United Space Alliance’s Joseph R. Granger, CPP, ASIS International’s 2010 president, is well-grounded and ready to lead the Society onward and upward.
It’s T minus four minutes and holding at the John F. Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The clock has stopped because weather tracking planes have sensed potential trouble for the planned test flight of the Ares 1-X rocket, the first new rocket designed by the space agency since those produced for use in manned space flight in the 1970s. The launch was already delayed because of bad weather once before, and everyone at the Space Center is anxious to see it go up.
I’m about to head out to the launch pad myself with a box of matches and light the fuse,” jokes Joseph R. Granger, CPP, who is security director of United Space Alliance, the contractor that provides the space shuttle ground support services for the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Kennedy Space Center, its facilities in Houston, and its other sites around the world. Granger is the ASIS International president for 2010.
While the countdown clock is stopped, and with the next launch window projected to be a few hours away, Granger talks with Security Management to discuss his career, the influence ASIS has had on it, plus his thoughts on the Society’s and the security industry’s future.
Rocket to the Moon
Granger is a native Floridian who grew up in the small town of Cocoa—then a tiny, sandy hamlet of 5,000 residents; today, a well-heeled independent city of nearly four times that size. Since 1951, when the U.S. Air Force established the Air Force Missile Test Center at Cape Canaveral Air Force Base, Cocoa and the surrounding area became engulfed in the emerging space program.
“My dad went to work for the fire department at Cape Canaveral in the early 1950s,” Granger explains. “When I was a kid, we’d know if a rocket was going to launch because my father would be working. Back then, the times of launches weren’t broadcast for military security reasons.”
Many early unmanned test rockets failed, crumpling to the ground amidst fiery explosions. “We’d go outside to watch the rocket blow versus watching the rocket go,” quips Granger.
In the late 1950s, President Dwight D. Eisenhower authorized the purchase of much of Merritt Island, just across the Indian River from Cocoa, and began building a new launch facility. During the Kennedy administration, the construction was finished, and after the assassination of the president who promised mankind would walk on the moon in that decade, the sprawling complex, encompassing 219 square miles, was named in Kennedy’s honor.
Growing up in Cocoa, says Granger, meant that “I was an eyewitness to the launch of Alan Shepard and Gus Grissom on the Redstone rocket, John Glenn on the Atlas rocket—all the way through into the Mercury and Gemini programs, and into Apollo. In July 1969, we launched Apollo 11 to the moon, and I saw that one too. When I was just a young man watching Apollo go up, and as fast as we were going with the space program, if you’d said to me that we wouldn’t be on Mars by 2000, I’d have laughed at you.”
Granger had graduated from high school in 1969, and about three months after the historic expedition to the Moon ended in triumph, Granger joined the U.S. Army. The Vietnam War was in high gear, he says, and “numerous friends of mine and my older brothers had gone in the service. I felt this patriotic urge to go serve my country too.”
Granger scored high on the battery of entrance exams and was offered numerous options for his military career. One of these was army communications intelligence. He spent a year in country during 1970-1971 at Phu Bai, a few miles south of the demilitarized zone between North and South Vietnam. After completing this communication intelligence stint, Granger headed stateside with an Army Commendation medal and a Bronze Star, among other service awards.
Back in Florida, Granger took a series of private-sector jobs, but “within about six months of getting out of the army, I joined the Cocoa Police Department. I stayed there as an officer until October 1980, when I went to work for Wackenhut [later EG&G] at the Kennedy Space Center. They were forming the first SWAT team there as part of the build-up to the shuttle program, and they were looking for certified police officers from the state because, even though it was going to be a private force, the officers would be deputized and have full powers of arrest,” Granger explains.
Then, as now, the space center is home not only to astronauts, scientists, engineers, and technicians but also to thousands of animals and reptiles who live within a designated wildlife preserve. “Kenney Space Center is 140,000-plus acres and about 80,000 to 90,000 of that is swamp, so the SWAT team, while driving and flying around, encountered a lot of bugs, a lot of snakes, and a lot of alligators. We used to joke that the alligators were part of the security force,” Granger recalls.
In 1983, Granger was promoted to SWAT supervision and operations. “I started my security management climb at that point,” he says, progressing from a sergeant to a lieutenant. In 1986, after the tragic loss of the space shuttle Challenger, an opportunity arose for him to become an EG&G resource protection analyst.
After three years in that position, Granger joined Lockheed (later Lockheed Martin), another NASA space operations contractor located at the space center. He began as an industrial security specialist investigator and ended up as the company’s chief investigator.
Lockheed Martin and Rockwell International came together in 1996 to form United Space Alliance to serve as the primary shuttle operations contractor to NASA. The company now supports every aspect of the space shuttle program’s vehicle processing and operations, as well as supporting the International Space Station integration program.
Granger was initially in charge of the industrial security program, including all classified aspects, facilities, physical and technical security, badging, and personnel. “I’d held that position for a few years when I was offered the opportunity to take over operations security as manager of operational security, and subsequently director of security for United Space Alliance. I have oversight of security at Kennedy, of security elements at Johnson Space Center in Houston, and of our personnel internationally where there are United Space Alliance personnel supporting the space station program,” Granger explains.
Today, after its many years of service, the NASA shuttle fleet is verging on retirement, and Granger says he will be sorry to see it go. As of this writing, the shuttle program is scheduled to end in the final quarter of 2010. However, “It may have to extend a little beyond next year, but that is unknown right now. Personally, I would love to see them extend the shuttle out. I think it would be good to reduce the gap between shuttle manned space flight and waiting for the Ares rocket and Orion crew vehicle program to develop,” he states.
Houston, We’ve Landed
In the 1980s, when Granger had become a resource protection analyst, the change in his security management career placed him in unfamiliar territory. “With my background in the military and law enforcement, I was rather lacking in physical security knowledge,” Granger admits. His boss, the former director of security for EG&G, was ASIS member Charles F. Lefew, who sat on what was then the ASIS Physical Security Committee—now Council. “He actively supported participation in ASIS because of the educational opportunities,” Granger says.
At Lefew’s urging, Granger joined ASIS in 1985 and “I went to the first Assets Protection I: Concepts and Methods course and other workshops and educational offerings to teach me what physical security was,” he states. Within a year, Granger had learned so much that he sat for the Certified Protection Professional® (CPP) examination and passed.
As time went by, Granger says that he became “very involved with ASIS. I took advantage of the annual seminar and exhibits for the networking and the chance to learn about new security technologies.” He was also a volunteer leader in his local chapter, Space Coast, serving all the offices and numerous committee positions.
Two of Granger’s mentors were veteran ASIS volunteer leaders Charlie P. McCarthy, CPP, and the late Roy N. Bordes. In discussions with the two, “I was encouraged to join the Physical Security Council that my old boss had been a member of.” He joined the group in 1997.
“I wanted to teach, to give back some of the physical security knowledge that I had struggled for in the mid 1980s,” Granger says. “I started hitting the books and putting together the material for the physical security teaching circuit and became an active instructor and speaker.”
Granger became friends with his fellow council member, Douglas G. Karpiloff, who was then the security and life safety director for the World Trade Center in New York City. “I was scheduled to give my first presentation on conducting physical security surveys. Doug had me to his hotel room, and I stood there with my laptop and gave my entire presentation to him. I was so nervous of speaking in front of my peers. I told him that some of them knew more than I did. He said, ‘Don’t even worry about that. You’re the manager of security for the shuttle program!’ Then he gave me pointers. And with all his good advice in mind, I got up and did it.”
After teaching at the Physical Security Council workshops for several years, Granger moved up to being the group’s chair in 2001.
“On the morning of 9-11, I happened to be on the phone with [ASIS volunteer leader] Charlie Pierce. One of my staff people ran in, saying, ‘Look what just happened to the World Trade Center!’ I remember looking out my office door to where there was a television. The first plane had hit, and you could see the smoke billowing. I said to Charlie Pierce, ‘Turn on your TV!’”
Within a little more than an hour, Granger’s friend Karpiloff was dead. It is believed that he died because he stayed on the job, directing evacuations and response from the World Trade Center’s security command center.
The 9-11 attacks were a personal tragedy for Granger and had a profound effect on security operations at the Space Center and across the industry. “What changed wasn’t the fact that terrorism existed; what changed that day was that someone had taken something not perceived as a weapon of mass destruction and turned it into one, making everyone realize just how vulnerable we were,” he states. “Afterward, it was a bottom-up review of everything we were doing, identifying risks and vulnerabilities and how we were mitigating them.”
Another important realization was that various government agencies were not sharing information. “There were stovepipes, and possibly—just possibly—the attack might have been avoided if communication was better,” Granger says. While communication has improved since the attacks, “There are still challenges. There are still agencies with stovepipes, but not like before 9-11,” he states.
A third post-9-11 realization was that “the majority of critical infrastructure is in the hands of the private sector being watched over by private security,” says Granger. “We started seeing the government reaching out to private security to build partnerships and bridges.”
One Giant Step
After serving as the chair of the Physical Security Council, Granger became a council vice president (CVP). Fellow CVP Bordes phoned Granger, asking him to participate on the task team for the creation of the Society’s new certification, Physical Security Professional® (PSP). “So, I had the opportunity to help lay the groundwork for the PSP. Following the creation of it, I was honored with a call from [ASIS Vice President of Education] Susan Melnicove, who said, ‘Okay, the PSP has become a reality. Now we need to put together a PSP review course.’ So, I brought together a wonderful group of people and formed a faculty and started teaching the review,” he says.
When asked how he trod the path that led to the ASIS presidency, Granger replies that he had had conversations with current board members about running for the board of directors, as well as consulted with his peer and friend Pierce. “Charlie thought I should go for it. So, I threw my name in the hat,” he says. He won the election and joined the board in 2004, becoming secretary in 2007, treasurer in 2008, and president-elect last year.
During his last five years on the board, Granger says that he has been delighted with the growth of ASIS’s international membership and focus. “A lot of people don’t realize that the first international chapter—the European Chapter—was formed the year after ASIS was founded,” notes Granger, adding that since the Society changed its name to ASIS International, it has made enormous strides. “We now have international members on the board and one [Eduard J. Emde, CPP, consultancy manager for Interseco of Wassenaar, The Netherlands] on the Board Management Committee in line for the presidency.”
Granger notes that the Society is preparing to hold its 8th Annual European Conference and 4th Annual Asia-Pacific Conference, as well as its first Middle East Conference. “That’s another major step for ASIS. What the Society can offer—the networking, the educational opportunities for security in its purest forms—it crosses all boundaries. It’s not national, it’s professional,” he says. As ASIS president, Granger will be attending these events, some with his wife of nearly 30 years, Linda Jill, known to all as L. J.
Seeing the ASIS certifications become international has also pleased Granger. “The PSP is a certification that is not U.S.-centric because it doesn’t involve national laws, tort laws…. It is security in its purest form no matter what country you are in,” he states.
Yet another high point of his board career has been the Society changing from “simply being a guidelines-writing organization to [being] a standards-writing organization, not just in the United States, but internationally,” he says.
“I think that ASIS is going in the right direction—continuing to look for venues to get the brand name out there, continuing to write standards, striving to be the recognized worldwide leader in security education and other strategic objectives,” Granger states.
What would he like to tell ASIS members? “I was former military intelligence and law enforcement, and I turned to ASIS and discovered a whole new world out there. Up until that time, my opinion of the security world was like a lot of people’s—they immediately envision just security guards. I would never diminish the value of guards, by the way, because they are the backbone of our industry. I’m merely pointing out that most people don’t have a clue about the varied disciplines and facets of security. This is what I discovered when I joined ASIS and attended its functions. ASIS turns on the light to show what is really out there, including the many career paths possible,” he says, concluding, “There’s a lot you can do, and ASIS helps you to get there.”
Exactly four minutes after the end of the interview, the Ares 1-X blasted off the Kennedy Space Center launch pad, heading skyward, presaging future manned journeys to the moon, Mars, and beyond.
♦ Ann Longmore-Etheridge is an associate editor of Security Management and editor of ASIS Dynamics.