The Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies today concluded its inaugural Security Sector Develop workshop. The 4 ½ day workshop brought together participants from Indonesia, Nepal, Bangladesh, Timor Leste and Maldives. 

Country teams of 4-6 members spent the week developing a framework to address their own Security Sector Development needs, outlining action steps for addressing them. Today’s final briefs to one another demonstrated the importance and seriousness each of the cohort teams placed on the issues they selected.

According to COL (ret) Dave Shanahan, acting Dean of APCSS’ College of Security Studies, “the ultimate value of the workshop will be borne out over time with an assessment of what carries forward from the country cohort teams’ work. What can be assessed absolutely at this point is that the workshop format has tremendous utility. It brought together professionals from a broad spectrum of participant nation’s Security Sector and gave them a vehicle to gauge their own challenges and opportunities against those of worldwide best and worst practice as described by UN and other academics and professionals. As well, and perhaps more important, it connected participants with similarly challenged regional professionals who now are a resource to them in the future.”

The workshop format allowed for focused, deliberate interaction outside of the glare of external scrutiny between opposing/contentious national elements in the political and policy debates that surround Security Sector development.

  “This was a tremendous learning experience,” said a participant. “We were able to sit down and come up with concrete ideas which would really have a huge impact – they were all small ideas but they would have a huge impact- on the security sector of our country.”  He continued, “This will further the debate and hopefully make a much more long-lasting reform, a transformation.”

APCSS workshops in Nepal in 2006 and with Timor-Leste in 2008 sparked the creation of a self designated “core group” from its participants which has accomplished much in providing an out-of-the-spotlight forum to discuss and forge action on critical political and Security Sector issues. The other cohorts from this workshop have been challenged and have the potential to succeed to similar roles in fostering the cross-sectoral communication necessary for real progress to be made in this vital area. 

APCSS is planning to host another Security Sector Workshop is planned for July 2010.