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Revisiting the State Monopoly on the Legitimate Use of Force

31 December, 2006



Table of Contents

The Private Sector and the Monopoly of Force - Alison Bailes
Business and ‘New Threats’
Business and ‘Functional’ or ‘Human’ Security
Generic Solutions

Armed Non-State Actors and the Monopoly of Force - Ulrich Schneckener
Categories of Armed Non-State Actors
Characteristics of Armed Non-State Actors
Options for ‘Spoiler Management’

The Future of the Public Monopoly of Force - Herbert Wulf
Global Security Governance and the Monopoly of Force
The Need for a Multi-Level Public Monopoly of Force
Policy Implications and Recommendations


The Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) assiststhe international community in promoting good governance and reform of thesecurity sector. To accomplish this mission, DCAF conducts research on goodpractices, encourages the development of appropriate norms at the national andinternational levels, and provides targeted policy advice to a range of national andinternational actors. The Centre also assists interested parties by applying practicaltools, providing in-country advice and developing assistance programmes thatoperationalise the norms and good practices identified through policy-relevantresearch.

Part of this mandate necessarily involves staying abreast of the broaderdevelopments in security that will shape DCAF’s future work and the securitysector reform agenda more broadly. Thus, this publication is directly linked to ourcontribution to the 7th International Security Forum (ISF) held in Zurich inautumn 2006 where a DCAF-organised workshop assessed the implications of theerosion of the state’s monopoly on the legitimate use of force – a trend witnessedincreasingly in recent decades and particularly since the end of the Cold War. Thispaper, which draws on the ISF conference contributions of three noted experts,discusses two key manifestations of this trend – private sector and armed nonstateactors’ involvement in the realm of security – and explores the possibilitiesand constraints of reconstructing the public monopoly of legitimate force.

While contributing to a refined understanding of the wider context in whichDCAF’s work on security sector governance and reform takes place, it is hopedthat this publication will also prove relevant to the broader debates onprivatisation, statehood and statebuilding.