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Embassy security: Pro-active solutions in a changing world
The time has come to re-think embassy security. The Department of State recently called for a “more serious and sustained commitment from Congress” to address security deficiencies at high-risk posts around the world, in the wake of last year's attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, which resulted in the death of four people, including U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.
A total integration of all systems -- from security to facilities -- would better enable diplomatic missions and high-risk posts to evaluate and respond to any and all perceived threats, potential attacks and other emergencies. Most successful projects are integrated early on in the design phase and include not just security, but mechanical, electrical and digital systems as well. For instance, some secure facilities leverage sensor management technology to help security personnel prioritize security and safety incidents more effectively.
Intelligence and threat management at the facility level are also vital security components of any security program. There are current technologies that can help embassies achieve this level of situational awareness and preparedness. Absent those technologies, however, security personnel will physically need to collect and aggregate threat information. Such information should be collected from all available sources -- including social media outlets -- and analyzed and disseminated in a timely fashion.
Emergencies can occur without warning and it is important we are prepared. A comprehensive strategy that balances costs and manages risks is critical, as is the need to protect lives and assets. I believe we can use the lessons learned from the attack in Benghazi to build a more robust and comprehensive security program in the years ahead.
Kris Coleman is founder, president and CEO of Red Five Security Consulting. He can be reached at: