Changing Needs of Critical Infrastructure

The critical infrastructure remains in the spotlight, even more than 10 years after 9/11. According to the Department of Homeland Security, the goal is to build a “safer, more secure and more resilient America.” And that’s where the savvy systems...

The term “connectivity” is usually used in conjunction with high-tech. But Michael A. Novak, sales account manager, instructor and vice president of the personnel protection program at Spokane, Wash.-based Kodiak Security Services, believes the human factor is still critical in security and, in fact, enhances the technological aspect.

“We found that most security firms providing guards might train them with eight hours of video and eight hours hands-on,” Novak said. “But we also provide 400-plus hours of additional training. We provide practical and tactical handcuffing, baton, pepper spray and other procedures. But, on top of that, we teach aggressive management behavior, or how to understand people’s body language. How is he standing, or folding his arms or walking? Is there something about him or her that bears watching?”

Much of Kodiak’s work in this regard is done at the Spokane International Airport. One of its services is providing anonymously appearing guards for VIPs. Novak recalled one incident in which “a man displayed a certain body language. Actually, it was the way he walked, which alerted us. He stood out a little, so we were able to stop something bad from happening.”


Body language and observation

Novak explained that these observational techniques, again from people who appear to be simply other passengers, are used to enhance established technology. For instance, the boarding screening is felt by many to be too intrusive. But, as the recent news has shown, a terrorist plot to get a man with a bomb implanted in his buttocks was foiled not by the screening procedure, but by a ‘mole’ who infiltrated the terrorist group. Therefore, Novak said, his company has guards who appear as other passengers observing those who go through the screening points, to try to spot any telltale body language.

This system also works in conjunction with a wireless camera, a system which can be located a few miles away or up on top of a building. “If we see something that just doesn’t look right, our best officers are alerted.”

The critical infrastructure and perimeter security go hand in hand, and it takes a variety of techniques and tactics to get the comprehensive coverage the end user needs to protect people, places and assets.



Thomas Dolan is a freelance writer to SD&I magazine.