08 May 2011

Vigilance: Risk After Bin Laden...

Usama Bin Laden is no longer a risk to the operations of many high value targets across the globe. Yet, now that he is dead, the distributed network of followers may soon carry out his blueprints for destruction. Large U.S. conglomerates doing business overseas are on high alert announced from their 24 x 7 Crisis Operations and Security Risk Management centers.

The raid on Osama bin Laden's compound yielded a trove of intelligence the size of a small college library, a top White House official said Sunday.

In a series of coordinated news-show appearances National Security Adviser Tom Donilon said information seized during last week's killing of the Al Qaeda leader represents the largest cache ever obtained from a terrorist. He said it indicates that in addition to being the group's symbolic leader, bin Laden was involved in strategic operations, including Al Qaeda's propaganda effort.

Al Qaeda's network is decentralized and therefore more resilient to defeat. It will not simply disappear by having one of it's founding leaders gone forever. Corporate institutions who have their American citizens in distant high risk countries such as Algeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Iraq, Mexico, Venezuela, Nigeria, Kenya, Sudan are on heightened alert. Kidnapping is now even more of a risk in these countries especially in rural areas.

At the speed of business in 2011, the infrastructure companies have found new opportunities to build out energy and telecommunications projects using the latest "Green" and "Wireless" technologies. The threat and risk to those who represent the enemy in the eyes of Al Qaeda include the U.K. and the growth of "Homegrown Violent Extremists" (HVE) in America:

To date, cells detected in the United States have lacked the level of sophistication, experience, and access to resources of terrorist cells overseas. Their efforts, when disrupted, largely have been in the nascent phase, and authorities often were able to take advantage of poor operational tradecraft. However, the growing use of the Internet to identify and connect with networks throughout the world offers opportunities to build relationships and gain expertise that previously were available only in overseas training camps. It is likely that such independent groups will use information on destructive tactics available on the Internet to boost their own capabilities.

Operational Risk Management professionals have watched the unfolding information in Abbottabod and realized one thing. Our vigilance is now more important than it has ever been in the past ten years. The preparation, training, exercises and intelligence collection is increasingly more justified and vital. These simple 4 steps in this continuous process shall be even more integrated into the fabric of our corporate and institutional landscapes:

  • Deter
  • Detect
  • Defend
  • Document

This "4D" strategy will provide your employees with the kind of mindset necessary to help keep them safe and secure from unknown future adversaries. They may be coming from the outside while on a foreign business trip overseas or within the confines of your own headquarters in Chicago, Illinois. Complacency is our largest and most active threat today. Let the death of Usama Bin Laden and the turmoil unfolding in the Middle East remind us to continue our Operational Risk Management missions.

Remember people like Pat Tillman, Michael P. Murphy, OP Restrepo, Jeremy Wise, Dane Paresi, Scott Roberson, Elizabeth Hanson, Tim Hetherington, and Lara Logan who continues the fight. Their courage and sacrifice will never be forgotten...

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