SNAF Reform Track; Personnel, Leadership and Procedures

Somalia is now on a remarkably upward trajectory towards sustainable peace, stability and progress having emerged from close to three decades of civil strife and long-drawn-out political stalemates that beset the Horn of African Nation’s institutions.

Since President Mohamed Abdullahi ‘Farmajo’ and his Prime Minister, Hassan Ali Khaire came to power in early 2017, significant Somali-led and Somali-owed cross-sectoral reforms have been initiated and accomplished.

In order to overcome the inherent national bottlenecks and set the country towards lasting stability, peace and development, the security sector was identified as a critical component towards the attainment of this national imperative.

Steps were taken to advance the implementation of the National Security Plan with the overall objective of establishing professionally trained, accountable and sustainable security organisations. The government adopted new approaches to successfully disarm and reorient a number of clan and religious militias into either civilian life or reintegrated into the National Armed Forces hence re-establish public confidence in the rule of law and state guaranteed security.

The reform team was led by the Office of the Prime Minister, through the Security and Justice Sector Roadmap. With a view to establishing professionally trained, disciplined, fully equipped, accountable, effectively managed and fully human complaint Somali National Armed Forces, the reform initiatives focused on the armed forces personnel, leadership and processes.

The reform isolated the need to verify the genuine number of active boots on the ground. Each officer was allocated a unique identifier. Their respective duty stations were mapped and SNAF bio data recorded.

Once this was attained, the security reform team embarked on biometric registration which entailed capturing irreplaceable biodata of every soldier. This was followed by payroll reform where payments are made from Treasury Single Account and directly into the individual accounts of each soldier. The process is cashless, SIFMS compliant and verifiable. This was followed by physical verification of each soldier in terms of location, personal identity, possession, level of training, equipment, command and unit strength.

Once this was done, individual health screening of solders was conducted to find out which active or inactive, medical records, physical fitness, disabilities, gender age and retirement.

The reform team embarked on Human Resource Management reform in terms of records, planning as well as resource management.

To ensure force financial transactions are prudently managed, expenditures were pegged on formal procurement processes via vendors, through a transparent and accountable process where no cash is handled and payments are auditable, trackable and made promptly to suppliers.

On logistics, it was tailored on troop numbers, quota-based where overlap was excluded and uniformed logistical support was provided for. A new department for planning for established to be involved in planning for general activities, operations, force generation among others.

Furthermore, force leadership was modernized and streamlined to be aligned with the contemporary requirements of the overall military reform. Chief of Defense Force, popularly known as the CDF, who is the overall uniformed commander of the military is a political appointee. The current CDF is a young, fully trained and competently appointed professional soldier who epitomises the new youthful face of the Somali National Army. The force also has operational and tactical commanders as well as directorates of operations.

Key reform outcomes include development of appropriate management practice, human resources development undertaken successfully, Improvement of Community Safety and Security Services delivery and the establishment of effective and efficient Security Organizations that are self-sustaining in the long-term and could gradually and sequentially take over complete security responsibility from AMISOM and UNSOM peacekeeping and stabilisation role countrywide.