In the aftermath of the shooting last week at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., a reader of The CP Journal, sent be the below video clip. I wanted to pass it on. Last week we released a new e-book, Perception and Reality, and, while the topic for the articles and video-based development was chosen months in advance, the book answers many of the questions that Aaron Cohen raises in his Fox News interview (in the below clip). As you watch the video, listen to the key points that Cohen raises regarding how our country and the security industry can prevent these types of attacks from occurring.
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Neil: I’ve got Aaron Cohen our national security analyst. Aaron from what you heard, and our authority said that they quickly wanted to take this guy down because if they didn’t he would have kept shooting. It looks like within an hour after they got there it was done, but he had already done a great deal of damage.
Aaron: Yeah, the response protocol, Neil, for what they call an active shooter, which is what we saw or what the chief was explaining, is that they obviously have a joint or a multi-agency task force, that’s properly armed and equipped to be able to respond to that type of threat. They show up to that location and the goal of the active shooter team is to just chop seconds off the ability of the shooter to fire rounds, so essentially, every second you waste another innocent person can be killed. I think they did a great job with the response. The red flag for me and the congress woman, when she was speaking to the media, said we don’t want to pass judgment. But listen, the truth is you have to pass judgment when it comes to our nation’s security, especially at a facility that is designed to protect our nation.
So, the question I have is, where was the failure in the system? And how do we prevent or maintain this multi-layered security system that we’ve heard repeated over the last ten years since 9/11? Clearly, a specific person potentially too Neil, was able to get in to one of the most historic naval facilities in the country and open fire. So one of these layers failed. And so my question is how did it fail? I would begin looking out again the training of the security at the facility. And again it’s how do we identify the murderer? Which we’ve learned in Israel, I don’t need to make this Israeli specific, but what we have learned over years is, the profile of a murderer is the same before he commits the act of murder as it is afterwards. There are red flag indicators. So it’s really time, again I think, to start getting out of this lackadaisical thing in terms of the amount of time we’ve had away from 9/11. Reinvigorate it, and we do that by constantly challenging our security. It’s almost an art form. If you are not challenging the security, then eventually it becomes complacent.
Neil: One of the things we do know about Aaron Alexis is that he did work there. We don’t know whether it was on a full time basis. But we do know he was familiar to people there. So do you think that the security process, he was treated more leniently than others who might not be familiar? So people checking IDs, checking security as they go through various stages of the system.
Aaron: I know from having provided many security hours of protection to schools here in Los Angeles, and around the country, that there is a sort of security rhythm that begins to take shape. And you do often build relationships with people that you are familiar with and it speeds up the security system and it’s okay to have that. If, in fact, you can verify that everybody who is moving in and out of that security system are people who are supposed to be there. So if, in fact, I don’t want to speculate because we are still investigating or the law enforcement agents are still investigating. Trying to figure out exactly what his motives are.
But the fact is there is somebody who is not supposed to be on the property that information has to get collated and has to be collated immediately. And again I think that goes back to what we call ‘wet system testing’ or ‘red teaming’. Making sure that all of these layers function properly, so that in the event of attack, whether it’s terror related or whether it’s an extremist or disgruntled employee, the fact is Neil, it’s still the same tactic that’s being used which is trying to kill as many people in the shortest period of time in order to achieve whatever your goal was. That testing, I think, it’s really what’s critical here. And I think that’s what’s going to reinvigorate everything.
Neil: Aaron Cohen thank you very much. Just up-
A few of the points that Cohen believes the security industry should address can be summarized with the following issues:
– How do we prevent a person from penetrating a multi-layered security system?
– How do we identify an attacker who is familiar to the people tasked with securing the building?
– How can we continually challenge and test the security system to ensure that an attacker is identified?
Many people who watched this interview or have read the increasing number of articles in the press discussing the need for a behavioral approach to threat recognition are left without a clear way forward to begin implementing such an approach. Our new e-book in the behavioral library, Perception and Reality: A Lethal Divide, provides many of the answers that security providers need to get to the next level of safety, including:
– An article that discusses the risk that schools are exposed to when administrators believe they have created a secure learning environment but treat their school as a habitual area.
– A video development article that is focused on the behaviors of a person responsible for ensuring that outsiders are kept out of a secured building and what behaviors would alert a security guard to an insider who stands out from the baseline.
– An article with a method to incorporate behavioral analysis into the red cell portion of a security assessment.
As violent incidents continue to occur in areas that we expect to be safe, the e-book provides readers with practical steps they can take to begin securing their anchor points.