, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp 385-402
Date: 15 Dec 2009

A case for sustainable security systems engineering: Integrating national, human, energy and environmental security

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In the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, there is a growing sense of insecurity felt by many citizens around the world. Sustainable security, with roots in the sustainable development and human security literature, seeks positive transformations for the co-evolving and mutually dependent human-environmental condition by integrating (and subsuming) national, human, environmental, and energy security concerns and capitalizing on opportunities provided by human creativity, diplomatic openings, modernization and environmental change. The field of Sustainable Security Systems Engineering is proposed for protecting, restoring, designing, and implementing a set of integrated natural and man-made processes that equitably and responsibly meet the biophysical needs of human communities, while maintaining long-term security, respecting financial constraints, meeting ecological limits, and improving institutional arrangements for transparent and effective governance. Scenario planning is shown to help promote sustainable security by identifying the preconditions of instability and helping to proactively address them in an increasingly complex and uncertain world. The six papers published in this featured collection cross policy domains, geographic, political, and sectoral boundaries and were discussed at forums sponsored by the Systems Engineering and Global Policy group. Collectively, they demonstrate the quality, breadth and depth of systems engineering methodologies that are used to promote sustainable security.

Jason K. Levy is an Associate Professor in the Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness program (L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs) at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). He currently serves as Director of the Systems Engineering and Global Policy Group and is also on the Graduate Faculty of the PhD program in Public Policy and Administration (at the VCU Center for Public Policy). His major research interests are the development of multiple objective decision making, geomatics, conflict resolution, and environmental modeling techniques from a systems engineering perspective with application to water resources management, air quality, and sustainability. He received his Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD degrees in Systems Design Engineering from the University of Waterloo in 1994, 1996 and 2001, respectively. Dr. Levy is also an Adjunct Faculty in the Natural Resources Institute (University of Manitoba) and an Affiliate Faculty in the Conflict Analysis Group (in the Department of Systems Design Engineering at the University of Waterloo). He has received the National Homeland Security Project research award for his work on systems engineering and security and the T.E. Unny Award for excellence in stochastic and statistical hydrology.