The use of Security Force Assistance (SFA) is commonly perceived as a cost-efficient foreign policy tool. Training and equipping security forces in partner states are presented as a means to achieve provider states’ military objectives, maintain partnerships and prepare personnel to participate in operation abroad. There is an increasing number of states on the global arena engaged in providing SFA. Not only the major global actors such as the US, Russia and China, but also several states in the Gulf, as well as rising powers like Brazil. Regional and international organizations have relatively recently introduced multilateral SFA through
missions such as EUTM Mali or Somalia.

There is a risk that the provision of SFA will become another weapon in the intensifying global Great Power competition and that it will be used as a way for regional powers to wage proxy warfare. In addition, the fact that there are a multitude of overlapping, uncoordinated and competing SFA programmes may result in a number of unintended negative consequences – not only for the recipient states and their populations, but also having a negative impact on global security as a whole.

In two Roundtables that are gathering academics, practitioners and policy makers, we are tryingto identify differences in motivation and strategy between larger and smaller states as well as zooming in on SFA in Africa. The aim of the discussions is to search for strategies and approaches to SFA that have the potential of resulting in sustainable solutions for recipient countries and workable strategies for providing countries.

The event is co-organised by PRIO, the Egmont Institute and the Dutch Defense Academy and is hosted by the Egmont Institute in Brussels.