Electric utilities are already highly regulated when it comes to securing critical cyber assets, but an incident in Silicon Valley last year has brought physical security to the forefront for the industry. At 1 a.m. on April 16, 2013, just one day after the Boston Marathon bombings, someone using automatic rifles opened fire on the Metcalf transmission substation, shooting for a full 19 minutes and leaving the scene only one minute before the police arrived.
The aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing demonstrated the power of an effective emergency response. Law enforcement officials immediately snapped into action to control the situation; protect the victims, spectators, and athletes; and move mountains to identify and track down the suspects. A lot went right in the first minutes, hours, and days after the bombing, thanks in part to the advanced preparation of the agencies involved.
I can only imagine what it feels like sending children off to college – launching them from the protective environment of home into the world of higher education. It’s where they begin to shape the future – or at least their own. After experiencing the ‘teen years’ I’m sure many parents feel some degree of relief. But that doesn’t take away from the worry for their children’s safety at their newfound ‘home away from home.’
The 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. The 2014 Asian Games in South Korea. These events are spread across the world stage, so what do they have in common? First is the obvious need for heightened security. In such large public events, security threats and operational situations can evolve fast and have negative, even catastrophic consequences. So the time between understanding that something bad is happening and responding to that “something bad” needs to be condensed.
In recent years, active shooter incidents have become more frequent and widespread. Just look at some of the incidents over the last 15 years – Columbine, Newtown, Virginia Tech, the Aurora movie theater shooting, the Naval Ship Yard shooting.
The FAA defines runway incursions as “any occurrence in the airport runway environment involving an aircraft, vehicle, person or object on the ground that creates a collision hazard or results in a loss of required separation with an aircraft taking off, intending to take off, landing, or intending to land.”
Transit passengers have simple expectations. They want to arrive at their destinations on time and safely. But given everything that can go wrong, delivering consistently high levels of service can be complicated. Service can be impacted by everything from signal failures and adverse weather conditions to mechanical failures, collisions, derailments, and even acts of terrorism.
When Congress passed legislation to create the FirstNet (the First Responder Network Authority) just over two years ago, the idea of building a nationwide broadband network for first responders seemed a massive undertaking. Now that 2013 is in the rear view mirror, some would say it’s still a lofty goal, even though progress has been made.
While collaboration before, during and after incidents is as old as time, what is new is a wave of technologies that make it far easier to communicate and manage tasks, people and other resources in both public and private sectors. This marks a significant shift from individual organizations running siloed systems to a community of organizations sharing vital information that affects security, safety and operations.
Few sports fans want to consider security risks as they embrace the excitement of the Olympic Games. Looking back two years ago, many of the security concerns in the weeks before London 2012 were eventually mitigated by the British Army and helped pave the way for perhaps the most successful Games in recent years.