The Security Research Division of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has published a brochure detailing cooperation between Germany and Israel in the area of civil security. It features research projects covering transport security, preparation for CBRN attacks, detection technologies, transport security, crisis management and surveillance.

Click here to view the brochure (pdf).

As with the EU Security Research Programme, in which Israel is also deeply involved, the research has the twin objectives of enhancing security and developing technologies that can be profitably brought to the rapidly expanding Homeland Security market.

As the foreword to brochure notes:

“The BMBF now funds a diverse spectrum of German-Israeli research projects… These projects thus form an important foundation for the further development of international markets for security solutions and for future collaboration in research. Productive exchange in these German-Israeli projects makes an indispensable contribution to further raising the security standards in the two countries for the benefit of the citizens”.

Unlike the EU security research programme, which also claims to be wholly focussed on “civil” security, Israel’s largest military contractors do not appear to be directly involved.

More information on EU research subsidies for Israeli military and security contractors will follow shortly…

The EU is also holding its annual security research conference this month, from 22-24 September in Ostend, see conference website.

SCR ’10 is focussed on the EU’s R&D programme (the security research component of FP7) and includes plenary sessions on “Halfway through FP7″,  “After Lisbon: The continuum of internal and external security” and “Security as a pre-requisite for prosperity”.

In addition, there are dedicated sessions on Maritime Security, Standardisation, CBRN, Cybersecurity, Transport Security, Security of the Citizens (sic), Security of Infrastructures, Restoring Security, Improving Security, Security and Society and the coordination of EU Security Research.

As with the Berlin security research conference, “ethics and justice” are squeezed into a single session (on Security and Society). The words privacy, human rights, governance and accountability do not appear anywhere in the conference programme.

The conference also includes a “brokerage event” and exhibition to “facilitate networking between companies, scientific experts, operators and policy makers”. More than one thousand participants are expected.

The European Journalism Centre (EJC) and the European Commission are co-organising a one and a half-day briefing tackling the “current state of play on security research, its challenges and its opportunities in the future”.

The fifth German Security Research conference, organised by the Fraunhofer Group for Defence and Security, is under way in Berlin, see conference website and programme (pdf).

The eight conference sessions cover Security of Transport Systems, Building Protection, Surveillance and Control (2 sessions), Security-Related Legal and Ethical Principles, Detection of Hazardous Materials (2 sessions), Protection of Supply Networks and Security of Communication Networks.

While the inclusion of a session on legal and ethical principles is a welcome addition to the overwhelming focus on security technology, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that society should be (re-)oriented toward “future security”, and not the other way around.

Join Cecilia Malmström, European Commissioner for Home Affairs, and the folks from Security & Defence Agenda to answer a question the EU and the Homeland Security industry have long been answering with a resounding “yes”.  The roundtable “Does Europe need Homeland Security?” takes place in Brussels on 12 May 2010.

Session I – 12:30-14:00- Prospects for cooperation in building a European Homeland Security policy

Terrorist attacks in Europe since 9/11 have prompted greater efforts in European homeland security. What concrete achievements can EU governments and institutions point to? Is there now a greater coherence of national security policies in the EU, and what political will exists to go further towards creating a genuine EU strategy? How has the Lisbon treaty and the Commission portfolio reshuffle affected such a fundamentally inter-pillar issue, and should Europe consider creating a European Homeland Security Agency? What lessons can the EU draw from the US Department of Homeland Security experience?

Solvay SDA Members’ Lunch – 14:00 15:00

Session II – 15:00-16:30 – Security & resilience: the case of Critical Infrastructure Protection

Protecting critical infrastructures is the cornerstone of homeland security. To what extent have EU member states now agreed on a common definition of critical infrastructures with the design of new tools such as the European Programme for Critical Infrastructure Protection (EPCIP) and the Critical Infrastructure Warning Information Network (CIWIN)? Can Europe build a common framework that guarantees a better matching of needs and solutions in critical infrastructure protection? What role for NATO in CIP? Are public-private partnerships a viable option, and is it only larger companies that own critical infrastructures? In sectors as diverse as telecommunications, water, energy, transport and power, what terrorist attacks scenarios are being studied?

Click here for full Programme.

The Civil Contingencies 2010 conference was held in London earlier this week. It featured “20 expert speakers” and “numerous carefully selected suppliers” in the business of preparing for “major disruptions”. The discussion ranged from “the current flu pandemic to severe weather, widespread flooding, the risks posed by a changing climate and malicious threats”.

The event promised “a crucial opportunity for delegates to connect with speakers, policy setters and key drivers of the government agenda”, with the exhibition area offering “unrivalled opportunities to network with over 25 suppliers, service providers and stakeholders”.

Civil Contingencies 2010 - Tackling tomorrow's threats

Despite a waning of the initial hysteria and expert studies suggesting that the H1N1 pandemic may not be as bad as feared, security consultants like SRA continue to argue that the situation is likely to get worse before it gets better. Here’s a taste of their latest warning (dated November 2009):

- An estimated 25 percent of businesses never reopen in the wake of a major disaster, according to the Institute for Business and Home Safety.

- The H1N1 virus poses a serious risk to the United Kingdom’s economy and it could reduce the Gross Domestic Product of the U.K. by as much as 3 percent

- estimates indicate that up to 15 percent of European workers will be absent from the workplace at the pandemic’s peak. These estimates may be conservative

As SRA explains: “Public health professionals look at pandemic flu and see a public health emergency. Critical infrastructure protection professionals look at pandemic flu and see the potential for economic calamity”. To which we might add: security consultants and pharmaceutical companies see the opportunity for a big profit. While we’re very glad that health professionals have taken the outbreak seriously, is anyone else uncomfortable about the EU Centre for Disease Prevention and Control‘s embrace of Donald Rumsfeldesque rhetoric in its May 2009 report “Influenza Pandemics: Known Facts and Known Unknowns“?

resilience

The EU Civil Protection Forum: “Towards a more resilient society” on 25-26 November will “start a debate on a comprehensive European disaster management strategy to enhance resilience”. Why? Because “Climate change is likely to increase the frequency and impact of disasters, and Europe has to be prepared for this challenge”. How: “Participants come to network, learn about new technologies used in civil protection, hear from international partners, discuss the future of European civil protection and much more”.

“Prepare for the unpredictable” and strengthen your resolve here: “civil protection forum“.

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