Security & defense

Striking the right balance

When it comes to security, governments face a big dilemma. They are expected to provide a safe environment in which businesses can operate and citizens can live their lives. Yet the tight controls and monitoring needed to ensure that safety often encroach on personal privacy and liberty, and create impediments to efficient commerce. Everyone agrees security is essential. But at what point does increased security produce diminishing — or even negative — returns?

And how can governments best structure their security efforts to deliver greater value to citizens and businesses through improved economic competitiveness and a better way of life?

Key issues:

  • Tearing down walls: Security information can be wasted if there is a lack of sharing and cooperation across agencies, jurisdictions and the private sector. Coordination problems can adversely affect security planning and emergency response, limiting a government's ability to identify and respond to critical threats.
  • Enlisting the private sector: Although government has overall responsibility for national security, much of a nation's critical infrastructure is owned and controlled by private enterprises. Without close public-private cooperation, comprehensive security simply isn't possible.
  • Self-healing: Government agencies have traditionally operated independently, discouraging information-sharing and cooperation. Such deep-rooted behaviors can be hard to reverse, especially from within.
  • Uncovering hidden value: Cold War technology drove major advances in computers and microchips, producing the digital world we live in today.  Security technology can have a similar positive effect if government steers it in the right direction.

Strategies for success:

  1. Make the most of what you already have through sharing and collaboration.
  2. Create an environment where citizens and businesses have a more active role in security.
  3. Establish "ready-to-trade" guidelines that promote commerce and help businesses prosper in a secure economy.
  4. Actively nurture security technologies to deliver crossover benefits for consumers and businesses.