canstockphoto25097884It’s 2016 and have you set your New Year’s Resolutions yet? Not the ones you’ll forget about in two weeks, but the ones that will make your airport, your airline, your facility, yourself, a hard target when it comes to terrorist and criminal threats.

I know it’s a busy time of the year, so let me help you out with a few suggestions. For the year 2016, resolve to:

  1. Get a solid understanding of the major threats to aviation today and test the plans you have in place to deter or mitigate these threats. 
  2. Contribute your knowledge to the industry.
  3. Incorporate Security Management Systems (SeMS) into your operations.

There, that wasn’t so hard was it? Well, perhaps we need some more explanation. The goal setting guru’s tell us not to set goals like “lose weight,” or “exercise more.” We need actionable things – things we can do and measure and know when they’ve been achieved. So here are some more suggestions:

  1. Get a solid understanding of the major threats to aviation today. 
    1. Read at least 3 books about ISIS, or other terrorist groups, and subscribe to at least 3 magazines and/or internet feeds on existing threats. Some off the cuff suggestions include Aviation Security International magazine, the Stratfor or SITE Intelligence websites, and the Southern Poverty Law Center’s site (focus on domestic terror and crime).
    2. Have a firm active shooter plan in place for your facility and/or your personnel, and EXERCISE the plan. How has your plan changed since the incidents of 2015 (Paris, San Bernardino and Colorado Springs). 
    3. Conduct internal and external reviews of the incident management sections within the Airport Security Program – do they address the existing threats to the level that you would expect them to be addressed? If it was your family in the terminal or the airplane when the incident occurs, have you done what you would expect others to do, to ensure your team is the most prepared, tested, trained and equipped to handle the threat? Exercise all of these elements in mini-tabletops throughout the year.
  2. Contribute your knowledge to the industry
    1. Attend at least two aviation security conferences this year, and present on something you’ve learned. You can present on something more internal, such as credentialing, access control, contingency planning, or more external, like how you’ve modified your incident management plan through better cooperation and agreements with off-airport responders.
    2. Here’s are some topics you can research and bring to the forefront to share your knowledge:
      1. What has your airport, airline, facility etc., done to reduce the risks presented by cybersecurity?
      2. What has your airport, airline, facility etc., done to reduce the risks of the insider threat?
      3. What has your airport, airline, facility etc., done to reduce the risks of an individual introducing a bomb or weapon to the aircraft through pathways other than the screening checkpoint, or baggage/cargo system (i.e. perimeter security).
  3. Incorporate Security Management Systems (SeMS) into your operations.
    1. Read up on SeMS and become familiar with the vocabulary.
    2. Decide to incorporate it at either a full level, or at least within one area of your business that relates to protecting the aircraft. 

I’d also encourage you to set a few other goals this year, as they relate to security incidents, credentialing, etc. Think about the number of lost badges, or the number of employee violations of security, or the number of perimeter or access control door/gate breaches you’ve had in the past. Now, set this year’s number lower, and determine what actions you or your staff can take in order to meet that lower number (or even get lower than that).

As with any other good goal setting program, make sure you set benchmarks, timelines, and check accountability along the way. These are goals you should NOT forget about in two weeks. Your role is much to important. 

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