Security Countermeasures

Step #10: Determine if Existing Countermeasures are Sufficient to Address Possible Attack Scenarios. Security countermeasures envisage a four-tier approach, involving deterrence, detection, delay, and response. These four components are described briefly below. Persons wishing a detailed discussion of security countermeasures should obtain a copy of the "Protection of Assets Manual," published by the American Society of Industrial Security (

Deterrent countermeasures either discourage terrorists from considering your facility or stop attacks in progress. For example, pop-up bollards in roadways may be used to stop an intruding vehicle. Large earthen berms around storage tanks serve double duty to stop a vehicle and contain a chemical spill. Real or dummy video cameras can cause a terrorist to consider another target.

Delay countermeasures slow the progress of a terrorist attack, or delay its onset. Many people believe that fences are a deterrent countermeasure. Not so: a fence takes but a few seconds to get through. Rather, fences are a delay countermeasure, which cause a terrorist to conduct surveillance from a distance, making it take longer to establish plans. This gives more time for facility personnel to realize they are being watched and to involve law enforcement. Tall, thick, thorny bushes may be even more effective then fences (or can supplement them), because they are much harder to get through and see through.

Detect countermeasures allow facility personnel to identify surveillance and incipient attack. Security cameras play an important role in detection, and recent developments in software make it possible to pick unusual behavior out of crowds for more thorough investigation. Entry alarms and proximity alarms are additional detection countermeasures. In extremely sensitive cases, detection coun-termeasures may be set a distance away from the facility to identify a possible attack before it arrives at the boundary.

Military or submilitary response to a terrorist attack is something best prepared for well in advance of an attack, and such plans should be the result of involvement of law enforcement in cases where significant consequences coincide with a vulnerable target. However, in many plants using toxic materials, a military response may be inappropriate, as it may be possible for the military response to cause the same kind of consequence that the terrorist intended to cause. For example, if it becomes necessary for armed personnel to protect chemical facilities, they must be well trained to avoid such events.

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