Conflict & Insecurity

Raising awareness of corruption as a threat to peace and security and helping to build the integrity of national and international defence institutions.

Poverty, public disenfranchisement, conflict and violent extremism flourish where governments line their pockets at the expense of providing basic services. Corruption undermines democracy and strengthens extremist and organised crime groups; it also hollows out defence and security forces, rendering them more likely to exacerbate a conflict than to respond to it. And when defence and security forces fail in crisis, they fail big: it can take decades to rebuild a country whose police and military failed to stop extremist groups or alienated their own populations.

Most fragile and conflict states lack effective civil oversight of defence, and civil society and media freedom is often restricted. Furthermore, international interventions, while usually planned with the best intentions, often risk furthering corruption and supporting corrupt elites.

Our Conflict and Insecurity programme aims to address the links between corruption and conflict and help build the integrity of national and international bodies responsible for providing security and stability.

The goals of the Conflict and Insecurity Programme are to:

  1. Ensure that corruption is recognised as a threat to security and peace;
  2. Reduce corruption and increase accountability in defence establishments in a fragile and conflict affected states
  3. Advocate for international interventions that encourage accountability and don’t contribute to or sustain corruption.
Getting corruption on the agenda of security policy makers

The awareness that corruption poses a threat to stability and peace has increased, but it is still not widely reflected in security policy or in doctrine guiding military operations in crises. Based on our research into links between corruption and conflict, we advocate for corruption to become a key consideration in security and defence policy, from defence plans to counter-hybrid warfare measures and international assistance.  We have worked with national governments and international institutions – including NATO – to help design and implement anti-corruption policies and planning procedures that would equip them better to recognise and mitigate the threat.

Country programmes

We work with governments, oversight institutions, civil society and defence establishments in fragile and conflict-affected states to develop context-sensitive programmes that address corruption in the defence sector, increase transparency, accountability and effectiveness, and empower civil society. We work with defence establishments to support the creation of reform plans and assist with their implementation, and to provide training and capacity building. We partner with those that can put pressure on defence establishments to change—civil society, parliamentarians, oversight bodies, donor states—to build their expertise and strengthen their capacity to push for anti-corruption reforms, and to jointly advocate for reforms.

Improving international interventions

Interventions often have good intentions, but can—and do—increase corruption and entrench kleptocratic leaders. We work to reduce corruption on international interventions and operations by ensuring that armed forces, civilian practitioners, and policymakers have the incentives, awareness, tools and training that they need to counter corruption. In addition to our comprehensive Interventions Anti-Corruption Guidance – a toolkit for military and civilian planners – we work with armed forces in the UK and within NATO on military exercises, support military headquarters’ planning and education, and help shape national defence-related curricula that will equip policy makers to recognise corruption and mitigate its impact.

Relevant publications

Violent Extremism
Relevant Publications
PDF cover of Corruption as Statecraft: Using Corrupt Practices as Foreign Policy Tools
Corruption as Statecraft: Using Corrupt Practices as Foreign Policy Tools
PDF cover of Building Integrity in Mali’s Defence and Security Sector
Building Integrity in Mali’s Defence and Security Sector
PDF cover of An Assessment of Corruption Risks in UN Peacekeeping Operations
An Assessment of Corruption Risks in UN Peacekeeping Operations
PDF cover of Corruption Risks and UN Peace Operations
Corruption Risks and UN Peace Operations
PDF cover of Military Involvement in Oil Theft in the Niger Delta
Military Involvement in Oil Theft in the Niger Delta
PDF cover of From Text to Practice: Applying Tunisia’s Access to Information Law to Defence
From Text to Practice: Applying Tunisia’s Access to Information Law to Defence
PDF cover of Poor Governance and Corruption in Ukraine’s Defence Housing System: Risks and Recommendations
Poor Governance and Corruption in Ukraine’s Defence Housing System: Risks and Recommendations
PDF cover of Six Red Flags: The Most Frequent Corruption Risks in Ukraine’s Defence Procurement
Six Red Flags: The Most Frequent Corruption Risks in Ukraine’s Defence Procurement
PDF cover of Out of the Shadows: Promoting Openness and Accountability in the Global Defence Industry
Out of the Shadows: Promoting Openness and Accountability in the Global Defence Industry
PDF cover of Reducing Corruption on Operations: A Tool for International Organisations
Reducing Corruption on Operations: A Tool for International Organisations
PDF cover of Global Standards for Responsible Defence Governance
Global Standards for Responsible Defence Governance
PDF cover of Camouflaged Cash: How ‘Security Votes’ Fuel Corruption in Nigeria
Camouflaged Cash: How ‘Security Votes’ Fuel Corruption in Nigeria
PDF cover of Tackling Corruption Risks in Tunisia’s Defence Sector
Tackling Corruption Risks in Tunisia’s Defence Sector
PDF cover of The Officers’ Republic: The Egyptian Military and Abuse of Power
The Officers’ Republic: The Egyptian Military and Abuse of Power
PDF cover of TI-DS Briefing – Corruption: A Pitfall for Peace & Justice
TI-DS Briefing – Corruption: A Pitfall for Peace & Justice
PDF cover of Just What the Doctor Ordered: Corruption Risks in the Ukranian Military’s Medical Supply
Just What the Doctor Ordered: Corruption Risks in the Ukranian Military’s Medical Supply
PDF cover of The Fifth Column: Understanding the Relationship Between Corruption and Conflict
The Fifth Column: Understanding the Relationship Between Corruption and Conflict
PDF cover of Mission Made Possible: External Oversight and Anti-Corruption in Fragile States
Mission Made Possible: External Oversight and Anti-Corruption in Fragile States
PDF cover of Making the System Work: Enhancing Security Assistance For Ukraine
Making the System Work: Enhancing Security Assistance For Ukraine
PDF cover of Weaponising Transparency: Defence Procurement Reform as a Counterterrorism Strategy in Nigeria
Weaponising Transparency: Defence Procurement Reform as a Counterterrorism Strategy in Nigeria
PDF cover of The Big Spin: Corruption and the growth of violent extremism
The Big Spin: Corruption and the growth of violent extremism
PDF cover of NAKO Terms of Reference
NAKO Terms of Reference
PDF cover of NAKO Members
NAKO Members
PDF cover of NAKO Mandate
NAKO Mandate
PDF cover of Evaluation of the functioning and impact of the EU Defence and Security Public Procurement Directive (2009/81/EC) across 20 EU states
Evaluation of the functioning and impact of the EU Defence and Security Public Procurement Directive (2009/81/EC) across 20 EU states
PDF cover of Letter submitted to H. E. Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, President of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
Letter submitted to H. E. Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, President of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
PDF cover of Letter to Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary General, NATO
Letter to Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary General, NATO
PDF cover of Licence to Bribe? Reducing corruption risks around the use of agents in defence procurement
Licence to Bribe? Reducing corruption risks around the use of agents in defence procurement
PDF cover of Policy Brief: Strengthening Accountability in the Nigeria Defence Sector
Policy Brief: Strengthening Accountability in the Nigeria Defence Sector
PDF cover of Corruption & Peace Operations: Risks and recommendations for Troop Contributing Countries and the United Nations
Corruption & Peace Operations: Risks and recommendations for Troop Contributing Countries and the United Nations
PDF cover of Defence Companies Anti-Corruption Index 2015
Defence Companies Anti-Corruption Index 2015
PDF cover of Security assistance, corruption and fragile environments: Exploring the case of Mali 2001-2012
Security assistance, corruption and fragile environments: Exploring the case of Mali 2001-2012
PDF cover of Advocating for Peace, Justice and Security in Honduras
Advocating for Peace, Justice and Security in Honduras
PDF cover of MSC 2015: Corruption Threats to Stabilisation Missions and Defence Capacity Building
MSC 2015: Corruption Threats to Stabilisation Missions and Defence Capacity Building
PDF cover of Suspension & Debarment: Strengthening integrity in international defence contracting
Suspension & Debarment: Strengthening integrity in international defence contracting
PDF cover of Avgustina Tzvetkova: An interview with the Deputy Defence Minister of Bulgaria 2009 – 2013
Avgustina Tzvetkova: An interview with the Deputy Defence Minister of Bulgaria 2009 – 2013
PDF cover of Corruption: Lessons from the international mission in Afghanistan
Corruption: Lessons from the international mission in Afghanistan
PDF cover of Briefing for policy makers: Corruption – Lessons from the international mission in Afghanistan
Briefing for policy makers: Corruption – Lessons from the international mission in Afghanistan
PDF cover of Identifying Corruption Threats in the Defence and Security Sector: Empirical evidence using the Government Defence Anti-Corruption Index
Identifying Corruption Threats in the Defence and Security Sector: Empirical evidence using the Government Defence Anti-Corruption Index
PDF cover of Corruption Threats & International Missions: Practical guidance for leaders
Corruption Threats & International Missions: Practical guidance for leaders
PDF cover of Single Sourcing: A multi-country analysis of non-competitive defence procurement
Single Sourcing: A multi-country analysis of non-competitive defence procurement
PDF cover of Classified Information: A review of current legislation across 15 countries & the EU
Classified Information: A review of current legislation across 15 countries & the EU
PDF cover of The extent of single sourcing in defence procurement and its relevance as a corruption risk: A first look
The extent of single sourcing in defence procurement and its relevance as a corruption risk: A first look
PDF cover of Chapter: Unveiling the ‘Shadow World’ – Civil Society Engagement and Public Control of the Defense Sector
Chapter: Unveiling the ‘Shadow World’ – Civil Society Engagement and Public Control of the Defense Sector
PDF cover of Chapter: Defence procurement – understanding, identifying and addressing corruption risks
Chapter: Defence procurement – understanding, identifying and addressing corruption risks
PDF cover of Étude sur les aspects de l’intégrité de la Force de Défense Nationale du Burundi
Étude sur les aspects de l’intégrité de la Force de Défense Nationale du Burundi
PDF cover of Building Integrity in UK defence: Practical recommendations to reduce corruption risk
Building Integrity in UK defence: Practical recommendations to reduce corruption risk
PDF cover of Corruption as a threat to stability and peace
Corruption as a threat to stability and peace
PDF cover of Corruption & peacekeeping: Strengthening peacekeeping and the UN
Corruption & peacekeeping: Strengthening peacekeeping and the UN
PDF cover of Training the military and defence and security officials in understanding and preventing corruption
Training the military and defence and security officials in understanding and preventing corruption
PDF cover of Anti-corruption training course in Kabul for Afghan MOD and MOI senior officers
Anti-corruption training course in Kabul for Afghan MOD and MOI senior officers
PDF cover of Codes of conduct in defence ministries and armed forces: What makes a good code of conduct? A multi-country study (Arabic)
Codes of conduct in defence ministries and armed forces: What makes a good code of conduct? A multi-country study (Arabic)
PDF cover of Building integrity and reducing corruption in defence & security: 20 practical reforms (Spanish)
Building integrity and reducing corruption in defence & security: 20 practical reforms (Spanish)
PDF cover of The 3rd line of defence: How audits can help address defence corruption
The 3rd line of defence: How audits can help address defence corruption
PDF cover of Due diligence and corruption risk in defence industry offsets programmes
Due diligence and corruption risk in defence industry offsets programmes
PDF cover of Military-owned businesses: Corruption risk & reform
Military-owned businesses: Corruption risk & reform
PDF cover of Counter corruption reform in post-conflict countries
Counter corruption reform in post-conflict countries
PDF cover of The transparency of national defence budgets
The transparency of national defence budgets
PDF cover of Organised crime, corruption and the vulnerability of defence and security forces
Organised crime, corruption and the vulnerability of defence and security forces
PDF cover of A review of anti-corruption reform measures in the defence sector in Colombia
A review of anti-corruption reform measures in the defence sector in Colombia
PDF cover of Codes of conduct in defence ministries and armed forces: What makes a good code of conduct? A multi-country study
Codes of conduct in defence ministries and armed forces: What makes a good code of conduct? A multi-country study
PDF cover of Building integrity and reducing corruption in defence & security: 20 practical reforms
Building integrity and reducing corruption in defence & security: 20 practical reforms
PDF cover of Defence offsets: Addressing the risks of corruption & raising transparency
Defence offsets: Addressing the risks of corruption & raising transparency
PDF cover of Corruption & Security Assistance: Recommendations for donor states
Corruption & Security Assistance: Recommendations for donor states
PDF cover of Corruption Threats Assessment in Higher Military Education
Corruption Threats Assessment in Higher Military Education
PDF cover of Overview of Political Economy, Contracting and Corruption in Afghanistan
Overview of Political Economy, Contracting and Corruption in Afghanistan