Territorial Security

6.9 Necessary Condition: Territorial Security
6.9.1 What is territorial security? Why is it a necessary condition?
Territorial security is a necessary condition in which ordinary citizens and legitimate goods are able to move in relative freedom within the country and across its borders, while illicit commodities and individuals that present threats to security are denied free passage. Establishing this condition has been extremely challenging in war-torn countries—many are peppered with landmines, roadside bombs, and roadblocks; suffer from porous borders with daunting terrain; and have air, land, and seaports controlled by spoilers and criminals. Freedom of movement allows children to travel to school without fear of attack and farmers to take their goods to market. The ability to move about also promotes social integration of communities that might otherwise remain isolated. Controlling state borders is necessary to track what enters and exits the country or to prevent threats to security and legal commerce. Many destabilizing elements come from outside state borders in the form of transnational organized crime, hostile neighbors, arms proliferation, and international terrorism. Improving customs and export processes at the border can also benefit international trade and economic development in the long term.
6.9.2 Guidance on Territorial Security
6.9.3 Approach: Freedom of Movement
Freedom of movement refers to the free flow of people and goods throughout the country without fear of physical harm or disruption, while spoilers, illicit commodities, and other sources of instability are restricted in movement. Enabling freedom of movement has wide-reaching benefits, promoting economic growth and social normalization among communities.
6.9.4 Facilitate movement for people and goods. Establish rules on where to enable, limit, or deny access. Enabling access can be done by removing roadblocks that impede movement of people or vehicles, removing landmines from fields, creating safety corridors to help refugees and IDPs move freely without harassment, and ensuring roadways are free of explosives.176 Ensure the safety of movement by registering identities at checkpoints and establishing checkpoints to monitor who or what is able to travel through certain territories.
6.9.5 Deny movement to opponents of the peace. Restricting the movement of criminals and spoilers may require guarding ships at sea, establishing maritime or air exclusion zones, or creating vehicle checkpoints. Establishing such rules allows security personnel to identify individuals who may be wanted for war crimes or other offenses that contribute to instability and restricts the movement of weapons and protects installations and population centers. It also enables members of former warring parties to travel more safely in areas controlled by their rivals.177
6.9.6 Be aware of cultural sensitivities when conducting checkpoint, cordon and search, and convoy operations. At the tactical level, personnel at checkpoints represent the face of the S&R mission. Because they interface with the people, it is vital that duties are performed with full awareness of local customs, particularly in dealing with women, children, and the elderly. Clear communication of the rules of the checkpoint is key. Define rules for the “escalation of force”178 to reduce avoidable civilian casualties. The escalation of force involves a sequence of actions that include both nonlethal (e.g., flags, spotlights, lasers) and lethal means (e.g., warning, disabling, or deadly shots to protect the force). It may be appropriate to use local forces in these scenarios because they have more familiarity with the context.
6.9.7 Approach: Border Security
Border security involves managing the movement of people and goods across state borders (including air and seaports) to ensure that these elements do not destabilize the country. There are two distinct but related aspects of border security: (1) Physical border security, which involves monitoring interstate border areas for crime, refugee flows and the movement of irregular forces, and (2) Customs and export control, which regulates the flow of people, animals, and goods into and out of the country.179
6.9.8 Pay attention to border issues; they are oft overlooked at the peril of the mission. Borders are particularly problematic in countries where insurgent recruits flow across borders and illicit trades provide funding to prolong conflict. Transnational organized crime has also become a top source of border insecurity, helping to fund conflict and sustain illicit economic and political power structures that undermine the peace process.180 Specific cross-border threats include the smuggling of people, arms, natural resources, and other commodities that contribute to instability.
6.9.9 Address border security in the mandate, cease-fire, and peace agreements. The mission mandate should explicitly address border security to ensure it is recognized as a critical security imperative. Cease-fire and peace agreements and other political documents should also underscore the importance of securing borders.181 Because border security connotes sovereign authority, it has historically been a very politically sensitive issue. The UN has unequivocally stated that it does not do border security, preferring the terms “border control” or “monitoring,” which includes traditional activities like monitoring ceasefires, refugees, and IDPs; humanitarian activities; and illicit trafficking and trade.182 The UN typically places the burden on member states to protect their borders and prevent terrorists or weapons of mass destruction from crossing their territories.183 Political sensitivities, however, do not negate the fact that border security is essential to short- and long-term stability.
6.9.10 Be prepared to perform border security functions for an indeterminate period. In spite of political and practical difficulties, international actors should be prepared to perform border security functions to help the country manage its land border areas, airspace, coastal and territorial waters, and, when necessary, exclusive economic zones. Specific border security activities include the following:184
  • Establishing border stations to efficiently regulate movement of goods and people.
  • Establishing information-sharing protocols to help detect and prevent illegal trafficking, organized crime, irregular force movements, terrorism, and other activities that threaten the security of border areas.
  • Training local forces on patrolling and monitoring individuals and goods crossing the border, and eventually developing a sustainable civil border service.
6.9.11 Build host nation capacity for border security as a first-order priority. Local forces must be trained and equipped to perform border security tasks. Training conducted in country is usually the most successful. Train the trainers is a best practice approach. More host nation participation is better because they have more familiarity with context. Colocating international and local forces for mentoring and monitoring will likely be required for some time. Effective border security also relies on solid intelligence about wanted individuals seeking to enter or exit the country. Build cooperative relationships between border security forces and intelligence agencies to ensure critical data are shared.
6.9.12 Use existing models for regional cooperative trade programs. After the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, many new border security programs were implemented at airports, seaports, and other border crossings. These initiatives targeted terrorists, weapons proliferation, human and narcotics trafficking, illegal immigration, and money laundering. Many regional and global cooperative programs of this nature have been effective in these objectives and should be looked at as a model for improving cooperative efforts for border control and nonproliferation.185 For more on regional engagement, see Section 3.9.
6.9.13 Manage border relations with neighbors. Many conflict countries share extensive state borders with adjacent countries from which a number of destabilizing threats originate. Garnering the political support of adjoining states and establishing cross-border protocols early can reduce further instability and prove beneficial for the security of adjoining states. For more on regional engagement, see Section 3.9.