Introduction: emerging security technologies – an uncharted field for the EU

Antonio Calcara, Raluca Csernatoni

and Chantal Lavallee


The past decade has been, without a doubt, one of dramatic transformations for technological innovation. Hence, scholars such as Klaus Schwab (2017), the World Economic Forum’s founder and executive chairman, are labelling this new era as the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’, in line with the first Industrial Revolution of the eighteenth century. Are we indeed on the tipping point of the so-called the ‘Industry 4.0’? Or, is this yet another trendy buzzword meant to hastily signify some of the more recent incremental technological developments of the twenty-first century? The term seems to be redolent of common framing tactics associated to other catchphrases such as the ‘digital revolution’ or the ‘gig economy'. We are certainly witnessing something altogether quite unique in contrast to the thr ee preceding Industrial Revolutions, that harnessed the powers of steam, electricity and computerisation. Compared to the digital revolution in the cyber domain from the 1990s, we are now seeing multiple, overlapping and converging technical revolutions in various domains.

This is due primarily to the unprecedented scale and speed of entirely new convergences between emerging technological breakthroughs in a number of spheres, as well as their yet-to-be-discovered impact. The constant increase in hardware performance and its decrease in price have empowered software solutions that scale up at unparalleled levels. Schwab has translated such advances in the usual cost-efficiency corporate-speak, issuing policy and economic recommendations to political leaders and young entrepreneurs to take advantage of this impending ‘second machine age’. There are undeniably potential lucrative benefits to be drawn from the exponential and combinatorial effects of Artificial Intelligence (Al), autonomous robotics, digitisation and biotech on global economy, industry and society (Brynjolfsson and McAfee 2016). Both state and non-state actors have already taken note of the leadership potential provided by revolutionary tech-driven innovation and its conversion into economic and military power, fierce global competition bolstering big research and development (R&D) budgets and investments.

Nevertheless, several other issues take centre stage as regards emerging technologies, most importantly, the compliance of innovations with democratic and legal requirements, social norms and ethical values. From this perspective, there needs to be a greater mobilisation of theoretical and conceptual views as well as critical approaches to determine how these technologies are designed, implemented and meaningfully controlled, especially in sensitive areas such as security and defence. Most of the mainstream International Relations (IR) scholarship tends to theorise technology as either marginal, deterministic or instrumental by ‘black boxing’ it to be used in explanations or research designs, without ever having it explained (McCarthy 2018: 2-3 and 5). Besides, power struggles and contestation narratives are mostly absent from the IR literature, which largely focuses on strategic and market advantages without indeed opening the ‘black box’ of the politics governing emerging technologies. Notwithstanding their importance, there is undeniably a gap in the existing academic literature in Social Sciences in general and IR theory in particular, concerning the conceptualisation and operationalisation of these technologies. This ranges from definitional aspects, their application for both peaceful and military aims, different policy areas of interests or concerns, issues and challenges, to the hybridisation of civilian commercial interests, advanced multidisciplinary science and strategic military priorities.

Indeed, there are studies that focus on the increasing civilian use of dual-use technologies in Europe (Hoijtink 2014; Boucher 2015) or on emerging security technologies from an American perspective (Akhter 2017; Shaw 2017). Conversely, European Studies literature has been mostly focused on either functional and neoliberal institutional approaches explaining the European Union's (EU) construction and actorness as a civilian or normative power with some attempts to overcome the traditional distinction between intergovernmentalism and supranationalism in its external, security and defence policies. Less attention has been given to the technical, regulatory and normative controversies surrounding emerging security technologies, a key strategic sector where the EU is also progressively involved. Regarding this area, some studies have been conducted on the development of an EU security and defence research policy and market (Karampekios, Oikonomou and Carayannis 2018). However, there have been no significant analyses on how to problematise new security technologies and their governance in the European context.

In this respect, Science and Technology Studies (STS) offer a fertile ground for our understanding of them. STS has the potential to provide a more substantive analysis of such technologies as forms of power, as socially constructed processes which involve a complex interplay between actors, interests, norms, discourses and practices (Feenberg 2002; Latour 2005; Bijker 2010; Verbeek 2011; McCarthy 2018). Technology plays a key role in global politics, and yet in-depth reflection on its role has typically been sidelined to epiphenomenal or deterministic characteristics in IR theory in general and in Security Studies in particular. By contrast, work done in STS has a long-standing tradition of unpacking social and political dimensions within complex scientific and technological systems, thus shedding light on the governance practices and knowledge-production processes surrounding them. On the other hand, STS has rarely engaged in a sustained and systematic manner with IR scholarship, either by addressing the global and security dimensions of international politics or by engaging with the European Studies.

Therefore, this edited volume calls for a new research agenda, arguing that conceptual approaches at the intersection of the above-mentioned strands of literature can help to illuminate the various international, political, economic, security and normative mechanisms that encase technological artefacts. It refers to the concept of ‘governance’ as an analytical framework and tool to investigate how emerging security technologies are governed in practice, emphasising the relational configurations among different state and non-state actors, as well as regional and international organisations. By referring to European governance, it addresses the complex interplay of power relations, interests and framings surrounding the development of policies and strategies for the use of new security technologies. This shifts the attention from a descriptive to a substantive reflection on how emerging security technologies are framed by several state and non-state actors. In this regard, the strength of this collective work is to gather scholars using varied conceptual tools to shed light on the way diverse technologies are embedded in EU policy frameworks. Each contribution identifies actors involved in the governance of one of these technologies, their multilevel institutional and corporate configurations and conflicting forces, values, ethical and legal concerns, as well as security imperatives and economic interests.

The Introduction first clarifies this new wave of technological innovation to explore the implications for human-machine relations, especially in the security sector, emphasising the characteristics of these emerging technologies and the main ethical and legal concerns, as well as their definitional challenges. Then, it gives some indications about the broader governance mechanisms, especially regarding the role and position of state and non-state actors engaged at the national, regional and international levels in the management of the technical, industrial and political aspects of security technologies. Finally, it provides a comprehensive view of the distinctive EU policy-making process and its impact on the governance of emerging security technologies.

A new wave of technological innovation

The new wave of technological innovation that we are witnessing nowadays is marked by an unprecedented fusion of evolving technologies, increasingly blurring the lines between the digital, physical and biological. From a conventional human-centric environment, we are moving to a new age of ever-more sophisticated technologies. They are starting to exert an altogether different and increased impact in human-machine relations, mediating and dominating social interactions, as well as challenging our very ideas of what it means to be human. This new technological wave could be characterised by a blend of advances made in key fields such as Al, robotics, autonomous vehicles, unmanned aircrafts (drones), additive manufacturing or 3D printing, quantum computing, Big Data, biotechnology and so on. It also signals or obliges profound transformations in systems of governance. For instance, improvements in autonomous technologies are triggering an array of pressing and complex debates about their design characteristics, their legal and ethical dimensions, their dual-use applications, their military and security uses, as well as their broader impact on society and geopolitics. Autonomous and robotic systems, drones, self-driving cars, speech and image recognition systems, and chat bots are among the more known exemplifications of combining such technologies. This confluence has important dual-use applications for both civilian and military objectives and contributes to the blurring division as well as mutual transfers between the civilian and military sectors.

The challenge with these technologies is also related to difficulties in defining their revolutionary potential. In part, this is due to a proliferation of labels, ranging from the term of ‘emerging’ itself, to other descriptors such as ‘dualuse’, ‘future’, ‘new’, ‘enabling’, ‘smart’ and ‘disruptive’. The definition of Al as ‘dual-use’, ‘disruptive’, or ‘enabling’ is particularly interesting. It sets die parameters for understanding the type of technology that an ‘emerging’ one encompasses. Although some of these technologies such drones, robotics and the Internet have been developed over the twentieth century, they are generally defined by the stakeholders as ‘emerging technologies’. While now being hyped as the disruptive technology of the twenty-first century, Al has advanced out of a scientific field with deep historical roots dating back to the 1950s and the development of stored-programme electronic computers (Surber 2018: 3). Indeed, even once they have been created, their applications are still evolving and offering a variety of new potentialities. Though their potential is becoming clearer, their exact scope and impact on societies remain to be seen. Al has been generally framed as a disruptive weapon and likened to past revolutions, provoked by prior transformative technology cases such as nuclear, aerospace, bio or associated with issues of national security, balance of power and warfare (De Spiegeleire, Maas and Sweijs 2017; Cummings et al. 2018). Due to its broad civil-military applications across numerous types of technologies and domains, as well as its convergence potential with other security technologies such as drones or related to Al-enabled cybersecurity, the more likely comparison is with ‘enabling technologies’ such as electricity (Horowitz 2018). Nevertheless, seen as a strategic enabler (Fiott and Lindstrom 2018) for unmanned and robotic systems, the Al’s comparison with electricity is not particularly helpful, since it has the potential to revolutionise decision-making in warfare, going as far as possibly creating a paradigmatic change in how conflicts are fought.

As regards the term ‘disruptive’, according to Christensen (2011), it involves a type of ground-breaking and radically novel technology. The main characteristic of such a technology is to have the capacity to completely dislocate established and recognised technologies, by creating an entirely new industry and market. An example is the email that displaced letter-writing and revolutionised the ways in which we communicate nowadays. By contrast, ‘sustaining’ technologies are relying on incremental advances in an already established technology. Illustrative examples are the improvements made in the case of existing drone technologies in tenns of autonomy. Similarly, ‘emerging’ technologies

(Rotolo, Hicks and Benjamin 2015), while not necessarily completely new and equally including older and underdeveloped technology, could be construed as still having the capacity to transform the status quo; in part because of their comparatively emergent potential and fast development. Their management can generate new patterns of interaction among state and non-state, civilian and military actors, along the normative, knowledge-production and legitimation processes accompanying them. Such processes also have the potential to trigger and transform civilian-military relations, these implications further affecting strategic goals with regard to defence research and development. They could also be characterised by elements of ambiguity and controversy, as their progressive development, socio-economic impact and broader meaning remain indeterminate. From this point of view, ‘emerging’ technologies may have both disruptive and sustaining characteristics, combining the new and the old, but most importantly producing new technological convergences between different fields such as telecom and modes of transportation with the drones.

Technological advancements are also frequently accompanied by stark warnings from critics and technophobes alike, going as far as crediting them with science fiction and dystopic scenarios that will change the future of humanity. From the ‘Terminator-style’ and destructive rise of intelligent machines to fundamental changes in world politics and warfare, the spectrum is broad. Conversely, technophiles are hyping their positive effects, including their likely improvement of our standards of living, with clear benefits, for example, in healthcare applications: the EU funded project HOPE (Human Organ Printing Era), under the Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) Flagships of the Programme Horizon 2020 managed by the European Commission (2019), can help radically transform traditional surgical practices for donating human organs. By combining pioneering tech from robotic 3D bioprinting, tissue engineering, as well as Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for customisable implants, such innovative biofabrication applications have a huge potential for a positive impact on health care. They demonstrate once more the innovative and convergent potential of different cutting-edge technological domains, as well as their broader civil and societal applications. On the other hand, Benjamim Farrand’s Chapter 12 in this book draws attention to the moral uncertainties, legal lacunae and debates concerning the safety of new medical equipment and biotechnologies, by exploring the gaps in their current governance structures. Related to this, Dagmar Rychnovska's Chapter 10 points towards new techniques of governance introduced in science and dual-use research, by integrating existing principles of scientific responsibility with security practices.

As in anything related to human activity, nothing is as black-and-white as either emerging tech opponents or enthusiasts would like to propose. Regarding the security applications of emerging technologies, there are countless possibilities of how they could fundamentally impact security-making in general and warfighting in particular. These technologies are increasingly deployed to enhance various functions related to war games, counter-terrorism, cybersecurity, cyber robots to protect communications and information platforms, cyber-surveillance, precision weaponry and data analytics - heralding a paradigmatic transformation in security technologies. The consequences for homeland security, armed conflicts and the future of warfare are still to be determined. However, broader trends could be identified concerning their uses in the security sphere, both in its internal and external dimensions. In this respect, Maximiliano Vila Seoane’s Chapter 5 points out some of the risks associated with the increased digitalisation of our societies and the use of cyber-surveillance technologies, which bring about new threats such as human rights infringement acts. André Barrinha’s Chapter 6 further engages with cyberspace as a central trope in European security agendas, as well as critically assessing how certain meanings associated to cybersecurity can create normative problems. Equally, in his Chapter 8, Ilan Manor shows us the civilian applications of cyber technologies in the case of social media, by exploring the potential and limitations of the EU’s digital diplomacy as a tool for foreign policy.

Moreover, new security technologies could significantly impact military organisational and operational levels through the optimisation and automation of both institutional structures and technologies. For example, Al has the potential to alter the productivity and efficiency of human endeavours on almost all levels, being one of the most important and divisive inventions in human history. One technological trend is particularly challenging, namely, the Al’s increasingly disruptive potential as regards the human monopoly on critical decisions that concern vital legal and ethical choices to be delegated to completely autonomous systems during conflicts. Presently, there are no fully autonomous weapon systems in operation and we cannot expect their wide implementation in the short term. Nevertheless, it is important to be aware of the possible consequences of the Al’s deployment in automating security-making.

From this point of view, putting forward political, legal and ethical frameworks for the development and uses of emerging security technologies might be the key to mitigating a global potential arms race and power shifts that could be incurred by their implementation in critical fields such as security and defence. Equally, big investments, public-private partnerships, innovation, human capital and re-skilling and societal resilience will undoubtedly determine whether state and non-state actors will be well positioned to be at the forefront of their meaningful development and governance. In line with previous Industrial Revolutions, current new technologies are following similar patterns of development, clearly outpacing standards and regulation regimes to govern them. Even when a certain technology has clear harmful consequences, such as for example nuclear weapons and lethal autonomous weapon systems (LAWS) or so-called ‘killer robots’, global governance mechanisms are highly dependent on states’ or more specifically great powers’ political willingness to enforce them.

The challenge for traditional regulatory authorities in democracies is therefore to identify the best way to tackle related issues considering industrial, technological, economical, legal and societal perspectives. The difficult task is to find the right balance between the foreseen benefits and the risks. On the one hand, it means supporting the development of a strategic and dynamic sector for market growth, competitiveness and innovation. On the other hand, it means providing appropriate political and policy frameworks to address ethical and societal concerns towards their disruptive potential and mitigating the risks. The ultimate objective for the tech industries in general and the EU in particular is the public acceptance of such technologies, but this remains problematic due to closely associated problems of the risk perception (Clothier et al. 2015). The most appropriate way to include citizens is still not clear, for either regulatory authorities or for the stakeholders in the emerging tech communities. They are also challenged by the most suitable way to prepare societies and foster their awareness to upcoming technological changes, knowing that the more the public accepts normalising certain types of technologies, the more it is likely to buy it or buy into it.

For instance, the future huge-scale integration of civil drones into the airspace raises significant questions (Rao, Gopi and Maione 2016), notably regarding public safety if they are not properly used (Clarke and Moses 2014), privacy and data protection as drones can collect data (Volovelsky 2014), third-party liability for example in case of accidents, as well as environmental concerns, such as noise and visual pollution. It also poses some ethical apprehensions, for instance, related to the drone surveillance (West and Bowman 2016) as well as security issues with the risk of their misuse, which could also lead to largely damaging effects. The incidents of flying drones at the Gatwick Airport where thousands of passengers saw their flights cancelled shortly before Christmas 2018 and few weeks later at Heathrow Airport, where all departures were suspended for about an hour, are an illustrative reminder of the disruptive potential of drones and the risk of their misuse. Along the same lines, the trend towards more automation in our daily life opens many legal, ethical and political questions. Several key questions are of prime importance: How to regulate emerging technologies or to guarantee reliability of these systems? How to determine the human control and the level of autonomy, more precisely the human in/on/out of the loop issue? How to protect personal data and human rights abuses?

In this regard, technology is not by any means completely neutral and it should not be narrowly analysed as an object in itself, independent from specific socio-economic and political realities that engender its potential uses and meanings. On the contrary, more critical and constructivist STS interpretations posit that technology is neither socially nor politically neutral, but actually socially relative and constructed. From these perspectives, emerging technologies have clear-cut normative dimensions dependent upon specific historical contexts, economic or security interests and discursive framings, that in turn shape how subjects perceive, manage, implement and respond to technically mediated socio-political and security relations (Rao et al. 2015: 454). The concept of technology has a highly contested meaning and implies a general lack of consensus concerning its definitions. This could range from a narrower and materialist understanding of strictly speaking technological products to more nuanced conceptualisations of techniques that include, mediate and shape human existence, power relations, knowledge production, and the political and security implications of technological artefacts. Last but not the least, the politically laden concept of ‘dual-use’ as applied to emerging technologies brings about further complexities, namely, the legal and psychological barriers between civilian and military research as discussed by Daniel Fiott in Chapter 2 and Bruno Oliveira Martins with Neven Ahmad in Chapter 3, respectively. Dual-use technologies could be framed as such to justify either military or civil spending, duality being seen in terms of reconverting certain existing civilian or military technologies or representing different stages in the life cycle of technological production and applications.

The governance of emerging security technologies

The reference to the governance of emerging security technologies represents here an entry point to explore actors’ rationale and relations between civilian and military, as well as public and private actors at the national, regional and international levels. Before introducing the plurality of actors, it is necessary to clarify what the term ‘governance’ means, as it has been widely used in the Political Science literature in so many different ways that its analytical precision has been blunted (Kohler-Koch and Rittberger 2006).

The concept of governance emerged in the late 1970s to describe the fragmentation of the political authority among public and private as well as subnational, national, regional and international actors (Rhodes 1996: 661). While government refers to an institutional system in which there is a centralised authority and vertical and hierarchical forms of regulation, governance indicates that states increasingly draw on experts outside governments, engaging interest groups, ‘contracting out’, ‘outsourcing’ and creating public-private partnerships (Bevir and Hall 2013: 24). Moreover, at the international level, governance has been a useful analytical device to describe the diffusion of authority towards subnational and transnational institutions, as well as to emphasise the role of multiple actors -institutions, states, international and non-governmental organisations - required to coordinate their efforts to regulate phenomena of global concern (Higgott 2005). Therefore, this book refers to governance for describing the ‘coordinated management and regulation of issues by multiple and separate authorities, the interventions of both public and private actors, formal and informal arrangements, in mm structured by discourse, norms and practices, and purposefully directed towards particular policy outcomes’ (Webber et al. 2004: 4). This broad conceptualisation takes into consideration a variety of public and private actors, as well as their formal and informal interactions. This definition also allows us to underline the role of discourse, norms and practices in structuring knowledgeproduction mechanisms, policy decisions and policy outcomes.

International organisations have often mentioned governance in their documents and strategies. For instance, since the 1980s, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank have been concerned with promoting ‘good’ governance in their lending policies. Similarly, the EU has been among the first organisations to write so-called ‘good’ governance into its agreements with external partners, especially regarding its neighbourhood policy (Schimmelfennig and Sedelmeier 2004). Therefore, the term governance, initially used as a descriptive tool, has progressively assumed a normative connotation. Other scholars have strongly criticised this concept, due to its neoliberal implications, and have used the Foucauldian tenn ‘govemmentality’, as the organised practices, mentalities, rationalities and techniques, through which citizens and society are governed (Joseph 2010; Enroth 2014). Governance and govemmentality denote two concepts rooted in different disciplinary and intellectual traditions, converging around a common core question: the problematics of steermg, regulating and governing in modem society with regards to individuals, organisations, the state and society at large.

The concept of governance has been also widely used to shed light on international and regional security arrangements. Since the end of the Cold War, the concept of security, traditionally restricted to military threats, has been progressively expanded to cover a much more variegated set of phenomena and actors (Krahmann 2003). In particular, new security threats cross the established boundaries of internal security and external defence (Lutterbek 2005). Among these threats, we can include terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, organised crime and drug trafficking, as well as the manifold political, military and humanitarian challenges that arise from weak and failing states and the security vacuum they leave behind. In this regard, the Copenhagen and the Paris Schools of Security Studies, as well as the Critical Security studies at large, have also emphasised the importance of the subjective dimension of security and the importance of studying the social construction of security through discourses and practices (Buzan 1997; Bigo 2002).

Gradually, phenomena such as migration, human rights and the environment, among others, have been securitised. This widened security milieu involves both traditional state actors and non-traditional ones, such as international and transnational groups, individuals, national agencies, NGOs etc. The concept of security governance has been therefore employed to describe the multiple actors and levels of security engagement and assumes that norms, rules and ideas, besides interests, are also influential in the shaping of security policies (Webber et al. 2004). The literature, however, ranges quite a lot as far as the type of ‘authorities’ (states, non-states, private actors, international organisations), types of coordination (formal or informal arrangements) and the expansion of the policy areas to which they is applied according to the understanding of what security is (Sperling and Webber 2014). Policy frameworks of emerging security technologies are defined by various actors, shaped by multilevel institutional and corporate configurations, and they embody conflicting forces, values, ethical and legal concerns, security imperatives, as well as political and economic interests. Specifically, the governance of these technologies involves governments, private actors (defence and security as well as civil firms and high-tech companies), international and regional organisations, lobby and civil society groups.

Governments remain the main actors in the development of emerging technologies for political, legal and economic-related reasons. First, as emphasised in the previous section, security technologies have fundamental implications for international security. The American case is paradigmatic in this regard, given that Washington, through its 2014 ‘Third Offset Strategy’, has committed to lead the process of innovation and research of emerging technologies and to include the development of these technologies within its military innovation strategy (Fiott 2016). Second, it is widely accepted that these technologies have a major impact on the economic, social and environmental welfare of a nation and they have triggered changes that are threatening existing markets. For instance, their management is challenging because traditional policy tools - regulations, taxes and subsidies - may not be as effective in new areas as in the more established sectors. Their use requires more information than is often available to governments as new technologies proliferate. Moreover, the development of new legal standards is necessarily slower compared to fast-evolving technologies.

Against this background, non-state actors such as the defence industry are also involved in technological developments. Given that, despite a large process of privatisation since the 1980s, they maintain constant relations with the governments, thus it is problematic to define these actors as completely detached from state control. This is principally due to the peculiarities of the defence market. Indeed, in weapons acquisition, free market principles are generally resisted because of many potential risks: specialisation could reduce the available military capabilities a state has at its disposal; it may become overly dependent on external suppliers; open procurement contracts could favour foreign firms and harm domestic industry and employment; competition could alter the shape of the defence supply chain to potentially disadvantage domestic firms. For all these reasons, the arms market is characterised by ‘monopsony’, namely, for the presence of a single buyer (the state) and a limited array of defence firms competing in a fragmented market landscape (Hartley 1991: 31). Since the end of the Second World War, R&D in defence was conducted in-house or commissioned to the industiy (Mauro and Thoma 2016).

This picture has dramatically changed in the aftermath of the Cold War with the reduction of R&D budgets in almost all Western countries leading to a radical reconfiguration of the defence market. To give only a striking example, in 1960, 36 per cent of worldwide R&D was spent on American defence research, compared to 3 per cent in 2016 (Sargent 2018). Moreover, the dual-use nature of the emerging security technologies (see opening section of this chapter) has resulted in the tech industry being able to invest far more than the defence industry in relevant R&D. While large defence companies usually work closely with military officials to develop products that will be later purchased by the government, a number of large commercial corporations, such as Google, Facebook, Amazon and Toyota Motors, have been making huge investments in the development of technologies in recent years to access and secure the upcoming services market. Briefly, to give one concrete example: think about the computer processing technologies or the impact that the smartphones have had on the availability, performance, size and cost of computer chips, batteries and sensor technologies, from vision-based sensors (video cameras) to tactile sensors or touch screens (Boulanin and Verbruggen 2017: 105).

Although civil high-tech companies have clearly taken the lead with regard to the development and adoption of autonomy in robotic systems, the defence industry continues to play a key role, for the simple reason that commercial dual-use technologies can rarely be adopted by the military without modifications. While there are certainly civilian companies that might be prepared to fulfil a defence contract, commercial companies have little economic incentive to work with military customers, especially because contractual requirements in terms of proprietary rights are too stringent (Boulanin and Verbruggen 2017: 106). Defence companies are, therefore, bound to play a central role in delivering security technologies to the military. Furthermore, in today’s interconnected and global world, it is difficult to attribute technological advances to specific actors. The tech industry gave us smartphones, but this would have been impossible without military advances in computing, battery and communication technologies.

Military and civil industries have also made efforts in recent years to form closer relationships with the academic institutions working on emerging security technologies, especially on Al and robotics. A relevant example is the multiyear collaboration agreement that Lockheed Martin signed with MIT’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics (MIT 2016) in collaboration with the Computer Science and Al Laboratory to work on robotics and autonomous systems. In addition to governments, industries and academia, expert technical knowledge of international organisations is becoming progressively impactful on the development of security technologies (Martins and Kusters 2019). For instance, the OECD (2015) has constantly advised upon emerging policy issues related to the responsible development of security technologies, and assisted member countries in understanding and managing the changing nature of research, development and innovation.

Finally, civil society organisations are showing increasing attention to the advantages and risks that the development of new emerging security technologies entail and are pressuring governments to not underestimate these challenges. As for Al and its applications in the case of LAWS, the ‘Campaign to Stop Killer Robots’ in Europe has been stepping up its outreach at the national level to build support in key capitals for the call to ban development, production and transfer of fully autonomous weapons. Similarly, in spring 2018, some civil society organisations, as well as in-house resistance from Google developers, have put pressure on the company to interrupt its collaboration with the Pentagon. The concerns were related to Project Maven, which aimed at developing Al to analyse drone surveillance footage, the information generated then being used for military purposes with the potential to harm humans (Shane and Wakabayashi 2018).

Obviously, the nature of the industry (both civil and military) and the relations between public and private actors depend on the country or region in which they operate. For instance, in Israel, the tech sector and the military have strong ties due to the mandatory conscription and the resulting creation of extensive social networks among public and private actors (Swed and Butler 2015). In China, the civilian companies have members of the ruling party in their board of directors, creating an inextricable mix between public and private interests (Kania 2017). In the United States, some authors have noted the development of a hybrid partnership between state and non-state actors, in which the governments increasingly seek collaboration with civil entities to achieve its own security objectives (Weiss 2014).

The European Union: a distinctive approach to emerging security technologies

The concept of governance has been extensively used to shed light on EU policy formulation and implementation. In the late 1980s, the ‘governance turn’ in European Studies coincided with and was stimulated by a significant increase in European competencies in the wake of the Single European Act and the single market programme (Kohler-Koch and Rittberger 2006: 32). Studies focus on the simultaneous centralisation of authority in a continental polity and decentralisation to subnational regions. They have been shaped by the EU’s hybrid features, which are hard to categorise with the standard toolkit of Political Science. Specifically, the EU appears to break the mould of state-like features, being not a state in itself. Overall, EU governance studies (Piattoni 2010) argue to move beyond European mainstream approaches that understood EU integration either as a natural spilloverprocess (Haas 1958) or as driven by member states’ national interests and actions (Moravcsik 1998), in order to analyse how the EU works as a decision-making system. In this regard, a plethora of analyses have come to see the EU as a multilevel governance (MLG) system, characterised by ‘the simultaneous activation of governmental and non-governmental actors at various jurisdiction levels' (Piattoni 2010). MLG studies posit that decision-making authority is not monopolised by national governments but is diffused to different levels of decision-making - tire sub-national, national and supranational levels (Hooghe and Marks 2001: 4). A lively debate has also emerged on new modes of governance, roughly defined as non-hierarchical means of political steering, a central characteristic of EU constrained authority vis-à-vis the member states (Sabel and Zeitlin 2010).

The literature on EU governance has predominantly dealt with former first-pillar issues (policy areas in which the EU has exclusive competence). However, with the adoption of the Treaty of Lisbon, which abolished the pillar structure, some scholars have explored the governance of the EU Common Foreign, Security and Defence policy (Webber et al. 2004; Kirchner 2006). The security governance research has been especially interested in the EU peculiar role as a security actor. In this regard, some scholars have argued that the EU can be defined as a civilian, normative, structural and global power (Manners 2002; Del Sarto 2016). Scholars have also analysed the social conditions of the EU’s international identity as defined through practices, discourses, struggles of the actors enacting the EU external relations (Rogers 2009; Mérand and Rayroux 2016). Moreover, a strand of research has highlighted more complex governance structures in the EU security and defence field than that implied by the traditional intergovernmental cooperation among national governments. Some identified the governance in the European security and defence field as characterised by ‘intensive transgovemmentalism’ to indicate that the intensity of interactions and the density of structured and productive collaboration create transgovernmental relations that differ from the typical rational bargaining of intergovernmentalism (Howorth 2001; Wallace and Wallace 2007; Merand 2008).

According to Cross (2011), transnational interactions in Europe have been conductive to the establishment of influential knowledge-based networks of state and non-state actors that, by sharing technical and specific professional behavioural rules, have the capacity to shape the mission of their organisations beyond the original formal mandate. Other scholars have examined the development of the EU’s security architecture and capacity building, underlying the role of EU institutions (agencies and expert groups), bureaucracies at national and European levels, and non-state actors as part of ‘epistemic communities’ (Trondal 2008; Cross 2011; Gornitzka and Holst 2015). Nevertheless, emphasis has been given to expert knowledge production and its epistemic influence in policy-making. These ‘epistemic communities' are often considered as homogenous and consensual sidelining technical, economic and political diverging interests in debates surrounding the governance of emerging technologies.

The academic literature on European security has not provided, so far, a systematic assessment of the main actors involved in the governance of emerging security technologies. First, European governments maintain a primary role in the development of these strategic technologies. To make only a striking example, the French government has developed its own Al strategy and has affirmed the strategic nature of these technologies for state security (Villani 2018). Second, European civil and military industries have an obvious economic interest especially as dual-use technologies are a simultaneously source of opportunity. However, if the equipment is unrestricted from military arms control or procurement policies it is subjected to EU dual-use control (see Vila Seoane, Chapter 5 in this book). Moreover, in contrast with other regional contexts, most European military companies have also a predominantly civilian component (Airbus is a case in point). The development of dual-use security technologies, therefore, questions the main features of both the European civil and military markets. This is actually a long-running debate in the European security field. Already in 1989, Walker and Gummett noted that:

European defence industries are caught up in the powerful dynamics surrounding the Single European Act, not least because most defence contractors are substantial players in civil high-technology markets and because boundaries between civil and military technology are becoming harder to draw. Although different that regulatory structures of the two sectors cannot therefore be kept completely separate - which means that there is a potential serious clash of interests between the authorities concerned with civil and with military industrial activities.

(Walker and Gummett 1989: 420)

The governance of emerging security technologies is further complicated by the distinctive policy-making at the European level. EU institutions have increasingly promoted the development and employment of ‘new’, ‘dual-use’, ‘advanced’, ‘next generation’ or ‘emerging’ technologies for countering their internal and external security threats. This is quite evident with regard to the policies and measures that have been adopted to foster the security domain of the EU Area of Freedom, Security and Justice. For instance, the pursuit of ‘new technologies’ for security purposes took on new dynamics following the adoption of ‘The Hague Programme: Strengthening Freedom, Security and Justice in the European Union’ (Council 2005). Moreover, security technologies, as indicated in the EU official documents, need to be developed through a close collaboration between the public and private sector, meaning EU public bodies and authorities, academia, research centres and industries (Bonfanti 2017: 39; Martins and Ahmad, Chapter 3 in this book). Significant budgetary resources have been allocated for the purpose of researching new security technologies. The EU has also promoted the involvement of representatives from the military sector in the definition of R&D, in particular the European Defence Agency (EDA). This involvement stemmed from the need to synchronise research initiatives carried out in the civil and military security domains with a view to avoiding duplications and to promote synergies.

The EU’s institutions such as the European Commission and the European Parliament, as well as agencies like the EDA, and the member states have been actively involved in promoting the development of these technologies (drones and Al, for instance). Their common goals have been to bridge the technological-innovation gap, especially towards the United States and China, to transform the European technological and industrial base into a competitive advantage while also considering the need of the public acceptance. Hence, emerging security technologies are challenging the EU’s representatives to find the balance between their promotion by creating markets and stimulating cutting-edge research and innovation, and the need to address their normative and ethical implications with legal controls regarding their use and the risks of misuse.

In this regard, the analysis of the European governance towards these technologies is also questioning the nature and scope of the European integration. Such technical advancements are transforming civil-military practices and might have unforeseen long-term effects on the EU imaginaries (what the EU is) and its global role. Concerning these changes, in the last few years, we have seen growing concerns in the critical literature and civil society about the militarisation of the EU. Some scholars engaged in the debate on armed drones within the EU (Csematoni 2018; Paulussen and Dorsey 2016; Martins 2015), in line with the important academic debate on the legal, political and ethical issues regarding the extra-judicial ‘drone killings’ used by the American administration under the then President Obama as counter-terrorism measures in Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen and Pakistan (Schulzke 2017; Barrinha and da Mota 2016; Hajjar, Levine and Naqvi 2014).

The apprehensions concerning the risks that the European contribution to the development of emerging technologies might transform the EU’s scope and nature have further intensified with the 2016 ‘European Defence Action Plan’ and the launch of the European Defence Fund by the European Commission. For instance, such fears have been openly expressed through demonstrations at the 2018 EDA’s annual conference on ‘From Unmanned to Autonomous Systems: Trends, Challenges and Opportunities’. In the international context where the ‘Campaign to Stop Killer Robots' gams momentum, some critical voices expressed clear concerns about the possibility that European companies developing lethal autonomous weapons might have access to EU funds or criticised the military interest at national level to possess such weapons, raising the probability of a global arms race (Teffer 2018a, 2018b). With a new European discourse on civil drones, some scholars rather criticised the demilitarisation of dual-use technologies such as drones as a means to manage public acceptability by reducing the scope of debate in Europe (Boucher 2015).

Besides, almost all EU-level security strategies adopted in the last decade have also highlighted the crucial role of the private sector when it comes to countering a wide variety of contemporary security threats (Council 2015). For instance, Bures (2017) has noted that recent EU strategies have singled out the role of private sector actors in maritime security, including capability building, risk management, protection of critical maritime infrastructure and crisis response; crime prevention; private data protection and the fight against tax evasion and corruption. In its Security Industrial Policy, the European Commission stated that ‘the security industry represents a sector with a significant potential for growth and employment’ (2012: 2). In addition, the 2013 EU Cybersecurity Strategy mentions the term private sector more than 40 times (European Commission HRVP 2013).

The EU has used extensively specialised expert groups for the development of emerging security technologies at the EU level. In this regard, in 2004, the European Commission (2004) established a ‘Group of Personalities on Security Research’, which comprised senior figures from European politics, industry and institutions. Afterwards, the Commission has set up expert groups driving the maturation phase of the European Security Research Programme (ESRP): the European Security Research Advisory Board (ESRAB) and the European Security Research and Innovation Forum (ESRIF), to devise strategic guidelines for the development of emerging security technologies in the scope of civil security, despite the fact that civil expertise has often been underrepresented (Lavallée 2016). Similarly, in 2016, Elzbieta Bienkowska, European Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, has set up a ‘Group of Personalities’ composed by politicians, academics, think-tankers and defence company CEOs to advise on how the EU could support defence-related research (EUISS 2016). Besides this, while expert groups on Al and drones have been set up by the European Commission as legal obligation for the upcoming regulations, their input in the policy process remains to be seen. The European External Access Service (EEAS) has set up the Global Tech Panel. All these expert groups operate behind closed doors and by invitation. It shows how publicprivate partnerships are essential when it comes to the development of new emerging security technologies (see Martins and Ahmad, Chapter 3 in this book), characterised by a peculiar ‘enmeshment between knowledge, technological development and security governance within the EU' (Martins and Ktisters 2018: 4). The first section of the book is therefore devoted to investigating new patterns of authority and expertise hi the EU governance of emerging security technologies, with a specific focus on the European Commission (Fiott, Chapter 2), the EDA and the European Parliament (Calcara, Chapter 1) and the role of public-private partnerships of experts in security research (Martins and Ahmad, Chapter 3).


Despite several ongoing debates on the fourth technological revolution, especially on the ethical, legal and political concerns about fast-evolving technologies, there are still no in-depth and systematic analyses on how emerging security technologies are conceptualised and integrated into new policies, practices and strategies in the EU. To date, not much attention has been given to the European governance of these technologies, nor on what their impact might be on the EU as such. Against this background, this book offers a comprehensive analysis of actors, policy dimensions, discourses and technological domains in the case of the European complex governance structures. It takes stock of recent EU policy initiatives such as for cyberspace, civil drones, Al and military research. In addition, by bringing together different theoretical perspectives and empirical case studies at the intersection of IR and STS literatures, the edited volume provides new and comprehensive insights on relevant aspects of the latest technological developments and innovations in Europe from their conceptualisation to their operationalisation. In the first section of this Introduction, we have therefore addressed why we need to integrate IR, STS and European Studies conceptual tools to shed light on the various international, political, economic, security and normative mechanisms that shape the development of emerging technologies. In this regard, we argue that the concept of ‘governance’ can be fruitfully used as an analytical and heuristic device to investigate how emerging security technologies are governed, by highlighting the diverse power configurations among different state and non-state actors, as well as regional and international organisations.

The book intends a timely and ground-breaking examination into the EU’s approach to the research and development of new lines of technologies, out of which novel rationalities and dynamics of governance are emerging. The value added by research focusing on the European context is to advance knowledge into how a unique and complex institutional actor such as the EU adapts and puts forward the governance of innovative technologies. Moreover, it is also to conduct an in-depth analysis examining whether technological developments create new discursive rationalisations, patterns of authority, expertise and cooperation dynamics in key industrial domains, and transform the policy interface between national and EU levels and various stakeholders. As the development of new technologies is changing the way in which state and non-state actors deal with security challenges and thus identify public problems and policy issues, the

Introduction 17 book explores the governance responses and measures from EU institutions and member states in this respect.

In terms of chapters, each contribution follows the same structure, namely, it first provides the reader with the background information on EU initiatives (each chapter focusing on a specific case study) along with the presentation of the relevant theoretical approach and concepts which guide the analysis, then it identifies the actors involved in the chosen technological sector, their tools, relations and emerging practices. Finally, it assesses challenges and dynamics in this specific governance.

The first part of the book looks at the security and defence sector and initiatives that prioritise the interoperability of emerging and dual-use technologies in an effort to set the stage for a European vision of technological governance and innovation. In the wake of the latest transformations in the European security and defence architecture, following the 2016 European Defence Action Plan of the European Commission with the launch of the European Defence Fund, the focus is given to defence research and capacity building, as well as civil-military synergies. This part investigates how technological progress has been framed to be of strategic importance for the EU’s future military capacity and strategic autonomy. Antonio Calcara assesses the new patterns of authority and expertise in the case of emerging technologies, emphasising the defence research field as prompted by the EDA and the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Security and Defence. Daniel Fiott analyses the European Commission’s activity in framing and governing emerging security technologies in the context of its new crucial policy initiative, the European Defence Fund. In this regard, he highlights how the Commission has tried to balance civil, security and defence research when the EU is funding defence research projects. Bruno Oliveira Martins and Neven Ahmad examine the role of expertise in the EU’s security research policy, underlining especially the configured hybrid nature of partnerships that are neither strictly public, nor strictly private, with the centrality of technological expertise. The book goes on to examine the impact of new surveillance technologies in the EU. Samuel Longuet focuses on surveillance drones underlining dual-use practices and analysing the implications in France and in the UK of the similar ways to conduct military and civil missions and operations. Maximiliano Vila Seoane assesses the role of ‘market power’ in the European governance of cyber-surveillance technologies. The book further addresses the EU’s actorness through digital diplomacy activities and cyberspace initiatives. André Barrinha, inspired by Robert Cox, offers a critical reading of cybersecurity, questioning the meaning(s) of security embedded in the EU’s approach to cyberspace and the normative problems that arise therein. Delphine Deschaux-Dutard examines the EU policy and capability initiatives regarding cyber defence. Ilan Manor evaluates the potential and limitations of the digital diplomacy of the EEAS. The book goes on to question the influence of ‘technologisation’ in European border management. Clemens Binder explores intersections between imaginations and understandings of border security as well as the R&D process of border security technologies, arguing that in this process, securityunderstandings are reproduced. The last part of the book highlights the tensions between security and ethics. Dagmar Rychnovskâ and Benjamin Farrand’s contributions are interested in the side effects, new dilemmas and societal concerns raised by biotechnologies and how that shapes the EU governance of dual-use research. Inga Ulnicane analyses the governance of dual-use research in the EU by focusing on the main EU-funded neuroscience project and one of the lar ge-scale international brain initiatives - the Human Brain Project. Chantal Lavallée and Raluca Csernatoni are investigating the design and governance of interlinked technologies like drones and artificial intelligence (Al) in the EU, stressing the European Commission’s leadership capacity in these sectors and the EU’s ‘smart governance’ approach of the European emerging technologies field. Their approach is premised on the fact that technoscientific expert knowledge becomes particularly important in the case of cutting-edge technologies, by both establishing flexible, multi-stakeholder and marketable R&D initiatives, and by also putting in place ethically driven and regulatory governance mechanisms.

Finally, the book concludes with a critical assessment from Ciara Bracken-Roche, who not only reflects and comments on the book’s contributions, but also opens the scope of the discussion to the rest of the world, notably comparing it with the North American context in order to identify potential convergences and divergences.


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1 The European Defence

Agency and the Subcommittee on Security and Defence

A ‘discursive coalition’ for

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