THE MAGAZINE

Days of Enlightenment

By The Editors
 
 Maritime security. Terrorists used small vessels in their attack on the USS Cole in 2000 and in part of their plans in last year’s Mumbai terror attacks. Small vessels are also a threat on U.S. waterways, according to a panel of experts who spoke at one seminar session. Among the panel were Gary Supnick, CPP, manager of maritime security and access at the SRI International’s National Center for Maritime and Port Security; Laurie Thomas, maritime security coordinator at the University of Findlay in Ohio; and Bill DeWitt, CPP, corporate security director of SSA Marine/Carrix Inc.
 
Supnick provided an in-depth look at the details of the Cole and Mumbai attacks, including the way small vessels were used and the short- and long-term consequences of the attacks. The Cole, a U.S. Navy destroyer, was damaged when a small vessel that had built-in explosives pulled up next to the ship and detonated. Seventeen sailors were killed and more than 30 were wounded.
 
The vessel used in the attack on the Cole was a small boat that was painted and built to resemble the other small boats in the area. The attackers did not speed into the Cole, however; rather, they approached at a normal pace and acted like they belonged in the area, according to Supnick.
 
In the Mumbai attack, terrorists carried out a rampage that caused damage in two hotels, a train station, a Jewish center, and other areas. In that case, the small boat that the terrorists used to leave Pakistan and get to a larger vessel waiting with supplies served as a support to an attack rather than a means of an attack.
 
Thomas spoke about efforts to prevent such attacks or use of small vessels in the United States. She explained that small vessels are not just tiny dinghies or sporting vehicles—they can be anything under 300 gross-registered tons. She added that it’s unclear how many such vessels are active in the United States, although there are at least 13 million registered small vessels.
 
Some of the vulnerabilities in the United States’ inland waterways are choke points, such as the St. Mary’s River in the Great Lakes region; heavy traffic; and dangerous cargo like chlorine, ammonium nitrate, and petroleum products.
Thomas also discussed the various government efforts to increase small-vessel security. One of the initiatives launched by DHS in 2007 was to organize national and regional small-vessel security summits. The summits provided a forum for federal, state, and local law enforcement to interact with the small-vessel community.
 
DHS released the Small Vessel Security Strategy (SVSS) in April 2008; it laid out goals, including the development of strong partnerships between the small-vessel community and the public and private sectors, better planning, effective use of technology, and enhanced coordination. Thomas said that DHS is still working on an implementation plan for the SVSS and that the plan is expected to provide timelines and translate the goals of the SVSS into actionable items.
 
Social networking. For online investigators, social networking sites (SNS) are an increasingly popular research tool. But viewing the sites can cause a host of potential legal issues, according to Owen O’Connor, managing director of the online investigations firm Cernam. Legal standards are far less clear on SNS compared to other electronic data, such as e-mail, he said.
 
Among the concerns raised by SNS investigations are privacy issues. Companies might view information that they are not allowed to see without explicit permission, O’Connor said. Examples could include information about a disability or personally identifiable information (PII) that could be protected by state or federal laws.
 
In many European Union (EU) nations, the legal definition of protected personal data is far broader. In many countries, for example, it includes any information that, when added to another piece of data, can identify a subject, O’Connor said. In the EU, organizations would need to notify any data-collection subjects, he said. Such subjects would then have the right to access, and potentially change, any collected data. Throughout the EU, any personal research must also be for a specific purpose and for a limited period, he said. If it extends beyond a certain point, it could be considered surveillance, which requires explicit legal permission.

Women in security. Women are a minority in the security industry, but attendees of both genders gathered to hear a discussion of the issue sponsored by the CSO Roundtable. The session highlighted the unique experiences, opportunities, and challenges of female security professionals. Moderated by Lorrie Bentley-Na­varro, CPP, of the SAS Institute, the panel featured Marene Allison, vice president of security for Medco; Judy Matheny, CPP, vice president of Guardsmark, LLC; and Linda Harmon, deputy director of security for Accenture.
 
Panelists offered several “dos and don’ts” for women in the security industry. “Don’t lose your sense of humor,” Matheny said. “Don’t lose your own personality.” She said many women do this because they are working in an environment in which they are trying to assert themselves.
 
Allison, who was in the first female class at West Point, agreed: “I don’t try to compete with the men, I try to be myself.” She also told female attendees not to try to be men and advised them to accept their gender as a diverse culture that they bring to the job.
 
Matheny said women should try not to see divisions in the workplace. “The more you see divisions,” Matheny said, “the more you create a divide.” Panelists also urged female security professionals to resist the urge to defend their credentials.
International cultural expectations can play a role in the challenges women face in a global economy, attendees and panelists said. For example, many Asian cultures are considered “masculine,” and women in these countries are often expected to defer to men. The challenge for women doing business in Asia is knowing how to stand your ground, while accomplishing your goals.
 
The panelists agreed that there is a need for more mentoring opportunities for women, both unofficial and official. An unofficial way for female security professionals to mentor is to exchange business cards and use them. Allison stressed that women should not be afraid to ask questions or answer them. Allison said she has been involved in some official mentoring programs at West Point.
 
The session also addressed the issue of how to manage a work/personal life balance, how to recruit more women to the security and safety profession, and common strategies women employ that weaken or strengthen their professional status.

These sessions offer a glimpse at the range of educational opportunities that were on offer at the 55th annual seminar. It’s not too soon to mark your calendar for the ASIS International 56th Annual Seminar and Exhibits, which takes place in Dallas, Texas, from October 12 through 15. 

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