Although terrorism has always existed somewhere in the world, never before has it struck the Western world with such violence, unpredictability, and with such catastrophic results. Domestic and foreign terrorism is on the rise, with contractor workers and government agents in particular danger.
9/11, Oklahoma City, the Boston Marathon Bombing, the November 2015 Paris attacks, the 2004 Madrid train bombing, and so many more. The whole world can seem like a powder keg about to blow. But within that powder keg organizations must successfully mitigate terrorism risks to protect its employees, clients, properties, and products.
A strong and robust terrorism risk management plan must be developed to prepare for all possible threats. And this begins with a strong understanding of the risks to organizational assets. Threats can be explosive, such as the Oklahoma City bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in 1995.
Threats can be chemical, biological, or radiological. The ricin letters sent to the U.S. government officials in April 2013 is an example of biological terrorism. Large cities such as New York and Chicago have been preparing for the possibility of a dirty bomb (a conventional bomb loaded with radiological material). Terrorism risk management must also consider the possibility of external or internal threats. Mass shootings can begin internally, from an organizations own employees.
And while management is in all likelihood aware of the general risks of terrorism, it takes experts in the field to properly assess risk. Terrorism risk management experts will understand the potential for employee or client casualties, damage to property, disruption in business services, and the liability that comes with those events.
They will make a detailed assessment of all threats that takes into account the location of employees and property and the level of security currently provided. The type of organization will also play a large role. All this information will help assess if the location is a “soft” or “hard” target, i.e. one that is easy or difficult to attack. Then solutions must be carefully proposed and implemented in order to successfully limit the risk to human, property, and financial assets.