auctions

Lessons in the Poland reform process include how valuable outside experts are, how important consistent application of the rules is, the enhancement of procedures rather than relying on personnel changes


Main Outputs


No outputs as yet.


Recommendations, Follow-up Actions


It would be most useful to publish the identities of the 12 key African arms agents (mostly small arms).

The military grip on government must be loosened for the government to democratically control the military (reference Turkey)

Periodic reviews of the Ministry of Defence are most useful, and can catalyse reform, as in the case of the Colombian Ministry of Defense which was reviewed by TI Colombia (TPC)

The TI UK defence team is looking for national chapters with which to collaborate on defence ministry reform.


Workshop Highlights (including interesting quotes)


The soft underbelly of defence procurement is the commercial debt which is incurred to finance the procurement. This debt should be audited and will throw up a lot of information and a few surprises. Comparisons between what one country pays compared to another, including interest rates on these debts will reveal a lot of surprises. (John Githongo)

Proper civilian control of government is a prerequisite for democratic control of military. In a democracy, civilian control over military is sina qua non, but so is civilian control over the government. Government therefore must first reform itself first (Burak Bekdil)

We want to be the leader in implementing a-c solutions” (Polish Defence Minister Sikorski as quoted by Maciej Wnuk)

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Brazil 2012

Brazil 2012

IACC Video

IACC Video