Somalia Military Doctrine

Following the defeat of the Islamic Courts Union, more than 3,000 people from all of Somalia’s regions and clans as well as the Somali Diaspora participated in a National Reconciliation Conference convened by the TFG in Mogadishu from 15 July – 30 August 2007. Offshoots of the ICU and opposition leaders, however, held a separate meeting in Asmara, Eritrea, where they joined forces to fight the TFG under the banner of the Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS).

In February 2007, the United Nations Security Council authorised the African Union to deploy a peacekeeping mission in support of Somalia’s Transitory Federal Institutions (TFIs). The Security Council authorized the Member States of the African Union to maintain the deployment of AMISOM, as set out in paragraph 1 of resolution 2093 (2013) until 30 November 2015. AMISOM continues to support the FGS’ commitment to a credible electoral process in 2016 and is actively working closely with the FGS and SNA to bring peace and stability to the nation.

The security architecture unveiled in April 2017 received praise from the international community with the UN Special envoy to Somalia Michael Keating terming it ‘a milestone for Somalia’. The UK immediately responded with a £21m support to actualize the architecture. Somalia and donor countries this past week signed a Security Pact following Somalia’s presentation of the newly approved National Security Architecture during the May 2017 London Conference. The donors, 42 in total approved the architecture and together with Somalia signed the Pact which sets the framework upon which international donor support for the security reform sector in Somalia shall be based.

The Pact had five thematic areas: Somalia’s political agreements on national security architecture, comprehensive approach to security milestones, international support, conditions-based transition from Amisom to Somali security forces and governance and implementation of the pact. The Pact sets out a ten year framework but with a focused support of the first four years within the term of the current administration.

The National Security Architecture (NSA) is founded on four key areas notably the number of the Somali security forces and civilian oversight and role of the executive over the armed forces. It also focuses on the distribution of the forces along Federal and Member States besides putting into place control and command structures and making clear roles of institutions at Federal and State Level. Finally it outlines the fiscal responsibilities for respective Somali security forces at the federal and state level.

Following the conclusion of three days talks in Mogadishu in April 2017, the Federal Government and the Federal Member states leaders proposed Somalia will have an 18,000 strong military excluding the navy and air force. Somali National Army and Federal Member States leadership will participate in the distribution of forces, article 7 of the architecture reads. Another article, 20 notes, ‘In consultation with the Federal Member States presidents, the chief of defense forces will propose SNA sector commanders to the Ministry of Defense for approval’. The architecture also proposes the the five Federal Member States- HirShabelle, Puntland, Galmudug, Jubbaland and South West will each be allocated 3,000 slots. Banaadir region will also contribute 3,000 troops.

Parliamentary defence committee criticized the new National Security Architecturen terming it a recipe for disintegration of the national army into tribal militias. The element of the architecture that refered to the formation of the national army amounted to a violation of the constitution. The committee warned the composition of the army based on equitable distribution to regional administrations which are established along clan lines risks compromising the integrity and independence of the army. “Sharing the powers of the Somali National Army (SNA) Commanders with Federal Member State presidents and establishing an army based on clan lines risks creating a tribal force," the committee said.

In a seven point motion tabled before the House 26 April 2017 , the committee raised a number of issues which it said could compromise the country’s security framework if the proposals are endorsed in the 11 May 2017 London conference.

A number of areas in the new architecture irked the committee. First, on formation and composition of the army, the new plan gives powers heads of regional administrations in distribution of forces and hiring of sector commanders. Citing article 54 of the Provisional Constitution, the lawmakers said including federal state leaders in the formation, composition and distribution of the Somalia National Army amounted to a violation of the constitution. Article 54 outlines four areas which are exclusively within the remit of the Federal Government namely Foreign Affairs, National Defense, Citizenship and Immigration and Monetary Policy.

Further, the 12 member committee stated the Provisional Constitution does not cite the federal member state leaders in making any rules relating to the military but gives parliament the powers to enact necessary laws on formation and composition of the army. Article 130 which the MPs cite reads: The two Houses of the Parliament shall enact a law governing the structure, functions and levels of the security agencies of the Federal Republic of Somalia.

The Federal Government and Parliament agreed 01 May 2017 on most of the articles presented to the House by the government despite sharp criticism by the House defense committee. The Committee had questioned the inclusion of Federal Member State leaders in the composition and distribution of the Somali National Army among a number of issues which it considered violated the constitution.

In the new framework, Somali Police Force will consist of six units in line with the pre-1991 arrangement. The units are; Darwish (paramilitary unit), Tax Protection unit, diplomat guards, Criminal Investigations Department (CID) and coast guard. In the previous plan presented to parliament, the government had proposed the establishment of 500 Danab Special Forces in each Somali National Army (SNA) sector. The SNA has 8 sectors which would translated to 4,000 forces.

Federal Member State presidents will not take part in the redistribution of forces, the new arrangement reads contrary to an earlier government proposal. The leaders can however submit any complaints against a sector commander to the chief of defense forces.

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