Throughout history, we have continuously relied on a reactive response to crime and terrorism. If a criminal shoots at a courthouse from across the street, we install bulletproof glass. If a gunman smuggles a weapon into an airport, we install metal detectors. If terrorists park a car loaded with explosives at the entrance to a federal building, we install concrete barriers to keep all cars away.
Those measures haven’t succeeded in stopping the threat; they have only succeeded in moving the threat to a different location. As a country, we continue to chase the tactics that criminals, insurgents and terrorists use to instill fear. We know that our nation’s survival is dependent on our ability to regain the initiative, but we also know that it won’t be easy. Our enemies are constantly learning. They are constantly searching for our weaknesses and looking for ways to exploit them. Relying on a reactive approach to security won’t do enough to protect us.
Evaluate all of the security “solutions” that are advertised in our country from the vantage point of the terrorist who believes in the saying: “why attack the mighty lion when there are so many sheep to be had.” The reality is that the more we harden some buildings the more vulnerable we make others.
So why do I believe in behavioral analysis? Because there is no way we can barricade all of the soft targets in our country but those buildings need the ability to identify people the people targeting and conducting surveillance on them.
We have the books of history to show that relying on technology alone will not solve our problems or provide complete protection. With the events that have occurred over the last year in Colorado, Wisconsin, Connecticut, and California, the sense of security in our office spaces, schools, malls, and movie theaters has been violated. The one constant between all these locations is that there have been people there. There have been people who saw the attacker before the event took place, but who weren’t trained to accurately read the intentions and capabilities of that person with violent intentions.
Why do I believe in behavioral analysis? Because all of these attacks took place in areas with people, that means they can be identified and stopped.
This requires education in behavioral analysis, and means we need a shift in mindset throughout the military, law enforcement and security industries. It means we need to stop trying to “man new equipment” and instead focus on “better equipping the man (or woman).” Let’s educate people on how to better understand human behavior and to quickly solve problems. Thinkers will still be able to operate when technology has changed, when technology has failed, or when technology was the target of the attack.
Problem solving begins by understanding the situation and making sense of what you are looking at. Only then can a decision be made about what needs to be done. This means you have to establish a baseline for the area that you are in. How do people normally act in this situation? Who, or what, here is above the baseline and is something that we wouldn’t normally expect to see in this situation? What is missing from this situation?
So why behavioral analysis? Because the uncontrollable and universal elements of behavior are ones we can learn to observe and incorporate into our decisions. This can get us further and further left of bang, because anomalies will stand out more and more once we know what to focus our attention on.
Why behavioral analysis? Because the goal is confidence, not fear.