National Security Policies and Strategies: A Note on Current Practice

Report

A national security policy (NSP) is a government-wide analysis and description of the strategic level concerns a country faces; it addresses how the government plans to deals with these concerns. A national security strategy (NSS) is a government's overarching plan for ensuring the country's security in the form of guidance for implementing a country's national security policy. In several contexts, an initial national security strategy may play an important role in determining a comprehensive strategy for security sector reform. The NSS can be a tool for building legitimacy of security actors in the eyes of a population. This practice note discusses the challenges to reforming national security structures, as they relate to drafting appropriate national security strategies, and provides examples of ongoing efforts in Afghanistan, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.