27 October, 2008

Security studies conference

Just back from a conference for security studies types, held by the ISA and APSA in Vail,
CO. Lots of good people. I would have enjoyed it more if I wasn't so ill. Fever, lack of sleep and congestion are bad enough at home; they are more of a pain at 10,000 feet. I did get to present my paper on NBIC technologies, soon to be published by the Journal of Human Security, and learned more. I was too sick to present my paper on PMCs, but it needs a substantial rewrite anyway.

(I wish I could have heard the comments on the second paper. I'll contact the chair to see if he has anything for me.)

Two general observations:
  • A lot of people are waiting to see how much of the Bush foreign policy will survive the upcoming election. Will there be a general outbreak of sanity? If so, what does that mean for strategic and security studies?
  • Few people, inside or outside government, seem to be interested in discussing some of the threats on the horizon associated with nano-scale and associated technologies. In part, I suspect this is just because it donesn't fit the standard paradigm. In particular, the potential for commercial dual-use applications, small-scale (personal?) production, and accidental release (let alone terrorism) challenges the whole idea of a state-based regulatory regime. It felt at times like we were medieval experts, confronted with the proliferation of guns, who would prefer to keep talking about the tactics of armored knights.
The world is changing. Just how much, I don't know. But it clearly is changing, and we aren't ready. While I'm glad I went, I'm equally glad to be home.

1 comment:

Rodger said...

I'm glad we met. Your paper was very interesting and I'll look for the journal article.