The Security Apparatus indicator considers the security threats to a state, such as bombings, attacks and battle-related deaths, rebel movements, mutinies, coups, or terrorism. The Security Apparatus also takes into account serious criminal factors, such as organized crime and homicides, and perceived trust of citizens in domestic security. In some instances, the security apparatus may extend beyond traditional military or police forces to include state-sponsored or state-supported private militias that terrorize political opponents, suspected “enemies,” or civilians seen to be sympathetic to the opposition. In other instances, the security apparatus of a state can include a “deep state”, that may consist of secret intelligence units, or other irregular security forces, that serve the interests of a political leader or clique. As a counter example, the indicator will also take into account armed resistance to a governing authority, particularly the manifestation of violent uprisings and insurgencies, proliferation of independent militias, vigilantes, or mercenary groups that challenge the state’s monopoly of the use of force.

Questions to consider may include*:

Monopoly on the Use of Force

  • Military: Is the military under civilian control?
  • Militias: Do private militias exist against the state?
  • Paramilitary: Is there paramilitary activity?
  • Private Forces: Do private armies exist to protect assets?
  • Guerillas: Are there guerilla forces operating in the state? Do they control territory?

Relationship Between Security and Citizenry

  • Professionalization of Police: Are the police considered to be professional?
  • Political Violence: Is violence often state-sponsored and politically motivated?
  • Government Response to Security Threats: Is the government dealing well with any insurgency or security situation?


  • Use of Force: Does the military and police maintain proper use of force?
  • Accusations of Police Brutality: Are there accusations of police brutality?


  • Arms Proliferation: Is there a high availability of weapons?
  • DDR Program: If in reconstruction, is there an adequate plan for demobilization, disarmament and reintegration of former combatants?


* Indicator descriptions are not exhaustive, and are intended only as an entry point for further interpretive analysis by the user.