Partnering with host nation defence and security forces (HNDSF)

Sample storyline 1

The operation is a defence capacity building mission aimed at raising the operational effectiveness of a host nation force facing a significant insurgent and terrorist threat. The mission consists of a training programme for three units (their size and specialty can be sized up and down depending on the exercise), both in-country and international visits and courses for officers. During preparation for the programme, estimation of personnel numbers in these units based on reconnaissance visits does not appear to match the records presented to the training team. Host nation officers, when questioned about the apparent mismatch, dismiss the concerns and claim the official records are correct. The training team receives information, through intelligence channels or external assessments from other institutions, that there are indications of ghost soldiers: fictitious names on the unit payroll which do not correspond to actual soldiers and whose pay is diverted by superior officers.

In a more advanced exercise, the storyline can be adapted to shift the focus from diagnosing risks to mitigating them. In this case, the training audience would engage with an armed force that has recently been defeated by an insurgent force. While tactical mistakes have played a part in the defeat, the key factor was the presence of significant numbers of ghost soldiers, leading to overestimation of the force strength and inaccurate planning. Here, the training programme needs to be paired with a programme of reforms and is delivered in a non-permissive environment.

Sample storyline 2

During a peace enforcement operation coupled with an extensive training and equipment donation programme to the host nation armed forces, weapons donated to local security forces are found in the hands of opposing insurgent/terrorist groups. One plausible explanation is corruption and resource diversion, partly due to non-payment of salaries and resultant poverty among troops; another, however, suggests lax oversight and ineffective procedures within the mission itself. Depending on training objectives, either or both of these explanations and attendant risks can be developed.


Implications for mission

  • Operational implications of unknown troop numbers and inaccurate assessment of equipment;
  • Resource flows strengthening opposing organisations (especially re. weapons);
  • Waste of resources due to materiel diversion and/or use of training as a perk for privileged officers;
  • Resource diversion by own troops creating necessity of investigations and potential sanctions;
  • Reputational and legitimacy-related risks related to working with corrupt actors;
  • Long-term risk of mission resources being used to strengthen corrupt networks.


Links with other storylines

Corruption in partner forces can most effectively be linked to two other storylines:

  • Kinetic operational plans: if not noted and counteracted, corruption in partner forces, especially equipment diversion and ghost soldiers, can scupper operational plans due to
  • inaccurate assessments of force strength;
  • Countering opposing forces: corruption can redirect resources injected by the mission to opposing forces, weakening the mission’s position in the long term.


Training objectives and audiences

  • Identifying and reporting indicators and warnings of corruption (J2, J5, J9);
  • Understanding long-term risks to mission goals (J5);
  • Planning and implementing mitigation measures, including those that need to be coordinated by higher/lower commands (Command Group, J5);
  • Shaping monitoring and evaluation measures;
  • Gathering and feeding in information from the external environment (J2, J9);
  • Making connections to host nation and international anti-corruption organisations  (J9, Command Group);
  • Analysing legal implication of corruption in sustainment and contracting, especially among mission troops (LEGAD);
  • Liaising with host nation authorities and troop contributing nations (LEGAD, J9, J5, Command Group);
  • Identifying potential political links  and impact of the issue (POLAD);
  • Communicating any steps being taken to address the shortcomings (Public Affairs Office/StratCom/PsyOps).


Scenario ‘hooks’

These can be contained in country books, Intelligence fusion reports, crisis updates, and reports in STARTEX packages.


Exercise injects

  • Mock Government Defence Anti-Corruption Index (GI) report for the country, indicating concrete corruption risks in the defence sector;
  • (Social) media and whistleblower allegations of corruption;
  • CIMIC engagement (NGOs, local leaders, business leaders) yielding warnings of corruption;
  • LOCON/HICON reports or questions on corruption issues.