Democratic Security Sector Governance

Procurement monitoringAs outlined by Transparency International (TI), procurement constitutes an area of particularly high corruption risk. Defence procurement contracts are often highly complex which hinders their scrutiny by civil society and the public. Additionally, they are often shielded from that scrutiny by secrecy for reasons of national security, which increments even further the risk of corrupt practices going undetected. Overseeing the process of procurement in the security sector is vital since it involves large amounts of scarce public funds.[1] Thus, it is crucial to closely monitor the use of these funds and to thoroughly evaluate the results of their use.

Best Practices and Recommendations

Procurement should be made in accordance to strategic security needs established by a national security policy. TI notes that for those procurement procedures that deviate from general public procurement laws the process should be clearly laid down in legislation along with the means to ensure appropriate oversight and accountability. Information on the process should be made available to the public as much as possible. A procurement record should be kept to allow periodic audits of all relevant processes.

Personnel involved in procurement processes must be highly qualified, professional and with a high level of integrity. Procurement personnel should have access to technical procurement regulations, codes of conduct documents and relevant trainings. The personnel should be rotated in order to avoid the creation of inappropriate relationships and should undergo evaluation on integrity and ethics. There should be regulations in place which oblige procurement personnel to disclose potential conflicts of interest and present declarations of wealth.

Additionally, TI recommends that procurement is organised in a central procurement office. For offsets, dedicated agencies should be created to manage offset programmes accompanied by internal audit offices that review projects periodically. Due diligence procedures must be a prerequisite.[2] Offset contracts must specify how performance will be monitored and the results should be made public. All procurement structures and processes must be subject to internal anti-corruption programmes, internal and external scrutiny and oversight.[3]

Internal and external auditing should focus on monitoring financial compliance and evaluating performance effectiveness, as well as on detecting corruption and fraud. Independent think-tanks and civil society organisations can complement the efforts of internal and external audits by carrying out research, presenting recommendations and reporting.

Parliamentarians and civil society play key oversight roles. They need to raise their awareness and knowledge of defence issues and especially procurement in order to fulfil that role successfully. Parliamentary committees should be sufficiently empowered to scrutinise budget, procurement and personnel decisions in the context of national security policies and priorities.

Oversight goes hand in hand with transparency and accountability. All aspects of military procurement and budgeting should be transparent to all decision makers and the public in order for the oversight to take place. Publications of military budgets, major security and defence policy documents, defence programmes, implementation and audit reports should be publicly available. The rules for disclosing that information should also be public.

Effective inspection and audit systems play major roles in deterring potential corruption by providing a real chance of detection and punishment. Even in the absence of corruption they are important tools to ensure effective and efficient use of scarce resources and integrity of the defence management and decision-making systems.[4]


DCAF-UNDP (2007), Monitoring and Investigating the Security Sector.

DCAF – UNDP (2008), Public Oversight of the Security Sector. A Handbook for Civil Society Organizations.

Hari Bucur-Marcu, Philipp Fluri, Todor Tagarev (eds.) Defence Management: An Introduction. Security and Defence Management Series No1. DCAF (2009).

NATO-DCAF (2010), Building Integrity and Reducing Corruption in Defence. A Compendium of Best Practices.

Nicolas Masson, Lena Andersson, Mohammed Slah Aldin, DCAF (2013) Strengthening Financial Oversight in the Security Sector.

Transparency International (2010), Defence Offsets. Addressing the Risks of Corruption & Raising Transparency.

Transparency International (2012), Due Diligence and Corruption Risk in Defence Industry Offset Programmes.

[1] Transparency International (2010), Defence Offsets. Addressing the risks of corruption & raising transparency. p. 14.

[2] For more on due diligence in procurement see: Transparency International (2012), Due diligence and corruption risk in defence industry offset programmes.

[3] Ibid. p. 32.

[4] DCAF (2010), Building Integrity and Reducing Corruption: A Compendium of Best Practices. p. 211

 © Icon Credit: Designed by Freepik from

Key Issues and Policy Recommendations, Conference 7

This publication offers the Key Issues and Policy Recommendations based on the results of the Seventh International Conference “Ukraine’s Civilian Security Sector: Reforms’ Progress and Challenges”. Conference Seven, following to the previous conferenc … read more

Conference 6: Defence Production, Sales and Acquisitions.

The sixth multi-stakeholder conference addressing Ukraine’s security governance challenges took place in Kiev between 1st and 2nd February. The conference focused on defence production, sales and acquisitions. The objective of the event was to identify … read more

Challenges Facing Arms Export Control in Ukraine and the Russian Federation

This study analyses a number of highly topical issues on how to improve national arms export control systems; what measures and structural reforms are needed to strengthen international controls over the export of sensitive products globally.

Political and Budgetary Oversight of the Ukrainian Intelligence Community

This publication addresses the problem of providing policy and budget oversight of Ukrainian intelligence organizations in accordance with norms and practices developed in contemporary Western democracies. As Ukraine continues the process of democratic … read more

Photo credit: Ivan Bandura (Flickr)

© Copyright 2023, All Rights Reserved

Web Development by Activate Media