New Zealand and the United States have a history of successful, mutually-beneficial cooperation as science and innovation partners. The list of common interests is long, and it contains many security-related topics, including marine surveillance, the roles of first responders (in disasters and emergencies), and aviation security.
Although our partnership is very strong, there are additional engagement opportunities we can explore and strengthen. That’s why bilateral meetings, like the one we had on 18 March in Boston between the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) and New Zealand’s Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), are so important.
This meeting was led by Paul Stocks, MBIE’s Deputy Chief Executive for Labour, Science, and Enterprise and me. Our respective teams held a series of productive discussions, including how countries are thinking through our interactions with industry and harnessing the innovation communities desire to help fix pressing social issues. Prior to the Boston meetings the New Zealand delegation flew into California and met with folks in our California’s Silicon Valley office. They also were able to fly to Southern California and tour the Air Marine Operations Center (AMOC) and ways we’re developing new capabilities to detect maritime threats for Customs and Border Protection.
As part of our Boston meetings we discussed how S&T is trying to positively affect the future of first responders. Through research and development with commercial and laboratory partners, like Continuum, we want to develop gear, equipment, and other technology solutions that will allow responders in all disciplines to combat emerging and future threats, looking 20 years or more ahead.
Another topic of joint interest is our work in countering violent extremism. As the situation in Brussels shows, violent extremism is a global problem and is not constrained by ideology or international borders. The same can be said of the dangers our responders face today and will face in the future. An effective solution to countering these threats and risks will require global coordination. We look forward expanding our working level partnership to identify and share priorities, define overlapping mission areas and capability gaps, and develop cooperative research programs.
This is just one aspect of a shared relationship to ensure global security. On a personal note, I would like to thank the New Zealand Government and Paul Stocks for their friendships and look forward to working together.