FAS Joins Emerging Threats Working Group

Appointment provides a unique opportunity for FAS to collaborate with NATO and other Euro-Atlantic states to better address the emerging security threats arising from science and technology breakthroughs.

The rapid pace of scientific discovery and technological innovation demands the redoubling of efforts by scientists, policymakers, non-governmental experts, and the business community to adapt to the security implications. That is why FAS is pleased to announce that Michael Edward Walsh, the Adjunct Fellow for Emerging Technologies and High-end Threats at the Federation of American Scientists (FAS), was recently named to the Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes (PfPC) Working Group on Emerging Security Challenges. In this capacity, Mr. Walsh attended the inaugural PfPC Emerging Security Challenges Workshop at the NATO Defence College in Rome earlier this month.

Mr. Walsh’s participation in the PfPC Working Group provides FAS with a unique opportunity to collaborate with NATO and PfP nations on the global security challenges presented by emerging security threats. According to Walsh, the Working Group will play an important role in helping NATO and PfP nations “better mitigate threats posed by the Nanotechnology, Biotechnology, Robotics, Information, and Communications technology (NBRICs) revolution and other major scientific and technological breakthroughs” while at the same time “protecting the economic security and democratic values that are crucial to their shared identity.” To him, addressing the potential threats posed by today’s emerging technologies “presents a much more complex problem for NATO and PfP nations than the mitigation of traditional WMD threats during the Cold War.”

The NBRIC revolution has already led to profound changes that are actively re-shaping the global security environment – from enhancing existing capabilities to creating entirely new classes of weapons. It has also underscored the importance of non-state actors as technical knowledge and capabilities are rapidly diffused through the channels of academia and high tech industries. Although the new capabilities that the NBRIC revolution will usher in may not come with an easily recognizable signature like a mushroom cloud, their effects on the global security landscape and on the nature of warfare could be equally profound.

While there are more questions than answers about the impact of the NBRIC revolution on security, the formation of the Working Group establishes a group of experts that can be looked to for information, analysis, and commentary. To that end, FAS is extremely pleased to be represented within this group and is looking forward to leading the public debate about important issues at the nexus of security and technological innovation.

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