Sweden and the US pit their wits for homeland security

The Swedish and US agencies of homeland security are meeting in Stockholm on Thursday to discuss "preparedness and resiliency against a broad spectrum of threats."

The Euro-Atlantic Stakeholders Conference (EASC09) brings together the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (Myndigheten för samhällsskydd och beredskap (MSB)) and its US counterpart, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

“This conferences brings together researchers, experts and government agencies and affords Sweden the opportunity to act to build bridges and push international joint action within societal protection and preparedness,” Helena Lindberg, general-director of the MHS, told The Local on Thursday.

The two-day conference is hosted by Lindberg and Sweden’s defence minister Sten Tolgfors and will feature a raft of high-profile speakers addressing subjects ranging from pandemics, financial crises, hurricane Katrina, forest fires, the 2005 south-east Asian tsunami catastrophe, as well as the developing effects of climate change.

“In a globalised network society the necessity for working together is very clear, We experience the same threats and risks and have much to gain from pooling knowledge,” Lindberg said.

Representing the US Department of Homeland Security Science & Technology Directorate at the conference is Bradley Buswell who argues that Sweden’s long history of technological innovation is of great benefit to the US.

“We are here to benefit from the research and innovation that Sweden has achieved and it is also about Sweden benefiting from what we have done,” Buswell told The Local.

“Swedish security is US security,” he underlined in response to a question regarding the nature of the Sweden-US partnership.

The conference has a science and technology focus and aims to “effectively communicate research needs, capabilities, innovative technology and conceptual frames.”

“Our societies are dependent on technology. The flows of people, energy, knowledge and capital render it of utmost importance for our mutual security,” Helena Lindberg told The Local.

“The technology platform is a way for our governments to build and develop trust,” Bradley Buswell added.

The MSB was launched on January 1st 2009 and similar to its US counterpart the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) integrated the work of several agencies working with various emergency and defence organs.

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