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09:15-10:15 Session 10A: Presentation Session V (Dual-use and Technology Assessment)
The Impact Of Quantum Technologies On Deterrence, Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Verification

ABSTRACT. Quantum information science and technologies (QIST) will have myriad impacts on deterrence, arms control, nonproliferation, and verification. Quantum computing and quantum communications will disrupt current protocols for secure data transfer and storage. Quantum simulations of chemical and biological processes are expected to cause additional challenges and opportunities for WMD risk reduction. Developments in quantum sensing and metrology are in an advanced status of development and will impact and disrupt current verification activities by enabling the development of new sensors. Quantum sensing could make it easier for military forces to track nuclear-armed submarines and mobile missiles, threatening a deterrence pillar. This paper will address the current status of these technologies, the expected development timeline, and the impact on security, with a focus on deterrence, arms control, nonproliferation, and verification. This project is funded by the United States Department of State.

Missile Defenses for Europe: Computer Modeling and Analysis

ABSTRACT. After the end of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), there is a growing threat from intermediate- and shorter-range missiles. Russia is deploying a new intermediate-range system, the US is developing one. Even before the treaty’s demise, China has been developing and fielding conventional and nuclear intermediate-range missiles in the Western Pacific. To counter this threat, along with political efforts, countries consider development and deployment of ballistic missile defenses. Detailed technical knowledge is required to support the debate on the effectiveness of such systems. In this contribution we will present a new computer model for the calculation and comparison of missile defense footprints. The model builds upon work from Jürgen Altmann in the 1980’s, takes into account technical characteristics of missiles and interceptors, and calculates and displays footprints corresponding to various scenarios of engagement. Using this computer program we analyze existing missile defense systems and their quantitative deployment parameters depending on the requirements set forth with regard to their effectiveness.

Adjusting the Wheel: Ethical Deliberation as a Method for Dual-Use Assessment in the ICT Development Process

ABSTRACT. ICT development methods have changed from the linear water-fall model towards faster iterations which can even include ethical design approaches, such as Value Sensitive Design (VSD). To ensure such standards, principles, and Codes of Conduct have been formulated and operationalized. In the case of AI, sets of principles have been collected as "AI4People" (Floridi et al., 2018) or "Trustworthy AI" (EU Commission, 2019). In the case of AI, the frameworks help to include relevant aspects, to develop in a lawful, ethical, and robust way, but need to be translated into the application of the R&D projects. These frameworks are based on a set of norms, which are deliberately abstract and need translation for a particular context. On the other side, there are participatory design methods, such as VSD, which help to include values, which are important to the participants, and might fit a certain context well, but do not guarantee that certain norms are met. Thus, the question remains if dual-use risks can be fully addressed by these frameworks and methods, or if dual-use risks occur, even when ethical standards are met, and all stakeholder values are included. Thus, this paper summarizes the discourse on ethical ICT development frameworks, and participatory design methods, mapping the dual-use definitions, risk scenarios and stakeholders (Riebe, 2023) on them. Doing so, the paper asks if these frameworks and participatory methods already address ICT dual-use risks (Tucker, 2012), and if so, which of them. The results help to understand, how dual-use assessment can be done as a form of ethical deliberation as a combination of norms and a participatory and deliberate process (Gogoll, 2021), or if there is a methodological research gap.


EU Commission (2019). Ethics guidelines for trustworthy AI. https://digital-strategy.ec.europa.eu/en/library/ethics-guidelines-trustworthy-ai

Floridi, Luciano, et al. (2021). An ethical framework for a good AI society: Opportunities, risks, principles, and recommendations. Ethics, governance, and policies in artificial intelligence, 19-39.

Gogoll, Jan et al. (2021). Ethics in the software development process: from codes of conduct to ethical deliberation. Philosophy & Technology, 1-24.

Riebe, Thea (2023). Technology Assessment of Dual-Use ICTs – How to assess Diffusion, Governance and Design. Darmstadt, Germany: Springer Vieweg.

Tucker, Jonathan B. (Ed.). (2012). Innovation, dual use, and security: managing the risks of emerging biological and chemical technologies. MIT press.

09:15-10:15 Session 10B: Presentation Session VI (Cyber Operations)
On the Intersection of Computer Science with Peace and Security Research: Experiences from Interdisciplinary Teaching in Peace Informatics
PRESENTER: Christian Reuter

ABSTRACT. Interdisciplinary research and teaching between computer science and peace and security studies is indispensable against the background of conflicts in cyberspace no longer constituting a fiction lying in the far future, but rather an acute possibility. Even though numerous established courses and textbooks exist in some disciplines, this does not apply to their intersection. This talk reflects the introduction of the interdisciplinary course “Information Technology for Peace and Security” for students of Computer Science, IT Security and Information Systems at the Technische Universität Darmstadt and Peace and Conflict Research at the TU Darmstadt in cooperation with the Goethe University Frankfurt. The challenges and solutions of interdisciplinary teaching are presented and the importance of this teaching is emphasised.

The Normative Power of the Factual: How State Practice Shapes Understandings About Direct Public Political Attribution of Cyber Operations

ABSTRACT. An increasing number of states use direct public political attribution to call out inappropriate behavior in cyberspace attributable to another state. Shared understandings about conducting and communicating political attribution practices are essential to avoid misunderstandings and mitigate the risk of potential escalation between states. However, attribution remains only marginally addressed in the context of diplomatically negotiated cyber norms so far. This makes this field well suited to explore the formation of normative ideas through state practice as it leaves ample room for practical interpretation by states. Based on a selection of four case studies (Australia, Germany, Japan, and the United States), this paper identifies which cyber operations the selected states have publicly attributed, how the attribution was communicated and justified, to what extent other states were involved in the process, and how other states perceived the attribution. This analysis of established and emerging individual as well as collective state practice will permit new insights into how States currently perceive the respective normative framework, that is, formalized cyber norms, and conclusions as to what extent the observed State practice gives rise to new shared understandings about appropriate state behavior - practiced cyber norms - when it comes to direct public political attribution of cyber operations.

The Role of Cyber Ranges within European Cybersecurity Strategy: A Primer

ABSTRACT. Over the course of the last decade, the European Union has emerged as an important player within the field of international cybersecurity. While regulatory policies are arguably the prime vehicle for implementing the EU’s cybersecurity strategy, other policy instruments such as cyber sanctions, information sharing and infrastructure development also offer important contributions. Cyber ranges (CRs) are another such tool that could facilitate greater cooperation and influence European policy debates, yet there has been little assessment of their strategic utility. The majority of CRs are run by, and for, research or commercial purposes, with a focus on meeting training and educational needs. Yet, CRs could further a cyber-skilled workforce more broadly, helping to build resilience within business as part of the EU’s strategy of enabling a cyber-skilled workforce, or bolstering defensive capabilities more broadly. CRs could also support such endeavours beyond operational and technical coordination, fostering that cooperation with partners and the multi-stakeholder community – another vital element of EU’s strategy – as a small number of states have already begun to do so. Lastly, CRs are being used to advance sovereign capabilities, offering challenges but also opportunities. For example, CRs could be used to substantiate and advance principles of responsible state behaviour within cyberspace, which would align with the proposed EU leadership on standards, norms, and frameworks in cyber matters. Our work gives an overview of how CRs are used, followed by a survey of those existing at the national level before delving into EU efforts to enable joint uses at the regional level. We then assess potential uses of CRs to achieve four core objectives of the EU’s cybersecurity strategy: bolstering a cyber-skilled workforce, ensuring high levels of cyber resilience across the continent, encouraging responsible behaviour in cyberspace, and extending solidarity to international partners and allies.

10:45-12:00 Session 11A: Presentation Session VII (Biological, Chemical and Conventional Weapons)
Biological Weapons: A Harm Potential Assessment

ABSTRACT. Bioterrorist attacks belong to the class of low probability, high-impact events. Therefore, measuring the likelihood of a bioweapon attack is unfeasible due to the lack of comparable events. Effective and sustainable preparedness is thus an indispensable component of an impactful biosecurity management. Hence, we propose a tool to analyze and assess the expected harm potential of diverse biological agents. The here proposed Harm Potential Assessment is a qualitative and semi-quantitative assessment tool based on a questionnaire subdivided into seven sections. These sections consist of thirty-seven questions addressing technical characteristics of a specific bioweapon covering the aspects of the bioweapon agent development, bioagent release, and mitigation of the biological agent. Beyond this, its biological characteristics, human health, societal, economic and environmental impact are explored in this assessment. The goal of the Harm Potential Assessment is to calculate the harm potential of biological agents used in diverse scenarios, allowing relevant stakeholders, such as politicians, economists, healthcare professionals and emergency response teams, to effectively coordinate and allocate their resources.

Taking biological security education forward and building up an international biological security education network

ABSTRACT. The recent 9th Review Conference of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) in 2022 concluded that a radical change in how science and technology is dealt with under the Convention must be a major issue for decision during the current intersessional period up to the 10th Review Conference. As part of this rethink much more attention will be paid to the implementation of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, and as part of that process there should be a focus on correcting the present less known of most life scientists (and life science-associated scientists) of the dangers of biological security in general and of dual use in particular. The Tianjin Guidelines for National and Institutional Codes of Conduct under the Convention and the World Health Organisation’s new Global Guidance Framework for the Responsible Use of the Life Sciences make it plain that a major effort designed to educate life scientists about biological security will be needed in coming years. In this presentation, we would like to talk about our initiative of setting up an International Biological Security Education Network (IBSEN). We will start with our recent survey on globe biological security education projects in the last two decade, then our ongoing biological security education resource book, and move on to our new project of setting up an International Biological Security Education Network, which is in parallel to the International Nuclear Security Education Network (INSEN) run in conjunction with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). We hope to work in conjunction with colleagues around the world and State Parties to the BTWC and to lay the basis for the network eventually to be run from the BTWC itself.

Access to Information about Chemical Weapon Attacks: Increasing Resilience in Kurdistan

ABSTRACT. This project documents the threat of chemical weapon use in the Kurdistan region of Iraq (KRG), with the aim to contribute to prevention and mitigation of such crimes. The work particularly focusses on the digital information landscape and online knowledge exchange, including the influence of social media as a resource, censorship, bias, disinformation and misinformation.

The aim of an exploratory study (September 2021-January 2022) was to map present-day knowledge: through in-person interviews and surveys accounts were gathered that reflected on public awareness and current security concerns. The scope of the research covered the Anfal campaigns, the use of chemical weapons during the Syrian civil war, and chemical attacks launched by so-called Islamic State (IS). This study found that there was a strong lack of knowledge about the effects and impact of chemical weapons at the time of the Anfal attacks, with little change during the attacks by IS almost 30 years later. It also showed that people fear further chemical attacks – yet they do not believe there is sufficient awareness, or an acceptable plan for emergency response.

That study led to several new research questions, especially relating to the availability and reliability of published information – which is a notoriously complex subject in the KRG. Accordingly, the next step in our project was to consider news media – focussing on how and by who chemical weapon attacks are reported in the region. What are the sources, how are these verified, and what is the message that is coming across? What is the state of investigative journalism in the KRG – particularly, in Kurdish media itself? And from the point of view of the public, how do local media affect their knowledge, awareness and preparedness when it comes to potential chemical attacks?

Between May 2022 and May 2023, we shared a targeted online survey with journalists working in the KRG (local and foreign, 15 total) and conducted interviews with journalists (local, 10 total). Despite their extensive experience in the region, including reporting on chemical attacks, many provided comments such as “the quality (of reporting) is not good, but there is an essential issue that journalists lack the resources to investigate thoroughly” and “better access to experts on chemical attacks, and training on this topic, is needed”. As barriers they highlighted issues with press freedom, absence of media ethics, political bias, partisan pressure from editors, bans on certain topics, fear of prosecution or arrest, corruption, religious challenges, source reliability, and lack of statistics.

Next, we wanted to map the information landscape and gain a better understanding of the quality of available media reports. During June 2023 we analysed local online news media archives – in both English and Sorani Kurdish. We gathered 643 articles reporting on (alleged) chemical attacks, comparing between 2017 (73 items) and 2022 (570 items). These mentioned possible incidents in over 50 locations, of which 60% in the KRG. The collected articles included news items, official and political statements, interviews and testimonies, protest reports, and, notably, many commemorations and mentions of martyrdom. Depending on political affiliation of the media outlet, we found clear patterns in tone and vocabulary-use. While some outlets released multiple articles on certain events, others did not report on them at all. This makes it difficult to verify reports, to judge what is true, and to decide what information to trust.

With this data, we intend to explore the role of media in raising awareness against chemical weapon attacks in the KRG. Specifically, we want to utilise this study to enhance access to information, education, and emergency response. Through development of educational materials as well as in-person training and online mentoring we hope to increase resilience and preparedness in the KRG.

Small space launch vehicle technology in the NewSpace era: A new challenge for missile non-proliferation?

ABSTRACT. Abstract

The development of small and micro launch vehicles by the NewSpace industry, driven by the demand for additional launch options for ever smaller and cheaper satellites and multi-satellite constellations, is significantly increasing the number of dual-use missile technology holders beyond current missile possessors (Brockmann and Raju, 2022). ‘Small launchers’ are roughly defined as those space launch vehicles able to carry a payload of up to 2000 kilograms to at least low Earth orbit, while ‘micro launchers’ can do so with payloads of up to 500 kg (Wekerle et al., 2017). Some small and micro launchers are increasingly resembling ballistic missiles (Maitre and Moreau-Brillatz, 2022). These commercial launch vehicles  are configured to use solid-fuelled rocket motors for rapid deployment and are road-mobile. For example, Chinese companies Landspace and ExPace are both working on such road-mobile solid-fuelled quick reaction launch vehicles.

The growth of the commercial space launch vehicle market and associated international transfers of technology and know-how raise serious missile proliferation concerns. Therefore, It is important to improve understanding of the missile-related dual-use technologies pursued by small and micro launch vehicle manufacturers and the applicability of existing export control frameworks, including the Missile Technology Control Regime. Many NewSpace companies, including launch vehicle manufacturers, are start-ups, small, or medium-sized enterprises and lack awareness of proliferation risks and effective internal compliance programmes. It is crucial for states to improve outreach to the industry, strengthen resilience and compliance and explore how national developments in this sector should be reported in relevant transparency and confidence-building measures, in particular the Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation.


Brockmann, K. & Raju, N. (2022). NewSpace and the Commercialization of the Space Industry: Challenges for the Missile Technology Control Regime. SIPRI. https://doi.org/10.55163/YRPY6524

Wekerle, T., et al. (2017). Status and trends of smallsats and their launch vehicles—An up-to-date review.Journal of Aerospace Technology and Management,  9(3), 270. https://doi.org/10.5028/jatm.v9i3.853

Maitre, E. & Moreau-Brillatz, S. (2022). The Hague Code of Conduct and space. HCoC Research Papers, 10. Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique. https://www.nonproliferation.eu/hcoc/the-hague-code-of-conduct-and-space-2/

10:45-12:00 Session 11B: Presentation Session VIII (Technology Politics and Strategies)
Narratives of "Tech Wars": Technological Competition, Power Shifts and Conflict Dynamics Between the US, China and the EU

ABSTRACT. In the context of digitalization, technological change and competition are deeply entwined with questions of international security and power. In particular, leadership in digital technologies has become a key parameter of the growing geopolitical and geo-economic great power competition between the US, China, and the EU. The securitisation of such technologies can be seen in the widespread perception of an intensifying Tech War between the three actors. Against this background, the paper takes a social constructivist perspective to draw out the dominant interpretations of the competition for digital technological leadership between the US, China, and the EU. It uses a method of narrative analysis to explore the different meanings that are intersubjectively attributed to the technological competition and its implications for the power relationship between the three actors. The paper examines Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a paradigmatic case in which narratives of an “AI arms race” have proliferated in recent years. The empirical focus is on official strategy documents from the US, China, and the EU, which are supplemented with expert interviews to reconstruct the narrative dynamics and shifts in this field. Ultimately, this serves to identify the scope for cooperation between the three actors and to minimise risks to international security.

The Promise of Track-Two Diplomacy Amidst US-China Tech War

ABSTRACT. This paper considers the possible role of ‘Track-Two’ diplomacy in the wake of a US-China tech war. At a time when official diplomatic engagements between the two countries prove challenging, unofficial Track-Two interactions offer an alternative and promising venue for exploring coordination and cooperation options. We take stock of Chinese Track-Two actors’ efforts in resolving growing confrontations with the US in cyber security and AI weaponisation – two fields unique in their greater focus on technical dimensions and the diversity of expertise. Building on insights from practice theory, communities of practice, and boundary work, we understand Track-Two diplomacy as a site of boundary work and those actors involved as ‘boundary workers’. An extensive analysis of documentary evidence and interviews with Chinese participants demonstrate that Track-Two actors engage in a complex process of inclusive (e.g., exploring common ground, transmitting insights, and boundary-spanning) and divisive (e.g., establishing differences, drawing boundaries, and strengthening prior beliefs) practices when interacting with their counterparts on the other side. These practices, while both bridging and establishing differences between the two sides, are conducive to fostering “Chinese” approaches to secure cyberspace and military AI applications. These approaches are essentially rooted in practical imperatives whose meanings are contextual-dependent, varying with actors’ social experience at the boundaries between the US and China. This paper contributes a new conceptual model to Track-Two scholarship and illuminates the potential of Track-Two initiatives in contributing to US-China Track-One diplomatic efforts and policymaking.

Trust in AI: Producing Ontological Security through Governmental Visions
PRESENTER: Stefka Schmid

ABSTRACT. With recent developments in artificial intelligence (AI) widely framed as a potential security threat both in the military and increasingly in the civilian realm, governments have turned their attention to devising regulation to govern AI, its development, and associated harms. In our comparative study of US, Chinese, and EU AI policies, we seek to go beyond purely instrumental understandings of AI as a technological capability, which serves nation states’ self-interests and the maintenance of their (supra)national security. In particular we are interested in the mobilisations and enactments of ‘trust’. Our specific interest therefore lies in the affective and emotional register that these policies tap into and elicit. Our analysis shows that across governmental documents, AI is perceived as a capability that enhances societal and geopoliticcal interests while its risks are framed as manageable. This echoes strands within the field of Human-Computer Interaction that draw on human-centered perceptions of technology and assumptions about human-AI relationships of trust, implying notions of interpretability and human control. Despite different innovation cultures and institutional settings, visions of future AI development in all three governmental visions are shaped by this (shared) understanding of human-AI interaction. Nonetheless, the policies differ and are reflective of each government’s interest in guaranteeing physical as well as ontological security. We therefore draw on Critical Security Studies and Science and Technology Studies, to ask how different identities play into the production of governmental AI visions and how these visions in turn (co-)produce identities and innovation policies.


Maritime Critical Infrastructures Protection: Technical and Political Approaches Beyond the Military

ABSTRACT. “Lifelines”, “Arteries”, “Super-Highways”, or “Backbone”: Anyone researching maritime infrastructures is likely to be struck by the abundance of metaphors used to describe them. On the one hand, these metaphors suggest a lack of familiarity with the subject, although the maritime space currently serves as the essential transit sphere for physical goods and non-material data. On the other hand, they allow for highlighting the enormous societal dependency that has intensified over a long time in a globalized, interdependent world. Though interdependence brought with it the promise of a more peaceful world, there are signs that it is increasingly becoming a security policy lever in the context of geopolitical tensions. Critical infrastructures (CI), while serving the basic needs of societies, have not been prone to this development and have increasingly been used as a platform for geopolitical interaction. Maritime CI in the energy (wind farms, pipelines, oil rigs), ICT (data cables), and transport (cargo shipping) sectors have all suffered sabotages or failures recently, reinforcing the need for better protection of offshore and subsea infrastructures. Although most reactions to the latest events primarily include national navies, the poster will present and discuss various technical and political approaches to make maritime CI more resilient beyond simple military surveillance.

13:15-14:15 Session 12: Panel Discussion (New Military Technologies - Fundamental Challenges to the International System?)
New military technologies – fundamental challenges to the international system?
PRESENTER: Jürgen Altmann

ABSTRACT. In military research and development important states are pursuing paths that will likely lead to arms races and new levels of destabilisation. Autonomous weapon systems and wider military uses of artificial intelligence as well as cyber-war preparations are seen as central means for maintaining or achieving military superiority, in particular by faster action and reaction. Such "fighting at machine speed" puts into question the capability of human control to prevent escalation. Synthetic biology or human enhancement pose other fundamental problems. Many generic technologies with dual use are becoming more widely accessible; weapons could be very small and be produced in small facilities. If there were a different political climate, many dangerous developments could be contained for the medium term by (preventive) arms control with adequate verification. But given the overall geopolitical landscape, military motives for increased combat strength from new technologies seem to trump arms control efforts. In addition, the new technologies themselves make verification more difficult than ever as a degree of intrusiveness would be needed that would be difficult to accept for armed forces as well as civil society. Both factors may render verified arms control impossible in the long-term future. So, is the old dictum, that arms control is impossible when needed, true after all?

At the end of the conference, the panel is to look back and discuss several fundamental problems, with a view toward tasks for natural-science as well as political-science peace research:

  • Details of risks from various new military technologies, from arms races to military destabilisation and the human condition.
  • Verification methods for various recommended prohibitions and limits, including required degrees of intrusiveness, directly in armed forces and for preventing misuse in civilian industry and research, and their acceptability in armed forces, in industry and in society at large.
  • Norm development, strengthening an enlightened view of national security, that is, the insight that security cannot be guaranteed sustainably by military strength, let alone superiority, but needs to be embedded into international-security mechanisms. • A longer view for the future of humankind, investigating more fundamental change in the international system – in the direction of a monopoly of legitimate violence in an overarching democratic institution, as it is common within civil societies.
  • Intermediate steps on a way toward such an international institution with authority to set as well as enforce rules for the uses of new technology.