Saturday, April 4, 2015

State Sector Actors in Security

State sector actors are the legal operators of security agencies and exercise legitimate authority of use of force (Weber calls it “the state’s monopoly of the use of force”). Some actors formulate rules and regulations, some define scope and limitations of such instruments and some implement them. They comprise institutions with people's representatives, constitutionally recognised judicial bodies and implementing agencies within The Executives. Assuming that a state has a Westminster democracy, state sector actors are the institutions under the Executives, the Judiciary and the Parliament.

In the context of Nepal, state sector actors comprises Head of the State (Office of the President), Head of the Executives (Office of the Prime Minister), Council of Ministers, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Defence, and constitutionally recognised security institutions, i.e. National Security Council. They control specifically four security agencies: Nepal Army, Nepal Police, Armed Police Force and National Investigation Department. Ministry of Home Affairs is also liable to oversee functions of Private Security Providers (PSPs) in Nepal, though they are registered as per the rules in Company Act under the Ministry of Industry.

Ideally, state sector actors monitor security agencies, implement rule of law, formulate plans to ensure present day security and envision future security too. But not all state institutions have same or equal rights to entertain. Some institutions crucially influence the way that security agencies work while some provide policy guidance. This asymmetry in rights and responsibilities makes interrelations between the actors complex. Therefore, the network between state institutions and interrelations between their constitutional rights and responsibilities are other aspects which impact security sector governance in a given country. A well-crafted constitution provides ground for check and balance in use of power. This may be decisive in critical political conditions. Another, because of the impact that the functions of one institution have on the other, state institutions interact very much with each other while performing their roles.

Another interesting aspect is who holds the positions that influence SSG. In ideal democratic states, periodic elections determine the representatives who have authority and power. In fragile states, such change in government and/or parliament may be more frequent thereby making power volatile and influence erratic. Oligarchs and tyrants control states for relatively prolonged period. Depending upon the mode of state functioning, the influence of state sector actors may be different in different countries.

State sector actors are important also from vulnerability point of view. They have to survive with ebbs and flows of geopolitics and regional/global power order. Local to transnational actors vie for a good influence over them to fulfil individual interests. Hence, context-specificity, political maturity and constitutional rights and responsibilities ascribed to state sector actors are fundamental factor to influence performance of these actors, their relations with other actors and their capacity to command over security sector governance.

Further reading:
Abrahamsen, R., & Williams, M. C. (2009). Security beyond the State. International Political Sociology, 3, 1–17.
Krahmann, E. (2005). From State to Non-State Actors: The Emergence of Security Governance. In E. Krahmann (Ed.), New Threats and New Actors in International Security. Palgrave.
Krahmann, E. (2010). States, Citizens and the Privatisation of Security. Cambridge University Press.
Schneckener, Ulrich (2006). "Fragile statehood, armed non-state actors and security governance." In: Private Actors and Security Governance.

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