The term ‘tools’ refers to the practical instruments available to governments, international agencies, local communities and individuals to provide security. This includes personnel, equipment, intelligence and communications, sources of finance, and administrative arrangements. The aim of this component is to track changes in the scale and composition of tools and investigate the extent to which different types of tools contribute to security. This will include the following elements:

Personnel. This covers trends in military personnel, international policing, peace-keeping, as well as new civilian capabilities and the relevance of different mixes of personnel in different situations. It will also cover the growth of private security actors and develop a typology of different types of private actors, e.g. private security companies, NGOs, militias, insurgencies, criminal gangs and so on.

Equipment. The ratio of equipment to personnel has tended to rise in advanced countries because of the growing cost and complexity of military equipment. Many countries face hard choices between keeping traditional platforms – aircraft carrier, advanced combat aircraft, submarines – and maintaining sufficient personnel for stabilization, peace-keeping and/or counter-insurgency. The programme will investigate existing military technology and its utility in situations of insecurity as well as the application of new technologies, including satellite imagery and communication and robotics. It will also track the new technologies used by private actors, for example, IEDs or mobile phones.

Intelligence and communications. During the twentieth century, intelligence and communications tended to be technologically driven and focused on political elites, and it prioritised the identification of enemies. A study of communications and intelligence will focus on how tools are or are not being reoriented towards understanding of contemporary situations of insecurity, with more emphasis on bottom-up human and open sources of information, even though advanced communications and access to Internet can be important tools.

Methods of Financing. This will cover overall trends in military budgets, the changing composition of military budgets, and other relevant security budget lines, covering, for example, humanitarian assistance or civilian crisis management. It will also investigate how private security actors are funded and develop a typology of different types of funding, including official budgets, voluntary contributions, criminal activities and so on.

Administrative Arrangements. One reason why adaptation is so difficult is the way in which administrative arrangements are based on twentieth-century security thinking with Interior Ministries and Ministries of Defence taking prime responsibility for security. The programme will enquire into recent efforts to build inter-agency co-operation like the Stabilisation Unit in the UK or the civ-mil planning cell in the European Union.

In areas of insecurity, where public security provision is inadequate, people may turn to private security actors. Or they may seek creative ways to cooperate among themselves and establish local zones of security. In nearly all situations of insecurity, it is possible to identify what Kaldor has called ‘islands of civility’ – in Northern Somaliland, for example, or in Tuzla during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. One of the objectives of this component of the programme is to identify some of these zones and find out what kind of new (or old) tools local communities have invented and deployed.

This component of the programme will rely on three methods: classic political science methods to track existing capabilities, for example, official documentation and statistics, media reports and interviews with relevant actors; investigative journalism to help trace the role and methods of financing of private actors (see below); and field work in zones of insecurity and security to assess the effectiveness of different tools. Case studies will include Afghanistan, Kosovo, Colombia, and Basra in Iraq.