Africa Center Research Paper No. 7

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Assessing Attitudes of the Next Generation of African Security Sector Professionals

By Kwesi Aning and Joseph Siegle

May 1, 2019

Assessing Attitudes of the Next Generation of African Security Sector Professionals

Africa’s armed forces are in transition from an independence-era model to one more suited to today’s conflicts and threats. They are increasingly called upon to engage in preventive action, resolve domestic security crises, combat transnational threats, and protect the progression toward more democratic governance. Understanding how African security sector actors’ perceptions may be shifting in light of these changes can provide insights to improving their effectiveness.

This study, involving 742 African security sector professionals from 37 countries, assesses differences in the attitudes, motivations, and values of the emerging generation of African security sector professionals. Understanding these differences may raise awareness, provide a basis for reform, and create an impetus for improving the citizen-security actor relationship.

65 percent
of the youngest cohort of African security sector professionals are motivated to join by a commitment to serve their country

46 percent
view corruption as their greatest security challenge

97 percent
hold international training in high regard

Partnerships. International training with other countries and institutions is nearly universally seen as a positive way to keep up with trends and widen their exposure and perspectives.

Education. Youth are entering service with higher levels of education and at an older age and than prior generations.

Peacekeeping. Security sector professionals view peacekeeping as an influential formative experience.

Pride. Military professionals strongly embrace values such as duty, professionalism, respect, and honesty. Expressions of such sentiments are more reserved among other services, younger age cohorts, and women, however.

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Publication Type: Research Papers