Physical Security and Stockpile Management: Preconditions and Sustainability
Peace and Security Department
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National and international interventions are often able to improve Physical Security and Stockpile Management (PSSM) practices in the short-term. However, these improvements are often not maintained over time. In extreme cases, significant improvements to the safety and management of stockpiles, including the provision and construction of key infrastructure, have produced short-term benefits but have fallen out of use within a matter of years. Repeated often enough, the result is a series of piecemeal and disconnected interventions that, while well-intentioned, achieve little lasting impact. The reasons for this go beyond the absence of sufficient resources to maintain weapons and ammunition management projects over the long-term. Instead, they include a range of institutional and structural factors at the policy and operational levels that, when unaddressed, severely limit the sustainability of PSSM projects. This Operational Guidance Note (OGN) draws on experiences relevant to African contexts and identifies the central preconditions that should be in place in order to improve the sustainability of PSSM interventions. These preconditions include transparency, oversight and visibility, regulatory frameworks, operational priorities, stock valuation, awareness and training, storage infrastructure, and risk management. The OGN suggests that, when PSSM interventions take place in the absence of one or more of these necessary preconditions, the intervention should start at the local level and seek to establish the missing precondition(s) as part of the intervention. This is because sustainability will only be assured if the identified weakness is addressed. Guidance in prioritising the steps that can be taken to achieve significant improvements in PSSM project sustainability is provided at both the policy and operational levels, as well as at the level of individual PSSM interventions.
SubjectPhysical Security and Stockpile Management (PSSM)
Operational Guidance Note (OGN)
Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW)
A publication of the Defense and Security Division (DSD) of the AU Peace and Security Department (PSD)