Written By Dr. Boaz Ganor & Dr. Markus Hellenthal
Human life is constantly challenged by many uncertainties of all types and magnitudes, as is nature at large. Security is thus relative, and is influenced by geographic, sociological, societal and legal factors, but also many other interrelated aspects, such as health, family and labor relations, criminality, man-made and natural disasters to name just a few.
Not only since September 11, 2001 - security is thus ultimately an exceptional situation we strive to achieve, and effort and expense are required every day to establish and maintain it at the desired level. Increasing globalization demands even more energy for tackling the manifold and interlinked issues with which modern societies have to deal with with regards to security, rule of the law and freedom; that is, it demands transnational legal and legitimate cooperative cross-border action in all areas, whether it is from business, governmental or cultural perspectives. At the same time, we are experiencing the almost daily introduction of ever-faster developing technology in many areas of our lives. The new capabilities ultimately help all players, unfortunately including the illegal and criminal ones.
Globalization increases worldwide capital and goods movements, information and knowledge exchange and urbanization, as well as migration due to climate change, scarcity of resources and globalization of also the labor market. According to UNHCR, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, nearly 45 million people are fleeing today from somewhere.
On top of that, we have natural catastrophes and major incidents such as pollution of the Gulf of Mexico, flooding in Australia and the catastrophic domino effect of the earthquake, tsunami and the near nuclear meltdown in Japan. These incidents, together with the growing dangers posed by cybercrime, dramatically demonstrate how vulnerable modern societies have become and how vital all-encompassing protection of assets such as critical infrastructure now is. Additionally, these threats transcend national borders and existing organizational structures. They also confirm that the old distinction between symmetric and asymmetric threats is no longer helpful in today's world; in fact, it sometimes hampers proper and efficient action.