Choosing the New Guard: A Model for Assessing Replacement Political Personnel in Transitional Regimes

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

A fundamental requirement for managed regime change is the identification of new leadership to fill public positions. Candidates need to be evaluated for suitability according to their attributes, but this is an inherently subjective process, and raises questions about whose interests are served by the selection. We describe an approach to assessing leadership candidates in a way that is rigorous, overt, and replicable. All of these conditions must be met if the process of replacement is to be managed in an expeditious and effective way. It is important to note at the outset that virtually all of the evaluations made will be based on subjective information. The role of subjectivity in this process is unavailable. Bias, which will always be present, is best dealt with by relying on a number of experts each of whom will be required to offer independent evaluations of candidates.

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Any managed regime change requires new leadership to fill public positions of authority. Some of these authority figures will at first by military or civil servants of the international community or intervening powers, while others will be citizens of the conflict-affected country. By definition, however, the normal mechanisms for elite recruitment, selection and empowerment will not be functioning (Macridis, 1986). Therefore those who are charged with maintaining order and preparing the transition will have to find other ways to put the right person in each job.

This article will illustrate the use of multiple attribute models, specifically the Analytical Hierarchy Process (Saaty, 1984) to select political appointees for a transitional government. Political appointees might range from an interim president or chair of a transitional council to regional governors, mayors, or local police chiefs. There may be hundreds or even thousands of such appointments in a transitional administration, with a wide range of powers and responsibilities (Chesterman, 2001).

To illustrate how these models might help manage appointments in transitional administration, this article is presented in three parts. First an example of Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) is presented, illustrating the comparatively simple ranking process that can be used to break down complex subjective decisions. It is important to note that the attributes and sub-attributes used in the model are provided as examples only, and both the labels and the weightings can be readily changed. Indeed, adjusting the model to test different assumptions is an important technique for its use. The paper then goes on to explore the rationale underlying the utility of such models. It is argued that the models work because they help to make inherently subjective decisions rigorous, overt and replicable. Finally, this paper explores the context for the use of the tool and its relevance for governance, security, and policing in transitional regimes.

Within the context of this paper, governance is employed as a concept related to determining the direction a society will take. Security, in turn, is related to personal and communal safety. As such, it may be argued that the absence of physical security will preclude the transition to democracy and development, that are often the stated aims of intervention, which may be at the heart of a new "European way of war" (Everts et al, 2004). In addition, policing in transitional regimes is often about bridging the gap between a police force that controls or abuses citizens and one that serves them. The choice of individuals who will have care and control of this process is therefore absolutely crucial to its successful outcome (Paris, 2004).

Given the above, it is suggested that there is a need for models to choose civil and military candidates for leadership posts. Such models may be even more important when there is imperfect knowledge of local candidates. Clearly, with or without a model, these decisions must be made. …