Monthly Archives: February, 2013

Competing Imperatives: Post-Conflict Military Integration and Demobilization in South Sudan

Last week, I did a webinar for the Cultural Knowledge Symposium‘s Speaker Series based on the research I have done thus far on South Sudan. You can see the video from the webinar below:


Since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005, the government of South Sudan has sought to neutralize the threat non-statutory armed forces pose to peace and stability. Often, the government’s preferred approach has been not coercion, but rather accommodation, which entails negotiating amnesty for armed groups and integrating them into the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA). While contributing to short-term stability, this approach competes with a simultaneous imperative to “rightsize” or reduce the parade of the SPLA from 210,000 to 120,000 over the next five years and transform the SPLA into a conventional, professional military. With the country’s economy unable to provide 90,000 non-essential SPLA personnel with alternative livelihoods, the government seeks to prevent unemployed ex-combatants from becoming spoilers during the country’s post-conflict reconstruction process. Thus, for the foreseeable future, the government will continue to balance the imperatives of integrating non-statutory armed forces into the SPLA whilst undertaking a sizeable reduction of the country’s statutory armed forces.

This presentation in the video above provides:

  • a historical context of armed groups in the South during Sudan’s second civil war (1983-2005);
  • an analysis of the government’s postwar approach to armed groups;
  • an analysis of the challenges inherent in post-conflict military integration and demobilization in South Sudan; and
  • an assessment of the potential trigger points for future armed group mobilization.

I hope you find the presentation useful, but if you can’t sit through it, I hope to put much of this in writing in the coming months.

Capacity-Building Key to AFRICOM’s Mission

(Originally published in World Politics Review on February 5, 2013)

Across the globe, partner capacity-building through steady-state theater security cooperation plays an increasingly important role in the forward defense posture of the United States. The Defense Department’s 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review identifies building the security capacity of partner states as a key mission, while the 2010 National Security Strategy argues that the United States can advance its national security by enabling partner states to prevent, deter and respond to transnational security challenges before they pose a threat to U.S. citizens, interests or the homeland. Moreover, at a time of budgetary constraints, partner capacity-building through theater security cooperation can be a means for sharing the cost and responsibility of responding to global security challenges, thus reducing the burden on U.S. resources and military personnel.

Throughout an area of responsibility that includes 53 countries, theater security cooperation is a core function for U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM). With an emphasis on promoting military professionalism, improving operational capabilities and facilitating regional cooperation, AFRICOM seeks to build the capacity of African militaries to prevent conflict as well as lead military responses to emerging crises if necessary, thus preventing transnational threats from transcending the African continent. Theater security cooperation also increases the likelihood that partner nations will allow U.S. forces peacetime and contingency access, which can be a critical enabler for missions such as the recent noncombatant evacuation operation from the U.S. Embassy in Bangui, Central African Republic, or countering piracy off the coast of Somalia.

(Read the rest of the article on the World Politics Review website)

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