"Emerging Security Challenges" has become a term used at NATO and in public policy debate to deal with potential, upcoming, non-traditional threats to our security. At NATO, they are defined as covering the issues of cyber security, counter terrorism, and energy security. But there is no consensus on substance and scope of these issues to be dealt with by the organization. These challenges are real, but meeting them does not fit into any traditional policy making. Thus, the "real" emerging challenge seems to be whether and how we have to change our policy patterns to effectively provide security from such threats.
ESC working group attempts to identify and prioritize such challenges and discuss possible political frameworks and mechanisms for dealing with them. It will remain open to include or exclude new challenges as they arise or vanish.
Three developments, in particular, draw our attention and characterize the kind of challenges we are talking about:
1. Our open societies, intergral parts of a global economy, become more and more vulnerable, as most of what we do depends on very sophisticated means of communication, which must not be interrupted or misused. The more interdependent we are, the more vulnerable we become, and the more such vulnerability can become a threat to our security.
2. Technological innovation is progressing at ever growing speed. Production cycles of hi-tech products become shorter and shorter, and so security concerns have to be applied at very early stages of research and development (the internet had been developed without any security concerns). The less time we have to take security concerns into consideration, the less control we have over the technology developed, the less we can assure that responsible actors will always be in control of technology.
3. High speed technological development in a space of communication without limits has a fundamental impact on our democractic societies and the capability of political leaders to assume their responsibilites, locally and worldwide. Responsible democratic leadership has to be able to stay in control of developments that could threaten our security. But how?
ESC working group will try to integrate these three aspects into a coherent policy approach, which , ideally, could serve three purposes:
1. Raise awareness of the connectivity of all aspects of these challenges so as to avoid talking only about technology or only about policy, not to forget the intimate implication of private and non-governmental actors.
2. Discuss the implications of such challenges for democratic policy making and international cooperation so as to make sure that our democratic values and our structures of cooperation remain intact.
3. Develop tools and methods to include these issues into the education and formation of our security relevant bodies and agencies so as to enable our political actors to deal with these issues in a responsible and democratic fashion.
Dr. Detlef Puhl (NATO IS) Working Group Co-Chair describing the ESC