WISIND – Making Well-Informed Decisions about Security Risks
On May 23, 2013, the AICGS Business & Economics Program and the Brandenburg Institute for Society and Security (BIGS) hosted a roundtable discussion entitled “WISIND: Making Well-Informed Decisions about Security Risks” with BIGS Executive Director and AICGS Non-Resident Fellow Dr. Tim H. Stuchtey. The WISIND project is being carried out in collaboration with the German Institute for Economic Research.
The overarching theme of the discussion and the WISIND project is the privatized nature of the German security industry and the subsequent difficulty in defining what constitutes security. The discussion focused on the differences between civil and defense security, the imagined and perceived threat components of security, and how small, private security companies influence local and federal security policies. Dr. Stuchtey pointed out how most of the German security industry’s €34 billion turnover comes from small, private security firms that protect businesses, industries, and the federal government from crime and terrorism and aid in crisis and natural disaster management. In reality, the federal government is the second largest consumer of security products behind businesses and industries in Germany. The primary emphasis of the WISIND project is on civil security. In turn, the 700 security companies sampled under this project will hopefully become integrated into a security indicator that will foster sound economic analysis and coordination among businesses, industries, and governments.
In light of the increase in the types of threats facing Germany, innovative, economically sound decisions need to be made. Furthermore, cuts to an already modest defense budget are transferring the focus toward private sector security that represents citizens’ perceptions of threat. The WISIND project operates within the framework of these shifts.