Security Culture & Monitoring

Global Peace Index 2016

September 13, 2017

This annual report ranks 163 countries around the world according to their peacefulness. It has three main themes: level of safety and security in society; the extent of domestic and international conflict, and the degree of militarisation. There is reference to gender equality as an aspect of positive peace, but no specific mention of women’s contribution to peace-building.

It is compiled by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) in consultation with global peace experts and think tanks, and with data gathered by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

The Concept of Political-Military Culture

September 13, 2017

Source: Thomas U Berger’s chapter, ‘Norms, Identity, and National Security’ in ‘Security Studies: A Reader’ edited by Hughes et al (2013)

The study of security studies is a vast and complex area, with the concept of security as a contested idea. We can refer to the political-military culture as a subset of the greater political culture within a country which influences how citizens of that society view national security, the military as an institution, and the use of force in international relations.

Cultures are not static and are open to change. When observing behaviour of individuals or groups of people from different cultural backgrounds, their reactions are likely to be different even when confronted with identical situations. We can say, for example that French or American policy-makers will respond differently to their German or Japanese counterparts with regard to the military and the use of force, if in similar geostrategic positions, simply because they come from cultural backgrounds with very different values and norms.

Gender and Private Security in Global Politics

September 13, 2017

Edited by Maya Eichler

Oxford Studies in Gender and International Relations

The first book dedicated to the study of private security in global politics through the lens of gender

Advances both private security scholarship and feminist security studies by establishing gender as a key analytical category for private security studies

Employs an intersectional analysis of gender and other categories of difference such as race and class

Contributes new empirical material to the study of private security by drawing on ethnographic research

The Private Security Monitor

September 13, 2017

The Sie Cheou-Kang Center for International Security and Diplomacy, within the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver, has a research project that promotes access to information concerning the world-wide use and regulation of private military and security services. The Private Security Monitor Project is managed in collaboration with the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF – see links). It has two components:

Firstly, the Web Portal which draws together all publicly-available regulations, reports, publications and data in the private security industry. Secondly, Private Security Mapping which aims to provide information on where private military and security companies are operating, what tasks they are performing and for whom.


Linked to this is a DCAF toolkit entitled: Private Military and Security Companies and Gender:

Click here for toolkit

The gender aspects and challenges of the privatization of security on a global scale are addressed. The authors argue that in order to ensure the effectiveness and long-term success of security sector reform involving private security companies and private military companies, it is indispensable to integrate gender aspects into all operations. This tool is part of the DCAF Gender and Security Sector Reform Toolkit series.


The following passage appears in Jacklyn Cock’s book entitled, ‘Colonels and Cadres: War and Gender in South Africa’ (1991:25):

‘A distinction should be made between the military as a social institution (a set of social relationships organised around war and taking the shape of an armed force); militarism as an ideology (the key component of which is an acceptance of organised violence as a legitimate solution to conflict); and militarization as a social process that involves a mobilization of resources for war. These phenomena are closely related. Militarization involves both the spread of militarism as an ideology, and an expansion of the power and influence of the military as a social institution.’

Jacklyn Cock wrote much of this book during the Apartheid years which was a particularly bloody and violent period in South Africa’s history. In the last ten to fifteen years, we have become familiar with the concept of peacekeeping as a means to prevent conflict. The above definitions reminds us that militarism is socially constructed and thus attitudes to such can be changed.

Articles & Publications

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The Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights is calling for submissions to a report on Gender and Private Military and Security Companies: deadline 28th February 2019

February 6, 2019

The background to this is that the Working Group on the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the rights of peoples to self-determination is mandated by the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC/33/4) to monitor mercenaries, mercenary related activities, and the activities of private military and security companies (PMSCs).

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UK Armed Forces Recruitment Challenge

February 1, 2019

The UK Armed Forces is in the midst of a recruitment crisis – they are experiencing the biggest staffing shortfall in a decade. A National Audit Office report (April 2018) found that there is a staffing deficit of 5.7% (8,200 people), and with recruitment running below target the situation is not likely to resolve itself without immediate action.

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Elsie Initiative for Women in Peace Operations: Baseline Study

November 5, 2018

November 5, 2018: The Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) recently reported the results of a study commissioned by Global Affairs Canada (GAC) on female police and military peacekeepers. An abstract of the study follows: The proportion of female police and military peacekeepers remains well below UN targets. Research suggests that the main reason behind the small numbers seems to be a variety of challenges and barriers to uniformed women deploying to PKOs. This baseline study compiles and analyses research published to date on the topic.

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