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BioSecurity Special

Biological Protection-In-Depth: A closer look at biosecurity and biodefence strategy. By Deborah Evans

20 | Australian Security Magazine

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he importance of broad-spectrum Biological Protection for the survival of mankind is becoming increasingly apparent. Ebola Virus, Hendra Virus, Nipah Virus, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), and Avian Influenza are just a handful of examples of pathogens recently causing or threatening widespread fatalities. They strike fear into the hearts of citizens and governments alike and for good reason... they have the potential to devastate lives, families, economies and destroy the social fabric of civil society. We are not immune from what we cannot see, and protection from biological threats is perhaps the most urgent human endeavour of the coming decades. Biosecurity and Biodefence are co-dependant strategies sitting under the broader concept of biological protection. Biodefence is multi-faceted, consisting of multidisciplinary measures implemented at a national level to protect both civilian and combatant populations from biological threats. Although biodefence is often thought of as being exclusively the domain of government and military, its concepts have evolved beyond a fundamental objective of defending against biological attack. Progressive biodefence concepts incorporate protection from biological threats of a diverse nature, including those from naturally occurring, accidental and deliberate sources. Subsequently, biodefence concepts

transcend military discourse and extend across disciplines and sectors. Such disciplines include security & law enforcement, intelligence, politics and governance, emergency management and national preparedness, the health sciences, agriculture, the environmental sciences, the life sciences as well as most of the technological fields and specialities. Biodefence is very much a collective effort – it permeates all sectors and is incorporated into disciplinary specific methodologies and practices in a myriad of ways. In the event of a biological incident, each discipline will uniquely contribute to form part of the immediate response and longterm recovery efforts. However, the practical challenges of implementing and achieving a cohesive structure to support biodefence objectives are momentous. Co-ordinating and balancing the agendas and objectives of multiple sectors and disciplines is intrinsically problematic. Immense changes in technology, research and environmental factors have further elevated the capacity for biological threats to circumvent existing defences. Subsequently, approaches to co-ordinating biosecurity and biodefence mechanisms must be revisited and redefined as part of global biodefence strategy. To assist in the facilitation of global biodefence efforts, a multidimensional Protection-in-depth (PID) framework may require development at an international level to better coordinate and formalise the existing structures designed

Australian Security Magazine, Oct-Dec 2018  

The Australian Security Magazine is the country’s leading government and corporate security magazine. It is published bi-monthly and is dist...

Australian Security Magazine, Oct-Dec 2018  

The Australian Security Magazine is the country’s leading government and corporate security magazine. It is published bi-monthly and is dist...