Sunday, November 9, 2008

Reactive vs. Proactive

Reactive vs. Proactive
In the past, democratic societies have built security and law enforcement frameworks that were reactive in nature. Personnel respond to events only after they occur, focusing on how to deal with emergencies rather than how to deal with threats being posed in the moment. Risk managers calculate statistical probability based on threats that have already manifested into events. However, one cannot calculate the posed threat on a target. For example, one cannot know for sure how many people want to kill the CEO of a major corporation. One can only measure the number of attempted assassinations on similar targets, and via that data assess (calculate) the risk, as opposed to threat. An emergency is tangible; it is something that can be seen and its impact measured. A threat, on the other hand, is intangible and highly abstract. It cannot be easily measured or assessed. This fact, that we cannot calculate threat, requires that we respond to threat as though it were a constant and immediate factor and that we act proactively in its mitigation.
The necessary working assumption that has to be made by security and law enforcement personnel is that the terrorist event will happen today. And the only way we can prepare for it is by becoming hunters instead of fishermen. We have to look for threats and suspicions and not wait for threat to manifest itself in the form of an emergency. To this end, to work effectively, every law enforcement and security officer must have a clear understanding of the differences between suspicion, threat and risk.
Suspicion: An indication based on known (or predicted) terrorist and criminal methods of operation or deviation from a typical profile that may lead one to believe that an observed situation (persons and/or objects) may have the potential for harming the protected environment and its inhabitants.
Threat: A suspicion that was not refuted and therefore indicates the possibility that a dangerous situation may occur.
Risk:The probability of a dangerous scenario to occur based on the occurrences of the scenario in the past.
It is very important to differentiate between threat and suspicion. The definition of suspicion presents a situation where suspicion is potentially abundant. Ninety nine percent of the time, suspicion is refuted after evaluation and the suspicious situation becomes a non-threatening situation.

(source: Chamelion)

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