Do we not live in the most interesting part of the world, during the most interesting times? Since our inception as publishers of the ASM mid last year, we have maintained strategic coverage of the Asia Pacific region. Sir James Wolfenson, former World Bank President stated recently that by 2050, as much as 60 per cent of the world’s combined GDP (Gross Domestic Product) will come from Asia. It is amongst the continued focus on Asia that we are proud to launch a complimentary publication in our portfolio, the Hong Kong Security Magazine, in partnership with the Hong Kong Security Association (HKSA).
Not only will we be expanding our footprint into Asia but will have a greater capacity to share information between Oceanic and Asian based security professionals and industry stakeholders. I’ve always considered it critical, as a professional, to benchmark and share expertise. We’re very excited to be pursuing this opportunity in Hong Kong, with HKSA.
Since our last issue, there has been a number of events that have captured the world’s attention and highlighted the continued risk of terrorism, including to Australians and within Asia. The police shooting deaths of five alleged jihadists in Bali is one stark, local reminder. In addition, was the 11 day killing spree by Mohamed Merah, who police say conducted seven point-blank killings in and around Toulouse, France.
According to the emerging accounts, the French citizen of Algerian descent appeared to be looking for a place to belong, seeking twice, without success, to join the French armed services. He had also, according to his own account, sought to belong to al Qaeda. The U.S. had him on its no-fly list as a suspected terrorist, and French authorities had him on a watch list of suspected Islamist militants, but had stopped short of including him on a narrower surveillance list.
Interestingly, Police said Merah may have become more politicised whilst in detention. It’s a clear example that authorities can’t watch everyone, all of the time. With 150 plus investigations reportedly underway in Australia by ASIO, one wonders if it’s still just a matter of time before a lone wolf slips through the net and Australia suffers from such terror.
In this issue, we cover the US-China-India relationship, increasing regional role of South Korea and attempts to fight corruption in Indonesia. As sanctions against Iran continue and the deadline fast approaches for which Israel decides to strike, it has been said, by many, that military engagement between Israel and Iran is inevitable. North Korea has also raised the issue of nuclear proliferation as it looks set to launch a long range rocket in April. South Korea’s Prime Minister Kim Hwang-Sik, in a speech at a national cemetery in Daejeon, said the North’s behaviour has become “more unpredictable than ever” since the death of Kim Jong-il late last year. There is a clear trend that the world’s geo-political activity is intensifying around a range of sensitive issues, and with some, the ominous shadow of nuclear war is quite evident and remains, unpredictable.
Added with the threat of war, is our slow but steady reaction to the threat of climate change. In a special two part series we will look at rising sea levels and Australia’s threat management landscape in response to a growing frequency of natural disasters and impacts on emergency services and national resilience. Add to these troubles is our interest in counterfeit medicines and scientific research games being played with contagions.
This issue also includes a special Cyber Resilience series with articles from around the world and interviews with leading cyber security experts. We are all reliant on cyber-networks and this issue highlights that there are many vulnerabilities and threats, but reassuringly everything that can be done, is being done to control and minimise the risk. It’s the limitation of the speed of what can be done that concerns me most, as cyber warfare is as inevitable as war itself. Indeed, to highlight the point, a Chinese company was excluded from tendering on the NBN last month, with the Australian Government citing national cyber security as the fundamental concern.
Finally, following on from our phoenixing report, we received a number of emails and calls concerning other prime examples of this shameful activity. We were also advised that there has been as many as six crowd control companies going into administration in Western Australia in the last 12 months. Like a canary in a coal mine, surely this trend suggests some fundamental flaws within the industry on the front line and issues which require urgent attention from state based regulators and more importantly, COAG. But alas our political leaders continue to be sidetracked and distracted by mindless squabbling and power broking.
It is most frustrating to watch the current national political environment, but major change is clearly on the way, with Liberal Governments looking set to feature prominently at both state and federal levels within two years. But as a security professional operating in Australia, it remains troubling that so-called ‘leaders’ show such a lack of leadership and the pool of talent within Government often seems very, very shallow.
It’s likely COAG will be rather ineffective over the next two years as we see a Labour national government and state based Liberal governments bicker. Victoria and New South Wales have even commenced with their own version of COAG and one wonders if the current Australian political landscape is as diverse and disjointed as the security industry itself – hardly a recipe for improvement. I do hope I’m wrong and welcome to be proved so.
I will be reporting from the USA during April and seeking out interviews with leading USA based security advisors, law enforcement officers and attending the 22nd ASIS International New York Conference, the largest ASIS Chapter conference in the world. The ASM is a proud media partner to this event and we’ll be filming My Security TV along the way, so stay tuned.
One thing I am learning from sitting in this Editor’s chair, is that the breadth of the security profession is too wide to summarise for each issue and we’ve only skimmed the top of what this and future issues will offer. As always, I encourage you to stay current with the ASM website, enjoy MySecurity TV and engage with us via our social media. I welcome and look forward to hearing your feedback.