An accountable, adequate and affordable defence sector improves internal and external security and strengthens national identity. It demonstrates a government’s commitment to democratic governance.

Armed forces are at the core of a state’s ability to deliver security and stability to its citizens. In developing countries armed forces often contribute to internal and external security when the police are unable to deal with armed militias or to extend police presence beyond urban areas.

The military is one of the few state institutions that can strengthen national identity by integrating recruits from across a country into a single organisation and treating them equitably. Similarly, an effective Ministry of Defence can build public confidence that a government is committed to democratic values by showing that the principles of civilian rule and good governance apply to even the most powerful state institutions.
However progress towards these objectives faces complex challenges. The military is often more politically influential and better resourced than the ministry tasked with overseeing it. Senior officers and soldiers may have a limited understanding or acceptance of good governance and its implications for the treatment of civilians. Disciplinary codes and command structures may be unclear or unenforced, undermining accountability for performance and behaviour.

Expenditure may comprise a disproportionately high percentage of the national budget, in turn a result of overstaffing, opaque payroll, and inefficient procurement. The scale of organisational transformation required often overwhelms the limited capacity for strategic planning, for collecting accurate data on personnel, expenditure, and physical assets, and for coordinating activities across different departments and units.

In response to these challenges Adam Smith International offers expertise in:

  • Clarifying the legal and policy framework: legislation, defence white papers, institutional mandates, national and defence sector development plans.
  • Strengthening human resource management: force design, manpower planning, personnel registration and databases, training programmes, pensions,
  • Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration. Improving financial management: Ministry of
  • Defence oversight, budgeting, expenditure accounting, audit, payroll verification, procurement, sector working groups.
  • Strengthening internal accountability: departmental mandates, command structures, performance standards, codes of conduct, human rights, military justice.
  • Developing external accountability: public communications capacity, parliamentary oversight, public complaints mechanisms, regional diplomacy.