Traumatic events in childhood can, if not handled effectively by adults, interfere with the development of basic coping skills (van der Kolk B. M., 2006), brain structures, and neurotransmitters (van der Kolk B. A., 2003). Additionally, aversive childhood experiences can lead to negative outcomes in adulthood, such as mental illness, substance abuse, and severe physical illnesses (Centers for Disease Control, 2006). Children living in a war zone have aversive and traumatic experiences. The sad reality is that it is happening today and every day in the Middle East and Africa, from Syria to Gaza and the Democratic Republic of Congo to Mali.
Having been involved in the training and selection of protection personnel over the years, I have learned that everyone brings something valuable to the table in the way of their professional experience. As a matter of fact, my co-instructors and I learn something new from the students throughout each class, and if we like a particular technique or learned about a new study or process, rest assured it will be included in the next program.
The oft-quoted wisdom of Sun Tzu gains more relevance daily as we witness the ongoing clashes of cultures (alluding to Samuel Huntington ) that we see in the news. Some of these culture-based conflicts are obvious, but others are more subtle, easily overlooked unless you are attuned enough to recognize them. Sun Tzu was perhaps the first author to describe the importance of understanding your adversary: “It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles . . .” This has proven to be excellent advice to those who would heed it, but it goes beyond simply winning battles and wars. Its relevance to any cross-cultural engagement in national security, homeland security, and emergency management is more important than ever.
It was then President-elect John F. Kennedy (in 1961) as well as President Ronald Reagan (in 1984 and 1989) who referred to the United States, its people, its culture, and its general state-of-being as “that shining city upon the hill.” Undoubtedly, many of us have heard this phrase in typical political rhetoric and common parlance, but this phrase does not have its origin in either of those leaders of our nation. Our dear commanders-in-chief borrowed this phrase from one whose legacy dwarfs theirs. The very same phrase once uttered by our U.S. Presidents – and more astonishingly, that each one was of a different political alignment – comes from a parable of Jesus Christ in the Christian Scriptures. To theologians, biblical scholars, chaplains, and spiritual liturgists like myself, these words carry much more weight coming from Jesus than any national leader, but I digress…
Leon Panetta, former head of the Department of Defense warned in 2012 that inadequate controls and protections could expose the United States of America to a massive cyber-attack and called for new laws and actions applicable to governmental and corporate cyber networks. A bill known as the Critical Infrastructure Protection Act (CIPA) passed the U.S. House of Representatives as of December 2014 and has been referred to the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. If enacted into law, it would provide for increased protection against electromagnetic pulses (EMPs) and extreme solar weather events all capable of severely damaging America’s power, telecommunications and IT networks for years to come and requiring billions, if not trillions, of dollars in repairs (H.R. 3410). This article explains the extent of these threats, discusses their likelihood of occurrence, and provides recommendations regarding five initial steps needed to prevent a total collapse of vital US infrastructure – this latter outcome potentially leading to the demise of economically-developed countries worldwide.
This article discusses the new Certified Airport Security Professional (CASP) certification. The purpose of this article aims to provide a more robust understanding of the context that comes with certification in being part of airport security professional, the importance for its existence, why it was created, and what are the prerequisites and steps needed to obtain it. This article also discusses important issues that have occurred in the history of aviation security in order to better flesh out why certification is so important in the contemporary age.
September 11, 2001 provided an epiphanic event in American history, leading to a complete refocusing of our national security and restructuring of the federal agencies responsible for ensuring it. The Clinton administration provided the last pre-9/11 national security framework in the 2001 National Security Strategy (NSS) document, written before the Bush presidency started in January 2001. The three main elements of this strategy were (1) to shape the international environment more suitably to U.S. interests after the end of the Cold War bipolar system, especially in view of emerging regional issues such as the breakup of Yugoslavia that led to ethnic cleansing and the Bosnian War, as well as failed states such as Somalia; (2) to respond to threats and crises, especially cross-border conflicts; and (3) to prepare for an uncertain future, transforming our military and governmental policies to meet the new threat spectrum. Its outward facing, international relations perspective is unremarkable in that it reflects the norm up to this point in time. President Bush published the 2002 National Security Strategy with the World Trade Center attacks and international terrorism firmly in mind. This NSS shifted focus dramatically, placing the danger of terrorism at the forefront, and from that prime threat the NSS developed the necessity for fusing national agencies into an integrated whole to combat terrorism. Eleven days after 9/11, Tom Ridge became the first Director of Homeland Security in the White House; that was followed by the activation of U.S. Northern Command in October 2002 as a combatant command given responsibility for homeland defense, protecting our homeland and its approaches; and the Department of Homeland Security started its operations on March 1, 2003.
On my most recent trip to New Orleans (a city after my own heart), I was privileged to have been invited to deliver a lecture to an esteemed group. They were a collection of honors undergraduate religion scholars from Orange County, California who had traveled there for field-study in partial fulfillment for the requirements of one of their courses. While there for several days, I took in some of the local fare, sights, libations, and culture and while having lunch one afternoon in the "Uptown" part of the city, I saw a young woman wearing a shirt that caught my eye. The shirt was all black with only white lettering and featured a hand offering the familiar "peace sign." In a circle around the hand, almost as if to form a logo of sorts, I read the words: "Slow Down. Loosen Up." BRILLIANT! Absolutely brilliant. Not only did that young woman's shirt perfectly epitomize the culture, attitude, and "joie de vivre" characteristic of "the Big Easy," it also set my mind ablaze with the truth of its advice and how well so many of us could benefit from heeding it. Thus, the birth of this column... And, so I digress.
In recent days, much media attention has been devoted - and rightly so - to primarily two international news reports. The first recent incident was the entirely unexpected massacre of 12 writers, artists, and journalists who worked for a satirical newspaper in Paris known as "Charlie Hebdo". Second in the list of news developments, having occurred less than a week after the attacks in Paris, was the mass slaughter and burning of nearly 2,000 persons in various villages throughout Nigeria. Behind each of these senseless killings were two separate terror groups: ISIS & Boko Haram. While both groups are different in structure or even areas of geographic concentration, they both share one similarity, namely, that they assert the religion of Islam as their justification for the abhorrent actions.
Transnational terrorism moves beyond borders and can have a significant impact on the economy of the country or region where acts of terrorism are committed. In this globalized economy, market interdependence is the norm; an act of transnational terrorism perpetrated in one country can have a profound effect on another country or region. This effect has a serious impact on not just Western economies but on the economies of the Middle East, Central and Southern Asia, the Pacific Rim and North Africa. The economic aspect of transnational terrorism not only refers to how economies are negatively impacted by acts of terrorism but also how the economic and financial support of transnational terrorism maintains current threats. Therefore, the need to utilize and improve upon financial intelligence gathering and analysis is paramount if authorities are to be successful at investigating acts of transnational terrorism and enforcing both the domestic and international law essential to maintaining a global economy.
As a former Emergency Medical Technician and Rescue Diver, I have seen first aid and trauma kits of varying sizes, shapes and colors that included enough equipment to operate a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) unit at the site of a catastrophe for a month. On the other hand, the most experienced flight nurse/combat medic I’ve ever known once said that if he had a 2X2 bandage and a pair of rubber gloves, he was “good to go” for almost any occasion. This illustrates that it’s the “carpenter and not the tools” that usually gets the job done, and thus competent, recurrent training becomes an essential component in the protection specialist’s toolbox.