Written by Colin Robinson.
Security sector reform research is often concentrated upon questions of accountability. It is the high-profile, atrocious incidents of human rights violations which often draw attention to the behaviour of security forces. But security sector reform is generally agreed to include both efforts to improve the democratic accountability and the effectiveness of security forces. But neither objective is really fully possible without adequate information about the actual institutions under study.
Reform appears unlikely for many years in the former Soviet states of Central Asia. But when that time comes, it will be aided by accurate information. One of the more powerful and prominent states in the region is Uzbekistan, which attracted attention when it used elements of its security forces to fire upon demonstrators at Andijan in May 2005. Two years later, Burnashev and Chernykh explained some of the military dynamics in the pages of China and Eurasia Forum Quarterly. The Journal of Power Institutions in Post-Soviet Societies (PIPSS) and the Journal of Slavic Military Studies continue to shed light on these issues, with a particularly pertinent article, by Sébastien Payrouse on training in Central Asian militaries, being issued in 2010.