The AU Roster of PSSM Practitioners

In 2017, the Commission of the African Union began to compile a roster of practitioners in Physical Security and Stockpile Management (PSSM). This roster forms part of the broader AU-Germany project on enhanced Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) control and PSSM in the Greater Sahel region, supported by the German Federal Foreign Office (GFFO) and the Bonn International Center for Conversion (BICC).

The Aim of the AU Roster of Practitioners

Current PSSM training across the Greater Sahel is often delivered by international practitioners on a short-term, one-time basis. As a result, individuals who participate in PSSM training courses often have no opportunity to practice, refresh, or expand upon what they have learned. As PSSM training is provided by many different international agencies, at present there is also no means for the African Union to assess the overall extent of PSSM capacity across the Greater Sahel region, and no mechanism through which this capacity can be harnessed and deployed.

To address these gaps, the Commission is launching an initiative to identify individuals with expertise in PSSM across the Greater Sahel region. The aim of this mapping initiative is to identify approximately 20 individuals with capacities covering the different competencies required for effective PSSM (see section III below). These individuals will be provided with further PSSM training, in order to generate a pool of practitioners who can be called upon when the African Union receives requests for technical assistance, or when other opportunities arise. The aim of the AU roster is for practitioners from Greater Sahel countries to share their expertise with other Greater Sahel countries, in areas where support is needed. In this respect, through the creation of a roster of practitioners, the AU aims to decrease reliance on external assistance while at the same time fostering increased South-South cooperation and information exchange.

The Importance of PSSM

PSSM incorporates two important tenets of arms control. Firstly, if government arms and ammunition are not physically secured, they are open to theft and diversion to non-state armed groups and the illicit arms market. Secondly, if stockpiles of arms and ammunition are inappropriately managed, the risk of unplanned explosions increases, as does the threat to nearby human life and infrastructure. When improperly stored, weapons and ammunition may also become defective, potentially harming government soldiers during training exercises and battle.

Ensuring the security and safe management of stockpiles requires expertise in a number of different competencies, as outlined in the International Small Arms Control Standards (ISACS) and the International Ammunition Technical Guidelines (IATGs). In terms of physical security, personnel must be able to implement measures to “detect, access, communicate, delay and respond” to unauthorized attempts to enter government stockpiles (US DoD 1991: 13). This should include familiarity with relevant international guidelines for padlocks, the thickness and composition of doors, inner and outer layers of security, and the use of ID badges to restrict access.

Ensuring the security and safe management of stockpiles requires expertise in a number of different competencies, as outlined in the Modular Small-arms-control Implementation Compendium (MOSAIC) and the International Ammunition Technical Guidelines (IATGs). In terms of physical security, personnel must be able to implement measures to “detect, access, communicate, delay and respond” to unauthorized attempts to enter government stockpiles (US DoD 1991: 13). This should include familiarity with relevant international guidelines for padlocks, the thickness and composition of doors, inner and outer layers of security, and the use of ID badges to restrict access.

Requests for Information

To nominate individuals with expertise in PSSM, or for more information on the AU PSSM roster, please contact:

Christopher Suna Kayoshe
Officer Strategic Security Affairs and CT
African Union Defense and Security Division
Matthias Krötz
Advisor Small Arms & Light Weapons Control
Seconded to the African Union