We live in exciting times. Those who can see or feel subtle changes in the matrix of our socio-economic system will understand what we mean. While some of these changes may be positive or negative, depending on where one stands, paradigm shifts take place everywhere. When observed in the ossified system that is Security -- a slow, legacy-based, mostly reactive and heavily tech-equipped giant -- the signs of changes coming present new and interesting opportunities. One of the fundamental changes we observe is the shifting of focus towards 'Intent' in security operations. Focusing on those who have the motivation, intent and capabilities to execute an attack makes security more proactive, risk-based and agile.
In the past, we already discussed why the existing security paradigm based on legacy systems and addition of more layers of technology is incapable of addressing the new realities (see here). Understanding these limitations brings many strategic thinkers in the security realm to the realization that a complete revision of the way security measures are developed is required. The analysis of "lessons learned" from the thwarted and executed attacks in the last decade reinforces the view that a more effective way of dealing with emerging threats can be achieved by shifting the focus of security operations towards identifying individuals with the motivation, intent and capabilities for carrying out unlawful acts.
The Focus on Intent approach has both strategic and tactical sides to it.
At the strategic, higher, level the approach includes a stronger degree of cooperation and communication between the security-minded stakeholders, including national intelligence and law enforcement agencies. The development of legal, regulatory, technical and privacy rules outlining the information sharing protocols, collection and storing of private information, data taxonomy, and various roles & responsibilities is required to ensure only the relevant information/intelligence is collected and shared. Due to the shifting focus of the system from 'objects' (ie. IEDs, knives) to 'intent' (higher-risk individuals) a revision of all existing procedures and process will be required as well. Given the stakes involved, this will take a considerable time and cooperation of jurisdictions at various levels.
At the tactical, operational, level the approach will be based on two major components: real-time Behaviour Assessment by especially selected and trained security staff and the use of CCTV / biometric equipment establishing the identity of individuals and assessing their psycho-emotional states. The security personnel on the ground should be supported by tech solutions and responsible for real-time assessment, security interviews, and differentiation of passengers/customers according to the established risk indicators. In case a suspect has been identified by security or support personnel, or SOC operator, a qualified interviewer will be dispatched to conduct an assessment and decide on the appropriate course of action. If supported by relevant intelligence / information from stakeholders and properly supervised, such security personnel will become the cornerstone of a new security system at any air/port, transit or mass gathering location. Naturally, to be able to perform their job to the highest standards of customer service and effectiveness such a unit must be selected and trained in a regimen of strict and continuous performance measurements and quality assurance oversight.
Achieving a higher degree of security requires the development of a system that can be scalable, responsive, and sensitive to the context in which it operates. As many examples from the past terrorist attacks or recent counter-insurgency operations show, nothing beats the presence of 'boots on the ground' both as a deterrent and real-time respondent in a rapidly shifting context. As we begin to move towards the Focus on Intent, consider if your security system and personnel are ready to address the emerging challenges (or cease opportunities) in an increasingly unstable environment.
CHI Security team includes professionals with diverse backgrounds and experiences. In this blog we share our musings on how to build a resilient security force. Hardware comes later...