Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 08/2011

Measuring Security Sector Governance – A Guide to Relevant Indicators

Ursula C. Schroeder

January 2010

Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces


The growing frequency and scope of externally supported security sector reform processes has sparked demand for tools to assess changes in security sector governance in states around the world. This paper takes a first small step towards this goal. By mapping the diverse indicator sets relevant for security sector governance, it provides an overview of currently available data about the quality of security provision and security sector governance among states. In its first part, the paper specifies its understanding of security sector governance and discusses the uses and limits of qualitative and quantitative indicators to measure security sector governance. The paper then provides a comprehensive overview of existing security- and governance-related indexes and assesses their contribution to measuring change in security sector governance over time and across cases. Finally, the paper’s extensive ‘source guide for security sector governance indicators’ provides brief profiles of the discussed indicators and their data sources, and outlines variations in the scope, coverage and methodology of the various indicators.