Thursday, February 14, 2008

Haifa, Some Target Practice & Technology

Day 6

Feb. 14, 2008

We got an early start and headed off 90km north for Haifa to pay a visit to the Haifa Port Co. Wait, let's get some perspective here. No better way to do that then to go on Mt. Carmel and take a look below. If you look off in the distance you can almost make out the shoreline of Lebanon. Yeah, we're that close.

I'm in a jacket because today was cold and rainy. Below is a better view of the port.

It's there off in the distance.

The port has five terminals each with no connection to the other. One of the ports is the Chemical Terminal. You may remember that in 2006 the Hezbollah fired over 150 rockets that targeted and killed many of the citizens of Haifa in the Second Lebanon War. The rockets came in every 4 hours, so under those conditions the port operated in secret at times when attacks were the least likely to occur. The port, like all the facilities we visited thinks of security in circles or 'security rings' as they call them. These are: Outer - Intelligence, outdoor security, periphery security, indoor security, special areas, maritime port security, and command and control - Inner.

They have 150 Guards and 200 inspectors and make use of 135 cameras to view everything; starting out 150m from the fence line moving inward. They don't have the latest in cargo scanning or high-tech fencing but are planning on making that investment in the very near future. They are also considering investments in; a mobile scanning system, biometric control system and an updated central alarm center.

It is clear they have a mission to improve their security and, although there is a lot of security here, this is really the first place I have been in Israel where you can say the USA is way ahead of them. They are planning on adding RFID in the future but say that the technology is still too expensive.


Next stop in Haifa was the Rambam Health Care Campus. We visited the Mass Casualty Trauma Center following presentations by the Center Director, Medical Director and Security Director. Each had a very interesting story to tell. Most of these stories were about how to handle mass casualties, develop protocols, perform triage and deliver treatment. Note: Mass Casualties: This means taking in patients beyond your capacity to treat them. The security director stages no less than 7 security drills everyday. This team is so knowledgeable that they have developed a training program that they deliver around the world. FYI, we are no where near the stage of preparedness these guys are. If you have a hospital and want them to train you, please tell me in this blog, I will get you all the information.

The next series of pictures are of a conex they use to store the emergency preparedness items they will need during times of crisis. I believe it is wise for any large scale company, hospital or office building to have one of these on-site.

If you ever watched t.v. in the US during the many raids on Israel, then the picture of the vehicle below should be familiar to you.


Time to make our way back toward Tel Aviv. But not before we had lunch at Caesarea. Caesarea is home to an ancient Roman city. Cold and rainy but great food with a beautiful but eery view. You can see out there, beyond where the waves are breaking, the ancient city has fallen into the sea. Well you can't really see it from here guys, you're gonna have to dive down to see it.

Luckily, when there are rainy days you can still see plenty of what is left above ground. This one is of a moat.

Our last stop of the day was to the International Security Academy for a tactical training preview and hands on weapons experience. The center is used to train the Israeli Olympic Teams and military special forces. Below ground there is an indoor firing range and hostage simulation area. With ear plugs in place, we watched as a team in training simulated a hostage crisis. Of course in Israel they only use the latest in weaponry. Featured in this exercise was the Corner Shot (trademarked). This product has been featured on Future Weapons, The Discovery Channel and numerous other places including the US national news. I had a chance to meet the inventor, who says that he has adapted the system to accept other types of weapons.

Following that simulation we gathered in the rain to witness a hostage take down on a multi-story building. The next thing I knew, two men jumped over the side of a building, one hand on a rope the other on a weapon. They landed against the balcony with feet planted as they systematically took out the bad guys with live-fire blanks. Awesome!! Except for my friend Sam who volunteered to be one of the bad guys. By the look on his face after words you got the impression they didn't exactly brief him on what was going to happen. Well, that's what it's all about, the element of surprise. The bad guys should never even have time for one last thought. Luckily, Sam does....

All the weapons used during these two simulation events were then presented to us at yet another firing range. First thing first, get to know your weapon. Then load up and go crazy. I got to fire the latest in automatic machine guns. My choice was called a Tavor CTAR assault rifle. I nailed the balloon they pinned up for a head, pulled off a few extra rounds for good measure and then had to come down from the mountain. Anyone who gets all worked up by firing weapons, like I do, knows exactly what I mean (it's a rush). If you don't know consult your local gun dealer (I've got contacts) or ask Ted Nugent.


The Israeli Export Institute represents many Israeli companies that manufacture emerging technologies. Their products are often times in the early stages of development and these companies are looking for American companies to help take their products to the next level. I will provide you with a complete list of those products and the companies after I have had a chance to take it all in. I will tell you this, on the weapons side, there are some really cool things waiting for our law enforcement. And to that one special person in OKC, you know who I mean, I got you all the brochures and import contact information.


This will be my last entry until next week. I am heading out with the guys one last time tomorrow and they say we will not be back until very late in the evening. We are going way up north to the boarder with Syria and then out into the the mountains to have dinner with a Bedouin Tribe. I need to then get back, pack and wake up early for the long flight home.

Final Post

On my final post I will deliver all the extras I promised in previous posts. This will include some awesome videos, pictures of Old Town Jerusalem, The Technology Showcase manufacturers and so much more.

See You When I Get Back. I has been a pleasure sharing all this with you. Shalom....Andrew

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Circles - Picture Time

Day 5

Feb. 13, 2008

Today I thought it might be a nice change for you to view my photo album. Before we begin I will tell you that there seems to be several common themes emerging from this event. The first one is that the infrastructure is largely entrusted to the Israeli youth. The other is that each and every organization views their security in a concentric circles with a common center of the command and control center. They understand that its takes the right methods, the human element and technology to keep their facilities safe and secure.

The Youth
Putting youth in charge of arguably the most important component to an organizations ensured continuity is a concept quite foreign to the USA. The reason is simple, in Israel the youth, both men and women, are required to join the military. The result is a well respected and trustworthy member of society that is ready and willing to do whatever it takes to be a contributor.

These circles start beyond the outer boundary and move all the way into the facility. It takes into account each step a person must take and how they take it to get all the way to the center.

Here is the outer perimeter of the Ben-Gurion International Airport. Home to 2,300 security employees. They use a 5 meter outer fence with motion detection, fence detection and buried fence. There is a second layer of fencing with razor wire. PTZ cameras are placed every 300m and they are synced to an alarm that is slaved to the point of detection. There are over 10 million passengers and 380,000 tons of cargo that pass through here each year.

Here's the entrance to Ben Gurion, that's all you're going to see of it because they wouldn't let us bring in our cameras. They use an LPR (license plate recognition) system and check the plate against a national database. In addition they have over 700 cameras (some with infra-red night vision), UVS (under vehicle surveillance) and anti-missile systems. They are very proactive with technology.

Here is the main terminal. Outside and inside are posted armed undercover personnel. There is even a rumor that there are snipers placed inside the terminal just in case someone needs to be taken out. I cannot confirm whether this is true because I didn't see any.

They plan on spending an additional $20 million on emerging technologies over the next two years. Annually, it costs the airport $15-$20 million to maintain these high standards. Even though this is the safest airport in the world, to be 100% safe they claim they would have to completely stop operations. Not likely, but an interesting concept.

Our next stop was atop the Azrieli Center circular tower and mall. It is the tallest building in Tel Aviv. Here I am, on the helipad, over 52 stories in the air, right at the edge. In the background you can see the Mediterrerean Sea. The photo is facing north. The other two towers are in the shape of a triangle and square.

Each and every car is stopped and checked prior to entry into the facility. The same goes for all the people who enter the center. Once inside it is one of the safest places you can be. They have an average of 45,000 visitors to the mall each day. The Chief Security Officer says that they receive 5-6 bomb threats per day. Below is one of the check points entering the facility. Incase someone gets past they also have hydraulic lift barriers.

Our next and final stop of the day was the Tel Aviv Ha'Hagana train station. They have over 700,000 passengers per month. They have over 900Km of tracks and plan on adding cameras every 100m over the next 4 years. That is somewhere in the neighborhood of 2,500 new cameras each year.

Besides an outer perimeter check point they use sniffer dogs all day every day to find bombs hidden on the platform. Luckily none were found, except for a small demonstration.

Below is a sniffer dog that is used beyond the perimeter.

Tomorrow is the products showcase. You can expect a full blog with text, pictures and videos. Good night, stop by tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Off To Tel Aviv - High Flyers

Day 4
Feb. 12, 2008
I'm calling this entry 'High Flyers'.  We began the day heading for the Hot Zone.  Departing early, we checked out of the King David Hotel and boarded the bus for the long ride southwest. We are heading toward the Gaza Strip.  The Gaza Strip is the source of many attacks on the Israeli people.  Our final destination was to an airstrip within five miles north of this hostile zone.  In the map below we are just south of Ashkelon (Ashqelon).

This area is well within the range of the Kassam rockets often 
fired by the Hamas in this direction.

Kassam Rockets
This area and others to the north are no strangers to regular rocket barrages.  Below are the ranges that these rockets reach.
Feet on the Ground  
That's where we usually gather intelligence.  But in Israel there is another method in the toolbox.  The military now has the ability to track the movements of people where getting feet on the ground proves difficult.  After all it's not like the enemy is going to invite you in to see what they are up to.
The newest tool is called a UAV or unmanned aerial vehicle.  These systems are used for low intensity reconnaissance missions.  The system is basically a miniature plane.  The very same we all dreamed of having when we were little kids.  This catapult launched plane can be assembled and deployed in less than 10 minutes.  It flies at an operational altitude of 2,000 ft. (15,000 ft. ceiling) at speeds between 25-65 knots.  This allows for rapid arrival to the target with a slow and constant surveillance.  With a published range of 15km it can stay aloft for 3 hours.
I didn't take me long to find several non-military applications for this product.  Imagine for a minute that you own an off-shore or remote asset that is unmanned.  Can you think how this product might help? If you want more info about my ideas for this product post your comment and I will fill you in when I return.
This innovative company doesn't stop there.  They also manufacture a tethered balloon that uses the same payload.  By payload I mean the imaging device.  The imaging device is a high tech, high resolution PTZ camera that fixates on a specific object of interest while in the air. This means you get a complete view no matter where the payload is positioned.  The balloon system also has applications beyond the battle field.  Its seems ideal for use at large crowd venues such as stadiums or events where high altitude surveillance would be ideal to generate the appropriate response.
Think you can shoot it down?  Think again, the balloon maintains pressure that is close to equal to the surrounding atmosphere.  This means that if you do manage to shoot it, it will stay afloat.  I say manage because under those particular test conditions the system was almost impossible to hit.
Both these systems are currently being successfully deployed by the Israeli military and provide invaluable intelligence and constant reliability.  So again, if you are interested they have agreed to come over here to arrange for a live demo.  Serious inquiries only!!!
Following this impressive demonstration we headed off to lunch.  Not too soon for me.  I have had nothing to eat or drink since I woke up this morning and by now I am starving.  After the all clear from our trusty armed security detail we made our way into a local restaurant for the traditional fare, meat kabobs and chopped salad.  Bread and oil for starters as always.  But no diet coke, ...the hunt for this elusive item rears it's head again.  I will not be denied!

Ashkelon - The Beauty Behind the Fear
After lunch we again boarded our bus for the short ride to Ashkelon to meet with the head of security for the city.  Ashkelon is a beautiful city on the Mediterranean.  It allure is only hampered by the nearly constant rocket attacks I mentioned earlier.  This ancient and historic city of 120,000 people is 7km from the Gaza Strip and is over 5,000 years old.  Don't let it's age fool you, in 2005 it was home to the worlds largest and most efficient water desalination plant. This is the very same plant that produces the fresh water used by the residents in Gaza.  The charge to Gaza for this fine water, $0.00.  That's right, Israel provides for free; all the fuel, water and power to Gaza.  What do they get in return, rocket attacks.  There seems to be a major disconnect here.
Our security leader hails from Boston, complete with Boston accent.  He has been living in Israel for over 30 years and hold one of the city's most important posts.  With a growing community of mostly Russian immigrants he expects his city to grow rapidly and he is building new living quarters as quickly as he can.  All new construction must include the construction of a shelter to protect from the rocket attacks.  Since 2006 there have been 11 rocket launches on this city with 379 strikes.  For the most part the physical damage has been minimal but they still strike terror in the people.  This is because once a launch is confirmed by sirens located throughout the city, residents have 20 seconds to find shelter.  The city uses a "red alert" air raid siren system.  The dilemma is that since they are directly north of Gaza they have no idea if the rockets are aimed at them or another city north of them.  Better duck out of the way just to be safe.
They are currently constructing a state-of-the-art command center and he has developed new working model to map and pinpoint specific installation and population densities.  That way when the city gets hit in a certain area he knows exactly how to respond and with what resources. He uses a 3 tiered 'response phases' program; 1-Immediate (police, medical and emergency), 2-First response (shelter, early repairs and treatment, and 3-Complete Response (rebuild, permanent repairs, and return to normal).  
The bottom line is this place has their stuff together because in his words; "my biggest fear isn't the rocket attacks but what happens to the town when Israel decides on a full response to the attacks.  We have been told to prepare to live in shelters for a week to a month."  I wish them good luck.  I would love to come back here for a long vacation.  Now, where on earth can I find a diet coke.  Ahh!! over there down the street, well it's diet coke with lemon, that's close enough. I am declaring victory before the bus drives away leaving me behind.

New Living Quarters and Dinner with a Dignitary
Leaving Ashkelon we made our way north to our final destination, Tel Aviv.  The journey took the better part of an hour and I caught up on some much needed sleep.  Upon arrival and check in to the Sheraton Tel Aviv, there was no time to waste.  Tonight were having dinner at the house of Luis Moreno, Deputy Chief of Mission to the American Embassy.  Dressed in coat and tie we again boarded our bus for a trip to his exclusive neighborhood.  There were many people in attendance and this get to know you dinner/mixer was a welcomed relief.  I was able to forge some valuable future relationships for us all and generally came away thinking that the people of Israel are kind, thoughtful and hopeful.  You see Mr. Moreno really does not think of his border neighbors as evil and he welcomes a time when they can recognize each as independent states all living together.
Time will tell, but for now it's time for me to hit the sack.  Another big day tomorrow.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Border

Day 3

Feb. 11, 2008
Today was tough; I’m still not fully acclimated to the time change, probably because I write this blog so late in the evening. I woke up so late that I barely had enough time to eat a basic breakfast before the mornings first session. Today was as granular as we have gotten since I have been in Israel. I hit the streets as one part student and one part tourist.

That’s right today was a sight seeing tour of the Old City of Jerusalem. Don’t get me wrong here I’m still working and besides we experienced sights that are left off the traditional packages that most people see when they come here. For starters, how many guided tours bring along an armed (M-16, yes with dark black sunglasses) former Israeli Intelligence office now civilian? My guess is not too many. But then again not many tours are brave enough to bring you right to the border with Palestine. Well that’s where we began. Our guide for the day was none other than a retired Major General with the Israeli Army.

Security Detail - These Guys Are Big!!
I'm on the right @ 5'11"
After passing by the headquarters of the United Nations, situated right in the middle of the conflict zone, we made our way to southern border of Israel and Palestine. It is here that a new source of controversy has ignited and tensions are high. The reason is that this is the center of the newly erected Security Fence.

Suddenly, upon arrival all eyes faced me. Then the barrage of questions came. Hey, didn’t you guys build something just like this on your border with Mexico? How is everyone taking it? Do you think it will work? Whoa! Slow down guys, were not at war with Mexico. Besides we haven't built anything. Well didn’t Mexico once own Texas? Yes.  Aren’t they still mad? No. So why are you building your wall? Hey, hold on guys we’re in Israel, let’s stick to where we are for now. If you want, you can all come to Houston (our treat) and take a field trip down to the border when we build our wall, I’ll explain everything to you then.

Back to the wall… It’s massive and stretches for miles and miles. They don’t really like to call it a wall over here; it’s really a security fence. Take it from me, from what I saw that description is an understatement. However, I am assured that in some places it really is only a fence.

When you build something this massive and you do it with a specific purpose of stopping terrorism, the natural question is….you guessed it, does it work? The answer is yes it works. There is a direct correlation with the building of the wall and a dramatic reduction in suicide bombings over the past couple of years. This has allowed Israel to focus their efforts on terrorist attacks coming from other areas or using other means. The other area is the Gaza Strip and the other means are the use of rockets. If that doesn’t seem much of a trade off think again. The number of deaths from attacks has dropped by the hundreds to now in the single digits, not including the terrorists who are killed in retaliation or from the attack itself.

But this doesn’t mean that the fence is with out controversy. If you learn anything while over here you quickly learn that every action is controversial. The Israeli’s don’t view the Palestinians as enemies, at least not all of them. In fact, the majority aren’t. Think of it this way, it’s no different from you building a fence around your facility to keep the bad guys out. The society around you, in general, is not your enemy and if they want to come they are welcome to do so at your controlled entrances. It’s no different here. At one of the entrances I saw business people and teenagers a like coming and going quite freely. But to some separation is deprivation and you will always have a hard time convincing them of your reasons.

I don’t have time to give a history lesson in this blog, so I encourage you to do some research on your own. Of course the best way to learn about this land is to come on over and experience it for yourself. This place is fascinating. I hope you can tell from all my pictures, if I can every get them to post (tomorrow, I promise).

Following yet another first rate lunch we began our approach to the Old City. It is home to over 40,000 people all crammed together in 1 square kilometer. It is here that the Christian, Jewish, Armenian and Muslim people all mixed together. You may think this is strange that people who have trouble getting along would all gather in one place (again no history lessons) but the reason is simple, they all lay claim to the same historical landmarks, and that my friends creates tensions.

It’s not for any of us to decide why; that will take many centuries more. However, it is the responsibility of law enforcement to protect one of the world’s most sacred and politically sensitive sites, and boy-o-boy this one is tough. That privilege falls to the local police. After a security check we were given a very comprehensive presentation with a follow-up tour of one of the most serious command centers I have seen, outside the one at Infrastruct Security that is. Here, they view, live, over 300 PTZ cameras, covering every path within the city. Every movement of every person can be traced and researched later for prosecution. This is where most of the sight seeing and praying takes place.

A word from the wise, don’t buy here in the Old City unless you are prepared to negotiate. That’s right I am the word from the wise. I needed to use my strongest negotiating skills to talk a peddler down from 15 Shekels to 5 Shekels for….you guessed it gang, a diet coke. If you remember, there are about 3.5 Shekels to the Dollar. Starting price $4.00, final price $1.40. Not bad, but it took 5 minutes I’ll never get back.

Many sites later and very tired feet we returned to the King David Hotel for a short rest before a late evening open and optional session. Optional meaning that you did not need to attend if you didn’t want to. Well, I’m in Israel what else do I have to do? So, I decided to go. I’m glad I did. We had a guest speaker join us in a tight circle as he began to recant his first hand account of a confrontation with a suicide bomber.

While working as a bouncer in a nite club in Tel Aviv he was right in the middle of a showdown with a person he had refused at the door. Well that person then rushed him and tried to force them both through the door of the club. Our guest pushed back and managed to get him near the street just as the person detonated the bomb strapped to his back. 3 people died including the terrorist. Somehow our friend did not. They say the reason is because the bomb was positioned in a way that the blast was directed in another direction. Whatever the reason he is alive today to serve as a first hand witness to the horrors and the effects of a suicide bomber. I don’t have it now, but there is a link on youtube to a camera that caught the whole thing. Not sure I even want to see it but I will post the link when I get it.

After reading this post you might find it interesting to know that I am an even bigger ‘believer.' This knid of statement can have significant meaning to the person who makes the claim. What does it mean to me? Good question, to be a believer I had to have my perspective brought into better focus. After all I am on a security tour.  And this unique insight confirms long held beliefs in the power of security and the power of the higher goals of the company I work for. While I'm on assignment you are welcome to call our CEO direct for a full explanation of what those higher goals are.  

As for me well, I'm going to bed ~ Shalom until tomorrow. 

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Security: For People By The People

Day 2, Feb. 10, 2008
Probability.  That may seem like a strange concept to you but in Israel it is not.  If you are sitting down reading this do me a favor and take a moment and think.  Think about what act is likely to occur; what might happen that can have a negative impact on my business or the operations of my business.  Time is up, you've probably already thought of 3 or more before you finished reading this sentence.  A negative impact to the safety and security of your facility, if it can be anticipated, is called a probability. Now that you have those scenarios in your mind fixate on them and play them through to their conclusion.  What can you do to prevent these acts from occurring? You must take action. Failure to do so makes you vulnerable and from a litigious perspective can put you and your business at even greater risk.  Don't take my word for it, let me share my first full day in Israel with you and you can see for yourself.
Preparedness Starts at the Perimeter - A Visit to Knesset (the Israeli Parliament)

This place is nothing short of amazing.  Knesset means gathering.  This is the place where the 12 tribes of the Israeli Parliament gather to discuss Jewish Law.  What we learned is that there are two key elements required in keeping a facility secure.  These are the human and technological elements.  Although the emphasis is on the human side, protection extends well beyond the physical location of the facility and technology is your first indication that this place is a fortress.  Prior to entering the facility, some 200 yards from the perimeter of the main building our ID's were checked and we were individually screened though metal detectors.  Not because we were visitors but because conformity helps to level the risk of everyone and anyone, including Parliament Members, prior to entering the interior perimeter and the facility itself. That is standard protocol.  

Upon entering the facility one is reminded of the control rooms often depicted in any number of James Bond films.  Large stone walls with wrap around seating on the second level.  Below you is the open arena the representatives of the people make important decisions.  The seating on the main floor below is minimalist and symbolically shaped in the form of the Menora.  The public is welcome to join but must sit on the second level behind bullet proof glass.  

Upon leaving this room we continued to an open area that depicts, in large colorful wall tapestries, the 3 stages of the Jewish peoples existence; the past, the present and the future. All as told or prophesied by the Bible.  It is interesting to note that the Jewish people have no Constitution only a Declaration of Independence.  This was simply explained as a result of having no defined borders.

Following the brief introduction we were led further down in the facility (bunker) to have a rare meeting with the Head of the Knesset Guard, the Sergeant-at-Arms.  He operates autonomously from the Israeli Police and the General Security Services.  He faces many challenges in his capacity in that; on the one end he protects the House of the People and on the other end the facility he protects houses the most important people in Israel.  He must find the balance between these two sides.  

The first step in securing the facility is background screening of the people working in the facility.  His approach is simple, "I operate under the notion of a 100% security threat for every person."  He goes on to say that, "I only need to fail once and I have failed completely.  In life and security you cannot afford to be surprised."  The facility is a fortress in the truest sense of the word.  Technologically they use all the latest cameras, access control and perimeter detection.  But his job is the protection of people.  Technology is a deterrent, if it fails he remains vigilant to the core role of protecting the important people in the facility.  

If something happens you either succeed or explain.  You explain when you have failed.  Well, he has not had to explain in 8 years.  The day he does he believes will be his last.  The adversary has the advantage, they choose the time and the place.  They also can fail over and over, we don't have the same luxury. 

To him security it is not just about technology it is about humans and technology, it is about reviewing and breaking the routines, adjusting, testing, re-adjusting and re-testing the plan. Technology is a compliment to the overall security plan.  

Central Bus Station

This place is massive with shops and a bus station combined.  Prior to entering the facility our bus was boarded by a military guard, complete with M-16, to make sure all things were in order.  Once we were given the all clear we entered to terminal and departed the bus only to be confronted by a second security check point.  There were military all around us.  Most were young men and women no older than 18, all were carrying an M-16 rifle.

I was getting very thirsty so once I was cleared through the check point I wandered off to find my beloved diet coke.  Luckily I didn't have far to go but I paid a price, the group had continued on and I was now by myself.  That didn't last very long as I was almost immediately confronted by a military person who wanted to know what I was looking for.  You see being a well trained person his procedures told him that I looked out of place.   This to him was behavior indicator that required a series of refuting questions.  If my answers could be refuted then he knows he has a potential problem (more on this in later posts).  Needless to say I had a purpose and a destination.  He was familiar with the arrival of our group and escorted me to my destination.  

Once there I made my way into a cramped conference room to hear from the Head Of Security. A young fellow but well seasoned.  His presentation was a compelling list of policies, procedures and protocols followed by a short video that graphically shows the damage that a suicide bomber can cause.  The suicide bomber is the enemy here and this place takes it so seriously that they actively send armed personnel beyond the perimeter to find suspicious persons before they can get near enough to cause any harm.

He went further to explain the core mission.  It seems that everywhere you go these days a company or organization has a defined mission that can be summarized in 3 words.  The Central Bus Station is no different.  Theirs; Deter, Prevent and Intervene.  Words are not enough without a plan to achieve the goals of the mission.  So how do they do it at the Central Bus Station?  With Circles of Security.  The first circle is the perimeter (proactive), the second circle is comprised of the check points and screening stations and the third circle is within the protective environment.  This will be a recurring theme and I will go into more detail in future posts.

To see all this in action we were then given a tour of the command center.  This is the heart of the place.  Using a sophisticated video matrix system and over 80 mega-pixel PTZ cameras, nothing goes unseen. But they control far more than that here; including fueling and deliveries. All-in-all the lesson here is that the lives of every person is minimally inconvenienced.  It's a way of life generations in the making.

Following our tour of the Central Bus Station we broke for some much needed nourishment. I went with the beef and lamb kabobs, good choice!!  This was a great time to re-cap what we had seen.  But what did we really learn?  This was the source of the many discussions going on around the room covering topics such as; information sharing, predictive behavior and analysis, private sector education, and the source of Israel's secure life style, the tipping point.  I will go into this more deeply tomorrow as a supplement to today's blog.  
Once we finished dinner we returned to the hotel for some further presentations that detailed "The Terrorist Threat Mitigation Methodologies."  I will summarize the content for you when the presentation is delivered to me in digital copy.  Not to leave you hanging, this final presentation discussed: the importance of understanding the terrorist m.o., the importance of taking surveillance beyond the perimeter (basically moving the boundary to the adversary not to your operational perimeter) and finally the plan methods. 
See you tomorrow...

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Enter the Land of Milk and Honey

The Intrepid Journey has begun.  
Thanks for stopping by.  Everyday I will report to you from the front lines - Israel.  There is likely no other place on earth that takes their nations security more serious than here.  In this blog you find out exactly what is being done to keep this country safe and secure despite the very real fact that there are some living among and around them that would like that feeling to diminish.  If you don't believe me, pick up a newspaper.  The rest of the world including the USA is now being confronted with the same realities that Israel has been living with for 50 + years.  The time to act is now...ARE YOU READY?.
Day 1, Feb. 9, 2008
Like many trips overseas before this one, it has started quit smoothly.  Aside from the hard goodbyes to my wife, children and family who are understandably nervous.   With so much press out there regarding all the problems over here and Israel's proximity to the world hotspots for conflict, I can see why they are nervous.  To them I promise to keep my eyes open, stay away from trouble and return home safely.  
Back to the trip.  First leg from Houston to Newark and then the overnight trip to Israel, seated next to my new friend Sam Pfeifle, Editor of Security System News.  14 hours later, here I am in the Land of Milk and Honey.  If you need further explanation of that go here 
Getting into Israel is a breeze.  No landing cards, no baggage check, no hassles. Man, they must be really confident in their security.  Well they are, with good reason they take it very seriously (expect more on that later).  There are people from all over the world attending this event, China, Canada, Maine and yes Texas.  After a brief currency exchange (3.6 Skekels to the dollar) to buy a diet coke we boarded the bus for a 45 minute ride to the King David Hotel in Jerusalem.  After a little time to clean up I prepared for dinner at 8:00pm, sharp.  After each person gave a brief introduction we sat down to an excellent full course dinner and some rather spirited and enlightening conversation.
Following dinner we retired to our rooms to get much needed rest and for an early start to tomorrow.  Breakfast is rumored to be a feast.
So, the question on your mind is, what will I report to you each day?  Good question....  Some will be my opinion but each day I will cover the following; What did we see (pictures when appropriate), What did we learn (technology, protocols, challenges, etc...), What is being done NOW and where is the future of security headed.  I will also try to get to know someone new each day and report to you their reason for attending this event.  I don't reserve myself to these topics only, but this will be the basic format.
So check back in tomorrow, this promises to be a great adventure and learning experience for us all.