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The structure of the old MOD, composed solely of a few civil servants and divorced from the military, led to it frequently being by-passed by the military dealing directly with the President. This made it virtually impossible for MOD to exercise its proper role of developing policy and planning, controlling resources, and directingthe military on behalf of the government.

The Role of the MOD
The existence of the restructured and strengthened MOD in Sierra Leone is an important indicator how far civil - military relations progressed. The MOD plays a vital role in handling and consolidating democratic civil-military relations. Political stability depends upon recognition by the armed forces of their commitment to democratic principles and civilian control as exercised on behalf of the elected government by the MOD. The MOD is the means by which the legitimacy of the democratically elected Government and its policies are enacted by a non-partisan civil service and a professional military force working in partnership to defend the nation. The role of the MOD is to advise the Ministers of Defence, and to exercise strategic direction on their behalf over the armed forces. This starts with determining defence policy overall and then developing a planning process to produce an effective programme within the resources available. It also encompasses management and control of resources during the year, and accounting for expenditure at the end of the year.

The New MOD
It was clear from the outset that radical changes were needed if the Government's policies and aspirations for defence were to be realised. The old MOD building lacked sufficient accommodation to house the number of staff that would be needed for it to carry out its future role. New accommodation had to be found, staff selected and trained. In 1999 His Excellency the President approached the British Government for assistance. It agreed to help. A small team of Defence Advisors was sent to help with the creation of a new MOD. Plans were put in place and recruitment commenced. By May 2000 the number of staff employed by MOD had risen to 35; a Director General, two Deputy Secretaries, Six Directors and four Deputy Directors. They were joined by 22 ancillary and support staff. At this stage with the exception of a couple of military advisors the MOD remained a wholly civilian institution.

A New Building for MOD
The former Paramount Hotel was identified as a suitable site to house the new MOD. The UK Department for International Development (DfID) provided funding to convert the Paramount Hotel. Work started in February 2001. The project was completed in December 2002 and His Excellency the President officially opened the new MOD on the 21st January 2002.

Institutional Development
In concert with the construction work a programme of institutional development was put underway. Plans were developed to identify more civilians and for military personnel to be posted as an integral part of the new organisation. At the same time a series of training courses, ranging from Defence Diplomacy to computer and financial skills were arranged for the new occupants, in Sierra Leone and the UK.

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