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Home - Global Challenges - International Security

International Security

Information Sharing and Collaboration: Applications to Integrated Biosurveillance
After the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and subsequent anthrax mailings, the U.S. government prioritized a biosurveillance strategy aimed at detecting, monitoring, and characterizing national security health threats in human and animal populations, food, water, agriculture, and the environment. However, gaps and challenges in biosurveillance efforts and integration of biosurveillance activities remain. September 8-9, 2011, the IOM held a workshop to explore the information-sharing and collaboration processes needed for the nation's integrated biosurveillance strategy and published a Workshop Summary (2012).

Internationalization of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle: Goals, Strategies, and Challenges
The so-called nuclear renaissance has increased worldwide interest in nuclear power, which has also increased concern, in some quarters, that nonproliferation considerations are not being given sufficient attention. In particular, since introduction of many new power reactors will lead to requiring increased uranium enrichment services to provide the reactor fuel, the proliferation risk of adding enrichment facilities in countries that do not have them now led to proposals to provide the needed fuel without requiring indigenous enrichment facilities. Similar concerns exist for reprocessing facilities. The report Internationalization of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle (2009) summarizes key issues and analyses of the topic, offers some criteria for evaluating options, and makes findings and recommendations to help the United States, the Russian Federation, and the international community reduce proliferation and other risks, as nuclear power is used more widely.

Global Security Engagement: A New Model for Cooperative Threat Reduction
The government's first Cooperative Threat Reduction programs were created in 1991 to reduce the former Soviet Union's nuclear, chemical, and other weapons and prevent their proliferation. The programs have accomplished a great deal: deactivating thousands of nuclear warheads, neutralizing chemical weapons, converting weapons facilities for peaceful use, and redirecting the work of former weapons scientists and engineers, among other efforts. Originally designed to deal with immediate post-Cold War challenges, the programs must be expanded to other regions and fundamentally redesigned as an active tool of foreign policy that can address contemporary threats from groups that are agile, networked, and adaptable. As requested by Congress, the report Global Security Engagement: A New Model for Cooperative Threat Reduction (2009) proposes how this goal can best be achieved.

English-Chinese, Chinese-English Nuclear Security Glossary
The U.S. National Academies Committee on International Security and Arms Control (CISAC) and the Chinese Scientists Group on Arms Control (CSGAC) of the Chinese People's Association for Peace and Disarmament have jointly produced a Chinese - English English - Chinese Nuclear Security Glossary (2008). This glossary of approximately 1,000 terms is built on 20 years of joint discussions on nuclear arms control, nuclear nonproliferation, nuclear energy, and regional security. The book is intended to remove barriers to progress in exchanges and diplomatic, cooperative, or other activities where unambiguous understanding is essential.

Countering the Threat of Improvised Explosive Devises
Attacks in London, Madrid, Bali, Oklahoma City, and other places indicate that improvised explosive devices (IEDs) are among the weapons of choice of terrorists throughout the world. Scientists and engineers have developed various technologies that have been used to counter individual IED attacks, but events in Iraq and elsewhere indicate that the effectiveness of IEDs as weapons of asymmetric warfare remains. The report Countering the Threat of Improvised Explosive Devices (2007) examines the current state of knowledge and practice in the prevention, detection, and mitigation of the effects of IEDs and makes recommendations for research toward the goal of rendering these devices ineffective.

Biotechnology Research in an Age of Terrorism
In recent years much has happened to justify an examination of biological research in light of national security concerns. The destructive application of biotechnology research includes activities such as spreading common pathogens or transforming them into even more lethal forms. Policy makers and the scientific community at large must put forth a vigorous and immediate response to this challenge. The report Biotechnology Research in an Age of Terrorism (2004) recommends that the government expand existing regulations and rely on self-governance by scientists rather than adopt intrusive new policies. The government should not attempt to regulate scientific publishing but should trust scientists and journals to screen their papers for security risks, a task some journals have already taken up. However, with biological information and tools widely distributed, biosecurity reaches beyond national borders and thus the National Academies engage the international community of life scientists in addressing how to reduce the risk that the results of their work could be used for hostile purposes by terrorists and states.





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