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2022 | Book

CBRNE: Challenges in the 21st Century


About this book

This book addresses the pertinent issues that will need to be considered by those interested in physical security problems of the future. Specifically, it examines how changes in the accessibility of technology – data, hardware, software – are likely to affect both threat and mitigation considerations for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Explosive (CBRE) scenarios and how social science can inform us of the human aspects of each. The trend towards an ever more socio-technical society and infrastructures – encapsulated by concepts such as 'smart cities' – is drawn out as a key motivation for adopting more holistic risk approaches to such security problems, than is currently the case.

Table of Contents

The Changing Landscape
The 20th Century demonstrated the human capacity for causing considerable loss of life as highlighted by the two World Wars along with all the other regional conflicts that have occurred.
P. D. E. Biggins, J. F. Hassard, S-R. Sellevåg
Chemical Threats
The threat of attacks using chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear means (CBRN) describe some of the most extreme possible events in a scenario of conflict. This chapter focuses on chemical (C) threats, where chemical agents are intended to cause a toxic effect on human organisms and where our definition of toxicity excludes those related to radiation exposure and/or the actions of pathogens. We define chemical agents as compounds that may exist in any physical state (e.g., solid, liquid, aerosol, vapour, gas).
J. F. Hassard, M. S. Nieuwenhuizen
Biological Threats
 The use of, or the threat of use of, biological agents cannot be neglected and therefore challenges national defence and security measures. The changing landscape represents a set of various challenges and developments including old and new threats and actors, traditional and emerging diseases, emerging disruptive technologies, social-cultural changes and security political changes that will impact natural, accidental and deliberate (NAD) events of biological agents. COVID-19, a natural biological event, has highlighted the second and third effects on the society as a whole. Security and safety measures against biological NADs needs to be a national and global investment, including civilian and military collaboration and the use of technological developments, to strengthen biological preparedness during peacetimes, crises and wartimes.
J. M. Blatny
Radiological and Nuclear
Mapping a radiological or nuclear security risk at the necessary granularity requires a ‘live’ understanding of six contributing factors: (1) material science; (2) engineering processes; (3) transport; (4) storage; (5) human factors and (6) cyber-physical controls. Operating at this level of specialist knowledge will need a shared human—machine approach, likely taking the form of a global radiological and nuclear information management system built on modern graph processes.
M. Lavelle
Explosives and Explosive Effects
Explosions are generally reported in the media with a mix of tragic content and apocalyptic detail. In many mass casualty incidents, explosive devices are often present in a primary or secondary role. The term ‘gas explosion’ generally provokes thoughts of a gas cooker or gas cylinder exploding with an image of a damaged building and reports of a limited number of deaths and injuries. Explosions from natural phenomena are the rarest, however cyclones and storms can produce explosion-like effects. It is the aim of this chapter to cover the key points and function of an explosive, the immediate effects on people and on urban structures. There is an extensive and well-developed literature in each of these areas which can be accessed via the suggested reading and the references.
W. G. Proud
Risk Assessment, Resilience and Adaptability for Future CBRNE Security
It is a collective public interest to seek to minimise the risks of adverse effects caused by CBRNE events. Hence, societies, the international community, groups and individuals aim to regulate, reduce and control CBRNE risks to achieve security and safety. The main challenges one faces when attempting to govern CBRNE risks in contemporary societies are complexity and uncertainty. Rapid development of the society in concert with huge and fast changes in technological and global trends, call for considerable changes to how we think about and conceptualise risks, as well as new approaches for governing risks. To be able to handle complexity, surprises and uncertainty it is necessary to develop a new holistic common mind-set for risk, safety and security, where risk governance is handled in close concert with cautionary, precautionary, robustness and resilience strategies.The chapter presents such strategies that may complement risk assessments and inform decision makers on governing risks to avoid or mitigate consequences of CBRNE crises.
M. Endregard, K. O. Nystuen
CBRN Terrorism
Many papers on CBRN terrorism begin the same way. First, they quote leading politicians or security figures saying how likely it is that there will be a CBRN terrorist attack in the near future and highlighting the potentially devastating consequences. This is then contrasted with the very low numbers of terrorist attacks that have employed CBRN weapons in the past. This disparity between the fear of CBRN attacks and the infrequency of their occurrence has been central to many of the papers published in this area. The primary concern of this review is therefore to explore the variation in expert threat assessment and consider the factors that can be used to gauge the likelihood of terrorist actors turning to CBRN weapons.
M. A. Wilson
Human Factors and Societal Aspects in Future CBRNE Incidents
CBRNE agents may pose a potent physical threat but may equally–or even more so–create significant fear and public distress. This chapter explores how the public can react to CBRNE, how states may handle incidents and how technology may be utilised to counter adverse societal effects.
K. Brattekås
Risk in the Infrastructure of the Future: A Holistic View
To assist how societies can better protect their infrastructure against the changing nature of CBRNE threats and the geopolitical developments, it is vital that we understand the evolving infrastructure systems in terms of their increasingly cyber-physical interconnectedness and the benefits and vulnerabilities they present. Conventional protection strategies are at risk of becoming inefficient or even ineffective, due to several shortcomings highlighted in this chapter. We also discuss three emerging concepts that contribute to a more holistic view: resilient infrastructure systems, systematic interdependency analysis and cyber-physical security. The last part of the chapter will outline a novel risk assessment framework to meet the future challenge.
N. Goldbeck, W. Y. Ochieng
Disinformation in the Deployment and Mitigation of CBRNE Attacks in the Age of New Social Media (NSM)
The use of new social media in spreading disinformation has been highlighted as a potential weapon or at least an Impact Multiplier in their use of Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive weaponry (hereafter “CBRNE”).
J. F. Hassard, S-R. Sellevåg
Looking Forward—Towards a Comprehensive Approach
The preceding chapters have illustrated that CBRNE in an uncertain world presents growing challenges for Nation States not only from a defence perspective but increasingly from a security and resilience one.
P. D. E. Biggins, D. S. Chana, S-R. Sellevåg
CBRNE: Challenges in the 21st Century
Peter D.E. Biggins
Deeph Chana
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