Counterterrorism Strategies for Corporations: The Ackerman Principles

By Mike Ackerman; Reviewed by Patrick Kane, CPP

***** Counterterrorism Strategies for Corporations: The Ackerman Principles. By Mike Ackerman; published by Prometheus Books, (Web); 328 pages; $18.95.

While the title of Counterterrorism Strategies for Corporations indicates a book focused solely on terrorist threats, the author addresses a wide range of problems facing any business operating globally. Mike Ackerman, a longtime player in the kidnap and ransom response and crisis management fields, is well qualified to address these issues.

Ackerman begins by outlining nine key principles for applying security measures to international business. Most critical, he argues, is to use intelligence in security operations and to run an operation that is proactive rather than reactive. He correctly points out that most risks can be effectively mitigated but not eliminated. Recognizing that reality, business leaders, he notes, must develop some tolerance for risk. In most cases, security threats must not prevent businesses from operating.

Initial chapters provide an overview of the terrorist threat as it relates to the private sector and cite a number of specific examples of attacks against different sectors. One section deals specifically with kidnapping, which is not surprising given Ackerman’s background. While deliberately avoiding details on negotiation strategies, he provides a good overview of the elements of a kidnapping and how to respond. Ackerman also addresses the threat of street crime, which is the most pervasive and common threat global operations face.

The author provides useful appendices that contain a number of guidelines and checklists for a variety of security situations. Lacking, however, are an index, a bibliography, and recommendations for further reading. Given the breadth of the subject matter, additional material would serve the reader well.

Counterterrorism Strategies for Corporations is written in a clear, straightforward style and is interspersed with personal experiences and anecdotes that make it readable. This book is highly recommended for security managers taking on new global responsibilities, but even those with significant experience will find it a good refresher.


Reviewer: Patrick Kane, CPP, is senior director of security for a U.S. cargo airline with worldwide operations. He holds an international executive Master of Business Administration from Instituto de Empresa in Madrid, Spain, and is the author of Practical Security Training.



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