Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

November 6, 2006

Report outlines EU security research priorities

Filed under: International HLS,Technology for HLS — by Christian Beckner on November 6, 2006

In September the European Security Research Advisory Board issued a report entitled “Meeting the Challenge: the European Security Research Agenda,” which I just read through this evening.

EU policy reports are typically not the most intellectually stimulating reads, which is perhaps why I put off reading it until now. But I’m glad I finally went through it. It provides some very insightful analysis of the technology playing field for homeland security R&D, presented in a thorough and strategic manner that captures the multidimensional complexities of this issue.

The beginning of Section 2 describes the methodology used to analyze the security R&D challenge, as summarized in this chart, which shows the conceptual links between security missions, capabilities and technologies:

The next part of Section 2 then takes this framework and applies it to four key security missions: (1) border security, (2) protection against terrorism and organized crime, (3) critical infrastructure protection, and (4) restoring security in case of crisis. The result is a detailed and analytical rigorous roadmap of the technology challenges for each of the four missions; for example, the border security mission (click on the chart for a full-size version):

ESRAB Border Chart

These mission analysis charts, and the cross-mission analysis section that follows, provide a useful contribution to the existing literature on strategies for security R&D. Section 3 of the report looks at societal issues related to security, arguing that security-related technologies need to be rooted in and legitimized by the societies in which they are adopted, and that there is no one-size-fits-all approach for Europe. The final sections of the report offer recommendations for action, but this section of the report is mundane in contrast with the preceding analysis.

Overall though, a very useful report, and one which should be carefully studied on this side of the pond and applied toward further efforts to conceptualizing security R&D activities.

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