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Liberia’s new government, under President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, has made security sector transformation a high priority. The authors analyze Liberia’s complex security environment, set forth an integrated security concept to guide the formation and use of those forces and new institutions to manage them, and assemble a complete security structure. They then develop specific force-structure options and discuss the cost-effectiveness of each. Finally, they suggest immediate steps toward implementation of the new security structure. These include development and coordination of detailed integrated force plans with the United States and the UN; a design and plans for a small police quick-reaction unit and small Coast Guard; attention to building court and corrections-system capacity; and consolidation, reduction, and appropriate recruiting, vetting, and training of the currently independent multiple police forces, customs, and intelligence personnel.

"[This book] offers a program to rehabilitate the security sector — and in the process suggests how devastating for basic public institutions over a decade of violent depredation can be … How should these institutions be structured so as to encourage democratic control and effectiveness at an affordable cost? This study offers a series of useful guidelines, both for Liberia and for the international community and the United States."

- Foreign Affairs, May/June 2008

The research described in this report was prepared for the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). The research was conducted in the RAND National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the OSD, the Joint Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands, the Department of the Navy, the Marine Corps, the defense agencies, and the defense Intelligence Community.

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