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Fortifying our security: the role of the North East in addressing emerging global threats

22/05/2024 | Posted by Arnab Basu

Fortifying our security: the role of the North East in addressing emerging global threats

By Dr Arnab Basu, CEO, Kromek Group PLC

In today’s geopolitically fragmented world, the spectre of nuclear and radiological threats looms larger than ever. Recent escalations in the Middle East, the disturbing rhetoric emanating from Russia, coupled with the ongoing conflict in Ukraine – where battles rage around nuclear power stations – underscore a critical need for heightened vigilance and preparedness in the realm of global security.

In the coming weeks a new North East Regional Defence and Security Cluster will bring together defence and security SMEs in our region. We are uniquely positioned to respond to burgeoning global threats as leaders in the defence technology sector.

The call for increased defence spending in the UK and across the globe isn’t just political rhetoric; it’s an imperative reinforced by the volatile landscape of international relations. The role of advanced technology in ensuring national defence cannot be overstated. As CEO of Kromek, a Sedgefield-based company that designs and manufactures radiation detection solutions, I am acutely aware of our contribution towards ensuring global safety, security and stability.

As tensions escalate around the world, for example in Iran, which continues its push towards nuclear capability, and Russia, which has not shied away from brandishing its nuclear arsenal as a tool of state policy, the importance of developing robust defence capabilities against radiological threats becomes undeniable. The current situation in Ukraine illustrates how quickly a conventional conflict could escalate to a nuclear one.

The UK’s decision to increase defence spending is timely. Investment in defence not only boosts our domestic industries but also enhances our national security infrastructure. By allocating more resources to the defence sector, the UK can foster innovation that leads to more effective and efficient security solutions. For the North East, this could translate into more jobs, increased investment in research and development, and being recognised around the world as a hub for defence technology.

But the UK’s commitment to defence and security is not just about economic benefits and geopolitical positioning. It’s about preserving our way of life in the face of adversaries who may seek to destabilise societies through fear and violence. Our technologies serve as both a deterrent and a reassurance to the public. They are a testament to our resilience and our dedication to ensuring peace.

It is essential, therefore, that we continue to push the boundaries of what is possible in defence technology. The UK, with its rich history of innovation and its strategic position in global politics, has an opportunity to lead this charge. By fostering a supportive environment for defence-related industries, particularly in regions like the North East, we can ensure that we remain at the forefront of efforts to mitigate emerging threats.

At Kromek, we develop our products to meet emerging needs, often in partnership with international governments. Our relationships with US government agencies have enabled us to tailor innovation to their specific needs and produce groundbreaking products. The innovation and procurement pathways in the UK are currently not entirely aligned – an issue I’m sure the new regional defence and security cluster will look to address, because innovation need customers and adoption in the home market, in this sector is key for global commercial success .

As we navigate these increasingly volatile times, let us remember that the stakes are exceedingly high. The protection of our citizens and the preservation of global stability depend not only on the strategies we devise but also on the tools at our disposal. The North East’s world-leading security companies such as Kromek are ready to play their part, developing technologies to safeguard humanity against some of the gravest dangers imaginable.

The global challenges we face are daunting, but the capacity for innovation and resilience here in the North East offers a beacon of hope. With continued support and investment, we can help to protect the world from the spectre of nuclear threats, ensuring a safer future for us all. The time for action is now: the innovation led technology companies of the North East are united in this mission. We must not falter.

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