Conversion survey 2003 - Global disarmament, demilitarization and demobilization

Release date: 2002-12

In the past year, political leaders and the general public alike have paid increasing attention to what are seen as ‘new threats’ as well as the responses to them. Authoritarian or failed states, terrorism, the spread of weapons of mass destruction, and the legitimization of preemptive wars all contribute to a growing sense of insecurity. This has lead to additional military spending in many countries as well as changes in the type and location of actual or planned military activity. However, at the same time, military forces are reduced in other countries. In general, transformation and reform of security forces is widespread. Various manifestations of these contradictory trends are described in detail in the Update section of the conversion survey 2003. The authors discuss the effects that the recent developments have had on military spending, defense industry, security sector reform, demobilization, base closures, and surplus weapons.
This ‘globalization of insecurity’ is also coupled with a growing recognition that major policy change needs to take place in order to reduce poverty and improve the chances of sustainable development. The authors of the Introduction to the conversion survey 2003 suggest that the concerns with security and development should be linked through the concept of human security.
The conversion survey 2003 also includes three chapters that explore topical themes in more depth. These include a study of the beginnings of a reformed security sector, including the issue of the demobilization of combatants in Afghanistan, a conceptual piece on the need to give more weight to gender aspects in policies to address the use of small arms, and a stock-taking of the arms industry in India during the period of general economic liberalization in the 1990s.
The annual conversion survey, published by the Bonn International Center for Conversion (BICC) provides an important source of information on disarmament, demilitarization and demobilization for decision-makers and the public at large, thus contributing to democratic control of security policies.