4. Eliminating need: increased partner resourcing and support

Summary of recommendations

Following a needs analysis, support host nation partners to help limit the impact of corruption caused by a lack of resources and fear of strong corrupt networks.

Introduction to key mitigation

Where corruption is a result of need or fear, punitive measures and systemic process changes will likely not work, mostly because individuals – even if they do not wish to participate in corrupt schemes – have very little room for manoeuvre and for making free choices. Anti-corruption measures thus need to be supplemented by resources that will remove the need-based drivers of corruption, mitigate the fear that can be at its source, and enable personnel to perform their tasks without the need to resort to corrupt practices. These resources can be tangible, such as regularly paid salaries which help limit poverty; or less tangible political support, which can anchor an armed force in a larger structure.

Costs and benefits

Providing additional resources to a force struggling with corruption carries significant risks. Some of these resources could be diverted, sold for private gain, or wasted as the recipient is not able to put them to good use. These risks could in turn necessitate greater investment in monitoring and oversight, further increasing the overall cost of the mission. These costs can be significant and the final decision to pursue this kind of engagement depends on the severity of need-based corrupt practices, the overall importance of the intervention and its outcomes, and the donor’s willingness to bear short-term losses in exchange for longer-term improvements.


Case Study: Corruption and Plan Colombia: The Missing Link

Eliminating need: Plan Colombia

Prior to the introduction of Plan Colombia, resources in the Colombian Army were so low that units often lacked the equipment necessary to pursue armed groups. Where the presence of the state security forces was weak and dispersed, drug traffickers were also able to threaten, credibly, police and military officers. This in turn drove corrupt arrangements with paramilitary groups, which provided protection from attacks for the troops in exchange for access to fuel and information. Improved access to resources and political support for the armed forces improved military mobility and freedom of manoeuvre. In the end, it helped break the fear that drove corruption: ‘[w]hen soldiers and police feel stronger, with the support of Plan Colombia, the position is no longer plata o plomo [take money or take a bullet] – it is to comply with the law.’

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Key Personnel

  • J2
  • J5
  • Command Group