Categories
Security

Swiss Security Policy Takes Shape on Online Platform

This is unique even for Swiss standards of direct democracy. Before drafting the 2009 Report on Security Policy, the first security white paper in ten years, the Swiss Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS) called on more than 40 experts, politicians and interest groups to give their input. What is more, the DDPS invited all citizens to comment on those hearings, using a moderated discussion platform. This website, SIPOL WEB, was set up, maintained and moderated by the Center for Security Studies (CSS) and the International Relations and Security Network (ISN) at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich.

Prof Dr Andreas Wenger, Director, Center for Security Studies (CSS)
Prof Dr Andreas Wenger, Director, Center for Security Studies (CSS), Photo ZVg, ETH Zurich

Prof Dr Andreas Wenger, director of the CSS, is satisfied with the outcome. “All in all we counted more than 8500 visitors to the website, of which 150 contributed actively. We are very happy with the results, because what matters is the quality of the comments and not their number. The contributions to SIPOL WEB were mostly extensive, well-founded and remarkably substantial. This is the difference between this website and other blogs and discussion forums. The contributions exceeded our expectations.”

Now it is for the government to meet the expectations of its citizens and actually take into consideration their opinion. The 2009 Report on Security Policy is due by the end of the year.

Categories
Intelligence International Relations Government Security

BBC Monitoring @the ISF

Kris Wheaton is an assistant professor of intelligence studies at Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pennsylvania and is attending the 8th International Security Forum going on now in Geneva.

Mr Wheaton is also a prolific writer, posting his thoughts and tips on intelligence and international security at his blog, Sources and Methods. He has kindly allowed us to crosspost his liveblog entries from the ISF.


BBC Monitoring headquarters / photo: robinhamman, flickr
BBC Monitoring headquarters / photo: robinhamman, flickr

I had a chance to visit with the good folks at the BBC Monitoring booth at the ISF conference. For those of you unfamiliar with BBC Monitoring, they are the branch of the BBC that acquires and translates raw news and other reports from around the world.

They have been doing this since 1939 and made their intial fame in WWII translating German news broadcasts. Since then, they have grown substantially and now provide translation services in over a hundred languages through their subscription service.

I had the great good fortune to be asked to give a speech at the BBC Monitoring HQ (see image to right) a number of years ago and, as a result, I got a chance to actually see their operation. It is quite impressive. They pull in info from all over the world and rapidly and professionally translate and distribute in whatever form you want.

Conceptually, at least, it is pretty straightforward and simple. What makes BBC Monitoring different is that they are so frightfully good at it. Want an example? Check out their case study of last year’s Georgia crisis.

Related Posts:
Live-blogging The ISF!

Categories
International Relations Security

ISN Weekly Theme: International Security Forum

We’re well in the throes of getting ready for the International Security Forum (ISF), happening at the International Conference Centre Geneva (CICG) 18 – 20 May. This year, the gathering of IR and security researchers and professionals will tackle the topic “Coping with Global Change.”

Check out the ISN Special Report Safeguarding Security in Turbulent Times for views from Nayef Al-Rodhan, Anne-Marie Buzatu, James A Lewis, Alyson JK Bailes on issues to watch during these changing times.

Emmanuel Clivaz’s Private Contractors on the Battlefield, an ISN Case Study, examines the he emergence of private military contractors and the theoretical components of the flexibility-control balance in a theater of war. You can find it in the ISN Digital Library.

And the latest addition to our Links Library is The SecDev group, an operational consultancy focused on countries and regions at risk from violence and insecurity.