Written By: Chris Dusa, Chief Business Development Officer, Capstone Fire & Safety Management
The threats major infrastructure and multi-national corporations face has widened dramatically in the past twenty years to include piracy, terrorism, and sabotage among others. Pipelines, nuclear facilities, oil and chemical plants, railway, and airports are paramount to a functioning western society and are identified as primary targets by groups of “bad actors” looking to cripple functioning systems.
Corporate management teams including quasi-governmental agencies are tasked with the ongoing operational effectiveness of these installations. Intrinsically they know the world is evolving yet continue to rely on outdated and engrained procedures to mitigate adverse hostile situations. Old methods of relying on a silo within an organization to plan for and handle attacks exposes weak points in a great number of other areas and departments. A holistic approach involves every employee of an organization, up to and including top executive leadership, providing complete and total execution of a well-rounded plan for Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP).
The goal of a CIP plan and subsequent response is to return the organizational system to full operational status ensuring business continuity. Today, hundreds of consultants are available offering services ranging from active shooter preparations for the corporate setting, to risk assessments on cyber systems. Few of these take an all-inclusive approach. Most are fragmented and focused on traditional methods. Many of those projects end up as a large three ring binder on someone’s shelf never to be seen, let alone trained on, again.
New alternatives combine outsourced services and training touching all levels and members of an organization exist. It starts with a thorough examination of the organizations existing plans (if they exist at all) including communications, weak points in a facility, company protection, and response SOP’s and capabilities. The result of the examination should break down a silo mentality of individuals or departments who are solely responsible for thinking about and planning for adverse situations affecting the whole organization. Tangible steps start with assigning roles and responsibilities at each level in anticipation of multiple variable threats and attacks. In the fire service, we are cross-trained in multiple disciplines effectively handling a variety of situations so the people and fellow teammates we serve are protected from every angle. This type of approach and arrangement can certainly be applied to organizational staff members and systems in critical areas.
In recent years, the headlines almost exclusively focus on hostile/adverse physical attack events. One common theme is these attacks are well organized and coordinated to inflict maximum damage both physically and psychologically.
The response by professional agencies has been highly scrutinized and post-analysis has been highly critical of ineffective response results, such as at the recent attack in Manchester at the pop concert. It illustrates the effects of a silo mentality between professional response organizations. The responding fire and rescue personnel were effectively crippled for over two hours by a chaotic breakdown in communication and coordination between fire/rescue and tactical security response. In the past, those functions have been seen as quite separate with separate SOPs and training regiments. Efforts are currently underway to marry tactical security capabilities with firefighting/rescue teams by public and private enterprise lending credibility to an abandonment of the ‘silo’ mentality. Much can be learned by this blending. It increases effectiveness and preparedness of organizations to combat the ever increasing complexity and maturity of attackers.
When looking for solutions, think holistically. Such outsourced help exists. You are not alone in the quest to protect valuable assets whether it be human capital, business reputation, or expensive infrastructure. You have options to think in terms of 360 eventualities.
Join us for a 2-day seminar exploring CIP on May 16-17, presented by 3Ci Global Solutions in conjunction with Capstone Fire & Safety Management. Learn more and register here: http://capstonefire.com/cipseminar/