Exclusive Roundtable: 9/11 Lessons Learned

Five security experts take a forward-thinking look at security and public safety 10 years after the events of Sept. 11, 2001

Ten years have passed since 19 terrorist hijackers forever changed the domestic security landscape of the United States. Not only did the attacks claim the lives of nearly 3,000 innocent people, they led to the creation of government agencies and new regulations for air travel.

While the focus of most security efforts in the wake of 9/11 have been on protecting airplanes and other critical infrastructure, the attacks have also dramatically altered the way corporate executives develop security plans. In this SecurityInfoWatch.com/STE exclusive roundtable-in-print, current and former security executives discuss the impact that 9/11 has had on their profession and the future of corporate security moving forward.

The experts:

  • Timothy Giles, president of Risk/Security Management & Consulting and former director of security at IBM
  • Randy Harrison, managing director, corporate security, Delta Air Lines
  • Keith L. Kambic, director of security and life safety-Willis Tower, U.S. Equities Asset Management
  • John Tello, assistant director, safety & security, Boston Properties
  • Carlos Villarreal, senior vice president, commercial real estate security services, Whelan Security

 How did 9/11 impact the way security executives go about protecting large commercial properties like the World Trade Center?

Kambic: Large commercial properties naturally come with a lot of different considerations. There is no “one size fits all” solution. Security directors must evaluate their program based upon the specific types of businesses that are housed within their property and the risks that may be associated with them. For example, large commercial buildings often house many different types of tenants which may carry risk as well as retail and even tourist attractions. I believe that 9/11 has made the security executive of any type of property much more accountable for their department as it relates not only to protection of the property, but also life safety of the occupants and business continuity for resilience.



Harrison: Protecting large buildings and landmarks since 9/11 has changed in three distinct ways: technology, law enforcement partnering, and intelligence gathering. The necessities and advancement in technology since 9/11 have enabled security to couple historic guard force protection with technology capability to better protect assets. Technology capability advancements provide for better access control capabilities, monitoring and controlling the movement of personnel, automatically alarming for inappropriate movements or out of place items, and better video capabilities to identify threats. These elements coupled with guard force resources provide a much better informed and process capable program. Private security and local law enforcement forces are much more aligned in sharing information and monitoring local threats. These connections allow for real-time sharing of information and collective action when threats do arise.



Villarreal: Prior to 9/11, most commercial properties were concerned about the “office creeper” walking into a building and stealing lap-top computers, phones, and personal items such as expensive clothing, jewelry and cash. Sept. 11 changed the dynamics of security planning from protecting against property theft to protecting buildings and people against large-scale catastrophic events. Today, security executives must plan for efficient strategies to control and monitor both public and vehicle access into buildings and parking garages. How, when and what are the triggers points to conduct a full building evacuation is a major issue in the planning stages of a security program.



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