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I saw active service in conventional, clandestine and covert units of the South African Defence Force. I was the founder of the Private Military Company (PMC) Executive Outcomes in 1989 and its chairman until I left in 1997. Until its closure in 1998, EO operated primarily in Africa helping African governments that had been abandoned by the West and were facing threats from insurgencies, terrorism and organised crime. EO also operated in South America and the Far East. I believe that only Africans (Black and White) can truly solve Africa’s problems. I was appointed Chairman of STTEP International in 2009 and also lecture at military colleges and universities in Africa on defence, intelligence and security issues. Prior to the STTEP International appointment, I served as an independent politico-military advisor to several African governments. I am a contributor to The Counter Terrorist magazine. All comments in line with the topics on this blog are welcome. As I consider this to be a serious look at military and security matters, foul language and political or religious debates will not be entertained on this blog.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

A (VERY) BRIEF LOOK AT PHYSICAL SECURITY

In a world where unemployment is on the rise, financial institutions are in melt-down and an ever-decreasing ability of law enforcement agencies to curb crime, it is obvious that crime will escalate. Coupled to these contributors to crime are marches, protests and riots that use a mass of normally law-abiding citizens as a cover to establish a base for anarchy to flourish. The recent actions witnessed at the G20 and NATO meetings reflect this growing problem. This, in turn, creates a viable base for terrorist actions to be implemented.

Physical security is usually defined as the protection of buildings, personnel, hardware, programmes, networks, other assets and data from violent and non-violent physical actions that can cause loss (of life) or damage to a facility, company, enterprise, agency or an institution. Such violent and non-violent actions include pilfering, theft, burglary, sabotage, fire, vandalism and terrorism. But, breaching the physical security of a building or facility in order to carry out acts such as smuggling contraband, planting of false evidence, laying a bomb and so on create additional challenges to physical security.

It is in this world of growing lawlessness that Private Security Companies (PSCs) that specialise in Physical Security can play a very important role. What can be somewhat disconcerting is that there are PSCs who have no knowledge of - or experience in – providing a professional physical security service and instead rely on exploiting a potential client’s concerns.

The aim of physical security is to protect the client’s (a person, company, institution and so on) home, vehicles, buildings, offices, facilities or such like against violent and non-violent actions, including additional activities such as industrial espionage.

Unfortunately, there are those that view physical security as an irritation that needs to be implemented in order to simply “go through the motions”. Even more unfortunate is the fact that some PSCs view physical security as simply “guarding” – and the cheaper the guards, the more profit the PSC accrues.

Physical security is much like a military defensive position where every effort is made to prevent a breach into the defensive area. This requires detailed planning and is not simply a matter of guards, gates and locks, although these assets do play an invaluable role.

Developing a physical security plan for a client requires the PSC to look beyond the box and not only focus on the obvious. This can include breaking down the potential target into three distinct yet interrelated areas, all mutually-supporting, and include the:

· Area of Responsibility
· Area of Influence
· Area of Interest.

The Area of Responsibility requires the setting up of obstacles to hamper/deny and prevent any attacker from physically breaching the facility or system in order to carry out their attack. This hardening of the facility or site can include walls and electrified fences, gates and access control systems, multiple locks, restricted areas, computer programmes, trained static and roaming guards, fireproof safes, covert cameras with day/night abilities, alarms and so on.

The Area of Influence is the second line of defence of the facility or installation. This area is usually seen as covering any potential threats or access routes to the facility that lie beyond the perimeter and can include heat and motion detectors and sensors, lighting, dogs, intrusion detectors and alarms, low-light cameras, access monitoring on approaches to the facility or installation, roaming guards and so forth.

The Area of Interest lies beyond the facility or installation and requires monitoring by means of cameras or information gathering in order to provide prior warning of a pending attack.

Interlinked with this layered approach must be a method to swiftly apprehend attackers before they can succeed in their aims. This is usually done by means of a Quick Reaction Force (QRF) that can rapidly respond with the necessary means and force. This is another contribution a professional PSC can make to protect a client.

The aim of physical security is to both deter attackers and convince attackers that the likely threat of detection and apprehension exceeds the risk of even making the attack.

Hardening and securing a facility, home, building or area is expensive. But, if the physical security plan is professionally developed, the costs are well worth the effort. Not only does such a plan give peace of mind to the client, it adds to the overall safety and security of the work environment.

39 comments:

graycladunits said...

Dear Sir:

I interpret that the bad guys would encounter the area of interest first, then the area of influence, and last the area responsibility. Am I right?

Also, do you foresee the world gradually sinking into anarchy or an apocalyptic point permanently or just until the world economic situation improves?

Lastly, since Easter is approaching, I was wondering if you could do a blog on the importance or lack thereof that religion/spirituality play in the military and security realm...For instance, how did you feel about compulsory church attendance in the SADF? This is unheard of in the US Army. Also, do you think religion/spirituality can have a positive effect on the performance or lives of soldiers both in and out of battle? If not, I understand.

Sincerely, graycladunits

matt said...

Excellent topic, and it is pure meat and potatoes security stuff. Most of the jobs in this industry, are exactly this kind of thing, and the cool guy PSD or Convoy Ops or whatever high speed operation you can think of is not really the norm. So I was glad to see you write this one up Eeben, because it is pertinent.

The way I look at physical security, is exactly the way I looked at setting up defensive positions in the infantry. You are constantly improving the defense, and constantly managing all the little details to insure that you are increasing the odds of survival for the customer and yourself. It is a very Kaizen intensive activity. It is a team effort that requires discipline and stamina, to continue to be focused on this stuff on every shift. For a manager, it is 24/7, and if you really care, you will find it hard to fall asleep sometimes. But you must sleep, and you must do what you can to stay combat effective.

It can also be boring, but that is what makes it so challenging for those involved. It requires constant vigilance and attention to detail, and for some guys with attention deficit disorder, or who are used to kicking in doors on some raid every other day, or firefights daily in some crap hole, then this kind of thing can be a huge turn off. Or not.

Some guys like the solitude and peace of these types of assignments. The road or constant combat can wear on a guy, or they might have a family. But even these guys can slip into the trap of thinking that these types of gigs are low key and do not require their full effort. And that is when things happen. Murphy's Law applies.

With that said, a lot of guys in this industry just don't get this stuff. Or you get guys who say they are 'too cool' for that, or 'I don't need to do that, because it will never happen' or 'I am a former Navy SEAL, I will be able to handle it on my own when the shit goes down'. Pffft. It is a team effort, and it requires everyone to give equal effort and for everyone to care about the process. Which brings me to leadership.

Every contract I have ever been on, I could always tell the quality of the assignment, by how strong the leadership was on site. It is a strong leader, who has an excellent grasp of the fundamentals, who can keep everyone in line and insure the job is carried out to the best of everyone's abilities. The contracts with weak leaders, who could care less about doing a good job or customer satisfaction or taking care of their troops, are the contracts that make me cringe.

What Eeben describes sounds simple and basic, and it is, but there are still folks out there that screw this up. And when it comes to the kind of guys I want around me on a contract like that, they should be the type of folks that care about doing it right, and do it right when no one is looking.

I would even recommend managers to test their employees and contractors, to ensure they do things right when they are not looking. There are a number of things you can do, to test the integrity of your crew and your imagination is your limit. And when they screw up, there should be some disciplinary action in place to correct them. That disciplinary action should also be fair and consistent. That means you treat the SF trooper, the same way you would treat the Marine grunt, or SADF trooper, or whatever country and military unit. When you play favorites, you kill your effectiveness as a leader and you lose big time respect in my book. Don't do it.

Know your stuff, have the courage to do what is right, and take care of your people.

The other one that kills me for gigs, is the simple things that guys screw up. In the Marines, I learned the 11 general orders, and I still apply many of these concepts to today's contracts. Of course some are pretty military specific and not applicable, but still, they are good reference for guys. Here they are:

11 General Orders for Marine Sentries


General Order 1
To take charge of this post and all government property in view.

General Order 2
To walk my post in a military manner, keeping always on the alert and observing everything that takes place within sight or hearing.

General Order 3
To report all violations of orders I am instructed to enforce.

General Order 4
To repeat all calls from posts more distant from the guardhouse than my own.

General Order 5
To quit my post only when properly relieved.

General Order 6
To receive, obey and pass on to the sentry who relieves me all orders from the commanding officer, officer of the day, and officers and noncommissioned officers of the guard only.

General Order 7
To talk to no one except in the line of duty.

General Order 8
To give the alarm in case of fire or disorder.

General Order 9
To call the corporal of the guard in any case not covered by instructions.

General Order 10
To salute all officers and all colors and standards not cased.

General Order 11
To be especially watchful at night, and during the time for challenging, to challenge all persons on or near my post and to allow no one to pass without proper authority.

Here is the final point I want to make about basic physical security. I believe that if you are tasked with manning a post, then you man a post. Your not talking on the phone, or screwing around on your laptop surfing porn, or listening to your iPod, or any other distractions. You are hired by that company to give your fullest attention to the protection of that property and client. Anything less than your fullest attention, and your best effort as a security professional, is unacceptable in my book. Cheers Eeben, and thanks for posting this.

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

You interpret it correctly, GCU. The development of mutually supporting concentric rings of defence stat at the Area of Interest and the most hardened area is the Area of Responsibility. If correctly planned and implemented, the bad guys are picked up and dealt with before they even get to the Area of Responsibility.

I believe anarchy is on the rise and unless we make a concerted effort to stop it, it will continue to grow. I believe that people are entitled to their thoughts but when those thoughts are put into action aimed at destroying the property of others, it becomes unacceptable and criminal. That is why I believe that companies should plan their physical security correctly – money spent today will be money saved tomorrow. You may wish to read “The coming anarchy” by Robert D Kaplan.

Religion is always a contentious issue. Having worked with militaries of Christian, Islamic, Buddhist Hindu and other faiths and philosophies, I have found that each believer has his own desire to feel safe within his own belief/philosophy and that should be respected. In the SADF we had compulsory church attendance during basic training and every parade, every morning included a “Let us read and pray”. Obviously during operations this was not possible. During such times, each person would do what he felt comfortable with.

Perhaps I shall follow up on your suggestion one day soon.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Wow, a comment that overshadows my posting by far, Matt! Thanks for the time you spent formulating it.

I believe anyone interested in physical security would do well to keep this comment on record and for future planning.

Rgds,

Eeben

matt said...

Eeben, thanks for the post and the opportunity to comment. I have learned so much here, and the ideas that are shared here are awesome.(the drug war topic was amazing). Cheers.

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

I am very privileged to have so many people visit the blog and give such good comments, Matt. I too continue to learn from everyone’s comments and that makes it all worthwhile for me.

Rgds,

Eeben

Gatvol said...

A bit of humor in relation to Matts posting. I also did a few years with Uncle Sams Misguided Children (USMC) The only thing in the world I had to remember besides the Rifle Serial Number and my own, were the 11 General Orders. Until I was introduced to the 12th.
"To walk my post from flank to flank and take no shit from any rank."

PSC, protecting client properties? Interesting. Consider what we see on the news say for instance in Korea. My interpretation of "protection" would be to guard it by whatever means and by whatever force. Not Acceptable today. Watch a riot in Korea. Thousands of Protestors and thousands of Police out for a day of Olympic Games. One pushes one way for a while, then the other pushes back. Property is destroyed and it is a huge expense.
Personally I have zero tolerance for games. You wish to destroy what I am guarding, prepare to die, very simple and it usually gets results......quickly.

"For instance, how did you feel about compulsory church attendance in the SADF? This is unheard of in the US Army"
As to that topic, thank someone we don't have it, the way its worded to me is a bit scary. The Inquisition didnt work a few years ago. Nuff said.

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

It is strange how we remember such things as Force Number, rifle number and such like, Gatvol. Yet those things were drilled into us right from the start. We will probably take them with us to our death beds. I also like your 12th General Order – and that is what guards – who are paid to protect a client’s property – ought to bear in mind at all times.

Rgds,

Eeben

eet kreef said...

Hi Eeben - you description is really very very good. Simple, logical, and straightforward. Yet so many people get this so totally and utterly wrong. You could argue that it's a Zen thing, the really simple things are extremely hard to get right. But I don't think that is the reality in this case. There are still too many people out there trying to make a fast buck.

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thanks, eet kreef. For the life of me I do not understand why the PMCs and PSCs do not clean up their act and expose these makers-of-the-fast-buck. These are the companies that literally get away with murder yet continue to flourish.

Doing the right thing can be very simple. For some reason we always want to complicate matters and develop plans that are nigh impossible to implement.

Rgds,

Eeben

Robby said...

Gatvol...per your
"For instance, how did you feel about compulsory church attendance in the SADF? This is unheard of in the US Army"

I beg to differ it is no secret that at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs grunts are subject to evangelical religious instruction....


Evangelicals exploit Air Force Academy; military officials interlocked with local activists
By Devlin Buckley

Four Air Force officers -- all graduates of the Air Force Academy's
U.S. Air Force Academy Class of 2008, -- have recently joined a lawsuit that accuses leaders at the academy of overtly pressuring cadets to undertake evangelical religious instruction. The original lawsuit was filed in October by Mikey Weinstein, a former Air Force officer and graduate of the academy, whose son experienced religious discrimination while attending the school.

http://www.onlinejournal.com/artman/publish/article_363.shtml

With 70 million plus evangelicals in America one may ask what's wrong with a little religious instruction in the military?

Organized religion (especially the dispensionalism form preached in America) has no place in any military there is no need for it if buy into the concept of "there are no atheists in a fox hole"

As for the SADF my experience was although the military leaned toward the Dutch Reformed Church we were never subject to forced evangelism something that cannot be said at the US Air Force academy.

For the record most if not all of us looked forward to attending church during basic training not for any other reason than getting out of camp for a few hours and seeing women

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

There are many stories about those Sunday forays, Robby. Some of us needed to pray if only to make it through the courses – which were very tough. Of course, getting in to town was always a bonus – it was the hell which followed if you were found sneaking out of church for a quick smoke.

Rgds,

Eeben

Robby said...

Eeben...re: Some of us needed to pray if only to make it through the courses – which were very tough.

You get no sympathy from me on that one .....you made the choice to be a NCO :-)

For the record I lasted a week

Gatvol said...

Robby
That was not my Comment it was made above mine. My comment was reflecting that Religion to me is a personal thing and I dont need someone choosing for me. When it is forced upon us it gets a bit scary.........Hope that clears it up.

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

I never made any choice, Robby. I was "volunteered" by the commanders to be an officer. Looking back, I don't regret it but at the time, I could have wept.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Anything that is forced upon us is scary, Gatvol.

Rgds,

Eeben

Robby said...

Sorry about that Gatvol....for all it's faults the SADF never pushed religion encouraged it but never forced that cannot be said about present day US military a very dangerous thing.

Eeben I'm sure there are laws now on the books that call the treatment we got as a criminal act.If you were "volunteered"then it means you were better than most during basics...I always wondered where 2 x 4's got that nasty streak from

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

That is true, Robby.

As for “volunteering” me, I used to think they were simply picking on me. But, looking back, I have no regrets.

Rgds,

Eeben

Robby said...

Yeah me as well sort of I remember all the funny stuff then I think about running 2 miles with a full pack at 0 dark hundred in the freezing cold....we were a different bred in those days....thanks for the memories...again!

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

We were different, Robby. But all those tough times made us able to cope with the bad times.

Rgds,

Eeben

borr1945 said...

Dear Sir,

I would just like to say that this
was a great topic and some very
good comments. I am new to your
blog but I like what I read already.

sincerely,
ken

simon said...

btw, Ive started a new article on Americans in rhodesia. I intend to look at some accusations made by 'authors' regarding the 'Mercenaries'. Stop by and comment if you'd like. Im always open to new info or corrctions. Writing is a difficult thing to do. Sorry Eeben, I was encouraged by TCO to start writing more on my blog rather than let it sit in cyberspace. Regards. Simon

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thanks for visiting the blog, Ken. I always enjoy the comments that follow a posting as I learn from them as well.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

That’s great, Simon – and you don’t need to apologise to me about that. It is time a lot of the lies and disinformation were shown up to be exactly that.

Writing is also difficult for me and sometimes I need to really work at motivating myself to do it. Good luck and I shall certainly stop by your blog.

Rgds,

Eeben

Robby said...

Simon...Not sure you have seen this but I know John Coeys mother she kind of got attached to me because of my radio show and where I come from....nothing tears at ones heart strings more than a mother who lost a son and just wants to clear his name


THE OUTNUMBERED

http://theoutnumbered.com/~splashintro/intro.html

drew8ear said...

Hi Eeben,

I enjoy seeing what you post each week.

Matt definately brought back memories posting USMC 11 General Orders. I especially appreciate his point about testing guards by challanging them. We used to get challanged all the time in the Marine Corps. They would intentially send Captains and Colonels through my post at the armory to see if you'd let them pass because they out ranked you. The worse was an old Vietnam Vet Sergeant Major who came through and gave me the dirty eye and was cussing up storm. I barely passed asking him for his I.D. card. It got better as time went on, and I enjoyed the solitude much like Matt discussed.

Keep up the good work. I'd enjoy seeing you touch on physical security, "infiltration by deception"; also home physical security (not so glamorous, but practical).

Sincerely,

Andrew - PDX

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thanks, Andrew. I certainly enjoyed Matt’s contribution on the General Orders. Truth be told, in the SADF, we didn’t have such orders – we were simply told when guarding a facility that “No one will pass by you, unless they know the password”. That was it…

The two issues you mention will certainly make for an interesting post – thanks for suggesting them. Hopefully, I shall get there some time soon.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thanks for the link, Robby. I am sure Simon will find this useful.

Rgds,

Eeben

drew8ear said...

Don't feel bad about not having general orders. SADF soldiers were probably born with more common sense than many of us Marines :-).

Andrew - PDX

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

I don’t think it has that much to do with common sense as it had to do with growing up in a country under siege from many quarters, Andrew. What we did eventually just became a way of life.

Rgds,

Eeben

simon said...

Thanks. I have seen that link. I hope the funding for the movie comes to fruition. I dont consider myself any expert on Rhodesia but Ive spent an inordinate amount of time tracking this story. Mainly, I will set the stage. Deal with accusations, facts good and bad and then highlight some of the men that were there. The tradgedy for me in researching this has been all the stories we DONT have. Those few americans who made good on their enlistments and gave their lives in a worthy cause.

Without giving too much away, I want to drive a stake in the heart of certain ideas that were popularized. And deal with some writers who were the true racists as evidenced in their writing and ensuing disasters of Rhodesia. Writing about it is just an outflowing of wanting to share what Ive found. Any contacts, any info, anything is appreciated. you can mail me at sicarii67@sbcglobal.net
All the best, an armchair military history buff........Simon

BTW, I did some great reading recently on farming in rhodesia during the 70's. great stuff. Kind of resembles what american ranchers are doing on the boder with mexico. A mexican american from a border town told me,
'there are a lot of unmarked graves of dead dead drug dealers on those ranches'.

Monkey Spawn said...

An interesting update on the pirate debate and PSC involvement.

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/f236ca0c-2e01-11de-9eba-00144feabdc0.html?ftcamp=rss

eet kreef said...

I've heard rumours for a while about a PMC getting involved with the Yemeni and Djibouti governments on the piracy issue. At the moment it's Pirates 3, shipping companies 0

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

I have heard that there are several such companies, Eet Kreef. As long as they make a positive difference I am thrilled.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Very interesting, Monkey Spawn - and thanks for the link.

Rgds,

Eeben

eet kreef said...

The other option of course is to join the pirates...

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Not a good idea, Eet Kreef...

Rgds,

Eeben

Jeff ( Va. Rebel ) said...

Eeben - not sure if Robby will see this in a back post but ...

Back in '93 I ordered the book - "A Martyr Speaks" from John Coey's mother and she sent me a right long letter. Very sweet of her.

Really enjoyed the book and his insight -although much had been edited.

Just wondered if she was still living and how she might be faring. Seemed such a nice Christian lady.

Robby said...

Hi Jeff Last time I spoke to her she was fine that was about a year ago...if you got the book her address is there