The Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI) has been instructed by the government to negotiate an agreement with America’s Department of Homeland Security, which was formed in the aftermath of the attacks on 11th September 2001.
“Sweden’s knowledge of chemical and biological weapons is internationally renowned,” said Lars Sandström, FOI’s international coordinator.
“Among the research areas under consideration are studies into how you can stop such weapons crossing borders.”
In the worst-case scenarios of potential terrorist attacks, chemical and biological weapons often play a part. FOI says it wants to carry out more research into border protection and border control.
“This development is likely to lead to concrete project agreements for Sweden,” said Eva-Lotta Kraft, head of FOI’s Division for Strategy and Markets.
The foundation for the agreement was laid in May when Defence Minister Leni Björklund visited the Department of Homeland Security in the US, explained Lars Sandström. He described the move as a major step forward.
Sweden has no security department of its own and research is spread out between different governmental agencies. This has led to problems of coordination and cooperation in the past in the area of security.
One of the Swedish-American studies is expected to deal with the problem of knowing what is in containers which are moving through harbours. It will examine ways of determining whether they hold explosives, poisons or viruses which could be spread by terrorists.
Sweden is also a world-leader in tracking such substances not just over ground but also under, in ground water and harbours, said Sandström.