You are here: Home Knowledge Base Polity Identifying and Preventing Future Security Threats Solutions Overcome the segmentation of threat response capabilities in favor of a systemic approach that appreciates the full spectrum of threats and improves system resilience. In addition, recognize the ecosystemic dimensions ...
Symposium 2011

Solution for Identifying and Preventing Future Security Threats

The Challenge

The last decade has clearly demonstrated that the nature of threats to international security has changed significantly. Structural challenges, such as terrorism, cyber-attacks and nuclear prolifera ...

The last decade has clearly demonstrated that the nature of threats to international security has changed significantly. Structural challenges, such as terrorism, cyber-attacks and nuclear proliferation, have created an entirely new security environment. National states’ monopoly on using force is eroding, state boundaries have lost much of their importance and private actors have become increasingly powerful in international security.

Overcome the segmentation of threat response capabilities in favor of a systemic approach that appreciates the full spectrum of threats and improves system resilience. In addition, recognize the ecosystemic dimensions of threats to human security.

The greatest weakness in states’ analytical and response capabilities is the segmentation of threats into discrete categories and the allocation of responsibility for analysis and response to distinct departments of government.

The connectivity of global systems makes it vital to complement this specialized capability—necessary to address most threats—with a systemic capability to appreciate the whole threat landscape, to respond as appropriate and to engineer resilience.

The line between the impacts of a sophisticated bioterrorist attack and a high-morbidity pandemic is not clear. The responses to each will require the resources of several departments of government, local government authorities and private sector and civil society organizations.

Likewise, whether a cyberattack on the critical information infrastructure is launched by a state agency, a criminal syndicate or a brilliant psychopath is irrelevant on one level, although significant in determining which responses are appropriate.

A comprehensive definition of security as a state of freedom from danger or threat breaks down the barriers between classical “national security” and the postmodernist concept of “human security.” Recognition of the dependence of the human species and, more acutely, of communities within it, on the workings of the planetary (and cosmic) ecosystem is essential for security.

The threats to low-lying coastal communities and small island states from a rise in sea-levels, to artisanal fishing communities from ocean acidification and biogeochemical loading, and to subsistence farmers in developing counties from more frequent droughts or floods may not fit traditional definitions of security, but they cause far greater loss of lives and livelihoods than most wars and vastly more than the cumulative effects of global terrorism.

Moreover, displacement of such communities may result in heightened migration and socioeconomic and cultural tensions in receiving countries, with significant political and traditional security consequences.

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