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  Solutions in Somalia before the 2017 London Conference lacked buy-in from Somali elites. However, the motivation and drive of Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire has almost single- handedly driven institutional change. Looking specifically at the SNA, the Prime Minister
has been an inspirational figure. Significant transformations include the delivery of biometric enrolment to ensure pay is delivered to soldiers, and corruption reduced; and the recovery of units from the line in order to retrain and re- equip so that they can be committed back into the fight at the required standard. Supporting these initiatives, training has been offered by the IC. Training has been standardised, with UK and EU establishments delivering training through Somali instructors to ensure capacity building is fit for an enduring Somali solution. Meanwhile, troops being trained by the USA, UK and Turkey are being accommodated and equipped, and their performance is being monitored. Continued financial assistance is directly linked to performance; transgressions result in removal of support, engendering a culture of accountability and assurance in what the SNA is doing.
Prepare for the long term: anticipate, learn
and adapt. Delivering change requires time, particularly when violence is rooted in social tensions. With a country as broken as Somalia became, it is hardly surprising that little obvious progress was made, especially in the absence
of coherent international support between 2007 and 2017. Nonetheless, achievements were made. Force generation of the SNA began, based on the integration of state paramilitary forces and clan militias, requiring significant political trust and good-will; training facilities were developed; conflict sensitivity mapping was produced; and to a degree, local forces began working more closely with AMISOM to provide security in a locally acceptable manner. This final achievement was particularly significant due to AMISOM’s initial struggle to fill the security vacuum which had followed the collapse of the state. Established in in 2007, AMISOM,
as AU operated and EU-funded force, comprises
just 22,000 troops to provide security to a
population of 14 million, spread over a territory
of 637,000km2, making effective reach across
the country practically impossible, without the
support and co-operation of local communities.
(For context, in 1997 the UK deployed 30,000 “ troops to Northern Ireland, a country with a
population 1.7 million, and a territory of 14,000
km2). Provide
in the reconciliation process. Understanding where the population’s priorities sit in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is essential; in Somali terms food and economics are vital, but so are security, belonging and esteem. Providing security in this sense requires a cross-government approach that offers stabilisation activity, transitions security from the SNA to the police at the first opportunity, and has enduring opportunities
for youth. As an example of success, the
Joint Police Programme, in co-ordination with stabilisation actors, are beginning to produce results. Consequently, current operations
in the Lower Shabelle show great promise,
with the US-mentored Somali Danab forces seizing key areas while AMISOM high-end infantry clear ground. Somali ground-holding troops then link-up with the seizing forces,
who hold territory while allowing the police
and stabilisation specialists to liaise with key leaders to understand development and security requirements, building trust, understanding
and capacity. Throughout, having a resourced
sustainment plan is essential. The last 6 months has demonstrated a significant improvement
in the ability of the SNA to sustain operations, supported by the UN, which allows the hold
and build aspects to continue. As a result, in Mogadishu and in pockets throughout the country, the al-Shabaab operations transition from an insurgency to more of a terrorist campaign, as it loses power and influence.
Overcoming significant obstacles, the SNA is beginning to demonstrate real growth in terms of tangible capability. This is being enabled by the IC, which is following lines of development which are coherent with the principles of stability operations. While the fledgling
Army remains fragile, the legacy of the 2017 London Conference looks to be positive, and may transpire to be a critical juncture in the stabilisation of the Somalian state.
   Provide security for the population, neutralise adversaries, gain and maintain popular support. According to data being collected by the Specialised Infantry Training Team in Baidoa, the typical age of an al-Shabaab insurgent in Somalia is 16-19 years old. Comparatively, the typical age of SNA soldiers is 27-35. Equally, al-Shabaab insurgents are paid, as are the SNA. Two fundamental deductions arise from this: first, that people require security and will look
to which ever organisation can provide it; and second, that youth is an important consideration
security for the population,
neutralise adversaries, gain and maintain popular support. ◆◆◆

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