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International Peacekeeping
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Security Sector Reform and the


Emergence of Hybrid Security
Governance
Ursula C. Schroeder, Fairlie Chappuis & Deniz Kocak
Published online: 09 Jun 2014.

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To cite this article: Ursula C. Schroeder, Fairlie Chappuis & Deniz Kocak (2014) Security
Sector Reform and the Emergence of Hybrid Security Governance, International
Peacekeeping, 21:2, 214-230, DOI: 10.1080/13533312.2014.910405
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Security Sector Reform and the Emergence


of Hybrid Security Governance
URSULA C. SCHROEDER, FAIRLIE CHAPPUIS and
DENIZ KOCAK

Comprehensive Security Sector Reform (SSR) has become a crucial component of many
international peace- and statebuilding operations. The paper assesses the consequences
of these attempts to foster international standards of democratic security governance in
the security sectors of post-conflict or fragile states. The paper builds on qualitative case
study research of SSR interventions in Timor-Leste, Liberia, and the Palestinian Territories, conducted 2010 2012, to trace patterns of adoption, adaptation or rejection of
international security governance standards by domestic actors. The article uses insights
from sociological organization theories to identify different types of hybrid security
orders that result from encounters between international and domestic models of security
governance in SSR processes.

Introduction
External support to security sector reform (SSR) has become a crucial instrument
in international peace- and statebuilding activities. Aiming to comprehensively
transform the ways that states control the use of force, international operations
in this field seek to foster international standards of democratic security governance in post-conflict or fragile states. This means assuring that the security sector
is operationally effective and efficient, while also subject to civilian, democratic
control within a framework of rule of law and respect for human rights. International SSR operations are thus highly prescriptive enterprises: external
support in this field seeks to diffuse a set of standardized assumptions about
how the security services of a state should function, and how they should be controlled. Explicitly designed to not only strengthen the technical capacities of a
security sector, but also to foster specific norms and standards concerning the
management, control and oversight of the security sector, interventions of this
type share a specific normative and organizational outlook on security governance. Mandates for international SSR operations support the creation of effective
state monopolies on the legitimate use of force, kept in check by parliamentary
and judicial control systems, which provide strong accountability and transparency mechanisms, based on ideal-typical models of stable and democratic statehood in the OECD world. We distinguish between two central principles that
shape international attempts to reform security sectors according to international
standards of democratic governance.1 First, the use of violence by the state is
managed through a system of control that supports civilian, democratic governance; and second, institutions responsible for providing security are made accountable and transparent in their use and management of force through mechanisms
International Peacekeeping, Vol.21, No.2, 2014, pp.214230
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13533312.2014.910405 # 2014 Taylor & Francis

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of effective democratic oversight. The international security governance model


that these principles describe is a deeply normative agenda for changing security
governance in recipient states. Closely aligned with the liberal international statebuilding agenda, this donor-driven reform narrative is grounded in idealtypical notions of democratic security governance that often stand in near total
contrast to the way security is actually governed in typical reform contexts.
The promotion of the broad and underspecified concepts of democratic or
community-oriented policing in many reform contexts serves as only one
example of a international reform discourse that is caught up in what critical
scholars argue are shared myths and misunderstandings about security governance in areas of limited statehood.
The realities of security provision in the post-conflict or fragile states receiving
external assistance diverge considerably from the stated goals of this international
narrative. Bloated post-conflict security sectors, weak formal institutions, and the
inability to respond to multiple internal and external challenges to the sovereignty
of the state are typical characteristics of security sectors in such cases. Particularly
in states where political authority is weak or contested, democratic control over
the security forces is often completely lacking. Instead, governance of the security
sector can be characterized by alternative mechanisms of control based on
patronage politics or rooted in informal power structures. In some cases, state
leaders exert direct, centralized control over the security sector, while in others,
individual security agencies serve specific clientelistic factions in the domestic political spectrum. Attempts to instil international standards of democratic security
governance in such contexts through SSR have largely failed in changing these
realities.
Leaving aside long-standing conventional forms security assistance that seek
only to make security agencies more operationally effective (e.g. in the fight
against organized crime or terrorism), this article investigates the consequences
of attempts to introduce international standards of democratic security governance into the often ineffective, fragmented or politicized security sectors of
post-conflict or fragile states: how do domestic security orders respond to externally supported reforms? Focusing the analysis on the visible outcomes of encounters between external and domestic models of security governance, the article
traces the adoption, adaptation or rejection of external security governance
models by domestic actors in recipient states.
The article uses insights from sociological organization theories to identify
patterns of coexistence and competition between external and domestic norms
and standards of security governance. Comparing qualitative empirical case
study research conducted throughout 2010 2012 in Timor-Leste, Liberia, and
the Palestinian Territories, we specify the different types of mixed or hybrid
forms of security governance that emerged as a consequence of the encounters
between external and domestic security governance models, showing how external interventions reconfigure and fail to reconfigure security sector governance in fragile and post-conflict states. In doing so, the paper presents a
comprehensive analysis and critique of current implementation patterns of international reform discourses in the field of security governance.

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Varieties of Hybrid Security Governance: Analytical Framework


The article starts from the observation that external attempts to transform security governance in fragile or post-conflict states through SSR have not normally led
to the comprehensive transfer of international standards of democratic security
governance to recipient states. Instead, SSR initiatives result in the piecemeal
and partial diffusion of different sets of security norms, organizational structures
or technical capacities to recipient states. A crucial guiding assumption in our
analysis of these patterns is that domestic actors and their interests determine
the outcomes of external reform attempts, by borrowing selectively2 from external models of security governance, instead of adopting them wholesale. Security
governance models are thus not downloaded in their entirety from the international level, and reform processes instead result in outcomes that combine
external and domestic forms of security governance in different, and unanticipated, ways. These mixed or hybrid security orders combine elements of domestic and external security governance, and so far remain underexplored and
poorly understood.
In other fields of research, encounters between external and domestic normative and institutional orders have been described alternatively as processes of
institutional bricolage3 or as the development of assemblages.4 In the field of
peace- and statebuilding, the concept of hybridity in particular has been used
to capture the evolving linkages and interdependencies between external and
domestic traditions and institutions. Mac Ginty5 and Jarstad and Belloni6
employ this lens to explore the mixing and distortion of domestic social and political configurations through external peacebuilding interventions. In the field of
statebuilding, Boege, Brown and Clements put forward the concept of hybrid
political orders in order to account for situations in which contradictory and dialectic forms of authority structures co-exist, overlap, interact, and intertwine,
combining elements of introduced Western models of governance and elements
stemming from local indigenous traditions of governance and politics.7 Building
on these approaches, we introduce sociological organization theory to further
specify the varieties of what we call hybrid security governance, emerging
from international security interventions.
The analysis focuses on the selective adoption by domestic actors of specific
elements of the international security governance model: we differentiate external
reform efforts into those targeting the transformation of overarching norms and
rules, institutional-level organizational structures, and the technical capacities of
security services. Thus, for example, the creation of a new legislative framework
for security provision, or the establishment of new norms around the use of
force, would constitute examples of the transfer of norms and rules; while the reorganization of the internal practices or hierarchy of a government management,
oversight or security institution would reflect a transfer of organizational structures. The transfer of technical capacities to the security services, often specified
as so-called train and equip elements of reform, refers to efforts to improve the
skill level of security forces in the practice of their profession. SSR differs from
conventional forms of security assistance by the fact that it attempts to change

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security governance by reforming the security sector across all three of these levels
at once. Making this differentiation enables us to distinguish the consequences of
selective adoption of reforms across different levels of governance, and thereby
identify instances of hybridization of security governance. Such instances
include, for example, cases where domestic actors have brought the organizational
structures and technical capacities of a service in line with international standards,
but without parallel changes in the normative basis of security governance. Alternatively, international norms may have been imported into the domestic legislative
framework of the security sector, while actual security practices remain aligned
with other domestic political interests. Finally, new organizational structures
may be formally incorporated into domestic security orders, while remaining inactive in practice. These examples are not exhaustive, and serve only to indicate how
our framework can be applied to gain new analytic purchase on the difficult
question of gauging results of reform in the security sector.
Drawing on conceptual work in the field of sociological organization theory,
we identify several patterns resulting from selective adoption processes. First, the
creation of new organizational structures can result in the emergence of ceremonial structures8 that reflect specific external norms and standards, but that do not
function in practice. Effectively shielding an organization from the effects of
externally induced processes of change, these instances of loose coupling
between an organizations formal structure and its actual day-to-day activities
allows an organization to formally adhere to the specific normative requirements
of its institutional environment, yet without necessarily changing its routines and
practice.9 Organizations buffer their formal structures from the uncertainties of
technical activities by becoming loosely coupled, building gaps between their
formal structures and actual work activities.10 Essentially, new organizational
structures are created for what they represent symbolically and the values they
embody.11 In these cases of ceremonial conformity, the question of how
formal structures and processes are made to appear, is more important than
how they work in practice.12 For instance, within the security sector, the adoption
of a specific organizational structure for a new type of policing, e.g. in line with
international standards of community policing, does not indicate parallel behavioural changes in the police force, but allows for the appearance that domestic
security governance has changed. Similarly, the formal adoption of a specific normative standard by an organization does not vouch for its actual practical relevance. In the literature on norm diffusion, one standard measure for norm
adoption is the extent to which a norm has become embedded in a states constitutional or legislative system.13 While this is a plausible measurement in cases of
functioning state and judicial institutions, in weak states, the level of institutionalization of a norm does not tell us much about its application. New police laws,
for example, can be highly institutionalized on paper, but this tells us little about
their societal acceptance and practical relevance.
In short, in all of the cases here discussed, security sectors can become hybrid
in the sense that their overarching norms, organizational structures and dayto-day practices are patched up out of different governance systems and may conflict with each other. An indicative typology of the different ways that external

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TABLE 1
VARIETIES OF HYBRID SECURITY GOVERNANCE

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Norms and rules


Organizational structures
Technical capacities

Normative shells

Ceremonial structures

Capacity improvements

/3
3

/3
3

Notes: While a comprehensive transfer may in theory be possible, we have found as yet no examples of
this. Equally, while a complete rejection of external assistance is also theoretically possible, at least
some build-up of technical capacity is typical of even the most limited cases.

support can lead to the hybridization of domestic security orders summarizes the
possibilities this analytical framework offers.
(1) Normative Shells: Domestic actors nominally institutionalize specific norms
in their constitutional or legal apparatus, but fail to implement appropriate
organizational structures and capacities to translate these norms or rules
into substantive change in security governance.
(2) Ceremonial Structures: Domestic actors transform the organizational structures of the security sector, yet the new security architecture has no substantive effect on security governance because it is not supported by operational
capacities, or fully legitimated through a set of overarching norms.
(3) Capacity Improvements: Domestic actors enhance the operational capacities
of the security services through external training or infrastructural assistance,
and often with attempts to change organizational structures, but without
implementing overarching norms and rules to govern the use of force.

The Selective Adoption of International Security Governance Standards


The article presents findings from interview-based and document-driven empirical studies conducted throughout 2010 2012 on SSR-processes in Timor-Leste
(1999 2012), Liberia (2003 2012) and the Palestinian Territories (2006
2012). The domestic contexts of the three cases vary widely yet the nature of
international assistance is distinctly similar in each case: starting out with technical assistance programmes primarily geared at creating infrastructure and
training security services, over time external interventions became more substantively involved with reforming the management and oversight institutions
of domestic security sectors. Focusing on two core standards of the international security governance model democratic control, and accountability
and transparency our findings highlight that domestic actors were selective
in their adoption and adaptation, leading in each case to the further hybridization of domestic security governance.
The Case of the Palestinian West Bank
Reforms of the Palestinian Authority Security Forces (PASF) have always taken
place in the midst of an on-going conflict within the Palestinian Territories, and

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under conditions of Israeli military rule over the West Bank. The contrast between
Palestinian strategic visions for security sector transformation14 and the actual
domestic dynamics of security governance remains stark. The suspension of elections after the Palestinian civil war in 2006/7, and the bifurcation of the Palestinian Territories into the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip and the Fatah-governed
West Bank, led to a situation where democratic control over the security forces
was effectively impossible. After the mandate of the Palestinian Legislative
Council expired in early 2010, the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) functioned as a caretaker government operating in legal limbo, in which draft security
sector laws remained pending for years, and legislation, if passed at all, took the
form of presidential decree. In general, the Palestinian security sector was characterized by strong presidential control over operations, budgets and personnel. The
Palestinian National Security Council, established in 2003 to oversee the PNAs
security policies, was dissolved in 2007. The strong factionalization of Palestinian
politics aggravated the situation, with Fatah the largest faction of the Palestine
Liberation Organization (PLO) retaining control over nearly all aspects of political life in the West Bank.
Despite this complicated domestic political situation, several international
actors in particular the United States and the European Union provided sustained large-scale assistance to a Palestinian security sector in disarray. US and EU
approaches differed considerably in their emphasis on fostering democratic security governance in the West Bank. US strategies focused on building up Palestinian
security capabilities, in particular the paramilitary National Security Forces and
the Presidential Guard,15 and followed a primarily security-driven approach.16
Primarily involved with enhancing the capacities of the Palestinian Civil Police
(PCP) and the Ministry of the Interior (MOI), the EU shifted away from its
earlier technical assistance to Fatah-controlled security institutions after the
civil war in 2006/2007, towards extended support for rule of law and to security
governance and oversight institutions. This international assistance resulted in the
uneasy coexistence of different mechanisms of control and models of security
governance in the Palestinian security sector. Moreover, international security
governance standards were often only superimposed on a security sector that
often continued to function according to pre-existing logics of action: established
domestic political and security actors continued to control the PASF informally,17
despite the progressive adoption of international accountability and good governance standards in different services. Several examples exemplify the selective
domestic implementation of external standards.
Democratic governance of the security services: The nearly complete absence
of formal democratic control distinguishes the Palestinian security sector from the
cases of Liberia and Timor Leste. The empirical analysis shows: first, that the
early years of international support contributed to further weakening civilian,
democratic political control over the PASF; and second, that a subsequent shift
to governance-oriented reform programmes led to the adoption of various good
governance and accountability standards, but that their relevance remained
mostly symbolic.

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Particularly in the early years of international assistance after the Palestinian


civil war, external donors were primarily interested in the short-term goal of
restoring order and stability in the West Bank. Assistance sought to enhance
the technical capacities and capabilities of the PASF, with only very limited involvement in questions of security governance.18 However, this almost exclusive
external interest in PASF capacity development aggravated existing challenges
of security governance. By offering support directly to the security services, and
bypassing the relevant line ministries, donors inadvertently strengthened the
already powerful security commanders and further weakened the institutionalization of civilian political control over the security forces in the West Bank.19 One
example is the very limited assistance to the Palestinian Ministry of Interior that
formally exerts control over the internal security services. Both US and EU projects fundamentally disregarded the ministrys woefully underdeveloped civilian
functions and administrative superstructure.20 Rebuilt from scratch after its relocation from Gaza in 2006, the MOIs oversight and political control functions
have remained weak, with key decisions taken elsewhere, including by the commanders of the internal security services.21 Subsequent emphasis on governance
support programmes led to the establishment of several organizational structures
for oversight and strategic planning within the MOI. However, the implementation processes show that domestic actors only selectively adopted elements of
the international model. In particular the establishment of an Inspector Generals
Office in the MOI is a typical example of a purely ceremonial organizational
structure that was created at the behest of several international donors. While
the post of Inspector General was formally established by law, and had an
office allocated within the MOI for several years, the position was never
filled.22 The posts remit and oversight competencies remained politically contested and appointing a sufficiently senior officer to the post proved impossible.23 The Strategic Planning Department (SPD), established with US support
within the MOI, suffered a similar fate as the Inspector Generals Office.
Staffed mostly with private US contractors, the SPD was tasked with developing
the MOIs strategic planning and oversight capacities and produced a number of
strategy papers. However, external observers characterized the SPD as an isolated bubble within the MOI structure with little to no influence on police
work.24 Decoupled from the day-to-day work of the security services, it served
a predominantly symbolic function and soon lost domestic political support.
Essentially, the SPD reforms remained a top-level process,25 disconnected
from the work of the services. General dissatisfaction with its work and a
rising unwillingness on the part of the Palestinians to accept external interventions into their domestic security affairs led to the dissolution of the SPD in
2010.26
Accountability and transparency mechanisms in the security sector: Faced
with a rising number of citizens complaints about human rights infringements
and ill treatment by West Bank security services,27 the EU assisted in the creation
of several internal oversight mechanisms within the PCP: a Police Security and
Discipline Department, and a Bureau for Grievances and Human Rights, which
both investigated citizens complaints and grievances; and an Inspector-Generals

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Office, which focused on compliance with internal rules and procedures. The
three control mechanisms, however, at least initially remained ineffective,28
and little was known about their actual tasks and work. Furthermore, although
a new PCP code of conduct stressed the need for transparency, accountability
and adherence to human rights standards, it had no legal status and there was
no disciplinary code or a bylaw for disciplinary actions against the PCPs
service members. Although the PCP was vocally committed to adhering to international accountability and human rights standards, the service lacked a monitoring system, data to follow up complaints about its officers, and a comprehensive
strategy to enhance democratic control and accountability.29 It therefore remains
unclear to what extent the creation of new codes of conduct and oversight bodies
at higher levels within the PCPs hierarchy trickled down to the practices of the
lower echelons of the police. In particular, in a police service that lacked a
formal mandate based on a police law, and a full definition of police duties, the
question arises as to what standard police officers could be held accountable.30
The domestic import of international police accountability standards was selective, with newly created, service-internal oversight bodies and codes of conduct
remaining only loosely coupled to the polices day-to-day work. External
efforts to push for more civilian control and oversight came to nothing.31
Thus, as of 2013, the aspiration to . . . consolidate the various PA security
forces under unified civilian control that is accountable to rule of law and to
human rights norms remains largely unfulfilled.32
The Case of Liberia
Liberia ended 14 years of intermittent civil conflict in 2003 with the conclusion of
a comprehensive peace agreement (CPA) that became the roadmap for Liberias
reconstruction and extensive SSR. The United States and United Nations
Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) were the lead external actors in SSR, but a
number of other bilateral actors also provided assistance. Early SSR focused
first on the police and the military with the UN assuming responsibility for
police reform, and the US taking the lead on defence reform. The decision was
made by the US early on to completely disband the Armed Forces of Liberia
(AFL) and rebuild the institution from scratch, while the Liberian National
Police (LNP) were initially demobilized, vetted and large numbers of new recruits
trained in time to provide security for the 2005 elections. Initial reforms thus
focused mainly on security-providing institutions, and amounted to so-called
technical assistance missions, whereby support concentrated on building up
physical infrastructure and completing basic training. It was only after initial personnel targets in these areas were met, that attention turned to strengthening the
police and the military as organizations, involving for example, capacity building
for administration and management, and the development of rules, regulations
and standard operating procedures. The early years of SSR in Liberia were thus
characterized by capacity improvements that failed to have substantive impact
at the level of rules and norms. Civilian control of the security sector in Liberia
was concentrated with the presidency, and systemic checks and balances meant

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to provide for democratic control of the security sector were weak or nonexistent. Although the institutional setting of the Liberian security forces was significantly transformed in the first ten years of reform and Liberia moved away
from the politicized, ineffective and predatory security forces of the past, only
selected elements of the international security governance model were adopted,
resulting ultimately in the hybridization of domestic security governance.
Democratic governance of the security services: External efforts to strengthen
civilian democratic control within the Liberian police force met with some success
in supporting the development of formal policies and procedures, as well as stronger internal disciplinary mechanisms, and systems of merit-based recruitment and
advancement. Yet progress was slow: in one appraisal only 10% of what existed
on paper was deemed real.33 Equally, efforts to improve internal disciplinary
mechanisms, such as the Professional Standards Division of the Liberian National
Police (LNP), met with limited success due to the fact that the institutionalization
of these new norms of control was undermined by the personalized and politicized control members of the hierarchy retained over the system.34 Thus the
results of these external efforts fit the pattern of loose coupling, whereby policies
and procedures do not dictate the actual practice of policing, and the organizational changes they have generated amount to the creation of a ceremonial
structure.
External support to SSR was constrained by the fact that force level control
mechanisms, while important, could have only a limited impact on civilian,
democratic control of the security sector. Ultimately, issues of civilian democratic
control had to be resolved at the level of rules and norms, through the legal framework within which the security sector was to function. External actors encouraged reviews of security sector legislation from early in the reform process:
international staff assisted in the drafting of new legislation, and some policies
were even drafted directly by internationals for Liberian review.35 However, a
lack of political will and capacity to reform security sector legislation meant
that the overarching legislative framework, that would position the security
forces within a system of democratic civilian control, began to coalesce only
some five years after the beginning of post-conflict reforms. The first move in
this direction was marked by the passage of a new defence act and the adoption
of a national security strategy in 2008, both of which were drafted with heavy
external involvement.36 A further significant step towards enhancing democratic,
civilian control at the level of norms and rules came with the passage of the
National Security Reform and Intelligence Act of 2011, which was also drafted
with external support, and drew heavily on US models of national security governance. However, many of the substantive changes that this legislation was
meant to enact failed at the implementation stage, resulting instead in normative
shells of democratic security governance.
The slow pace of progress towards a stronger legal basis for democratic, civilian control of the security sector in Liberia reflected how domestic actors used
their power to selectively adopt certain aspects of the external reform agenda
in order to serve their own immediate interests, ultimately determining the
course of reform. Thus, for example, the continuing lack of an overarching

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legal framework for democratic security governance impeded external reform


agendas from the beginning, forcing external actors to focus on capacity improvement, such as training and equipment transfers, because the necessary elements
for a more comprehensive approach were lacking. A clear example of this
dynamic can be seen in the nature of UN-led police reform where the problem
of presidential appointments from middle to senior management positions
within the force consistently undermined capacity-building for the police: this
led, for example, to situations where LNP officers with up to nine years of professional training under international auspices worked under political appointees
with as little as 18-months experience in law enforcement.37 This system undermined both the operational effectiveness of the organization, as well as its democratic, civilian control because presidential appointees owed their position to
presidential patronage, rather than professional competence, or a formal organizational hierarchy. This tendency towards strong presidential control was a
long-standing anti-democratic feature of Liberian security governance that,
beyond the police, affected every aspect of the security sector. It was an issue
that, by its nature, could only be addressed by a constitutional revision and by
the introduction of new legal architecture for the security sector. It was thus a
problem that only the Liberian government could solve and external influence
was of limited impact as a result. This impasse in reform undermined the organizational changes made at the force level to improve control, giving them the character of a ceremonial structure since actual hierarchies of control remained only
loosely coupled with formal structures.
Accountability and transparency mechanisms in the security sector: External
support to increase accountability within Liberias security forces also made only
slow and halting progress. Focusing on one example within the AFL, the US led a
consortium of external actors, including the International Red Cross, the UN and
both civilian and military US agencies, in establishing a Military Legal Center.
This initiative saw the first legal officers and clerks trained in 2010, and also
led to the introduction of a Liberian military code of justice, modelled on the
US version. However, a shortage of Liberian legal capacity prevented the introduction of a full court-martial system.38 In order to work around this shortage
in capacity, an ad hoc system was created based on the use of summary courts
and non-judicial hearings before disciplinary boards, as well as referrals to the
civilian justice system in cases of serious criminal offences.39 This example
demonstrates how hybridization occurred through the selective adoption of
organizational structures and technical capacities, generating capacity improvements outside of the rules and norms demanded by the international security governance model.
In terms of contributing to transparency, external efforts promoted greater
public consultation and participation, and also fostered a more open media
environment than Liberia had previously known. This helped an active civil
society and media to make some headway in providing public accountability
and increasing transparency in security affairs, as evidenced, for example, by
the formation and continuing role of the Security Sector Reform Working
Group (an umbrella grouping bringing together a range of civil society actors

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with a stake in security); or the invitation of the Senate Committee on National


Defence to notable civil society experts on SSR to present their views on the
draft National Security Reform and Intelligence Act in 2011. However, participation was not unproblematic and certain unspoken red lines in media reporting
on security affairs in Liberia remained.40 In terms of rules and norms, this
suggests that transparency and accountability in public participation served a
symbolic function, more than offering a substantive mode of public oversight.
In sum, significant external effort in Liberia was directed to the comprehensive
reform of Liberian security governance. As a result Liberias security sector came
to reflect, more than at any other time in its history, the characteristics of the
international security governance model. However, the significance of this
change was undermined by the fact that large gaps in implementation of these
norms remained, and the capacity of Liberias principle security providing institutions the police and the military outstripped the will and the capacity of
the state to provide for their democratic governance.
The Case of Timor-Leste
Attempts to reform the Timorese security sector were initiated in 1999 by the
United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) after Indonesia withdrew from Timor-Leste. Despite initial reforms of the local security
sector, including the build-up of a local police and armed forces by subsequent
UN-missions and several international donors, Timor-Leste faced a breakdown
of its security sector in 2006. The spectacle of local police and military fighting
each other pushed international donors to adjust their SSR-programmes to
better fit specific local circumstances. After 2007, local initiatives increasingly
shaped the Timorese security sector, often running counter to the principles of
the international security governance model.
Several bilateral donors were engaged in the setup of the Timorese security
sector, as well as the United Nations Police (UNPOL), which from 2000
trained and mentored the Timorese police (Portuguese acronym: PNTL). While
UNPOL focused its training on basic police work, community policing was promoted by the Japan International Cooperation Agency from 2000 and by the Australian Timor-Leste Police Development Program from 2003. In 2011, New
Zealand started its Timor-Leste Community Policing Program to support and
develop the community policing department of the PNTL. The Portuguese gendarmerie, the Guarda Nacional Republicana (GNR), took over the task of providing basic training for the PNTL from UNPOL. These diverse forms of
external involvement have fragmented Timor-Lestes security sector: the inconsistency and heterogeneity of UNPOLs approach, combined with the uncoordinated influx of other approaches from bilateral donors, generated inherent
contradictions, particularly within the PNTL. While the UN repeatedly stated
their aim as promoting community policing in Timor-Leste, the bulk of the
PNTL tended to drift, under bilateral police training, towards a more robust policing approach.
Democratic governance of the security services: One of the international
methods of choice for fostering democratic governance within the security

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sector is to promote the concept of democratic policing and in particular, community policing. Community policing is a relatively vague and contentious concept
that refers to the participation of the community in the prevention of crime.41
Despite the assumed linkage of community policing and democratic policing,
several studies suggest that the implementation of community policing programmes in post-conflict countries did not necessarily foster democratic policing
approaches. Rather, reforms labelled community policing enabled local regimes
to receive earmarked funds, but the money was then invested, among others, in
robust police units instead. As a consequence, policing was delivered to
wealthy gated communities only, while the poorer parts of the respective societies
were still confronted with frequent instances of police brutality and abuse of
power by members of the security forces.42 The attempt to implement community-oriented policing practises in Timor-Leste was impaired by the vague conception of community policing, diverging interpretations of what community
policing actually entailed, and the limited knowledge of the UNPOL staff communicating the concept to the local police and officials.43 As a consequence, external
actors failed in their goal of establishing pluralist policing practices, driven by the
public interest. Furthermore, the community policing approach promoted by the
UN, the Australians and the New Zealanders was the antithesis of the more
robust policing approach pursued by, among others, the Portuguese GNR.
Local NGOs and senior PNTL officers alike stressed the importance of community policing in tackling violence and crime that resulted from the precarious
living conditions of the population. Instead of suppressing crime in the communities with reactive force, the community policing approach was meant to
enable the police and communities to interact and communicate with each
other.44
Yet despite vocal support from all sides, the translation of the concept into
policing practices ran into difficulties. Formally, the concept was embraced
both by the Timorese government and by the PNTL itself, with the PNTLs
Decree Law stating that the police . . . shall have the characteristics of a community police (Decree Law 9/2009). The National Security Law (2/2010) indicated
a special focus on community policing for the PNTL. In line with this strategic
vision, the PNTL established a community policing department (Departementu
Policia Communitaria) as part of the General Command. According to a senior
PNTL officer,45 the members of the community policing department conducted
house and school visits, met with community leaders to discuss community
issues with them, and engaged actively in promoting an exchange of ideas to
foster trust between the communities and the police.
However, given the fact that there were less than ten police officers working in
the community policing department,46 both a lack of institutional capacity and
funding issues interfered with the effectiveness of the PNTLs engagement in
this field. Belo and Koenig underpin this assessment by arguing that the department was poorly set up, and that officers were frequently pulled out from the
department to support other departments and units in their work.47 Thus, the
community policing department could be characterized as a primarily ceremonial structure serving an important symbolic function vis-a`-vis the external

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community for a police force that is otherwise mostly engaged in robust policing.
While the community policing department carved out its existence at the fringes
of the PNTL, funding for the crowd control units was topped up every year.48
Moreover, parts of the government and the PNTL also seemed to perceive community policing as a foreign concept and therefore rejected it.49 In short, international efforts to establish a community oriented police service in Timor-Leste
resulted in the selective adoption of normative standards and organizational
structures within the PNTL in order to appease donors. However, there was
very little practical application of the concept, and the PNTLs capacities in the
field remained severely curtailed. Neither the responsible ministries nor the
PNTLs leadership established an understanding of how to develop and
implement practices of democratic- and community-oriented policing.50 In
summary, external support essentially led the creation of a community policing
department that remained only very loosely coupled to the actual policing practices of much of the PNTL.
Accountability and transparency mechanisms in the security sector: In TimorLeste, democratic civilian oversight over the national security organizations was
conducted by the Ministry of Defence and Security, the parliament, the Supreme
Council for Defence and Security, as well as by the institution of the ombudsman.
External support to increase accountability focused predominantly on the establishment of a central ombudsman institution along the lines of the Portuguese
model of a Provedor. This case is instructive in understanding both the ability
of external actors to comprehensively transfer specific security governance
models and their restrictions. The establishment of the Provedor dragged on for
several years: The Provedoria dos Direitos Humanos e Justica was established
in the 2002 Constitution, but became operational only after 2005. It received substantial financial support for capacity building by the United Nations High
Command for Human Rights, as well as bilaterally from New Zealand,
Ireland, Sweden, Australia and the US.51 The Provedor had approximately 100
employees in Dili and in the sub-offices in Oecussi, Same, Baucau, and Maliana
with five employees in each sub-office. An independent institution, it served as
a focal point for receiving complaints concerning human rights abuses as well
as for the promotion of human rights standards in Timor-Leste.52 The Provedor
was empowered to investigate or drop cases on his own initiative; his findings
were formulated as recommendations and forwarded to the responsible
offices.53 According to Provedor Sebastiao Ximenes,54 his team travelled
through all 13 districts to talk with the communities and the district police officers
about their situation and possible shortcomings in their districts, and also
inspected the police stations. After every tour through the districts, the Provedor
contacted the police commissioner and gave recommendations for improvement.
He also offered regular seminars on human rights standards to the PNTL,55 but
cooperation with local NGOs was, reportedly, rather limited, inadequate in both
scope and content.56
However, the Provedors scope of action remained severely curtailed. His
office received complaints of abuse of power, assault or ill-treatment during
arrest, against members of the PNTL and the F-FDTL on a nearly daily basis.57

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As early as 2008, the International Crisis Group had reported a surge of civilian
complaints against human rights abuses by the PNTL and the F-FDTL. As is
common for ombuds-institutions, the Provedor is limited to investigative and
deliberative powers only, and hence, the oversight effectiveness of the institution
relies heavily on the compliance of other institutional actors: a practice not established in the Timorese context. Thus, while the Provedor could investigate these
cases, summon the accused officers and forward recommendations to the respective involved authorities, the Provedor had no power of sanction and could not
ensure whether the accused officers received punishment or not. In cases involving
the PNTL, only a minor number of officers were punished according to the recommendations of the Provedor.59 In sum, although officially presented as a successful institution, the Provedor was limited in its effectiveness and remained a
largely ceremonial structure, acting as a shell to cover the absence of meaningful
oversight bodies within the respective security organizations. In fact, the role of
the Provedor as the main institution handling misconduct by the police and the
military is evidence of the general incapacity of democratic security governance
in Timor-Leste.
To conclude, the UN administrations executive mandate enabled international actors to comprehensively construct and rebuild the Timorese security
sector. Nevertheless, once this executive mandate ended, domestic actors
adopted only some elements of international standards of democratic security
governance, with large gaps remaining in the actual implementation of these
norms in the security services day-to-day practices.
Conclusion
This article used insights from sociological organization theories to investigate
whether and how the promotion of an international security governance
model in peace- and statebuilding operations reconfigures and transforms security sector governance in fragile and post-conflict states. By tracing patterns of
selective adoption, adaptation or rejection of external security governance
models by domestic actors in recipient states, we specified three varieties of
hybrid security governance that emerged as a consequence of external involvement in domestic security sector transformations: normative shells, where
norms and rules were adopted but not implemented; ceremonial structures,
where organizational structures were created but remained mostly symbolic;
and capacity improvements, where the operational capacities of a security
service were strengthened without the parallel adoption of democratic security
governance standards.
The article showed that the different security sectors in Liberia, Timor-Leste
and the Palestinian Territories responded to external interventions in remarkably
similar ways. In all cases, domestic actors adopted international standards of
democratic security governance only selectively, using strategies of outright
refusal, non-implementation and symbolic acceptance to shape the consequences
of externally driven attempts at reform. Tracing domestic adoption patterns
across the three cases, we showed that in several instances, interactions

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between external and domestic forms of security governance led to the creation of
normative shells or ceremonial organizational structures that did not actively
influence the practices of security services. For instance in Timor-Leste, the
norm of community policing was firmly endorsed by all relevant actors, but
was of no relevance to actual policing practices. In the Palestinian case, newly
created internal oversight and accountability mechanisms in the Ministry of the
Interior and in the Palestinian Civil Police formally conformed to international
standards of accountability and civilian control, without developing practical
influence on the security sector. In Liberia, the slow pace of institutionalization
of policies within the police, or the selective or partial adoption of norms of
democratic control and oversight through security legislation, reflect similar patterns creating ceremonial structures and normative shells. The degree of personalized and politicized control over the security sector in Liberia, made
possible, for example, by the scope of presidential appointments, illustrates
that through loose coupling, formal structures can mask the reality of who
really controls the security sector in practice.
Finally, the articles comparison of domestic implementation patterns in SSR
operations raises broader questions about the viability of this type of external
support to the transformation of security sectors in fragile or post-conflict
states. Given the findings of our study that international security governance
norms and standards are either adopted selectively or not at all, future research
should focus in more depth on the question of whether donor-driven reform narratives in the field of SSR are appropriate models for security sector transformation outside the OECD-world: to what extent are democratic security
governance standards that are closely linked to ideal-typical notions of Weberian
statehood transferable to areas of fragile or limited statehood? In fact, the articles
findings can be read as evidence of a more fundamental misfit between different
social contexts of security governance, and the potential danger inherent in trying
to make one fit within analytical categories derived from another.
What this analysis should not be read to imply is that SSR in these cases was
undermined by a lack of engagement on the part of local actors, either through
lack of will or capacity. Equally, the argument is not designed to rehabilitate
the concept of liberal international state- and peacebuilding by finding fault
with dominant patterns of implementation. Instead, the analysis ought to serve
as an invitation to question the appropriateness of the theoretical categories
that currently govern both academic and policy-driven discussions of these
issues. Given the wide gulf between international reform discourses and the realities of domestic security governance in many areas of the world, further in-depth
analyses of how domestic voices and interests shape reform processes on the
ground are expected to play an increasingly important role in the assessment of
international reform efforts.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
This work was supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG) as part of the Collaborative
Research Centre 700 Governance in Areas of Limited Statehood at Freie Universitaet Berlin.

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ABOUT THE AUTHORS

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Ursula C. Schroeder is a professor of international security at the Freie Universitaet Berlin, Germany,
and directs the research project Exporting the State Monopoly on Violence. Security Governance
Transfers to Areas of Limited Statehood at the Collaborative Research Center (SFB) 700: Governance
in Areas of Limited Statehood.
Fairlie Chappuis is a research associate at the Collaborative Research Center (SFB) 700: Governance in
Areas of Limited Statehood, and a PhD candidate in political science at the Berlin Graduate School of
Transnational Studies, Freie Universitaet Berlin.
Deniz Kocak is a research associate at the Collaborative Research Center (SFB) 700: Governance in
Areas of Limited Statehood, and a PhD candidate at the Berlin Graduate School of Transnational
Studies, Freie Universitaet Berlin. His research focuses on the security sector transformation of Southeast Asian countries.

NOTES
1. See further Fairlie Chappuis and Heiner Haenggi, Statebuilding through Security Sector Reform,
in David Chandler and Timothy D. Sisk (eds), Routledge Handbook of International Statebuilding, London and New York: Routledge, 2013, pp.168 84, pp.169ff.
2. Diane Stone, Transfer and Translation of Policy, Policy Studies, Vol.33, No.4, 2012, pp.117.
3. Martin De Jong and Virginie Mamadouh, Two Contrasting Perspectives on Institutional Transplantation, in Martin De Jong, Konstantinos Lalenis and Virginie Mamadouh (eds), The Theory
and Practice of Institutional Transplantation: Experiences with the Transfer of Policy Institutions, Dordrecht: Kluwer, 2002, pp.19 32.
4. Saskia Sassen, Territory, Authority, Rights: From Medieval to Global Assemblages, Princeton,
NJ: Princeton University Press, 2006.
5. Roger Mac Ginty, Hybrid Peace: The Interaction between Top-Down and Bottom-Up Peace,
Security Dialogue, Vol.41, No.4, 2010, pp.391412.
6. Anna Jarstadt and Roberto Belloni, Introducing Hybrid Peace Governance: Impact and Prospects
of Liberal Peacebuilding, Global Governance, Vol.18, No.1, 2012, pp.1 6.
7. Volker Boege, M. Anne Brown and Kevin P. Clements, Hybrid Political Orders, Not Fragile
States, Peace Review, Vol.21, No.1, 2009, pp.13 21, p.17.
8. John W. Meyer and Brian Rowan, Institutionalized Organizations: Formal Structure as Myth
and Ceremony, American Journal of Sociology, Vol.83, No.2, 1977, pp.34063.
9. Ibid.
10. Ibid., p.343; see also John W. Meyer, John Boli, George M. Thomas, World Society and the
Nation-State, American Journal of Sociology, Vol.103, No.1, 1997, pp.14481.
11. Michael N. Barnett and Martha Finnemore, The Politics, Power, and Pathologies of
International Organizations, International Organization, Vol.53, No.4, 1999, pp.699732,
p.703.
12. See Nils Brunsson, The Irrational Organization: Irrationality as a Basis for Organizational
Action and Change, Bergen: Fagbokforlaget, 1985, p.18.
13. See Andrew P. Cortell and James W. Davis, Understanding the Domestic Impact of International
Norms: A Research Agenda, International Studies Review, Vol.2, No.1, 2000, pp.6587.
14. The 2010 Palestinian Security Sector Strategic Plan and the 2007 Vision of a Professional Palestinian Security Sector highlight the need for internal oversight, democratic accountability and
political authority over the security sector.
15. See further Jim Zanotti, U.S. Foreign Aid to the Palestinians, CRS Report RS22967, Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, 2013.
16. Interviews by authors with international security experts, Jerusalem, 5 and 20 Sept. 2011.
17. See further Marten, this issue.
18. Interviews by authors with European police experts, Ramallah, 23 Sept. 2010 and Hanover, 10
Sept. 2010.
19. Interview by authors with Palestinian legal expert, Ramallah, 3 Oct. 2010; Interviews by authors
with European security experts, Ramallah, 9 Sept. 2011.
20. Yezid Sayigh, Policing the People, Building the State: Authoritarian Transformation in the West
Bank and Gaza, Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2011, p.15.

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21. International Crisis Group, Squaring the Circle: Palestinian Security Reform under Occupation,
Middle East Report No 98, Brussels: International Crisis Group, 2010, p.14, Interview by
authors with European security expert, Ramallah, 26 Sept. 2011; Interview by authors with International police expert, Jerusalem, 7 Sept. 2011; Interview by authors with Palestinian legal
expert, Ramallah, 27 Sept. 2011.
22. Interview by authors with Palestinian human rights expert, Ramallah, 27 Sept. 2011; Interview
by authors with international development expert, Jerusalem, 22 Sept. 2011; Authors visit to
MOI in Ramallah in 2011.
23. Sayigh (see n.20 above), p.15.
24. Interview by authors with international legal and police experts, Ramallah, 29 Sept. 2010.
25. Ibid.
26. Interview by authors with US security experts, Jerusalem, 22 Oct. 2010.
27. E.g. Human Rights Watch, World Report 2013, Country Summary Israel/Palestine, New York:
Human Rights Watch, 2013, p.560.
28. Interview by authors with Palestinian human rights expert, 27 Sept. 2011.
29. UNDP and EUPOL COPPS, UNDP/EUPOL COPPS Joint Programme: Strengthening Internal
Police Accountability, National Anti-Corruption and Civilian Oversight, 2011 2013 , Jerusalem
and Ramallah: UNDP, 2011, p.8.
30. Interview by authors with European police experts, Ramallah, 9 Sept. 2011.
31. Interview by authors with international security expert, Jerusalem, 5 Sept. 2011.
32. Zanotti (see n.16), p.14.
33. Interview by authors with Senior Liberian police official, Monrovia, 4 Dec. 2012.
34. Interview by authors with UN police official, Monrovia, 19 Dec. 2012; Interview by authors with
Liberian civil society expert, Monrovia, 5 Dec. 2012.
35. Interview by authors with former member of the Liberian legislature, Monrovia, 29 Nov. 2012.
36. Interview by authors with international actor in civil society sector, Monrovia, 23 Dec. 2012.
37. Interview by authors with UN police official, Monrovia, 5 May 2011; Interview by authors with
UN police official, Monrovia, 14 Nov. 2012.
38. Interview by authors with UN justice expert, Monrovia, 10 Dec. 2012.
39. Danielle Skinner, Armed Forces of Liberias Military Justice System Focuses on Human Rights
and Discipline, AFRICOM Newsroom, Stuttgart: AFRICOM, 2011 (at: www.africom.mil/
Newsroom/ Article/8319/armed-forces-of-liberias-military-justice-system-f).
40. Interview by authors with Liberian media, Monrovia 29 Mar. 2011.
41. See further Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Good Practices in Building Police-public Partnerships, Vienna: OECD, 2008, p.13.
42. See e.g. Mike Brogden, Horses for Courses and Thin Blue Lines: Community Policing in
Transitional Society, Police Quarterly, Vol.8, No.1, 2005, pp.6498; here pp.77f., p.88;
Dominique Wisler and Ihekwoaba D. Onwudiwe, Community Policing in Comparison,
Police Quarterly, Vol.11, No.4, 2008, pp.42746, p.432.
43. Erin Mobekk, Policing Peace Operations: United Nations Civilian Police in East Timor, London:
Kings College, 2001, p.11.
44. Interviews by authors with senior PNTL officers, Dili, 7 July 2011 and 22 Aug. 2012.
45. Interview by authors with senior PNTL officer, Dili, 22 Aug. 2012.
46. Ibid.
47. Nelson De Sousa C. Belo and Mark R. Koenig, Institutionalizing Community Policing in Timor-Leste:
Exploring the Politics of Police Reform, Occasional Paper 9, Dili: The Asia Foundation, 2011, p.9.
48. Interview by authors with Timorese state official, Dili, 16 Aug. 2012.
49. Interview by authors with international policy advisor, Dili, 8 Aug. 2012.
50. Interview by authors with local NGO, Dili, 14 Aug. 2012.
51. Interview by authors with Provedor Sebastiao Ximenes, Dili, 27 Jun. 2011.
52. See further Jean Berlie, Anticorruption in East Timor: Implications for Development and Education, Asian Education and Development, Vol.1, No.3, 2012, pp.25161.
53. International Crisis Group, Timor-Leste: Security Sector Reform, Asia Report No.143, Brussels:
International Crisis Group, 2008, p.17.
54. Interview by authors with Provedor Sebastiao Ximenes, Dili, 27 Jun. 2011.
55. Ibid.
56. Interviews by authors with local NGOs, Dili, 1 Aug. 2012 and 2 Aug. 2012.
57. Interview by authors with Provedor Sebastiao Ximenes, Dili, 27 Jul. 2012.
58. International Crisis Group, Handing Back Responsibility to Timor-Lestes Police, Asia Report
No.180, Brussels: International Crisis Group, 2009, p.10.
59. Interview by authors with local NGO, Dili, 3 Aug. 2012.