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Science and Technology to Combat Terrorism: Home


When searching for information on this topic, potentially useful keywords to use include :

  • science, technology, counterterrorism
  • defence technology
  • science diplomacy
  • biodefence
  • biosecurity
  • drones
  • drone aircraft

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This LibGuide includes links to content found on the web (e.g. websites, news & blogs, reports, etc.) as well as a select number of articles and books available from the NATO Multimedia Library.

Please note that this is not a comprehensive collection of material on applying science to combat terrorism. The selection criteria for the websites and documents included was based on each item's currency and relevancy to this topic. 

Furthermore, quick search boxes for online databases subscribed by the Library (available to staff working at NATO HQ) as well as links to the library catalog are available for you to locate additional resources.


The founders of the NATO Science Programme in 1958 – the "Three Wise Men", Foreign Ministers Halvard Lange of Norway, Gaetano Martino of Italy and Lester Pearson of Canada –affirmed that “scientific and technological developments can be decisive factors in determining the security of countries and their positions in world affairs.”

The opening of NATO’s science programme to partners followed the decision by Allied leaders, at the Rome Summit in November 1991, to enhance non-military scientific cooperation between NATO and countries of the former Warsaw Pact. These countries had also been invited to join the North Atlantic Cooperation Council, a forum for security dialogue and cooperation, which held its inaugural meeting in December 1991. (SOURCE)

“Defence against terrorism” is one of the two focal areas of NATO’s Science for Peace and Security programme with partner countries. Within the framework of this programme, scientists from NATO and partner countries work together on new technologies to detect chemical or biological agents which could be used in terrorist attacks. The research also includes the human and social aspects of terrorism. Projects include explosives detection; physical protection from chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear agents; emergency preparedness; cyber defence; and environmental security.

With the "Defence against Terrorism Programme", NATO is developing new, cutting-edge technologies to protect troops and civilians against terrorist attacks.

As well, the NATO Research and Technology Organisation (RTO) promotes and conducts co-operative scientific research and exchange of technical information amongst 28 NATO nations and 38 NATO partners.

In an address by Ambassador Dirk Brengelmann (NATO Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy), he states:

"NATO continues to invest in new technologies and scientific solutions, such as sensors to detect suicide bombers in public places, that help to prevent, detect and protect against terrorism. NATO has also developed expertise in the protection of critical infrastructure and of other vulnerable targets. Our Rapid Reaction Teams and Advisory Support Teams can be sent to assist countries that have come under terrorist attack, including attacks with Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear weapons." (Secretary-General’s Symposium On International Counter-terrorism Co-operation, 19 September 2011).

Since October 2016, in view of the threat posed by ISIL, NATO’s advanced Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft "have been supporting the Coalition with air surveillance and situational awareness. They do not coordinate Coalition air strikes or provide command and control for fighter aircraft. AWACS only fly over international airspace or over Turkey. AWACS can detect aircraft hundreds of kilometers away so they can monitor airspace in Iraq and Syria from inside Turkey". (Fact Sheet - NATO AWACS Surveillance Aircraft Support to the Counter ISIL Coalition (February 2017).

This LibGuide is intended to provide a few starting points to assist you with your research on issues related to science and technology and their roles in fighting terrorism, in particular in the NATO context.

Good places to start your research include :