***** Managing Security Overseas: Protecting Employees and Assets in Volatile Regions. By Scott Ast. CRC Press, www.crcpress.com; 366 pages; $82.95.
The author designed this book to provide the reader with the tools needed to advise corporations, senior management, and travelers about security when traveling to or doing business in volatile locations. Scott Ast draws on his personal experience, using it to illustrate and reinforce the lessons put forward. The book is aimed at entry-level security personnel or those with little or no experience in the international arena of unstable or volatile countries. The book places a heavy emphasis on war zones where Ast gained his experience.
The first thing one notices about this book is the authoritative tone, which can, at times, come across as lecturing. Because much is based on personal experience, many statements begin with “I”, which may not be well received in the executive suite. But it is probably appropriate for the context of the book.
The book is comprehensive in that it contains many forms, planning guides, and checklists in the appendices. Ast presents a compilation of security-related procedures and checklists useful in facilities (both foreign and domestic) as well as guidelines and forms specific to international operations. He includes generic bomb-threat procedures, general strike and protest activities, and workplace-violence procedures. Many of the security and safety tips, forms, and guidelines are, however, included within the relevant chapters, which leads to some repetition as the information reappears in other places.
Overall, Ast presents standard advice and information along with the basics of crisis management planning as appropriate for volatile regions. The author presents the material in a simple, straightforward fashion, providing a foundational text for those faced with beginning an international program. This book’s collection of standard tips, guidelines, forms, and procedures will inform the newcomer to international security practices.
Reviewer: S. Ronald Hauri, CPP, CFE, is the director of regional security (Europe, Middle East & Africa) at Abbott Laboratories. He is an adjunct professor at Webster University, a member of the ASIS International Business Practices Council, and a former member of the ASIS Board of Directors.