VIDEO: Security, Intelligence and the Global Health Crisis

August 24, 2020

VIDEO: Security, Intelligence and the Global Health Crisis

The impact of COVID-19 both globally and in Canada has raised important questions about best practices with regard to global and domestic health surveillance, early warning and preparedness.

Critical to an understanding of these issues is a clear-sighted appreciation of the interface between health security and national security. As Canada and its Five Eyes partners seek to update and modernize their national security strategies, they must address complex threat environments and shake themselves loose from the over-attention to terrorism.

In this video, series editors Aaron Shull and Wesley Wark discuss the goals behind Security, Intelligence and the Global Health Crisis, a CIGI essay series focused on the role that security and intelligence institutions will play in protecting societies against future pandemics.

Transcript

The impact of COVID-19 both globally and in Canada has raised important questions about best practices with regard to global and domestic health surveillance, early warning and preparedness. Critical to an understanding of these issues is a clear-sighted appreciation of the link between health security and national security.

And for Canada, what we face is a very significant effort now to update our national security strategy — not just to incorporate the important dimension of dealing with global pandemics, but to modernize the entire kind of conceptual framework of national security strategy. And one great way to do this is, is to do it in association with our Five Eyes partners — all of whom are going to be trying to cope with similar kinds of issues.

Any new national security strategy will have to address complex threat environments, and will have to shake itself loose from the overattention to terrorism. This new strategy must recognize that public health and national security can no longer be entertained as separate and disconnected spheres of government responsibility.

So, as we pivot to a new national security framework, a new understanding of threats, we are going to have to rearrange our understanding of what are the critical threats and what are the priorities for response, and “global pandemics” is going to have to come to the top of that list.

This essay series — designed to bridge academic and practitioner knowledge — aims to contribute to the necessary debate about the role that security and intelligence institutions will play in protecting societies against future pandemics.

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