U.S., Germany to collaborate in homeland security research

Published 23 March 2009

U.S., Germany sign a research and development collaboration agreement which will see secret U.S. laboratories open to German scientists

The United States and Germany signed a civil security research treaty last week that will open top-secret U.S. laboratories and the research and development dine in them to German scientists, Spiegel Online reports. The treaty will allow both countries to exchange staff and technologies while working to develop common standards and priorities.


The treaty was signed by DHS secretary Janet Napolitano and German Research Minister Annette Schavan in Berlin. “Homeland security is not about walling ourselves off from other countries, it is about cooperating with our allies,” Napolitano said, according AP.


Spiegel Online notes that the treaty is a departure for the United States.

The fact that Napolitano and Schavan were meeting to talk about using technology to fight terrorism was unusual, because, until now, the United States has kept its efforts to develop new security technologies to itself.


The homeland security research effort was launched after 9/11 and has been fueled with large sums of money ever since. Universities, companies, and secret laboratories are carrying out research into sensitive surveillance cameras, bomb detectors, biometric analysis software, and vaccines against biological weapons, among other things. Matthew Harwood writes that, until now, neither the general public nor the governments of the U.S. Western allies have learned much about the contents of that research.


The point of the research collaboration will be to find technological solutions that do not trade freedom for security, the AP reports, and will focus on four broad areas: preventing and detecting threats to civil security; protecting critical infrastructure and key resources; forensic science; and “crisis response, Folgenmanagement (consequence management), and damage control in the event of serious incidents,” according to Spiegel Online.