25 October 2015

4GW: An Act of Valor in the Private Sector...

Fourth Generation Warfare (4GW) is a stark reality in 2015 and beyond. Are American business interests as prepared as they could be, for the growing Operational Risks in the 21st century?  How many employees do you now have working outside the Homeland?

4GW involves the following key elements:
  • Are complex and long term 
  • Terrorism (tactic) 
  • A non-national or transnational base—highly decentralized 
  • A direct attack on the enemy's culture 
  • Highly sophisticated psychological warfare, especially through media manipulation and lawfare
  • All available pressures are used - political, economic, social and military 
  • Occurs in low intensity conflict, involving actors from all networks 
  • Non-combatants are tactical dilemmas 
  • Lack of hierarchy 
  • Small in size, spread out network of communication and financial support 
  • Use of Insurgency and guerrilla tactics
There are a number of methods that a private sector company can utilize to exercise its own "Business Continuity Plan" in concert with the public sector here in the United States.  Operational Risk Management (ORM) associated with people, process, systems and other potential external events can be shared with local first responders, to establish awareness or alert protocols with your particular organizations incidents. As a private sector business, you should be asking yourself how often your internal incident commanders visit your local fire station or police precinct, to share mutually relevant information. Do you invite these vital community preparedness and response professionals to engage in your own company "Continuity of Operations" and crisis planning and exercises, even if it is just a table top review?

Through public-private collaboration, government and the private sector can:
  • Enhance situational awareness 
  • Improve decision-making 
  • Access more resources and capabilities 
  • Expand reach and access for disaster preparedness and relief communications 
  • Improve coordination 
  • Increase the effectiveness of emergency management efforts 
  • Maintain strong relationships, built on mutual understanding 
  • Create more resilient communities and increase jurisdictional capacity to prevent, protect against, respond to, and recover from major incidents 
Around the country there are certain metro areas that have annual readiness and preparedness exercises because of where they are located. In some cases there are federal laws that mandate these exercises such as seaports. Norfolk, VA, Houston, TX or even the only deep water port between Los Angeles and San Francisco; Port Hueneme, CA have annual tests of their readiness and resources. Each of these seaports are significant assets to our continuous economic well being. They are surrounded by the private sector businesses who supply them with fuel, electric utilities and other critical infrastructure components that play their vital role in these regions.

Beyond the ability for these private sector organizations to engage with local first responders to exercise their continuity planning, is the ability to test new technologies, methods and even research possible ways to improve overall resilience, on a spectrum of new found asymmetric threats. These tests determine our ability to adapt or to utilize new tools in our current 4GW environment. We must remain adaptive during irregular operations by small insurgent groups such as those that have occurred in Mexico, Mumbai, India or the growing real possibility of devastating cyber attacks to our energy and telecommunication sectors.

Why are we encountering these threats on a higher frequency around the globe? You only have to look as far as the foreign published press to find the answer to this question. Or if you haven't got the time to read and translate to your native language what is being said, then make sure you see the movie "Act of Valor" to better understand what lies before us. What follows is from a foreign press article:
"The inability of the majority of the world's countries in the current circumstances to fight globalization's most powerful military machine (primarily the United States) on equal terms has led in recent years to an increase in the number of terrorist acts, armed conflicts, and local wars. Their coalescence into a single antagonistic system is giving rise to a phenomenon designated asymmetric operations by military-political theoreticians (asymmetrical conflicts and even asymmetric wars)."
As a result, we must adapt. The Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) has several educational, training and research centers that are dedicated to the readiness of the military and to the public private partnership mechanism in the United States. The one center that stands out to help us become more adaptive on small conflicts and irregular activities is "The Center for Asymmetric Warfare (NPSCAW)."
The Center for Asymmetric Warfare, or CAW, was established in 1999 as a part of the Naval Air Systems Command to support U.S. military forces, as well as local, state, and federal organizations, in identifying, countering, and controlling the effects of asymmetric warfare in the nation’s Global War on Terrorism. CAW’s initial focus was the development and conduct of multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional homeland security and homeland defense exercise and training programs, in addition to test and evaluation programs for developmental first response technologies. 
Since its inception, CAW has matured into a recognized leader in its field, by providing comprehensive education, training, and exercise programs; technology integration, test, and evaluation programs; and capability assessment and improvement programs to partners across a wide spectrum of jurisdictions. These programs include participation by Department of Defense; local, state, and federal government agencies; private sector and non-governmental organizations; academia; and international government agencies. 
In 2008, CAW was realigned as a satellite division of the Naval Postgraduate School’s National Security Institute, headquartered at Naval Base Ventura County, in Point Mugu, California. Harnessing the capabilities of the four institutes and four schools that comprise NPS, CAW can capitalize on the expertise and experience of a continuously expanding number of alumni, faculty, and students.
The U.S. private sectors proximity to high value targets are many times overlooked. Where on the West coast of the U.S., is the largest concentration of undersea telecom cables coming ashore? You might guess San Francisco or Seattle. Think again. This map will give you an idea what areas of the coastline could be more important to protect and to continuously prepare for, a future attack on these assets. The answer is San Luis Obispo.

As an Operational Risk professional in your private sector organization, make it a priority to get engaged with your local community. Visit your local first responders soon. Reach out to the Regional Fusion Center and other entities designed to facilitate a smooth information sharing process.

This should occur with government and the most valuable assets owned and operated by our private sector constituents. It all comes down to two words. Continuous Vigilance.

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