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...