ARP No. 7: Assessing Attitudes of the Next Generation of African Security Sector Professionals

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By Kwesi Aning and Joseph Siegle

April 29, 2019

The African security environment has changed greatly in the past 20 years. The rise of nonstate actors such as violent extremist organizations, pirates, illicit traffickers, and transnational organized criminal syndicates, not to mention an array of locally based armed militant groups, has altered the nature of threats that African security sector actors must confront. The African security environment has been simultaneously shaped by rapidly growing access to information by citizens, exposure to technology, globalization, the youth bulge, and urbanization, among other factors. The strong state-society dimensions of this evolving security environment have required African security sector institutions to adapt to be more effective.

While there has been considerable scholarship aimed at understanding the evolution of African security institutions, there has been relatively less interest in African security sector professionals themselves. What are their views, values, and motivations toward their service, and how have they evolved over time? This report attempts to deepen understanding of this question by assessing the motivations and attitudes of what it terms the “next generation” of African security sector professionals. Specifically, these are members of the military, police, and gendarmeries in their twenties and early thirties who will be called on to confront Africa’s emerging security challenges.

Attitudes and values can be expected to vary across the continent’s diversity of countries and actors. Moreover, these issues are constantly evolving in line with changing internal and external environments. This research, therefore, aims to provide a snapshot that can serve as a benchmark against other measures and future research.

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