Due to a lack of knowledge and military experience, civilian professionals only rarely make meaningful contributions to policymaking, oversight and management, and support of the defense sector. The armed forces have begun expanding the roles open to women and adjusting training and personnel policies to accommodate female personnel, but there is no national action plan for gender mainstreaming in the armed forces. The military has relied on civilian experts to train personnel in the collection, processing, and utilization of data, and is beginning to allow the public disclosure of data-based research.
Civilian ministers, civil servants, and government planners have a formal role in defense sector policymaking and decisionmaking, but their contributions are limited by a lack of knowledge and military experience, and officers have expressed frustration that civilians do not understand the military’s capabilities and needs. The armed forces accept and obey the authority of the president, the National Security Council, and the minister of defense, but give civilians little informal influence in defense decisionmaking. Outside of budgeting and finance, very few civilians have the expertise to debate and decide on defense affairs, but this is changing as a result of courses organized by the Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance and the National Defense Institute.
The armed forces do not actively discourage civilian expertise, but are more likely to limit utilization of civilian experts to budgeting and financial management, information technology and telecommunications, and civil engineering. Considerable gaps exist in the military’s ability to train personnel in nonmilitary fields like law or politics, or to fill needs in technical fields such as agriculture, engineering, and information technology. The armed forces are generally willing to accept civilian involvement to bridge these gaps, but less so in relation to key areas such as defense planning, procurement, and intelligence.
The military has no specific programs or coordinated planning to develop civilian expertise, and recruits civilian experts as needs arise. The defense sector is open to foreign providers of military assistance supporting systemic functions, and has received assistance from the United States, the United Kingdom, and France in the areas of acquisitions, long-term defense planning, counterterrorism, and counter-radicalization.
Women are formally enabled to join the armed forces, but none have been advanced to general officer rank. Female personnel are generally employed in administrative and medical roles. They are not assigned to combat units, but they are found in fields as diverse as communications, engineering, military police, remote sensing, and fixed and rotary wing transport. To some extent, the military has adjusted and adapted its rules and regulations, training programs, and facilities to integrate women, primarily in training schools and in the navy and air force.
Female military personnel receive the same basic pay, benefits and leave, and pensions as male personnel, in addition to maternity leave and part time duty while caring for children, but cannot claim bonuses that accrue to combat duty. No code of conduct exists on gender discrimination, but sexual harassment and sexual assault are severely punished in the rare instances that they are reported. The armed forces have made a formal commitment to recruiting and integrating women, but there appears to be no formal action plan for making this happen, apart from a discussion of reforming conscription to include women. Tunisia adopted a national action plan for gender equality in 2018 that applies to the armed forces in general as a state agency, but lacks specific application to the armed forces. Foreign providers of military assistance do not mention gender mainstreaming or tie assistance to it.
The armed forces rely on a general programming, planning, and information technology department to feed data-based research into specific decision making processes, and tactical and strategic simulation centers assist in planning, but the military sometimes relies on external expertise. Beginning with the air force, the military began training data processing and analysis teams in the 1970s, and currently all Ministry of Defense departments have competent data processing personnel, who produce geopolitical studies and analyses of international events.
Each year, all units submit reports to the Ministry of Defense on their current situation, including human resources, but there appears to be no systematic effort to collect and assess the military’s social, educational, and gender profile to ensure the military is representative of society and effective in recruiting the human resources and skill sets it needs. The armed forces do not systematically survey the population to assess public perceptions of the military, but they do track public opinion through the media and monitor monthly polls conducted by private institutions. The military’s strong showing in these polls reduces the incentive for the military to conduct its own polls.
The armed forces, to include the Ministry of Defense and military training institutes, are not in the habit of providing data to the public, nor do they disclose the reasons for what data collection occurs. Some military schools contract with civilians on an ad hoc basis to provide training in data collection and analysis, and formal agreements exist with the Ministry of Higher Education and Research and the Ministry of Public Health to train researchers in technical fields. Active duty military officers are increasingly allowed to present and publish research in public forums, depending on the sensitivity of the subject, though the general tendency is to organize workshops in house or with other militaries.
Q1 - Civilian Contribution
Q2 - Integration of Women
Q3 - Utilization of Competences