Alex Neads

Department: Strategy and Security Institute
Discipline: Strategy and Security Institute

Project Summary

Projects to reform the armed forces of divided, conflict-affected states by producing demographically representative militaries have been undertaken during a number of international interventions; most notably in Sierra Leone and Afghanistan. The building of these 'national armies' is seen as both an agent of Western strategy, and as a necessary element of local democratic transition. However, to support new political institutions (and with them Western policy goals) these new armies must be militarily effective and politically reliable. This poses complex problems of internal cohesion, motivation and professionalism for capacity builders and host governments alike. Yet the impact of these defence reform programmes, via their local military recipients, on indigenous politics is insufficiently understood.

Entitled 'Building Other People's Armies', my thesis examines the reform of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) by the British-led International Military Advisory and Training Team (IMATT) after the Sierra Leone civil war. The project examines the relationship between military institutions, military capacity, and democratic civil-military culture in the context of external intervention.



Supervisory Team

My research is supervised by Dr Sergio Catignani and Professor Patrick Porter, with additional support provided by Lieutenant General Sir Paul Newton (retd).

Wider Research Interests

  • defence reform and military change
  • civil-military relations and security sector reform
  • military culture and cohesion
  • defence engagement and military capacity building