A Novel Approach to Capacity Building for Security Applications

  • Peter Zeil


In the context of the European Commission's Network of Excellence GMOSS (Global Monitoring for Security and Stability) a training approach has been developed and tested with the aim to integrate technology, natural sciences and social sciences in order to enhance the monitoring capability in the cross-cutting emerging field of security research. The training measure contributes to the establishment of a platform for experienced researchers who will make their impact felt by feeding research results into the security community and are themselves prepared to act on an implementation level. The alumni are social and political scientists with a sound understanding of monitoring capabilities as well as natural scientists and remote sensing experts with a sensitivity to political concepts, structures and processes in different security relevant fields. These objectives are accomplished by the following results: (a) A research agenda is developed which encompasses studies on social and political science research, facilitates the exchange of information between stakeholders, and activates existing organizational structures or stimulates the establishment of new ones. (b) Presentations and practical sessions are organized to inform on the state-of-the-art techniques in:
  • Effective monitoring of international treaties for environmental protection and the development of tools for early warning

  • Better estimates of populations on a global scale and the rapid remote damage assessment

  • Generic methods, algorithms and software needed for the automated interpretation and visualisation of imagery, including feature recognition and change detection

(c) The specific training measures stimulate the integration of research, incorporate the know-how of external experts and provide required soft-skills for future career options in science, technology and policy implementation for security.

The key questions to be dealt with are: how can we cope with a certain hazard/threat and what can we do to reduce the susceptibility to a probable risk? The response to both aspects requires fast decision making (disaster management) or taking preventive measures (risk reduction) long before an event. To test capabilities of first responders, the commonly practiced methodology in disaster management is contingency exercises. In the context of our training approach we explore the wide experience provided by military research organizations with scenario analysis, situation awareness and gaming. The participants of the training course have to act in given scenarios reflecting possible risks, make decisions on interventions and gather experience about the specification and relevance of information needed. The outcome of the games are analyzed in considerable detail and discussed with experts working for relevant organizations. First results from Summer Schools in 2005 and 2006 indicate that participants highly value the approach and organizations dealing with disaster risk reduction or security are greatly interested to be involved in the exercise.


Capacity building for security applications interdisciplinary setting integration games scenarios feedback 



The training activities were supported by funds from the unallocated budget of GMOSS provided by the EC. This essential contribution is highly acknowledged.

The evolution of the training concept involved many colleagues from the GMOSS Network and represents a true team effort. When reflecting on the implementation and without diminishing the effort made by several GMOSS partners, there is one champion to be mentioned: Antonio de la Cruz from the European Satellite Centre. The Summer Schools so far would have been impossible to be organized without the invaluable contributions in time and content by Stefan Lang, Hermann Klug, Dirk Tiede, Elisabeth Schöpfer, Florian Albrecht, a.o. from our Center.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Zeil
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Geoinformatics Z_GISSalzburg UniversitySalzburgAustria

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