Mission Area: Global Threats and Intelligence
With deaths estimated between 50 and 100 million, and short-term financial consequences nearly beyond the comprehension of the best of economic minds, the global impact of the Spanish Flu of 1918 can reasonably be described as catastrophic. Our most recent brushes with potentially deadly flu include the 2006 outbreak of H5N1 avian flu and the 2009 H1N1 swine flu pandemic. The mortality rates were significantly smaller but challenges in identifying at-risk populations, developing and administering vaccine and antivirals, and activating global surveillance systems have demonstrated the need to prepare our medical and public health systems on an international scale.
Recently, ANSER, an operating unit of Analytic Services, collaborated with the Croatian Urgent Medicine and Surgery Association (CROUMSA) to assist in planning for pandemic threats. Supported through the NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS) program, ANSER and CROUMSA held an Advanced Study Institute (ASI), “Applying Lessons Learned and Sharing Best Practices in Addressing Pandemics and Catastrophic Health Events,” in Slavonski Brod Croatia from November 27 – December 28, 2011. With expert lecturers and students representing a dozen nations and a cross-section of disciplines including public health and epidemiology, medicine and surgery, law and ethics and others, the ASI achieved the following:
As NATO’s Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges, Ambassador Gábor Iklódy, recently stated, “NATO is only as strong as its weakest element, purely national solutions are bound to lose.”* Anticipating, identifying, and responding to a pandemic emergency will challenge every link within NATO. The ASI conference ANSER supported addressed this and other issues through the sharing of best practices and innovative ideas. ANSER’s support to NATO and CROUMSA will further science-based collaboration throughout the Alliance giving its leaders the tools they need to anticipate pandemic challenges and take timely action.
*The Hill Times, October 31, 2011
With nearly all of Europe in disarray post WWII, the victorious Allies were cognizant of a need to provide the requisite cover to allow for economic recovery, quell nationalistic tendencies, stymie communist expansionism, and kept abreast of Soviet technological advances. These common strategic goals provided the impetus to form the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in 1949.
As the Cold War came to an end, NATO’s Science Programme progressed into what is now known as the SPS Committee. Residing within NATO’s Emerging Security Division, the SPS Committee administers ASIs to work with non-member “partner” nations to foster high – level educational environments on security related civil science projects. ASIs help meet dynamic challenges to peace and security by mitigating chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) threats, disposing of hazardous materials, improving access to technology, and establishing programs to improve resilience in emergency situations. Although the Programme has evolved, the mission remains the same: Advance the scientific dialogue to preserve the freedom, stability, and safety of its members and partners.