In March 2013, the British-led military assistance and training mission in Sierra Leone drew to a close, after more than a decade at the centre of efforts to reform the country’s armed forces following its protracted civil war. The transition of the mission to the smaller but more broadly focused International Security Advisory Team has raised questions concerning both the sustainability of the reforms implemented to date and the prospects for success as attention turns to the wider civilian security sector.

On the basis of interviews with those directly involved, Ashlee Godwin and Cathy Haenlein examine both the nature and timing of the transition, and the challenges facing the new mission.