Tackling Defence Corruption: History of a ‘Whole Sector’ Approach

A working paper. Tackling defence corruption is about much more than stopping dodgy commissions on arms sales. Civilians and soldiers die because of corruption in defence, insecurity rises, peace is compromised, wars extended. This analysis shows in some detail what it means to work on reducing corruption through a ‘whole sector’ approach: using sector-specific disaggregation of the corruption problems; embracing action by the industry, the public sector and the regulators equally; taking an international approach; and using a thorough understanding of the sector to create detailed comparative indices of corruption vulnerability. The article describes the history over twenty years of the progress made by Transparency International’s Defence & Security Programme across the whole defence sector: collaborating with, and pressuring, defence ministries, military forces, defence companies, NATO, NGOs and others. The sector is showing the way in several respects – defence-specific corruption issues, comparative technical indexes, the professional communities of ethics officers in the defence companies, the roles of the Offices of Suspension and Debarment and the Inspectors General, the bravery of many government officials and ministers leading defence reform. The progress achieved suggests that a ‘whole sector’ approach - embracing companies, governments, regulators and civil society – can be effective. The experience holds lessons for how corruption reform in other sectors can be conceived and implemented


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