The British and United States governments announced late last week (December 9) that they had signed an agreement to establish a joint research and development framework in issues related to homeland security.

The memorandum of agreement was signed by the UK Home Secretary David Blunkett and US Homeland Security Deputy Secretary James Loy on Wednesday, December 8. The two governments issued a joint statement on the subject, saying: "This agreement demonstrates the strong relationship between the UK and US to further scientific research and development that will help advance the security of our respective countries."

Among other things, the agreement envisages exchanges of homeland/civil security information and associated exchanges of scientists, engineers, and other experts. It also makes mention of "utilization of each country's respective research, development, testing, and evaluation capacities," although exactly what that means is not completely clear.

"What we've done today is set down a starting...

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