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



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.


Sustainable security systems engineering national security human security environment and energy scenario planning 


  1. [1]
    Annan, K.A. (2005). Towards a culture of peace: letters to future generations. Available via DIALOG. http://www.unesco.org/opi2/lettres/TextAnglais/AnnanE.html
  2. [2]
    Boardman, B. (2009). Fixing Fuel Poverty: Challenges and Solutions. Earthscan, LondonGoogle Scholar
  3. [3]
    Brandt, W. (1980). North South: A Program for Survival. MIT Press, Cambridge, MassachusettsGoogle Scholar
  4. [4]
    Brandt, W. (1983). Common Crisis North-South: Cooperation for World Recovery. MIT Press, Cambridge, MassachusettsGoogle Scholar
  5. [5]
    Bray, D.A. Costigan, S., Daum, K.A., Lavoix, H., Malone, E.L. & Pallaris, C. (2009). Perspective: cultivating strategic foresight for energy and environmental security. Environmental Practice, 11: 209–211CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. [6]
    Brundtland, G.H. (1987). Our Common Future. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  7. [7]
    Brennan, J. (2009). Protecting the American people from terrorism and violent extremism. Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), talk given during the session “A New Approach for Safeguarding Americans”, August 6, 2009. Available via DIALOG. http://csis.org/files/attachments/090806_brennan_transcript.pdf
  8. [8]
    Briggs, C.M. (2009). Environmental security, abrupt climate change and strategic intelligence. Global Energy and Environment Strategic Ecosystem (Global EESE), Department of Energy, February 15, 2009. Available via DIALOG. http://www.envirosecurity.org/news/articles/environmentalSecurity.pdf
  9. [9]
    Clarke, R.A. (2008). Your Government Failed You: Breaking the Cycle of National Security Disasters. Harper Collins, New York, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  10. [10]
    CNN. (2009). Obama: troops alone cannot win in Afghanistan. February 19, 2009. Available via DIALOG. http://edition.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/02/18/obama.afghanistan.canada/
  11. [11]
    Deason, J.P. (2008). Keynote Speech. Presented to the 3rd Annual Seminar on Environmental Planning and Management, October 6, 2008, São Paulo, BrazilGoogle Scholar
  12. [12]
    DOE. (2009). International energy security. Energy Information Administration, Department of Energy. Available via DIALOG. http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/security/
  13. [13]
    Doran, K.L. & Guruswamy, L.D. (2007). A New framework: Post-Kyoto energy and environmental security. White Paper / Research Agenda, Energy and Environmental Security Initiative (EESI), University of Colorado School of LawGoogle Scholar
  14. [14]
    Fang, L., Hipel, K.W. & Kilgour, D.M. (1993). Interactive Decision Making: The Graph Model for Conflict Resolution. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  15. [15]
    GFN. (2009). World footprint: do we fit on the planet? Global Footprint Network: Advancing the Science of Sustainability. Available via DIALOG. http://www.footprintnetwork.org/en/index.php/GFN/page/world_footprint/
  16. [16]
    Glasgow Group. (2007). Enabling strategic intelligence on energy and environmental security impacts and consequences. International Design Team Meeting, Glasgow, Scotland, November 8–9, 2007. Available via DIALOG. http://www.climateactionproject.com/docs/GlasgowFinal.pdf
  17. [17]
    Glenn, J.C., Gordon, T.J. & Florescu, E. (2008). 2008 state of the future. The Millenium Project, World Federation of UN AssociationsGoogle Scholar
  18. [18]
    Homer-Dixon, T.A. (1999). Environment, Scarcity and Violence. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New JerseyGoogle Scholar
  19. [19]
    Howard, N. (1971). Paradoxes of Rationality: Theory of Metagames and Political Behavior. MIT Press, Cambridge, MassachusettsGoogle Scholar
  20. [20]
    Howard, N. (1999). Confrontation Analysis: How to Win Operations Other Than War. CCRP Publications, U.S. Department of Defense, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  21. [21]
    IEA. (2009). International energy agency’s world energy outlook. Available via DIALOG. http://www.worldenergyoutlook.org/docs/weo2009/fact_sheets_WEO_2009.pdf
  22. [22]
    IDMC. (2009). Internal Displacement Monitoring Center, Norwegian Monitoring Center. Available via DIALOG. http://www.internal-displacement.org/8025708F004CE90B/(httpCountries)/F3D3CAA7CBEBE276802570A7004B87E4?opendocument
  23. [23]
    Kasperson, J.X., Kasperson, R.E. & Turner, B.L., II (Editors). (1999). Regions at Risk: Comparisons of Threatened Environments. United Nations University Press, TokyoGoogle Scholar
  24. [24]
    Leber, J. (2009). Riding a wave of culture change, DOD strives to trim energy demand. New York Times, July 20, 2009. Available via DIALOG. http://www.nytimes.com/cwire/2009/07/20/20climatewire-riding-a-wave-of-culture-change-dod-strives-23689.html
  25. [25]
    Mallaby, S. (2006). What energy security really means. The Washington Post Company, Monday, July 3, 2006Google Scholar
  26. [26]
    Natural Resources Defense Council. (2007). Addicted to oil: ranking states’ oil vulnerability and solutions for change. Available via DIALOG. http://docs.nrdc.org/air/air_07061901a.pdf.
  27. [27]
    Obama, B. (2006). Energy security is national security. Remarks of Senator Barrack Obama, Governor’s Ethanol Coalition, Washington, DC, February 28, 2006. Available via DIALOG. http://obama.senate.gov/speech/060228-energy_security
  28. [28]
    OECD-DAC. (2007). Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Development Assistance Committee, (DAC), Handbook on Security System Reform: Supporting Security and JusticeGoogle Scholar
  29. [29]
    Marquina, A. (2008). Energy Security: Visions from Asia and Europe. Palgrave MacmillanGoogle Scholar
  30. [30]
    Quinton, J. (2008). NSA plans mitigation for electrical facilities. Charm City, January 6, 2008. Available via DIALOG. http://insidecharmcity.com/2008/01/06/nsa-plansmitigation-for-electrical-problems/
  31. [31]
    Sanjeev, K., Clark, W.C. & Raad, D.F. (2003). From the environment and human security to sustainable security and development. Journal of Human Development, 4(2): 289–313CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. [32]
    SIPRI. (2009). Year Book on Armaments, Disarmament and International Security for 2008. Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)Google Scholar
  33. [33]
    STWR. (2009). Poverty and inequality. share the world’s resources: sustainable economics to end global poverty. Available via DIALOG. http://www.stwr.org/poverty-inequality/
  34. [34]
    UNDP. (1994). Human Development Report. United Nations Development Report, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  35. [35]
    Wisner B., Blaikie, P., Cannon, T. & Davis, I. (2005). At Risk: Natural Hazards, People’s Vulnerability and Disasters. London, RoutledgeGoogle Scholar
  36. [36]
    Yergin, D. (2007). Ensuring energy security. Foreign Affairs, 85(2): 68–82Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Systems Engineering Society of China and Springer Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public AffairsVirginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA

Personalised recommendations