Australian Security and Intelligence Conference

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


School of Computer and Information Science, Edith Cowan University, Perth, Western Australia


3rd Australian Security and Intelligence Conference, Edith Cowan University, Perth Western Australia, 30th November 2010


A subject that eludes a consensus definition, security is an amalgam of disciplines that is moving inexorably towards professionalisation. Yet identifying who or what defines a security professional remains as difficult and elusory as a comprehensive definition of security that captures all of its modern facets and many actors. The view of elevating such a discipline as security to the status of a profession provokes polarised opinions. This article reviews the literature, examining what elements identify a security professional and exploring the significant themes and issues. To support these elements, security experts (n=27) were surveyed using a multidimensional scaling technique to assess what constitutes a suitable and validated body of knowledge. It is concluded that many of the issues pivotal for progressing security towards professionalism are being addressed; however, there exists a need for research into developing a consensus and functional unity among the various branches of the security profession, and to identify emergent issues that affect security as a profession. One approach put forward by this study was that a singular body of knowledge, in part, that can aid in the understanding of security.