Counter-terrorism it has become big business. In recent times the growth of an entire terrorism-industrial complex has developed around the real, and perceived, threat of terrorist attacks. This type of fear driven commercial activity raises all manner of ethical questions, not least in terms of maintaining the ‘threat-level’ in order to sell more products. Often however, the counter-terrorism industry is not the Neo-con monster it is perceived as, but can provide the impetus for fresh innovation and research, as well as driving the development and emergence of new technologies, many of which have far grater scope than their original remit and benefit society at large.
A stark illustration and interesting case in point is that of the forthcoming Counter Terrorism Expo (CTX) event at the Olympia, London on 24th and 25th April 2013. This is an amalgamation of conferences, workshops, and trade shows, bringing together an array of private and public organisations all with a focus on security and counter-terrorism. The event hosts a number of features including (but not limited to) the Cyber Security Conference and Solutions Zone – focusing on the strategic analysis of cyber security for governments, critical national infrastructure, and private corporations. CTX brings together representatives and professionals from police, emergency services, government, military, intelligence and security services, private sector, oil and gas, cyber, maritime/anti-piracy and critical national infrastructure. It provides a platform for some the leading suppliers of integrated security solutions with a full trade show and workshop programme concerning themes such as intelligence reporting and analysis, investigations and detection, video management and CCTV, blast protection and resilience systems, CBRE protection and suppression, armoured and support vehicles, and command and control technologies.
Far from being adverse to this, I believe a multi-solution approach to security is absolutely essential for a dynamic, intelligent response to security threats and a holistic appreciation of the sector. Indeed, I would like to see events like CTX in the future go a step further and also include scholarly presentations from appropriate academic institutions, like the Jill Dando Institute at UCL or the War Studies Department of King’s College London. This would not only complement the professional experts and workshops discussing operational strategies, but also provide sober political and risk analysis, and allow practitioners access to the most up-to-date research from across the field. Nonetheless, with 400 exhibitors and an audience of over 8,500, CTX 2013 will no doubt prove to be a unique showcase for emergent technologies, equipment, and services in the security sector.
Photo Credit: counterterrorexpo.com