Following is a guest post from Leendert van Bochoven, IBM’s NATO and European Defense Leader:
Within the next few days, Brussels-based Security & Defence Agenda (SDA) will be releasing a report (pdf) that makes recommendations to North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union (EU) for broad policy changes to improve global security.
What makes this report so unusual is not the content itself; rather, it’s the source: The recommendations come from nearly 4,000 people from 124 countries and all walks of life who “jammed” for five days in February on global security challenges.
In the process these individuals made history. I was there. I saw it happen. I participated.
The occasion was the first ever global Security Jam, which used IBM jamming and advanced analytics technologies and services to successfully engage thousands of people in moderated on-line discussions over the Internet.
This was a “first” on many levels: It was the first time that civilians and military experts, including defence and security professionals, journalists, and representatives from governments, think-tanks, academia, and industry, had come together using this form of social media to discuss, debate and brainstorm on the changing nature of 21st century security. An idea born over a beer with Mike Ryan from the US Ambassy in Brussels. It was the first time that EU and NATO had supported such an open debate involving the international community – people beyond the “usual suspects” — on such a strategic and sensitive subject as our global security.
There were a tough set of issues to tackle, including crisis preparedness, cross-border cooperation, climate change, and cyber threats. These issues illustrate just how interconnected our planet has become. This interconnectedness affects geographic, organisational and institutional boundaries, as well as our concept of who we are and how we relate to one another. No greater symbol of this interconnectedness could have been that both EU and NATO supported this Security Jam.
I applaud NATO and the EU for supporting the Security Jam and for recognizing that new thinking, new levels of collaboration and greater civilian-military cooperation are needed to find viable solutions to global security challenges. Maybe this Security Jam should be turned into an annual online meeting of the minds, with the stature of “Davos” and the reach of “Facebook”, discussing smart ideas for dealing with today´s and tomorrow´s security challenges.
The Security Jam and the recommendations that followed are game-changing. But the full measure of success will be whether we can look back in a few years to see the realization and implementation of smart ideas that emerged from the Security Jam.
I, for one, am confident we will.
Leendert van Bochoven is IBM’s NATO and European Defense Leader.