• Ingen resultater fundet

Further Development of the Ministry of Defence

The period following 2005 within the RSLAF was dominated by the lack of an overall strategy, caused in part by the UK withdrawing from developing such a strategy and the inability of the RSLAF to develop its own approaches and a plan. This latter issue had as much to do with the general political buy-in, which was vital with a Deputy Minister who was engaged, but lacked authority. The Cabinet, which had the authority, was not engaged; in fact, it had only been engaged to a limited degree since 2003. Effectively, without political top-cover, the MoD and the RSLAF leadership would not commit209.

There is an overall vision of the RSLAF, but it remains idealistic rather than grounded. Where policies were in place and functioning, they tended to have been driven by strong individuals, rather than overarching strategies. The converse of this is, of course, that there were also some areas where individuals were not so strong and as a result, neither was the strategy. In 2007, there was still no single programme management document containing details of activities to be conducted, timelines, budgetary allocations, objectives and other management guidelines.

By 2005, the gains of building a MoD essentially from scratch were obvious.

For all the difficulties facing a new Department with new responsibilities, MoD’s image as a cutting-edge institution remained intact. It was now an organization

under visible and identifiable civil control; civilian and military staff were working side-by-side. RSLAF input into the 2003 Defence White Paper, PRSP and security sector review was indeed perceived to be limited, but had nonetheless been clear. The MoD was now seen as a critical member of the security community and playing a key role in articulating security strategy issues and planning implementation activities. For example, the MoD was central to the drafting of the Security Sector Review Implementation Plan.

Compared to other government departments, the MoD was also seen as being

‘ahead of the game’ in terms of financial management. Advice from MODAT in the early stages of transforming the security system, and later on the presence of a dedicated DfID-funded financial management adviser and an IMATT counterpart, played a significant role in this. As late as 2005, these two posts, which had executive powers, were seen as vital by an external review. Had they been removed, it would have been highly questionable whether the MoD would enjoy its current reputation for its comparatively competent approach to financial management210. At the same time, however, it was deemed necessary that MoD officials take full responsibility for financial management in the near future. It was these considerations that led to the transitioning of a post dedicated to financial management into that of an assistant civilian adviser post with general responsibilities for advising and mentoring across a range of different defence management issues. This push was necessary in order to transfer competencies, as it had become clear that the legitimacy of expatriates making executive decisions had decreased significantly. Indeed, RSLAF and its veterans and demobbed soldiers were likely to react strongly to a Core Review regarded as having been driven by external actors that would inevitably have financial implications for them.

2007 was the ninth year of UK support to Sierra Leone’s MoD. During this period, residual executive powers were being handed over; those remaining were de facto legacies of long-running projects, such as refurbishing the Paramount Hotel and Operation Pebu. In 2007, it was also becoming clear that there was much less disparity in the approach of SILSEP advisers versus IMATT officers, which hitherto had created tension between civilian and military staff.

However, this period was also characterized by criticisms levelled at expatriate advisers for the lack of an audit of DfID funding, poor communication and failure to learn lessons211.

One of the lingering cases that engendered a good deal of criticism was the aforementioned Operation Pebu, a MoD-managed project to provide RSLAF accommodation. Box 22 provides an account of the final stages of Operation Pebu, as recalled by the 2005 Commander IMATT, David Santa-Olalla and Aldo Gaeta, Civilian Adviser to the MoD.

By the end of 2005, all efforts of Operation Pebu were focussed on achieving completion of accommodation in two sites – Kailahun and Pujehun. As the Commander IMATT at the time noted, “70% of the project was cancelled and focus was on the remaining 30%.

It was time to draw a line under Pebu. The original plans were never going to work. A lot of time was spent making sure that IMATT credibility was not lost”213.

The decision to dramatically scale down the project had come in response to DfID’s rejection of additional funding and the fact that a team of independent consultants had suggested that Operation Pebu’s accommodation could possibly result in ‘the creation of new slums’214. There was no proposal on what would happen after completion of these sites because nobody could predict what materials would still be available or what the chances of additional funding would be.

From late 2004 to early 2006 work progressed on both sites in Kailahun and Pujehun, but again, the planned timescale for completion was not achieved. During 2005, two significant events happened. Firstly, the demarcation that existed between Government and DfID funding was removed, allowing all the funds to be pooled for the benefit of the project. Secondly, DfID, which now had a Country Office, released the remainder of DfID funds to the project and also made it clear that no further funding would become available for Operation Pebu. The sites of Kailahun and Pujehun were not completed during the period covered in this narrative.

The sheer scale of Operation Pebu was never appropriately considered. In the original plans of seven construction sites, the estimated population to be housed would be in Box 22: Operation Pebu – PART II212

excess of 2,500 per site. To achieve 100% completion within one year, bearing in mind Sierra Leone’s infrastructure and a rainy season of five months, defies logical explanation.

Box 22: Continued

An RSLAF officer stands in front of his recently renovated accommodation.

There is no single organization involved in the project to blame. It was jointly funded by DfID and the Government of Sierra Leone. In addition, IMATT played a significant part in the management and on-site supervision of the project215.

Operation Pebu terminated in the spring of 2008. It had delivered two completed sites at Pujehun and Kailahun – the agreed revision to the original programme in 2005.

Despite the gains over almost a decade of building the MoD, it is clear that it takes a substantial amount of time to consolidate civil management of an institution that for a decade had been a ‘clearing house’ for the armed forces and before that, had been deliberately neglected by the executive. During 2005- 2007, many officials who had been drawn from across the civil service and trained and advised to build the MoD had been transferred to other ministries, departments and agencies or had left the civil service altogether. Their vital institutional memory left with them. Without appropriate recording systems, training opportunities and induction, this has had considerable impact on the

balance between civilian and military staff, which in 2005 was referred to as

“fully-integrated” by the UK216. Change is fragile and can easily be undone, which is certainly the case in Sierra Leone where civilian oversight of the armed forces was a relative novelty.

In 2005, there was therefore a concern that gaps in key financial management posts would lead to the loss of all institutional memory on some of the systems that had been established. This is one of many examples of the fact that human resource management is the single most critical component of the security system transformation process in Sierra Leone. Ultimately, no institution-building or external financial support can alter this reality. Changing institutions and patterns of behaviour through SSR – and development more broadly – is a long-term and messy endeavour.

Throughout the period covered in the narrative, one considerable challenge has been to ensure that members of the army would accept the principle of civilian oversight. In particular, the existing culture and experience of the army dictated some degree of resentment at civilians taking ‘their’ jobs. At the same time, there was a lingering perception that the main reason for dismantling the military HQ had been to prevent future military coups. Whilst this is true, in the longer- term, dismantling the military HQ was also an important part of the reform process that engaged the RSLAF into a broader process of democratisation within Sierra Leone, and introduced enhanced checks and balances217. To a certain extent, suspicion of the implications of civil oversight still persists within the MoD and impacts integration of the principles of civil-military relations into defence management. Many of the military tend to see civilians as inexperienced in defence and security matters and therefore lacking the necessary competence to oversee the army. On the other hand, many civilians see the military as an obstacle to the reform process, including expenditure management. Mutual distrust along these lines still means that there is a potential to undermine the authority of the MoD – for example, if there is limited commitment by senior RSLAF officers to effectively participate in Procurement Committee meetings218.

In conclusion, it is clear that within the MoD, the process of working to create an organisational culture that ensures accountability, efficiency and effectiveness in defence management, is a very difficult and slow one. The continuing differences and culture clashes between the military and civilians need careful management in the long-term.