This Defense News piece highlights a recent meeting in Brussels between US and EU security officials, featuring participation by DHS Deputy Secretary Michael Jackson and EU Counterterrorism Coordinator Gijs de Vries. US officials were very positive on the prospect of US-EU cooperation on homeland security R&D; European officials sounded a bit uncertain.
Jackson said U.S.-EU consultations during the last two years have scored several, though contentious, successes by agreeing on the operational standards needed to ensure high levels of security in air transport and maritime cargo between their two regions. But he said Washington is â€œnow looking to identify and develop together with Europe the homeland security technologies and systems neededâ€ for the future.
Referring to critical infrastructure networks in Europe and the United States, for example, Jackson said â€œthereâ€™s a need to install second-generation information systems to mine supply-chain data and push it across from industry,â€ which owns and operates most of the networks. Jackson insisted that joint EU-U.S. research and development of antiterrorism tools â€œis absolutely something we should pursue together.â€
Gijs de Vries, the EU official responsible for coordinating counterterrorism efforts among the 25 union nations, extended cautious support for the idea. Noting that the two sides had extensive bilateral discussions during the previous two years on technical standards for biometrics and machine-readable passports, he said â€œweâ€™ve had some exploratory talksâ€ about joint R&D objectives. However, the EU budget for homeland security-related research â€œis currently quite small,â€ he said. â€œBut this is set to grow and is clearly an area where there is room for further trans-Atlantic discussion.â€
Obviously there are a number of challenges to US-EU cooperation on homeland security R&D – privacy issues, dual-use technologies, IP issues, etc. – but it’s a positive sign that leaders are having a dialogue on this issue.