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Brigadier General (Retired) Kellie Hassan Conteh joined the Republic of Sierra Leone Military Forces (now Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces) in 1976 as an officer cadet. Throughout his career Kellie served in diverse command and staff positions, culminating in his appointment and service as Chief of Staff and Force Commander between 1994 and 1995. During his service, Kellie developed a critical view of the security sector’s actual place in national development and initiated dialogue on reforms not limited to the military. He left Sierra Leone in 1995 for the United States and was recalled in 1999 by the democratically elected government to contribute to the restructuring of the security sector in general and the armed forces in particular.

As National Security Coordinator and head of the Office of National Security from 2000 to 2012 Brig Gen (Rtd) Kellie Conteh orchestrated the security sector reforms that followed the end of the war in Sierra Leone. From their modest beginnings, these reforms evolved into some of the most comprehensive in the region. The reforms restored the capability of security institutions in Sierra Leone and also ensured their accountability and political neutrality, and laid the foundation for successful peacebuilding and the political stability and democratic governance that the country has enjoyed since the end of the war.

In 2014, Kellie was awarded the national award of Grand Commander of the Order of the Rokel (GCOR) “in recognition of his outstanding contribution towards the reform of the Security Sector and the establishment of the Office of National Security” as Executive Secretariat of the National Security Council of Sierra Leone.

Following his resignation in 2012, Kellie served from 2012 to 2014 as Senior Security Sector Reform Adviser (SSSRA) to the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and to the Minister of National Security of South Sudan, during which period he led, amongst other things, UNMISS’ efforts in support of the government’s development of their National Security Policy. Kellie also supported the Security Sector Reform assessments and processes in Guyana, Mozambique and Fiji, and served in the UNDP, Gambia from May 2017 to June 2019 as SSSRA to the Government of The Gambia. As part of his accomplishment in The Gambia, Kellie led the advisory team in support of the conduct of a comprehensive assessment of the Security Sector needs of The Gambia, and the development of the Gambia’s first National Security Policy.

The title then of the head of the Armed Forces, now Chief of Defence Staff following the post war restructuring.
Kellie returned to Sierra Leone in June 2019 on recall, to serve as National Security Adviser to HE the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone. Kellie has a Master of Science Degree in Security Sector Management from Cranfield University in the UK. Brig Gen (Rtd) Kellie Conteh is currently the Minister of Defence of the Republic of Sierra Leone.

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