Improving Defense Governance: Perry Center Professors Participate in Book Launch

November 02, 2017

William J Perry Center Professors Colonel (ret) Alejandro Alemán and Doctor Alejandra Bolaños participated in the first event announcing the publication of the book Effective, Legitimate, Secure: Insights for Defense Institution Building on Thursday, October 26th.

As invited author for this publication, Prof. Alemán was part of a select panel on Defense Institution Building (DIB). During his presentation he shared highlights of his chapter “Transforming Defense in Guatemala,” detailing his first-hand experience in a multi-year effort to improve the Guatemalan defense sector's efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability under a holistic governance framework. Under the auspices of the Defense Governance and Management Team (DGMT), his involvement in the Guatemala DIB project enabled Prof. Alemán to begin distilling generalizable DIB principles and evaluating the adequacy of practices. Among the lessons underscored he discussed the importance of: partner nation ownership, political will, change agents, as well as donor coordination and program integration.

Prof Alemán joined two other panelists: Tommy Ross, Senior Associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Security Cooperation, and Dr. Querine Hanlon, President of Strategic Capacity Group, both of whom also contributed key chapters to this volume. Joining Prof. Alemán and as part of a dedicated community seeking to enhance the strategic and sustainable impact of US security assistance efforts, Dr. Bolaños was recognized during the panel for directly collaborating with Dr. Hanlon and Robert Perito in the substantive development of their chapter as well as for her contributions during the conceptualization of the entire volume.

Effective, Legitimate, and Secure: Insights for Defense Institution Building offers a first-of-a-kind introduction to Defense Institution Building (DIB) as a discipline, as a policy, and as a program.  DIB, as a discipline, establishes that effective and legitimate defense institutions and other key activities to aiming to bolster the defense enterprises of partners are the only way to ensure long-term security. DIB, as a policy and as a programmatic US effort, supports partner stakeholders as they develop the systemic capabilities and institutional foundations that a legitimate, effective, professional, and sustainable defense sector requires, and in so doing promotes responsiveness to civilian control and contributes to the overall security and prosperity of the state—and in turn, to regional stability and global security.  While there is much literature addressing institution building, security sector reform, and development, there has been relatively little produced which focuses on this new discipline of DIB; this book seeks to start filling that gap.