THE MAGAZINE

Terrorism and the Chemical Infrastructure: Protecting People and Reducing Vulnerabilities

By Scott Yost

***** Terrorism and the Chemical Infrastructure: Protecting People and Reducing Vulnerabilities. By the Committee on Assessing Vulnerabilities Related to the Nation’s Chemical Infrastructure; National Research Council; published by the National Academies Press, www.nap.edu (Web); 152 pages; $33.00.

I wish I could say that this was an intriguing, can’t-put-it-down kind of read, but it wasn’t. It was, however, an informative look at problems in the chemical sector as they relate to vulnerabilities and security practices. The book is basically a study conducted by the National Research Council with recommendations to the Department of Homeland Security to secure and protect chemical infrastructure in America.

As a person who is new to the chemical infrastructure security realm, I read the book was to determine whether it would become a new tool in my kit as it relates to the topic. The jury is still out.

There were certain areas of the book that I found very valuable and practical as a future resource on this topic. In particular, Chapter 4—Realistic Chemical Incident Scenarios—comprised the only 28 pages I read from beginning to end without finding something better to do. This section, which took fictitious locations and incorporated them into realistic scenarios, was worth the price of admission.

For that section alone, the book has its place in the security literature for professionals working in the chemical infrastructure arena. But anyone looking for a casual but interesting read would do well to pass it by. Unless, of course, they are looking for an alternative to warm milk before hitting the sack after an 18-hour day.

Reviewer: Scott Yost, CPP, is a Security Adviser with Epcor Utilities, Inc., of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He is a member of ASIS International.

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