Energy Security as a Subset of National Security

  • Chris FlahertyEmail author
  • Walter Leal Filho
Part of the Lecture Notes in Energy book series (LNEN, volume 16)



The notion of energy security can be defined in one of two ways. It can be viewed as an economic concept or as a subset of national security. Viewed as a subset of national security, it allows for processes such as 3D vulnerability analysis to be used, which identifies areas of vulnerability in the physical infrastructure carrying energy from place to place. Some of these vulnerabilities can have national and international implications for a country’s energy security.


A conceptual framework for using 3D vulnerability analysis is presented as a methodology for collecting physical infrastructure vulnerability information. This can be used identifying areas of vulnerability—such as a particular section of transcontinental oil pipeline that if it was to fail would seriously weaken the energy security and ultimately national security of the country (or set of countries) reliant on it.


The economic approach to energy security tends to be descriptive and frequently concerned with the price and supply measures of energy security. Approaches such as these, however, are not connected with the much broader national security and foreign relations policy realms. As well, the national security approach to energy security allows incorporation with Critical National Infrastructure Protection (CNIP) concepts, such as 3D vulnerability analysis. This method can be used to collect physical infrastructure vulnerability information, which can be used to identify potential threats to energy security (as a subset of national security).

Practical Implications

The conclusions illustrate how concepts, such as 3D vulnerability analysis, can be used to achieve energy security. The 3D vulnerability analysis approach described collects physical infrastructure vulnerability information, which can be used to identify potential threats to energy security (as a subset of national security).


The paper provides a conceptual framework for looking at 3D vulnerability analysis and the relationship of this methodology to a wider understanding of energy security and ultimately national security.


Energy security National security Critical national infrastructure protection (CNIP) 3D vulnerability analysis Geographical information systems (GIS) 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Optimal RiskLondonUK
  2. 2.Soane PointReadingUK
  3. 3.Research and Transfer Centre, Applications of Life SciencesHamburg University of Applied SciencesHamburgGermany

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