1st Edition

Military Integration during War-to-Peace Transitions South Sudan’s Attempt to Manage Armed Groups, 2006-13

By Lesley Anne Warner Copyright 2023

    In the 1960s, only 10% of peace agreements included some element of political-military accommodation – namely, military integration. From Burundi to Bosnia to Zimbabwe, that number had increased to over 50% by the 2000s. However, relatively little is understood about this dimension of power-sharing often utilized during war-to-peace transitions. Through an examination of the case of South Sudan between 2006 and 2013, this book explores why countries undergoing transitions from war to peace decide to integrate armed groups into a statutory security framework. This book details how integration contributed to short-term stability in South Sudan, allowing the government to overcome wartime factionalism and consolidate political-military power prior to the referendum on self-determination in 2011. It also examines how the integration process in South Sudan was flawed by its open-ended nature and lack of coordination with efforts to right-size the military and transform the broader defense sector, and how this led the military to fragment during periods of heightened political competition. Furthermore, the book explains why integration ultimately failed in South Sudan, and identifies the wider lessons that could be applied to current or future war-to-peace transitions.

    This book will be of great interest to students of war and conflict studies, peacebuilding, post-conflict reconstruction, African security issues, and International Relations in general, as well as to practitioners.

    1. Introduction  2. Conceptualising Military Integration During War-to-Peace Transitions  3. Armed Groups in Southern Sudan  4. Integration  5. Transformation  6. Disintegration  7. Conclusions


    Lesley Anne Warner is a foreign affairs analyst based in Washington, D.C. specializing in U.S.-Africa policy. She holds a PhD in War Studies from King’s College London and a MA in Security Studies from Georgetown University. Dr. Warner has worked at the State Department, the Foreign Affairs Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives, National Defense University, and the RAND Corporation.

    'Painstakingly compiled with immense insights of an account so complex trying to address a phenomenon that has been always besetting state building efforts in South Sudan. The trap of armed groups integration has been the epicentre of the state failure and of the crises that have bedevilled the young state's transition. The bloated security sector has remained shockingly at wedge with the economy's carrying capacity. The difficult civil-military relations framework which it has engendered - have been a huge drag on democracy and human rights.Lesley-Anne Warner's analysis doesn't only take of cognizance of what government officials should prioritize at the early stage of state formation. Rather, it also takes vigilance of generalizable patterns which are required to frame an effective model for state building.' 

    Dr. Majak D’Agoôt, Senior Research Associate, King's College London, former Sudan's Deputy Chief of Intelligence and South Sudan's Defence Minister, UK

    'Lesley Anne Warner has produced a crucial analysis of military integration in the context of South Sudan. Based on extensive field work, her account of decisions made and dilemmas encountered adds invaluable insight to both practitioners and academics engaged with peacebuilding. Specifically, this book demonstrates superbly the ongoing security and political challenges that face countries emerging from war and the difficult trade-offs inherent to this "post-conflict" moment.'

    David Ucko, Professor, National Defense University, USA

    'The process of state formation is exceedingly complex, daunting, and prone to failure for a multitude of reasons. And yet the consolidation of states capable of providing the public goods required for modern life remains the epic task of the 21stcentury. Dr. Warner’s book provides insight into the stark choices facing the Government of South Sudan in its attempts to mitigate the threats to stability of diverse and disparate armed groups; fight them, ignore them, or accommodate them. She shows how even the "least bad" choice—accommodation—comes with inherent risks that may result in long-term instability, and how combatants and ex-combatants exercise their own agency while the United Nations and other external agents try to manage the process. The book is not just about South Sudan; it is a primer for leaders of any country—or well-meaning outsiders—seeking to achieve stability and enduring peace.'

    Michael Miklaucic, INSS Senior Fellow, PRISM Editor-in-Chief, National Defense University, USA

    'This book is a meticulous rendering of the story of South Sudan’s struggles with security sector development after it became independent in 2011. This is a significant contribution to the understanding of the intersection of war, peace, stability and professionalization of a national army. It will be of great interest to social scientists, historians and security professionals.'

    Jok Madut Jok, Professor of Anthropology at Syracuse University, USA