In contrast to existing literatures on globalization and new security actors in other international security areas our research show there is a shift underway in the governance of CBW technologies from a traditional, state-centric paradigm towards an approach that best equates to “security governance”. Contributing to this transition are the following factors:
1. Advancing science and technology
2. The changing nature of armed violence
3. The globalization of disease
4. The changing nature and practice of diplomacy
As a result of moving towards security governance, more effort is being made to find synergies between actors and the creation of networks of action. Although networks of action and collaboration between certain actors have long existed in the CBW field they are now increasing in terms of the scale, scope and type and functions. Several forces appear to be driving this trend. One relates to resources and a desire to avoid duplication among actors; another relates to the emergence of “multistakeholder diplomacy” and its use of the network as a primary tool; and a third relates to the growing realisation by all actors that the CBW problem will only be successfully managed through cooperation and collaboration among actors.
The creation of networks, the use of self-regulation and voluntary compliance and the sub-contracting of traditional “state” roles to other actors are all characteristic of the fragmentation of traditional state-based policymaking. While we have identified such trends, it is premature to suggest that CBW has completed its transition from a traditional, state-centric paradigm to security governance. States retain a dominant role as many of the new actors are not yet fully engaged and many of the new initiatives can best be described as having latent potential. Furthermore, clear differences between the chemical and biological fields can be identified. These include different experiences of industry involvement and differences in the willingness to embrace a governance paradigm. Divergence between the CW and BW fields has important policy implications for the future; our results suggest that the relevant legal regimes are on different trajectories. If this is so, the political and legal regimes could struggle to keep up with converging scientific disciplines, and divergent institutional frameworks could make overlap between the two treaties.
It is important for all actors involved to realise that shifting governance away from states will lead to a more complex environment with a larger number of actors, possessing a more diverse range of interests and values, operating on different levels and within multiple policy networks. In addition, an awareness of some of the potential negative outcomes of such a shift, such as the loss of governmental control, the politicization of new security actors, a lack of transparency and accountability, and insufficient coordination between actors is needed so that they can be avoided in CBW technology governance.