Securing the State – Part II

Published on: 21/02/2018

by Andrew Staniforth,

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Securing the State – Part II

Published on: February 21, 2018
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In a world of startling change, many States across the world are both more secure and more vulnerable than ever. More secure, in the sense that States have developed sophisticated security structures to safeguard against conventional threats of attack on their territory by hostile powers. But more vulnerable, because many nations have increasingly open societies, in a world that is more networked and interdependent than ever before. Today, we live in an age of unparalleled opportunity, driven by the acceleration of globalisation which has opened up possibilities which previous generations could not have dreamed of, lifting billions of citizens out of poverty. More open markets have created more open societies, and more open societies mean more people living in freedom.

Despite these developments, many nations across the world face a different and more complex range of threats from a myriad of sources. Terrorism, cyber-attack, unconventional attacks using chemical, nuclear or biological weapons, as well as large scale accidents or natural hazards – any one of which can do grave damage to a country’s national security. New threats can emanate from States, but also from non-State actors: terrorists, home-grown or overseas; insurgents; or criminals.  New sources of threats have also emerged, such as the security of energy supplies which increasingly depends on fossil fuels located in some of the most unstable parts of the planet. Nuclear proliferation is also a growing danger as well as security vulnerability to the effects of climate change and its impact on food and water supply. In summary, the concept of national security today is very different to what it was ten or twenty, let alone fifty or a hundred years ago.