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CSS Analysis: Progress in Biotechnology as a Future Security Policy Challenge

The next frontier of security policy? photo: Krystian "Krane" Schneidewind/flickr

In the newest CSS Analysis, Progress in Biotechnology as a Future Security Policy Challenge, Sergio Bonin examines how biotechnological advances might impact security policy in the future.

He notes: “If the synthetic construction and modification of bacteria and viruses should become a reality, a broad range of useful applications in medicine, environmental protection, and other fields would be facilitated. At the same time, however, constructing biological weapons could become easier, and the necessary skills would be available to a larger spectrum of actors. It seems advisable to explore preventive countermeasures at an early stage.”

For more, check out our Digital Library resources on biotechnology.

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New ISN Partner: European Space Policy Institute

European Space Policy Institute

We are happy to announce that the European Space Policy Institute (ESPI) has joined the ISN partner network.

Based in Vienna, ESPI provides decision-makers with an independent view and analysis on mid- to long term issues relevant to the use of space, according to its mission. The Institute, led by Prof Dr Kai-Uwe Schrogl, supports a network of experts and centers of excellence working with ESPI in-house analysts.

The ISN Digital Library features two publication series from our newest partner and as we go on, more and more ESPI publications will be included:

  • ESPI Reports are in-depth studies, which combine thorough independent analysis with perspective and vision as well as policy advice. See for example Spyros Pagkratis‘s report on  issues and trends in space policy 2009/2010, or the study by Jana Robinson on the role of extraterrestrial transparency and confidence-building measures.
  • ESPI Perspectives are short papers, presenting concise analyses and commentary or innovative ideas in the field of space policy. See for example the Perspective by Marcus Hornung, who argues that space might significantly contribute to the creation of a European identity, or the one by Max M Mutschler, who applies lessons learned from the Ottawa process to space-based weapons control.

We are honored to welcome ESPI as a partner. It will significantly enrich our information services in the areas of space policy and space security.

WikiLeaks, the Greenpeace of Politics?

 

With more revelations coming out every day, the latest WikiLeaks stunt will stay in the news for some time to come. But what really came out of these leaks? Any surprises, any shocks or just glorified diplomatic gossip? And what effect will it have on world affairs in the months and years to come?

ISN’s editorial staff reacts:

WikiLeaks reminded us of how ugly war is with the Iraq and Afghanistan war logs. Now they shed light on diplomatic practice, which turns out to be less diplomatic than we thought. After having dishonored warriors and undressed diplomats, who will WikiLeaks target next? Business executives, says Julian Assange, and it is only fair that corporate wrongdoers will have to pay their share. And then, whose turn will it be after? The NGOs, I assume, because it would surprise me if they didn’t have anything to hide.

– Ralph Stamm

The latest collection of documents released by WikiLeaks makes for exciting reading. The cache of diplomatic cables contains a bunch of juicy exploits of the sort usually found in gossip columns. Yet that’s exactly the reason why their publication should not be supported. To a disturbing degree, their release is like stealing the diary of the most popular girl in school and posting it on the Internet. It serves no purpose other than to satisfy the public’s curiosity, while embarrassing the officials in Washington and across the world. However, it is part of the nature of human communication that one doesn’t always say the same thing to every audience. Therefore, if we are interested in the existence of a diplomatic corps, it must be allowed to operate without fear of humiliation. By turning into the world’s new diplomatic gossip channel, Wikileaks has lost both its credibility and its integrity.

– Joav Ben-Shmuel

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Meeting Tomorrow’s Security Challenges

Theme International Security Forum (ISF)
Theme of the International Security Forum (ISF) 2011, courtesy of Tim Wendel, ISN

Can the world find a new blueprint for collective action to resolve global, regional and national challenges, or will shifting power patterns lead to further fragmentation? This challenging question is at the core of the upcoming International Security Forum (ISF) 2011.

The biannual conference’s topic is “Regional and Global Security: Meeting Tomorrow’s Challenges Today”. During the three days, speakers and participants will discuss the implications of the economic and geopolitical shifts for the international security agenda on the global and regional level.

  • On the first day, the sessions will look at the future handling of nuclear weapons, at migration and security, and at challenges and opportunities associated with public-private cooperation in security governance.
  • The 24 panel sessions on the second day will explore five different themes: 9/11 Plus Ten, Regional Security: Local Dynamics – Global Impact, Present and Future of Conflict, Human Security, and State Failure / State Building.

Screening vs Snapping

A lot less heavy than a hand wand / Photo: zoyachubby, flickr
A lot less heavy than a hand wand / Photo: zoyachubby, flickr

On the heels of what could have been a disaster, the job of a US Transportation Security Administration transportation security officer (TSO) has become just a tad bit more stressful than it already is.

A TSO is the person scanning passengers at US airports with hand wands, doing pat downs and searches for potentially dangerous devices all while dealing with irate travellers.

It’s the person you probably roll your eyes at when you’re asked to remove your shoes before walking through the security checkpoint.

And, at least according to a job ad I found on the USAjobs.gov site (PDF), a TSO does this for between US$28,626 and US$42,938 a year.