Brussels mulls security police for ATM network

A new centralised security service to guard Europe’s critical infrastructure against terrorist attack is being mulled by Brussels to better protect its citizens.

The European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) has over recent years been developing state-of-the-art scientific ways to assess the resilience of complex interdependent systems of systems, such as transport including air traffic networks and energy.

The JRC and Eurocontrol, the body responsible for managing Europe’s air traffic are now about to sign a collaboration agreement as part of the European Programme for Critical Infrastructure Protection (EPCIP). The programme was launched by the European Commission’s Directorate General of Home Affairs in 2006 following terrorist attacks on transport infrastructure in both Madrid in 2004 and London in 2005.

The focus is being placed on pan-European critical infrastructure like the global navigation satellite system Galileo, as well as those operated by Eurocontrol. The Brussels-based network manager is being seen as a highy suitable candidate for a large-scale case study, which would include the development of a threat scenario such as cyber attacks and natural hazards followed by the identification of system vulnerabilities.

The study would evaluate both the probability of such an attack taking place and how that could affect other systems. This would include an assessment of the impact on air traffic management, wider repercussions on the European economy and on society as a whole before proposing robust risk-mitigation strategies.

Eurocontrol said the expected outcome of cooperation is two-fold: a reinforcement of its role as Europe’s Network Manager as regards security and crisis management, and the provision of additional means of improving network resilience.”This development could also pave the way towards a centralised security service,” said Eurocontrol.

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