Hybrid Security Forces : Sources of Community Resilience or Insecurity?

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Brownbag ULB/UCL: Hybrid Security Forces: Sources of Community Resilience or Insecurity?

Speaker: Lauren Van Metre, National Democratic Institute (Washington DC)

Abstract: In many conflicts across Sub-Saharan Africa, hybrid security forces have become a visible fixture and present a challenge to communities, governments, development implementers and security providers that needs to be carefully studied and addressed. These hybrid security forces are a sub-set of non-state actor groups; they operate in alignment with or as a complement to the state, or in “grey” areas where the state is not present. Local militias or warlords with a security arm legitimized by the state can provide local security in lieu of national forces. Hybrid security forces can also serve informal and formal local governance institutions and be deeply rooted in the community, such as community-sponsored security groups that protect against criminal networks and gangs. Hybrid security forces challenge a major assumption of security sector reform: that the state seeks to assert a monopoly of control. In fact, predatory elites prefer to keep state security forces weak so as not to challenge their personal control of state assets through their beefed up private security arms. State actors themselves constantly undermine the state’s monopoly of control over security. This presentation will provide a typology of hybrid security forces as well as theories for how and why they shift from protective to predatory forces.

Lauren Van Metre is a peace and security expert, having worked on major conflict resolution and prevention initiatives at the Pentagon, the State Department, the US Institute of Peace and the Atlantic Council. She joined NDI in 2018 to lead the Institute's new Peace, Security and Democratic Resilience initiative. Dr. Van Metre is a leading expert on community resilience to violence, having conducted research and led field initiatives on building the strength and capacity of communities to resist violent actors, and, recover from the shock of violence.


Monday, July 29th2019 from 12pm to 2pm

Université libre de Bruxelles

Institut d'études européennes - Spaak room

39 avenue F. D. Roosevelt, 1050 Bruxelles