The Role of Military Integration in War-to-Peace Transitions
: The Case of South Sudan (2006-2013)

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This thesis examines the role of military integration during war-to-peace transitions, with a particular focus on the case of South Sudan between 2005 and 2013. Drawing on the nascent literature on military integration, this thesis makes five contributions that help understand the role this process can play in such environments. First, this thesis argues that governments undergoing war-to-peace transitions can either fight armed groups, ignore them and accept that they lack the monopoly on the use of force within the country, or seek political-military accommodation with them through military integration. When presented with these options, integration can be the ‘least bad’ choice in some cases. Second, this thesis demonstrates that military integration can help temporarily overcome wartime factionalism, thereby benefitting short-term peace consolidation, but can eventually lead to instability if the process is not approached as a transitional security mechanism. Third, the case of South Sudan examined in this thesis shows how the combination of an open-ended integration process and failed demobilization initiatives can increase pressure on the military integration process as the most expedient way of mitigating the threat these groups pose to stability. Fourth, this thesis argues that a disconnect between the integration process and broader defence sector reform efforts can result in the security sector being rebuilt on an unstable foundation, as was the case in South Sudan. Finally, this thesis uses South Sudan’s experience with military integration to demonstrate how a military’s failure to ‘graduate’ from the integration process risks leaving the security sector in a state of arrested development, preventing efforts to transform the military from gaining traction, and making the force prone to fracturing during periods of heightened political competition.
Date of Award2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • King's College London
SupervisorMats Berdal (Supervisor) & Kieran Mitton (Supervisor)

Cite this