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Management of the Security Sector: A Note on Current Practice

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Management of the security sector is the implementation, direction, and operation of security policies, decisions, and practices. Management requires horizontal and vertical capacities, and often structural reorganization, among and within security sector actors to improve efficiency and effectiveness. These capacities include, for example, building and maintaining professional security forces, allocating scarce resources, reducing corruption, and engaging with civil society, all of which promote enhanced security and justice delivery. Improving managerial capacities is critical to the ownership and sustainability of good governance initiatives, national security strategies, defense sector reform, and all other elements of the security sector reform process.

Management is intractably linked to security sector governance and oversight mechanisms. Incorporating the principles of good governance (transparency, accountability, compliance with international law, and human rights) into management policies and procedures will help to generate efficiency, effectiveness, and legitimacy. Furthermore, because all management bodies (ideally) wield a great deal of authority over security forces, management bodies and their policies, decisions, and practices must themselves be subject to effective oversight. This practice note looks at these management capacities of security sector institutions from the perspective of three categories: executive authorities that manage the development and implementation of national security policy and strategy, the legislative and ministerial independent oversight bodies charged with oversight of the executive and security forces, and security force command authorities that direct and manage security forces and operations.

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