I'm thinking about how to connect public and private efforts to create security.
In this turbulent 21st century, security is not about creating walls. We won't deliver a secure world strictly from the barrel of a gun.
Instead, we need systems to connect and integrate. Why? Because the security challenges require teamwork. Think about the threats: trafficking in narcotics, arms, weapons of mass destruction, and humans; cybercrime; ballistic missiles; natural disasters and their aftermath; terrorism. All of these cross borders effortlessly and therefore require connective activity to solve.
I think a good expression for this is "open source security." This means that wherever we can, we should be creating teaming arrangements between nations (international); governmental organizations (interagency); and -- this is what I've been working lately -- private-public.
There are lots of ways private sector efforts can connect with the public domain to help create security. A few we've been pursuing include:
- Humanitarian Assistance: Combining non-governmental organizations with public sector actors like USAID, Department of Defense (we build schools and clinics all over the world), State Department.
- Disaster Relief: Responding to big events like the Haitian and Pakistani earthquakes, the Indian Ocean Tsunami, and the Japanese nuclear incident requires a mix of everything from the US Navy to Doctors without borders.
- Medical Diplomacy: Look at the USNS Hospital ships COMFORT and MERCY They have done hundreds of thousands of patient treatments all over the Caribbean, Atlantic, and Pacific Oceans. They are crewed by a mix of public and private entities, notably Operation Hope.
- Maritime Protection: In response to piracy off the coasts of Africa, public actors like NATO, EU, and various global Navies are working with Merchant shipping corporations and the International Maritime Organization to create "best practices" that keep mariners safe.
- Cyber: In the turbulent cyber "seas," both public sector actors (in the case of the US, Department of Homeland Security, Justice, Department of Defense, NSA) as well as the big internet providers, server and cloud organizations, and literally billions of users are all stakeholders. This is an area where we must all cooperate and the work between private and public is crucial.
From a NATO and a US European Command perspective, we'll continue to work on this. In NATO, we call it the "comprehensive approach," and on the US side we are enabling a small cell of folks to work actively on private-public partnership. In both cases, we hope to contribute to security in sensible but non-traditional ways.
Supreme Allied Commander, Europe
Commander, US European Command