Programme / IV. B Security Risks Reduction through CBRNE Science, Education and Human Factors

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Day 3

Thursday / 9 nov

11:30 - 13:00

Thematic session:
IV. B Security Risks Reduction through CBRNE Science, Education and Human Factors
Organised by:  MESIS, OCSTO and JRC
Venue: King Hussein Bin Talal Convention Centre, Wadi Rum 1- Ground Floor

In a globalised world where people and goods are constantly circulating, the risk of global threats in the chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosives (CBRNE) areas is increasing, in tandem with the risk of intensification of terrorist threats and the number of tense political situations worldwide. In order to fulfil public health and security requirements, countries must not only continually improve the legal framework and its implementation, but also develop the capacity to identify and prevent potential emerging risks that can affect their population and environment. It is therefore most apt to address the counter-measures via a multi-dimensional approach straddling over CBRNE and Human Factors, with the view for security risk reduction.


CBRNE approach - Science plays a central role in this context and the constant research developments are crucial when it comes to securing societies against CBRNE threats. The knowledge and tools provided by the scientific research contribute continuously to enhance the resilience of societies against natural and man-made disasters; to fight crime and terrorism; to improve border security; and to provide enhanced cyber-security. This includes a wide-range of areas and competences, such as crisis management, protection of critical infrastructure, border protection, forensics, detection technologies, secure information sharing, protection against explosives, supply chain security, etc.


Based on the scientific innovation and knowledge, there is also the need to reach out globally to best practices though capacity building activities such as training. These reinforce the building of capacity to better prevent, detect, respond and recover in case of CBRNE accidents or incidents. Acknowledging the global, multi-dimensional and cross-border nature of the security threat, the EU CBRN Risk Mitigation Centres of Excellence (CoE) initiative joins excellence in science with operational expertise in diverse areas. The network includes regional, national and community levels of intervention, from policy makers, coordination agencies, research institutions, academia to operational services. It includes as well a focus on outreach for educators and researchers for formal training, capacity building, sharing of best practices and awareness-raising in CBRN security and safety.


Cultural Factors - In addition, cultural factors can influence security and safety in CBRN more broadly. Through MESIS, this thematic session will learn about its competency in looking at how cultural and human factors can shape outcomes of adversarial (example: arms treaty negotiations) and non-adversarial situations (such as training). MESIS undertook several work streams such as organizing workshops in the UK to examining this issue, developed a signage campaign (i,e, posters) for Jordan’s first nuclear research reactor that are distributed within the facility to reinforce safety and security practices by focussing on very locally and culturally framed messages (hospitality culture, honour, shame etc…). This is part of a project that MESIS led to develop a human reliability or trustworthiness program for employees of the reactor. These types of programs are common for facility or sectors where human reliability is required to mitigate against the potential threat of insiders.


Human Factors approach - Security is implemented not only using technologies but also by competent staff. With security threats today delivered in multi-dimensional forms (i.e. low-order attacks and high-impact operations) and wearing down the security frontline officers whose vigilance are on the high to look out for irregularities in their operational environment, the weakest links could be in the human operator and the minds of the perpetrators. There is, therefore, a need to discuss the intricacies of human factors application in the security domain.  The main objective is to develop a more effective human-system integration design, ensuring a better overall system performance by the operators of security.


Brain research is an emerging science, leveraged by the Human Factors discipline, to enhance the human limitations in deciphering the human intents and behaviour, sense-making and decision-making in the world of hidden truths and mega voluminous data. This area has high relevance in the real-world setting ranging from law enforcement, border security, counter-terrorism to justice administration, and many other areas, greatly augmenting the sense-making and decision-making of the security, law enforcement and justice functions.


Raising awareness on the science of human factors and understanding the concept of the human-in-the-loop is important as the mental and physical well-being of the security operator, whose vigilance and fatigue are critical factors to the success of daily operations, are essential. Nevertheless, human factors are often the weakest link and disregarded at operational level, what could give rise to security and safety lapses.


Event video