The Importance of Integrity Building

One does not fight corruption by fighting corruption – merely prosecuting an individual, or declaring another anticorruption campaign, redrafting another anticorruption decree, or establishing yet another anticorruption commission. 

Daniel Kaufmann, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and former Director for Global Governance at the World Bank Institute

Building integrity and fighting corruption are two sides of the same coin and both need to be addressed in any national or sectoral plan. Corruption, or the abuse of entrusted office for private gain, must be rendered as high risk and low reward. It is the aim of integrity building to achieve this in a way that does not obstruct the efficiency of governments or the private sector.

Barriers to corruption can be erected through increasing accountability and transparency. Accountability means that holders of public office are responsible to the public for their decisions and actions. Holders of public office must submit themselves to the level of scrutiny appropriate to their office. One means to hold public officials accountable is through transparency and availability of information. Transparency and accountability allow fewer opportunities for the abuse of public systems. One of the frequent issues in the defence and security realm is that such transparency is often lacking.

This chapter examines the importance of integrity building in defence by demonstrating what integrity means in the defence and security arenas, and shows why building integrity must be a priority for armed forces. It also gives examples of tools that can be used to achieve this goal and present how some countries are successfully using these tools to strengthen integrity in their defence and security ministries and their armed forces.

What is Meant by “Integrity”?

Integrity is a term often used in combination with national security: securing the integrity of the national territory is a purpose explicitly stated in many national constitutions for their national armed forces. In Latin America, for instance, 11 out of 16 countries state the purpose of guaranteeing integrity in one form or another in their constitutions.

Integrity is a value that is often attributed to soldiers. The US Army, for example, teaches integrity as one of the Seven Core Army Values taught to soldiers in the Army’s Basic Combat Training: “As your integrity grows, so does the trust others place in you.”

Integrity is indeed a crucial value for armed forces around the world, both in its technical and its moral meaning.

Establishing and maintaining integrity in public institutions encompasses a variety of elements, which together foster an ethical environment. These elements are:

  • Norms of individual and collective behaviour;
  • Clearly established and respected codes of conduct;
  • Leadership by example;
  • Legislation and regulations;
  • Effective training and regular reinforcement of that training;
  • Assurance and enforcement.

... For the full text of this chapter dowloand the accompanying file.



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