Improving health security intelligence capabilities of five eyes countries: Political leadership and intelligence governance challenges

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Drawing on recent research, this paper explores common pressure points within and across ‘Five Eyes’ countries that constrain their ability to understand, prevent and disrupt potential emerging bio-threats and risks. The paper argues that the rapid acceleration in the development of synthetic biology and biotechnology for legitimate markets (e.g. pharmaceuticals, food production and energy) continues to move faster than current national security and law enforcement intelligence capabilities are able to identify and make sense of potential bio-threats and risks. The accurate delineation of the current and emerging threat and risk landscape remains opaque, though are frequently assessed rightly or wrongly as largely low probability/ low impact in nature. Nonetheless, existing capabilities across all five intelligence communities are not sufficiently able to provide timely, valid and reliable intelligence support to decision-makers. The paper surveys several political leadership and intelligence governance challenges responsible for the current sub-optimal development of health security intelligence capabilities as well as possible policy suggestions to ameliorate existing challenges.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPaper presented at the ISA, 60th Annual Convention, Toronto (27th March 2019)
PublisherInternational Studies Association
Number of pages30
Publication statusPublished - 14 Mar 2019
EventInternational Studies Association Annual Convention - Toronto, Toronto, Canada
Duration: 27 Mar 201930 Mar 2019
Conference number: 60th


ConferenceInternational Studies Association Annual Convention
Abbreviated titleIntelligence Studies Section
Internet address


  • Biosecurity and Intelligence, national security and Intelligence, emerging biosecurity threats, bioterrorism

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