Rethinking Capacity Building in Somalia

Rethinking Capacity Building in Somalia
Hundreds of Somali soldiers protest in Mogadishu over unpaid wages-Reuters photo

Somalilandsun: With the resurgence of hype surrounding political warfare, a pertinent question for Defence is how to occupy the space that exists between peace and war to ensure that we are not out-manoeuvred by our adversaries. In an attempt to address this question this article focuses on missions of Military Support to Capacity Building (MSCB). 1 It highlights these missions as one tool that the Army note]Commander Field Army (CFA) notes that beyond the defence of the nation, the Army is a tool for projecting our influence and that we have a role in the delivery of ‘stability to parts of the world [and to] develop the…security architecture and the defence capability of nations that need our support (Lt Gen Jones 2019)[/note] and UK Special Forces already use to engage in political warfare throughout the spectrum of conflict but questions whether our efforts are always effectively targeted. Specifically, this article suggests that a more effective military contribution to political warfare could be achieved through increased cooperation with non-state forces to create hybrid security solutions.2 Increasing the recognition of the role that non-state actors provide in maintaining equilibrium of conflict could, in some contexts, achieve more gains than the creation, partnering or development of state-aligned formal forces. By challenging the status quo of the state-centric approach to MSCB we could be rewarded with an increased diffusion of UK influence, amplified global stability and also improve our means of intelligence collection by operating in accordance with local norms of security provision.

To help achieve this the British Army could adapt its MSCB strategy in two ways: Firstly by placing an increased emphasis on recognising the importance of local legitimacy in MSCB planning. Secondly, the inclusion of conflict governance mapping (CGM) 3 as a MSCB task.

On Security in Somalia this essay authored by Tristan Burwell who joined the Army in 2010 and has served in the UK and overseas with interest and has conducted research in the fields of state building and security sector reform reads

The provision of security in Somalia and the efforts to develop the Somali National Police (SNP) as part of a state building process provides a case study. Analysis of the SNP shows that ‘an order beside the state’ is thriving and in parts of Somalia non-state forces offer localised security options that formal state security forces are unable to provide. This established ‘non-order’ is often inherently more legitimate than the multiple and sometimes contradictory security strategies imposed throughout the country. In extremis the “non-order” undermines security sector reform (SSR) programmes. This presents a conundrum for state building and SSR architects alike as non-state forces can be viewed with a degree of scepticism as opposed to a viable security solution. The struggle to establish the SNP therefore complements the argument to incorporate more non-state forces into the security sector and develop a hybridstate order. The fusion of traditional processes and modern state institutions could offer Somalia a route to increased security by optimising the use of existing legitimate security actors.

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