The Raven Group | 28 December 2017
Intelligence Challenges for Security Professionals
Recent terrorist attacks in the US and Europe reinforce the need for heightened public awareness and increased security at places such as sports arenas, concert venues, large shopping areas, places of worship, mass transit systems, and other areas where large groups of people tend to congregate and gather. Many businesses have relied on local law enforcement and federal government agencies to identify and thwart terrorist attacks, focusing business security efforts on crime prevention and general safety. With shrinking budgets and growing threats, businesses cannot afford to risk the safety of their employees, clients, and reputation on purely governmental efforts. More proactive measures have to be employed by the private sector to protect patrons, employees, and the brand.
Considering the increase in radical Islamic terrorist attacks, domestic terrorist attacks, mass shooting events, and other large-scale criminal activities (e.g. gang violence, nacro-terrorists, etc) private businesses end up taking a much more active role in security operations. State and local law enforcement work diligently to protect the public but often are not given ample intelligence resources to predict attacks and identify adversaries in advance. They are often forced to be reactive vice proactive. Even the federal government must choose where to allocate resources and cannot stop 100% of terrorist and criminal attacks on the public. As 2017 comes to a close, we have seen terrorists attack concert venues, sport stadiums, subways, open air markets, pedestrian centers, hotels, places of worship, and many others. They have employed suicide bombs, turned vehicles into weapons, attempted to conduct mass stabbings, and conducted mass shootings of peaceful events.
As DHS has noted, “continued successes aimed at disrupting and defeating terrorist groups overseas may encourage homegrown terrorists inside the United States to carry out acts of violence. Additionally, foreign terrorist fighters, who have acquired training and battle-tested
terrorism experience, are likely to flee from terrorist-controlled territories with a desire to
conduct attacks elsewhere, including the United States. Some of these individuals may be
U.S. citizens or citizens of other nations attempting to travel to the United States on visas, from visa-waiver countries, with the aim of attacking the homeland or inciting others within our borders to conduct attacks.”
Defensive Intelligence Collection & Analysis
While no intelligence collection is 100% perfect, corporate and private security need to expand their intelligence capabilities in order to alert their security personnel to possible attacks and violent crimes. Assuming government agencies will be able to identify threats specific to your business or venue is not a wise strategic gamble. Advance warning is essential in thwarting attacks and crimes. It allows security professionals to be proactive vice purely reactive. Since ancient times intelligence has been essential. Techniques have changed over the years but the need for larger amounts of – and more precise – intelligence continues to grow.
While a continual defensive intelligence program for a company is best, establishing one that can expand and contract as needed balances bottom lines. Some large corporations stand up internal defensive intelligence security centers; however, such undertakings can be costly and lack flexibility. They tend to be restrained by the knowledge, skills, and abilities of the staff hired and their success depends not just on their tools, but how effective and flexible those tools are employed. Outside defensive intelligence contractors can be more flexible and able to expand and contract on demand to cover special events or particular situations. For example, an NFL stadium is used by the home team for 10-12 games per year counting the pre-season schedule. Often times these stadiums are used by baseball teams, concerts, and other large gatherings during the off season. Security at NFL games is paramount given the large crowds in confined spaces that form around the event. Security managers for these stadiums require a high level of defensive intelligence support during the 10-12 game season to focus on the teams and sports fans, but when the stadium is not in use for weeks on end, there is little need for large scale defensive intelligence collection for stadium security.
NFL teams would be prudent to have defensive intelligence collection programs in place covering owners, executives, coaches, and at a minimum their top players, but this is a different level of effort and expense when compared to a collection & analysis program covering NFL games frequented by tens of thousands of people.
Likewise, a Las Vegas casino has a high level of traffic on any given day of the year and would greatly benefit from a robust defensive intelligence collection program. When special events are planned that would likely increase crowds, security managers will want collection expanded to cover these events. Keeping the experts needed on staff for an internal team would be ineffective from a cost perspective. Professional defensive intelligence providers can expand and contract collection, leveraging the specific expertise only when needed, solving the balance between cost effectiveness and a strong security posture.
Defensive intelligence collection programs are highly valuable to security professionals, but are dependent on the tools being used to collect intelligence and the experts operating the programs and analyzing the information. Some firms have analysts who comb through news feeds and conduct internet searches to look for potential threat information for their clients. They may employ different social media search tools and conduct link analysis. Others focus on more traditional HUMINT sources and have networks of informants in areas to report on criminal activities and other information. While both can provide a certain level of information, they only go so deep. Identifying adversaries along with their plans & intentions, is critical. This is only accomplished with cutting edge technology and expert level operations & analysis.
Raven utilizes proprietary Artificial Intelligence (AI) to collect defensive intelligence from across the dark web, internet, social media, various adversary communication channels, and many other sources around the world. Raven’s cadre of former US Intelligence Officers formulates collection plans and analyzes the collected information to address the specific needs of each client. With decades of experience all over the world, Raven’s consultants provide highly insightful analysis and recommendations. Not simply providing data, Raven works with clients to collect the defensive intelligence they need, help them to interpret and understand it, and make the best-informed decisions possible.
Sports stadiums, concert venues, hotels, casinos, shopping areas, mass transit systems, manufactures, utility companies, state & local law enforcement, K-12 school district, universities, corporate executives, celebrities, and high-net worth individuals are just some of those who have benefited from Raven’s services. “Forewarned is Forearmed”
The Raven Group provides unsurpassed Defensive Intelligence Collection & Analysis services for corporate and private clients. Raven also offers Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions for video and audio monitoring & analysis. Utilizing cutting edge technology and decades of experience, Raven gives clients a means to greatly enhance their security posture and knowledge.