This government assignment means that FOI, working with other authorities, is to produce proposals for an agreement with the United States Department of Homeland Security covering aspects of research of development in the field of civil security. FOI is well known and well regarded by the United States security authorities in the light of favourable experience with international agreements and the Agency has thus established itself as a suitable partner to represent Sweden in these negotiations.
“Sweden has outstanding security research capabilities which are in considerable demand in the international arena and we are among the first nations with which the United States Department of Homeland Security has chosen to conclude bilateral agreements. This development is likely to lead to concrete project agreements for Sweden,” says Eva-Lotta Kraft, head of FOI’s Division for Strategy and Markets.
The United States Department of Homeland Security has shown considerable interest in cooperation with Swedish partners in the area of research and development. They envisage a long-term partnership based on a bilateral agreement. The agreement would include dialogue concerning priorities in the field of civil research and development, the exchange of information, collaborative projects and the exchange of guest research workers. In addition the Department of Homeland Security would like to give Swedish actors the opportunity to bid for assignments in high priority research areas. Sweden is considered to have good prospects for establishing cooperation with the United States Department of Homeland Security in areas which could include, for example, protection against dangerous substances and aspects of border and transport security including harbour security.
There are currently no bilateral agreements between Sweden and the United States to enable and govern research work in the Department of Homeland Security’s area of responsibility. A bilateral agreement is an essential step in establishing Swedish research agencies as long-term partners of the United States Department of Homeland Security.
FOI will fulfil the coordinating function in the negotiations and will be working closely with the Swedish Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), the Swedish Rescue Services Agency (SRSA), the Swedish Coast Guard (KBV), the Swedish Agency for Innovation Systems (VINNOVA), the Swedish Research Council and the Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control (SMI). The proposals for a national security research strategy, set out in a report produced by a VINNOVA and a number of other authorities in February 2005, will provide an important basis for these negotiations.