Facility Security Threats – Battling the Unknown and Unseen

How do today’s threats differ from years past – what’s new?

Last week’s blog looked at the threats associated with terrorism, organized crime, lone criminal acts, cyber attack, and civil unrest.  This week we’ll delve into the remaining types of threats that challenge our facility security regime.  There are new perspectives that point toward the more traditional threats that we’ve previously explored. 

Random Acts of Stupidity – We’ve been all over the country conducting Facility Security Assessments and Facility Security Plan Audits.  Just about every facility we visit has one of the “random acts of stupidity” stories.  Whether it’s person in your security organization unwittingly compromising your security protocols, or a stranger wandering onto your facility, these threats can be difficult to predict.  The secret is to use your imagination when conducting drills and exercises – create scenarios involving random acts of stupidity and test your personnel’s performance in those situations.

Complacency – It’s hard to believe that we’re more than sixteen years removed from the tragic events of 9/11 that led us to today.  There is a natural tendency to become complacent over the course of time.  Still, there are crimes and terrorist incidents occurring nearly every day and many of our people remain complacent about their security.  Situational awareness is diminished by technology – think about all the people with their heads down looking at a cell phone, or ear buds & headphones canceling out ambient noise.  Most safety experts agree that their biggest threat is complacency.  The same could be said for security.

Communicable Diseases – The world is not ready for the next pandemic.  Whether disease or infection, we have a difficult challenge in defending against the threat of something so small that we can’t see it.  Our facilities are visited by vessels and personnel from all over the world.  We have very little awareness of where a pathogen originates.  The threats come in many varieties – insect-transmitted diseases, vaccine-preventable childhood illnesses (measles, mumps, pertussis), influenza, diseases from conflict zones and killing fields (ebola, kala-azar), vector-borne diseases (from insects and vermin).  How will these affect your facility’s security?

Natural Disasters – Severe and extreme natural events occur in all parts of the world.  We must be aware of the natural threats than can impact our security.  Last year’s hurricanes devastated facilities in many parts of the country.  Consider whether your facility is susceptible to wind or flooding damage from heavy weather, storm surge, structural damage from earthquakes, snowstorms, and the like.  Not only must we consider the impact to the facility, but also our personnel.  Will our security personnel be able to perform their responsibilities before, during, and after a natural disaster in our area?

As this month’s blogs on threats has revealed, there is a lot to think about when considering the threats we face in defending our homeland.  The best strategy is to take a risk-based approach to those threats.  With a well-thought, situationally aware mitigation effort, the threats can be addressed in a disciplined manner. 

Also, did you know? …

We’re in full planning mode for the 2018 Facility Security Symposium.  It will be a fantastic gathering of the best and brightest in maritime facility security.  Be sure to join us June 4-8 in New Orleans.  The Symposium is preceded by an FSO course (4-6 June) and an FSO Refresher course (5 June).  Course registration includes admittance to the Symposium.  The Symposium begins on Wednesday June 6th at 1:00pm and runs through Friday June 8th at noon. 

That’ll do for this month’s blog topic.  Next month we’ll examine the FSO’s duties – stay tuned!