The University of Arizona

Natural Security: 3.5 Billion Years of Survival in an Unpredictable World

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The diversity of biological life and biological interactions across 3.5 billion years of history offers a vast array of solutions for defense against a wide range of threats, from terrorism to cyber crime to natural disasters. Natural Security aims to learn from these solutions and apply them to national and international security strategies. Biologically inspired solutions can be applied to the full spectrum of security issues, from preparedness for unexpected catastrophic events on the home front, to organizational structures for counter-terrorism, to understanding the conditions and motivations from which terrorism and other threats arise.

Fields as diverse as ecology, paleobiology, anthropology, psychology, virology and network analysis have myriad, evolutionarily-based lessons that have not been brought to bear on today’s critical security discussions. Yet lessons from these fields must be tempered by experts with real-world experience in foreign policy and international relations. Accordingly, we have developed an interdisciplinary group of life scientists and policy analysts that has been examining the process of biological evolution and its resultant outcomes as models for both analysis of existing security situations and prescriptions for addressing security threats. Our work has been initially supported in three Working Group meetings at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS), National Science Foundation funded center in Santa Barbara, CA. Organized by University of Arizona ecologist Rafe Sagarin, the Working Group has attracted some of the most creative and respected scholars in their field, as well as promising emerging scholars.

We want to use this space, as well as our ongoing scholarly publications and books, to expand this discussion - both in refining theory and in developing practical applications. As we found with our working group, the more creative and diverse perspectives the better.

The Interview

The Naval Postgraduate School & the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Darwinian Approach to Homeland Security - Learning Lessons from Nature | March 1, 2010

Natural Security at Google

“Tech Talk” at Google Natural Security (A Darwinian Approach to a Dangerous World) | April 29, 2008