2007 issue [current-page:url:args:value:2]


Border Drug Threat Assessment
U.S. and Canadian Government Report

(2007) This report, published jointly by the U.S. and Canadian governments, examines the current state of illicit drug smuggling across the United States-Canadian border. The report identifies the principal substances which are smuggled in both directions across the border. The authors place special emphasis on the cooperative efforts which law enforcement agencies on both sides of the border engage in and how this has influenced the movement of these illegal substances. (Note: be patient, this link takes a LONG time to load)



Editor's Corner
CI: What is it?
© 2007 FrontLine Security (Vol 2, No 1)

Our winter Borders and Biometrics edition was very timely. Shortly after its release, in the context of the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) February meetings in Ottawa, the Ministers responsible for Foreign Affairs, Security, and Prosperity from the US, Mexico and Canada, established a high level coordinating body to: “prioritize and oversee emergency management activities in the following areas: 1) emergency response; 2) critical infrastructure protection; 3) border resumption in the event of an emergency; and 4) border incident management.” Having covered numbers 3 and 4, FrontLine Security’s spring edition coincidently deals primarily with number 2 on that recommendation list: Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP)  – a point of focus that I consider needs more  attention.

In November 2004, the federal government, after the spring publication of the National Security Policy and the ­welcome and corollary reorganization of acronyms within government and its agencies, released a “position paper” on a National Strategy for Critical Infrastructure Protection. This document did pick up on some of the work that had been done by the forerunning agency responsible for CIP. If one compares the recent activity and focus on the protection of Critical Infrastructure (CI) in Canada with that South of our border, even bearing in mind our propensity to declare a natural immunity from international threat because of our kindness and superior values, one deduces that our progress has been mollusc-like.

It is fitting that we address this issue now. It is widely understood within most government circles that something must be done beyond  continuously  revising the draft policy originally promised for summer 2005. I have heard that we are now beyond “draft 16” of this particular position paper… reassuring is it not?

Eighty percent of our critical infrastructure is privately-owned and crosses all tiers of Canadian governance as well as that of many other infrastructure providers. The safety and well-being of today’s Canadian relies far more heavily than any generation before on the effective and reliable functioning of these ­critical infrastructures. Canadians rely on bank machines for money, and such equipment relies on communications that in turn rely on power and water. We rely on transportation to intervene and to eat and to rest. Our hospitals rely on all of this and on a sufficient and healthy staff. Interdependence of our CI is a fact of life.

We regret that we were unable to get a viewpoint from PSEPC, the federal government department responsible for coordinating these issues.

Dr. Joe Varner provides a “tour d’horizon” on the history and potential of terrorist threats against CI. To reinforce his article, according to the 13 February 2007 installment of the Terrorism Index – produced by Foreign Policy magazine and the Center for American Progress that includes a former secretary of state, national security ­advisor, and National Security Agency director – declares that the United States is losing the war on terror (75% of the centre’s membership and respected analysts agree. Most (81%) agree that the world is becoming more dangerous for Americans, and 80% say they expect another 9/11-scale attack on U.S. soil at some point in the next decade).  

Though this is indeed very challenging if you superimpose the physical co-location of these interdependent infrastructures in our major urban areas, it is not at all the only threat, nor the most prominent. Mother Nature has had a  tremendous impact on our infrastructures and will continue to do so. Many recent studies have pointed out the tremendous and costly damages brought about by such increasing natural disasters over the last decades, right here in Canada. Watch for FrontLine coverage of Natural Disaster Preparedness in our summer edition.

We do not have a representative article from each of the ten CI sectors defined by our government, but we offer you a rather interesting group of issues such as the superb “cri de coeur” on the need for national and international partnerships and standards by Stuart Brindley from the Electrical Power sector of the North East coast of North America. His point on interdependencies of CI is most important. In fact, it is the topic of a heavily-funded series of research projects by Public Safety Canada and the subject of a recent conference held at our Emergency Preparedness College. I was impressed with the research done by presenters Drs. Jose Marti and Jorge Pullman of UBC. I encourage support for this research program and its study by the SPP’s “high level coordinating body.”

This sector is followed with an article on “Security in the Nuclear Industry” by Gerry Frappier and David Sachs, wherein new regulations and standards for the industry since 9-11 are explained. This is certainly most reassuring.  

Mark Edmonds then provides us with a knowledgeable and in-depth look at our hospitals, their people and structures as CI. A sobering and important contribution that pulls no punches.

We blast out to space with the GeoConnections Program, as Philip Dawe and Ken Marshall examine the use of Geospatial Mapping as a modern tool of Emergency Management. Remaining on the space theme, we present Lieutenant-Commander Quinn’s article on Arctic and Maritime Domain Awareness – from Space! These articles have caused us to reflect upon the greater use of space-based information for all border surveillance.

Michael Abramson looks at Infor­mation Technology, guaranteed access to quality information, and the elusive aspects of information sharing and inter­operability.

We are privileged to have received a most informative article on Interpol, from a Canadian perspective. Mark Giles sheds light on the global playing field of both criminals and law enforcement, from an important organization, of which most know rather little, wherein Canada plays a very important role and from which we benefit greatly.  

In rounding out the menu for this issue, we offer you an excellent dessert… a “pièce de résistance.” Doug Hanchard and US Navy Commander and Dr Eric Rasmussen provide us with their account of a most interesting series of Emergency Response Exercises called “Strong Angel.” I find the techniques and training principles that they espouse worth pursuing in Canada – at all levels. Their healthy skepticism of major assumptions surrounding most such training is solidly founded and well worth examining, if not adopting outright. A very good read from people who have done the real thing.

As you will read, Canada has done some important CI work, but we have not done enough in this very important realm. As one looks beyond the federal level, one sees more progress and real work being done to coordinate and resolve these teamwork issues. We can only wish that more is done, and soon, at the national level. Canada has responded well to many emergencies in the recent past and we have justly earned praise for this – however, all who know the beast, know that more can be done (and better) with existing resources, by coordinating and optimizing all synergies available.

I thank all contributors for their work and wish all readers a professionally ­fulfilling read or, at least, a satisfying quench for a security thirst.   

Addendum: Catherine Johnston’s article (winter 2006/07) on Privacy and Security is called to mind in light of recent pronouncements by the Privacy Com­mis­sioner for Ontario, Dr. Cavoukian. Both state that technology, particularly bio­metrics, can help protect our privacy and increase our security in so doing (www.ipc.on.ca/index.asp?navid=55&fid1=609). This is a far cry from some of the more inaccurate statements and ill-informed innuendo of recent debates  around the Anti Terrorist Act.

Clive Addy, Executive Editor
© FrontLine Security 2007



Editor's Corner
Natural Disasters & Lesser Things
© 2007 FrontLine Security (Vol 2, No 2)

We are fortunate to have a piece by the new Commissioner of Public Safety in Ontario, Com­mis­sioner Jay Hope on his  role and that of Emergency Manage­ment Ontario and the ordinary citizen.

This is followed by a worthwhile report from the province of Ontario on that erstwhile 9/11 federal initiative of providing proper Heavy Urban Search and Rescue (HUSAR) ­capability across Canada. Carol-Lynn Chambers and Doug Silver provide comprehensive insight into the challenges of building and maintaining teams of experts in saving lives amid the tons of glass and concrete debris, electrical, gas and other hazards in our modern cities. We see every night on TV the challenge this poses particularly in the continued Middle East factional fighting.

Mark Egener takes us west, where an excellent Commission report on the 2005 Wabamun oil spill has led to some innovative recommendations. The cost of this disaster is $100 million and counting. In this realm of costs, we are privileged to have Professor Gordon McBean, from the Institute for Catas­trophic Loss Reduction at the University of Western Ontario, who clearly shows us that climate related hazards are on the rise. This influential Institute does research in support of the Insurance Industry and has provided some rather interesting facts. The financial impact of ­natural disasters can be significant, ­consider the following:

“The 1998 ice storm was a severe winter storm and the most expensive natural disaster in Canadian history. While freezing rain is common in Canada, the ice storm that hit eastern Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick was exceptional. Over six-day period, 100mm (4") of freezing rain fell intermittently. As a result more than 4 million Canadians were displaced and nearly three million households were without electricity. This event caused in excess of C$5.5 billion in property damage and significant environmental consequences.

Urban fires cause thousands of fatalities and billions of dollars of property damage each year. Wildfires destroy forests, but result in few fatalities.

Canada ranks second in the world in terms of the frequency of tornadoes, with an average of 80 tornadoes each year. In the United States, a thousand tornadoes are reported each year.

The rainstorm that caused the 1996 Saguenay flood, for example, dropped an average of 126mm of rain over a 100,000km2 area in 48 hours. Manitoba invested in the construction of the Red River Floodway, and without it, the 1997 flood would have left 80% of the city underwater, and forced the evacuation of more than 500,000 residents. Federal payments for flooding have exceeded any other type of Canadian weather disaster.

In Canada droughts are the most costly hazard, though they rank fourth in frequency. They affect agriculture where losses to crops and livestock have reached billions of dollars. They have also caused extensive environmental problems through increased degradation and erosion of soil, destruction of the ecological habitats and deterioration of lakes. It is important to note that, as the climate warms, more frequent drought is a likely consequence.

There are about 1,500 earthquakes recorded in Canada each year. A few dozen are strong enough to cause damage. Several Canadian cities are vulnerable to earthquakes, including Victoria, Vancouver, Ottawa, Montreal, and Quebec City.

Earthquakes can cause terrible losses. For example, a 1995 earthquake in Japan caused more than C$150 billion in damage. In 1960, Chile experienced the strongest earthquake ever recorded (9.5). Some of the world’s strongest earthquakes have occurred in western Canada including a magnitude 9 subduction earthquake west of Vancouver Island in 1700, and the 8.1 event in the Queen Charlotte Islands in 1949.

Indeed, in 1929, an earthquake off Newfoundland’s Burin Peninsula generated a 7m (23 ft) tsunami that drowned 28 people – the largest recorded loss of life in Canada due to an earthquake. Significant earthquakes have also occurred in the St. Lawrence and Ottawa River valleys – and in the Arctic.

Of course there are other threats, man-made ones, but it is assumed that an “all hazards approach” to Emergency Preparedness will allow us to resolve or mitigate even these.

We saw Katrina and the tsunami off Indonesia and wonder what could be worse – well here is some food for thought:

A new study by researchers at the Center for Mass Destruction Defense (CMADD) at the University of Georgia details the catastrophic impact a nuclear attack would have on American cities.

The grim data in the report by Professors Cham Dallas and William Bell, appears in the current issue of the Interna­tional Journal of Health Geographics, and explains that a 20-kiloton weapon could be manufactured by terrorists and fledgling nuclear countries such as North Korea. The report also concluded that:

A 20-kiloton detonation would leave debris tens of feet thick in downtown areas with buildings 10-stories or higher. Roughly half of the population in downtown areas would be killed, mainly from collapsing buildings. Most of those surviving the initial blast would be exposed to a fatal dose of radiation.

While the main effects from such an explosion would be from the blast and the radiation it releases, a 550-kiloton explosion (a device commonly found in the arsenal of the former Soviet Union and therefore deemed by the authors to be the most likely to be stolen by terrorists) would create additional and substantial casualties from burns. This level of explosion would superheat the blast zone, causing buildings to spontaneously combust. Mass fires would consume cities, reach­ing out nearly 6.3 km (4 miles) in all directions from the detonation site.

A 550 kiloton detonation in New York would result in a fallout plume extending the length of Long Island, resulting in more than 5 million deaths.

A similar detonation in Washington, D.C. would destroy hospitals in the District, but its fallout plume would also incapacitate hospitals in Baltimore, nearly 64 km (40 miles) away.

From farther “Out West,” Rear Admiral Girouard, the Commander of Joint Task Force Pacific of the Canadian Forces was interviewed about his experience in ­support of the BC government’s work to mitigate the recent floods.

Then we are off to Croatia to talk with Damir Trut, director of IDASSA 2007 – a recent NATO and EU Emergency Preparedness Exercise.

Following this, Tanya Elliot from our Red Cross, representing the important role of Non-Government Organizations in Emergencies, gives us their perspective on harnessing volunteerism and applying lessons learned. Over the past year, the Canadian Red Cross responded 1,776 times to disasters in Canada – ranging from house fires to flooding and forest fires – providing comfort and meeting the immediate needs of 52,000 affected people.  

Still analyzing Hurricane Katrina, Edward Minyard brings you some interesting work being done by Unisys on Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) use in Emergency Management.

Following up on past issues, Richard Cohen reports on an interesting Confer­ence Board of Canada conference on Border Issues that were the focus of our Spring edition. Some reinforcing conclusions are highlighted in this article.

As a final rant, and following up on our first editorial on the “War on Terror,” I must comment on the very silly, childish and self-serving gesticulating in academia and the House of Commons recently about “Exit Strategies for Afghanistan,” (including the somewhat incredible “withdrawal with honour” line). I feel it is about time that the government develop a Success Strategy within NATO, that is based on the “real world” of meeting our commitments as a mature middle power and ally of like-minded democracies that adhere to the UN charter.

We were right to go to Afghanistan to defeat the Taliban and their support of Al Qaeda; we are right to be involved in Kandahar and the support to the legitimately elected Afghan government of Mr. Karzai by providing our fair share of security, training, aid and other financial support to this fledgling and legitimate regime. What we need is a NATO Success Strategy, that we can clearly support – voiced by our government to our citizens – and one that will allow the Afghan ­government to govern. This strategy must include continued and strong support for our “defined achievements” according to the reasons we went there in the first place.

On the parallel matter of supporting our troops, I draw your attention to our fine final piece by Bob Bergen of CDFAI and suggest that discussions in Parliament and academia focus on this  Success Strategy rather than just changing the channel – because the true REALITY TV program for the people of Afghanistan is violent and requires our dedication and sacrifice for some time. Our soldiers know this. Have a good read, a great summer, and we’ll have some interesting new articles for you in our fall edition.

Clive Addy, Executive Editor
© FrontLine Security 2007



Editor's Corner
Maritime Security
© 2007 FrontLine Security (Vol 2, No 3)

In this our Fall issue, we have chosen to focus on Canada’s Maritime Security – ­primarily because of concerns following recent Senate Committee reports, and the obvious impact that a continued lack of reasonable maritime security would have on our safety and prosperity.

First, we offer three perspectives on this issue. In an interview, we hear from Senator Colin Kenny, the Chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Security and National Defence, whose reports have constantly called upon the national government to deal with this issue in a clear, urgent and strategic way.

The second view is a personal one from Capt (N) Peter Avis, a recent member of the Interdepartmental Working Group on Maritime Security and now the Commander Maritime Operations Group Four in Esquimalt, B.C. who has written extensively on this topic.

Lastly, Scott Newark, who has served as Security Policy Advisor to both the Ontario and Canadian governments expresses his view of the challenges of a solid maritime strategy for Canada.

What is interesting is the common and urgent call for a National Maritime Strategy for Canada from all three of these knowledgeable analysts. There are obvious and healthy nuances in all, but such common elements as a need for shared maritime domain awareness, ­layered and coordinated response are obvious, minimum and common requirements that all deem have quite clearly not been met.

It is also interesting, as reported in the Spring 2007 newsletter of the Association of Canadian Port Authorities, that the Senate Transportation Com­mittee stated that: “Container traffic between North America and Asia alone is expected to grow from 15.3 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in 2003, to 33.5 million TEUs in 2015. By 2020, the value of this containerized trade is expected to reach $75 billion, contributing $10.5 billion to the Canadian economy each year.”

Competing for this commerce are also the various ports to our South. U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Chertoff, in his address to University of Southern California last July, shortly after the release of the “U.S. Strategy to Enhance International Supply Chain Security,” elaborated that Port Security was a paramount concern of U.S. Homeland Security. He explained his three principles for security. “First, (he said) we believe in public private partnership… we also believe in risk management – not risk elimination …and in a layered approach” from overseas to, in and beyond the ports at home. He also explained that “in line with [these] three principles, we’re essentially deploying a two-pronged strategy: First, we’re focused on locating and removing dangerous cargo. Second, we’re investing in the protection of the infrastructure at our ports… Our Container Security Initiative is about 100% screening rather than scanning, and scanning where appropriate… As we look to the future, we also want to implement sensible security measures specifically regarding small boats. There are more than 17 million of these vessels operating in U.S. waters.” As you read the three articles above, see similar proposals and ask yourself what Canadian authority speaks for any similar strategy.

Another critical concern in this domain is the policing of our ports. This issue, though vital to our credibility as a competitor, has not been treated with the seriousness and urgency it deserves. Senator Kenny mentions it, and the Association of Canadian Port Authorities expressed serious concern that this was a missed issue in recent national policy announcements. It clearly stated: “a new ports policing model under the auspices of the RCMP was fully expected. The model has now been more fully developed and we expect announcement in the near future on a new ports policing model for Canada.” In this vein, Mike Toddington, the Executive Director of the IAASP, representing Ports Police across America, gives us his views on this thorny issue.

It is not solely the terrorist threat that should concern us, but rather, and mostly, the serious criminal threats as well, be they human, weapon, car and drug ­smuggling or the myriad of other costly ­dangers to our safety. André Fecteau gives us a snapshot of international police activities though IBETs to deal with some of these issues in the Cornwall area.

Our three commentators also remark upon our lack of responsible maritime security on our Great Lakes, where such simple initiatives as the purchase of an inexpensive and available Canadian–made radar system could go a long way to ­providing a greater share of our mutual security responsibility in this area. Again here, a multi-layered strategy is urgently required.

In rounding out this issue we have an interesting article by Doug Harrison, on Risk Based Emergency Management. His experience at the head of the Ontario Emergency Management program for ­several years makes this article most pertinent to all Emergency policy planners and authorities.

On the International scene, I believe you will enjoy the perspectives of Tom Quiggin and Sunil Ram on a suggested Canadian approach to Terrorism and the U.S. response to the expansion of it in the Sahel in North Africa.

In keeping with the tradition of good work on security and emergency man­agement coming from the Canadian Standards Association, I draw to the attention of all involved in CBRN, the interesting trials described by Ron Myers that should result in important new ­standards by February 2009.

Finally, Scott Newark, in his inimitable way, closes this issue with his ­presentation of the Rubik’s Cube for Command and Control of the pyramid of stove-piped organizations involved in Maritime Security. Enjoy!

Clive Addy, Executive Editor
© FrontLine Security 2007



Securing 2010
© 2007 FrontLine Security (Vol 2, No 4)

In our winter issue, we have chosen to examine security for the upcoming 2010 Winter Olympics and have a first glance at how preparations are ­progressing since the official unveiling in September 2006 in Whistler.

At the National level, the government has recently appointed former CSIS Director and DM of National Defence, Ward Elcock as the Special Advisor at the Privy Council Office responsible for G8 and Olympic Security. As it is yet early in his appointment, his staff has asked that we await the New Year for his estimate of the Olympic Security Challenge.

In the meantime, we have had the privilege to obtain the knowledgeable on-the-ground assessment of the security work to date and the work ahead by a former U.S. Secret Service agent and well recognized Olympic and major event security specialist, Mark Camillo. His estimate of needs and focus for the Vancouver Olympics, I am sure, will be of interest.

The RCMP has been charged with the coordination of security for the 2010 Olympics on behalf of the Federal Government. They will coordinate the security with provincial and municipal authorities that maintain their regular security and safety responsibilities in their jurisdictions within what has been described as an “added threat potential” environment. The funding for the security of Olympic venues themselves are a shared responsibility based on a 50-50 cost sharing agreement between the federal government and the Province of British Columbia of the estimated $176.5 Million according to early 2007 figures. It is important to remember that this Security budget is intended for Olympic Venues only. Any municipal policing costs for Olympic events outside of venues are not included in the Olympic Security budget.

Within the context of the interview with Mark Camillo, and BC Minister, Collin Hansen’s May 2007 approval of the Version 11 VANOC Business Plan – ­carrying a $100 million contingency allowance – there is formal recognition of several uncertainties between now and the end of the Games. The Minister’s letter states that “the Province recognizes that VANOC has in place an evolving system of risk management, contingency and deficit avoidance plans and recognizes that there remains a number of uncertainties … contained in the Business Plan.” Thus, the need for cautious deficit avoidance and the recognition of the difficulties of accurate long term predictions for such events are stressed. Remaining a concern, however, is the challenge for all levels of government and business partners to ensure a safe and secure environment for the 2010 Olympics. It should be noted that, according to September figures from VANOC, the $100 million contingency fund has already been reduced to $26.8 million.

Alice Bradbury d’Anjou contacted Assistant Commissioner John Neily, head of the RCMP’s Operational Readiness Response Coordination Centre, and retired RCMP member, Bill Maxwell, to address the challenge of the collective and individual resilience needs of all police and security forces that will be involved in these games, indeed, in any emergency response.

The subject of terrorism always raises mixed reactions and we offer some reflections on the subject as it evolves in our information-flooded ­electronic world. Tom Quiggin, a regular and knowledgeable contributor, gives his view of the potential for terrorism at our 2010 Olympics.

We have asked Professor Sarah Jane Mehargh, an expert in the field of conflict resolution, to address the complex and very thorny issue of measuring the effectiveness of crisis management, be it in Afghanistan, in natural disasters or for events such as the Olympics.

On an international note, we include a travel cautionary for those considering ­attendance at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, ­graciously provided by Richard Culver.

Following up on the need for Private contributions to bolster Olympic security, Jacques Brunelle presents Airport Watch, an innovatively orchestrated volunteer system gaining support across Canada. It might also be a model for other realms.

We received many comments on our last issue on Maritime Security. We cannot publish all, but we bring to your attention four items. The first is the response by Professor Rob Huebert of the University of Calgary on the Arctic Maritime challenge. The second is a proposed way ahead for the federal government on Maritime Security by Scott Newark of the National Security Group. Next, we have two accounts of how Canada’s Navy is involved in security operations. Karch MacLean joined HMCS St John’s on a Fisheries Patrol, and Darlene Blakely highlights the success story of a counter-drug operation involving the RCMP and HMCS Fredericton.

Our last article is on information sharing in respect of Critical Infrastructure Security. Since the November 2004 Government of Canada’s “Position Paper on a National Strategy for Critical Infrastructure Protection,” there have been a dozen or more drafts and innumerable “stakeholder consultations”, but, in the view of Critical Infrastructure sector companies, no ­effective strategy. Hence, the information sharing to ensure emergency needs, alertness and response is still not up to what it should and could easily be. Jim Robbins suggests that it is high time Canada join the international trend and establish private–public critical infrastructure information protocols and structures, that are proving necessary and effective in both the U.S. and Europe, to ensure clear, timely and necessary information sharing at home.

All of us at FrontLine Security would like to wish a safe Holiday Season and a calm winter to all!

Clive Addy, Executive Editor
© FrontLine Security 2007



Terrorist Threat to Critical Infrastructure
© 2007 FrontLine Security (Vol 2, No 1)

The protection of critical infrastructure is a key national security issue in a way that it has not been since the ‘snakes and ladders’ days of the late 1950s and the early Cold War civil defence program. Today’s threat has changed from Soviet rockets to various state and non-state actors armed with an equally wide variety of weapons. With this revolution in military affairs, has come a renewed interest in asymmetric confrontation of the Superpower and its NATO and Western Allies. The target is the very institutions and systems that maintain our way of life and/or our ­cutting edge in military defence. It is the engine of our economy. Get at our critical infrastructure and strangle our economy. That is the goal of our opponents in the Global War on Terror.

Oil and Gas Pipelines: a target?

What is Critical Infrastructure?
The Clinton administration seemed the first to recognize the danger to critical infrastructure posed by Al Qaeda and other terrorists of the world. With America’s virtual global military supremacy, US concerns shifted towards the threat to (and vulnerability of) the infrastructure that provides and supports that supremacy.

“Rogue states,” and sub-groups such as the ‘new terrorists,’ understood the reality that they could not defeat the U.S. militarily on the battlefield – they would thus take on ‘Goliath’ through asymmetric attacks on its economy and critical infrastructure. U.S. economic and military power are interdependent. The U.S. had already seen the impact of the Omaha City bombing of the federal building and knew that it was not immune to such attacks at home by terrorists. In the aftermath of the 1996 terrorist attack in Saudi Arabia on the U.S. military barracks at Khobar towers and the 1998 simultaneous bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, President Clinton issued Presidential Decision Directives PDD-62 and PDD-63 entitled “Protecting America’s Critical Infrastructure.”

PDD-63 defined American Critical infrastructure as:

"Critical infrastructures are those physical and cyber-based systems essential to the minimum operations of the economy and government. They include, but are not limited to, telecommunications, energy, banking and finance, transportation, water systems and emergency services, both governmental and private."

Following the United States’ lead, Canada’s Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada defined critical infrastructure as:

“Those physical and information technology facilities, networks, services and assets which, if disrupted or destroyed, would have a serious impact on the health, safety, security or economic well-being of Canadians or the effective functioning of governments in Canada.”
The Canadian definition of ‘critical infrastructure’ is even broader than our American counter-part’s. According to the Department of Public Safety, it includes ten sectors and is comprised of:

  • Energy and utilities (such as electrical power, natural gas, oil production and transmission systems);
  • Communications and information technology (telecommunications, broadcasting systems, software, hardware and ­networks including the Internet);
  • Finance (banking, securities, investment)
  • Health care (such as hospitals, health care and blood supply facilities, laboratories and pharmaceuticals);
  • Food (safety, distribution, agriculture and food industry);
  • Water (drinking water and wastewater management);
  • Transportation (air, rail, marine, surface)
  • Safety (chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear safety; hazardous materials, search and rescue, emergency services and dams);
  • Government (services, facilities, information networks, assets, key national sites and monuments); and
  • Manufacturing (for instance, defence industrial base, chemical industry).

Such expanded definitions clearly acknowledge that the world of critical infrastructure is indeed a target-rich environment.

What is the Nature of the Threat?
Potential targets in the U.S. include some 600,000 bridges; 170,000 water systems; 2,800 power plants (104 of them nuclear); 305,775 kilometres (190,000 miles) of natural gas pipelines; 75,000 dams; and 463 skyscrapers that are 150 metres (500ft) or taller. The threat against critical infrastructure today is as broad as the potential ­target list itself.

Potential attackers have every weapon at their disposal – from conventional explosives to more sophisticated arms. Some have access to what are now defined as weapons of mass destruction such as Chemical, Biological, and Radiological weapons. Still others have cyber weapons. The most common threat comes from improvised explosive devices (IEDs) using conventional explosives. Recent anti-terrorism seizures of ammonium nitrate fertilizer have exposed the ease with which terrorists can obtain cheap, conventional explosives. Con­sidered to be the world’s most powerful plastic explosive and a favorite for terrorists, Semtex has continued to be popular with Hezbollah and Al Qaeda.

Hydro-Electric Dams

Al Qaeda has obtained common materials and chemicals from ordinary stores, pharmacies and medical supply stores to make nitromethane, PETN, blasting caps and shaped charges for use in destroying buildings. At present, it is estimated that at least 12 Middle Eastern and Asian terrorist groups are prepared to conduct suicide operations.

Terrorists have also demonstrated an interest in non-conventional weapons. Chechen rebels planted a radiological bomb of caesium-137 in a Moscow park in 1995 and Chechen rebels have stolen radioactive metals such as plutonium, ­caesium, strontium and low-enriched ­uranium from nuclear power stations.

The Federation of American Scientists warned that a typical scenario for a radiological bomb is the detonation of a device of 500 grams of TNT combined with an americium-241 source used in surveying equipment. This device would contaminate a 2 km strip and an area of around 60 city blocks with 15 rem of radiation. Apart from death, injury and radiation sickness in those nearest the explosion, the cancer risk is assessed at one death in 10,000 individuals in the entire affected area. The entire area would have to be decontaminated which could take months or possibly years Decontamination and/or demolition of buildings and reconstruction in an area of high economic significance such as Manhattan or the City of London could cost US$50 billion. Toronto could count on proportional costs.

What notable attacks are publicly known to have been planned or carried out to date on critical infrastructure targets? Terrorist groups of all types have targeted critical infrastructure in the past and are likely to do so again.

• Energy
Al Qaeda makes no secret of its interest in attacking the West’s oil supplies and has done everything from attack facilities in raids and suicide attacks to plotting to destroy whole refineries. Oil pipelines in Iraq have been attacked by militants with great frequency. This is not new terrorist thinking. Columbian rebels routinely attack pipelines. Despite heavy and constant guarding, the Cano Limon 490-mile pipeline was attacked 70 times in 2002 by revolutionary forces opposed to the Colombian government, resulting in its shutdown for 266 days out of the year. In the previous year, it was shutdown 170 times as a result of revolutionary action. Electrical relay systems, hydropower plants and power lines have been disabled by Maoist rebels in Nepal. An attempt by Palestinians to blow up Israel’s main fuel depot at Pi Glilot in Tel Aviv could have killed thousands. On 11 September 2001, hours after the World Trade Centre attacks, the Bush administration tried to have the US Coast Guard close Boston harbour, fearing a possible attack on Tanker ships. The French super tanker Limburg was attacked near Yemen Harbour the following year. There have been many alleged Al Qaeda plots to blow up Saudi oil ­terminals and pipelines. The U.S. is reportedly increasingly worried about the vulnerability of its energy infrastructure, which is practically impossible to protect from terrorist attack – the Alyeska pipeline in Alaska has been attacked several times by locals though not by terrorists. Natural gas pipelines have reportedly been attacked in Seattle by Earth Liberation Front members. Recently, Al Qaeda mentioned pipelines and oil infrastructure in Canada that supply the “Great Satan” as likely targets.

• Communications and Information Technology
Cyber attacks using computer viruses that crash vital systems can cause massive ­disruptions to financial and other vital systems. Noting the IT capabilities of Islamic terror groups, U.S. officials now admit that they underestimated the time Al Qaeda had spent mapping vulnerabilities. American authorities have reportedly detected operatives using telecom switches in several countries, including Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, to explore digital systems that control U.S. nuclear power plants, emergency telephone services, and water storage and distribution. A computer seized from an Al Qaeda safe house in Kabul contained an engineering program used to locate stress weaknesses in buildings, bridges and dams.

The greatest threat to communications and information technology comes from devices that jam electrical and electronic systems by generating an electromagnetic pulse (EMP). When detonated, an EMP weapon produces massive ­current and voltage surges that create a powerful electromagnetic field capable of short-circuiting computers, satellites, radios, military radar equipment and civilian traffic lights. Chaos ensues.

Nuclear Plants

• Finance
Terrorists have also shown an interest in Western financial institutions. In November of 2003, a series of attacks in Istanbul were blamed on Al Qaeda when two suicide bombers attacked the British consulate and the headquarters of HSBC bank, killing 61 people, including the British Consul General, and wounding at least 450. The first pickup truck exploded outside the Turkish headquarters of HSBC. The second, disguised as a food delivery truck, with explosives hidden in metal food ­containers, crashed the gate of the British Consulate. The bomb demolished two buildings at the entrance of the consulate compound. The bombings were near-simultaneous in timing and used fertilizer-based explosives.

• Food
The FBI issued warnings in the recent past on the possible terrorist use of poisons in the food chain. Intelligence from the Iraqi war revealed that terrorist groups have been active in chemical and biological warfare studies. This has had a significant impact on security measures both in the U.K. and U.S. A follow-up classified intelligence bulletin, to state and local law-enforcement agencies, advised them to be vigilant for terrorists making ricin and botulism. The document was prompted by the discovery of home-made toxins in a radical Islamic compound in northeast Iraq that had been raided by Kurdish and U.S. troops.

The FBI also warned law enforcement officials to be aware of signs of toxin production such as large caches of yeast or infant formula, which can be used to grow or dilute biological toxins, and castor beans through which ricin is extracted. The Bureau also warned that terrorists could launch an attack against crops or livestock without sophisticated equipment or expertise. For example, the 2001 outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in the UK cost between $6-30billion, with over four million animals destroyed.

• Water
Documents discovered in Afghanistan indicated that Al Qaeda terrorists had been investigating ways to disrupt the U.S. water supply. Rather than poisoning or contaminating the water supply, threats primarily stem from conventional attacks on facilities to cyber assaults on their control systems, leaving large segments of the population without service.

Most reservoirs hold between three million and 30 million gallons of water, which would significantly dilute any poison – terrorists would have to release enormous quantities to do serious damage. Chlorinated water supplies kill most ­bacteria, and filtration systems remove particles larger than one micron, thereby eliminating threats from anthrax and ­botulinum spores. It is more effective to poison a specific building and, even then, the volume of water already going through the system would likely dilute whatever was introduced. This is not to say that poisoning and contamination could not happen, but, they are more complex and therefore less likely to be used than a physical attack. In February 2002, four Moroccans attempted to put cyanide into the water supply of the U.S. embassy in Rome. They were found with maps of the city and four kilograms of a powdered substance that contained cyanide. Later that year, Singapore officials uncovered a plot to contaminate the water supply when police found specific reconnaissance photographs and annotated street maps. Jemaah Islamiah, a group that has been linked to Al Qaeda, was planning to destroy water-supply pipelines to the strategic Changi Airport.  

• Transportation
The subway systems of Paris, Moscow, Berlin, Tokyo and now London have all been targets of terrorist attacks. Since 2001, terrorist plots have been foiled against the subway systems of New York, Singapore, Paris and also in London. In the past, diverse attack methods have been used against the metro subway ­environment, ranging from devices left behind and suicide bombings, to chemical weapons. However, it appears that improvised explosive devices (IEDs), whether timed, remotely-detonated, or activated by a suicide attacker, have been the most prevalent. The Al Qaeda ­network, Chechen groups and Algerian Salafi Jihadist groups, Aum Shinrikyo cult and Irish republican terrorists, have all ­targeted subway networks in the past. The Moscow metro suicide bombings on 6 February 2004 killed 39 people and injured 134 at the height of morning rush hour. In a series of attacks on March 11, 2004, bombs on Madrid commuter trains  killed 191 people, defeated a government, and saw Spain withdraw its troops from Iraq. Little more than one year later, the July 7, 2005 Al Qaeda affiliated home-grown suicide bombings in London killed 52 people.

The Aum Shinrikyo (Supreme Truth) cult, famous for the sarin nerve agent attack on the Tokyo subway, demonstrated hydrogen cyanide’s limitations as a terrorist weapon, killing 12 people on 20 March 1995. Jihadists have long attempted to develop cyanide-based weapons. Public concern about this issue heightened in late 2001, following the discovery in Afghanistan of videos reportedly showing the testing of hydrogen cyanide gas on dogs. This, along with the knowledge that some Al Qaeda recruits had received training in chemical weapons production, gave rise to the view that the global jihad had developed a credible weapon of mass destruction capability.

Terrorists have shown interest in attacking maritime transportation systems. In January 2004, the Philippines’ Superferry 14 was attacked by Abu Sayyaf firebombs in Manila Bay, killing 116 people. In August 2005, another ferry was bombed, injuring 30 people. That same month, Turkish authorities thwarted an Al Qaeda plot to attack cruise ships in international waters, and Al Qaeda fired timer controlled rockets at U.S. naval vessels in port in Aqaba. Recently, the Sri Lankan Navy defeated a Tamil Sea Tiger mass attack on Columbo harbour in Sri Lanka.

• Safety
Since 2001, several targets have been mentioned in the landmark category such as the Sears Tower, Brooklyn and Golden Gate Bridges, New York Tunnels, Statue of Liberty, and Eiffel Tower, to name but a few. Methods of attack have ranged from raids, to suicide bombings, to an airliner attack and even an attack by a radiological weapon (dirty bomb). Remember, in 1995, Chechen rebels planted a radiological bomb in a Moscow park, and have stolen radioactive metals from nuclear power stations. Worrisome enough having such materials on the market?

• Government
The September 11, 2001 the attack on the U.S. Pentagon, and the alleged Al Qaeda plan to go after the U.S. Capital that same day, are clear examples of how militants have plotted decapitation strikes not seen since the Cold War. Keep in mind that in the early 1990s Ramzi Youssef plotted an airliner attack on the CIA headquarters at Langley, and in 1993 an Al Qaeda affiliate plotted a suicide bomb attack on the UN Headquarters. Islamic militants are believed to have been responsible for the bomb attack on the Jammu Kashmir State legislature in October 2001 and the Indian Parliament in December 2001. In April 2004, Jordan announced it had foiled a terrorist plot led by Zarqawi.
Jordanian authorities said the suspects had plotted to use chemicals and explosives to blow up vital institutions, including Jordan’s intelligence department, the prime minister’s office, the U.S. embassy in Jordan and other sites, in an attack that would also have killed thousands of ­people in and around the capital. Unfortunately, Canada is not immune to terror plots – in June 2006, a Canadian plot was busted that is alleged to have included a gun raid on Parliament Hill and truck bombs of ammonium nitrate.

Never has the protection of critical infrastructure been as important as it is now – with the possible exception of the darkest days of the Cold War.

Given the dedicated terrorist threat and the weapons and tactics at their disposal, it is amazing that Canada still lags so far behind on this critical issue.

Other than defining critical infrastructure, setting up an office, and perhaps compiling a target list, Canada has done virtually nothing to protect its critical infrastructure. We are still waiting on a planning document that is long overdue – we are apparently at draft 16, and counting!

The only visible steps have been closing the road under NDHQ and barriers around the American and British Embassies. This flies in the face of the fact that Canada is high on the Al Qaeda target list and has yet to be attacked.

This inaction is made more grave by Al Qaeda’s threat to attack Canada’s vulnerable petroleum industry. Let me see. We know they want to, we know they can, they have told us so. Yet, much like pre-Air India, we continue to make light of the possibility here at home. Let us hope that the government gets its act together soon on this important file.  

Dr Joe Varner is the Chairman of the National Security Committee of the Federa­tion of Military and United Services Institutes of Canada. He is also the Academic Program Manager for Homeland Security and Emergency and Disaster Management at the American Military University.
© FrontLine Security 2007



Controlling Costs of Disasters
© 2007 FrontLine Security (Vol 2, No 2)

Regions and municipalities deal with crises on a somewhat regular basis and therfore tend to maintain their readiness levels, however, major disasters that call for special resources do not happen very often. The tendency then, especially as events fade into the past, is to let our preparedness guards down. This is perhaps more true at the federal and provincial/state ­levels that are further removed from first response demands.

The fact of the matter is that emergencies and disasters are increasing markedly ­– as are the costs of their impacts. While it is not always apparent from a regional perspective, on a national and global level we are facing massively increasing major events and their associated costs as the two charts clearly show.

The reasons behind the increasing frequency and costs are varied and complex. They lie in urbanization and growing populations, economic development and massively increased transportation, and particularly in the proliferation of hazardous materials. In spite of greater concern about safety and much improved standards and performance, the magnitude of other factors (including impacts of climate change and increasing climate variability) is becoming overwhelming.

If the current situation is not sufficiently severe enough to cause a careful examination of how we manage risks and our preparedness to protect the safety of the public and our infrastructure, the rate of increase of the number of events and their costs gives us much to be concerned about in the future.

Case in point: on August 3, 2005, a few kilometres west of Edmonton, an accident occurred on the CN Railway mainline that was to have a profound impact on the way that risks are dealt with in Alberta and likely in Canada.  Beside normally peaceful Lake Wabamun, 43 rail cars careened off the tracks, spilling thousands of litres of Bunker C fuel and pole treatment oils into the lake.

Emergency forces responded to the scene quickly but as the days went on, the situation for residents, including the Paul First Nation, was frustrating. The rail line reopened but the oil continued to spread across the lake, coating birds and shorelines.

Various federal, provincial and municipal government agencies were involved, yet the emergency response system seemed unable adequately to address the situation. There was a long delay to determine that pole treatment oil was one of the spilled substances and more time elapsed before its precise properties were found. It took several days for appropriate containment booms to arrive on site.

The derailment quickly turned into a major environmental, social and economic disaster. The emergency response should have been coordinated and effective, but instead had a fitful and drawn-out beginning. Information that should have been readily available to everyone affected by the spill was slow to come and sometimes unclear.

Province’s Reaction
On August 14, the province announced that it was establishing the Environmental Protection Commission to address issues emerging from the incident and to review and make recommendations on Alberta’s ability to respond to environmental ­incidents.

Dr. Eric Newell, former Chairman of Syncrude Canada Ltd. and now Chancellor of the University of Alberta, led the Commission. Its six members were recognized experts in emergency response, environmental issues and the petroleum industry. In addition, seven expert advisors from industry and government provided advice and assistance to the Commission’s work. Its mandate was very broad:

  • To examine Alberta’s capacity to respond effectively to incidents, particularly the environmental aspects;
  • To make recommendations to enhance prevention, mitigation and preparedness capabilities;
  • To review high risk situations facing the province, particularly environmental ones, and best practices for dealing with them;
  • To review reporting requirements for hazardous substances; and
  • To provide advice respecting rail safety and jurisdictional issues.

The Commission worked rapidly over a three and a half month period, hearing from hundreds of experts and stakeholders in focus groups and consultation meetings. It looked at emergency management systems in other provinces and jurisdictions, reviewed current practices in Alberta, assessed strengths and weaknesses, and researched and consulted on a range of options, best practices and potential solutions to strengthen the emergency response framework.

An Enhanced Emergency Management System
The Commission’s report was completed and provided to the Government of Alberta at the end of November 2005. Its far-reaching conclusions and recommendations, accepted fully by the government, provided a blueprint for establishing a world-class risk and emergency management system in Alberta, and a model for others in Canada.

The essence of the Commission’s key recommendations were:

  • A senior agency, reporting directly to Executive Council, should be created and made responsible for a comprehensive all-hazards approach to emergencies, disasters and security and coordinating activities among departments of the government;
  • A one-window emergency call centre should be established within the new agency to ensure that the right response is triggered as quickly as possible when an incident occurs;
  • A safety, environmental and security institute should be developed to support the system, led by a multi-disciplinary stakeholder group and given a mandate and resources to support world-class research and emergency management techniques;
  • An all-hazards risk management decision making process should be adopted including the identification of top-tier “at risk” water bodies and other environmentally sensitive areas;
  • A dedicated emergency support team should be formed within Alberta Environment to enhance the technical expertise available and be available to provide onsite environmental advice if needed during an incident;
  • The Incident Command System (ICS) should be adopted throughout Alberta to ensure effective coordination during emergencies and communication with affected public groups and that the right people are in charge and the right resources are identified;
  • The number and effectiveness of joint emergency response training and field simulations should be significantly enhanced; and
  • Jurisdictional and rail transportation issues that could inhibit effective emergency response should be resolved as a matter of priority.

These comprehensive recommendations aimed to ensure that the emergency and risk management system would be responsive directly to key decision-makers and could effectively coordinate important actions among the large number of stakeholders that would be involved. The focus was clearly on streamlining the system and eliminating overlap and duplication.

The recommended use of a risk ­management paradigm would ensure that prevention and mitigation actions were considered thus resolving a long-standing issue. The Commission recognized that a focus on prevention, avoidance, and impact reduction would enhance safety and reduce costs.

One of their most innovative recommendations was to support the system with research, post-event evaluations and knowledge transfer mechanisms that would be resident in a non-governmental institute.

Results to Date
There was immediate motivation to improve the province’s risk and emergency management system – the research had been done, the blueprint had been developed, and the government had approved it in principle. All this happened between mid-August and mid-December  of 2005.

Fortunately, Alberta has experienced no major emergencies or disasters in the almost two years since the Lake Wabamun disaster. That being the case, it is remarkable that the preparedness issue has not taken a back seat – here has been considerable progress towards accommodating the vision of the Commission’s report:

  • The Alberta Emergency Management Agency has been established and the enabling legislation is in place. A Senior Official, reporting directly to a minister of Executive Council, heads it. The detailed plan and the resource lists for the development of the new Agency, with all the components recommended by the Commission, is drafted and awaiting approval and implementation. A study for the one-window emergency call centre, the key for effective alerting, is almost complete.
  • Alberta Environment has completed a massive overhaul of its emergency manage­ment capacity, developed a very effective ASERT (Alberta Environ­ment Support and Emergency Response Team) organization, tested it and actually used it for several environmental emergencies.
  • A research program, sponsored by Alberta Environment, will commence this later this year to determine if the concept of a support institute is viable and valuable.
  • Many of the rail jurisdictional issues have been resolved, and rail safety concerns have been proposed for serious study by both the federal and provincial governments. Hopefully, this urgent analysis will soon be undertaken and a full risk management process applied.

The approval and implementation process seems to have been slow and somewhat hesitant, with the notable exception of the Environment emergency support team. Clearly, the blueprint for a world-class system is there; time will tell if it is actually achieved.

Mark Egener is a risk management consultant and a member of the National Security Group. He was a senior advisor to the Alberta Environmental Protection Commission and a head of Alberta Public Safety Services (now disbanded, the agency was responsible for emergency management and control of dangerous goods).

The report from the Alberta Environmental Protection Commission is available on in the internet at www.environment.gov.ab.ca.
© FrontLine Security 2007



Senator Colin Kenny
Maritime Security Interview
© 2007 FrontLine Security (Vol 2, No 3)

One of the most knowledgeable and comprehensive examinations of the state of our Maritime Security has been one conducted by the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence. For the last six years, during its study, it has heard testimony, examined data, held regional hearings and visited our ports. The Committee has twice published its recommendations in ominously titled reports: Canada’s Coastlines The longest undefended borders in the World (2003), and a rather damning update of this initial report, entitled simply Coasts (2007).

Senator Colin Kenny is the Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence.

Wondering how and when such critical issues would be resolved, FrontLine Security Editor, Clive Addy sat down with Senator Colin Kenny, the dedicated, outspoken and long-standing Chair of this Committee, to get a sense of where this work is headed and what expectations we should have that the eight problem areas singled in the reports will indeed see improvement.

The eight identified problem areas are:

  • Canada’s toothless Coast Guard;
  • Too many holes to fill without a plan;
  • Inadequate coastal radar;
  • Inadequate short range coastal patrols;
  • Dearth of long range patrols on three coasts;
  • Lack of coastal warnings network;
  • Lack of great lakes surveillance; and
  • Lack of policing on Canada’s inland coastal waters.

Q: Senator, you have long been the Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence. Your committee looked at our maritime security structure in 2003. In Canada’s Coastlines: The Longest Undefended Borders in the World, you postulated that eight problems required resolution to defend our coastlines adequately. Four years later, in March of this year, your update entitled “COASTS” underlined that these eight problems remain. The din of the repeated expression “no new recommendations – old recommenda­tions stand” in your latest report, does not bode well, what is the Committee’s overall vision and expectation for Canada’s Maritime Security?

Our overall vision begins with the notion of Domain Aware­ness. This is well understood in the Navy but few elsewhere in government would even know where to begin with this. Our Committee vision consists of clear government support for a concept of effective coverage of our entire coast and the ability to identify and to interdict anomalies.

Our Maritime Security solution begins with the GPS transponder system. We need better awareness of all maritime traffic. At present, only ships over 200 tons must have transponders. They must give notice 24 hrs before loading, and 96 hrs before entering port. Contraband and even atomic devices can easily be carried in smaller vessels, therefore each year the government should reduce the tonnage requirement so that at some time all vessels will have these $1200 transponders and we will have a better maritime traffic picture.

This equipment could be mandated on the basis of safety and phased in on all boats gradually over 10 years. If we know who and where you are, this will facilitate any search to find you. But for maritime security, the bottom line is that we cannot afford not to know where you are.

To buttress this improved traffic identification system we will need layered surveillance and interdiction.

We will need a mix of platforms. First, aircraft – here we need to invest. At ­present, Provincial Aerospace Ltd is on contract to DFO for aerial surveillance, but the Aurora aircraft fleet is only partially funded in the Long Range capabilities forecast (only to block 3), and must be extended significantly.

High Frequency Surface Wave Radar (HFSWR) that we supported in our earlier reports is not a success and has had very mixed reviews. Frequency sharing and dampness problems affect its use and, if this is fundamental, we consider it a failed experiment. We saw these as a network of about 10 areas criss-crossing our coast from Boston to the entrance of Hudson’s Bay and Seattle up to Prince Rupert. We consider that we will have to rely more heavily on radar satellites. We expect this technology and the number of satellites to evolve over time and give us a RadarSat that is more robust and capable at the lower end of range of interdiction. This will allow us to share information with the U.S. Coast Guard and overlap the ­coverage at our respective Maritime Security Operations Centres and assist in tracking any anomalies. The challenge is to acquire more passes of satellites over a given place in time to provide an almost constant maritime radar picture.

Next, we need some form of UAV (Global Hawk or Predator) as a strategic drone. The drone confirms who is out there. Transponders say: “I am here and my name is Kenny” every 30 or so seconds. A drone receives these messages, but also recognizes when one is there but not transponding – in which case, either a UAV or aircraft can investigate, and challenge or interdict as necessary. This will save you from higher interdiction costs by more specialized means.

We also need frigate-sized ships to operate and interdict at sea – Mine Counter Defence Vessels (MCDV) will not suffice. In fact, the six to eight arctic coastal vessels proposed by the government, quite frankly, are of no use [in the arctic] where Mr. Harper wants to use them, but because they are similar in size to a frigate, they could prove useful on providing interdiction on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts – with smaller crew, helicopters, armed, but without all the other “gubbins.” That ­provides four on each coast and up to two at sea at any given time.

February 2007 - During a fact-finding mission to Canada's ports, the Senate Committee toured the frigate, HMCS Winnipeg, and the Maritime Coastal Defence Vessel, HMCS Brandon. MCDVs are a smaller class of vessel than frigates - built as minesweepers, they now focus on officer training and sovereignty patrols. From left: Senator Peter Stollery, Senator Colin Kenny, Senator Pierre Nolin, Senator Joseph Day, Senator Michael Forrestall, and Senator Tommy Banks.

The North is not a threat. There is no one who will attack us from the North – and we are not going to stop a nuclear American or Russian sub or ship with a Canadian naval vessel. It is just not going to happen. The North is a political problem, not a security problem. Solve the Arctic by having lots of activity up in the North. Tuktayuktuk is equidistant from Tokyo or Rotterdam. Most commercial vessels (except our frigates) can go right through without refueling. If we build a port there, it must be seen to have a viable reason.

The committee also advocates a Constabulary role for the Coast Guard, which presently serves as a taxi service for the RCMP. This is a cruel comment, but the point is, they are underutilized and not focused on security. They have a good number of platforms and they do perform many useful tasks such as buoy installation, navigation assistance, search and rescue, motorboat safety, scientific and fisheries patrols, but, as we recapitalize our Coast Guard, it is very much time to review its role. The age of its icebreakers and other vessels are 40 years plus and the government must start re-investing.

In our hearings in Ottawa and Halifax, people said they’d look forward to this new security role if the government so decides, providing that they are properly trained, equipped and paid for their new role of policing of the fisheries, environmental, transportation, and other national legislations.

Our reports recommend that they be provided new armed vessels with .30 calibre machine guns, and sidearms for the crew. Port-runners would be pursued but only boarded with the assistance of specialists as JTF2 or other trained boarding parties.

MCDV’s are useful at ports and mouths of ports and, in this day and age, it is crazy not to have working mine­sweepers. The Committee sees reservists taking on the minesweeping role as a good thing. Can you imagine a ship sailing into the Port of Halifax and, as it leaves, it seeds behind a half a dozen mines or it sails through the Seaway doing this same thing? We need to keep our sea-lanes clear and any sensible Canada First defence or security policy must make this capability available to us, and it is a terrific job for the naval reserve. I have not heard anyone from the military or government talk about the threat of a submarine into our waterways and ports to lay mines or a WMD, but this old threat remains a very real possibility, in our view.

Closer in, within the harbour, the Committee sees a reinvigorated RCMP maritime arm. They need to have high-powered Zodiac type boats: very quick, twin 400hp that travel at about 60 knots, such as those of the Toronto Police.

In the Port of Halifax there are seven or 10 RCMP, which means limited to no surge capacity. We need RCMP on the water in our ports. But to secure our ports we need to have the communication that leads back into the city and to other destinations for drugs, illegal weapons and other criminal and terrorist activity. The RCMP has the network to handle seamless connections – that is why we have joint teams in the ports with municipal, provincial police and RCMP, but it is the RCMP who take the intelligence and feed it through the network to pursue and capture the criminals and others across the country and abroad. We need to follow the container or criminal to its destination and break down the network – the RCMP can deal with this. That idea of depth of policing from the port is why Ports Policing is considered dumb by the Committee and we do not want to go there. Nor is the answer to leave it with the local police of jurisdiction unless this is the RCMP. More RCMP is what is needed.  

Speaking of ports, the Navy has begun to place booms around its vessels in ports again, since they deem that this waterside approach is the most dangerous to them these days. Many naval personnel have said: “We worry most about the water side.” They also have a manned boat patrolling along the water.

This is the sort of integration Navy, Coast Guard and RCMP that the Committee sees as necessary and should be reflected in any vision of maritime security. The Committee is very critical because it appears that there is no one in government with a vision of maritime security whereas I have just expressed such a ­logical fit in the Committee’s vision. Once you have secured the East and the West Coast of this country, you have made a tremendous contribution to the overall security of Canada’s people and property.

 What the Committee believes the government should do is adopt our vision (or give us a better one) and say: “It’s expensive but we will fund it and have this part done by this date… that part by another date… and so on, so that by 2012 (or whatever) we will have our layered maritime security for Canada.

Toronto's Marine Unit gives chase in a Zodiac. (Photo: Kevin Mastermann, Toronto Police Services)

Q:In your identification of the second problem in your report, “Too many holes to fill without a plan,” you are critical of the so-called “monies committed” as a measure of success, as opposed to “funds spent on specific security improvements” and the degree and frequency of “consultation” as opposed to “coordination and consolidation of responsibility for effective surveillance and credible response.” What do you expect to see as credible measures of effectiveness?

I’ve described these three-plus layers, but what the Committee would like to see is all these elements working together on regular exercises and in real operations to truly and honestly ensure that all “hoses fit where and when expected.” These exercises should involve all levels of these layers, and must be done regularly.

Improvements must be made between each, to fix any identified problems. This is the only real way to measure effectiveness and to progress in our maritime security posture. It is certainly not by mimicking an exercise at a Maritime Security Operations Centre (MSOC) that Canada will become more secure on its coasts and, unfortunately, we were subjected to just this, as well as a myriad of meaningless testimony that all was well. If you are not exercising and have not budgeted for it, you do not know what is wrong and what will work. I see each of these layers exercising on a continual basis. This leads me to a personal concern when people talk about “Transformation” as if it is a “one time only” process. In fact, when exercising, we learn that indeed we must always evolve and continue to transform to remain current and effective, and the way to do it is to exercise.

Transformation is a continuum in the military and security field, and exercise confirms or adjusts the direction of each transformation.

Q:In your vision, you rely on UAV’s and satellite surveillance, and you have commented on the recent failings of the High Frequency Surface Wave Radar which you also recommended now be replaced by satellite radar surveillance and UAV’s. Have you looked at, and do you know of other solutions that are cheaper and marketable and that provide more constant surveillance at shorter intercept ranges such as the Great Lakes?

Yes, we have seen some very interesting radar, and the Mounties and Toronto Police would dearly like to get their hands on them. Ultimately some mix of radar, aerial surveillance, and response will be needed, but there are few assets of any kind compared to what is needed for prudent security on the Great Lakes.

There are 14 Mounties assigned to the Great Lakes, Metro Toronto has 55, Peel Region 2, Halton 2, OPP 20+, I believe. The Great Lakes are a big Black Hole in Maritime Security, in our view. The sense of frustration that you see in the poor Toronto harbour patrol who look across the lake and see the U.S. doing essentially the same job with 2,200 personnel. This tells the story. We need to be effective. We need to do our share. Time to throw in some money to light up the Black Hole.

Q:One approach used at the Border is the Integrated Border Enforce­ment Teams (IBETs) approach. Do you see this as a potential model for Great Lakes Maritime Security?

I spent some time with the IBETs in the Stanstead area. All local, state/province, and federal agencies were represented there, and very engaged (and past turf issues). Mike Cabana, the officer in charge of this program for the RCMP, introduced me to a Corporal who had entered with him in the Force. This amazing gentleman showed great leadership and it was ­obvious – from the way he recognized the qualities and achievements of each participant – that he was the glue that bound and motivated what was obviously a very effective international team. They were the type that could persuade their superiors to put some assets into their work because the return on investment could be demonstrated. This cooperation has to be continuously renewed and sustained to remain current. Managers at higher levels have to get out and see these things to understand their worth.

This international team approach could definitely be extended in some ways to our Great Lakes maritime security. There are not enough resources to do it alone but together we can do it better by cooperating and sharing what we have.

Members of the Senate Committee toured HMCS Winnipeg while visiting Vancouver ports. From left: standing next to Commodore (now Rear-Admiral) Bruce Donaldson are Senators Joseph Day; Michael Forrestall; Colin Kenny; Peter Stollery; Tommy Banks; and Pierre Nolin.

This security is not for security itself; we are securing the livelihood of people on both sides of the border, in our richest economic region. To fail in this will cause the local economies to be devastated. Remember what a terrorist (I think it was Bobby Sands) once said in talking about public security vice terrorism: “You have to be right all the time, I only have to be right once.”

We need a secure border, and the Committee agrees that land transfers for common search areas along the border are important to make it so.

Q:The leaders of the three North American countries have just left Montebello, where discussions were held under the Security and Prosperity Partnership agreement, ongoing since 2005. Has your committee been kept up to speed on these security initiatives, particularly maritime ones that are being discussed that could give your committee cause to be optimistic that the problems that you identified might be addressed? Do you intend to inquire about possible federal SPP initiatives that would meet some of your recommendations?

First I have not, nor has my committee, been briefed by any government department on the Security and Prosperity Partnership initiative. As you know, I have liaison officers for the Committee solely from DND and the RCMP, but even they are not freely afforded the information they need to keep us informed. As to the other departments, they have no such regular contact with our committee. I have asked our liaison people to keep their bosses up to speed, for the more they know, the less dumb criticism they may be subjected to later.

I also believe that both houses of Parliament need to be kept up to speed on SPP. Members of both houses come to Parliament with different points of view but none come with the intention to make Canada worse. It is best if all parliamentarians are kept aware of the initiatives and likely legislative requirements emanating from these discussions. It is regrettable that, on the contrary, in these committees we often receive condescending testimony from officials that everything is going splendidly and the Minister is perfect. We would all respect and love to get briefings that would acknowledge a more mature approach; stating first what is being done right, and what needs work, and here is our plan to do so and we will be back in six months to report again. Alas, the government admits no mistakes and the opposition snipes loudly and wastefully at picayune and insignificant targets. Sounds like Question Period? No, clarity, candour, and completeness do not ring loudly in Parliamentary Committees these days.

Q:Any last reflections on Maritime Security that you would wish to leave Senator?

Yes, there are the issues of capacity and of intelligence that I would like to add as both affect Maritime, and all security, in Canada. As many know, we are at capacity and have very little surge capability in our Armed Forces and Police Forces. I have shown some of the areas where this occurs in maritime resources.

Canadians should not accept this state of affairs, as it does not cater to the unforeseen emergencies for which such organizations actually exist.

To mitigate being ­surprised by events that might threaten our prosperity or very existence, we need a strong intelligence agency that can act for Canada overseas. Our Committee strongly recommends a more potent presence of CSIS overseas to mitigate the very dispatch of criminal or terrorist activity overseas and from abroad.  

Clive Addy, Executive Editor of FrontLine Security magazine, thanks Senator Kenny for taking the time to meet with him.
© FrontLine Security 2007



Beijing Olympic Games
© 2007 FrontLine Security (Vol 2, No 4)

The Olympic Games have become one of the world’s largest sporting events where visitors congregate from many different ­cultures and languages. For the host country, it is an opportunity to showcase itself internationally. All eyes will be on the scenery and the facilities, with even more scrutiny placed on how well the games are organized and executed.

More than four million people are expected to descend on China for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Unlike prior competitions, where the host city is the central location for sporting venues, the Olympic Games in China will have events taking place at 31 locations. This makes the Games particularly challenging from both a medical and security perspective.

The venues include Shanghai, Qingdao, Qinhuangdao, Hong Kong, Tianjin and Shenyang. Some of these locations are a 10-hour train ride, or two-hour flight away from Beijing.

For corporations sending clients to watch the Games, or those deploying employees to assist with business for the Games, ensuring that these visitors have a truly safe and enjoyable experience will take exceptionally detailed planning and coordination.

While the tremendous growth of China’s economy means first class hotels and fine dining will be available for visitors in city centers, the quality of healthcare may prove most discomforting. China’s healthcare system is undergoing rapid change, and there is still a substantial gap in its quality compared to western expectations. Standards vary widely and visitors should not expect the same level of medical care that they get at home.

For example, ambulances may not be of an international standard and waiting times can be lengthy. Furthermore, payment for treatment is usually asked for in cash upfront, with credit cards rarely accepted. Prompt attention can be further complicated since local hospitals have limited experience with international medical insurers. Other concerns include hygiene and sterilization problems and a potential shortage of RH-negative blood, found in 15 percent of Westerners but only three in 10,000 Chinese people. Chinese health authorities have already begun a campaign to build up the supply to prevent a shortage for athletes during the Games.

In some places, there may also be a ­tendency to favor traditional Chinese ­medicine, which is not always suitable for some Western patients.

Companies with staff or guests in China for the Games should be prepared for a wide variety of possible medical problems ranging from complications from ­ pre-existing conditions, to food and water borne diseases, heat stress and stroke, minor sprains and fractures, traffic accidents, and respiratory ailments related to high pollution levels.

As with all large events where groups of visitors come together, security is also a major concern. Issues range from mild ­disturbances and theft to potential natural disasters and terrorism. The language ­barrier may exacerbate issues. Even making a police report can be complicated when languages don’t align.

Speculation on budget levels for the Beijing Olympics’ security preparations cannot be confirmed because authorities there have not shared the figures.

So what can companies who are sending employees and guests to China do? Perhaps the following suggestions might prove a good start:

Know the risks. Ensure visitors know before they leave what diseases they may encounter and what security issues for which they should be prepared. The federal Department of Foreign Affairs maintains a travel update website that lists all countries and the current status at www.voyage.gc.ca. Information includes warnings and recommendations, a list of Canadian government contacts in the country, a summary of local laws and customs, plus climate and health infor­mation. Assistance companies can also offer pre-travel information, highlighting other essential information relating to vaccination requirements, personal and driving safety information, cultural information, crime and more. Currently, there is no travel warning listed for China.

Find Experienced Pro­fes­sionals. Consider engaging an inter­na­tional assistance company that can help you plan for and deal with any medical or security issues that may affect your employees or guests from translation services to emergency medical evacuation and repatriation.  

Plan for the Unlikely (but Possible). Make sure your employees and guests take measures ahead of time to ensure they know how to best safeguard their health and safety when traveling to China. Encourage them to find out what immunizations they need and to get them. Not only should itineraries be left with the employer, but travelers should leave detailed copies of their itinerary with friends and family back home. Remind them to take an ample supply of prescription and routine medication in their carry-on luggage. Also, travelers may find it useful to bring a first-aid kit, as these are not readily available in China.

Purchase a Translation Dictionary. Learning a few basics of the Chinese language will help everyone navigate through their journey.

Back it up. Ensure your employees and guests have access to their vital documents even when away from home. Before they leave, ensure they scan copies of passports, driver’s licenses and credit cards. Have those documents emailed to an account the traveller can access from the Internet. Tell them to ensure emergency contacts are listed in multiple places.

Reduce the Risk of Theft and Assault.  Travelers can take some common sense precautions to lessen the likelihood of a serious incident. For example, they should refrain from wearing expensive jewellery or watches, avoid carrying all their money in one ­location, and consider carrying a ‘robbery wallet’ with old credit cards and a small amount of cash that can be handed over if robbed. Pickpockets can be any age or either sex and often use knives to cut bags and back pockets. Hotel room doors should always be locked. Find out what districts are dangerous, and let your employees and guests know so they can avoid these areas when alone or at night.

Taking precautions, doing your homework and using common sense will help ensure your visitors experience is a truly rewarding one and they will thus enjoy the Beijing Games.  

Richard Culver is the Senior Director of Security Services for the Americas Region at International SOS, providing medical assistance, international healthcare, security services and outsourced customer care.
© FrontLine Security 2007



We're In This Together!
Critical Infrastructure
© 2007 FrontLine Security (Vol 2, No 1)

Professional emergency planners know that even the best plans depend on the extent to which critical infrastructure (CI) services are available to help responders mitigate and recover from the event. While local emergencies such as storms and accidents often disrupt CIs, work-arounds are often possible in short order, and additional materials and labour can be supplied from outside the affected area.

Independent Electricity System Operator Power Distribution Control Centre.

But would this be the case in large-scale regional or national emergencies? The 1998 Ice Storm, 9/11, and Hurricane Katrina all provide vivid examples of how the widespread and long-term loss of electricity, telecommunications, fuel, transportation, and water virtually halt recovery efforts.

In 2003, the Premier of Ontario declared provincial emergencies to deal with both the SARS crisis and the 2003 Blackout. These events presented challenges in different ways. While these crises were managed as provincial emergencies, they clearly had national and international significance.

On the most basic level, the federal government needed to coordinate with the provincial government and provincial critical infrastructures – health in the SARS crisis and electricity in the blackout. At the strategic level, the federal government needed to stay abreast of the situation, understand what was being done, provide assistance if necessary and, most importantly, manage the international implications. For example, in the hours immediately following the August 2003 Blackout, the media quoted the Canadian Prime Minister and the New York State governor, who blamed each other’s country for causing the blackout. At all costs, government and the CIs need to coordinate to ensure the political does not overtake the technical.

Clearly then, any widespread or national-level emergency depends on the ability of government and these infrastructures to understand the threats facing them, and to take measures to prevent, mitigate, respond and recover. But the CIs are very diverse. It has been estimated that critical infrastructure sectors make up about 40% of our economy in terms of the capital value of facilities and number of employees. And about 85% are owned or operated by the private sector. So how do governments and the CIs work together to understand what needs to be done, and take the necessary steps? The answer, in one word, is partnership.

In Canada today, there is no framework at the national level to link the federal government with the CIs, although a draft strategy has been under development by Public Safety Canada for several years. Some sectors, such as telecommunications and banking/finance, have long-standing regulatory relationships with the federal government, but most sectors do not. And there is no mechanism to bring the sectors together to understand and enhance their interdependencies through extreme scenarios.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

The Need for Partnership
Wikipedia defines a partnership as “a contract between individuals who, in a spirit of cooperation, agree to carry on an enterprise, contribute to it, by combining property, knowledge or activities and to share its profit”. While this definition is often used in the context of a contractual business relationship, it can also apply to agreements between organizations that cooperate on matters of mutual interest with no financial exchange. This form of recognized partnership can provide the basis for trusted cooperation between government and the CI sectors.

Two partnership approaches have been vigorously debated: regulatory and non-regulatory. But in today’s complex world of managing physical and cyber security threats and all-hazards, a non-regulatory approach has a number of advantages.

A non-regulatory partnership:

  • Provides flexibility to address all-threats, all-hazards
  • Supports rapid changes needed to address new threats
  • Encourages innovation to develop new security and resiliency solutions
  • Provides a trusted environment that encourages two-way information-sharing between the government and the CIs

Canada doesn’t have a partnership framework, but the U.S. does. So what can we learn from their experience? What barriers had to be overcome, and does it work?

The U.S. Experience: Federal Leadership
The US has been actively interested in protecting critical infrastructure since President Clinton signed Presidential Decision Directive 63 in 1998 that declared “…the United States will take all necessary measures to swiftly eliminate any significant vulnerability to both physical and cyber attacks on our critical infrastructures, including especially our cyber systems.”

This interest intensified after 9/11 when President Bush issued Homeland Security Presidential Directive 7, identifying 17 critical infrastructure and key resources “so vital to the United States that the incapacity or destruction of such systems would have a debilitating effect on the nation.” This directive set out the framework for the National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP) and a new public-private partnership to integrate protection activities across all sectors.

One goal of the new Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was to develop the necessary relationships with the CI sectors. It’s difficult to understate the significance of establishing DHS – the most significant transformation of the US government since World War II. They had a big job to do. Aside from the enormous administrative challenge of bringing together many organizations from other departments they had to do something that had never been done before – develop a National Infrastructure Protection Plan that would describe how the CIs would increase their security posture.

Early Challenges
In 2005, DHS released its Interim National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP). From the perspective of the CIs, this interim plan had serious deficiencies. It almost exclusively focused on the terrorist threat, as opposed to all threats and hazards. As a result, it focused on efforts to protect CIs, and virtually ignored the full spectrum of actions that need to be taken, including mitigation, response, recovery and restoration.

This Interim NIPP was in many ways too prescriptive and did not provide the flexibility the diverse sectors needed. DHS came to realize that they needed to engage the CI sectors to address these issues, and this is where the hard part started. There were a number of challenges to be overcome.

  • The vast scope and diversity of the CI sectors
  • Concerns about how sensitive, security-related information would be shared without it becoming public and falling into the wrong hands
  • Fears by the private sector that CI ­initiatives would prompt the creation of burdensome laws and regulations
  • Administrative and legal barriers such as the U.S. Federal Advisory Com­mit­tee Act, that strictly limits how the ­government is able to seek advice from the private sector
  • Defining the role of the state, local and tribal governments

Progress – a Partnership Framework
After a series of consultations with a number of sectors who were already self-organizing to work with DHS, Homeland Security Secretary Chertoff established the partnership framework in March 2006. This was a milestone achievement. It put in place a framework recognized by government and the CI sectors that defines the roles and responsibilities for all levels of government, private industry and non-governmental organizations. To date, almost all of the CI sectors have established their sector coordinating councils and meet regularly with their government counterparts (www.dhs.gov). As well, the Partnership for Critical Infrastructure Security, established in 1999 and composed of the leaders of each of the individual CI sectors, was formally recognized as the private sector’s cross-sector council.

It’s too early to claim that this partnership framework is the perfect and enduring framework for how the CI ­sectors work with government. There are real cultural differences in how government and the private sector work.

However, some success has already been achieved, for example, in developing the NIPP and Sector-Specific Plans, planning for pandemic influenza, and implementing an emergency notification ­system for DHS with the CI sectors. Great potential exists for the sectors to further understand each other’s interdependencies and develop solutions that will optimize recovery across the sectors and minimize the impact on public health and safety and the economy. The result will be an ever-increasing level of resilience for all the critical infrastructures.

Could the U.S. Framework Work in Canada? In general, we can apply the concepts behind the U.S. model directly in Canada. Some Canadian entities are already involved in the U.S. initiatives because many CIs such as electricity, oil and natural gas, dams and information technology are multi-national or have cross-border interests.

In many ways, it should be easier to establish a partnership framework in Canada: with fewer stakeholders, coordination and outreach would be simplified; Canada does not have legal barriers ­similar to the U.S. Federal Advisory Committee Act; and, when common goals are agreed, Canadians can find pragmatic solutions that are less resource-intensive or bureaucratic.

The Way Forward: Leadership with Substance
For their part, the sectors have an interest in supporting the development of a partnership with government on CI matters from both a business and public interest perspective. And government has an opportunity to demonstrate leadership through commitment and action to:

  • Provide leadership in a facilitative, rather than directive way. Recognize existing relationships within and between CI sectors, and reinforce these or build new ones by reaching out to leaders in government and industry. Clarify the roles of Public Safety Canada and other federal departments. Include the provinces as partners.
  • Gain commitment by engaging each CI and invite them to meet this challenge in collaboration with other CIs at the national level. Senior political leaders need to reach out to business leaders to describe the need for their sustained involvement and support.
  • Be ready to respond to real events. We can’t afford to be overtaken by the next crisis. Establish the means to quickly reach out to the CIs on a 24x7 basis to share threat and incident information between government and the CIs. Share and understand each other’s emergency response protocols.

What risks do we face by not acting promptly? Without a recognized partnership framework in place, government and the CI sectors will not be able to effectively coordinate efforts to ensure secure, safe and reliable critical infrastructure services. This is not only a matter of national interest – it is necessary to meet the commitments we have made with our neighbours through the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America.

Stuart Brindley is the Manager of Training and Emergency Preparedness at Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) and currently Chairs the U.S. Partnership for Critical Infrastructure Security.
© FrontLine Security 2007



Managing Your Next Disaster
Practical Advice from Ontario’s Commissioner of Community Safety
© 2007 FrontLine Security (Vol 2, No 2)

Natural disasters can strike with ­little or no notice, causing large numbers of casualties and devastating local infrastructure. Impacts may include widespread power outages, road closures that block emergency response efforts, building collapses and structure fires. As the Com­missioner of Community Safety for Ontario and a for­mer Deputy Com­missioner of the Ontario Provincial Police, I know that within moments of a natural disaster striking, response resources and management systems can be stressed to the limit. Being prepared in advance, and understanding emergency management structures will greatly enhance your community’s resil­i­ency.

Jay C. Hope was appointed by Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty as the provinc'es Commissioner of Communicty Safety in December 2006. In this role, Commissioner Hope serves as a key advisor to the Premier and Cabinet on issues related to emergency management, particularly in times of crisis. He oversees a broad portfolio, including Emergency Management Ontario (EMO), the Office of the Fire Marshall (OFM), the Office of the Chief Coroner (OCC) and the Criminal Intelligence Service Ontario (CISO). Prior to his current appointment, Commissioner Hope had the honour of serving 27 years with the Ontario Provincial Police, rising through the ranks to Deputy Commissioner (the country's first black officer appointed to the ranks of chief of police). In 2006 he was made an Officer of the Order of Merit of Police Forces.

This article provides some practical advice to law enforcement and other community emergency response officials to help ensure readiness for the next natural disaster.

Why Prepare?
High profile disasters such as Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the recent tornado that ­devastated Greensburg, Kansas just two months ago, continue to remind the public and emergency responders of the massive power of nature. While Canada contends with fewer such crises, we are by no means immune from similar events.

As our ­climate changes, natural disasters will become more prevalent – and more devastating. Ontario has seen first-hand evidence of this over the last two years. For example, on August 19, 2005, a series of powerful thunderstorms swept across southern Ontario causing over $500 million of damage – the highest single insured loss in the province’s history. Last summer, during the Civic Holiday weekend, nine tornados struck central Ontario, causing widespread power outages and leaving many residents isolated and without basic services. Preparing for this sort of incident isn’t just common sense – it’s a part of due diligence in a time of increasing risk. It is particularly important that we work together to ensure that our diverse communities are adequately prepared – including residents in both urban and rural areas, and those with disabilities and/or special needs.

Know the Law
A key first step in being prepared is to become familiar with your areas’ emergency management legislation. In general, such laws across Canada include two key elements – requirements for emergency management programs and provisions for emergency powers.

In Ontario, emergency management is governed by the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. A key part of this legislation is the requirement for every municipality to implement an emergency management program. While every province/territory/state has different requirements, there is growing consensus on the core elements of an emergency management program. These are outlined in widely recognized standards such as NFPA 1600 (www.nfpa.org) and a soon-to-be-released Canadian standard, CSA Z1600 (www.csa.ca).

28 May 2007 - Legate Creek, B.C. Hwy 16 was closed while crews worked to clear the 10-metre-deep slide that dumped mud, rocks and trees across the highway after heavy rains, killing two people. The highway reopened to alternating single-lane traffic on June 17th.

At minimum, any emergency management program should contain the ­following core elements to ensure a basic level of preparedness:

Designate an Emergency Manage­ment Coordinator to administer the program and serve as a point of contact in times of emergency;

Form a community emergency management coordinating committee consisting of lead organizations to advise the coordinator and assist in the development of all program elements;

Conduct a risk assessment to assist in focusing program resources. This assessment should first identify possible hazards and then rank them according to likelihood and potential to cause harm;

Prepare an emergency response plan that outlines the roles of each department during an emergency. Ideally, this plan will include annexes outlining special response considerations for the top hazards identified in the risk assessment;

Develop a primary and alternate Emergency Operations Centre (EOC). Equipped with back-up power, meeting space, and telecommunications, the EOC is the key strategic coordination hub for inter-organization/agency cooperation during a major emergency;

Protect your critical infrastructure. This includes developing relationships with infrastructure providers in sectors such as telecommunications, health care, energy, food and water;

Inside Ontario's Provincial/territorial Emergency Operations Centre (PEOC).

Conduct regular training and exercises, including an annual session for senior officials involved in ­activating the community emergency response plan;

Identify an emergency spokesperson and information officer and train them in media relations;

Develop a community public alerting system to notify residents when an emergency is about to occur and what they should do. Systems vary greatly, but could include developing good relationships and protocols with local media, ­promotion of Environment Canada’s Weatheradio system, installation of sirens; and

Start a public education and awareness program. In the case of natural ­hazards, inform the public about the ­specific risks that might affect them and provide information on what to do. The most effective campaigns establish a ­dialogue with the public, as opposed to passive ­distribution of information. At minimum, this program should encourage residents to develop a family emergency plan and prepare an emergency survival kit – including enough food and water to last 72 hours.

Law enforcement officials should become familiar with the other part of provincial/territorial emergency management legislation – provisions for emergency powers. During a natural disaster, police organizations may be called upon to communicate or enforce emergency orders. Such orders and penalties for non-compliance vary greatly from province to province, but in general may include the ability to restrict movement, order evacuations, commandeer property, and closing businesses and public areas. In Ontario, failure to comply with an emergency order can result in a fine of up to $100,000 and imprisonment of up to one year.

August 2006 - Buildings were destroyed and roads were blocked following a powerful tornado that ripped through Combermere, Ontario. (Photo: Etienne Grégoire : Environment Canada)

Law enforcement organizations should consult with legal council regarding their actions under emergency orders and under common law – particularly as it pertains to forcible removal of residents from homes, which may be required under extreme life-threatening situations.

Photo: Joann Kropf-Hedley, EMO  

Responding to a Disaster
Response to each type of natural disaster will be different depending on the nature of the incident – a flood response will pose significantly different hazards and resource demands than a tornado or blizzard. The more planning you do ahead of time, the higher your likelihood of success. In building a risk-based response plan, consider including the following elements:

  • A summary of the hazard and specific risks it poses;
  • The community/organization’s concept of operations for that particular hazard;
  • Core objectives for such a response (such as: protect lives, guard property);
  • Specific roles for response organizations and key officials;  
  • Specialized resources required; and
  • Other hazard-specific considerations related to command and control, logistics, administration, and so on.  

Next, you need to ensure your jurisdiction has a flexible, but standardized approach to managing the various incidents during an emergency. Several approaches are used in Canada, but overall, an Incident Management System (IMS) that is based on the Incident Command System is becoming most prominent. In Ontario, we are adopting IMS across the province for all incidents, and all levels of response. An effective IMS maximizes resource effectiveness, ensures the development of a common Incident Action Plan, and establishes effective command and control mechanisms.

Finally, know how to get more help. Natural hazards can devastate your infrastructure and resources. You may lose communications, your roads could be blocked, and many people may be injured.

This new operations vehicle, Mobile 1, will be a key asset during emergencies. (Photo: Emergency Management Ontario)

To offset these impacts, form mutual assistance agreements that cover not only police resources (in Ontario, the Police Services Act discusses mutual assistance between police services), but also a wide variety of other resources and assistance. Where community resources are exhausted, regional or provincial/territorial assistance can be requested through your provincial/territorial Emergency Operations Centre (PEOC). By calling your PEOC, you can gain access to advice, assistance, and additional resources, possibly including Heavy Urban Search and Rescue (HUSAR) teams to rescue victims trapped under collapsed structures; communications support; and hazardous materials containment.

Ontario has recently purchased a state-of-the-art Mobile Emergency Operations Centre which can be used to support community response should your own infrastructure be overwhelmed or damaged. In a worst-case scenario, where all other resources have been exhausted, your PEOC can coordinate with the ­federal government to request military and other resources.

Be ready always, and practice!

As Ontario’s Commissioner of Community Safety, Jay C. Hope advises the Premier and Cabinet on crisis-related issues.
© FrontLine Security 2007



The Clock is Ticking
Canadian Maritime Domestic Security
© 2007 FrontLine Security (Vol 2, No 3)

National Security – The Sea Matters
Over the last six years, in the changed global security environment, Canadians have learned that National Security is a modern imperative that requires profound thought, development, investment, resourcing, and, most of all, government leadership and action. The new threat environment includes globalized threats such as terrorism, multi-national crime organizations, disease epidemics, and ­natural disasters – not simply traditional, state-oriented threats.

Photo: Telesat Canada

One effect of this change has been the overlapping of the Defence and Security areas of responsibility in all western democracies. This creates difficult challenges for those who vow to secure their open societies.

Strategic jihadist terrorism is a growing and serious phenomenon in the post 9/11 era. In Canada much has been accomplished to improve national security – new legislation has been introduced, compliance to international regulations has been achieved, a reasonably ambitious resourcing plan has been instituted, and government machinery continues to adapt to the new reality.

Canadians are also learning to be aware of, and protect, their maritime interests – the coasts and maritime approaches.

The National Security Policy of April 2004 (which, significantly, is deemed a framework for national security strategy, but not a National Security Strategy) – with its rather remarkable Integrated Security System approach that includes integrated threat assessment, protection and prevention capability, effective consequence management, and evaluation and oversight machinery – highlights a six-point Marine security plan. This plan gives broad strategic strokes of responsibility to government partners: Transport Canada is tasked with responsibility for marine safety, security policy coordination, and regulatory leadership; Public Safety is charged with law enforcement and policing responsibility; and National Defence has the responsibility to coordinate all of Canada’s on-water response to maritime threats or developing crises in the Exclusive Economic Zone and along the coasts.

With the Vancouver Olympics already less than two and a half years hence, Canada will need to review and assess lessons learned in maritime security – particularly the areas needing urgent improvement. Moreover, the recent release of the U.S. National Intelligence Estimate in mid-July 2007 revealed that Al Qaeda has regenerated its attack capability as it projects itself from its new safe haven in northwestern Pakistan.

Since 2002, Al Qaeda has been capable of attacks on vessels, ports, and ­offshore platforms. With this in mind, it is important to assesses current maritime security practices with a view to excite consideration for continued maritime security improvement as the Olympics draw near.

Existing Framework for Maritime Security
Following 9/11, an important surge of government interest and activity focused on Maritime Security. In the first five years, the Interdepartmental Maritime Security Working Group (IMSWG) successfully justified ample government funding to initiate projects according to a Marine Security plan. In fact, the hallmark of this working group’s success was a risk-management matrix that compares maritime activities to circles of vulnerability.

The four key activities of domain awareness are defined as follows:

  • Domain Awareness: the activity which enables a nation to be aware of and comprehend what is happening and who is present in all areas of maritime responsibility. It is made up of surveillance and intelligence efforts to build a comprehendable picture of a nation’s maritime zones and interest areas.
  • Safeguarding: this ensures the physical security of ports, vessels and other critical infrastructure in or around areas of maritime responsibility (including offshore platforms). It also enhances personnel security by creating an environment which precludes terrorist or criminal activity and prevents potentially threatening persons or devices from entering through any part of its maritime system.
  • Responsiveness: this activity executes the national will to enforce the law to prevent imminent threats and to apprehend perpetrators. It includes all enforcement efforts of relevant police forces, mandated security agencies, and military units (both foreign and domestic), to intercept and capture terrorists, criminals, or other threats.
  • Collaboration: this is a critical piece of the national and maritime security system. Shared knowledge and information are integral cornerstones to prevention. This activity is somewhat qualitatively different from the other three but enables them all to execute their role in maritime security. Collaboration includes information sharing, coordination, cooperation, and unified action to resolve security problems. It entails horizontal sharing of information between government departments, intelligence agencies, and law enforcement groups, plus vertical sharing between first responders, and regional, federal, and international agencies.

When one superimposes these four activities across all the geographic circles of vulnerability, it is evident that, the ­farther one is from one’s own country, security requirements are increasingly information-based; however, as one draws near home, the requirements tend to be more physical and response-oriented. IMSWG work led to prioritizing required national activity as: security of the maritime perimeter; security of internal waters (particularly the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River system) and infrastructure; and security of Arctic waters.

The value of this excellent interdepartmental work is that one can assess Canada’s progress in achieving maritime security and highlight areas for urgent attention as 2010 draws near.

An Assessment in 2007
Many activities have been initiated since 2001, and much funding disbursed to improve national and maritime security. However, if one compares the original strategic intent for maritime security, a number of gaps have appeared. These may be due to technological challenges, bureaucratic inertia, or lack of capacity in some departments to implement government policy in times of limited resources.

Before one assesses the effectiveness of maritime security activities, it is reasonable to assess the overarching policy in which maritime security finds itself. The National Security Policy provided Canada a “framework” for security strategy. Canada has jumped from framework to program without the necessary supporting policy structures to guide implementation programs.

Three years later, enough has been learned and discussed to move forward as a nation to formulate a Canadian National Security Strategy – a national strategy that drops the singular focus on departmental concerns and embraces a “multi-pillar” perspective in which an integrated government invests resources according to an overarching national vision. After all, how can one really expect to be successfully pro-active and preventative as “the lead minister for the coordination of on-water response to a maritime threat” if one has no influence on other departmental planning schedules or their business plans?

To achieve the comprehensive strategic perspective, the traditional prisms or stove­pipes of bureaucratic government must be broken down – possibly by the institution of permanent, high-level, interdepartmental, strategic council of advisors mandated to ensure continual engagement of government in the allocation of resources to a given plan over the long term. One example of a best practice is the Dutch strategic institution known as IDON (International Deliberations over North Sea Governance). Strategy emanates from whole-of-government debate and interdepartmental synergy.

About 38 Coast Guard vessels are presently being outfitted with the new Vessel Satellite Communications System. (Photos courtesy of Telesat Canada)

Domain Awareness
Many lessons have been learned since 9/11 in the realm of Domain Awareness. Yet, what is severely lacking, is a National Maritime Domain Awareness Strategy with supporting surveillance requirements upon which to base future decisions. There are three major gaps that languish. The failure to implement the High Frequency Surface Wave Radar (HFSWR) is one. International regulatory restrictions have left a large gap in the requirement for continuous and persistent surveillance. While the maritime community awaits the full capability of radar satellite ­technology, it is time to move on from HFSWR and espouse a replacement ­technology. For coastal approaches, east, west, and arctic, research in alternative long-range radar systems (or similar capabilities) must be undertaken with allies. Moreover, advances in commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) security radars (like the Accipiter security radar system trialed on the Great Lakes) have made internal waters radar systems more capable and suited to the small-target environment of harbor approaches, rivers and lakes. These new technologies must be analyzed and exploited by IMSWG to fill this gap in “layered surveillance” as it and government originally envisioned.

Continued and expanded utilization of civilian air contract services combined with Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAV) will bolster the positive identification portion of the “layered surveillance.”

Finally, increased domain awareness in the arctic has been found to be a priority in that region – but climate and geographic conditions complicate successful implementation. The arctic is different and needs special attention before resources are expended. As Stephen Bigras of the Canadian Polar Commission explained in The Hill Times, “Canada’s polar research community is dispersed and diverse…. Unlike our circumpolar neighbours, and many other nations active in polar science, Canada has no national policy to guide and support polar science.”

Now that the government has a re-energized enthusiasm for arctic maritime security, research and development of technology that functions in polar conditions must be undertaken.

Significant gaps in Safeguarding are also apparent. The most serious is the absence of Port Policing in Canada. Senator Colin Kenny states in the Canadian Security Guide Book, 2007 edition – Seaports, “The current situation at Canada’s ports is untenable. The RCMP has not even been adequately funded to put meaningful contingents of officers at the ports of Halifax, Montreal, and Vancouver.”

The National Port Enforcement Teams that came forward from IMSWG deliberations as intelligence and investigative units (and not patrol units) are drastically understaffed and not adequately specialized. In contrast, the Netherlands, a maritime country that is heavily dependent on reliable maritime transport, has learned that to have effective maritime security, one must have centralized control and, therefore, securing borders and seaports (including freshwater ports) must be treated as a national responsibility. That being said, should we not insist that the RCMP to complete their ongoing study immediately and fund them to initiate a federally-run port police approach for the major ports that are crucial to trade and ferry traffic? To do this, some private/public cost sharing must be arrived at. Senator Kenny suggests that there are roughly 20 of these critical ports. This approach must be urgently engaged in Vancouver with time to mature prior to the 2010 Olympics.

A second safeguarding gap is the lack of Canadian security intelligence capability in the world’s major seaports. As the Australians have shown us, with their use of ASIS (the Australian Secret Intelligence Service) in foreign seaports around the world, it is best to learn about a threat to Canada when far from our shores. As CSIS increases its security intelligence operations abroad, a significant part of this effort should be aimed at placing CSIS personnel in selected major maritime ports to gather intelligence that pertains to Canadian maritime security.

Responsiveness came to the fore in the National Security Policy when the six-points plan called for strengthening marine security and a focus on “increasing on-water patrols to better position the RCMP, Coast Guard and the Canadian Forces Maritime Command to intervene, interdict, and board ships that may pose threats to Canada.”

After three years, much remains to be accomplished on this front. Although there have been a number of valuable exercises on the coasts and in the arctic, and Marine Security Enforcement Teams were introduced on the Great Lakes in July 2005, numerous gaps still exist. Most pernicious of these is the legal restriction on integrated forces operating together for routine, non-targeted operations. Naval ships have been stopped from going to sea for sovereignty patrols with RCMP officers on board because the law requires such integration to be carried out only during specific, targeted operations against a known threat. This restriction unnecessarily fetters integrated operations when longer-term surveillance and sovereignty patrols are necessary prior to and during the 2010 Olympics. This must be resolved.

For mature responsiveness, law enforcement departments must work on a regular basis (not just exercising) with on-water departments. Exercises should eventually become regular integrated operations that can focus on risk-management solutions based on intelligence and awareness. Navy and Coast Guard vessels must be utilized for both training and operations – integrating operations with other government departments so that inshore patrol requirements of domestic maritime security are fulfilled.

The 2010 Olympics require a robust and layered maritime security organization highlighted by minor vessels and Port Security units integrated with law enforce­ment officers providing both presence and quick response. The Olympics challenge also means quickly implementing promised modifications like the support for carriage, launching, and recovery of RCMP Emergency Response Team boats from DND’s Canadian Patrol Frigates.

If Canada were to follow Norway’s example of integrating military Special Operations Forces teams with elite police response units for maritime security, a strong synergy could be attained. This training and operational integration would provide precision-targeted specialist response to terrorist threats to ports, vessels, and, ­significantly, to offshore oil and natural gas platforms on the coasts and Great Lakes.

The IMSWG received strong interdepartmental leadership from Transport Canada and obtained generous funding for maritime security. One excellent initiative was the recent IMSWG Collaboration Fund project to define a marine security surveillance protocol. However, the five-year funding envelopes are coming to a close and the struggle for continuous improvement is lagging. IMSWG has ballooned in size due to project reporting processes and has become immersed in bureaucratic inertia. A scrub-down of this excellent organization, including an updated master plan is needed.

Cornwall Detachement RCMP officers participate in a recent training exercise. (Photo: Roxanne Ouellette, RCMP)

The IMSWG is apparently carrying out a gap analysis on Canada’s marine security. This needs to be fast-tracked.    

The first concrete and practical collaboration idea at the tactical level came through IMSWG in the form of the Maritime Information Management Data Exchange system (MIMDEX). This system was expected to furnish a maritime security network in which all members could bring together necessary security information about maritime threats and alert other departments to targets of potential interest. Unfortunately, the MIMDEX system is not operational at the time of writing – even after Senator Kenny’s Committee twice exhorted departments to fast-track this initiative.

The problem is not technological; it is the inability (or unwillingness) to alter legislation pertaining to individual departmental mandates, or indeed the Charter and the Privacy Act, on the issues of information sharing and interoperability. This issue is so critical to the new security environment that a government-led, coordinated debate is required.

In a similar fashion, the Marine Security Operations Centres (MSOC) which have been initiated on the two coasts and in the Great Lakes are beleaguered with limitations on individual departments’ ability to share with each other. As with the Integrated Threat Assessment Centre (ITAC), the participa­ting departments in these facilities have access only to their own databases – they do not have access to other database information needed to “connect the dots.” Security experts, including Senator Kenny and the Auditor General, have ­reiterated the importance of this cross-government need to share and alert in the new security environment.

Obvious gaps in the fabric of Canadian Maritime Security remain, due to stalled initiatives, however, there is a better understanding of the post-9/11 security environment.

Of particular importance at this juncture – a mere 2½ years before the torch lights up the 2010 Olympics – is the hair-raising pittance of dedicated Olympic security funding! While ample activity with regard to infrastructure and promotion of the Games is in motion, the scope of Security funding needs for this nation-building event has not been seriously addressed. Athens spent over $1 billion on security alone for their summer Olympics. Salt Lake City winter Olympics security cost over $400 million. Canada has dedicated one third of that amount. There is an urgent need to dedicate serious funding towards an integrated and shared (public/ private) security effort. The next Budget is not too soon for this investment – huge pressure has been mounting from both the International and U.S. Olympic Committees.

To achieve national security, a full-fledged National Security Strategy, with a long-term approach towards resource investment, is needed before Canada hosts the Olympics.

Greater effort and time must be spent on analysis of the right issues. Action and follow-through must then ensure implementation follows the master plan. To get it right, Canadians must take the National Security Policy and lessons learned in security, superimpose them over the 2010 Olympic security challenge, fund and resource a focused implementation plan on this “nation-building” event, and then use the resulting model as a framework for security best practices across Canada. The clock is ticking.  

Capt(N) Peter Avis is currently Commander of Maritime Operations Group Four in Esquimalt, British Columbia. He has worked with the IMSWG, Privy Council Office, and the Strategic Joint Staff at NDHQ. He is the author of “National Security Approaches to Maritime Security in the Post 9/11 Era” available at the Dalhousie Centre for Foreign Policy Studies. This article represents his personal views.
© FrontLine Security 2007



Mark Camillo
Transportation Security Challenges
Of the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver
© 2007 FrontLine Security (Vol 2, No 4)

After meeting Mark Camillo at a recent Conference Board of Canada event covering the Transportation Security Challenges of the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, FrontLine Security’s Executive Editor, Clive Addy, contacted him again in Washington for a more in-depth ­discussion of his insights on this topic. His ­extensive experience in these matters provides an objective view of the security challenges facing Canada, the Province of British Columbia, the City of Vancouver... and beyond.

Light traffic on the Louis Gate Bridge, Vancouver.

Mark, our readers have some idea of your past experience with Olympic events, but what brought you to examine our 2010 Vancouver Olympics from a Security perspective?
Well, as you know, I was called upon to observe preparations for several Olympic events prior to my own work on the Salt Lake City Games in 2002. For instance, I was privileged to visit the police in New South Wales and see them prepare for and handle the 2000 Sydney Summer Olympics. I also had the pleasure, in 2001 and 2002, to host liaison teams from your RCMP at our winter Olympics and discuss security preparations even before Vancouver was chosen for 2010.

I have worked very closely with, and maintained personal and professional relationships with the Mounties – I have great ­respect for them.

Because of my experience, I was invited to address the Conference Board of Canada. I ­travelled to Vancouver in preparation for this presentation, and spent time with ­colleagues and former associates who are currently engaged in the Olympic planning operation in Vancouver. With their assistance, I conducted a broad assessment, focused on the public transportation security challenges that Vancouver and its Olympic Committee will have to face. In November, I presented my conclusions to the very knowledgeable audience at the Conference Board, where I believe they were well received.

What, then, is involved in securing winter Olympics generally?
First, there is the reality of the Olympics, be they winter or summer. After Beijing, the Olympic spotlight will shine on Canada and Vancouver in 2010. During the Vancouver Winter Olympics and Para­lympics, upwards of 3 billion people will be watching Canada, BC, the venues and the city of Vancouver for approximately 60 days while being fed daily reports to their homes from over 10,000 on-site media (at a minimum) from the 80 or more competing countries.

Nordic Alpine Ski Venue at the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics.

Mark Camillo is an internationally-recognized law enforcement and security professional, with exceptional expertise in the area of major event security. He served as a Special Agent in the U.S. Secret Service where he completed a distinguised 21-year career that included three seperate assignments at the White House. Mr. Camillo held several key positions during his career in major event planning, but the most notable was being appointed the Olympic Coordinator for the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olympics. The successful execution of this carefully designed preparedness and prevention plan was later identified by the White House Office of Homeland Security as an excellent model for future security designs at Events of National Significance. Mr. Camillo merited the distinction as an Olympic Security Expert, evidenced by invitations to address audiences internationally and at home that included U.S. Senate testimony. He is currently with Lockheed Martin Corporation's Transportation & Security Solutions.

Regrettably, this offers a very attractive venue to those wishing to use this opportunity to further their cause through public violence as has been the case since the Munich Olympics. You cannot afford to give terrorists of any stripe the podium of this size for any significant amount of time. Security must be comprehensive, persistent, resilient and reassuring.

Second, there is the winter or alpine nature of these games. One example of the logistical challenge planners face is the need for lodging. Housing spectators, media and visitors close to the venues is an inherent problem. Unlike major metropolitan cities, regions hosting Winter Olympics usually lack an abundance of nearby accommodations. Security personnel, along with their equipment, also require housing and warehousing during the Games.

Third, security agencies will have the overarching responsibility to secure official Olympic venues and simultaneously maintain a strong public safety presence in the nearby communities. The security operation doesn’t stop there either. Systems and infrastructure critical to supporting routine vital needs – like power, water and medical care – will require special attention. Com­mu­nities rely on these 24/7 operations.

When the total security requirement is viewed, and matched against locally available assets, bringing support in from outside the region will be a likely option. I anticipate this being done carefully and efficiently in order to avoid the risk of creating public safety gaps elsewhere for upwards of 60 days. We are talking about an outside need for a workforce augmentation as well as equipment.

May 2007 - This photo shows the close proximity of vehicular traffic to the SkyTrain extensions being built overhead to handle additional transportation loads in the Vancouver area during the Games. The Canada Line, still under construction, will connect Richmond (south of Vancouver) to the existing SkyTrain system in Vancouver, including to the airport. Billed as the world's longest automated light rapid transit system, it presently runs from Vancouver to Surrey. Running on electricity, SkyTrain is emission-free and energy efficient. (Photo: Chris MacLean)

What are the threats as you see them and what, after your visit to Vancouver, do you consider we must work on most?
We can expect that any threats will continue to be monitored and addressed by the appropriate agencies as the games approach. I suspect that, with international cooperation, Canadian agencies will feed the Olympic security coordination network. For the security to be comprehensive, persistent and resilient, this network must reach all involved in security, at all venues – and the network must be protected from cyber attacks and power outages. The greatest threat, however, to a successful games security plan is the potential for complacency among authorities, participants and/or spectators, with respect to being watchful and reporting unusual occurrences or incidents. Everyone plays such an important part in the information network in these major events and must be made calmly and plainly aware of their importance and how to contribute to safer games. This takes sound planning and clear information.

There will be close to 3,000 athletes, 25,000-30,000 volunteers, one to two million visitors, and more than 130 competitive and non-competitive events. Achieving a common operational picture is possible by fusing real-time situational awareness with the multiple data domains. This provides decision makers with immediate and complete information that allows them to make informed decisions when time is of essence.

What about training before the event, particularly on recovery and resiliency?
To achieve the necessary level of this specialized type of security, there must be prior and on-site training of security personnel. One effective approach by proactive Olympic security planners is to use tabletop exercises prior to the Olympics to test, among other things, contingencies when responding to security incidents. These must start early in the planning process, and I am confident that they will.

Another aspect of the training requirement is special training for those on special assignment from other parts of Canada. This can be complicated by the incremental ­reporting of personnel. Skill sets that apply to alpine environments are not universally held in law enforcement. Can they ski, snowshoe, operate a snowmobile? Are they familiar with selected communication equip­ment? All this takes time and considerable planning within the security planning team.

What about financing and cooperation between private and public stakeholders?
As explained by VANOC, the lead organizing committee, there are worldwide partners, national partners, government partners (at all levels), aboriginal partners and sport partners. In my view, it is virtually impossible at the outset to establish an accurate security budget for such things as Olympic games. The variables of threat, weather, workforce needs, and physical infrastructure are such that a ­recurring ­annual analysis is the optimal approach, assuming of course it is endorsed and embraced by the appropriators.

The partners here can play a gigantic role. Historically, Olympic sponsors have secured themselves though private sector resources integrated in the overall security plan and awareness network. The private commuter police at Translink might be one example to examine. This may be a good approach for other partners to consider.

I believe that the original estimates for security were somewhat conservative, but I do feel that the need, whatever it is, will be met through a combination of private-public cooperation that sees Canada put its best foot forward to a ensure safe, secure and successful event.

Are there any other points you can share with us, Mark, that might help as we move along with this security planning?
As you know from my presentation on Transport Security, the multi-mode land, air and sea access to Vancouver and the Games (and the great number of potential choke points) pose safety and security risks and challenges. Though most of these, and threats to other sectors, are indeed possible, it is important to establish early the needs and means of creating situational awareness. Considering outsourcing, where ­possible, for some security needs can result in the best possible blend of people and technology.

Forging these private-public security partnerships soon will allow the team to meet the challenges and implement proven state-of-the-art solutions. As I said before, the plan must be comprehensive, persistent, resilient and reassuring. I wish all my friends well for what I expect will be a fine Canadian show!

Clive Addy is the Executive Editor of FrontLine Security magazine.
© FrontLine Security 2007



Security in the Nuclear Industry
© 2007 FrontLine Security (Vol 2, No 1)

With the recent convergence of debate on the potential for growth in Canada’s nuclear industry, and renewed terrorist threats directed at this country, it is timely to review the security situation of Canada’s nuclear facilities and materials. After 9/11, Canada’s nuclear regulator – the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) – determined that the entire industry (including its own organization) faced a need for significant enhancements in their approach to security.

Ontario Power Generation Facility in Pickering.

With concern over the release of radio­activity due to the increased potential for sabotage or theft in this new era, a robust and comprehensive security posture was needed. The CNSC quickly implemented emergency security measures after 9/11. Six years later, the vulnerability of nuclear facilities against acts of terrorism has been drastically reduced. Security at Canadian nuclear facilities now meets or exceeds international recommendations and best practices, but the job of monitoring and improving nuclear security continues.

Canada is a world leader in uranium mining, with downstream facilities for refining, conversion and fuel fabrication. Canadian companies and institutions are also involved in nuclear research, energy production, and medical and industrial applications, and are world-leaders in radioisotope production. The Nuclear Safety and Control Act of 1997 established the CNSC as the federal regulator for the use of nuclear energy and materials to protect health, safety, security and the environment. The CNSC also oversees Canada’s international commitments on the peaceful use of nuclear energy. The agency fulfills this mandate through a stringent licensing process, and through the development of regulations. Although licensees are responsible for implementing security measures, the CNSC develops the requirements and monitors their implementation.

Following 9/11, the CNSC undertook an emergency review of nuclear security. Within weeks, an order was issued detailing enhanced security requirements for all major facilities, such as power reactors and nuclear research and test establishments. Shortly after, enhanced ­security requirements were ordered for a second group of installations having a lower-risk profile, including uranium refineries and fuel fabricators. A subsequent review was completed of all nuclear licensees.

At the same time, the CNSC began a thorough evaluation of the existing Nuclear Security Regulations, based on emerging threats and their own security studies. As an issue of international concern, a great deal of work had been done in documenting international best practices by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). This worldwide expertise was critical in the development of new Canadian security standards. The CNSC consulted with licensees, law enforcement and intelligence agencies, other federal departments, and other levels of government. This broad review led to the amendments to the Nuclear Security Regulations in the fall of 2006. The amendments gave permanent codification to the requirements of the two emergency orders of 2001, along with additional security requirements for licensees.

Each of these measures represents a significant undertaking. For example, the construction of physical protections and vehicle barriers has taken years and a large investment to implement. Access control has been improved through state of the art dual verification systems, such as card access and biometrics. In addition, x-ray imaging and explosive and metal detection devices provide enhanced levels of screening for weapons.

In terms of the human element, nuclear power facilities previously relied mainly on unarmed guards. Off-site response forces were to be called in for serious threats, with on-site security focusing on delay. Today, each major facility is protected by well-equipped, highly trained tactical operations units. While the police would always be called in for an emergency, the on-site forces have been trained and equipped to handle anticipated threats and will intervene immediately until the police response arrives.

Tightened access control at Darlington facility. (Photo courtesy of Ontario Power Generation)

The design basis threat analysis is the foundation for all other measures, as has been stressed in IAEA documentation. This means investigating the characteristics of threats that facilities must be prepared to counter. It also provides the standard of protection for which the CNSC holds licensees accountable. Updated design basis threat studies were undertaken with the cooperation of the RCMP and CSIS, licensees, and jurisdictional police agencies. These involved looking at the characteristics of postulated adversaries: the history of tactics which could be used; the types of weapons and explosives to be considered; the size of attacking force which might be expected; and the types of vehicles which might be used.

While the emergency security measures instituted in 2001 remain in force under the 2006 regulation amendments, significant improvements have also been included, such as the introduction of double-fencing for new installations to enhance delays, uninterruptible power supply for critical security systems, heavily managed key controls, and new requirements for Nuclear Security Officers. Qualified practitioners in the relevant fields must now certify Officers for physical, mental and psychological fitness. Security exercises and drills are now more prescribed and more frequent, including major performance exercises involving off-site forces.

As mentioned earlier, the development of new security requirements relied heavily on the IAEA recommendations and best practices. In the planning stages, the CNSC consulted closely with the licensees themselves, as they were ultimately responsible for implementation. Facilitating these discussions was the Inter-Utility Security Working Group, established in 2002 by the major licensees. For the most part, licensees understood from the beginning the importance of these endeavours, but it was critical to consult with them at all stages, as well as with appropriate law enforcement agencies. Successful implementation depended on the ability to justify the measures being recommended. This was aided by the international recommendations. It was also important to demonstrate the credibility of need. This was defined through communication with law enforcement and intelligence agencies. The CNSC had to demonstrate perseverance and continue to follow-up to show that the regulator took this issue as seriously as licensees were being asked to.

The CNSC security staff has grown from being a three person section to a sizeable division, with numerous security inspectors and specialists in a variety of areas, including tactical response, security systems, personal security, and intelligence analysis. They monitor the implementation of these measures to verify compliance. The costs for implementation were significant. Total capital costs for the physical protection requirements are in the range of $300 million, with ongoing costs totalling close to $60 million annually. The majority of these costs are borne by licensees.

Aside from facility protection, a major issue for the CNSC is the safeguarding of high-risk radioactive sources. There are thousands of CNSC licensees in Canada authorized to use nuclear materials. Oil pipeline operators use radiography devices, nuclear gauges are used in factories, and nuclear imaging and therapy devices are widely used in the medical fields. Any lost source represents a potential health threat. There is also a risk that sources may be diverted to malicious uses, such as the construction of a radiological dispersal device (dirty bomb). In 2006, regulatory controls were strengthened through the establishment of a Sealed Source Tracking System within an upgraded National Sealed Source Registry. This placed obligations on licensees to report transactions involving sealed sources, using a secure system with data managed as Protected B under the Canadian information classification system. Canada is the first country to have implemented such robust inventory tracking controls.

Response Team at the Bruce Power plant.

Nuclear fuel waste is also subject to protection under the Nuclear Security Regulations. Within the protective barriers of each nuclear generating station in Canada, there is enough storage space for all the used fuel produced during the operating life of the station. Such storage is required to provide safe, secure containment shielding, with resistance to extreme site conditions, and are monitored to ensure continued integrity.

The adaptation of Canadian nuclear security to the post-9/11 world is continuing. In particular, ‘next steps’ being considered or implemented include a more rigorous export and import control program for nuclear materials; performance testing of security personnel and systems at facilities under realistic conditions; expanding internal intelligence analysis capabilities to relay information to licensees in a timely manner; and, the corollary technical standards and guidelines which will be developed based on the amended security regulations.

In addition to the changes in operational requirements for nuclear licensees, and at the CNSC to oversee that activity, the CNSC continues to receive information from CSIS, the RCMP, the Integrated Threat Assessment Centre (ITAC), and others. As such, the CNSC follows potential threats to ensure effective response, and to improve our understanding of ­postulated threats for further design basis threat analyses. This information, and the CNSC’s involvement in the development of additional international standards, will drive the next generation of improvements in security for Canada’s nuclear industry, assuring Canadians that our nuclear security is based on expert recommendations from around the world.

Gerry Frappier is Director-General of Security and Safeguards, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.
David Sachs is also with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.
© FrontLine Security 2007



NATO & Disaster Response
Idassa 2007 Croatia
© 2007 FrontLine Security (Vol 2, No 2)

IDASSA 2007 is the second Natural Disaster exercise that the Republic of Croatia, in cooperation with NATO’s Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coord­ina­tion Centre (EADRCC), has organized on its territory. The majority of Croatian work for the exercise was organized and conducted by the National Protection and Reserve Directorate.

Croatioan Civil Protection Team on IDASSA exercise. (Photo: Dino Stanin)

Croatia had previously organized a field exercise called Taming the Dragon – a Croatian contribution to the Partnership Work Programme. The May 2002 exercise, based on wildfires, was aimed at preparing for one of the most common risks in southeastern Europe and took place prior to the typical wildfire “season.”

Exercise IDASSA 2007 was conducted exactly five years later at several locations in the coastal Zadar county of Croatia and in the city of Zadar. The name “IDASSA” means Zadar in ancient Greek.

Approximately 1,200 participants (including more than 120 observers) from 44 countries were divided into 55 teams for the event. The fictional scenario for this exercise combined a devastating earthquake, aggravated by chemical leaks in an industrial seaport, with a further threat of terrorists using a biological agent onboard a passenger plane.

“IDASSA 2007 allowed NATO and partner countries to practice disaster response mechanisms and capabilities and to enhance co-operation in emergency situations,” says Mr. Damir Trut, Director of the IDASSA 2007 exercise and Deputy Assistant for Croatia’s National Protection and Rescue Directorate.

The exercise scenario was designed to test best practices of simultaneous response to a natural disaster combined with the complications of a terrorist threat – providing an opportunity for civilian responders and military units to work together.

Within this exercise, NATO and partner nations practiced the EADRCC procedures. The Centre was created in 1998 for coordinating disaster relief efforts for the member countries of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) in the event of a natural or technological disaster in the EAPC geographical area. Since 2000, EADRCC has organized eight similar international natural disaster exercises and IDASSA 2007 is the largest such exercise.

“As far as organization and hosting of such natural disaster exercise goes,” says Mr Trut, “we simply offered our assistance to NATO and the Alliance accepted it. Not all participating countries have the necessary abilities or capacities to organize an event of such scope.”

Director of the Exercise, Mr. Damir Trut, chats with President of the Republic of Croatia, Mr. Stjepan Mesic. (Photo: Dino Stanin)

As it would be in a real situation, host nation support was vital to the success of the exercise. In this case, Mr Trut, believes that national support resulted in uniting and streamlining the efforts of several state ministries, ensuring, for example: unhindered arrival of foreign teams and participants, rapid issuing of visas and border passage, transportation to the camp where participants were situated, constant medical support (both on exercise locations and in the camp) and communications support.

“Although Croatia is not yet a NATO member, I think we’re already acting as an ally,” says Trut. “There is very extensive cooperation between NATO and Croatia and we participate in more or less all major activities of the Alliance. We regard this exercise as our Croatian contribution to the framework of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC).”

Exercise Scenario
The fictional scenario this year was a combination of several elements.

Croatia’s coastal town of Zadar is hosting a high-profile charity music festival attended by international personalities and more than half a million guests from all over the world.

On May 18 at 20:43, just before the festival is to start, an earthquake of magnitude 6.5 on the Richter scale hits southern Croatia. The earthquake results in heavy damage to housing, as well as to elements of critical infrastructure of the area. There is damage to the electricity grid, the high-pressure water line, telephone lines and the GSM network. The roads are covered by rockslides and debris from fallen buildings. Railway traffic has been suspended. The charity festival is cancelled and guests are evacuated to other parts of the country.

The Government of Croatia requests international assistance from the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre. The request specifies a need for Search and Rescue (SAR) and medical teams, as well as camp necessities for approximately 10,000 displaced people.

Notwithstanding the damage to the industrial sea port of Zadar caused by the fictional earthquake, styrene (a toxic liquid material used in the manufacture of plastic and fibreglass) is reloaded from a commercial tanker into tanks in the port. At around 09:30 on May 21st, an undetected crack in the pipeline allows styrene to seep into land and sea. The spill starts spreading towards the sea town of Bibinje. The spill trail also spreads to railway carriages full of petrol in the vicinity and catches fire. Several explosions occur, damaging industrial facilities in the port of Gazˇenica. Many workers are poisoned and injured. A toxic cloud starts moving towards the town of Bibinje.

Adding to the challenge, the fire spreads to the ship carrying the styrene load, causing an explosion. As a consequence, its fuel leaks into the sea, while fire-fighters attempt to extinguish the fire on the ship.

Austrian firefighters localize volatile material with reloaded styrene. (Photo: Zoeavika Tecic)

Meanwhile, an airplane flying from Denver via London to Frankfurt is hijacked over Germany. The hijackers tell flight control that the airplane is to proceed towards Lime Island (scenario name) in the Indian Ocean. However, due to lack of fuel, the airplane is forced to land at the Zadar airport on May 22nd for re-fuelling. Croatian Police Forces manage to subdue the hijackers (seven hijackers and 30 passengers are injured in this operation). Later an individual, claiming to represent the hijackers, places a call to the Zadar airport authorities informing them that the hijackers have some deadly biological material that they intend to release into the environment if the police attempt to take control of the airplane. The individual placing the threat on the phone seems unaware that the plane has already been taken by the Croatian police.

The whole exercise lasted four days, with key events taking place from 21st until the 23rd of May.

The last day of the exercise (24 May) was a “demo day” where all teams conducted joint demonstrations, presenting their special competence and equipment to VIP guests and observers.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA) participated in the exercise – as did representatives of the European Commission. All teams were situated in camp Soline near Biograd throughout the exercise.

According to Trut, the majority of the participants in IDASSA 2007 were civilian first responders, SAR (search and rescue) teams, fire fighting teams, medical/paramedical teams, CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear) teams, decontamination teams, water-­rescue diver teams, etc. In addition to the civilian teams, two EAPC nations deployed military units.  There was a military sampling laboratory from Belgium and a detection and decontamination unit from Slovakia (CBRN).

Besides Croatia, which participated with 179 participants on 20 different teams, several other countries had high participation. These included: Austria (69 participants and 23 vehicles), Hungary (33 participants, 3 search dogs and 10 vehicles) and Sweden (33 participants and 11 vehicles).

SAR team participant searches for survivors in ruins of fictitious earthquake. (Photo: Dino Stanin)

Participation of the national and international Red Cross teams was crucial – as it would be in a real situation of mass injured and wounded citizens. For exercise purposes, in camp Bosˇana, near Biograd, the Croatian Red Cross sheltered earthquake victims with complete and independent infrastructure (water, electricity, accommodation). Also of note, a Swedish team built a camp hospital in the vicinity for the “severely injured.”         

Working hours for participants were limited to 12 hours per day (from 6 am until 6 pm), though it was acknowledged by all that in real situations there is no such limitation.

The Assessors Team, comprised of 22 experts from 11 countries, closely observed the entire exercise. The team evaluated activities of all participants and is in the process of detailing a final exercise analysis. The results of this analysis will be dispatched to participants in order to understand and implement all lessons learned into future response procedures.

Mr. Benjamin MacLean, part of a Canadian delegation to NATO, was a partici­pant on the Assessor Team.

IDASSA 2007 was a purely fictitious scenario and wasn’t based on any perceived threat from any given country. Because of its fictitious nature, there were no “real” deployments of control and emergency responders during the exercise. “Bear in mind,” says Trut “that all participants, both on emergency responding teams and in the management section, work in the protection sector in their countries.” Medical teams were the only true emergency responders participating in the exercise.

CBRN team rescues victim. (Photo: Zdravka Tecic)

As Director of IDASSA 2007, Mr Trut is confident that all exercise objectives were entirely fulfilled. “The coordinated local, national and international agencies and the operations centre did their jobs superbly,” he says. “Their coordination was impeccable and there were no major problems or setbacks.”

According to the First Impression Report that just arrived from NATO headquarters, the IDASSA 2007 exercise was complete success as well. “Partici­pants showed, once more, that it’s possible to work together as one big-scale international unit, as one team,” says Trut with obvious pride.

“I second Mr. Maurits Jochems, Deputy Assistant Secretary General of NATO, who stated at the exercise that civil emergency planning is mostly a national responsibility, but that during such an exercise, first responders, firefighters, and medical personnel – all the heroes on the ground – can train their own procedures and, more importantly, they can learn from each other. After all, natural disasters and catastrophes know no national borders.”  

According to Trut, due to Croatia’s unfortunate recent war experience, general readiness to deal with emergencies was already at a very high level. Nevertheless, with this exercise, “we accomplished something that Croatia can be proud of, and we have set new standards for similar exercises in the future in all aspects of organization.”

Multinational Communication
There was no need for particular translation facilities during IDASSA 2007, says Trut. “All teams that participated in the exercise used one working language – English. Each team had its communication officer on field who received orders from authorities and/or other teams and transmitted them to his/her team members. In my opinion, some additional translation office or facility would slow down the rescuing process, counter-productive in the situation where time is of the essence.”

Members of Bosnia's Red Cross help an "injured" particiapnt. (Photo: Dino Stanin)

Although exercise IDASSA 2007 has just wrapped up, impressions voiced by participants are most satisfying for the organizers. More importantly, says Trut, “during the exercise we identified and improved several crucial elements for future situations such as: interoperability, useage of international standards and procedures, cooperation between military and civilian units in the field, and cooperation between national and international teams. The importance of these lessons for each country is immeasurable.”

The high interest displayed by NATO/PFP teams during the preparation period should be noted. That situation posed an unexpected problem, however, as NATO and the Republic of Croatia were forced to limit the number of teams that could participate.

“Until now,” reflects Trut, “in cases of natural disasters all over the world, Croatia has sent its financial and material aid to countries in need, never its troops or teams. After this exercise, we are confident in our field competence and, if needed, our teams can participate in future rescue missions as well. IDASSA 2007 has served NATO and all participants well – we are now better prepared and most confident to help others.”  

Clive Addy is the Executive Editor of FrontLine Security Magazine
© FrontLine Security 2007



Enhancing Dignity in the midst of Disaster
© 2007 FrontLine Security (Vol 2, No 3)

As the nation reassesses its response to large scale disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and its preparedness for the threat of H5N1 flu pandemic, planners must also begin thinking about and preparing for the inevitable – mass fatality management. A mass fatality incident is defined as “any incident where the number of fatalities is greater than normal local arrangements can manage.” Any plan for dealing with fatalities needs to be integrated with all aspects of the response to and recovery from such incidents. A plan must also address traditional bereavement customs, the need for family closure, and the dignity associated with burial.

“We should treat the dead with respect. In death, money doesn’t matter, material possessions don’t matter; dignity is what we should care about.” – statement by Gung Tresna, Lifeguard at Kuta Beach following the ­terrorist attack in Bali, Indonesia.

Major disasters, such as the tsunami in Indonesia, hurricanes in the Gulf Region, and acts of terrorism, regardless of their origin, have had one thing in common: an enormous number of fatalities. Each disaster teaches important lessons about the handling of bodies, particularly when the number of dead overwhelms the local capacity to effectively respond. Without delay, following the onset of a disaster, it is essential for response ­agencies and local authorities to prioritize their activities and resources on three basic activities: first, the rescue and treatment of survivors; second, the repair and maintenance of basic services; and, finally, the recovery and management of bodies.

An Affordable Solution
Watching how bodies were managed ­during the 2004 tsunami motivated a Dutch engineer to design a coffin that was affordable, accessible, and suitable. Ensuring that bodies are managed in an efficient and dignified manner during a mass fatality is the basis behind DQE’s EveryBody™ Coffin. Historically, coffins have been too cost prohibitive to be considered for mass fatalities and their inherent design made them inefficient for bulk transport. DQE’s EveryBody Coffin offers a solution to both of these problems and as a result, is invigorating planners and fatality management teams to reassess how bodies are managed after a disaster.

This unique coffin, with its patented, all natural wood design, allows for flat storage, assembly without tools and efficient stacking. For around $200, planners now have an option when dealing with this public, yet personal issue.

The Everybody Coffin is available in two sizes (large and small), can be stacked three high once assembled, and is forklift compatible. An identification tag and security tie is included with each coffin; body bags are sold separately. Coffins are shipped in water resistant packaging.

The Bottom Line
Mass fatalities are an inevitable consequence of mass disasters. Readiness requires planners and officials to focus on the unique needs of the survivors and the fatalities. How bodies are handled, stored, transported and buried contributes to the closure families so desperately need. A coffin is a recognizable and universally accepted medium for fatality management. Now a truly functional, high quality coffin is available at an affordable price.

About the Company
DQE®, Inc. is a medical based company specializing in preparing and protecting first responders and hospital personnel for hazardous materials emergencies, infectious disease outbreaks and mass casualty incidents. Since the early 1990’s, the company has trained and equipped thousands of health­care professionals and worked with first responders, federal, state and local disaster planning agencies, the ­military, specialized response teams and emergency managers to better plan and prepare for disaster.

Tony Baumgartner is the Executive Vice President of DQE. For more information on DQE or the EveryBody Coffin, call 800-355-4628 or visit www.dqeready.com/EveryBody
© FrontLine Security 2007



Terrorists at the Olympics?
© 2007 FrontLine Security (Vol 2, No 4)

One comment currently being heard in British Columbia is that the upcoming 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics will be “a sporting event, not a security event.”

The reality is, however, that the Olympics have long since ceased to be only about sports. They are, in every sense of the term, a political event. The opening and closing parades themselves are full of potent political symbols, especially state flags. Athletes who want to participate must belong to a team. With only the rarest of exceptions, every team must be from a country that is part of the Westphalian based system of states.

Politicians have ensured that politics remain a key feature of the games. The 1936 Berlin Games were stage-managed by Hitler to substantiate his own political beliefs. State sponsored boycotts of the games (1980 and 1984) put a focus on ­politics rather than sports. Currently, an entire host of organizations (government and NGOs alike) are attempting to use the 2008 Beijing Games to advance their own political agendas, at the expense of the sporting value of the event.

While the Olympics are clearly a political event, it is often overlooked that ­terrorist attacks are also political events. The purpose of terrorist attacks is to pressure governments into making policy changes or to draw attention to political problems. In the past, ethno-nationalist ­terrorist groups sought minimal casualties with maximum publicity. While it used to be said that ­“terrorists want a lot of people watching, not a lot of people dead,” this view has now changed – especially with terrorist groups that are political-religious in their nature. Targets now are often chosen for their mass casualty potential. Soft targets, such as public gatherings and public transportation systems are often preferred (London, Madrid, Bali 1 and 2).

The Olympics are full of state symbols of power and prestige, and extremist groups seek to attack those symbols. Combined with that, the world’s media are pre-positioned to ensure that anything, especially a violent event, is immediately beamed worldwide.

As such, the Olympics and extremist groups who are willing to use violence are made for each other.

A Violent History
Vancouver itself and the province of British Columbia have a history of politicized violence and terrorism. In 1982 and 1983, the Squamish Five carried out a series of bombings against BC Hydro and the Red Hot Video Stores. The same group also travelled to Toronto to bomb Litton Industries.

The most horrendous Vancouver-based terrorist event is the still unsolved bombing of the Air India flights in 1985 which resulted in 331 deaths. This event was the most serious terrorist attack in Canada and it is still the greatest single loss of life from a terrorist attack against a single aircraft anywhere in the world.

Prior to that event, was the beating of a Member of Parliament who had warned of the threat of political violence. That attack resulted in a series of other violent acts, including the 1998 murder of a journalist who reported on the events and the threats against the lives of witnesses who, at that time, would not testify. As of 2005, the International Sikh Youth Federation, implicated in the bombing and proscribed as a terrorist group, was still operating in the open without any apparent fear of action from the government. Most shockingly, politicians of various parties and levels of government still openly support fund-raising for terrorist groups.

Vancouver's Yaletown harbour area.

In another BC-based terrorist episode in 1999, Ahmed Ressam assembled a bomb that was to be exploded at the Los Angeles Airport. Fortunately for all concerned, Ressam was stopped by a US border official who was suspicious of his actions and identification. Canadians should pause and remember that if Ressam had been successful, Canada’s sovereignty would have been severely compromised. The American government would have been looking for both vengeance and for greater control of what happened on the other side of the “undefended” border.

Past Olympics
The Olympics have suffered from violence and terrorism in the past. The 1968 Mexico City Olympics were preceded by the massacre of some 200 to 300 students and activists who wanted to exploit the attention being focused on Mexico by the Olympics. The most politically egregious attack was the 1972 Munich Olympics, when Palestinian terrorists attacked the Israeli team. There was a bombing at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and the 2000 Sydney Games were reportedly the target of a terrorist attack that was not carried to fruition. The 2004 Athens Olympics were called into question by a series of bombs associated to game sites 100 days before the games were due to begin. The high politics of the Games, combined with large numbers of international media, is a magnet for politicized violence.

2010 Vancouver Olympics
The Vancouver Olympics poses a series of security problems. Canada, an open, pluralistic society, is hosting a high profile political event at a time when the international security environment is complex and uncertain. Canada’s role on the international stage has changed significantly since the end of the Cold War in 1989.

Many Canadians still naively cling to the past ­narrative of a global reputation as the “peaceful kingdom.”  Unfortunately, even our well-intentioned role in Bosnia (1992-1995) has left us a target for jihadists. In their narrative, foreign forces that were in Bosnia were there to assist in the oppression of Muslims. Whatever the truth of the situation, the jihadists have spun their own version about the conflict in Bosnia (and Kosovo) – and Canadians were at the forefront of both of those missions.

Additionally, the mission in Afghanistan, that started in 2001, has raised Canada’s international profile. Whatever the reality, this mission has drawn the attention of a variety of jihadists who have used it for their own propaganda needs. Along with many other countries, Canada is shown as a typical satanic country in propaganda and recruiting videos.

Fair or not, Canada has developed an international persona (in jihadist eyes) based on our roles in Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan as part of a “crusader alliance” which spends it time oppressing Muslims. As such, we have been specifically noted as a target, at least twice, by the “core” of Al Qaeda as well as being identified as a target by the Taliban. Other groups, such as Hezbollah, have decidedly mixed views on Canada. While Hezbollah enjoys relative impunity to do its fund-raising and organizational work here in Canada, being proscribed as a terrorist group by Canada has angered some within it ranks.

Canada’s Own Message
No policy equals no message. This problem lies at the root of Canada’s counter terrorism policy, as it does with most other Western states. What is the strategic aim of the Canadian government with respect to terrorism? Is the government attempting to eradicate it? Suppress it? These would be unlikely goals, given that terrorism has been around for millennia and is essentially political in nature. Or is the strategic aim a more pragmatic one of denying terrorists what they seek – which is to disrupt our way of life?

Whatever the case, there is no clear policy or national level objective coming from Ottawa. As such, there is no coherent information message to counter that of the various terrorist groups who are putting messages out against Canada.

Confrontation & Refutation
Al Qaeda and its inspired followers in over 90 countries have been able to dominate the strategic battle space through their aggressive and effective use of ideology and propaganda. While there have been setbacks for Al Qaeda and its associated groups at the tactical and operational levels, its ability to maintain and regenerate itself at the strategic level is clear. Ideological and propaganda operations continue to increase, primarily originating from the federally administered tribal areas of Pakistan. This effort, conducted primarily by the As-Sahab media arm of Al Qaeda, dominates the Internet and reaches into the individual computers of potential recruits around the world.

Al Qaeda and its followers continue to have the momentum at the strategic level with only limited efforts being made to challenge the organization on its own ­ideological “turf.” This momentum can be challenged through a process of confrontation and refutation – unfortunately, it is not being done. Al Qaeda and its followers dominate the key information battle space of the Internet and only weak signs suggest that any pushback is occurring.

Potential Threats
Terrorist threats to the Olympics come from two main sources. The first is the threat from homegrown jihadists cells. The second is from “single issue” groups such as environmental or social activist extremists. A third, and rather distant threat, would come from the “core” of Al Qaeda itself.

As of late 2007, Al Qaeda’s core capability is still rebuilding itself in Pakistan and would be hard pressed to attack such a distant target. Whether the “core” poses a major threat to the 2010 Vancouver Games or not, will hinge on the outcome of events in Afghanistan and Pakistan over the next two years.

The threat from homegrown jihadist cells is the most difficult. These self-forming Al Qaeda-inspired cells lack a hierarchical structure and are generally self-financing. The time period from their formation to operational capability can be measured in weeks or months. Their lack of structure and short-term duration as a group means that intelligence on them is unlikely to be developed in a timely manner. The most probable means of detecting them will be indicators that are developed and observed at the local level through observation or community engagement.

The other main threat is that of extremists from “single issue” groups that have a focus on environmental or social issues. BC has seen a wide range of activities in the past from these sorts of groups – these include everything from tree spiking to dynamite bombings. Unfortunately, the Olympic Games tend to generate controversy issues that involve the environment, housing and other social issues.

The Greatest Security Problem?
The single greatest threat may not come from any one terrorist group. It may come from the Canadian sense of complacency and our ability to ignore a continuous series of faint signals that indicate upcoming problems. Yes, the Olympics are a sporting event, but increasingly, the Games have become a major political event with very serious security implications.

Tom Quiggin is a court-qualified expert in jihadist terrorism, a Senior Fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, NTU, Singapore and a regular contributor to FrontLine Security.
© FrontLine Security 2007



Protecting Your Community Hospitals
© 2007 FrontLine Security (Vol 2, No 1)

Hospitals have a long history of ­participation in emergency preparedness. Historically, it would have two types of emergency plans; one to respond to a mass casualty situation, and a second to evacuate the building in the case of a catastrophic event. Emergency planning for hospitals has evolved in the post 9-11 world, with CBRN (chemical, biological, radiation and nuclear) incident training and preparation becoming more wide spread. Of course, hospitals manage infectious diseases on a routine basis, however, it was not until SARS hit in 2003 that hospitals recognized that being faced with an infectious ­disease could be a ­disastrous event.

The health care sector, and hospitals in particular, are at the forefront of a community’s response to emergencies and, in particular, a pandemic. As a key civic infrastructure element, the hospital capacity must be protected in order to be effective in the response to emergencies.

Hospital capacity has changed dramatically over the past two decades. The overall number of hospitals has decreased as mergers and acquisitions have occurred countrywide – those that remain have closed multiple beds over the years in response to cost cutting efforts and changes in practice. It is striking to note that Canada has lost over 20% of hospital beds that existed in the mid 1980’s, while the population has increased by 18%.

Hospitals make optimum use of available beds – occupancy rates have steadily increased and, depending on the type of hospital and the location, occupancy routinely approaches 95%. At that rate, a hospital bed is typically empty only long enough to clean the room prior to admitting the next patient.

Hospitals themselves have changed, with many facilities, particularly those in multi-hospital cities, consolidating ­services like intensive care units and ­specializing in certain aspects of care. The days of the “general hospital” are indeed disappearing. Specialization has resulted in increased workloads on ambulance ­services as they now find themselves transporting critically ill patients between facilities on a routine basis.

Other matters increase the exposure of hospitals during a disaster. Many hospitals, particularly the larger ones, have moved to “just-in-time” inventory systems. As an example, some of Ontario’s largest hospitals have less than a two-day supply of food in the building, leaving them vulnerable to any disruption in the supply chain.

Hospitals also face substantial difficulties in attracting health care professionals. The majority of health care professionals are from the “baby-boom” generation. Staffing shortages are common, particularly with nurses, and hospitals regularly scramble to maintain a full staff.

A substantial number of Canadians cannot find a family physician. They routinely seek primary care in walk-in clinics and emergency departments. Emergency departments face challenges in attracting enough physicians willing to staff every shift 24/7, particularly in smaller centres. With over 14 million visits annually, emergency department overcrowding is becoming routine. As patients queue up in the emergency department, hospitals scramble to cancel elective surgery in order to free enough beds to care for them.

Hospital security services vary widely, depending on the size and location of the facility. Larger hospitals in metropolitan areas are more likely to have full-time, round-the-clock, on-site security services. In the largest hospitals, this staff may be hospital employees; in others, the service may be contracted out to private security firms. Smaller hospitals are more likely to use remote-monitored camera surveillance in combination with electronic card swipe technologies in place of on-site personnel. In a disaster situation, most hospitals may require physical assistance with perimeter security and crowd control.

These issues combine to restrict hospital capacity at the best of times. Emergency preparedness must take into account these capacity issues as well as the response capability of the local hospital. Hospital officials need to be a part of municipal emergency preparedness committees, and plans should be modified regularly to incorporate changes in hospital capacity. Joint training programs that include both municipal and hospital staff are an excellent way to develop a ­common understanding of emergency procedures, a common language as well as the ever-important key interpersonal networking.

Hospitals are obliged to ­practice their disaster plans annually as part of their accreditation requirements. This provides an excellent opportunity to coordinate and exercise a multi-agency response.

What about a Pandemic?
The oft-mentioned threat of a global avian flu pandemic poses unique challenges that require specialized emergency preparedness plans. At its root, a pandemic will be primarily a health care crisis and hospital capacity will bear substantial strain.

Dr Margaret Chan, the newly elected president of the World Health Organiza­tion, recently reminded the world that pandemic planning must remain at the forefront of organizational thought. As news of avian flu drifts in and out of the popular media, it would be easy to become complacent in developing and maintaining pandemic preparedness. Jurisdictions need to remain vigilant in the planning for critical infrastructure protection during a pandemic outbreak.

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has estimated that, in a worst case scenario, the pandemic could result in 70% of the Canadian population becoming ill, with between 15% and 35% ill enough to seek medical treatment. That amounts to 2 to 5 million people who will go to their family physician or hospital emergency department. Of this amount up to 138,000 people will be sick enough to require hospitalization with about 2% of that amount requiring intensive care and mechanical ventilation. The PHAC estimates that up to 58,000 deaths may occur.

Adding this patient care load to a hospital system already functioning at capacity will seriously impact a community’s ability to care for the population.

Challenges of a Pandemic
Experts agree that a pandemic will attack in waves, with each wave lasting between four and six weeks, with six to eight weeks between each wave. The number of waves is completely unpredictable but expectations are that a pandemic could last between 12-18 months. Each successive wave may be shorter as those who have contracted the flu will develop immunity protecting them during further waves.

Paramedics train during a CBRN exercise. (Photo courtesy of Kingston General Hospital)

One of the largest challenges facing all organizations will be the potential loss of employees due to pandemic flu. The PHAC estimates that, at its peak, a pandemic will result in 25% of the workforce being unavailable for 2 weeks during each wave. Given the existing shortage of personnel and the added exposure health care workers face, the impact on hospitals will likely prove significantly larger. This presents a double challenge for hospitals: a substantial increase in patients to be cared for with potentially up to 35% fewer hospital staff.

A hospital’s workforce is predominately female and we know that women carry a disproportionate responsibility for care of children and, increasingly, elderly parents. This will exacerbate the staffing challenge for hospitals during a pandemic. If schools and day care centres are closed as a result of the pandemic, it is more likely that a woman will leave work to watch over the children, a fact that would put further strain on a stretched hospital work force.

 Another area where we know there will be challenges is in the availability and ethical distribution of pandemic pharmaceuticals. During a pandemic, two types of pharmaceuticals will be in demand; anti-virals and ­vaccines. Anti-virals are anti-influenza drugs used to treat and prevent influenza. Taken prophylactically, or within the first 48 hours after onset of symptoms, an antiviral may prevent the user from ­developing full-blown flu.

Debate still reigns among experts as to the effectiveness of anti-virals, but governments and hospitals have developed plans to stockpile enough anti-virals to treat 22% of the population. Availability of anti-virals is limited by the fact that the drug of choice is made by a single European-based pharmaceutical firm.

A vaccine for avian influenza cannot be manufactured prior to an outbreak since the exact strain of influenza must be known before the formula can be created. Although domestic manufacturing capacity has been identified and put on notice, it is generally agreed that a useful vaccine will not be available within the first six months of an outbreak. Unlike many other countries, Canada is fortunate to have the capacity to mass-produce ­vaccine on short notice.

Anytime a product is both in high demand and in short supply, rationing must occur. Jurisdictions need to identify plans for obtaining anti-virals and vaccine and identify a consistent, ethical approach to who should receive prophylactic anti-virals and vaccines and in what order.

In a worst case scenario, if pandemic deaths are mounting and anti-virals and vaccines are being distributed to only a select few, civil unrest could result and security for vaccine and anti-viral stocks will need to be provided. In 2006, when the pandemic was front page news and the issue of potential rationing of anti-virals was first identified, rumours of counterfeit anti-virals being smuggled across the border persisted in eastern Canada.  

Creating Surge Capacity
Given that a pandemic outbreak or even lesser emergencies have the potential to overwhelm local health resources, jurisdictions need to plan and practice how to create surge capacity within their community. In preparing pandemic-specific response plans, hospitals have focussed on identifying which services would be maintained and which curtailed in an effort to make beds available and to maximize their work-force. Staff training programs have been developed to cross train individuals as shortages arise. Lists of volunteers and recent retirees with health care experience have been maintained to enhance fan-out lists. Provincially, the various health care regulatory Colleges have been engaged in discussions to fast track “re-regulation” of personnel who could be helpful in augmenting a pandemic response.

Municipalities need to address how they might assist in creating additional health care surge capacity, specifically for persons with flu symptoms. Possible triage and treatment centres would be located away from the hospital and would need to be staffed with medical and health care personnel who are not affiliated with the local hospital. Municipalities also need to plan for temporary morgue facilities and mass burial scenarios in the event of a worst-case ­scenario.

Key to a pandemic response or major health emergency will be communications. Once surveillance determines that a pandemic response is necessary it will be vital that communications to the general public, to the health care community and to the pandemic response partners be clear and immediate. One of the lessons learned from the 2003 SARS response was that communication with health care professionals can prove challenging. During SARS, the provincial emergency operations centre was able to give directions to hospitals across the province via broadcast fax; however, there was no mechanism, except for the popular media, to communicate directly and quickly with the province’s 26,000 physicians.

The national and provincial governments have produced extensive, evidence-based frameworks for pandemic and emergency health response. While hospitals and municipalities engage in their individual pandemic and emergency plans, there must be coordination of planning at the local level to ensure a successful response. Specifically, there must be a close working relationship between the local public health unit, the hospital, local physicians, first responders and municipal officials. Jurisdictions need to understand the surge capacity, if any, of their local hospital and plan how they might create additional capacity. A pro-active health care committee with representation from the public health unit, hospital, ambulance service, long term care sector and physicians will help to identify potential weaknesses in local response capacity and identify potential multi-agency solutions to these weaknesses.

Emergency planners need to engage local hospital officials on an ongoing basis in order to keep abreast of the ever-changing capacity of this key resource. Even if the emergency is not of itself a medical one, one must integrate the local hospital as a major critical infrastructure in all emergency planning. Continuous dialogue and coordination of emergency training and exercises will create a network of understanding that will ensure a cooperative and collaborative response to any emergency.

Mark Edmonds is an administrator at the Kingston General Hospital and an Assistant Professor with the Faculty of Health Sciences at Queen’s University.
© FrontLine Security 2007



Lessons Learned During Natural Disasters
© 2007 FrontLine Security (Vol 2, No 2)

Across the world and across the street, on the battlefield or at the scene of disaster, where there are signs of trouble you will see one of the most recognized symbols in the world: the Red Cross. With a legislated role as “auxiliary to the public authorities,” in addition to its non-profit status, humanitarian mission, volunteer-driven structure, and long history in disaster management, the Red Cross has a unique vantage point to gain knowledge from lessons learned and promote best practices in disaster management for the volunteer, non-profit sector.

“The Canadian Red Cross believes strongly in a partnership approach to ­dis­aster management,” says Don Shropshire, National Director, Disaster Management for the Canadian Red Cross. “We strive at all times to work cooperatively and effectively with governments, emergency response agencies and other NGOs – to bridge all gaps during a disaster response. This need for a coordinated effort is a key best practice we’ve developed based on experience.”

From mitigation to recovery – the partnership model
“When it comes to a partnership approach to disaster management, we’re committed,” says Shropshire. “Partnering effectively throughout the disaster management continuum, from mitigation to recovery is crucial.”

Disaster management is a key priority for the Canadian Red Cross nationally. Those responsible for the program locally are establishing working relationships with other emergency response agencies and local governments to clearly define roles and responsibilities. Over 600 Red Cross branches have signed a Memor­an­dum of Understanding with local municipalities, and others have been included in local emergency response plans.

“Integrated exercises with all parties to the response must take place periodically to ensure all organizations are on the same page,” says Shropshire. One of the best examples of the success of this concept is the excellent response orchestrated by the Greater Toronto Airport Authority following the Air France flight that left the runway Pearson International Airport in July 2005. By regularly exercising emergency plans and having internal and external partners involved, allowed the GTAA to respond so efficiently and effectively to that near-disaster. “In the heat of a response, the last thing any agency wants is lack of clarification over who is supposed to be doing what,” asserts Shropshire. “And when it comes to the NGO role, the other aspect to be considered in advance is who is covering the cost of the operation.”

The Good Humanitarian Donorship Initiative (GHD)
The Good Humanitar­ian Donor­ship initiative is assists governments to develop best practices to ensure help reaches more people, more quickly, more effectively and more equitably.

From an international perspective, responsible and effective funding of disaster response has been discussed in some detail since 2003. This initiative provides a forum for discussions on Humanitarian Financing and other shared concerns. Defining principles and standards provides both a framework to guide official humanitarian aid and a mechanism for encouraging greater accountability.

Bringing aid during the 1998 ice storm.

Parties involved in the GHD base their work on 23 good practices and principles that focus on saving lives and alleviating suffering, providing assistance according to need, and adequate, predictable, flexible funding. These principles and practices include:

  • Humanitarian action should be guided by humanitarian principles (meaning the saving of human lives and alleviating suffering); impartiality (meaning the implementation of actions based solely on need, without ­discrimination); neutrality (meaning that humanitarian action must not favour any side in any dispute); and independence (meaning autonomy from the political, economic, military or other objectives).
  • Support mechanisms for contingency planning by humanitarian organizations, including, allocation of funding, to strengthen capacities for response; and
  • Support and promote the central and unique role of the United Nations in providing leadership and co-ordination of international humanitarian action, the special role of the International Committee of the Red Cross, and the vital role of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and non-governmental organizations in implementing humanitarian action.

Best practices and principles developed within the GHD initiative can certainly contribute to discussions and planning around funding the response to national, regional and local emergencies.

Regardless of government recovery assistance guidelines, the Red Cross works closely with the affected community to assess needs and distribute assistance in partnership with local Com­munity Services. “We are here to help the people affected by disaster and bridge the gaps that will enable governments to focus on the many priority issues they face in these times, including infrastructure and security,” explains Shropshire.

Damage from Hurricane Katrina.

Engaging NGOs in the decision-making process
The critical function of decision-making during a disaster response is typically managed, and rightly so, by the lead government agencies in the affected area. Tangible value can be realized by including NGOs early in the decision-making tree.

Based on the role designated for each NGO, consideration should be given to ensure these organizations are given more than just an agency representative role in the Incident Management System structure. NGOs can augment the community’s overall response capacity in all phases of Emergency Management.

“The sole focus of the NGOs is on the well-being of the people affected by disaster,” says Shropshire. “The impact of decisions made is felt most by victims, and the expertise of the NGOs brings great value to this process.”

Pre-position supplies for effective deployment
In recalling the ice storm of 1998, Shropshire reflects on another experience that has led to the improvement of processes and the development of relationships. “Pre-existing warehouse agreements and positioned supplies were not sufficient for this response,” he states. “Since then, we have worked diligently to ensure that agreements with our suppliers of materials and storage space can accommodate a large, flexible surge capacity.”

Utilizing available information from the federal department of Public Safety and provincial emergency management offices, the Red Cross recently undertook a comprehensive risk analysis.  

It was noted that centralized storage of materials in major centres like Toronto will do little to help communities that are regularly affected by severe weather, such as the Bruce Peninsula on Lake Huron where frequent road closures confine residents to their immediate area. This risk analysis enabled the Red Cross to pinpoint trouble spots and position appropriate supplies to ensure a faster response through a more accessible supply.

“The placement of cots, blankets, and hygiene kits, trailers, and dedicated towing vehicles allows us to establish shelter for 500 people in most parts of Ontario within 3-4 hours,” says John Saunders, provincial director of disaster management for the Canadian Red Cross. “Along the Bruce Peninsula we are in negotiations to provide extra trailers and smaller quantities of supplies in communities where weather conditions often isolate them.”

Volunteers: A crucial surge capacity, an episodic challenge
The Red Cross could not carry out its work without the thousands of volunteers who support its programs and services, particularly its trained disaster management volunteers. The organization trains volunteers at three levels – all of which include shelter management, feeding, communications, registration, tracing, clothing and personal needs assessments. Supervisory and managerial training is delivered to volunteers skilled in human resources, finance and administration, logistics and family reunification.

These volunteers stand ready, 24/7, to respond – at a moment’s notice – to disasters ranging from individual house fires to the larger community-wide or state/provincial disasters.

The strength of the Red Cross move­ment is its ability to harness and focus the power of humanity where it is needed most. When a medium- to large- scale disaster hits the headlines, untrained members of the public, motivated by this sense of humanity, inevitably come forward to offer assistance. These well-intentioned individuals may come from within the affected area, from another community, province or even another country.

Some individuals come forward with a specific skill or trade to offer, others are simply willing to do whatever is needed. Some self-organize while others approach established volunteer organizations to offer assistance. The self-deployed volunteer can be very useful in the immediate aftermath of a disaster. Citizens are sometimes seen rendering first aid to their neighbours, extricating victims from debris, or establishing local gathering points to identify the missing.

Effectively managing volunteers can prove a challenge for first responders.  While additional capacity is often needed at such times, harnessing this additional skills and good will to make a positive contribution to the relief effort can complicate the plan.

During the remarkable ice storm of 1998, which virtually shut down eastern Ontario and parts of Quebec, the Canadian Red Cross was faced with a large number of walk-in or episodic ­volunteers. “We admittedly did not have comprehensive screening and orientation processes for this type of volunteer at that time,” recalls Shropshire. “We used that experience to further develop and strengthen such processes.”

Now, in order to ensure the safety of clients and the quality of its service delivery, episodic volunteers who will have direct contact with victims must receive the same careful security screening as trained volunteers do.

The Red Cross recognizes the value of episodic volunteers to rapidly ramp up capacity. This was implemented very effectively following Hurricane Katrina. The American Red Cross called on its Canadian counterpart early in the response with a request to send volunteers. The Canadian Red Cross began deployments immediately, but soon received an offer from the Government of Ontario that would enable additional capacity. Ontario Public Service employees were screened rapidly and selected for deployment based on skills required in the field. They were then provided with an orientation to the Canadian Red Cross and its operations.

“This effort was a most effective augmentation of the support the Canadian Red Cross was able to deliver to our sister society,” says Saunders, one of the leads in support of this collaboration.

The Canadian Red Cross is now rolling out a long-term strategy for the engagement of episodic volunteers through its Ready When The Time Comes workshop. Through this partnership initiative, businesses and governments allow their employees to receive basic preparedness and response training, which not only increases their personal preparedness, but gives them improved knowledge to work with the Red Cross during a major disaster. When help is needed, the company releases some of these trained employees for a period of time to engage as Red Cross volunteers in support of response efforts.

“The community spirit demonstrated by the employers of our volunteers is commendable. They allow employees three weeks per year to be deployed by the Red Cross when needed, without it affecting their salary or vacation time,” notes Shropshire.

Lessons Need to be Applied – Not just Learned
“I’d say that the single most important lesson to be learned, is to actually learn from our experiences and apply that knowledge in preparation for the next ­crisis,” says Shropshire. “Far too often, once the crisis period has passed and the media spotlight has moved on to the next story, lessons learned and the financial support required to implement change fade as well. It is imperative that emergency managers and all those associated with response continue their efforts to advocate on behalf of their constituents and clients, keeping lessons learned on the budgetary table so that we can at least mitigate the suffering of people due to foreseeable emergencies.”

Tanya Elliot is a Director with the Canadian Red Cross, Ontario Zone.
© FrontLine Security 2007



Working Together Along the 49th
Canada-U.S. border partnerships in the St. Lawrence Seaway
© 2007 FrontLine Security (Vol 2, No 3)

On 3 September 2007, at about 6:40 p.m., officers from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the U.S. Coast Guard spotted an 18-foot boat ­transporting large green plastic bags on the St. Lawrence River. As the authorities approached, the driver abandoned the boat in the water, just off the eastern tip of Cornwall Island, Ontario, and fled on foot.

Onboard the boat, the officers discovered 60,000 contraband cigarettes manufactured in the United States and worth $6,600. The boat was seized, but the suspect was not found.

The morning before, RCMP officers had arrested a suspect in St. Andrews, Ontario, just outside Cornwall. The 57-year-old Ottawa resident was in possession of 70,000 contraband cigarettes (worth $7,700). Manufactured in the United States and smuggled into Canada, these cigarettes had not been stamped at the customs to be sold in duty-paid market.

A similar story unfolded at an afternoon arrest on Highway 401. This time, RCMP arrested and charged a 50-year-old woman residing in Hamilton, Ontario, for possessing 150,000 cigarettes worth over $16,000 – unstamped by Customs. She too was smuggling American-manufactured cigarettes into Canada. In short, smuggling-related arrests are an almost daily procedure for the Central St. Lawrence Valley RCMP Detachment in Cornwall.

This Eastern Ontario city of about 45,000 lies on a part of the St. Lawrence River that forms the natural border between Ontario and New York. It is located on Highway 401, 40 kilometres (25 miles) southeast of Ottawa, 115 km (71 miles) southwest of Montreal, and 435 km (270 mi) northeast of Toronto.

The 80 square kilometre Akwesasne Mohawk reserve, home to 13,000 residents, is at the centre of this area, bordering two provinces and one state. Its largest section is in New York, where one can easily drive to the Quebec portion without crossing a border checkpoint. However, to access the several islands that form the Ontario section (inhabited Cornwall Island being the largest), one must go through customs at the Three Nations Crossing.

Seized marihuana, shown on board RCMP vessel. (Photo: USCG-RCMP Cornwall)

This unique geography and the strategic location of the area, close to Eastern Canada’s three largest centres, create a rare opportunity for criminals smuggling anything from diapers and cocaine. Recog­nizing this, law enforcement agencies have become far more alert, and various bilateral initiatives have been created to restrict this illegal cross-border trade.

“We don’t want to see the geography of this area being used by criminal organizations,” says Sgt. Michael Harvey from Central St. Lawrence Valley RCMP Detachment in Cornwall.

Canadian and American enforcement agencies have worked together over the years on joint border investigations. The first IBETs initiative, developed near Chilliwack in British Columbia, between the RCMP, U.S. Border Patrol and U.S. Customs Service aimed to address concerns from communities along the border and problems faced by all levels of policing services. Thus, the first IBET was created to focus on critical smuggling issues.

The Integrated Border Enforcement Teams (IBETs), an RCMP-led initiative that brings national, provincial, state and municipal governments and law enforcement agencies from both Canada and the United States, received broad cooperation in the wake of 9/11. These groups work together with renewed interest, sharing information on issues regarding national security and organized and border crimes.

Besides the RCMP, core IBET members include the Canada Border Services Agency, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection/Office of Border Patrol, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the U.S. Immigra­tion and Customs Enforcement.

Officers from all participating agencies gather intelligence to help analysts prepare packages of information on criminal organizations. Investigators and supervisors from the different groups meet daily, and monthly reports are distributed to every IBET partner.

IBETs have a law enforcement role, but no Canadian or U.S. agency has the authority to make arrests on the other’s territory – a gap that gives the advantage to smugglers using the waterway.

For example, an RCMP boat patrolling the river could spot a smuggling operation in Canadian waters, but once the criminals reach U.S. waters they cannot be stopped. In such a case, the RCMP would have to contact the U.S. Coast Guard or the New York State Police promptly, but this means a greater coordination effort and increases the chance of failure to arrest criminals.

Contraband cigarrettes. (Photo: RCMP Valleyfield)

Looking to eliminate that gap, a pilot project that had served Detroit-Windsor waterways during the Super Bowl XL in February 2006 was brought to life again in Cornwall this summer. “Shiprider,” as the project is called, involves bi-national joint marine patrols for better maritime law enforcement.

For two months, officers from both the RCMP and the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) were sworn in and given special designation to make arrests on either Canadian or U.S. waterways, islands, and shorelines on a 100-km stretch of the St. Lawrence River, from Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Quebec to Cardinal, Ontario.

When a USCG patrol proceeds to an arrest in Canadian jurisdiction, this arrest becomes the responsibility of the RCMP, and vice versa.

Reports on the operation have not been finalized, but already there is enthusiasm at the RCMP. “There has been an increase in seizures of tobacco products and marijuana,” says Harvey. The sharing and gathering of intelligence during the operation has been “incredible,” he goes on to say, and police vessels were able to identify a greater number of the criminal organizations’ members.

This project could permanently alter the advantage balance. “All the governments recognize that, and we get a lot of attention,” says Harvey. A key element in the strategy has been the exchange of information with the “very pro-active” Akwesasne police services, he says. “They are on the front line.”

Smuggling of cigarettes and drugs happens both ways; smuggling to and from both Canada and the United States. However, in the Cornwall area, there is a unique smuggling pattern. Contraband cigarettes are produced in illegal plants in Akwesasne, NY, then smuggled and sold in Canada. That money then buys marijuana in Eastern Canada, which, in turn, is smuggled back to the United States. The money made from marijuana is then laundered in the production of cigarettes in Akwesasne’s cigarette plants, and the cycle continues.

Some blame Akwesasne’s authorities directly for permitting this vicious circle.

11 August 2007 Co-crewed USCG and RCMP vessels on patrol in the St. Lawrence Seaway in support of the Shiprider Pilot Project. (Photo: USCG)

In February 2006, an article in the New York Times blamed U.S. Reserva­tions for playing a critical role in the transport of drugs from Canada. It dubbed Akwesasne the “black hole,” due to the ease with which the border is crossed in that ­location. It accused the Mohawk residents of having profited largely from the smuggling across “the lightly patrolled frontier.”

In response, Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal Police Department Chief, Andrew Thomas, described the author as “… a ­narrow-minded journalist who doesn’t have an understanding of the entire nor­thern border. To say it’s a black hole means that 12 agencies don’t know what they’re doing.”

Chief Thomas brings attention to the political and social factors for smuggling goods across the border. For example, Canada has a prohibitive tax on tobacco. Contraband cigarette cartons from the United States can be almost ten times cheaper than on the regular market.

According to Irvin Waller, crime prevention professor at the University of Ottawa, more should be done to counter root causes of drug abuse. “It’s very clear that prevention is not working – a lot of federal money is assigned to law enforcement, and not enough to prevention,” says Waller. Reducing demand would lower the now-lucrative advantages of such smuggling.

As long as there is a market for cheap goods, whether these be drugs, cigarettes or purses, smuggling will continue – and unsecured bi-national waterways offer smugglers an ideal route. It can’t be stopped, but it can be slowed down with the coordinated involvement of enforcement agencies on both sides of the 49th parallel.  

André Fecteau is freelance journalist based in Ottawa.
© FrontLine Security 2007



Workforce Resilience
© 2007 FrontLine Security (Vol 2, No 4)

Over the past several years, a series of previously unthinkable events have caused the RCMP to consider its state of operational readiness. Sept 11th, Hurricane Katrina, and massive bombings in Madrid and London required extra­ordinary efforts from a wide range of responding agencies. Here at home, reports of flooding, forest fires, severe weather, blackouts, terrorist threats, and warnings of an inevitable flu pandemic arrive from all quarters on a regular basis.

72 hours ... is your family prepared? For year-round emergency preparedness information visit: www.GetPrepared.ca (Photo: Alive D'Anijou, RCMP, Operational Readiness Response)

The probability of the RCMP being asked to respond to a large-scale emergency, be it man-made or a natural disaster, seems to be increasing daily. In addition to its federal responsibilities, the RCMP provides the local police force of jurisdiction in hundreds of communities across Canada.

The RCMP’s Operational Readiness Response Coordination Centre (ORRCC) is dedicated to ensuring that the RCMP is prepared, at all times, to mount effective and sustainable responses to emergencies. Much of ORRCC’s work over the past year has focused on strengthening traditional pillars of emergency preparedness including emergency operations planning, business continuity planning and exercising.

Many of the challenges that have arisen will be familiar to first response organizations. These include resources, governance, Information Management /Information Technology (IM/IT) capacity, interoperability and horizontal coordination. However, as we examine lessons learned from recent events, an interesting new issue begins to emerge: the importance of the human element in operational readiness.

How does the RCMP respond to an emergency when its own human resources are affected by the emergency? Acknowledging that “our most important resource is people,” Assistant Com­mis­sioner John Neily, Head of the ORRCC,  notes “this not an academic question – the answer is critical to our ability to fulfill our mandate.

Alternate modes of transportation were useful in British Columbia during severe flooding in the spring of 2007. (Photo: RCMP E-DIV, North District Air Services)

“Police officers are, by nature, skilled problem solvers who are trained to react quickly in uncertain and sometimes dangerous circumstances,” Neily continues. “Ask any police officer and they will tell you that responding to emergencies is all in a day’s work.”

The Human Factor
Disasters and other large-scale emergencies pose unique psychological, social and physical challenges that can test the mettle of the most seasoned first responder. Additionally, many live in or close to the communities they serve. “Chances are good,” admits Neily, “that when disaster strikes, many of the responding officers will be personally affected by the event in some way.”

The importance of the human factor in emergency and business continuity became painfully clear in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, when many first responders, already overwhelmed by the magnitude of the event, were severely distracted from their jobs by concerns for their own safety and the well being of family and friends. Some simply left their posts and did not return. Others are still dealing with the psychological trauma today.

“We have to remember that our officers are people too,” says Neily. “In a disaster, we are just as vulnerable as everybody else.”

Because we cannot predict when or where a disaster may occur, developing a resilient workforce that is able to adapt – to work under difficult, long and changing circumstances and recover quickly following a disaster or a challenging mission – has become an important component of the RCMP’s operational readiness effort.

These same principles of resilience and operational readiness also apply to planned, large-scale and challenging events – such as the 2010 Olympics.

Bill Maxwell, a retired RCMP member, has returned to work on this critical initiative. He views three key components as critical to workforce resilience: ­personal preparedness, professional ­preparedness, and organizational support.

“A resilient organization has the policies, processes and resources in place to support its workforce in difficult times,” Maxwell explains. To this end, his efforts include strengthening and enhancing existing employee assistance programs, ensuring that appropriate health and safety systems are in place, and that appropriate personal protection equipment is available for events such as a pandemic.

All RCMP employees need to be prepared to work long hours under difficult circumstances, be it on the front line or in critical support roles such as in the Emergency Operations Centre, shown here. (Photo: RCMP E-Division, Communications Services)

However the most important component, Maxwell says, is people. “The workforce resilience initiative stresses the importance of planning and preparing for emergencies both at work and at home.”

At work, employees should be familiar with the communities they operate in and the risks that could affect them. They should be familiar with their work unit’s emergency plans, and their role and responsibilities should they be activated. Participation in exercises and training, and maintaining up-to-date equipment and contact information are also essential.

Most important, however, is being personally prepared. “Resilience begins at home – by planning for emergencies with our family and loved ones,” says Maxwell. “We recognize that our officers’ primary concern is, understandably, for their family. If they are concerned about the safety of loved ones, they may be distracted from their jobs, or not even show up for work just when they are needed most.”

“In developing a workforce resilience plan for families,” he says, “we are encouraging employees to ‘take it to the kitchen table,’ which means to discuss individual situations with your own family and prepare emergency plans suitable for each families’ needs.”

 User-friendly resources that employees and their families can use to prepare for emergencies at work and at home are being prepared. Pro-active communications strategies are planned to help ensure employees and their families have the information they need in the event of an emergency.

While workforce resilience has become a cornerstone of operational readiness for the RCMP, A/Commr Neily encourages other organizations to consider the resilience of their workforces too. “If an organization waits until a disaster strikes to consider this issue, it will be too late,” he stresses.

“While we hope that the worst won’t happen, we know that there are always bad days. We are working hard to ensure that if, and when, things do wrong, we’ll be ready. After all,” says Neily, “you can’t take care of someone else until you have taken care of yourself.”

Alice d’Anjou works with the Operational Readiness and Response Coordination Centre at RCMP Headquarters in Ottawa.
© FrontLine Security 2007



Geospatial Mapping for Security and Public Safety
© 2007 FrontLine Security (Vol 2, No 1)

Many threats and hazards have the potential to undermine the security and safety of Canadians. These threats and hazards can be man-made, such as acts of terrorism, or they can be natural, such as floods, fires, hurricanes, and earthquakes. The ability of the public safety and security community to manage these emergencies and disasters can be aided by information technology. In particular, ‘geospatial’ information technology (technology that ties information to a location – a mapping system) is proving increasingly useful to emergency managers.

Information about the landscape within which a disaster could take or has taken place, such as the extent of a flood, allows emergency managers to handle incidents better throughout all four phases of the emergency management cycle: mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery.

A Common Picture of your Area of Operations
With a variety of government jurisdictions and industries mandated to respond to and manage emergencies, the need for coordination requires agencies to share information and a common picture of the situation. These organizations are increasingly turning to geospatial information to help coordinate their efforts and make critical decisions related to public safety and security.

Geospatial information is fast becoming a key resource for Public Safety & Security organizations. The U.S National Research Council recently published a report “Successful Response Starts with a Map: Improving GeoSpatial Support for Disaster Management.” The report evaluated the current use of geospatial data and tools in emergency management and makes recommendations to improve such use. It states: “In all aspects of emergency management, geospatial data and tools have the potential to contribute to the saving of lives, the limitation of damage, and the reduction in the costs to society of dealing with emergencies.”

Progress has been made in developing and using technologies to gather and make use of geospatial information – Canada is recognized as a world leader in this domain. Canada’s competitive advantage and considerable industry expertise in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), remote sensing satellites, and Global Positioning System (GPS) technologies have benefited emergency managers who employ location-based information to support decision-making.

Challenges to Sharing Geospatial Information
In the past, several factors created challenges regarding the use of geospatial information. Various jurisdictions and organizations collected geospatial data in disparate ways, using different standards. As a result, similar datasets were gathered but were incomparable across jurisdictions. This hindered data sharing and increased duplication – increasing costs to government while impeding inter-jurisdictional and interdisciplinary analysis for many public safety and security organizations. With Internet mapping applications emerging in the mid-1990s, the impacts of these barriers to data access were magnified.

Geospatial systems emerged that used location-based information focused on individual public safety and security agencies. As these systems were built for an organizational purpose, dissimilar information systems evolved again, using incompatible data formats that made information sharing difficult. In addition, considerable amounts of geospatial data had use-restrictions and were not readily accessible via the Internet. Data that was available, online or not, was often dated. The potential of geospatial information to improve public safety and security decision-making was reduced as a result of these challenges. As one can readily understand, these issues are no more apparent than in times of crisis, when ready access to reliable information is so critical.

Floods of 2005
In 2005, the province of Saskatchewan experienced an unprecedented situation with over 90 communities experiencing damage from heavy rain, overland water flows and flooding. Total estimated damage was in the tens of millions of dollars.

Sharing information improves emergency response.

The threat of flooding to the community of Cumberland House resulted in the establishment of an incident command post in the community and a partial activation of the Provincial Emergency Management Committee (PEMC) and the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre.

Cellular telephones, conference call interlinks, daily incident reports and paper maps provided the main sources of communications, coordination and information sharing across several provincial departments and between local, provincial and federal authorities. The limitations of these communication tools was quickly recognized as PEMC members attempted to understand the threats and the impact of their decisions on the community. The need for geospatial and other data between the local incident command centre, the EOC and other agencies in order to understand the situation became obvious to all. The need to share information for operational, management, policy, communications and financial decisions was also recognized.

While the province has established the organizational structures and protocols to manage emergencies, the public safety community has limited access to geo­spatial data and interactive emergency mapping systems.

To resolve this problem, the lead provincial department responsible for emergencies, Saskatchewan Corrections and Public Safety, initiated the Situational Awareness Project to provide a geospatial-based system for use in emergency management. The project is currently in the definition phase with implementation planned for the fall of 2007. The project objective is to implement a system that improves decision-making during emergencies, resulting in reduced impacts on people, property and communities. The project involves the use of geospatial information and applications to facilitate decision-making; both vertically through different levels of government, and horizontally across each of those layers of government. The project is driven by the increasing need for many agencies and organizations to co-operate very closely to deliver rapid and effective emergency service during times of crisis.

The project will facilitate sharing of essential information and improve coordination and response to emergencies. For example, prior to emergency events, geographic displays of areas of concern could be identified and considered in the development of emergency plans. This information could be used to enhance the existing modeling of incidents such as predictive flood modeling for evacuation of threatened populations. Alternatively, situational awareness could be enhanced by accessing real-time information (the location of washed-out roads, for example) to enable redeployment of emergency resources to the critical incident via ­alternate routes and to establish priorities for recovery efforts.

Mobile geospatial systems are increasingly being used by the Public Safety and Security communities.

Saskatchewan Floods 2006
While the 2005 flooding in Saskatchewan illustrated the need for a geospatial based situational awareness tool to provide targeted information, it did so in the context of issues related to coordinating resources for a single community. The 2006 floods and fires further confirmed the need for this information but added a new dimension of widespread events on a much larger scale. Several communities with differing capabilities and experiences needed differing levels and types of assistance, at the same time. Some communities needed assistance to evacuate their citizens, at the same time others needed assistance to return their citizens and prepare for recovery. Citizens were being evacuated to more than one community, to the point where members of a same family were being sent to different ­communities. These circumstances added further dimensions to the need for a coord­inated and informed response based on the most up-to-date information possible in each situation.

Addressing the Challenges
The Saskatchewan Situational Awareness Project is one of many decision-support systems being implemented across Canada in collaboration with GeoConnections.

GeoConnections is a national partnership program established by the Canadian government to facilitate the building of the Canadian Geospatial Data Infra­structure to address the challenges of sharing geospatial information. The Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure (CGDI) is an internationally recognized and advanced implementation of a spatial data infrastructure.  The term ‘spatial data infrastructure’ (SDI) denotes the relevant core collection of base data, technologies, policies and institutional arrangements that facilitate the availability of, and access to, geospatial data.

Satellite imagery, such as the image shown above, plays a key role in geospatial systems for emergency management.

GeoConnections is addressing the challenges of geospatial information sharing by promoting common data policies, agreed to by federal, provincial, and territorial agencies, removing barriers to information sharing and encouraging consistent approaches that reduce duplication. GeoConnections, and its collaborators, are promoting national framework data integrated from federal, provincial and territorial sources that provide ‘base’ layers that many users can access to initiate analysis. These layers include positional survey data, international and provincial/territorial boundaries, place names, primary and secondary road ­networks, satellite imagery, and terrain relief. To enable information sharing, GeoConnections is promoting international standards that govern the sharing of geospatial based information to ensure that it is interoperable. These standards are developed through federal, provincial, territorial and international negotiations.

From the foundation of common data and open standards, GeoConnections is supporting across Canada the development of inter-agency decision support systems, similar to the Saskatchewan Situational Awareness project and additional data required by the public safety and security community. The goal of these projects is to offer public safety and security decision-makers an improved ability to mitigate, prepare, respond and recover from emergencies and disasters with geospatial information.

GeoConnections collaborates with organizations from industry, academia, and the public sector on cost-shared projects. Project announcements are advertised on the GeoConnections website www.geoconnections.org. Interested parties may register to receive e-mail notifications of new opportunities on the website by selecting the ‘subscribe’ link for registration.  

Philip Dawe is the Program Advisor for Public Safety & Security.
Ken Marshall is a CGDI Content Analyst with the GeoConnections program.
© FrontLine Security 2007



Climate Hazards on the Rise
© 2007 FrontLine Security (Vol 2, No 2)

Weather-related hazardous events have always affected responders but the frequency of these natural ­disasters has been increasing – from 2-4 per year in earlier decades to about 12 per year in the last decade (with considerable year-to-year variability).

May 2007 - Lake City, Florida. The Florida Bugaboo Fire rages out of control as firefighters wait for a helicopter to bring a load of water. (Photo: Mark Wolfe/FEMA)

Natural disasters are indeed ­disastrous, causing considerable variability from year to year, such as in 1869, when weather storms over the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River areas caused the loss of at least 235 lives. The following year, 335 vessels were wrecked and 210 lives lost. In 1871, to reduce this continued loss of life, the Government of Canada reacted by establishing the Meteorological Service of Canada to ­provide storm warnings.

The first billion-dollar Canadian natural disaster occurred in 1996, when heavy rains caused a flash flood, resulting in the loss of 10 lives in Saguenay, Quebec. The following year, the slower accumulation of water in the Red River created another massive flood in Manitoba, with 4 deaths and again over $1billion in costs. The Eastern Canada ice storm of 1998 was responsible for at least 28 deaths, over 900 injuries and economic costs of approximately $5.4 billion.

Seasonal droughts on the Prairies caused billion-dollar impacts in both the 1970’s and 80’s, and more recently in 2001 and 2002, resulting in an estimated $3.6 billion decrease in agricultural production during those two years.

Although not billion-dollar events, many other weather-related hazards have greatly impacted Canada in recent times. Between 1992 and 2005, 14 hailstorms and associated heavy rains resulted in over $0.7 billion in insurance claims in Alberta – the biggest events, two successive weeks in 1996 in Calgary and a 2004 storm in Edmonton, sustained damages of over $100 million for each city. Calgary was hit again in June 2005, costing insurance companies $247 million. Annually, about 80 tornadoes cause death and destruction across Canada. Some examples include: Barrie, Ontario (1985, 12 deaths), Edmonton, Alberta (1987, 29 deaths) and Pine Lake, Alberta (2000, 12 deaths).

In September 2003, Hurricane Juan ravaged the east coast, hitting Nova Scotia with a sustained wind speed of 160 km/h and gusts of up to 230 km/h, causing waves in excess of 20 metres. Widespread damage was reported and more than 300,000 people went without power for over a week – at least 8 lives were lost during that event.

6 June 2007 - Alberta - Flooding from heavy rains turned Calgary's busy Deerfoot Parkway into a lake.

The high winds and rains of this past winter caused major damage to the forests and parks near Vancouver resulting in contaminated water supplies.

Ontario has also seen its share of heavy rains, as in 2004 when a line of severe thunderstorms that swung eastward across southern Ontario, leaving a trail of damages totalling over $500 million – the greatest insured loss in the province’s history. Sewer backups are a major reason for claims after such heavy rains. The Peterborough area alone suffered $87 million in insurance claims.

The United States has also seen an escalating number of major weather-related disasters. The number of events costing greater than $US 1billion, adjusted for inflation, has changed from 12 in the 1981-90 period, to 37 in the 1991-2000 period, and with 17 more events in the 2001-2005 period.

During these same periods, the total estimated economic costs of these events has also risen – from $US 102 billion to 195 billion. Three very major events stand out – the drought of 1988 ($62B), Hurricane Andrew of 1992 ($32B) and Hurricane Katrina of 2005 (more than $100B). If the estimated 7,700 lives lost during the 1988 drought are excluded, the number of deaths per five year period has also increased from less than 200 to more than 1500 in each of the past five year periods.

While very large disasters, such as Katrina and the Indian Ocean tsunami are, fortunately, fairly rare, the frequency of disasters has been rising rapidly. From a global average total of about 10 per year in the period 1900-1940, to 65 per year in the 1960’s, to 200 per year in the 1980’s, to almost 280 per year in the 1990’s, the total has skyrocketed to 470 per year for the 2000-2003 period. In economic costs, average annual amounts over a 10 year period have increased from US$4 billion per year in the 1950’s, to $13 billion per year in the 1970’s and to $65 billion per year in the 1990’s – and costs continue to escalate in this decade.

Natural disasters in 2004 and 2005 are estimated to have caused economic losses totalling US$145 billion and $185 billion respectively. Weather and weather-related events (including: floods; storms, which includes hurricanes, typhoons, tornadoes, mid-latitude winter storms; droughts; wildfires and most avalanches and landslides) trigger more than 75% of all disaster events. Earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanoes comprise only about 8% of all events but their impacts, per event, are much greater.

The onset of the rainy season has brought severe weather to much of South Asia, killing more than 500 people in storms and floods in Pakistan, India and Afghanistan in June. Flash flooding is a compilation in these cyclone-prone areas. 

June 30 - Unrelenting rains hampered Pakistani rescue efforts to provide relief to a million people hit by a cyclone, as more areas in the country's southwest are inundated. 

What is the explanation for these escalating costs? Although we often call them “natural” hazards, there are major social and demographic factors. Global and North American populations are increasing and there has generally been more exposure of people to hazards, putting more people and communities at risk. People are also moving, by choice or ­circumstances, to cities and other more hazardous zones, along coasts, river banks and mountain slopes. The growing inequality between poor and wealthy ­sectors of society and the proportionately growing number of more and more ­vulnerable poor also influences these numbers, as witnessed during Katrina.

There is also more expensive infrastructure being damaged. In urban regions (and particularly in very large cities), complex infrastructure systems that make life and economic activity possible, increase the vulnerability of populations to disruptions caused by natural hazards. Due to the all-too-common limitations of storage space, commercial activities are becoming interdependent – and thus vulnerable – including relying more heavily on the just-in-time delivery of people and vital goods such as food and medicine.

Vulnerability to these hazards has increased through human interventions, such as deforestation, thereby increasing risks of landslides or flooding, and through the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere causing climate change.

The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report concluded that the average rate of global temperature change over the past 50 years was 0.13°C per decade – and primarily due to human activities. With these warming temperatures has come a higher frequency of heavy precipitation events in some areas, while many regions face increased droughts, and yet others see intense tropical cyclone (hurricane) activity on the rise.

Looking ahead to the coming few decades, the IPCC projects further warming of about 0.2°C per decade. By the end of this century, global mean temperatures, based on “best estimates,” are projected to rise between 1.8 and 4.0°C (a one Celsius degree rise in temperature is equivalent to a 1.8 Fahrenheit degree rise), resulting in rising sea levels and increased frequency of heat waves, heavy precipitation events, intense tropical cyclones, and droughts.

Where extreme weather events become more intense and/or more frequent, the economic and social costs of those events will be substantial in directly affected areas.  

In dealing with natural hazards, the political focus has generally been on response and recovery. Some focus has also been on preparedness, but little effort has been directed to prevention/mitigation. Based on the recent impact of weather-related hazards in Canada, it is clear that Canada is not as well adapted as it could and should be – nor do we seem to be making the necessary investments in prevention and mitigation. The term “adaptation,” defined by the IPCC as “adjustment in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects, which moderates harm or exploits beneficial opportunities” is used almost synonymously with the term “mitigation” in the disaster management literature.

Under the United Nations Framework Climate Change Convention and, more importantly, recognizing the reality of a changing climate, Canada has a commitment to “formulate, implement, publish and ­regularly update national…programmes containing…measures to ­facilitate adequate adaptation to climate change” (Article 4).  

Considering that much of the Canadian political debate on climate change has focused on emission reduction targets, and emergency management organizations spend their energy on mitigating terrorism while responding to natural hazards after-the-fact, adaptation to climate change and disaster management (particularly its prevention and mitigation measures), seem to be dangerously overlooked areas of public policy

In the vernacular of the practitioner, loss prevention approaches are somewhat arbitrarily grouped as structural and non-structural measures. Structural measures include such things as building dams, seawalls, levees and other engineered structures that can be effective mechanisms for protecting communities.

It is important that building codes reflect current knowledge of how the ­climate is changing, and not be based on some previous norms. In many cases, low-cost disaster safety retrofits can be made to buildings. Informed populations are better able to manage nature’s hazards and establish a culture of preparedness when non-structural measures include land-use planning (designed to account for future climate risks such as sea level rise) and public education and awareness.

Based on our governments’ primary role of protecting citizens from impending dangers, it is important that warnings and information for facilitating disaster mitigation and climate-change adaptation be current. They must be founded upon the best scientific predictions of future states of the environment – both as they will naturally occur and as they will respond to human influence. We must recognize that the length of the useful prediction needs to exceed the potential response time of communities to take preventive actions. For example, the prediction of a tornado or flash flood will be only minutes to hours ahead of the event; therefore the potential response expected can only be to move to safety. However, the prediction of an event or a warning of an occurrence that will happen over the next few days, allows for more comprehensive responses. Other actions, such as changing codes or practices take months to years – predictions on that time scale must be sought and provided whenever possible.

Another element of dealing with natural hazards is risk transfer, whereby disaster relief is provided and there is an opportunity to purchase insurance against the potential damage from the hazard.  We also need research and education into strengthening our national, regional and municipal adaptive capacity and into preparing current and scientifically probable hazard assessments. National building codes need updating and community resilience needs to be improved, based on local strategies. These must include local planning and enhancing action by individuals and families all the way through to personal preparedness and disaster safety knowledge.

The Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction (ICLR) was created in the 1990s by the insurance community to address these rising disaster losses. It mission is to reduce loss of life and property caused by severe weather and earthquakes through multi-disciplinary research and education thus providing an essential foundation for effective action. Some present ICLR initiatives include: disaster safe housing research; disaster risk management; the role of government ­science; improving community action; and public education. The ICLR works with the Canadian insurance, academic and business communities and governments at all levels to reduce the impacts of hazards, including those being changed by the climate. In this context, there is a need for integrated and comprehensive national strategies for disaster mitigation and climate change adaptation and for research programs to support governments’ and individuals’ roles in making informed choices.

Professor Gordon McBean, Ph.D., FRSC, is Director of Policy Studies at the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction at The University of Western Ontario.
© FrontLine Security 2007



Counter Terrorism in Pan-Sahel
© 2007 FrontLine Security (Vol 2, No 3)

In the wake of independence in 1962, Algeria came under the growing authoritarian governance of the socialist National Liberation Front (FLN). Tensions exploded in 1988 when a series of youth riots, which left over 500 dead, set off a new Islamic revolt in Algeria. The government subsequently acquiesced to the first multiparty election, however, when the Islamic Salvation Front (Front Islamique du Salut – FIS) won a round of parliamentary elections for local councils in 1990, the FLN changed the electoral laws so it could win in the future. Even with the fix in, the FIS won a massive electoral victory a year later in national elections. The FLN promptly ­nullified the victory and banned the FIS, as the military did not want to lose political control to an Islamic political party. On their part, the FIS called for a general strike, which led to widespread rioting, which in turn precipitated the government to call a state of emergency.

The Armed Islamic Group (Groupe Armé Islamique-GAI or GIA in English), a radical FIS splinter faction, very quickly became the most violent anti-government terrorist group in Algeria. Many members came from the ranks of the approximately 1,500 Algerian volunteers returning from fighting in Afghanistan. The GIA continues to fight against the government and the military – in order, as it claims, to overthrow the secular Algerian regime and replace it with an Islamic state.

The GIA has driven Algeria into a bloody civil war that has led to the massacre of between 100,000 to 200,000 Algerians by both sides in the conflict. North African terrorism has itself immigrated to the cities of Western Europe.

Algeria’s insurgency war has been clearly exacerbated by the heavy-handed and in many cases brutal and bloody ­tactics of the government. As Tom Malinowski, Washington Advocacy Director, Human Rights Watch stated to the US Senate in 2005: “In the name of combating the insurgency, security forces arrested and tortured thousands of suspects. They engaged in summary executions, often rounding up victims arbitrarily in reprisal for attacks on their own troops. And between 1993 and 1997, they picked up and ‘made disappear’ an estimated 7,000 Algerians who remain unaccounted for until this day.”

These tactics alienated the population from both government and security forces. Moreover, the government’s effort to “normalize” the country through ­elections was just another ruse to maintain power. Both the 1995 and 1997 elections were far from democratic, characterized by massive electoral fraud, which included voter intimidation, ballot box stuffing and the rigging of vote tallies. These actions ­further reduced the credibility of the govern­ment both nationally and interna­tionally. It was estimated that some $30 billion in material and infrastructural damage occurred ­during the 1990s. However, popular support for the GIA was fading fast by the late 1990s, as its tactics were just as bloody as the government’s.

As support dwindled for the GIA, the government attempted to negotiate a ceasefire. In 1999, Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika offered amnesty through the “Civil Concord Law” to the majority of Islamic extremists who had fought the government in the 1990s. The amnesty was a blanket agreement, as long as a member of an armed group laid down arms by mid-2000, and had not been convicted of “blood crimes” like rape or murder. As an organization, the GIA rejected the idea, however, 85 percent of those fighting the regime accepted the amnesty according to Algerian officials.

In 1998, as support for the GIA faded, a former GIA leader, Hassan Hattab, formed the Salafi Group for Preaching and Combat also known as The Salafist Group for Call and Combat (GSPC). GSPC essentially replaced the GIA as the primary anti-government Islamic terrorist group in Algeria. The GSPC follows a strict Salafiyyah interpretation of Islam, which is part of the same ideology followed by Al Qaeda. It has become clear that, aside from ideological associations, GSPC has affiliated itself with Al Qaeda. The GSPC has published numerous supportive communiqués, and Al Qaeda had used GSPC’s European terror networks (usurped from the GIA) in its global operations.

The GSPC’s efforts have not been as effective as the GIA, nor has the Algerian government’s response been as brutal as it was in the 1990s, yet the US government has seen fit to support this brushfire war on a much larger scale, bringing many of Algeria’s southern Saharan neighbours into the conflict.

In 2002, the US Department of State initiated the Pan Sahel Initiative (PSI), designed to protect borders, track movement of people, combat terrorism, and enhance regional cooperation and ­stability in and between Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger. According to the Office of Counterterrorism, the “PSI is a State-led effort to assist Mali, Niger, Chad, and Mauritania in detecting and responding to suspicious movement of people and goods across and within their borders through training, equipment and cooperation.”

As U.S. national security interests in Africa have grown, the PSI falls within the rubric of “waging the war on terrorism and enhancing regional peace and security.” In short, the idea is to eliminate, or at the very least, limit the ability of ­terrorist organizations to operate in the region, and to deny them access to safe havens, training bases, and routes into North Africa in general, but more specifically Algeria, and the Horn of Africa (Somalia, Djibouti and across the Red Sea in Yemen).

The military component of the PSI falls under the US European Command (USEUCOM), which has, since 2003, trained and equipped indigenous company-sized military formations to conduct rapid-reaction operations to execute the objectives of the PSI.

Some US$6.25 million has been allocated by Congress for counter-terrorism Mobile Training Teams, of which Mali received US$3.5 million, Niger US$1.7 million, Mauritania US$500,000 and Chad another US$500,000. Though not huge amounts in the greater scheme of things, they are grist for the mill of fourth-generation war operations. By 2004 the name “TSI” had been changed to the Trans-Sahara Counter Terrorism Initiative.

TSCTI is envisioned as a long-term interagency plan to combat terrorism in Trans-Saharan Africa, with the goal of assisting “friendly” governments in the region to better control their territory and to prevent huge tracts of largely deserted land from becoming safe havens for “terrorist” groups. TSCTI will receive approximately $500 million over its estimated five-year mandate.

Oran Avenue, Front de Mer buildings (Photo: Maryam Yahyavi)

The TSCTI officially started in June with Exercise Flintlock 2005 (June 6-26). U.S. special operations forces trained their counterparts in a number of Saharan countries, teaching military tactics considered critical to enhancing regional security and stability.

American units participating in the TSCTI include the U.S. Special Operations Command Europe (Stuttgart, Germany), 1st Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group-Airborne (Stuttgart, Germany), 352nd Special Operations Group (Mildenhall, England), 86th Contingency Response Group (Ramstein, Germany), 37th Airlift Squadron (Ramstein, Germany), US Marine Forces Europe (Stuttgart, Germany), Marine Corps Forces Atlantic (Norfolk, Virginia), and the Second Marine Expeditionary Force (Camp Lejeune, North Carolina).

With the implementation of the TSCTI, Chad’s military began to use its new capabilities by supporting the rebels fighting the Sudanese central government in the Darfur region of Sudan. Prior to this, when oil began pumping through the new Chad-Cameroon pipeline, in October 2003, in classic African dictatorial cronyism, President Deby of Chad appointed his nephew as Prime Minister and then in January 2004 appointed his brother-in-law to head Chad’s Central African Bank. With this position goes the title of President of the nine-member Revenue Management Oversight Com­mittee that oversees Chad’s oil revenues.

Conspiracies aside, it is interesting to note that the consortium that developed the pipeline includes Chevron Texaco, Exxon Mobil, Halliburton, Petronas of Malaysia and the World Bank. In and around this critical pipeline, regional forces involved in the TSI could be found. These same forces are now part of the TSCTI.

Furthermore, it is relevant to note that Deby and his family are all from the northern Zaghawa tribe, a group that only represents one percent of Chad’s population. Moreover, traditionally, if the President is from the north, then the Prime Minister should be from the south or vice versa. Deby, by appointing a relative, broke with this tradition that mitigated tribal dominance in government leadership.

Also, some of the rebels fighting in Darfur against the Arab Muslim militias, who have committed the genocidal attacks against both Muslim and non-Muslim black Sudanese, are from the Zaghawa tribe. Many of these are former members of Deby’s Presidential Guard who came from the Chad-Sudan border region. There is no question that U.S. military aid to Chad is being used in the growing conflict in Darfur.     

U.S. Ambassador Cofer Black, Coordinator for Counterterrorism, during an October 2004 meeting in Algeria on terrorism, observed, “that training and equipment alone will not be enough to eliminate terrorism. Strong militaries are necessary for a government to protect its citizens against external threats...”

 In what has become somewhat of a hypocritical policy, the U.S., by supporting non-democratic regimes in Africa under the guise of the ‘War on Terrorism,’ is setting itself up for blowback, as in Afghanistan in the late 1980s. As Dr. Harlan Ullman stated in his March 2005 testimony to Congress: “this is not a war [on terrorism] in the sense that the nation has mobilized or taken the steps that generally occur when we are at war. But more importantly, we fail to understand that this is not a war against terror per se. Terror is a tool and tactic. It is a symptom. But terror does not have a strategic center of gravity that can be found and beaten by military force alone.”

North Africa and the Pan Sahel regions are hardly a “strategic center of gravity,” yet American interests have crept into this remote part of the world and, like Iraq, it now threatens to become a raging asymmetric conflict zone of the future.

Sunil Ram was a military adviser to the Saudis in the Horn and Yemen in the post Gulf War period and saw the beginnings of much of what has spread across Saharan Africa.
© FrontLine Security 2007



Airport Watch
© 2007 FrontLine Security (Vol 2, No 4)

Watching from the fenceline as Emirates Flight EK207 touches down on Toronto’s runway 24L at the end of its ­nonstop, 15-hour run from Dubai, aircraft enthusiast Andy Cline is thoroughly enjoying his hobby. As he closely observes the taxiing Boeing 777-300ER he (and about 150 other Airport Watch volunteers that regularly “spot” ­aircraft at Toronto-Pearson airport) is contributing to the safety and security of a major Canadian airport.

Photo: John Davies

With the original concept now eight years old, the Airport Watch (AW) programme continues to grow. In Canada, the programme began at the Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport in Canada’s capital and has evolved into a national programme in operation across the country.

In this heightened era of security, where major airports are viable targets for terrorist groups and other criminal elements, this volunteer-based programme has assisted the Security Operations Centre (SOC) of their respective airports in reporting suspicious activities and possible hazards to aircraft.

The concept is somewhat similar to a typical neighbourhood watch initiative – utilizing volunteers as the essence of the programme. Even so, these volunteers are very professional and highly motivated by their passion for aviation. Many are experts in various facets of airport operations and aircraft recognition. All are cognizant of the need for increased security and it is interesting to note that a number of airport and aviation-related industry employees have also joined the Airport Watch ranks.

Equipped with binoculars, scanners, mobile phones, and reference guides, they have detailed knowledge of the airport’s perimeter layout and the businesses that operate nearby. As spotters, they spend hours at a time on public access roads watching aircraft from outside the perimeter fence. Most are interested in commercial airliners while some are keenly interested in military aircraft or helicopters. It is not unusual for volunteers to visit other airports to do some additional spotting.

Due to their familiarity with the airport surroundings, many of these perceptive observers are aware of visitors to the airport, both regular and irregular. Their keen sense of observation, often described as “community intelligence,” has been added to airport security networks in a practical arrangement.

As officials have discovered, the dedication and proficiency of AW volunteers cannot be underestimated. Having been been briefed on potential threats that may be faced by any major airport, AW members are well-prepared and report any suspicions to the SOC by mobile phone. As they drive to and from the airport, they also watch for suspicious vehicles parked as far away as 12 km from the runways.

According to their credo of “Observe, Record and Report,” they do not take any direct action themselves. This is repeated at meetings to ensure compliance because organizers are concerned that doing more may lead to confrontation and possible injury.

Reports called in over the years have included criminal activity that has resulted in police arrests and criminal investigations of national security. More routinely, AW members report emergency access gates that have had their chain and lock cut off overnight, concealed cuts in perimeter fencing that may have provided illegal access near a bonded warehouse, plowed snow banks that are too close to the fencing (allowing easy access), recovered stolen items, suspicious vehicles, and wildlife on or near active runways.

Photo: Andrew Cline

Of course, these enthusiasts visited ­airports prior to the creation of the Airport Watch, but now they have passed police checks and know each other, which adds to their mutual safety. Most members visit their airport locale several times a week, while some visit daily. Airport facility tours have increased awareness of the various safety and security facets of their local airport. Area police forces get to know them and will often stop and chat with AW volunteers rather than challenge them.

In addition to the monthly meetings in an airport boardroom to discuss aviation concerns, tours of aviation facilities are also organized, such as to Nav Canada ATC, fixed-base operators (FBOs) such as Aero Shell and Esso Avitat, and tours of new passenger terminals.

 The national committee has organized tours of the Montreal-Trudeau International Airport (home to Air Canada’s training and maintenance centres) and the Bombardier Aerospace assembly plant for CRJ 200 and Challenger production lines. Other national tours by combined chapters included Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Trenton and the military aircraft storage facility at the Mountainview detachment.

 Local tours for the 150 plus members of the Toronto AW are too numerous to mention here but have included Bombardier Aerospace at Downsview (home of the impressive Global Express and the Dash-8 production lines), CFBs Borden and Trenton, Goderich Aircraft, Diamond Aircraft, and the Airport Fire Hall.

Calgary AW volunteers have enjoyed tours of the flight line, the large Air Canada maintenance centre and local museums.

It has been common for AW members in one city to invite those from other cities to join them on special tours and events. In mid-November, Ottawa members were invited to see the arrival of the Airbus A380 on an Air France proving flight to Montreal.

Monthly meetings help identify a wide range of concerns from the AW volunteers. (Photo: Jacques Brunelle)

Security Detail
Airport Watch volunteers spend most of their time sitting at the fenceline watching aircraft, maintaining a security presence and ready to call SOC for any irregularities.

 Although there is no set schedule for the volunteers, hours on site are recorded in order to permit airport authorities to monitor activities and help improve the local chapter. The 150 members of the Toronto-Pearson airport chapter recorded more than 10,000 community hours in 2007. This type of added security presence is a bonus for the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) which is considering additional support to their volunteers. Ottawa volunteer John Davis has alone recorded more than 1100 hours in 2007, which has been very much appreciated by the authorities concerned.

Establishing New Chapters
The success of the Ottawa chapter of Airport Watch Canada has gained momentum. Other Canadian airports such as Montreal-Trudeau, Vancouver and Edmonton are currently in the process of recruiting the volunteers. Established Standard Operation Procedures and Terms of Reference are invaluable for airports considering a local AW chapter. Moreover, police background checks done on all applicants adds to the credibility of the initiative.

Tight police and airport prioritizations are a reality at most busy airports, putting time at a premium. Established groups, through the national committee, are ready to assist new spotters in organizing a local chapter after an airport agrees in principle to initiate the programme.

Photo: Jacques Brunelle

The latest airport to consider adopting Airport Watch is Montreal-Trudeau international airport where it was officially presented in early November 2007. ADM Security and Airport Watch Canada committee members hosted the introductory meeting that was attended by 28 volunteers. It is anticipated that this group will quickly increase to over 100 members in the coming months.

Avocational Health and Safety (AHS) is a new initiative aimed at verifying that spotting areas and activities are generally safe for the volunteers.

Added Value
As mentioned, the AW has provided valued assistance in reporting suspicious activity in the approach areas. This ­provides added value during visits of high profile aircraft and airliners such as the U.S. Air Force One. AW volunteers assisted during the past two Ottawa visits by the U.S. President. The IL-62 state aircraft of Mr. Viktor Zubkov, Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, received the same vigilance in November.

It is anticipated that all of the AW groups, but primarily the new Vancouver chapter, will become very busy during the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010.

Airport Watch Canada
All large airports have spotters. The key to enhanced security is to initiate contact and put some organizational steps in place.

Airport Watch chapters enjoy regular tours including this one to CFB Trenton and Mountainview, thanks to the cooperation of the Canadian Armed Forces.

Learning from the experience of forming the Ottawa chapter back in 1999, followed by the Toronto chapter in 2004, current efforts are smoother with the assistance of members of the national Airport Watch Canada committee. By becoming organized independently of airport ­agencies, local AW volunteer groups are self-sufficient, allowing for more flexibility as the group and airport entities evolve.

Participating airport authorities are very pleased with the programme to date. The Ottawa airport authority continues to fund the local AW chapter and routinely includes positive statements, ­statistics and photos on the programme in their Annual Report to shareholders.

Each chapter has established, or are in the process of developing, professional web sites in cooperation with their respective airport authority, some of which sponsor the sites which are all being linked.

As each newly formed AW group begins operations, they adopt similar Terms of Reference and SOPs to guide them. This ensures that all members are aware of ­relevant airport regulations, while assisting them in deciding what to report.

 Although the regulations appear to be imposing constraints on what was once a simple hobby, the security needs of today impose clear expectations by the airport agencies on spotters. That being said, AW volunteers enjoy benefits, such as tours of airport facilities, that regular spotters are seldom accorded. Many AW volunteers are known to FBO crews, and have become very much a part of the ­airport community – with that comes respect, acceptance, safety, camaraderie and opportunities.

As a national body, Airport Watch Canada is informally composed of volunteer executives from the different chapters, local airport police liaison and airport authority ­representatives. Together, they review new initiatives and suggest improvements. Officers from the Ottawa Police Service; Peel Regional Police; Montreal police with ADM Sûreté Aéroportuaire; and federal and local RCMP units for Calgary and Vancouver serve as the primary police liaison with the groups. Such partnerships are the norm in Canada because they work very well. Airport Watch Canada operates coast to coast, in parallel with other security programmes such as iWatch, Coastal Watch and Crimestoppers.

Along with members of Transport Canada and the Department of National Defence (DND), I have promoted the AW programme during presentations to airport authorities across Canada as a beneficial airport perimeter security initiative.

Calgary Airport Watch volunteer watches over the airport perimeter with the Calgary skyline in the distance. This chapter is co-sponsored by the Calgary (YYC/CYYC) Airport Authority and the RCMP's K Division National Security Investigations Section (NSIS)

Airport Watch initiatives are supported by the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and was featured in their international periodical, ICAO Journal. In Canada, it is further supported by the federal Minister of Transport, who personally awarded a second place finish for the 2002 “Safety Programme of the Year,” with Honourable Mention, after being nominated by the Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport Authority. This was followed in 2003 by a “Good Show Award” from the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association (COPA) based on another ­airport authority submission. It is also a Best Practice of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and directly supported by the RCMP’s National Security Criminal Investigations (NSCI) units in partnership with local airport policing and security units.

Benefitting others that are further away, Airport Watch Canada details have been presented to airport police representatives in Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States. Information has also been passed on to airport authorities in the European Union, and United Arab Emirates among others.

The Airport Watch Canada committee is always willing to share ­beneficial information with other authorities in the hopes that this eventually develops into an international programme aimed at assisting most international airports where “spotting” is encouraged, or at least tolerated.

Cpl Brunelle is currently posted to the Civil Aviation Protective Intelligence Unit, National Security Criminal Investigations, RCMP HQ.
He is currently posted to the Civil Aviation Protective Intelligence Unit, National Security Criminal Investigations, RCMP HQ, Ottawa.
Cpl Jacques Brunelle currently heads the Civil Aviation Protective Intelligence Unit at RCMP HQ. The National Coordinator of Airport Watch Canada, he can be reached at Jacques.Brunelle@rcmp-grc.gc.ca
© FrontLine Security 2007



Arctic & Maritime Domain Awareness
© 2007 FrontLine Security (Vol 2, No 1)

With the longest coastline in the world (243,772 km), and a marine area of responsibility of over 11 million square kilo­meters, Canada faces a formidable surveillance challenge! Along these shores are 250 ports and, on a typical day, 1700 ships are in our area of responsibility. It is important to know exactly what is happening in the ocean approaches to our borders. The goal in marine security, therefore, is to obtain “domain awareness” so that we can deal with potential threats before they get too close.

Given the vast security challenge of our geography, space-based sensors can make an important contribution. It must be noted that no single sensor is capable of providing complete domain awareness; each capability or sensor has its strengths and weaknesses and the most complete surveillance architecture will combine a multitude of sensors in an optimal manner.

A new Joint Space-Based Wide Area Surveillance and Support Capability, called Project Polar Epsilon, will use Canada’s RADARSAT 2 as a contributing sensor, enabling all-weather, day/night persistent surveillance of Canada’s Arctic region and ocean approaches. Project Polar Epsilon is a transformational initiative to introduce space-based wide area surveillance for Canadian Government marine surveillance.

Through RADARSAT 2, Polar Epsilon will provide wide area domain awareness over Canada’s ocean approaches and Arctic region. Accordingly, much effort is being expended in algorithm development to innovate the potential of RADARSAT 2 for the sovereignty and surveillance mission.

RADARSAT 2 due for launch in summer 2007. (Image: MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates LTD.)

Capabilities that are being developed include: land surveillance of Canada’s Arctic Region via change detection techniques; ship detection; environmental sensing and ocean intelligence; direct satellite reception and processing; near-real time dissemination; and mission planning tools for satellite mission planning.

The prime sensor in Project Polar Epsilon will be Canada’s RADARSAT 2. Building on the success of RADARSAT 1, the Canadian Space Agency developed a ­follow-on program in co-operation with the private sector.

RADARSAT 2 will incorporate state-of-the art technology and will provide the most advanced commercially available Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery in the world. SAR systems are very powerful tools for Earth Observation as they can acquire images independently of weather and solar illumination. This is particularly useful in Canada’s climate and location, especially for the Arctic that is under cloud cover or darkness for significant periods. Furthermore, as a polar orbiter, RADARSAT 2 passes closest to the poles and is ideally suited for Arctic surveillance. RADARSAT 2 will visit Canada’s Arctic approximately every 4 hours. RADARSAT 2 will detect uncooperative vessels regardless whether or not they are emitting. An all weather, day/night, global reach, polar orbiter, it is ideally suited for northern latitudes. Some important changes include: spatial resolution from 3 to 100 meters; right or left hand imaging capability, improving the ability to meet imaging requirements; and multiple polarization modes enabling better discrimination and recognition of objects on the ground. RADARSAT 2 imaging beams are shown below.

Polar Epsilon will deliver four main ­capabilities, maritime domain awareness, arctic land surveillance, environmental sensing, and maritime surveillance radar.

Polar Epsilon will be constructing new RADARSAT 2 satellite reception sites and processors on Canada’s east and west coasts to support maritime domain awareness. The near real-time ship detection capability will include local RADARSAT 2 satellite reception, processing and applications in support of the emerging Marine Security Operations Centres (MSOCs) at or near Halifax, Nova Scotia and Esquimalt, British Columbia. Note that ship detection information needs to be made available as fast as possible to produce a useful recognized maritime picture (RMP) at the MSOCs. This ship detection information will be fused with data from other sensors, contributing even more to the completeness of the RMP. Furthermore, this will permit subsequent tasking or cross cueing of other sensors to classify, clarify and identify tracks of interest.

The overall requirement in domain awareness is to detect, classify, identify, track and determine intent. For this, all available surveillance sensors are used in a comple­mentary manner. The figure below shows the imaging beams of RADARSAT 2. This satellite is ideally suited as a sensor in remote areas, in all weather conditions and where other sensors do not exist or are unable to operate. Therefore RADARSAT 2 is likely to be the first sensor of detection. It is able to generate area surveillance over 500-kilometer wide swaths at 7.5 km per second. RADARSAT 2 information will be downlinked to the satellite infrastructure provided by Polar Epsilon in support of the MSOCs. With local reception and pro­cessing, the information will be automatically formatted into the required messages available for integration to the RMP in 15 minutes. This information can then be available for fusion within the RMP or for cueing to other surveillance sensors or reconnaissance assets such as aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or ships. Local satellite reception facilities in support of the MSOCs will provide surveillance information to the RMP as fast as possible, and extend the RADARSAT 2 visibility masks out to 1000 NM from the coastline, covering the targeted area of interest. Outside these local visibility masks, global surveillance of areas of interest will be achieved by either downlinking the information stored onboard the ­satellite when it is within connectivity of the local station or through other national reception sites.

Canada’s Arctic region is approximately the size of continental Europe and represents 40% of Canada’s landmass. The size and sensitive ecosystem of this territory present significant surveillance challenges. With continued climate change, marine traffic in the Arctic is predicted to increase, and valuable resources are also playing a part in the increased levels of activity in Canada’s north. RADARSAT 2 is ideally suited for Arctic land surveillance due to its polar orbit and its radar characteristics of all weather, day or night sensor capability. Polar Epsilon will assist with Arctic surveillance by exploiting RADARSAT 2 and monitoring such activity or changes. This will be a major contribution to Arctic surveillance, given the remoteness of the territory and scarce resources or sensors available for surveillance. Once aware, other sensors or assets can then be dispatched for further investigation, according to the maritime concept of operations.

RADARSAR 2 communication masks are located near Halifax, NS and Victoria, BC. Ship surveillance information within the footprint of these communication masks will be achieved in 15 minutes. The Government of Canada, through the Canadian Space Agency, invested $445 M in the RADARSAT 2 programme. Polar Epsilon was approved by Treasury Board on 31 May 2005, at a cost of $59.7 M. (STK Images courtesy of Analytical Graphics Inc. www.agi.com)

Knowledge of the environment is required to optimally operate reconnaissance assets such as ships, submarines or aircraft and predict or monitor radar or sonar sensor performance. Project Polar Epsilon will deliver space-based environmental sensing information to the MSOCs from RADARSAT 2 and the United States National Oceanic Atmospheric Agency satellites carrying Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) sensors. The provision of ocean colour information from the these sensors will assist the MSOCs with the selection and use of maritime patrol aircraft, ships, submarines and sonar performance predictions.

The maritime satellite surveillance radar component of Polar Epsilon will consider investment in RADARSAT 2 imaging beams to optimize those beams for marine domain awareness applications. A high assurance rate of target detection is necessary before tasking limited reconnaissance assets to detected tracks of interest; therefore, sensors must achieve the highest possible performance levels.

This use of space promises much to meet the complete future marine domain awareness requirements: detection; classification; identification; and tracking. The International Maritime Organization obliges ships to carry Automated Identification System (AIS). AIS is a mixed ship and shore-based broadcast transponder system, operating in the VHF maritime band. It sends information such as ship identification, position, heading, ship length, beam, type, draught and ­hazardous cargo details, to other ships and to shore. Monitoring AIS from satellites is a significant advantage. The fusion of space-based radar detections along with AIS reporting significantly improves the recognized maritime picture. The ­ability of radar to detect non-cooperative or non-compliant vessels and fusing this information with AIS reporting permits surveillance operators to suppress known vessels and to easily identify unknown tracks or vessels of interest.

Space-based sensors with their unique advantages contribute significantly to domain awareness. RADARSAT 2’s particular ability to provide surveillance information, regardless of target cooperation or environmental conditions, will improve greatly the potential of Canada’s surveillance architecture. Project Polar Epsilon will use Canada’s RADARSAT 2 as a major contributing sensor for all-weather, day/night persistent surveillance of Canada’s Arctic region and ocean approaches. Project Polar Epsilon is a transformational initiative, in that it introduces space-based wide area surveillance to Canadian Government marine surveillance. Through RADARSAT 2, Polar Epsilon will provide superior wide area domain awareness of Canada’s ocean approaches and Arctic region.

Lieutenant Commander R.J. Quinn is Project Director of Polar Epsilon in the Directorate of Joint Capability Production at National Defence Headquarters.
© FrontLine Security 2007



Rear Admiral Roger Girourd
The Flooding Fraser
JTF Pacific puts disaster response to the test
© 2007 FrontLine Security (Vol 2, No 2)

On 15 June, the order to stand down on the Fraser Flood Emergency Response was given by the Solicitor General of BC and a successful operation was completed. Earlier, weather experts had warned that the melting snow would soon cause the mighty Fraser River to flood its banks. This, of course, triggered emergency response personnel at all levels to dust off their plans and equipment and prepare. In analyzing a natural disaster in the making, FrontLine Security interviewed a key player in this response.

Rear Admiral Girouard (above) is the Com­mander of Canada’s new Joint Task Force Pacific, one of the sections under Canada Command – the military’s definitive answer to domestic response when all other resources are tapped out, or when their special capabilities are required. In an exclusive interview, FrontLine asked RAdm Girouard about the first major call for help from JTF Pacific.

Many Emergency Responders in other provinces have said that, in order for the response to be effective when needed, one must train and not wait for the disaster before we “start exchanging calling cards.” I understand that the build up for this flood has offered a special opportunity to do both.  

Our sparkling new Joint Task Force Pacific, though only “stood up” on the 1st of February, had already become very well linked into the Regional and Federal departments and agencies involved with emergency management; indeed, we are permanently represented at coordination groups for Federal, Provincial and Municipal levels of Government. Minister John Les, the Solicitor General of BC, knows me and indeed, his Deputy, David Morhart, and I meet regularly, and certainly more so recently.

Institutionally, we are prominently represented on the Pacific Federal Council, SEMAC, and the Central Coordination Committee of the Provincial Emergency Programme (PEP). We maintain very close relationships and freely and regularly exchange planning information with Public Safety Canada, the RCMP, and the PEP.

This flood planning, and its serendipitous pace offered us an excellent and forgiving first major opportunity to support the civilian authorities and to test and refine our ability to perform our new responsibilities. It showed that we are not quite yet “fleshed out” at the Command level, and provided a very good gap analysis in our intellectual planning – both of which we are correcting.

The cooperation between different Federal and Provincial entities was excellent. We received superb support from our sister, Joint Task Force in Edmonton, from 1 Canadian Air Division in Winnipeg, and also from the Canadian Operational Support Command.

The pre-positioning of essential force capabilities, with the agreement of the Province, has gone very well – but has again clearly shown the need to have a permanent Army base in the lower mainland. I thank our Army fellows, Colonel Crosman in B.C., and Col Vance in Alberta, for their help in stretching the limits of the possible.

Lower parts of the majestic Fraser River are increasingly threatened by flooding during the late spring each year. This year, no fatalities and only minimal damage was reported. (Photo: Zoya Stoochnoff, City of Chilliwack)

We are now poised for a rapid and scalable response to any provincial request with the focus on saving life, relieving suffering, and mitigating loss of property – we all gained greatly from this operation.

The Joint Task Force is a new structure within the concept of Canada Command of the Canadian Forces. What does it offer, as far as better support to civilian authorities, that was not in existence before, and how does it relate to federal and provincial EM organizations?

Joint Task Force Pacific is the western-most of six joint task forces, which constitute the regionally focussed military operations centres under Canada Command. It is the single military command within B.C., and is responsible for support to all domestic operations, on a joint basis. This jointness is a first in respect of regional command of military operations. We can thus provide closer and far more effective liaison within the province between the Canadian Forces, federal, provincial and municipal levels of government.

As you are aware, this province possesses the greatest potential for natural disasters. As one former Lieutenant Governor was proud of reminding us, it was a natural disaster that created BC’s unique beauty. Nature may try to adjust it now and again.

Our important ability to obtain and maintain situational awareness and to make the very best use of local knowledge far surpasses that which was possible under past models for regional ­military support to the civil powers. Our ability to support has gained greater credibility and trust by local agencies. Through our more frequent cooperation and exchange of information, we are viewed as more reliable. Previously, regional liaison, situational awareness, and planning responsibilities were resident in Edmonton – 1200 kms and a time zone away!

Residents of Chilliwack, BC, worked tirelessly to flood-proof their homes and business. (Photos: Zoya Stoochnoff, City of Chilliwack)

What do you see as the major challenge of Emergency Response in BC, and how has joint planning for the flood helped you prepare for this eventuality?

The major challenge to timely response to an earthquake or tsunami is, in my view, the excessively long and challenging distance between BC’s population centres and the relief force that would come from Edmonton in the East or even our allies in the South.

Flood planning on a joint basis taught us many lessons in command and control, deployment planning, joint logistics, and joint communications but we have much more to plan for this serious contingency.

The operation, dubbed Operation Pontoon, represents a rare and very real opportunity to practice for any crisis response operation in aid to the Province; it certainly helped us understand better the challenges of any such crisis response operation. We have a better comfort zone for this type of operation now, and must extrapolate this to the greater contingencies we might face. Much work ahead.  

What value from this particular planning and response can, in your view, prove most helpful in planning for the security and safety challenges of the 2010 Winter Olympics?

While much greater lead time exists for planning for 2010 Winter Olympics, that also allows a much more deliberate and staged planning effort, both nationally and here in BC. This experience has indeed provided some valuable lessons, particularly in the logistic, deployment, bed-down, and command, control, and communications domains.

The most critical involvement of the Canadian Forces will be in support of security. For the Vancouver 2010 Games Security Planning, the RCMP has the lead and CF are in support. Our Joint Task Force Pacific has been working closely with the RCMP Integrated Security Unit for over a year on this matter.

Army and Air Force personnel assemble accommodation tents for the Operation Pontoon Air Component facility at Abbotsford Airport. (Photos: 2LT Jamie Donovan, JTF (Pacific)

In regard to Public Safety, the Integrated Public Safety Unit has the lead, but the different agencies come together at the Integrated Command Unit and, yet again, at senior level inter-agency policy and decision making forums, the same key players are present and are already quite accustomed to working together in a trusting and mutually respectful environment – especially after this operation.

Are there other issues resulting from the ongoing Fraser flooding contingency operation that your would like to share with emergency response authorities across Canada?

Any final thoughts?

This flood relief operation has been a test of the new Canada Command structure for domestic operations across the country. The current operation highlights the need for Regular Army and a military base on BC’s Mainland. Absent both, I have had to depend upon forces and support projected from over 1,000 kms away.  While that may be acceptable for a deliberate operation, in a no-notice crisis, that distance poses significant risks to the Canadian Forces providing a timely response in an appropriate manner.

The model we have applied in this ­situation, with joint ­military planners working alongside provincial and federal ­planners, has been a great success – and lessons have been learned throughout all organizations. We will work on improving our procedures and reactions in assistance to civil authorities, and maintaining close links and situational awareness. I regard this evolution and particularly the successful relationships established in Op Pontoon as ‘money in the bank’ for future operations.

FrontLine wishes to thank Rear Admiral Girouard for this informative insight into the challenges of BC Emergency Response coordination. Best wishes to you and your staff with the obvious challenges ahead.
© FrontLine Security 2007



Confronting Jihadist-based Terrorism
© 2007 FrontLine Security (Vol 2, No 3)

Despite the last six years of pressure, Al Qaeda and its inspired followers are still capable of taking the initiative in operations. Recent events in Pakistan, especially in the North West Frontier Province, demonstrate that Al Qaeda is rebuilding its core capabilities. Its highly successful propaganda and recruiting media machine, “As-Sahab,” also continues to function with a high degree of effectiveness.

From 2001 to 2003, Al Qaeda was under pressure at every level. From 2003 onwards, however, results against Al Qaeda and its followers have been decidedly mixed. Overall, it can be stated that Al Qaeda’s capabilities are now increasing and they hold the momentum in many operational areas. This is directly linked to the invasion of Iraq and the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan, as well as other ongoing conflicts in areas such as Palestine, and the Kashmir. In order to counter-act Al Qaeda plans, it is necessary to assess their strengths and weaknesses. Once that is understood, ­better responses can be developed.

Tactical, Operational and Strategic Capability Levels
Al Qaeda operatives can be understood by examining them in a hierarchical manner – similar to a military force.

At the tactical level, we find individuals such as homegrown jihadists and small individual cells. At the operational level, there are the major groups and their leaderships such as Al Qaeda itself, Laskar-e-Toiba, and Jemaah Islamia. At the strategic level are the ideas and concepts that make up the ideology of “global jihad.”

Currently, results at the tactical level are mixed. A number of attacks have been attributed to homegrown jihadists, such as the July 7th London bombings and the Madrid attacks. However, police and intelligence agencies in a number of countries have disrupted planned attacks before they could occur, and similar arrests are continuing. Overall, the situation seems to be tied.

At the operational level, the news has been much more positive from 2003 to 2006. Many of the major groups had been severely weakened due to arrests of personnel, loss of operating bases, and financial shortages. Groups such as Jemaah Islamia have not only been weakened, but many of their surviving members now want to engage in local issues rather than be part of the “global jihad” espoused by Al Qaeda. However, the winds are again shifting – Al Qaeda is rebuilding its core capabilities and reforming alliances to rebuild its global reach.

At the strategic level, the news is, and has been, generally dismal. Since the late 1990s, the battlespace for global jihadists has become the Internet – and they dominate this battle space almost entirely.

Despite much discussion in the west about “network centric warfare,” the reality remains that the information advantage, enabled by technology and organizational structures, is held by Al Qaeda and not the west. In addition to their internet advantage, Al Qaeda groups distribute their propaganda in the marketplace through CDs, DVDs and other mass media. Experts who monitor such issues full time state that the counter propaganda efforts on the Internet are limited to a few small programs run by individual groups such as the Religious Rehabilita­tion Group of Singapore. Some websites get shut down, but this is insignificant as the sites are usually back up in a matter of hours. If there was a coordinated multi-country approach to tackling this issue, we would stand a greater chance of degrading their capabilities.

The Threat to the West
Of particular interest to the west, in general, should be the phenomena of homegrown jihadism. It is clear that the roots of this problem pre-date the attacks of September 2001 and these roots continue to spread among youth in many western countries. The most interesting aspect of homegrown jihadism may be the way this fanaticism spreads. With many of the larger terrorist groups under pressure, the ideological message of Al Qaeda has flowed directly from the strategic level to potential recruits at the tactical level. Using the Internet and other such media, Al Qaeda’s virulent ideology can be directly transmitted from its home base in northern Pakistan to its followers around the world. It is likely that Al Qaeda’s “As-Sahab” media service is in the tribal areas of Kurram, Mohmand or Bajaur.

The Canadian Situation
Canada, like many other states, has no national level counter-terrorism strategy. What is the aim of the Canadian government when it comes to international terrorism in general, or Al Qaeda inspired terrorism specifically? Is the strategic aim a more pragmatic plan of denying terrorists what they seek, which is to disrupt our way of life? Terror is ultimately a political act with political goals.

Whatever the (lack of) direction, it is clear to students of history that the goal of “eradicating terrorism” will remain unobtainable until the key issues of oppression and poverty are addressed.

At the national level, it is probable that the most ambitious goal may be to prevent terrorism from altering our basic values and lifestyles. It is unlikely that any sort of coherency or long-term aims can be developed without a national strategy.

A Canadian Response
Canada’s response to terrorism over the last 25 years has been dubious at best. As a country, we have become a major ­centre for terrorist operations, recruiting, financing, and technical issues such as website hosting. More terrorist groups operate in Canada than any other country (with the exception of the United States of America). Very senior officials such as former Prime Minister Paul Martin deliberately and directly supported terrorist fundraising by speaking at a dinner for the Federation of Associations of Canadian Tamils (a fundraising front for the Tamil Tigers) despite having been warned about the nature of meetings he was attending. Even after the Air India bombing, politicians from all three levels of government continued to attend events associated with the “Kalistan,” a movement believed to be involved in the Air India bombing. At the same time, the Canadian government has been accommodating in numerous individual cases, such as using government influence to free Ahmed Said Khadr. He was being held in a Pakistani jail after it was clear he was the financier for a ­terrorist attack on the Egyptian Embassy in Pakistan. Khadr, a major Al Qaeda figure in, used Canadian taxpayer’s money to help build Al Qaeda in its early stages.

Canada needs to adopt a national strategy that is applicable to all citizens, including the leadership. Among key issues should be an assertion that core Canadian values cannot be compromised. If we change laws, policies or how we act, we may be losing the struggle. Presently, we have no overarching strategy to guide the rest of our actions – this leaves us vulnerable in many areas.

An International Response
Ultimately, the struggle against Al Qaeda’s ideological brand of terrorism needs to be fought at the strategic level. The militarized approach and the “guards, guns and gates” approach have already shown their limits. Ironically, the recent past may hold a valuable lesson on how to continue the fight against terrorism.

The Cold War was a power struggle by two vastly different ideologies – one eventually dominated while the other succumbed after a long, multi-faceted attack.

Summing up the Cold War approach can be captured by the acronym DIME – Diplomacy, Information and Intelligence, Military and Economy. As such, the fight against communism was carried out directly and indirectly using every means available to the west and its allies. The same approach could be used now.

In conflict areas such as Afghanistan or Haiti, the “3D” approach should be expanded – Defence, Diplomacy and Development must go hand-in-hand. Canada should be pushing its allies to play a larger role in all three areas.

The situation in Afghanistan is of special interest. Following the genocide in Rwanda, the international community began to talk about the “Responsibility to Protect.” Now, NATO needs to push for more diplomacy and development. If the Afghan mission collapses before a relatively secure Afghan government is in place, our credibility for future missions will be very much at stake as well.

The fight against terrorism should be an all-of-government approach across a series of like-minded states that have the common goal of stopping the spread of terrorism. The entire capabilities of the various governments must be mobilized, not just the military and intelligence ­services. Every part of government must consider that it has a role to play.

Canada can play a role by continuing to develop effective community engagement and by looking at religious rehabilitation programs. Current studies at leading international institutions studying jihadist based terrorism have developed serious counter terrorism efforts that could be undertaken to confront and discredit those who propagate jihadist based terrorism ideology.

One key area is education. Most young people are susceptible to recruitment in jihadist organizations not because of their religious beliefs, but because of their lack of understanding and background knowledge. At the same time, those who deal in extremist ideology need to have their false works confronted. This confrontation can take place in public forums, in government or on the Internet. Wherever it takes places, the message needs to be clear that the falsified teachings of Osama bin Laden, Ayman al Zawahiri and others will be exposed to their weaknesses.

Success in counter-terrorism means confronting all aspects of terrorism at all levels. By failing to engage the purveyors of terrorist ideology at the strategic level, we are giving them the long-term advantage – this we cannot afford.

Tom Quiggin is a court-qualified expert in jihadist terrorism and a Senior Fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, NTU, Singapore.
© FrontLine Security 2007



Security and Public Safety in the Arctic
© 2007 FrontLine Security (Vol 2, No 4)

The Arctic is changing. Combined factors of climate change, resource development and changing geo-political concerns create an Arctic that is becoming more accessible – and thus coveted – by the outside world. The increased tempo of southern penetration of the north will provide opportunities for Canadians, but, at the same time, create difficult challenges to solve. The uncertainty of how this will manifest itself is perhaps the greatest difficulty now facing Government officials. Knowing that massive change is coming does not define solutions for making the north secure and safe for all.

The first problem is in determining what is changing. A common perception is that the ice is receding and the north is opening up. In part this is true, but it does not tell the whole story. The ice is receding as the arctic warms, but the impact on the north is confounding. As temperatures rise, some areas of the Arctic may receive more ice. This will be caused by the break-up of the polar cap ice and the natural flow of this ice into the Canadian arctic archipelago. At the same time, Greenland will act as a giant refrigerator for the area immediately adjacent to it, as its rate of melt remains slower than that of the Arctic Ocean. Ice from the cap will eventually melt, as will the ice sheets of Greenland, but the twin effects will mean that the melt of the ice and snow of the Canadian arctic will be uneven and difficult to predict in the short and medium term (1-30 years). However, it is increasingly clear that the ice will indeed be melting.

Demands for energy continues to escalate – Americans are looking for alternative sources to the middle east, the Chinese are looking everywhere, and it is expected that India will soon rival China in the its requirement for new energy resources.

All of this is driving the price of oil beyond $100 a barrel. Given that the Canadian Arctic is strongly suspected to contain large amounts of oil, gas, and gas hydrates (the new energy source: a gelatinous form of gas), new and extensive exploration efforts are about to begin in the north.

Should anyone think that old geopolitical realities ended with the death of the Cold War, it is only necessary to review Russian action this past summer to realize that such hopes are somewhat premature. Under the terms of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, all states are now able to claim control over the soil and subsoil of their continental shelf beyond the 200 nautical mile Economic Exclusive Zone that they already control. However, in order to do this, they must demonstrate that they have a continental shelf. It is strongly suspected that the Arctic Ocean is indeed an extension of the continental shelf of both Europe, Asia and North America. All five boarding nations – Canada, the U.S., Denmark/Greenland, Norway and Russia – are now determining if they can make claims over “their” part of the Arctic Ocean. Of the five, Russia has been the most active – and the most aggressive – including the use of publicity stunts like the recent planting of their flag on the sea bottom at the north pole by mini-sub. Russia has also restarted Arctic air patrols that had stopped at the end of the Cold War. America has recently placed one of their two ballistic missile interceptor sites in Fort Greeley, Alaska. Thus, like the Russians, they have taken steps that will ensure that the Arctic remains an important strategic location.

Each of these three elements – temperature, energy, geopolitics – has a major impact on the security and safety of those living in the Canadian north. The fact that all three are intersecting at the same time means that the job of determining what to do is even more complicated.

What are the implications for Canada, in terms of public safety and security? First, climate change is altering the physical reality of the north. Among the northern aboriginal communities, living off the land with the use of traditional knowledge is increasingly problematic. It is becoming more difficult to read the signs of nature because so much is changing so quickly. Already, there is an increase of hunters finding themselves in treacherous situations because ice is melting too soon, or storms are developing at unusual times. Thus, the physical safety of these Canadians is at a higher risk. At the same time, warming temperatures are adversely affecting the physical infrastructure of the north. The time period that ice roads remain open is being dramatically shortened. The roads and landing strips that are built on the ­permafrost are showing signs of collapse as it melts. All of these place the safety of all northern communities at risk.

Equally problematic, are the perceptions being created internationally by the expected impacts of climate change. The world increasingly believes that climate change has opened the Canadian north.

Criminal elements have already attempted to take advantage of this. In the summer of 2007, suspected Norwegian gang members attempted to transit the Northwest Passage in a small vessel named Berserk. They are alleged to have committed crimes and/or taken part in unacceptable activity in several communities before being intercepted in Cambridge Bay. The full story of their plan has not yet been made public, but the fact that such a group thought of taking a sailboat through the NWP – and made it as far as Cambridge Bay – demonstrates how serious the problem of unwanted intrusions is becoming.

A host of foreign commercial interests are watching for opportunities in the melting Arctic. The highest profile issue is the expectation of commercial shipping through the Northwest Passage. Should such activity occur, there is potential for serious threat to Canadian sovereignty.

If foreign-owned shipping companies ask per­mission and follow Canadian regulations and laws, then Canadian control over the passage will be retained. But if this does not happen, and they do not abide by our laws, Canada will face a crisis – to either surrender its claim or take action to control such voyages.

While the preferred course of action would be through the courts, Canadian officials would need to be prepared to take physical action if necessary. Most shippers, will probably be deterred by ice conditions, however, some may not. It is clear that there has already been an increase of shipping associated with either the resource industry, research, tourism and shipping to northern destinations such as Churchill, Manitoba – this is the type of shipping that will now increase.

While such shipping is not considered a sovereignty issue, it will still need to be monitored for safety and security purposes. As the recent sinking of the Antarctic cruise ship Explorer showed, even experienced operators can face major problems in partially ice-covered waters.
The impact of the expected northern energy boom will also be substantial on Canadian public safety and security. The practice in Canada regarding the resource industry in general is to let the companies take care of their own safety and security when operating in remote areas. While such a practice can be understood on financial grounds, it is short-sighted. When Canada had only one or two northern development projects, it may have been possible to ensure that their safety and security needs were met, but, given the magnitude of future projects, such an approach is ­irresponsible.

Safety issues will be associated with the movement of large numbers of workers needed in the north. Further complicating the challenges will be the influx of workers from foreign nations. This is already happening in the diamond industry and will be magnified as oil and gas production begins. Drug importation will inevitably increase with such population growth. These factors will create added strain on local RCMP forces and will impact local communities that are already facing social problems caused by drugs.

The re-emergence of geo-political ­concerns in the Arctic now means that Canada no longer has the luxury of pretending that the end of the Cold War meant that it never again needed to think of traditional northern security issues.

While it is much too soon to know how Russian relations with its Arctic neighbours will develop, the growing power and assertiveness of the current Administration make it clear that, in security terms, the west cannot ignore the north. Putin may turn out to be a momentary lapse in Russia’s progress towards a more democratic system, but Canada cannot risk the chance. If Putin continues to re-develop Russian power, it is only a matter of time before arctic issues arise between these two neighbours.

While such issues can normally be resolved in a cooperative fashion, it is only prudent to ensure that Canadian officials recognize the need to retain a capability to resort to harder options if needed. The reality is that Canada has very little capability and needs to begin now to rebuild if it is to have a force that would be ready to meet a more assertive Russia in the north.

Ultimately, it should be apparent that Canada now faces a wide range of security and safety problems in its Arctic. These problems are being created and acierated by the many changes that are now reshaping the entire polar region. Officials need to prepare to face what are now fuzzy potential problems – it may be too late to prepare when they come into proper focus.

Thus, Canada needs to develop 24/7 ­situational awareness capabilities in the north and must be ready to act upon that knowledge. We need to think at both the micro and the macro levels, and we will need “boots on the ground” in northern communities. This also means more RCMP and health officials to deal with issues associated with increased economic activity.  

Canada will need the means to act – RCMP and other first responders will require more vehicles, aircraft and heavy equipment. The proposed new Arctic /Offshore Patrol vessels will be an indispensable addition, but icebreakers will also be important. All of this is expensive, but it is clear that the Canadian Arctic has opened. We can prepare now at substantial cost; or wait, and spend much more later – and at greater risk. 

A recognized expert on Canada’s Arctic, Dr. Rob Huebert is an Associate Director at the Centre for Military and Strategic Studies and with the Depart­ment of Political Science at the University of Calgary.
© FrontLine Security 2007



Interpol's Canadian Footprint
© 2007 FrontLine Security (Vol 2, No 1)

Set between the Rhone River and the “Parc Tete d’Or” in Lyon, France – about an hour’s drive southwest of the Swiss border – is a rather unique looking building. As some of its security features become visible to the casual passer-by, including marked police vehicles and uniformed officers at the entrance, some might wonder what purpose it serves.

The General Secretariat in Lyon, France, serves as Interpol headquarters.

Although highly secured, its location is no secret. Clearly marked on the city map and on the front of the building, even the casual observer can quickly determine that this facility belongs to Interpol, the International Criminal Police Organization. Interpol’s mission, however, may not be clear to many within the local community and around the world.

As the world’s largest international police organization, with 186 member countries, the facility is home base for Interpol’s General Secretariat, serving as the headquarters for global efforts in facilitating international cooperation and communication among police agencies. With three core functions – providing secure global police communications, data services and databases for police, and operational police support services – Interpol assists and coordinates investigations among member countries.

As technology and communications have advanced in recent years, so has Interpol’s ability to assist in the fight against international crime. Unfortunately, so too has the ability of criminals to interact and cross borders – especially with electronic and Internet-based crime. To counter this, law enforcement around the world must work closely together, sharing resources and information when appropriate.

“Globalization and advanced technology have made fighting international crime as complex and challenging as ever,” says Ronald Noble, Interpol’s secretary general. “With police expertise and extensive resources, however, Interpol is well positioned to assist law enforcement agencies around the world in pursuing cross-border investigations.”

Interpol functions with five working regions: the Americas; Europe; Asia; Africa; and the Middle East and North Africa. Supported by sub-regional bureaus in Argentina, El Salvador, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, and Zimbabwe, as well as liaison offices in Thailand and at the United Nations in New York, Interpol provides operational police support focusing on five priority crime areas: drugs and organized crime; public safety and terrorism; fugitives; trafficking in human beings; and financial and high-tech crime.

Canada joined the organization in 1949 and, since then, two Canadians, both former RCMP commissioners, have been elected to serve as president of Interpol – William Higgitt (1972-76) and Norman Inkster (1992-94). Former RCMP Com­missioner Giuliano Zaccardelli was also a strong supporter of Interpol and, during his tenure, Canada took a leadership role in many international policing initiatives.

The command and coordinator centre, at the General Secretariat, operates around the clock to prioritize incoming messages and to reply immediately to urgent requests.

In addition to its annual dues of approximately $1.9 million, Canada cooperates with Interpol and other member countries by providing training, technical expertise and support around the world. These efforts benefit other regions, but also pay dividends back home, allowing Canadian law enforcement agencies to communicate globally and access international databases with relevant, useful information on criminal activity.

Canada: First to Connect
In 2002, Interpol introduced its secure global police communications system, known as I-24/7. The system is administered through each member country’s National Central Bureau (NCB), normally located in its capital city to ensure national coordination and support. Connecting law enforcement officials in member countries, it facilitates the rapid and secure sharing of crucial information.

Using I-24/7, each country’s NCB can search and cross-check data in a matter of seconds, with direct access to information databases on suspected terrorists, wanted persons, fingerprints, lost or stolen travel documents, stolen motor vehicles and stolen works of art. Member countries maintain and manage their national criminal data, but can make it accessible to the international law enforcement community.

Canada helped design the I-24/7 system and was the first country to connect, becoming operational in January 2003. Initially installed at NCBs, Interpol is encouraging member countries to extend their I-24/7 connections to national law enforcement entities such as border police, customs and immigration. NCBs control the level of access that other authorized national users have to Interpol services and can also request to be informed of enquiries made to their national databases by other countries.

Until recently, the RCMP was the only Canadian police agency with access to the I-24/7 system. Since July 2006, the Sureté du Quebec and the York Regional Police have connected, making them the first provincial and municipal agencies in Canada with access.

Interpol Ottawa
Canada’s NCB is located at RCMP headquarters in Ottawa. With more than 40 police members and civilians, including RCMP officers and those seconded from the OPP, Sureté du Quebec, Montreal Police Service, Toronto Police Service and the Halifax Regional Police Service, it serves as a liaison office between Canadian law enforcement agencies, other NCBs, and Interpol’s General Secretariat in France.

For Canadian law enforcement, this assistance is most beneficial when dealing with other regions of the world, ­especially outside of North America. For joint Canada-U.S. cases, Canadian police agencies normally deal directly with their American counterparts, but Interpol Ottawa can be of assistance in less familiar territory, especially when a criminal case involves three or more member countries.

Interpol Ottawa works with the General Secretariat and its command and coordination centre (CCC). Established in 2003, the CCC links NCBs in all 186 member countries and Interpol’s sub-regional bureaus, facilitating operations 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Serving as the first point of contact for member countries faced with crisis situations, the CCC operates around the clock to prioritize each message received and to respond immediately to urgent requests.

The CCC also coordinates exchanges of intelligence and information for operations involving several countries, assuming a crisis-support role during ­serious incidents. In doing so, Interpol provides member countries with a full range of police-support services, including instant searches of its databases, investigative support, the coordination of ­Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) efforts, and the deployment of Incident Response Teams (IRT) to sites of major disasters or terrorist attacks.

Canada’s Global Footprint
“Canada has had a tremendous global impact and reach through Interpol as a result of its direct support to bioterrorism training and prevention,” says David Gork, Interpol’s director of specialized crime and an assistant commissioner with the RCMP. Some areas that Canada has made significant impact include:

Incidence Response. Following the devastating tsunami in Southeast Asia in December 2004, Interpol sent an IRT to provide assistance and Canada was among the first countries to deploy a DVI team to the region.

Integrated-Network Database. Interpol also supports major events, recently providing assistance with security preparations for the Cricket World Cup (CWC), hosted by nine Caribbean countries. Canada, with a team entered in the competition, also provided funding to assist with the implementation of Interpol’s mobile and fixed ­integrated-network databases, known as MIND/FIND, for the event. With Canada’s assistance, this new technology was implemented in the Caribbean, extending access to Interpol’s stolen and lost travel documents database to border-entry officers. Using this system during the first two months of 2007, there were approximately 50 hits in the nine CWC host Caribbean countries compared to less than 90 during the previous four years, clearly illustrating how the implementation of MIND/FIND technology is helping to restrict the movement of criminals and terrorists who often use altered stolen or lost passports.

Child Exploitation Prevention. Sexual exploitation of children is one area that crosses jurisdictions and borders without travel documents, especially since the development and increased use of the internet and electronic images. Created in 2001, Interpol’s s child abuse image database contains thousands of images of child sexual abuse submitted by member countries, and facilitates the sharing of information to assist enforcement agencies with the identification of new victims. The RCMP and provincial police services, through the RCMP-­managed National Child Exploitation Coordination Centre, have been working in close co-operation with Interpol in this area, and are among the most active ­contributors to the database.

Bioterrorism Prevention. Interpol’s bioterrorism prevention program has also received significant support from Canadian law enforcement. The RCMP has provided staff and ­material resources for Interpol’s train-the-trainer initiative for chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) material, and ­lecturers for regional bioterrorism conferences. These training programs are aimed at educating law enforcement on the threat, prevention and investigation of bioterrorism-related offences.

Interpol Notices
Interpol notices are used to share crime-related information with police in member countries around the world. A red notice seeks the arrest or provisional arrest of wanted persons with a view to extradition; a blue notice seeks information about someone, such as their identity, whereabouts, or ties to a crime; a green notice warns countries about career criminals who travel internationally; a yellow notice helps locate missing or lost persons; a black notice seeks help identifying dead bodies or deceased persons who may have used false identities; an orange notice warns of potential threats from disguised weapons, parcel bombs and other dangerous materials; and the Interpol-United Nations Special Notice is issued for groups and individuals who are the targets of UN sanctions against Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

A red notice was recently issued at the request of Canadian police, through the NCB in Ottawa, for the arrest of a man accused of abducting his two daughters from their Calgary home. Should the man, believed to have left for Australia, be identified by police in one of Interpol’s other member countries, the red notice requests his provisional arrest so that Canadian authorities can request his extradition. A yellow notice was also issued for the two girls.

Like other Interpol databases, the notice system improves coordination, allowing one central point of contact at NCBs for law enforcement agencies, and one central database of information for member countries around the world.

Canada is a well-established contributor to international policing and its efforts do not go unnoticed. During his visit to Ottawa in March 2005 – the first official visit by a Secretary General of Interpol since 1990 – Noble praised Canada’s support for international policing. “Canada practices what it preaches,” he said. “Whatever you call the highest category of support and participation, Canada is in that category.”  

Mark Giles is the chief of communications and publications at Interpol, based at the General Secretariat in Lyon, France.
More information on Interpol notices and other services is available at: www.interpol.int
© FrontLine Security 2007



Border Security & Trade
© 2007 FrontLine Security (Vol 2, No 2)

‘Big Ideas’ have long been a feature of Canada-U.S. relations. One recent very Big Idea is the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP), launched in 2004 by the Prime Minister of Canada, President Bush, and the Mexican president. Several other Big Ideas co-exist with the SPP and some of them nestle under its wing. But there are many less-grand ideas, most initiated well below national level both by government and the private sector. Several of these smaller ideas may well have just as big an impact in the longer term on our lives and prosperity.

The Conference Board of Canada’s 2007 Public-Private Sector National Security Summit, in May, co-chaired by your editor, Clive Addy, and by Robert Walker, CEO Defence Research and Development Canada, debated some of the Big Ideas for strengthening security and trade across the Canada-U.S. border. It also explored some smaller but no less important ones.

Creating a ‘Security Border’
The American preoccupation with security and Canada’s response to it was the recurring theme.

Michael Hart, Simon Reisman Chair in Trade Policy at Carleton University, advocated that both countries abandon the ‘economic’ border. By reducing the customs and excise functions, border agents could concentrate on security. He postulated convincingly that it doesn’t make sense to stick to traditional customs functions on the border for a relatively small financial return and that, above all, Canada needs to be a reliable partner on defence and security. Americans must see Canada “as an asset, not a pain in the ass!”

In the event of a terrorist attack in the United States, especially one with a possible Canadian connection, he suggested that Amer­ican confidence in Canada’s commitment to security might avoid a potentially catastrophic border shutdown.

In a similar vein, Paul Rosenzweig, Assistant Secretary for International Affairs at the Department of Homeland Security, claimed that the “pre 9/11 border is gone” and that both countries should now “check their sovereignty at the door!” But the U.S. believes that Canada doesn’t altogether share this perspective.

Bill Elliott, Associate Deputy Minister of Public Safety, and Stephen Rigby, Executive Vice President of the Canada Border Services Agency, assured delegates that Canada does not take a relaxed view of security. Canada has its own approach – different in nature and in pace – but since 9/11, the government has been very active in working to strengthen both security and the smooth flow of trade.

The Honourable Perrin Beatty, CEO of Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, clearly advocates that security, trade and prosperity policies must complement each other. Canadians strongly push this approach in Afghanistan but sometimes forget that it applies equally to our own situation.

Synchronized Border Security
Secretary Rosenzweig suggested that Canada and the U.S. should “synchronize” border security. The U.S. shopping list includes agreement on lookout lists, trusted traveller programs, inspection of sea containers, biometrics and a common system for private aircraft screening.

Though largely technical issues, political sticking points arise with linked proposals for ‘synchronized’ immigration and refugee policy and a common visa waiver program. According to Rosenzweig, the U.S. has visa waivers for 27 countries while Canada’s list is 47 – and growing!

Another potentially contentious issue is significantly expanded information sharing. David Loukidelis, BC’s Infor­mation and Privacy Commissioner, explained that the Federal Privacy Act does allow for collection, storage and sharing of personal information and its disclosure. However, sharing sensitive information about Canadian citizens with the U.S. may be quite another matter, especially after the Arrar affair.

Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI)
WHTI is a U.S. program mandated by Congress that includes building a ‘fence’ along the Canada-U.S. border. Secretary Rosenzweig confirmed that the U.S. is firmly committed to fully implementing WHTI within the next two years.

Under WHTI, all air travellers from Canada to the U.S. require passports. This part of the program came into effect in January and Secretary Rosenzweig called it “99.9% effective” so far. He said a draft plan covering land and sea travel will be published in June of this year which will require Canadians and Americans to have passports or another “acceptable document” when crossing the border into the United States.

On 20 June 2007, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff announced that DHS will institute the passport requirement around the end of next summer, instead of January 2008 as originally planned. In the interim, beginning Jan. 31, 2008, U.S. and Canadian citizens will need to present a passport, or, alternatively, a government-issued photo ID plus proof of citizenship – such as a driver’s license and birth certificate. Other acceptable documents will be trusted traveler cards such as Nexus and FAST.

Another WHTI initiative will see Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) become a feature of the NEXUS and FAST low risk travellers’ programs. RFID will send data to border agents before the car or truck arrives at the border crossing booth. This aims to “reduce linger times by 20-30%” according to Secretary Rosenzweig.

In a cautionary message, Catherine Johnson, CEO of ACT Canada, stated that information collected by the U.S. RFID system could easily be intercepted. Because data has become a ‘new currency,’ the probability of abuse is high. On the other hand, she strongly recommended a ‘chip contact card’ with built-in privacy that will form the technology basis of the E-passport and would avoid the need for sharing large data bases, upon which, she postulated, neither Canada nor the U.S. would agree.

Pushing Out the Borders
Mr. Elliott explained current pre-screening of passengers and inspections of cargo at points of departure overseas.

The Canadian military is also contributing to this concept alongside Americans and other NATO allies, in places far from North America, such as Afghanistan.

Mr. Rigby also described how advanced electronic information, coupled with prompt risk assessment by the National Risk Assessment Centre, detects and stops high-risk individuals and goods from entering the country.

This kind of precise risk assessment will shortly enable every ‘non-low risk’ container destined for North America to be checked for radiation before being loaded in overseas ports according to Jim Phillips, CEO of the Canadian/American Border Trade Alliance. The other containers, 95% of the total, will not be subject to inspection at the Canada-U.S. border. This should make the border ‘seamless’ for goods arriving by sea in either country.

The Costs of Security
Glen Hodgson’s research for the Conference Board of post-9/11 security measures on trade showed no overall reduction in cross-border trade. However, the costs to traders had increased quite significantly and, in the longer term, this could lead to loss of competitiveness and inward investment.

Michael Kergin, former Canadian ambassador to Washington, pointed out that WHTI and other security measures have caused a dramatic reduction in the number of U.S. visitors coming into Ontario. There was also clear evidence of a significant decline in cross border exports from Ontario since 9/11. The overall Canadian figures were buoyed up by increased exports of Alberta oil and gas to the United States.

Models of Cooperation
The U.S.-Canada International Joint Commission was founded in 1909 to ‘prevent and resolve disputes relating to the use and quality of boundary waters, and to advise each country on related questions.’ The Right Honourable Herb Gray, Chair of the Canadian Section of the IJC and a former Deputy Prime Minister, described its successes over the years. He suggested that a broader range of Canada-U.S. issues could be referred to the IJC. In addition, a number of smaller regionally-based organizations, modeled on the IJC, could be tasked with resolving particular cross-border disputes. Mr. Gray reminded the conference of the many thousands of nearly ‘invisible’ connections that exist between Canada and the U.S. that bring the two countries together on a daily basis.  

Identity Cards
Participation in NEXUS, the trusted traveller program, has been disappointing. The program is expanding to cover many more airports, land crossings and waterway travel. It should eventually include cruise ship, ferry, rail, and bus travellers. Ultimately, one card will be valid for all ports of entry and all modes of transportation.

NEXUS positively identifies low risk travellers whereas a passport or other ID gives only a person’s identity and nationality. Jim Phillips said that if the U.S. declared an “Orange” alert, only NEXUS card holders would be allowed across the U.S. border.

The C$80 cost of a five year NEXUS card is particularly worthwhile for frequent Canada/U.S. ­crossings, but of no help for travel to other continents.  

To date, FAST has 80,000 truck drivers enrolled, and operates at 19 border locations. But, according to participant Mark Seymour, Chair of the Ontario Trucking Associa­tion, FAST has hidden costs and other inconvenient implications. A FAST application costs $80 per driver and he or she must go to the nearest border crossing point for an interview. If a driver is not accepted into the program, no explanation is given and the application fee is not refunded. Like NEXUS, the system is RFID-based and the data is held in the U.S.

In the near future, FAST will depend on participation in ACE, the U.S. Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) security program. ACE will come fully into force in August of this year. According to Mr. Seymour, only a small number of drivers are enrolled in ACE so far. Under ACE, drivers will be required to provide a description of their loads instead of a code number. This represents a major ‘culture change’ for shippers and carriers. It also entails training in the ACE procedures, an additional cost to carriers and shippers.

Border Communications
Ron Moran, National President of the Customs and Excise Union (CEUDA), told the conference that his members at many border posts do not have adequate communications or easy access to criminal and other data bases. This obvious security gap shocked many of the delegates, as did the fact that a near term ­solution appeared unlikely.

A Canadian Border Patrol
CEUDA has proposed the establishment of a Canadian Border Patrol. This organization would patrol the 230 unguarded border roads and the vast marine border between Canada and the United States. CEUDA estimates that 50 cars cross the border illegally every day. A Border Patrol could also act as a back-up to the official Ports of Entry and pursue ‘port runners’ who fail to stop.

However, RCMP Chief Superinten­dent Mike Cabana, Director General Border Integrity, postulated that it was impossible to physically control the whole length of the border. The key to better security, he said, was better intelligence about what’s going on “in our own backyard.” He pointed out that members of the ‘Toronto 18’ could have crossed the border quite legally because none of them had a criminal record.

Cutting Edge Innovation
Technology is an important partner in making the border more secure, quicker and easier to cross. Dan Gudmundson, of Optosecurity, described an innovative method of detecting liquid explosives – the new threat that has recently made air travel even more inconvenient!

Promising new ways of quickly identifying individuals displaying unusual behaviour in crowds at airports, transportation systems and other places where large numbers of people gather are also promising and under development.

Integrating Systems
Curt Powell, Director of Transporta­tion Security at Raytheon, discussed the importance of integrating technology ­systems. He warned that a new piece of technology could actually damage security if not fully ­integrated with existing systems and ­procedures.

Ed Schaffner, Director of Integrated Security Programs at Unisys, reinforced this concept while describing his company’s important role in the U.S. Secure Border Ini­tiative (SBI net) and the need to ­inte­grate long-range cameras and other tech­nologies into overall border ­sur­veil­lance and management systems.

People, Technology and Procurement
Trust – between the providers, the users and the other stakeholders – is vital to the effective integration of technology into security systems, because “people, not machines, are the key to real security” according to Mary Kirwan, Chief Security Advisor at Microsoft Canada. Mr. Schaffner also noted that trust was key to selling technology to ­governments and other users. A phased, empirical approach to the procurement of new and expensive systems was considered to be the best approach.

Ms Kirwan suggested that common errors made by government in procuring technology included poorly stated and constantly changing requirements, over-ambitious goals and changes of procurement personnel.

Delegates were reminded by Mr Walker that today’s systems are so complex that it is almost impossible to ‘get it right the first time.’ A phased iterative approach, supported by better dialogue between the provider and the customer, was cited as fundamental to successful modern procurement.

Closing Thoughts
Since the events of 9/11, the nature of the Canada-U.S. border has changed forever. Canada needs to show that it understands U.S. security concerns in order to maintain and strengthen mutual trade and traditional ties between our two countries. Collaborating actively with the U.S. on security, and being seen to collaborate, is key to long term trade stability and Canadian prosperity.

Big ideas abound on topics of security and trade. Canada must contribute pro-actively to shaping, developing and, if necessary, modifying these ideas – especially those which might seem arbitrary, unnecessary or unreasonable.

Canada can take the lead in promoting other initiatives, in both programs and technology. These lower profile measures may well prove equally or more important than the Big Ideas in shaping the future security and prosperity of our continent.

The process has just begun. If we accept the new reality, working together in a spirit of openness and partnership, we can strengthen both the security and the future prosperity of both our countries.   

Richard Cohen is an independent consultant on national and international security and public safety issues. He is a security programs developer for the Conference Board of Canada and a member of the National Security Group.
© FrontLine Security 2007



Port Policing
Has Canada dropped the ball?
© 2007 FrontLine Security (Vol 2, No 3)

Canada has experienced a long and tortuous history of policing our Ports.

At the end of the First World War, the port police in Montreal are believed to have had more than 100 officers but in 1920 they numbered three individuals with limited responsibilty.

Despite objections and condemnation from ­various sources, the National Ports Canada Police was ­disbanded 10 years ago, by the Liberal government of Canada.

Port policing in Canada is actually older than the RCMP itself. The Quebec river police were in operation in 1856. Since then, dedicated port policing has been abolished many times only to be re-established when matters of security and the reputation of the ports were in jeopardy.

For example, at the end of the First World War, the port police in Montréal are believed to have had more than 100 officers but in 1920 they numbered three individuals with limited responsibility, and the policing of criminal matters rested with the city police.

Fast forward to 1969, when Canada’s National Port Police was re-established under the National Harbours Board. It began with 325 police officers and 80 security personnel to police the major ports in Canada. Headed by former members of the RCMP, detachments operated in the ports of Halifax, Montréal, Vancouver, Quebec City, St John New Brunswick, and St John’s Newfoundland. New port police were sworn in by superior court judges and were responsible for the enforcement of all the laws of Canada (as they related to port properties), port security and emergency response. They were later named as enforcement officers in the Immigration Act.

Policing Canadian Ports on the Cheap
By the time the ports police closed again, numbers had been reduced to a total of 124 personnel across the country. This came at a time when a major decentralization of port operations was proposed under new legislation that gave the ports almost complete local autonomy. Port administrators claimed that they could be more competitive if they did not have to meet the cost of maintaining their own police force and, as taxpayers, were entitled to local police services.

Around the world, port police units have invariably been funded out of port revenues as an alternative public taxation, and Canada traditionally followed suit.

The International Association of Airport and Seaport Police promotes the concept of dedicated port policing as the best method of protecting ports. At the IAASP’s Annual Conference in Boston, Massachusetts in 1996, delegates passed a resolution urging the Canadian government not to proceed with plans to abolish the Ports Canada Police.

Since the latest national port police disbandment, the Canadian Senate committee on National Defence and Security, led by Senator Kenny, has raised concerns that organized crime has infiltrated Canada’s ports. Port and law enforcement authorities have discounted the Senate reports and continue claiming that the crime situation in the airports and seaports is ‘overstated.’

Regrettably, extensive intelligence files compiled by the former Ports Canada Police, normally a matter of public record, cannot be located. Other police agencies, assuming port-policing responsibility, have had to rely on word of mouth information from former members of the Ports Police and the sparse individual files that were saved.

In its election platform, Canada’s Conservative government promised to restore the Ports Canada Police. This however, raised objections from the port authorities and, surprisingly, Canadian law enforcement. To date, Canada still does not have a national port police service.

Since the events of 9/11, by contrast, U.S. ports have increased their levels of port security and also strengthened law enforcement levels through their ports police service. Los Angeles seaport police, for example, has doubled its complement of port police to over 200 officers. That Port Authority, as part of its mission statement and its marketing strategy, wants to be recognized as having ‘the world’s premier port police service.’

Why Dedicated Ports Police?
Port policing is a highly specialized process. Ports around the world have, from time to time, employed outside policing services to provide the necessary law enforcement and intelligence gathering to protect their very lucrative industry that can well afford to pay the full cost of these services. In almost all of these cases, these alternate initiatives have failed.

Analysis of these failures points to the fundamental fact that outside agencies police the ports as part of their local responsibility. This means that it is not within their mandate to engage actively in international networks or meeting with other port police agencies to exchange information and experiences specific to port law enforcement, modes of transportation or cargo concerns.

The main fault with outside law enforcement services performing police or other enforcement duties in the ports is that they usually confine themselves to the simple matters of, investigation, arrest, and prosecution. The full spectrum of community policing undertaken by dedicated port police is not a major priority with outside agencies, because they do not have the resources to be present 24/7 – understandably their primary responsibility is to serve residents of their own tax-paying communities.

It was particularly galling to watch a recent Canadian television programme exposing the major risk of stolen automobiles that were being illegally shipped out of Canada. Allegedly the proceeds of these thefts were supporting international terrorism. It was suggested in this report that Canadian law enforcement is not fulfilling the functions of a former ports police and there are no joint law-enforcement special projects to deal with this problem.

In a recent U.S. case, the New York/ New Jersey Port Authority Police were involved in a significant joint law-enforcement project which broke a criminal ­organization that was in fact, exporting stolen vehicles to the Middle East.

In Canada, more than 12 years ago, the former Ports Canada Police initiated a project called, ‘CEASE’ (Controlled Enforcement of Automobiles Stolen for Export). Headed by the PCP, this joint law enforcement project also involved Canada Customs, the RCMP, and the Auto Theft Insurance Bureau. The insurance industry also provided logistical and secretarial support to work with these teams.

Operating from the Vancouver and Halifax offices of the Ports Canada Police, Project ‘CEASE’ proved very successful. In fact, a member of the Ports Canada Police working as part of the project team in Halifax received an award from the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police for his initiative and outstanding work in this operation.

The project involved a reporting system developed with the shipping lines, shipping agents, freight forwarders and stevedoring companies to report all automobiles, automobiles parts and motorcycles that were being exported from Canada. At the Port of Vancouver, all ­documentation received was checked for required information and vehicle identification numbers (VIN) were checked for registered owners, stolen entries (CPIC), VIN validation, American exportation, and Insurance Crime Prevention Bureau (ICPB) entries. The team then attended the site(s) where vehicles were either being packed (loaded) or at the dock where the container and vehicles were to be shipped from. Team members physically checked the vehicles for valid vehicle identification numbers, secondary numbers, description of vehicle, and other contents searched for hidden contraband. A growing confidential list of target ­companies and individuals was developed and maintained.

One of the most glaring problems for the project team was in the area of documentation. It was very easy for the shipping companies and exporters, freight forwarders to either falsely describe the goods in the container or not indicate certain goods on the documentation.

If a false declaration was filed there was no process to check the container once it had left the port; neither was there any penalty to the exporter for filing a false declaration.

The Vancouver team addressed the problem of large numbers of motorcycles being stolen in the province of British Columbia. Indications showed that these vehicles, and parts, were being exported overseas by outlaw motorcycle gangs (OMGs) attempting to open up new chapters in the old Eastern European and Asian countries that desired Harley Davidson motorcycles and parts as part of their traditional culture. Particularly significant were the connections that members of OMGs and associates had with the waterfront industry.

News of this successful programme spread quickly and soon a number of ­ingenious countermeasures by criminal ­elements were discovered. On occasions, details of vehicles were provided showing the identification of a particular vehicle, which was not reported stolen. Once entered on the manifest and checked by police, the vehicles were then stolen and placed into containers on the dock shortly before loading onto the ship. This resulted in vehicles being exported undetected. The scam required additional work by the police by making it necessary to routinely re-check the declarations. Serious problems arose in attempting to recover the stolen vehicle once it had landed in the foreign port.

Another highly successful scam was perpetrated by Asian organized crime based in Canada. They undertook a vehicle fleet-leasing agreement with a major company. The leased vehicles were then loaded into containers and exported to Asia. Upon reaching their destination the vehicles were reported stolen. Until detected by the team, organized crime was able to steal vehicles to order and subvert the reporting process.

Individual thefts were also detected. In one significant case, a family of Asians working temporarily in Canada reported three high-end vehicles stolen in Toronto over a short space of time. The Insurance company paid out the claims. The three alleged stolen vehicles had actually been packed by the family into a container with other items listed as ‘personal and household affects’ for the family’s return home. They were to be shipped through the Port of Vancouver shortly after the family had left the country.

The legitimate exportation of vehicles is not without its problems either. For example, new high-end vehicles are legitimately purchased at discounted rates and exported by entrepreneurs seeking to make a profit by lawful sales in other countries. Checking the details with the Canadian maker’s distributor generated complaints that these exported vehicles were supporting the ‘grey market’ that was competing by undercutting the market price of the authorized importer.

Internationally, auto theft and the export of stolen vehicles is a highly lucrative criminal business. It is reported that, in many cases, stolen vehicles are being driven in foreign countries with original registration plates and other identification brazenly displayed.

Once stolen vehicles are out of the country, there is virtually no chance of recovery and very little chance of criminal prosecution.

Be Realistic: Provide the Necessary Security
The IAASP has been aware of comments indicating that law enforcement should not be directly involved in criminal investigations that directly benefit the private sector and its shareholders. The IAASP does not agree with this concept because this view could be widely used as ­rationale for the non-involvement of law enforcement in any matters involving a profit-making industry or even household business or property.

Notwithstanding, the fact remains that unless Canadian law enforcement can properly address the issue of stolen automobiles for export through our seaports, the Canadian driving public will continue to pay increased insurance premiums and foot the bill to cover shortfalls caused by successful criminal operations. This is but one known example!

One wonders how many other successful crime prevention projects initiated by the former Ports Canada Police have been discontinued by the current police services that are now responsible for policing Canada’s seaports.

Canada has indeed dropped the ball in port policing!

Mike Toddington is the former Chief Officer, Ports Canada Police, Vancouver and Executive Director of the IAASP.
© FrontLine Security 2007



Measuring Effective Crisis Management
© 2007 FrontLine Security (Vol 2, No 4)

To intervene effectively in human-made or natural disaster crises requires planning, implementation, and follow-through to ensure that goals are achieved and resources put to best use.

Damage from Katrina.

The international community has become seized with the notion of establishing relevant measures of effectiveness (MOE) for such interventions, as constituent States and their public’s demand increases accountability at all levels of operations. It is divining for effectiveness – using benchmarks, indicators, and metrics borrowed from various disciplines and professions, and applying them to reconstruction and stabilization as well as crisis management operations ­– to determine what, if any, activities are moving mandates forward and achieving effectiveness.

Notable examples where activities are being measured for effectiveness include efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as intervention activities in areas recovering from natural-disasters such as the Tsunami in Indonesia and Hurricane Katrina in the United States.

Although much has been learned through these interventions, with the development of any measurement system, important questions must be raised to net better results that support accountability at all levels.

With the 2010 Olympics on the cultural and economic horizon, it becomes a significant exercise to identify how Canada will respond to, and measure its effectiveness in the case of a potential security crisis. How will the country support coordination among its stakeholders to increase the effectiveness of managing a crisis while being accountable to an international public?

Impact Assessments
In 2005, I was asked by the Canadian Forces Joint Operations Group (CFJOG) to develop new systems for measuring the effectiveness of activities in Afghanistan prior to the deployment of the first Provincial Recon­struction Team in 2006. After undertaking an extensive research project, my research team soon discovered that assessment ­systems available in related fields and ­professions, such as humanitarianism and development, were being cobbled together and applied (in a somewhat uncoordinated fashion) to reconstruction, stabilization, and crisis management in general. These assessment systems employed various applications; under-utilized technologies; and lacked inter-operability. Additionally, ­systems on the market were not sophisticated enough to capture the inter-relationships between security, economy, culture, and recovery towards some type of societal normalcy, which is what the CF was after.

Calgary flooding.

From this, we developed a series of questions to inform the design of a wholly new inter-operable measurement framework that could consider a robust mix of qualitative and quantitative indicators useful to all stakeholders involved in complex crisis management. The first questions considered in the development process were:

  1. What system of measurement captures the qualitative and quantitative elements of crisis management activities?
  2. What types of crisis management performance measurement frameworks exist now that are employed by international community actors? Are they sufficient for capturing progress relevant to the Canadian Forces’ mandate in relevant crisis environments?
  3. If a measurement framework existed for purposes of tracking progress in crisis management, what would it include? How would it work? Who would use it? For what purposes?

Measuring the relationships between costs, time, activities, stakeholders, and impacts are critical areas that require a thoughtful approach when answering these questions. Using a measuring system that captures these relationships and connections is ­beneficial to meeting mandates, whether domestic or international. There is a danger that any type of crisis management activities have unintended consequences on recipient populations, and this is especially true in politically sensitive and unstable, high-risk environments such as Afghanistan. However, it is important to recognize that the same holds true in other circumstances, such as crisis management immediately following natural disasters or an attack on an international high-value target such as the  Olympic Games.

The most damaging results of any crisis are economic in nature. If economic cycles are not restored quickly in an immediate post-crisis environment, further accelerated systemic security breakdowns will occur. These, then, negatively affect more lives and livelihoods, and can neutralize costly crisis management efforts by causing a negative spiraling cycle for resources, personnel and funding. It is critical to stop this cycle before it begins. The aim must be to restore economic normalcy as quickly as possible after a crisis. Thus, it is important to inject economic and cultural benchmarks into measurement frameworks to capture the complex inter-relationships between security, economy, culture, and recovery to societal normalcy.

Ad-Hocery and Confusion
The basic aim of measuring effectiveness is to estimate the net effects or net outcomes of an intervention – without which complex large-scale projects/activities can fail. Net effects or net outcomes are those results attributable to the intervention, free and clear of the effects of other elements present in the situation under evaluation.  

Currently, there are no established systems of measuring impacts, progress, or effects of intervention activities on human populations in post-conflict or post-crisis environments. A myriad of ill-conceived ad hoc systems exist, however, that do not contribute to future intervention successes because they predominately cater to the political or economic advancement of those funding such intervention mandates.

Although measuring progress for donors putting up the money for the activities is indeed important – it is only a part of the equation of success. There is much confusion around the issue of measuring as an information-gathering exercise for use in information wars, compared to measuring to increase the effectiveness of interventions to assist civilian populations affected by crisis.

The Measurement of Effectiveness (MOE) systems available, especially those employing traditional military combat metrics, are limited in relation to quantifying cultural and social indicators. They require a recasting in order to capture the longer-term impacts upon people recovering from crises. Numbers of buildings reconstructed, kilometers of roads refurbished, and other tangible, quantitative results can be easily relayed to those requiring information. However, equally, if not more important, intangible, qualitative results are not as easily expressed. Consequently, they are often ignored despite their importance in crisis planning and management. Although counter-intuitive for many, to understand better the effectiveness of crisis management activities there is a need to include qualitative social and cultural narratives, as well as numbers and scores, in emerging measurement systems.

Consistency is vital if any MOE system is to be understood and recognized as truly useful. Most stakeholders’ analyses of crisis management, however, is neither systematic nor conclusive because it is often completed after the fact, and based upon ad hoc assessment systems. Crisis environments are significantly complex and the central challenge remains that they require a different data analysis procedure to measure the effectiveness of activities.

Most measuring systems oversimplify complex human conditions and tend to promote a false sense of confidence in those organizations managing crises. As well, analysis of impacts takes time and thoughtfulness – and these luxuries are rarely found in crisis environments. Moreover, effectiveness is difficult to measure because in some realms it may occur over a long time and most crisis management occurs in the short-term (3-weeks) to medium-term (5-year) time frame. The mere act of ­measuring outputs and probable outcomes simplistically reduces the human condition being observed, and is further complicated because identifying impacts and consequences is a subjective process. Further­more, cause-effect chains cannot be traced in linear fashion and reliable indicators and/or baseline data applicable to MOEs are often absent in crisis environments. These issues have led to a general inability of the international community to explain reconstruction activities, goals, and results to both recipient populations and tax-paying constituents back home. This has resulted in increased systemic failures of projects and activities, as well as examples of demoralizing corruption in the funding of complex, large-scale crisis management initiatives.

Keys to Crisis Management
The primary goal of crisis management is to see an affected civilian population safely through various traumas – environmental, security, economic, political – towards better-functioning, prosperous and secure societal norms. However, crisis management is not cheap. In recent cases, the 17-day Olympic Games required a hefty security price tag. Although winter Olympics have traditionally been less of a security risk than summer games, planning for crisis management is necessary in order to reduce potential threats. As domestic security falls under the direction of our national police, allocation of security ­budgets will be directed by Canada’s civilian policing structures. With support elements coming from the Canadian Forces and private security companies, the price tag for security at the 2010 Olympic Games may be prohibitive; nevertheless, it is imperative that the cost of a crisis management plan be coupled with an MOE framework and be built into the overall strategy for the Games.

Information flow is critical to coordination in managing a crisis. Dedicated information networks will facilitate speedy information dissemination to first responders in the event of a crisis during the Games. These networks need to work from the field to Ottawa, from Ottawa to the field, and out to the international public.

Training is critical to allow first responders to understand and recognize security threats. In addition, citizens are an important, often forgotten, aspect of crisis management. Citizens need to understand what is happening, what areas might be of concern, and how to report threats to first responders for analysis, processing, and reporting back to those who can respond. Proper budget allocation; information and communication networks; and advanced training are the keys to managing crises, coupled with an MOE framework that allows for adjustments and coordination of response activities.

Measuring for Effective Crisis Management
Interoperable systems of measurement create robust communication processes for relaying information from crisis environments to decision-makers. As the global peace and security field becomes ever more connected through new-use technologies and political agendas, it behooves all agencies involved in crisis management to use the same or similar forms of measurement systems such that information can be ­gathered, coordinated, and communicated understandably and seamlessly to relevant donors. In the end, my research team developed an advanced-technology measurement framework based on Effects-Based Operations logic that was tied to the objective of long-term sustainable peace and security through the assessment of cultural norms over time.

The framework is scaleable for various types of crises and for inter-operable use by all government and inter-governmental agencies, non-governmental organizations, the private sector and other stakeholders – for cross-analysis and public information campaign reporting. From the time the crisis begins and then management measures are implemented, the framework measures just how close we are, at any given period, to these agreed cultural norms that form the aim of our assistance.

As the international community continues to develop and test measurement frameworks, Canada is in a position to develop and apply a Canadian-made MOE approach to crisis management that enables all government departments, as well as the wider crisis management response community, to work in tandem in domestic and international theatres of operation, and to manage simultaneous crises.

It must be noted that a security and defence MOE framework alone is inadequate to address the real and perceived damage and pain experienced by civilian populations. Economic and cultural indicators must be integrated within the framework to measure true effectiveness. From a whole of Government , we must shift to a whole Canada approach to improve our response to potential crises. Concurrently we should develop and adopt an MOE for this whole of Canada approach. We would then stand well-equipped to lead the international community in the field and be better aligned with UN and NATO or other commitments in our own interests.

Sarah Jane Meharg, Ph.D, is the President of Peace and Conflict Planners and adjunct professor with the Department of Politics and Economics at the Royal Military College. She is the Senior Research Associate at the Pearson Peacekeeping Centre and is a leading post-conflict reconstruction theorist. She has extensive experience conducting field research in Bosnia and Herzegovina She may be reached at: mehargs@pcpcanada.com or www.pcpcanada.com
© FrontLine Security 2007



© 2007 FrontLine Security (Vol 2, No 1)

It’s been a little over a decade since I began my quest for the holy grail of computing: the delivery of sustainable information INTEROPERABILITY. Known by many names over the years, the terminology that is growing on me is “semantic interoperability.” The objective, most can agree, is the “guaranteed access to quality information requisite to making sound business or operational decisions.” So why, after more than a decade, does this goal still appear as elusive as ever?

Experience shows several reasons for this sad lack of progress in our ability to ­manage, share and exploit information resources:

  1. Information has generally taken a backseat to many other aspects of the computing environment (such as program code, messages, process, and network infrastructure);
  2. The lack of sound data management, metadata management, and information management in many organizations inhibits the development of sustainable corporate knowledge needed to the functional, technical and performance specifications which form the basis for traditional development processes);
  3. The fluid and dynamic nature of real-world events (such as natural disasters, failing states, international conflicts, terrorism, pandemics, and mergers and acquisitions) requires new and innovative approaches (e.g., policy based middleware) to information assurance which have been slow to develop;
  4. An entrenched information security culture (focusing only on the protection and control elements) prevents the adoption of the new engineering practices and technologies needed to address the growing need to fuse and share information assets;
  5. The IT community’s perpetual search for the “Silver Bullet” – that one piece of technology that will address the entire requirement, one solution fits all – has meant that few organizations are willing to trial and evolve the innovative approaches and technologies.

To do justice to any of these points, one would require a research paper, however, I would like to look at one small ­success story and what was learned while participating in its development.

In the mid 90s I accepted a contract with Canada’s Department of National Defence (DND) to develop a business case for the Common User Core (CUC) – the specification, design and implementation of a common operating environment for the department. Like many organizations at the time, DND projected that deploying a common suite of computer applications would foster interoperability – individuals using the applications could more easily share information.

Three years of effort came to an abrupt halt by a series of government policies, international agreements, laws, which effectively prohibited the department from establishing and maintaining product-based standards. The procurement system thus became a show stopper. That being said, several other issues came to, light: 1) DND could not keep pace with the perpetual change in the industry; 2) Suc­cessive procurements and product customizations demonstrated that the central tenant of the approach was flawed – applications in themselves did not promote interoperability; 3) DND could not prescribe application usage to its partners; 4) The selection of a specific tool restricted the ability to leverage innovation; and 5) The configuration management, accreditation and deployment issues were far greater than originally anticipated. An alternate approach needed to be found.

During the course of the CUC study, I was presented with a set of specifications for a data-centric approach to interoperability that had been evolving as part of a study conducted by Supreme Head­quarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE): Army Tactical Command and Control Informa­tion System (ATCCIS).

At the time, several NATO partners, led by the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, and France were seeking to test and demonstrate the viability of technology agnostic specifications for data sharing within coalition operations: Data Model specification for the Generic Hub (GH) – now referred to as the Joint Consultation Command & Control Informa­tion Exchange Data Model (JC3IEDM); and the ATCCIS Replication Mechanism – now referred to as the Data Exchange Mechanism (DEM).

The CUC team was asked to develop a Canadian prototype and take Canada from observer status to active participant in the 1999 demonstration in Ede, Holland. Over the next three years, the team success­fully developed, tested and demonstrated the ability of multiple coalition partners to share tactical planning and situational awareness data in near real-time in a hetero­geneous technology environment. Each nation implemented the specification using technologies conducive to their own operating environments and national interests, but came together in data and communications protocols developed by the community. This was a major step forward.

Building on this success, the ATCCIS (now MIP) community has grown to over 30 participating and observing nations.

The small Canadian contingent for the first three years gave me the opportunity to develop a detailed understanding of the fundamentals for the specification, development and deployment of an interoperability solution. ATCCIS’s agnostic approach to technology clearly demonstrated that the answer is not to be found in a technology solution, but in open-architecture approach and standards (e.g. the GH and DEM specifications) agreed to by the community. No partner to a coalition or community can dictate a specific technical platform – as demonstrated by the CUC and like initiatives.

No amount of technology will supplant an organization’s need to discover, understand and manage its information environment. Without the evolution of corporate knowledge, an organization will not effectively deliver and sustain capability. This was illustrated by the difficulties encountered by the more technology-advanced nations in leveraging the benefits of the MIP capability. Nations with little or no legacy found it easier to adopt (/integrate) basic MIP capability.

In many domains, including the military, relegating information to an afterthought has organizations and agencies scrambling to recover lost corporate knowledge – at significant expense and varying levels of success. Considering that much of this information was gathered as part of Y2K efforts and subsequently discarded – one might wonder if, as a community, we have learned the key lesson: It’s all about the information!

As you might have noticed, I use information, not data, as the message we should be addressing. The use of information implies that for interoperability to exist the base element must have meaning to the community to which it applies – data does not. “42” is data, but out of context it has no meaning.

In solely providing the data we omit the meaning of an element, which leaves the system, application, or user to imply this meaning. This can lead to innocuous or devastating results depending on the environment. MIP is demonstrating that determining meaning from data takes years of development, and agreement on significance may not apply to organizations outside a narrow community of interest.

The JC3IEDM has been developed over the course of more than a decade and provides an excellent foundation for consultation and sharing of situational data in the command and control domain. This is demonstrated by the large number of nations wanting to use the data model.
Any system, however, will suffer if differing interpretations exists on how to put data into and take data out of the prescribed structures.

During the era in which the ATCCIS study developed its specifications, the IT community was focussed solely on data management. The evolving disciplines of Information Management and Knowledge Manage­ment were little more than doctoral theses. The issues of ontology and semantics focuses on linguistics and were nowhere in the lexicon of computer scientists.

Even today, as we discuss issues related to interoperability and information assurance, few are discussing the meaning of the messages (data structures) and the associated business rules needed to assemble and disassemble payloads of data, which constitute meaningful information within a community.

To the credit of the MIP community, many of the identified early shortfalls in knowledge, process and technology, are now being addressed in their efforts to define a standard set of business objects for the JC3IEDM, again demonstrating the ability of this particular community to identify challenges and adapt to its environment.

So what do we know of the relative successes of ATCCIS and MIP? First, we know that by participating, a nation can develop the ability to share planning and situational data with other MIP Partners. We also know that making this capability operational is still proving to be a challenge.

The Stumbling Blocks
The loosely coupled legacy environ­ments of many participating nations impede the staging of national data for release and further impede the use of MIP data within national systems.

There is no quick fix to this challenge. It will take recognition and the commitment of resources by senior management within the environments to resolve this. It will also take some out-of-the-box thinking, and non-traditional approaches to get there. We will never understand and document the ‘as is’ condition – it is always changing. It is unrealistic to believe this to be the starting point. We need a process of discovery, experimentation, testing, and rapid deployment to get there. “Develop the capability we understand and build from there in a progressive manner.”

Information Assurance (IA) concerns related to the releaseability of informa­tion to coalition partners impedes deployment.

We must address IA as a double edged sword – getting information to the decision makers that need it and denying it to those who don’t. Having the mission fail because information was denied is no form of success. There are too many instances of this occurring. The reality is that decision makers are going to break rules to complete their missions – the real risk is nobody knowing it happened. We need to have the tools to make data release-able in a known and auditable manner during operations.

Additionally, the delivery of interoperability will not be addressed until the IA community starts focussing on the asset being protected rather than the infrastructure to protect it. No matter how good the infrastructure we will not secure information until we understand how it is collected, aggregated (fused) and used. We are currently spending 90% of our time on 10% of the problem.

The MIP community has resisted the move­ment of specifications into the commercial domain where they can be standardized and integrated into commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) products.

I have been on the forefront of an effort to generate a commercial standard for the JC3IEDM and its transactional business rules. The benefits of this standardization would be enormous across wide segments of the Command and Control (C2) community. At present both the user community and system integrators are reluctant to mandate the use of the JC3IEDM because of the programmatic liability that may ensue. By their very nature, standards acceptance by a broad community, provide some immunity to these liabilities. The standard would facilitate the adoption of the JC3IEDM and a set of agreed semantics which transcend COTS C2 Applications – promoting out of the box interoperability.

There is a need for the development of an engineering approach to rapidly and progressively integrate national environments and systems.

Traditional engineering approaches are inapplicable to a domain where the majority of the requirements are not well understood by stakeholders or subject to inordinate amounts of change. Both of these conditions are being faced by users, projects and integrators as they wrestle with this seemingly insurmountable challenge. The Object Management Group’s  Model Driven Architecture (MDA) approach as with their aligned efforts in information and application assurance, ontology management, UML profiles (such as for DODAF and MODAF (UPDM)), Shared Operational Picture Exchange Services (SOPES), Information Exchange Framework (IEF) and policy management appear to be building the foundations of this engineering approach.

For those of you thinking that this article is solely focused on the military – think again. Consultation, Command and Control (C3) is applicable to a wide range of organizations and agencies that need to share planning and situational awareness information. Public safety, homeland security, policing, crisis response, emergency response, failed state reconstruction, business continuity and government operations are classic examples. Could the JC3IEDM be used in these environments as well? The answer is a resounding “YES.” Can the JC3IEDM be used to bridge these communities? Again the answer is “YES.” So what is needed?

Greater participation of organizations and agencies in developing the practices, standards and tools is needed to build on the successes of ATCCIS and MIP. We are getting close!

Michael Abramson is a founder and CEO of Advanced Systems Management Group Ltd. and has been a consultant to government and private sector organizations for more than 25 years. He is currently the Co-chair of the OMG C4I Domain Task Force.
© FrontLine Security 2007



The Tracking Advantage
© 2007 FrontLine Security (Vol 2, No 2)

Just hours before Hurricane Katrina reached land along the Gulf Coast on August 28, 2005, New Orleans’ Mayor Ray Nagin declared a state of emergency and ordered a mandatory evacuation. For many reasons, but mostly for lack of means, approximately 25,000 city residents did not evacuate. In the end, an esti­mated 1,600 – 1,800 lives were lost. Had the entire population in the affected area been properly evacuated, a majority of these individuals would be alive today.

Relocating citizens in a safe, orderly and efficient manner requires the implementation of a comprehensive and well-tested emergency evacuation plan. However, as experienced with Hurricane Katrina, executing this plan is a massive undertaking. Besides the obvious challenges associated with the evacuation of an entire population, there are logistical issues to overcome such as tagging, tracking, transporting and sheltering those who have no means of evacuation, including the elderly, the infirm and pets.

Initially as volunteers, and subsequently as contractors, a number of companies have a unique perspective on the response, mitigation and recovery phases that are still occurring as a result of Hurricane Katrina.

RFID to the Rescue
A critical component of evacuation planning is an all-encompassing information system that can track people, pets and assets – from the planning stage through registration, evacuation, sheltering and the repopulation phases. An information system of such reach would, most likely, rely on various technologies such as wireless communications, untethered field devices, relational databases, Geospatial Information Systems (GIS), simulation engines and asset tracking systems linked to radio frequency identification (RFID) tags/readers and bar code scanners.

RFID, in particular, has proved to be a very effective technology for these purposes. The ability to “read” the information regarding a given individual, without requiring physical contact, streamlines the processing and accounting activities, thereby expediting the overall process.

Improvements to the CAEP
To avoid similar tragedies of human loss and civil unrest experienced by those stranded during Hurricane Katrina, the New Orleans government set out to develop an evacuation plan for the upcoming hurricane season. In the spring of 2006, the city initiated an effort to enhance the City Assisted Evacuation Plan (CAEP). The main objectives are to evacuate city residents and their pets in an orderly manner before tropical storm-force winds associated with a hurricane reach land, and to keep family units together throughout the entire evacuation process. Given its deep knowledge and experience base in the use of RFID technology, Unisys oversaw the overall design, testing and implementation activities of the tracking system that supports the CAEP.

The updated evacuation plan consists of seven steps:

  1. Residents, including those with special needs, are urged to pre-­register by ­calling the 3-1-1 Public Information Emergency Hotline and provide their vital medical information.
  2. The formal evacuation of citizens will begin 54 hours before tropical storm-force winds reach land. The city will issue a mandatory evacuation order to the general population at this time.
  3. Once activated, the Emergency Oper­a­tion Center (EOC) will coordinate with the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) to deploy buses that will make runs through routes with pre-determined evacuee pick up stops. At these pick-up points, medical technicians will make quick health assessments of each evacuee before boarding the buses. These buses will then drop off the evacuees at city designated exit points or evacuation centers.
  4. In parallel with the RTA effort, the EOC will pick up infirmed and elderly residents at senior centers throughout the city. These evacuees will be taken to the train station, the designated exit point for the special needs population.
  5. At the evacuation centers, evacuees and their pets will be tagged with barcode and/or RFID-encoded wristbands and registered into the Evacuation Tracking System (ETS).
  6. Evacuees will then be directed to state-provided buses or trains. Before boarding the trains or buses, evacuees’ wristbands are scanned once again, creating a human manifest within the ETS.
  7. These trains or buses will transport evacuees and pets to shelters operated by the state of Louisiana. The CAEP is limited to gathering evacuees, transporting them to the evacuation centers, registering them into the ETS and boarding them on state buses or trains. The data captured during the process will be forwarded to the state of Louisiana Department of Social Services. Once these tasks are performed, the CAEP’s responsibilities will have been satisfied.

Unisys’ tracking system database was designed around a “head-of-household” concept. All registered evacuees and pets are documented by a record within the ETS. All database records contain a head-of-household field (this is simply a key field designated by the evacuee). In the unfortunate event that an evacuee or pet is separated from the rest of the family unit, the system can be used to quickly reunite the lost member by tracking the head of household at its current location.

A fundamental aspect in developing a successful evacuation plan is to make sure it is tested through a realistic simulation. On May 23, 2006, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, in conjunction with the state of Louisiana and the city of New Orleans, conducted a two-day live field exercise – dubbed “Hurricane Alicia”– of the updated CAEP.

A major lesson of Hurricane Katrina was that many residents refused to evacuate because they did not want to leave their pets alone. During the Hurricane Alicia simulation, if the evacuee(s) brought their pets, the entire ­family was directed to a special tagging station where both people and pets were registered. The scanned tag data and the pet’s information were entered into the ETS. The family unit was then directed to a bus boarding station. Once the buses were full, the encoded tag on each bus was scanned. A manifest was created from data captured at the boarding station of people, pets and buses.

The evacuation of special needs citizens was also given careful consideration. The special needs evacuees were tagged with encoded wristbands and registered into the ETS at the senior centers before being transported to the train station. Once at the train stations the evacuees were taken to a boarding station. The identical procedure was followed at this boarding station as the one described above. Once the railcars were full the train transported the evacuees to a state provided shelter. The city allocated 28 hours for the evacuation of the special needs residents.

Through this successful simulation, the exercise planners concluded that the CAEP and ETS could handle volume of about 20,000 evacuees in a 24-hour period, as long as the appropriate staffing of volunteers at evacuation stations is available to aid the city. By adding more registration stations, the solution is scalable, thanks to the technologies and processes employed.

Privacy Issue
Even with RFID’s proven value in assisting in emergency management planning, it is important to note that, as is the case with all identification technology, government and advocacy groups have voiced privacy concerns related to deploying RFID technology for human identification. A recent paper submitted by the Data Privacy and Integrity Advisory Commit­tee to the secretary and the chief privacy officer of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), recommends that “if the department determines to deploy an RFID-enabled system to identify individuals, it should build in, from the design stage, sufficient privacy and security safeguards to ensure that the use of RFID-enabled systems meet the department’s objectives while respecting and protecting the privacy and security of information collected about individuals throughout the lifetime of the system and, in the case of the information, beyond.”

In its evacuation planning initiative, Unisys makes every effort to develop a streamlined system that does not breach citizens’ right to privacy, but rather creates an essential means to reduce the loss of life in the face of a disaster.

RFID: Identify for Rescue
The use of such emergency evacuation systems helps to identify victims’ locations for rescue, unite evacuated families, identify and prioritize urgent healthcare needs and optimize available resources throughout the evacuation, sheltering and repopulation phases of a disaster management life cycle.

This all leads to the bottom-line objective of ensuring that no life is lost due to a mismanaged or poorly planned evacuation management plan.  

Edward Minyard is a partner of Global Outsourcing & Infrastructure Services for Unisys. He has spent much of the last 22 months in New Orleans helping local, state and federal agencies restore communications networks in the city and surrounding areas.
© FrontLine Security 2007



Standards Help Protect CBRN Responders
© 2007 FrontLine Security (Vol 2, No 3)

The Canadian Standards Association (CSA), and the Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB) as the lead Federal organization, in cooperation with other stakeholders, have begun to collaboratively develop the first Canadian national standard for personal protective equipment for first responders (fire, police, paramedic, and hospital first receivers) in the event of a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) incident.

Photo: Win Henderson

The aim of this new national standard is to fill an existing gap for a common set of Canadian requirements to protect our nation’s first responders in addressing CBRN events by providing realistic, risk-based guidance on the appropriate level of protection required. This new standard will greatly assist first responder organizations in the selection, care and use of CBRN personal protective equipment, enabling them to do their jobs more safely with greater protection and functionality.

Development of a single recognized national standard will bring together relevant stakeholders and their expertise in protective equipment development and evaluation for CBRN agents that are world-class. This new standard will take a systems approach and identify requirements for whole-body protection. It will address requirements for both respiratory protection and protective clothing together and provide valuable guidance on key issues such as the interchangeability and interoperability of equipment, thus enhancing the capacity of first responders to work effectively across jurisdictions.

Although this standard will apply to all first responder organizations in Canada, it will also be of interest to other public and private sector organizations that would be involved (directly or indirectly) in the management of a CBRN event. Information and guidance contained in the standard will also have great value to the first responder community in preparing for and responding to non-CBRN events. The standard will address the differences between conventional Hazardous Material (HazMat) incidents and deliberate CBRN events in order to understand how equipment guidelines may differ.

Drafting of this new standard will be led by a CSA-CGSB sponsored multi-stakeholder Technical Committee, representing all relevant interests including government regulators, equipment manufacturers, first responder organizations and research and testing organizations.

Key components of this new standards development initiative include:

  • evaluation of current subject matter material including existing protective equipment standards and relevant research documents;
  • technical development of the standard using a consensus approach; and
  • an implementation strategy to promote the adoption of and compliance with the new standard.

Guidance in this new standard is intended to be applied to first responder organizations whose mandate is to respond to a suspected CBRN event that endangers public safety. It is not intended to apply to the later phases of the response, for example during scene remediation, in which response rate can be more measured and based on better-known levels of risk. Nor does it apply to members of the general public.

Guidance on the selection of appropriate personal protective equipment will be based on realistic scenarios and the roles that responders would play in a CBRN event. The scenarios will be chosen to represent a range of possible CBRN events in the Canadian environment. These scenarios will involve an intentional release of a chemical, biological, or radiological agent, either through the use of some dissemination device, or by damage to a facility, or through the intentional spread of a contagious disease via human carriers. Representative realistic worst-case scenarios and agents in each category will be considered in order to determine the potential exposure of the first responder and the level of protection that will be required.

In order to make recommendations for protective equipment, the Technical Committee will need to understand the duties that first responders may perform, and where, in a CBRN event. An objective of the standard is to identify the various roles of responders. In assessing the role of first responders, the Committee will need to consider a range of factors including the fact that Canadian first responders are fragmented, both geographically and in size and capability and response roles in a given locality may vary and be divided across multiple jurisdictions.

The Committee will also need to address the many factors that can affect the selection and use of the personal protective equipment for CBRN use. Protective equipment designed for CBRN use, like other forms of specialized equipment, requires training, maintenance, and proper storage. In addition, sizing considerations are extremely important. Consideration of routinely fitting, and fit-testing, personnel with their equipment, as well as how appropriately sized equipment will be distributed in the case of an actual event, is just as important as the actual purchase of the equipment. It does as much harm as good to purchase equipment that is not available in the correct size when the individual needs to don it, as they will either be prevented from performing the response or will be provided with a degraded level of protection while responding.

The Committee will also need to consider work rate, as this can have a significant impact on how long an individual can perform their duties and maintain sufficient protection.

Another key objective of the standard is to provide guidance on the capabilities and limitations of the equipment. This information is essential in helping first responders to manage their risks and make informed decisions about equipment purchases.

The CSA and CGSB collaboration to develop a new national standard to protect first responders is a leading model of cooperation. Through this initiative, CSA and CGSB will lever their complimentary expertise in personal protective equipment standardization and help enhance the security and effectiveness of first responders in addressing CBRN events.

Funding for the development of this new Canadian national standard is being provided by the Department of National Defence’s CBRN Research and Technology Initiative (CRTI). The standard is targeted for publication in February 2009. Readers are encouraged to monitor both CSA’s web site (www.csa.ca) and CGSB’s web site (http://www.pwgsc.gc.ca/cgsb/home/index-e.html) to keep abreast of the latest developments.

Ron Meyers is the Project Manager, Emergency Mgmt, Protective Equipment and Systems, at the Canadian Standards Association.
© FrontLine Security 2007



Challenges of Maritime Security in Canada
© 2007 FrontLine Security (Vol 2, No 4)

Few post 9/11 security challenges are as daunting as the one facing Canada when it considers what is generically described as maritime security. The sheer size of the Canadian maritime environment is mind numbing. The coastline alone, including Newfoundland and PEI, is almost 72,000 kilometers long with frontage on the Arctic, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Add in the hundreds of islands and that coastline more than triples. Don’t forget what may be the greatest of all our maritime security challenges, a 3,800km inland coastal border with an increasingly nervous and security conscious neighbour. With all components included, Canada has the largest coastline in the world.

Halifax Harbour.

Modern maritime security is not just about guarding coastlines. It includes the protection of ocean and inland ports that are a key component of Canada’s trade-based economy, plus other critical infrastructure, like nuclear power plants, that have a maritime location.

The post 9/11 refocus of the priorities of maritime security has not ­eliminated traditional security functions such as facilitating safe vessel passage, search and rescue, ice breaking and inland waterway and coastal water traffic enforcement.

Given the variety of maritime functions, it is really not surprising, that no single entity has responsibility for maritime security. It is equally undeniable, that the diffusion of responsibility for maritime security in Canada and the outright gaps in responsibility are significant obstacles to finding solutions to these complex issues. The diverse and incomplete maritime security mandates of the many and varied  agencies involved are briefly described below and, were they static, they would be cause for significant concern. Fortunately, some integration of operations and institutional re-organization has occurred that gives cause for cautious optimism that enhanced maritime security is indeed looming on the horizon ahead.  

Who Are the Security Players in Canada?   
One would be tempted to think, given the name, that the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) would be a leading entity in ­maritime security but, as the most recent Senate Committee on National Security and Defense wryly noted in a March 2007 Report, “the Coast Guard does some things extremely well, but it does not guard our coasts.” Lacking full law enforcement status, the Coast Guard has been relegated to ­traditional vessel safety functions including supplying marine transport to the RCMP who have the (relatively) full enforcement mandate, yet neither the resources nor the equipment to discharge it in a maritime environment. The CCG is housed within the Ministry of Fisheries and Oceans as a separate Agency having been transferred there in the mid 90’s from the Department of Transport.

Fisheries and Oceans is also home to a special task-focused marine enforcement group of Fisheries Officers who do have full enforcement powers and who, unlike Coast Guard officers, are armed for that purpose. The Department also contracts with the private sector for reconnaissance flights on both the east and west coasts which has some vessel tracking and intelligence value. Its lack of inland coastal ­coverage and the intermittent coverage of the remainder, however, are serious ­deficiencies that speak to the dated nature of the technology being employed.    

The Department of National Defense (DND), through the Canadian Navy, plays a partial security role on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts and appears headed to the Arctic, to assert sovereignty through a military presence. As discussed below, DND has become a central institutional hub around which the other marine enforcement players (see related articles on pages 30 and 31) are now increasingly interacting. Ironically, this institutional role may turn out to be the metaphorical ‘aircraft carrier’ that delivers a maritime security solution.

Toronto Police.

The Canadian Border Services Agency is a relatively new creation that has joint Customs and Immigration border enforcement responsibilities, albeit with a strange management reluctance to engage them. Like Senator Colin Kenny who Chairs SCONSAD, the National President of CEUDA (the union representing frontline officers), Ron Moran, is a leading advocate of enhanced enforcement priority at the border. He notes, “Canada is a country of land, air and marine ‘borders’ that require someone to take responsibility for ensuring their security. Despite our existing lawful authority, CBSA continues to balk at equipping our officers with the necessary marine interdiction and inspection capacity and the mandate and means for a pursuit and patrol function that is so clearly missing. This is especially acute in the marine environment because we lack any kind of marine surveillance to even know what we’re missing coming illegally into Canada, or for that matter leaving Canada for illicit entry into the United States. In today’s security heightened world, these deficiencies are inexcusable.”

Local and provincial police marine units perform limited seaport law enforcement and marine patrol as well. This deficient situation at Canada’s seaports is a result of the still inexplicable mid 90’s decision of the former Liberal government to disband Canada’s Ports Police despite the virtual unanimous opposition of police in Canada. The result has been, as was predicted, an explosion of presence of organized crime at Canada’s seaports, which has ominous national security implications as well.

Former Vancouver Ports Police Chief Mike Toddington now serves as Executive Director of the International Association of Airport and Seaport Police. He describes the dissolution of the Canada Ports Police in blunt terms. “At best, it was a horrendous mistake that left our country vulnerable to organized crime and now their all too frequent terrorist business partners. A seaport is a unique environment that requires 24/7, on site, intelligence-driven policing. Drive by policing is not an option and despite the efforts of other local police agencies, they simply lack the resources and mandate to do the job. For whatever reason, neither the RCMP or CBSA have stepped up to assume these duties and the result is a dangerous hole in our security.”      

Specific Challenges
• Knowing What’s Out There
Understanding what’s ‘out there’ is a pre-condition to success. This is especially so in the enormous Canadian maritime environment where targeting resources is essential. The alternative is to either ‘waste gas’, as former RCMP Commissioner Zachardelli infamously stated in his dismissal of the notion of a border patrol, or to knowingly turn a blind eye to a security vulnerability. By using available, modern marine surveillance technology, law enforcement can gather important information for analysis and operational interdiction purposes.

Coverage must be continuous, capable of tracking small vessels, automated, analytical and done in real time, as well as linked to other sensors and secure multi-party communications. Getting out of date, expensive information is simply not working. Most importantly, the coverage system used must meet the identified operational priorities of personnel who are tasked with maritime security and certified by the technology experts within law enforcement.

• Force Multiplication
More law enforcement is not necessarily better law enforcement, especially when dealing with organized crime and terrorism. Instead, an intelligence driven approach based on reliable and timely information focuses our scarce resources on identified targets. The RCMP leadership on the Integrated Border Enforcement Teams (IBET) is a welcome step although this must now evolve to include the mandate and resources to interdict or track what has been detected. This implies an integrated Border and Marine Patrol function incorporating the Canadian Coast Guard into the Ministry of Public Safety, as a part of a law enforcement focused CBSA.

RCMP Officers on a security exercise. (Photo: Roxanne Ouellette, RCMP)

• Tools to do the job
Notwithstanding supportive technology, improved maritime enforcement requires allocation (or re-allocation) of human resources with increased and appropriate assets and training to perform the required marine security duties. This also means ensuring that officers and their organizations have the plethora of necessary equipment, based on a common operating picture, to do the job effectively, such as: patrol boats, zodiacs, helicopters, weapons, and communications technology.  

• Integration
Integration must surely be among the most frequently advocated concepts in any discussion of security or law enforcement. Fortunately, there are signs that real ­integration is occurring within maritime security in Canada. From joint force IBETs to the DND led Inter-Departmental Maritime Security Working Group, to DRDC (Defense and Research Develop­ment Canada) funding of joint agency Maritime Security Operations Centres, to joint local and provincial police marine operations, the momentum of bringing all operational players to the common table is unmistakable.

• Seaports
A serious unresolved maritime security issue is how to restore, and indeed integrate, security and law enforcement at Canada’s seaports. The Canadian government actually included restoration of the Canada Ports Police in its 2006 election platform but has not acted on this. Highlighting the need to correct this deficiency is the continuing international embarrassment arising from CBSA’s refusal to use its authority under the Customs Act to prevent the export of stolen high-end automobiles used as a financing tool for terrorists including Hezbollah.

The RCMP Marine and Ports Branch and its National Ports Enforcement Teams show some promise in addressing this important component of maritime security, inasmuch as it is designed to operate on an intelligence-led joint force model. Whatever seaport enforcement is conceived, it must include an onsite presence to at least the standard of the previous Ports Police.

Although it’s not quite ‘smooth sailing ahead,’ pragmatic progress is on the horizon – these and all maritime security challenges should be recognized by government. Developing and funding a coherent vision and plan is key to meeting these challenges head on.

Scott Newark was an Alberta Crown Prosecutor, Executive Director of the Canadian Police Association, and Director of Operations for the D.C. based Investigative Project on Terrorism. He has also served as a Security Policy Advisor to both the Ontario and Canadian Government and is currently the Vice Chair/Operations of the National Security Group in Ottawa.
© FrontLine Security 2007



An Evolution in Preparedness
© 2007 FrontLine Security (Vol 2, No 1)

Many FrontLine readers are directly responsible for emergency preparedness within their community, region, or nation. We recognize that our preparations for catastrophe are based on our education and research, our best thinking about specific areas, and how best to use our (always limited) resources. We also know that, when chaos finally strikes, the drills and inventories and manuals that gave us a reasonable degree of confidence will prove inadequate in some fashion. We are aware that our populations may someday suffer in ways that, in retrospect, might have been partially avoidable. This understanding of the challenges we face stimulates us in our tasks and makes us more diligent – but there is an evolution in disaster preparedness that may alter our methods for preparation, perhaps enhancing our eventual effectiveness in a real-world disaster.

Exercises, usually the capstone event in disaster preparedness, are frequently rigid, with pre-defined metrics and milestones to ensure that the team is covering responsibilities in the “real-world.” The implication is that if the team can do X in an exercise, they’ll be reasonably sure of doing it during an actual event, a reflection of the military dictum “train as you’ll fight, then fight as you trained.”

Strong Angel III demonstrated that using multi-media technology to collect and push information to the outside world improves the team's capability to solve problems. (Photo: John Crowley)

There are minor flaws in that supposition. It presumes that the entire team will be present and functioning at peak; that resources will flow as designed; that the real-world problem will look like the exercise scenario you’ve chosen; and that the non-actors in your exercise (the media, your neighbors, your national government, local private industry, roads, waterways, civilian communications, civilian food and water logistics, and the weather, for example…) will also be non-actors in a real event. There are now models for how several of these can be incorporated into a disaster response demonstration (quite different from an exercise) in a manner that forces flexibility, adaptability, and the co-development of resilience within both the responders and the communities at risk.

Policy and Procedures
Policies and procedures are a critical ­component of our disaster preparation, ensuring we’ve thought carefully about a range of possible eventualities and done what we could, physically and procedurally, to prepare for them. Those guidelines, however, rarely offer the flexibility to simply adapt to what’s working in the real world when the event occurs.

Acquisition methods are often slow, and sometimes driven by a single individual’s familiarity with current research in the field – this can lead to missed opportunities for making important connections with new capabilities outside of our exercise space. We all have regulatory and management structures, but we also need to communicate frequently and effectively with each other and with an affected population. Today’s methods are rapidly evolving, and bear serious review.

In our view, policies and procedures often restrict creativity-toward-success in favor of a more centralized and hierarchical security. First responders acknowledge that such restrictions can impede life-­sustaining responses, and that a careful hybrid of policy-and-procedure, coupled with well-trained independence, is often closer to ideal.

Comms, Lift, and Power
There are a few core issues during the first phases of a disaster where most responders would expect shortfalls. For many of us, those would start with communications, transportation logistics, and electrical power. Without those three, comms, lift, and power, very little can be effectively designed or implemented as a disaster unfolds. “Layering” is a term sometimes used to define a process for preparing as many methods for the delivery of each of these critical resources as can be devised.

Strong Angel
Over the past seven years there have been three international disaster response demonstrations called Strong Angel – and each has demonstrated the consequences of shortfalls in comms, lift, and power.

Daily briefings are key to the success of any exercise. We briefed three times a day during Strong Angel. (Photo: John Crowley)

The first, in 2000, was a displaced-population problem addressing civil-­military co-management in the field. The second, in 2004, was driven by problems identified in Afghanistan and Iraq, and looked at communications, cultural education, and core public health resource management in a post-event reconstruction. The third, in 2006, looked at community resilience in the face of a natural disaster (including an epidemic), where all outside resources were lost for an extended period. Strong Angel III involved roughly 800 ­participants from nine nations, including more than 70 national and international corporations, and several academic institutions.

From that very large, week-long effort, in an isolated and challenging environment (a cold, dark, hazardous building abandoned for fifteen years), came a set of lessons and pragmatic tools that have altered disaster preparedness discussions at the highest levels of several governments, and are worth reviewing.

• Collaborative Layering
On the list of early considerations is the concept of layering (used in the same sense as when the weather cannot quite be predicted). It implies designing for resilience and a graceful degradation mode, even when the most unexpected events occur.

For most of us, some sections of our plans have assumptions that seem so ­fundamental that we simply accept them, but is that wise? At Strong Angel we worked carefully to remove some of those assumptions. We eliminated, at odd intervals, power, light, radio waves, transportation, wireless clouds, staff, hierarchical structures, and expectations.

This intermittent and unpredictable loss of fundamental resources led to a responsive and highly collaborative effort that, in turn, led to some very creative synthesis and a degree of success that surprised virtually every participant. It was also a superb team-building demonstration – it led to very high morale and a genuine sense of earned self-confidence. We had, for example, Bell Canada and Sprint Nextel sitting at the same table writing configura­tions together to make their systems work seamlessly because neither could meet a new and urgent task independently and (in the scenario) lives were at stake.

In any Strong Angel demonstration, failure is an occasional and accepted outcome – though not encouraged. However, failures become fewer and the creative initiatives more admirable over time. It is important to note that the more often a broad-based team faces unexpected challenges that push toward collaboration-across-boundaries, the more readily they reach for interesting solutions. Each begins to look at other agencies, organizations, and interests as a common pool from which to draw life-sustaining support when resource silos and stovepipes collapse.

Medical teams learned how to interoperate with other groups and technologies. (Photo: John Crowley)

• Leadership
In Strong Angel, the initial conditions were set with no hierarchy and no one in charge. Mid-way through the first day, several hours into the response, a CDC physician, coincidentally in the newly-isolated city for a conference, was appointed Scene Commander by the US President, completely bypassing all standard protocols. In the scenario, the Commander  knew nothing of the Incident Command System and asked no organizational development questions of the assembled team. He simply determined what he, a genuine expert in the circumstances but who knew nothing of the community, needed from the crowd. He then demanded those things to be accurately determined on a scheduled basis – no matter how the information was derived as long as it was trustworthy and accurate to a sensible degree. The information was then built into further requirements for assessment and action and the development of a plan. That plan, in turn, was implemented throughout a large geographic area with only ad hoc communications that yet needed close coordination. Tough problems.

It became readily apparent to participants that a system of flows was needed – information, decision, and action. Some rough starts over 24 hours led to the development of a fairly complete Incident Command System, on the current model. The reasons for such a system were clear to the large number of non-Emergency Response participants and it seemed well-designed for a domestic response.

• Redundant, Diverse, Resilient, and Open-source
Questions asked by the Scene Com­mander were both basic and complex. The answers required rapid assessment of critical information from many sources, and collection, analysis, and reporting tool development soon took on a life of its own. The Scene Commander was very clear about the accuracy and reporting requirements – the teams on the ground had specific guidance on what and when, but not how! They were left to their own devices for solving problems, using any tools at hand.

The teams soon realized that a working directory of who was doing what, where and with what resources was a critical component of effective and timely work. A “Dynamic Directory” was born, and several individuals were given responsibility for maintaining it – dedicating valuable staff resources in the middle of an emergency because they determined that capability was absolutely necessary.

The participants also found that ­proprietary tools were… unhelpful. Tools built on open-standards that interoperate gracefully saved time and irritation during a period of crisis, and our initial choices of software and radios provided reassuring ­evidence of a pre-conceived willingness to cooperate with partners.

We also noted repeatedly that personal, face-to-face communications saved time and improved efficiency. Personal relationships also help reduce the risk of small errors becoming inflated, distracting issues. In our view, using every conceivable opportunity to meet, chat, share a cup of coffee, work through practical and strategic issues over dinners, and arranging tabletop exercises that gave good reason for everyone to participate collaboratively, all helped to cement a coherently smooth emergency response.

Equipment has to operate and be useable 24/7. Teams learns how to operate in extreme environments. Temperatures here were regularly over 30ºCelsius. (Photo: John Crowley)

We were careful to include all of the actors who might potentially affect those in the field, not just EMS – power, water, light, schools, airport authorities, city councils, vets, mosques, churches, synagogues and more were all on our invitation list.

One tool proved exceptionally effective. The use of internet-based chat and Voice-over-IP (VoIP) through tools like Skype cost very little, are commonly used by a very large number of people, are dependent only upon internet connectivity of any kind, and can call any phone on the planet. We also found that off-the-shelf resources like Skype continually improve through market pressures and all we needed to do was download the most recent version (at no charge) periodically.

Social Interoperability Networking (SIN) events, one term for such designed and metrics-based mashups of people and technologies, like Strong Angel, are useful for many tasks, not just disaster responses. Capabilities like Skype (or Groove, or Jot, or MySpace, or wikis, or blogs, or…) are most beneficial when used frequently. It’s sensible for any Emergency Manager to ensure his staff has the tools (and reasons) for frequently reaching out to other responder agencies, offering ­relevant assistance and keeping the multilateral flow of information smooth.

Frequent communication over non-standard and ad hoc methods keeps everyone aware that, when bad things happen, policies and procedures should be known and used where they fit, but there should be little hesitation in empowering far-forward personnel to make independent judgments that get the job done intelligently.

Media Complications
One frequently overlooked training requirement in disaster response is media management. There will be more media and more politics than preferred – and the consequences of a poor interaction in either can be ­disastrous, even if the actual response is performed reasonably and well.

It is not always possible for your staff to avoid the media, despite perhaps careful instructions to do so, therefore, preparing them for that interaction is a fair and sensible part of their training. We use a three-day course at Strong Angel, called the Media Crucible, and the role-playing there, under multiple scenarios and increasing pressures, has reportedly been most useful later for its participants in a number of real-world events.

Resources Improve
Strong Angel III started with roughly 50 disaster-response tasks to perform, and most were completed successfully. Some were simple, some complex, some trivial, and some impossible. Each was designed to meet a real-world problem experienced by one of the eleven Executive Com­mittee members. Each ­proposed scenario was evaluated on the ­likelihood that such a problem would re-appear again in the future. If we agreed it would, we included it as a task for which we’d pursue solutions. In doing so, we found that the ad hoc resources available to an emergency responder in 2007 are more useful than most realize, and the tools in the community, both technical and social, are becoming paradoxically more sophisticated and simple all the time.

Further information, and the results of the 50 or so demonstration tasks pursued in Strong Angel III, can all be found at www.strongangel3.org

U.S. Navy Commander Dr. Eric Rasmussen is Chairman of the Department of Medicine at the U.S. Navy Medical Center outside Seattle, Washington. He is also Director of the Strong Angel series of humanitarian support demonstrations, and is currently deployed to Afghanistan working on medical reconstruction.

Doug Hanchard is Director and Architect,  Solution Management Practice at Bell Canada. He was an Executive Committee member, Technical Communications Advisor and civilian leader for United States Marine Corp MCI-West RSS unit at Strong Angel III. In addition he serves as Technical Communications Advisor for World Wide Consortium for the Grid (www.w2cog.org) – U.S. Northcom.
© FrontLine Security 2007



Equipping First Responders for CBRN incidents
© 2007 FrontLine Security (Vol 2, No 2)

Would Canada be able to effectively respond to a Weapons of Mass Destruction attack? A cooperative initiative aimed at providing critical equipment and training to First Responders, is needed to enable them to safely intervene in Chemical, Biological, Radiological or Nuclear (CBRN) incidents. The solution – let’s call it a First Responder Rebate Program (FRRP) – would provide the equipment and training necessary for effective and efficient First Responder (FR) rescue operations.

Currently, if a CBRN call comes to a Responder without the right equipment and training, they are instructed to vacate the site and call in the military.

We must not ignore the CBRN threat. As Lieutenant-Colonel Barker concluded in the May/June edition of FrontLine Defence, “investing in CBRN defence is akin to purchasing insurance coverage. It is always hoped that such protection is not needed, but it is important to maintain.”

Effective and efficient rescue operations is the primary tactical objective of a CBRN response operation. Currently, if a CBRN call comes to a Responder without the right equipment and training, they are instructed to vacate the site and call in the military.

The ability of Canada’s firefighters, police, and EMS personnel to protect the public from a CBRN event is more critically important knowing that the cost and consequences of this type of event, if un-mitigated, can be much more widespread and lethal than a conventional explosive. Therefore, the FRRP would limit the impact of an incident by providing early and effective containment and mitigation capabilities where they do not exist today.

Next, the needs of the FR community are to be specified by the responders themselves – through their member Associations and other representative organizations. Besides the technical specs, FR groups know what they need – from a planning perspective as well, which is key to our present and future security. An efficient and effective CBRN supply program needs to be designed for a minimum of 10 and optimally 20 or 25 years, wherein supplies and training are continually replenished as required.

Because of the word “Mass” in WMD, Canada’s CBRN defence capability needs to be national and local at the same time!

Across jurisdictions and FR roles, a workable CBRN defence system for Canada would need to be interoperable and widely available. In the event of an incident, an appropriate national approach will require a local response to coordinate an access program where federal funds are expended only though a squeaky clean process – and only when actually needed.

Increasingly, the threat of a “dirty bomb” (a radiological contamination spread by conventional explosive means) has moved higher on list of national security threats by groups such as the Association of Fire Chiefs (CAFC), the Canadian Forces (CF), Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), and the RCMP, among others. Currently, there is very limited capability on the part of Canada’s responder community to detect and mitigate a radiological event. As plume models and impact analyses from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency have shown, the cost and consequences of an unmitigated Biological or Radiological attack become extremely serious with each minute that passes.

One solution would see the Canadian Government creating a rebate-style program – what we are calling the FRRP. From an oversight point of view, the FRRP could be administered through an appropriate body, such as the Canadian Police Research Centre or the Public Security Technical Program. With this umbrella, there can be an official blessing of the equipment list that has passed scrutiny of the FR requirements. Each FR department across Canada (3,500 fire departments alone) can then buy what they need for the community they are responsible to protect. Once they have paid for the equipment and training, they can request the rebate funding.

The FRRP can be likened in concept to the Munitions Supply Program (MSP) that was born out of a 1974 Cabinet decision recognizing the need to have access to a necessary supply of conventional munitions on demand. From the outset, munitions companies and the DND customers were unanimous in their support of the Crown’s conclusion that the MSP has played, and will continue to play, a vital role in meeting the munitions requirements of the Canadian Forces (CF).

Progressively since 1974, the threat of asymmetrical CBRN attacks on Canadian interests at home and abroad has become acute. While the MSP in the past has been useful in ensuring that the CF has what it needs to fight conventional wartime threats, the FRRP is now needed to ensure that the broad array of domestic responders have the necessary equipment and training to combat a terrorist CBRN attack.

As a matter of National Security, immediate action should be taken to establish an FRRP with broad Cabinet level support from a variety of federal departments including National Defence, Public Safety, Public Works, Industry, Treasury Board, Environment Canada, Foreign Affairs, and perhaps others.

The FRRP will help to ensure First Responder effectiveness and, thereby, public safety here in this country and in our embassies around the world. As with munitions planning, the FRRP needs to drive supply availability to reduce the typically long lead times required for the equipment, supplies, and training of a fully functional anti-CBRN capability.

Incremental investment will be required by both industry and the federal Government to ensure that Canada’s CBRN requirements are addressed on a priority basis. Canada’s overall defence and security policy requires an indigenous capability for accessing the required equipment, supplies and training on a ­sustainable basis.

Curing Current Deficiencies
Canada’s security watchdog, the Senate Standing Committee on Defence and Security, issued its third report on National Security in 2005. In its discussion of the problem, the Committee noted that, “the government has not pledged a sustained commitment to first responders for necessary chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) equipment purchases and training.”

Further, in its challenge to the Government, the Committee stated, “the government must ensure that first responders have sufficient money to buy CBRN equipment and that equipment funding matches training funding.”

The Auditor General of Canada also looked into the deficiencies of Canada’s CBRN defence capabilities and noted that there was “a considerable variation in the capabilities of the CBRN equipment purchased and in the training required for its proper operation. These variations would translate into problems with interoperability and surge capacity.” The Auditor General was specifically critical of the Joint Emergency Preparedness Program (JEPP) for failing to provide the First Responder community with a list of approved equipment and training procedures.    

The Senate Committee was specific in its recommendations relative to funding the First Responders to properly use CBRN equipment The Committee noted that funding should “be a government priority after 2007. Funding for training cannot dry up or first responders’ hard-acquired readiness to respond will rapidly diminish.”

Deficiencies in the response capabilities of the First Responders are best seen through the eyes of the Responders themselves. According to feedback from the CAFC, Canada’s firefighters are often the first on the scene of a CBRN event. However, due to the lack of appropriate equipment and training, they are ­currently instructed not to intervene in a situation where there may be radioactive or biological agents present.

Alternatively, with the proper equipment and training provided by the FRRP, the CAFC claims all Canada’s firefighters will prepare for and be available to intervene in a CBRN event.

FRRP Project Development
Surveys of the country’s First Responders needs vis-a-vis CBRN capability has determined that the cost to fully prepare Canada’s First Responder community is $400 million (Allen-Vanguard Corporation, Winter Study 2007). For this money, all Canada’s Critical Infrastructure (CI) and all population centres (Largest 100 Canadian cities and communities) are afforded the sustained ability to detect and mitigate a CBRN attack or accident through efforts of the First Responders.

The FRRP addresses two major national requirements:

  • quickly provide Canada with a safety net from potential CBRN catastrophe;  
  • provide sustained regional industrial growth in equipment development and manufacturing as well as regionally-delivered training.

The spin off business opportunities are difficult to measure accurately but include local transportation, trades, and manufacturing. They also include new age economies such as long distance teaching and upgrading skills using the latest communications and learning management capabilities – again, relying on frontline personnel to provide the SOPs (Standard Operating Procedure).

Investment in the FRRP is required from all stakeholders – and there are a lot of them! Obviously the leadership of Government is most apparent, as reports from the Senate Committee and Auditor General indicate.

The nature of the threat, however, dictates that responsibility for a successful FRRP initiative will involve the participation of the security industry, the First Responder organizations (more than 5,000 fire, police and EMS departments across Canada), other civilian authorities, and the public itself in terms of awareness. Ultimately, the Canadian public will become engaged in the discussion if the FRRP becomes an election issue within the national security agenda.   

Major Harold Bottoms is an Ottawa-based Consultant.
© FrontLine Security 2007



Superior Survaillance
© 2007 FrontLine Security (Vol 2, No 3)

Radar surveillance systems have long been proven to be effective security tools in military applications – and now are affordable enough to be used by homeland security and law enforcement agencies that have tight budgets.

Accipter Radar tracks displayed at Operations Centre

“We take, for example, inexpensive marine radars, the kind you find in fishing boats, and hook them up to an inexpensive radar signal digitizer, software run on storebought PCs, networking, database and wireless technologies” says Accipiter president Dr. Tim J. Nohara. “We inject those off-the-shelf elements with military-like know-how in software. The ­system is designed to have the military gold standard in terms of tracking.”

Radar designed specifically for a military ship can cost $5 to $10 million per unit. But Nohara says Accipiter’s systems can drop the cost from millions of dollars to hundreds of thousands.

“Some homeland agencies can barely afford radios to talk to each other, so the military-style systems simply can’t be purchased,” he states.

He notes that, along with the military tracking knowledge, Accipiter staff has spent time in the field with police involved in enforcement operations, and other end users, to determine what should be integrated into the system.

Accipiter’s surveillance systems are being used on Lake Erie, Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River by U.S. agencies. In one instance, the Ontario-based company set up a network of Accipiter radars which were integrated with cameras and other sensors spaced around the west end of Lake Erie, creating a mosaic – spanning the U.S. cities of Toledo, Sandusky, Cleveland – that are integrated into a network. Vessels detected on the water are then recorded in the computer, and software looks for abnormal activity or movement that could indicate something underhanded is going on. In addition to issuing real-time alerts, all movements caught on radar are saved into the computer so they can be analyzed later, or compared over time.

Accipiter Radar in use at border enforcement operation.

Nohara says this project is particularly interesting because it is taking place in one of the continent’s highest density maritime areas, and the system has to make sense of all the traffic.

“There are thousands of vessels – from pleasure craft to commercial vessels out there. Sometimes you can barely see the water,” Nohara states. “But the software will look for suspicious situations, such as a possible rendez-vous between vessels, a border crossing, or excessive loitering in an area. The security agency can then develop and deploy a response based on the information.”

The wide-area surveillance system integrates data coming from the network of radars so that a person sitting at the computer screen is viewing activity on the lake as if through a pair of wide-angle binoculars – with zoom capabilities.

The system is designed to cut down on labour costs, since a person doesn’t have to be constantly sitting by the computer watching the blips on the radar screen as in military operations. Instead, based on what has been programmed into the computer, it can alert off-site personnel to suspicious activity, via email or other mobile alerts.

Features of the system include the ability to speed up replays of vessel ­movement so that staff arriving in the morning can more efficiently examine the data collected during the night when no one was manning the computer. The software can also switch map names for more familiar nicknames for islands or other familiar landmarks – a request often made by local authorities, according to Carl Krasnor, Accipiter’s vice-president of ­business development.

Accipiter Radar integrated with other sensors.

He estimates that about half of the 15 employees at Accipiter have PhDs in radar engineering. “At least on a full-time basis, we have more than any other company in North America. The reason is that other companies will hire the expertise only on a project-by-project basis,” notes Krasnor. “Accipiter’s elite team is in this for the long haul; to continually develop, improve and support the Accipiter family of products in response to the needs of its users.”

Along with U.S. Homeland Security, Nohara says a couple of state police ­organizations, the U.S. Department of Defence, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, the U.S. Navy, and the U.S. Marine Corps are all using Accipiter’s products.

For three years now, the 24-7 system has also been used by the Niagara Regional Police Marine Unit to monitor two sunken war ships from the War of 1812 in Lake Ontario. The site has been declared a national historic site, and there’s a “do not disturb” order around where they went down. Accipiter’s security radar notifies police authorities if a vessel or a scuba diver goes into the area.

Cost savings are also made because when a feature is developed for one customer, it can be modified at low cost for subsequent customers, notes Krasnor.

According to Nohara, the system is as secure as bank transactions, with firewalls and encryptions.

An offshoot of Sicom Systems Ltd., which was formed in the 1994, Accipiter Radar was established a year and a half ago to further develop and exploit affordable radar surveillance systems.

“We know radar extremely well, and we wanted to bring radar to new markets – to homeland security, border patrols, and police forces – not just the military. Accipiter has a depth of technical expertise in the area not found elsewhere,” Krasnor says.

Norma Reveler is a regular contributor to FrontLine Security magazine.
© FrontLine Security 2007



Fisheries Patrol
© 2007 FrontLine Security (Vol 2, No 4)

Feeling a bit like a tourist, I carry my bags “across the brow” of the Canadian navy frigate HMCS St. John’s. The little cabin that I will share with two other officers for the week-long mission can best be described as “a little hole in the wall.” The bunks are barely as long as I am tall, with less than three feet of space in between, but the black ball cap, embroidered with the name HMCS St. John’s, catches my attention. Lieutenant (Navy) Neville Lockyer informs me that the middle bunk, and the cap, are indeed for me.

NAFOs measure net spaces for regulation compliance.

I am not embarking on a combat mission, it is a Fisheries Patrol. Two North Atlantic Fisheries Officers (NAFO) have been on board for a couple weeks now, patrolling the north Atlantic, checking fishing permits and regulations in international waters.

The navy works with other federal departments – the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in this case – to provide effective surveillance and a meaningful presence (key indicators of sovereignty at sea). Only the navy has the ability to control maritime events in our waters and is often called upon to support these fisheries patrols as a key component of our sovereignty at sea. Such ventures are welcome as they provide opportunities to perform necessary training and drills that can seldom be done while on active duty.

The ship’s crew is constantly busy with exercises. One such drill involves firing of the weapons system. Admittedly, I could understand very few of the announcements over “the pipes,” but when the 57mm gun on the foc’sle shook the ship after lunch, I quickly figured it out. Standing on the bridge, beside an assortment of Navy officers and Officer Cadets from the Royal Military College, I had a clear view of shell casings flying out the back of the gun.

The nets come up.

One of the Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIB) was readied for boarding a shrimp­ing vessel, as part of the Fisheries Patrol.  Once we boarded the fishing vessel, the NAFOs met with the captain to determine when the nets would be pulled back in. The two men then completed masses of forms with the ease of many years of experience. A half hour and a couple of pens later, the paperwork was done but we still had to wait for the nets. The captain showed us to the hold so the officers could examine the existing catch of shrimp.

One of the requirements that the Fisheries Officers are looking for is an accurate storage plan, which this ship didn’t have. One of the NAFOs filled out more paperwork while the other showed the ­captain and several officers how to draw one out for future reference. We then settled in for a long wait.

Suddenly, additional crewmen began appearing on deck and it was obvious that the nets were being pulled back soon. I ventured on deck and watched as the cranks started. When the net was finally all on board I could only hope that the Fisheries Officers weren’t planning on measuring every hole or we’d be there for a couple days. Thankfully, they took a dozen or so measurements for each layer of the netting and broke out the calculator.

RHIB is lowered.

They checked and double checked the numbers and radioed St. John’s to pick us up. As we climbed down through the ship, we thanked everyone for their cooperation and climbed back down the ladder into the RHIB. The adventure wasn’t quite over yet as one of the portholes suddenly started spewing water into the RHIB. It was a challenge getting the last NAFO into the boat while avoiding the spout of water, but the sailor steering the RHIB was up to it.

Some days were so foggy that we couldn’t see the RHIB after it got more than a couple meters from the frigate, but they always found their target and made it back without incident. The whole operation was done to perfection, no matter what the weather.

The most common problem was when a fisherman would cut his lines so he wouldn’t be caught with an illegal net. There was nothing much the officers could do in a case like that.

Home Sweet Home...

On board St. John’s everyone was kept busy training except the Air Detachment officers; for the most part, there was too much fog for the helicopters to fly. The sky did clear one day and I was able to watch instructions on how to perform helicopter in flight refueling (HIFR).

I disembarked the next day with a whole new respect for the Canadian Navy, and swearing to myself that I would never again stuff my 6'4" frame into one of those bunks... if I have the choice.

Karch MacLean is a journalism student based in Ottawa.
© FrontLine Security 2007



© 2007 FrontLine Security (Vol 2, No 2)

Heavy Urban Search and Rescue (HUSAR) teams are multi-disciplinary in nature. Personnel and equipment used by these teams can be deployed locally, provincially, and across Canada to provide the specialized search and rescue to free and recover trapped victims.

Toronto HUSAR team members work to remove heavy debris and secure safe positions within a collapsed structure.

A wide variety of disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, typhoons, storms and tornadoes, flood dam failures, technological accidents, terrorist activities and hazardous material (hazmat) releases can signal a HUSAR requirement.

Toronto’s HUSAR Team, also known as Canada “Task Force 3,” has undertaken additional preparations to become designated as a cold weather specialist team, unique to North America.  Funding for the team comes from the provincial Office of the Fire Marshal (OFM), from Public Safety Canada, and from the City of Toronto.

The events of September 11, 2001 prompted the Province of Ontario, the Office of the Fire Marshal (OFM), and the municipal fire service to accelerate the development of a comprehensive strategy to be better prepared for the consequences of terrorist-related activities.

In 2002, the OFM established a comprehensive fire service based response system for the province. Provincial and municipal resources are available and deployable throughout Ontario to ­mitigate significant hazmat and chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosives (CBRNE) emergencies. The system also provides response to emergencies requiring HUSAR capabilities.

The provincial-municipal partnership, established to create the system, is the most cost-effective way to deliver these vital services. The system seeks to ­pro­vide an appropriate response to emergencies to save lives, reduce loss to property and minimize pain and suffering. It is intended to provide an optimum level of service to all areas of the province and its 12,500,000 residents.

Partnership Works
Municipalities are the primary providers of service and the province supports them by providing a combination of transfer grants, equipment, training and central support. The municipal delivery teams provide enhanced services within their jurisdictions, mainly through the availability of equipment and training supplied to them as part of this partnership.

The partners in this system respond to changes, solve problems, collaborate on issues, assess provincial and municipal needs and identify the resources required to meet those needs. This system aims to provide better planning and a comprehensive and cost-effective emergency response service to the residents of Ontario.

OPP PERT Team members test their skills breaching a wall with the concrete-cutting Stanley chainsaw. This tool is able to cut into concrete and block walls with precision.

What is HUSAR?
The Department of Public Safety defines HUSAR as: “the location of trapped persons in collapsed structures using dogs and sophisticated search equipment; the use of heavy equipment such as cranes to remove debris; the work to breach, shore, remove and lift structural components; treatment and removal of victims; and the securing of partially or completely ­collapsed structures.”

The department has prepared a Canadian Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Classification Guide to fulfill the need to list the continuum of USAR capacities in Canada. The premise of the classification system is that USAR is a composite of a myriad of technical rescue capabilities, from light USAR (carried out with few technical resources), to heavy USAR, (multi-disciplinary teams that integrate large amounts of technical equipment and diverse professional skills in demanding rescue scenarios).

In recent years, five core national teams were identified and developed to form a successful Heavy Urban Search and Rescue (HUSAR) response capability. HUSAR teams exist in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Halifax, and the Province of Manitoba. These teams were developed and designed to deploy on a nation-wide basis to provide surge capacity assistance to provinces, territories and/or municipalities upon request.  

Why is HUSAR important?
Throughout the world, large-scale events caused by emergencies or disasters are on the rise. Invariably, these events require specialized expertise and equipment not readily available locally. Additionally, local resources tend to become quickly overwhelmed and require external support. Canada is not immune to these types of disasters and must be prepared to respond to these situations.

International experience with earthquakes demonstrates that the rate of survival for victims in a collapsed building drops dramatically over the first four to five days, after which the prospects of survival are extremely unlikely. According to one source, 81% of those rescued on the first day are likely to survive. This rate drops to 34% on the second day and falls to only 7% by the fifth day. These figures are not dissimilar to the Kobe HUSAR experience. In Oklahoma City, no live ­rescues occurred after the first 24 hours following the explosion.

In recent years, a number of events have focused attention on the need for a HUSAR capability in Canada.

  1. In Japan, the 1995 Kobe earthquake demonstrated that a large number of people can be trapped in structures without warning at a time when it is very difficult for first responders to cope with more than the most rudimentary of assistance.
  2. The 1995 collapse of the department store in Seoul, South Korea, illustrated the fact that there doesn’t have to be an earthquake to justify needing HUSAR resources.
  3. The Oklahoma City bombing showed that an established, trained, and available national capacity for HUSAR can save lives, relieve the suffering of families and friends, and locate essential forensic evidence.
  4. The copycat bombing at the Charlottetown, P.E.I. legislature, and the 1995 Toronto subway crash, alerted Canadians to the fact that HUSAR resources are required in Canada.
  5. Studies done in 1989 for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation show that if the major earthquake predicted for the lower mainland of British Columbia were to occur, 10-30% of residential construction would become uninhabitable, and up to 30% of transportation routes would be unusable. Between 50 and 100% of un-reinforced masonry buildings would collapse or become unuseable, including older schools and hospitals (con­structed prior to 1940) that have not been strengthened.

Toronto’s HUSAR Capabilities
Specially trained and equipped search and rescue teams such as Canada Taskforce 3 (CAN-TF3) are available to respond outside of Toronto within six hours. Upon request, Toronto HUSAR will respond to any community, province-wide, or nation-wide request from those whose resources have been overwhelmed.

Protocols are in place so that when local capacity has been exceeded and additional assistance is needed from the Province, the fire co-ordinator can contact the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre of Emergency Manage­ment Ontario to request the assistance of the Toronto HUSAR team.

Toronto HUSAR can be deployed in part or as a whole to a variety of ­incidents. The team maintains a pre-determined 24/7 state of readiness, and is designed to be self-sufficient for up to 10 days. This readiness allows it to be deployed and react quickly to events, and to be deployable outside the City of Toronto, within the six hour mandate, when required.

Some specific capabilities of Toronto HUSAR include:

  • Physical search and rescue operations in damaged/ ­collapsed structures;
  • Emergency medical care to the injured;
  • Reconnaissance to assess the damages and needs, and provide feedback to local, provincial, and federal officials;
  • Assessment of utilities to houses and buildings;
  • Hazardous material surveys and evaluations;
  • Structural/hazard evaluations of government/municipal buildings needed for immediate occupancy to support ­disaster relief operations;
  • Stabilization of damaged structures, including shoring, and cribbing operations on damaged buildings.

When a fully self-sustained deployment is required, Canada Taskforce 3 will deploy 65 multi-disciplined team members to the situation, complete with search and rescue equipment, base camp (base of operations), team management, and medical and logistical support. The team can also be deployed in lesser numbers for smaller requirements.

Team members have been carefully selected and trained from a wide-range of emergency expertise from within the City of Toronto including:

  • Management, logistics, planning, administration, and rescue specialist capabilities from the Fire Services.
  • Advanced patient care capabilities from Emergency Medical Services.
  • Technical and canine search capabilities from Police Services.
  • Water Services provide heavy equipment capabilities.
  • Sunnybrook-Osler Centre for Pre-­hospital Care (Base Hospital) provides trauma physician capabilities.

The team is designed to respond by road, rail or air. Vehicles include: 1/2 ton pickups; 5-ton box trucks; 2 tractors/trailers; a 40-passenger bus; Gators; an all-terrain forklift and Argos. The over 200,000 lbs of equipment include a base camp, power equipment, food and water, search devices, rescue tools, air monitoring and hazardous materials identification equipment, trauma and life support equipment, and satellite and other wireless communications equipment.

HUSAR Benefits
It has been established that municipal fire services in the Greater Toronto Area, and in the province, lack the necessary capability that Toronto HUSAR will be able to provide. HUSAR adds a wide variety of technical rescue specialties to the current arsenal. The very nature of the team enhances the emergency preparedness of the city and the province.

Within its boundaries, Toronto HUSAR provides a greater ability to the city to deal internally with any type of disaster or threat before requesting outside assistance. This ensures a more efficient and effective response by getting needed expertise and resources on the scene sooner.

Urban Search and Rescue operations are extremely labour intensive. The vast majority of individual communities cannot afford to operate and sustain the extensive level of equipment, training and other resources required to provide HUSAR capabilities. Hence, the provincial Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) provides access to Toronto’s HUSAR team where local capacity has been exhausted. It is essential, therefore, that all jurisdictions with this capability share as much common information as possible with the various components. Joint training exercises are strongly encouraged.

HUSAR Deployments
The year 2003 was a busy one for the Toronto HUSAR team. It was involved in numerous child find and crime scene situations, providing technical search expertise, structural access, and logistical support to Police operations – including the searches for missing Cecilia Djhang, Holly Jones, and Alexis Curry. Also, a gas explosion occurred, completely destroying a second-storey plaza when a damaged ­natural gas line ignited. Toronto HUSAR assisted Ontario’s OFM investigators, searching through the rubble for five days to locate and remove victims of the explosion. Also in 2003, Toronto’s Uptown Theatre collapsed. HUSAR members assisted the local resources in building ­stabilization and with search operations.

HUSAR – Training    
The heart and soul of this specialty rescue team are its people. Proper training is necessary for any rescue team to safely and effectively conduct rescue operations. No tools or technology can substitute for lack of training and experience. Other than the establishment of this project, training its the second biggest investment.

Considerable effort is placed on having every team member trained to a level slightly higher than is expected. The training for each member varies depending on his or her position and areas of responsibility.

Team member training covers skills development in areas that include technical search, structural collapse, building shoring, confined space and trench rescue, high and low angle rescue, water rescue, search operations, hazardous materials and emergency medical first response, crush injury awareness and treatment, logistics, advanced canine handling and first aid, and incident management.

All training programs comply with applicable standards for safety, consistency and thoroughness of the training. All training includes an evaluation com­ponent.

Deployment Exercises
Regular exercises are a key component of the HUSAR program. They test the skills and training of the teams, and improve the information exchange between team members. Examples of Toronto’s HUSAR team in action practicing their skills include:

2005 – Whitby, Ontario – The Toronto HUSAR Team conducted an off-site deployment exercise. The Team operated from a self-sustaining “Base of Opera­tions.” The mock situation began at 04:30 hours with a tornado ripping through the Durham area along the Taunton Road corridor. Toronto HUSAR was requested to perform search & rescue operations in the urban area. Throughout this three-day deployment, patients were successfully extricated from five separate collapsed building sites, with support assistance from the local fire department.

2006 – Calgary, Alberta – Toronto’s HUSAR Team participated in Canada’s first national search and rescue exercise. Forty-two team members were deployed to several simulated disaster situations over a three-day period. Tasked to safely and efficiently extricate patients trapped under various types of building debris, under high wind and cold weather conditions, Toronto formed up and operated with the other search and rescue teams. The exercise scenario called for out-of-province HUSAR teams that had been requested through the Alberta Emergency Operations Centre (AEOC), to assist Calgary’s Canada Taskforce 2 already supporting local responders. The exercise proceeded for 24 continuous hours and was, by all accounts, a great success.

2006 – Gatineau, Quebec – The Toronto HUSAR Team garnered its second gold medal as SARSCENE Games Champions at the annual competition. These games bring Canadian teams together to compete in various search and rescue events. The Competition involved several activities:

  • Search management
  • Navigation (map and compass skills)
  • Emergency scene management/medical (boat accident with casualties)
  • Evidence/clue search (lost child scenario)
  • Relay event
  • SAR questions
  • Knot tying
  • Map knowledge
  • Shelter building
  • Detection skills (locating pre-positioned clues)

2006 – Fergus, Ontario – This exercise challenged the logistical and technical aspects of operating in a realistic setting and tasked the Toronto HUSAR Team and one of the team’s partners, the Ontario Provincial Police’s Provincial Emergency Response Team (PERT), in a cooperative exercise deployment conducted over a five-day period in August 2006 in Fergus, Ontario.

Exercise scenario: as a result of a ­tornado, a local high school containing a large number of occupants had partially collapsed. Victims were situated throughout the building. CAN-TF3 and PERT were mobilized and deployed to assist local authorities. As a result, a total of 32 rescue tasks were performed, with the successful extrication of 21 victims.

Having a chance to come together and exercise using common equipment and shared procedures and resources is a great way to demonstrate the depth of training and knowledge contained within the ­various teams.

2007 – Toronto, Ontario – Toronto CBRN, HUSAR and PERT teams organized an annual off-site deployment exercise in June. The scenario began at a recently vacated hotel, with a series of explosions deemed “intentional” by first responders. More undetonated explosives remained in area buildings and the CBRN response team was deployed at the ­outset. The HUSAR and PERT teams then entered and conducted a series of search and rescue situations through the five-day exercise. The exercise included many partners; the Office of the Fire Marshal, St. John Ambulance, Toronto Emergency Medical Service, Toronto Police Service, and Emergency Management Ontario (EMO), as well as federal representatives, and other fire services in the Greater Toronto Area.

Wrap Up
There remains an urgent need for a strategy that takes into account the local, provincial and federal efforts to date and provides an over-arching, coordinated, and sustainable framework to enhance the country’s readiness to manage both natural and man-made incidents of this nature. Canada Task Force 3 is ready to do its share!

Carol-Lynn Chambers is the Operations Manager with the Office of the Ontario Fire Marshal, overseeing the Provincial CBRNE/Hazmat/HUSAR program.

Doug Silver is the Division Chief, Professional Development and Training, Toronto Fire Services and Special Teams Coordinator – HUSAR.
© FrontLine Security 2007



Beyond the Straitjacket of Preparedness
© 2007 FrontLine Security (Vol 2, No 3)

Although it is difficult to actually pinpoint when emergency management emerged as a recognizable and distinct profession, it can safely be said that the idea or concept of practitioners schooled in risk management started to evolve in the 1990’s. By the early 2000’s, emergency management was both the buzzword and the business!

In the private sector, managers, concerned with enterprise risks and threats that might interrupt production, developed their own unique business continuity profession much earlier. In fact, this business continuity doctrine gave birth to the concept of emergency management as a profession for both the private and public sectors.

Though there is almost universal recognition of emergency management as a new profession, many practitioners have not made this intellectual leap to the world of emergency program and remain bound by the straightjacket of preparedness and response. This retards the growth of the profession and often results in emergency management programs unsuited to our rapidly changing environment.

Emergency Management
Traditionally, emergency programs have focused almost solely on preparedness and response. The generic “emergency plan” was all-important. On the other hand, Emergency Management consists of ongoing activities taken by a jurisdiction or entity to quantify and monitor the probability of likely risks and to prevent, mitigate, prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies of all types. These activities should be integrated into a single coherent program. A comprehensive emergency management program incorporates an all-hazards risk management approach and integrates activities in the five core components of emergency management: prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery. The purpose of an emergency management program is to protect people, property, the environment and the economy. Of paramount importance is the protection of life. The optimal use of limited resources and the expected efficiency in this complex interrelated all-hazards environment has caused this shift in focus from the generic emergency plan to the more ­pertinent risk-based and comprehensive emergency management programs.

What Caused the Change
Although the concept of hazards and risks has been around for a long time, it has not, until recently, been applied to the realm of the emergency environment. This emergency environment has also changed in a dynamic way and requires professional risk management practitioners to analyze specific hazards and risks in an organized, comprehensive and logical manner. It is generally agreed that climate change, urbanization, critical infrastructure dependencies and interdependencies, terrorism and health risks associated with the increased mobility of people have changed the environment in which we now live. We must now handle emergencies in a different way.

The Importance of the Emergency Management Program
A program approach to deal with emergencies based on the management of risk is now essential. Simply reacting is not good enough. These programs must not only include the traditional focus on preparedness and response, but much more importance and emphasis must be given to prevention, mitigation and recovery. These additional core components of a program must be hazard specific in order to develop meaningful activities for prevention, mitigation and recovery. The starting point for the development of all emergency management programs is the hazard identification and risk assessment (HIRA) process. In business continuity programs, this is called the threat assessment but it is essentially the same, and the words “hazard” or “threat” are interchangeable.

The most important issue is to understand that the key part of the HIRA process is the assessment of the impact for a given risk or threat. It is the impact of a condition, event or situation that must be dealt with by the emergency manager. So, the program must deal with the potential impact of a hazard or threat. In the first instance, the aim must be to prevent the impact of the hazard or threat. If we can’t do that, then we must seek to mitigate the effect of its impact, be prepared to respond to it and recover quickly from any consequences.

The Straightjacket
So, what is the straitjacket? It is in our thinking process when we develop or modify our programs. The first question most ask is “How do I respond to the impact of a particular hazard or threat?” In program design, this is also usually dealt with first, then preparedness and recovery and lastly prevention and mitigation. This approach often leads to faulty conclusions and subsequently unnecessary or unrelated activities in the program.

The program core components are a continuum and activities are interrelated in certain ways. The proper logic sequence should be as follows: “How can I prevent the condition, situation or event from happening?” Then, if I can’t totally prevent it from happening: “How can I mitigate the impact if an event occurs?” Next: “How can I be prepared to respond to the immediate impact of the event?” And, finally: “How can I recover from the impact of the event?”

This approach leads to an integrated list of activities for each discreet component of the program and usually ensures it accounts for and coordinates the inter-related aspects among components. Also, it will definitely ensure the new core components of prevention, mitigation and recovery receive proper emphasis. This appears so self-evident that one should ask why we have been restrained in this straightjacket. The answer is quite simple. As human beings, we like to deal with what is familiar to us first, with what we know!

This new way of developing a program and integrating the activities in each core component is more financially prudent since it also relates the activities in respect of cost effectiveness. Investment in one portion of the program, particularly prevention and mitigation, will lead to reduced or no costs in other parts, particularly when conditions, events and situations are prevented or mitigated.

There is one more interesting intellectual challenge in dealing with the additional components of prevention and mitigation. Many practitioners do not think you can prevent the impact of natural emergencies. This again is caused by the straightjacket of our thinking. They would like to exclude prevention as only being suitable as a component for technological or human-caused emergencies. Permit me one example to disprove this. One cannot prevent the rains, but one can sometimes prevent the impact. If there is no infrastructure or people in the flood zone, then there is no impact from the flood! What is the prevention measure? Land use planning and zoning!

Continuity Programs
Continuity programs are simply emergency management programs that focus specifically on the internal hazards and threats and critical external linkages of a specific jurisdiction or entity. Continuity programs are required for all entities, public or private, business and industry, government and non-government organizations (NGOs).

October 2007 - Biloxi, Mississippi - Workers remove debris left from Hurricane Katrina along the Tchoutacabouffa River. FEMA funds wet debris removal which the Coast Guard oversees. (Photo: Jennifer Smits/FEMA)

Governments, albeit only lately, are beginning to understand the importance to them of continuity programs. Thus the terms “business continuity” for business and industry and “continuity of operations” for government continuity programs have evolved. The reality is that all these programs should simply be called “continuity programs”, as separate and artificial distinctions are no longer required. Common criteria are used for all types of continuity programs.

To be truly effective, private and ­public sector continuity programs must consider the external hazards identified in the community HIRA process, for if these potential hazards occur, there will be an impact on all sectors of the particular jurisdiction. Hurricane Katrina was a good example. Many of the industries located in New Orleans had continuity programs, but had they considered the cumulative impact of the natural hazards that could affect all sectors of New Orleans at once? I suspect not!

Lastly, continuity emergency management programs can stand alone for a jurisdiction or entity or, preferably, be included as a part of a full comprehensive emergency management program at regional or higher levels.

Other Straightjackets
In some jurisdictions, the word “preparedness” defines the sum total of all activities used to deal with emergencies, and thus is often broadly applied to all activities in an entire program. This thinking causes much confusion in the profession. The overall business program should be called “emergency management,” not preparedness!! Preparedness is simply one component of an emergency management program.

Other terminology traps exist. Some emergency programs have been arbitrarily divided into “crisis management” and “consequence management”. This artificial division was required when the focus was only on preparedness and response. Law enforcement and security agencies usually fall into this trap. For example, think of the hazard of terrorism. Law enforcement and security officials are usually responsible for the prevention (detection, intelligence, apprehension, etc.) and mitigation activities concerned with terrorism, but seldom feel responsible for the impact of terrorist activity. Someone else is usually responsible for the “consequences”. From a program development perspective, the complete program would be more coordinated, integrated and effective if one entity was responsible for overseeing all relevant activities. Once a comprehensive risk-based all hazards program is developed, all of the activities taken before the emergency fall under the core components of prevention, mitigation and preparedness. Activities taken during and following an emergency are included in the core components of response and recovery. Crisis and consequence management are thus irrelevant as terms in an integrated emergency management program.

Finally, if we do not use the term “crisis” to describe the program, then we certainly should not use it to describe communications activities during an event. I have never liked the term “crisis communications” and am always amazed that professional communicators stick with it. The term itself subliminally indicates confusion, disorganization and uncertainty. The term “emergency information” is much preferred in my mind.

A proactive approach to deal with emergencies based on the management of risk, not simply reacting, is the standard for modern emergency management. The development, implementation and maintenance of comprehensive programs that deal with all identified hazards are expected. Such programs must not only include the traditional focus on preparedness, response and public safety, but must also be integrated with security and law enforcement programs (public security) to be truly effective. All public and private sector programs must examine external hazards and threats as well as internal threats and be completely integrated throughout. This is the challenge of the new profession of emergency management!

The implementation of comprehensive risk based all hazards emergency management programs will ultimately save lives, protect property and the environment and ensure a secure, flourishing and productive economy. This will prevent some emergencies before they occur, lessen the frequency and impact of others, permit timely and effective response to the worst ones and speed up the recovery process following an event. Jurisdictions and entities will become safer, more secure and sustainable at this enhanced level of disaster resilience.

Doug Harrison was a member of Emergency Management Ontario for 15 years and retired as the Deputy Chief (Acting Chief) in 2005. He is now President of Georgian Emergency Management & Associates.
© FrontLine Security 2007



Counter-drug Sting Operation
© 2007 FrontLine Security (Vol 2, No 4)

For more than a year and a half, investigators of the Montreal and Halifax RCMP Drug Sections carefully worked out every detail of this international sting operation. Project Chabanel was carried with the Canadian Navy and RCMP liaison officers in England, Morocco, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates and Spain.

Oct 2007 - Commander Gilles Couturier, commanding officer of HMCS Fredericton at the time, along with RCMP Staff Sergeant Andre Potvin and his team accept the award in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Intelligence indicated that the Peter Toman organization, with links to the West End Gang (a notorious Canadian criminal group), was involved in a major hashish import operation from Africa. To transport the drugs, the organization needed to charter a ship and crew suitable for deep-water navigation. A police sting operation took shape. At a location approximately 200 miles off the coast of Angola, the drugs were transferred from a supply vessel to the undercover vessel. Once transhipment was completed, the drugs were brought into Canada and taken to Montreal.

Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship Fredericton had left Halifax on a routine fisheries patrol – but the mission changed significantly. Suddenly retasked to the coast of Africa in support of this counter-drug operation, Fredericton headed south to follow the RCMP vessel (at a distance) and provide necessary assistance, ensuring the safety of the police officers and serving as command post.

The drug shipment was to be delivered on June 2, 2006. This is when the arrests were made – dismantling an “import” cell of this Montreal-based criminal organization.

Project Chabanel resulted in the seizure (photo left) of 989 bags of hashish, weighing between 20 and 50 kilos each) – the biggest seizure of its kind in Canadian history. These drugs had a street value of approximately $225 million.

“This operation wouldn’t have been attempted by the RCMP without the assurance provided by Fredericton’s ability to operate unseen, as well as her ability to apply overwhelming force at a moment's notice, had that been needed,” said Vice-Admiral Drew Robertson, Chief of the Maritime Staff, when explaining the operation to members of the Standing Com­mittee on National Defence. “Although these actions occurred at a great distance from our shores, the actions directly contributed to the security of Canadians.”

The RCMP counter-drug operation, was recommended for a prestigious award from the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). “After all the secrecy ­surrounding the mission, having to hide aspects of the task from our loved ones, and realizing the importance of taking away 22.5 tons of hash from the streets of Canada, we are proud of what was accomplished,” said Cdr Couturier, who commanded the ship for 18 months and now works at National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa.

 He points out that being recognized for this operation is a clear indication of the team spirit that was quickly built between RCMP officers and members of the ship’s company. “We formed a team and were ready for any eventuality,” he says. “To be recognized at this level confirms what we already knew: the mission was a success. It is a credit to the professionalism of all of the sailors and RCMP officers involved.”

This marks the second year in a row that the RCMP has been presented with an award by the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

© FrontLine Security 2007



Uniformed Casualties
© 2007 FrontLine Security (Vol 2, No 2)

The next time a Canadian soldier is killed, in Afghanistan or anywhere else, think about his or her death, and ask the following two questions:

  • When a police officer is killed in the line of duty, do Canadians want the police to stop protecting their ­communities?
  • When a firefighter dies on the job, do Canadians ask them to stop fighting fires?

Canadian troops don’t understand those who get squeamish or question Canada’s contribution to rebuilding Afghanistan when soldiers are killed or wounded by the Taliban.

Photo: MCpl Yves Gemus

They accept that risking their lives in the war against terrorism is part of their job and that casualties are an inevitable fact of war.

Given the limited number of NATO troops, they also understand the importance of Canada’s contribution of more than 2,500 troops to NATO’s fight against the Al Qaeda-supported Taliban.

Compared to NATO’s past reconstruction effort in the Balkans in the 1990s, the 37,000 NATO soldiers currently in Afghanistan is a relative drop in the proverbial bucket.

After the 1995 Dayton Peace Accord between Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the international community responded with some 60,000 troops in Bosnia to enforce the peace effort among a population of 3.9 million Serbs, Croats and Muslims.

If the international community had responded to the UN-approved NATO mission in Afghanistan (with a population of 31 million) on the same per capita basis, there would now be some 476,900 troops in Afghanistan fighting the insurgents and creating the stability needed for reconstruction, not 37,000.

This fact underscores the challenges NATO faces in Afghanistan and helps explain the cause and effect of certain military responses to the Taliban insurgents.

For example, the dearth of troops has forced the United States to rely on air strikes against the Taliban that threaten to turn Afghanistan’s civilian population against NATO.

Some 132 Afghan civilians have been accidentally killed since March last year. At least 21 civilians were recently caught between 200 Taliban fighters and pinned-down U.S. Special Forces who called in air strikes when their mortars could not take out the militants.

As one senior NATO official told The New York Times: “without air [support], we’d need hundreds of thousands of troops.”

Unfortunately, Canadians have also caused civilian casualties, mostly as a result of soldiers firing upon vehicles whose drivers ignored commands to keep back from their convoys. But, in combat situations, the Canadians are now using their Leopard tanks to provide direct fire support against Taliban positions, which greatly reduces the politically-charged risk of civilian casualties.   

In the past, Canadian troops relied upon either U.S. air support or their own heavy artillery to attack hardened enemy positions. While artillery is now much more accurate than it was historically, it remains very much an area weapon.

Canada’s Leopard tanks, which arrived in Afghanistan in October 2006, went a long way to minimizing the potential for unintended civilian casualties.   

With a muzzle velocity of 1,067 metres per second, their laser sighting system is so accurate that, at 1,200 metres, they can fire an armour-piercing round through the same hat-sized hole left in a target by the previous shot. Some of their other rounds are effective at distance of 4,000 metres.

Still, war is war. The risk of casualties, whether collateral or Canadian, can be minimized but not completely eliminated – as the deaths of 54 Canadian soldiers and one diplomat since 2002 so painfully illustrate. The majority of those deaths were caused by suicide bombers, improvised roadside bombs and mines.

Those ground threats would be reduced by replacing much of the ground travel needs with Chinook helicopters that can carry up to 30 combat-ready soldiers or some 12,700 kilograms of cargo.

Canada once had eight Chinooks, but Brian Mulroney’s cash-hungry Conserva­tive government sold them to the Netherlands in the 1990s. Although Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government has earmarked $4.7 billion for 16 new Chinooks and their maintenance for 20 years, it’s not likely that the first will be put into service before the end of Canada’s current Afghanistan mission in February, 2009.

In the meantime, Canadians depend on our allies for helicopter transport, which limits independent operations or, failing that, forces us to use ground transportation, exposing them to great risk.

And don’t think it’s just the combat troops whose lives are endangered.   

Consider the fuel-truck-driving transport soldier who is every bit as exposed to rocket attacks, suicide bombers, improvised explosive devices and mines as the combat troops.   

Together, those soldiers are winning Canada newfound respect around the world by doing this dangerous but vitally important work.   
If one of them dies, think of the police; think of fire fighters.

Mourn the loss, make sure we have the right equipment, but don’t ask the rest to stop doing their jobs.  

Bob Bergen, Ph.D., is a Research Fellow with the Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute (CDFAI) in Calgary. The opinions expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily those of CDFAI, its Board of Directors, Advisory Council, Fellows or Donors. Learn more about the CDFAI and its research on the Internet at www.cdfai.org
© FrontLine Security 2007



One Last Thing
Mutual Problems and Joint Solutions
© 2007 FrontLine Security (Vol 2, No 3)

As this issue of FrontLine Security illustrates, the marine component of domestic security measures has never been as important for Canada as it is today. The reasons for this is, of course, are fairly obvious. Not only have we been named by Al Qaeda as meriting attack in their medieval Dar al Islam “vision” of what the world needs to look like, but we happen to be next door neighbours to the society they’ve declared to be ‘the Great Satan.’ Hence, while we figure out the best way to protect our own coasts, seaports and infrastructure, we need to pay special attention to our southern border and especially the South Coast of Canada.

The cold and clear reality is that, like it or not, when it comes to security, what we do (or don’t do) north of the 49th Parallel impacts security south of it.

In the days when America was simply the Land of the Free, and the intended address of people desperately seeking a better life, the ‘security’ ramifications of our legendary undefended (and largely porous) border for the U.S. were mostly Chinese spies and BC Bud. (In return, we got coke and fugitive killers avoiding Uncle Sparky, in a sort of forerunner to the Free Trade Agreement).

Unfor­tu­nately, while America is still a beacon of hope for millions of people fleeing tyranny, some of the tyrants (Islamic Terrorist Division) have resolved to bring their battle into the U.S. itself, which means gaining entry, and which potentially means… us. Put differently, while our two countries have had and have tolerated security vulnerabilities, the stakes have gone way up and we have to anticipate and act accordingly.

This doesn’t mean building a fence, or lining up battleships bow to stern from Thunder Bay to Cornwall. It does mean working cooperatively, and it especially means paying attention to the marine ­traffic on our mutual waterways. Have a look at a Canada-U.S. map if you have any doubt about the ‘mutuality’ concept.

This will range from common standards for marine cargo container scanning before containers arrive in our seaports, as now mandated in the U.S. Safe Port Act, to mutually acceptable port worker screening and bad guy lookouts. It will mean joint automated and analytical marine radar surveillance on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River system so that we both know who has just crossed the border or landed at an unapproved location, and we can do something about it.

This is a marine security approach that needs the capacity to track seadoos, snowmobiles, powerboats and zodiacs and not just intruding subs or warships (though that’s necessary too). Earlier this summer, the U.S. bagged a bunch of dope dealers who had brought 400 pounds of marijuana, undetected via rowboat, into Michigan’s Upper Peninsula from St. Joseph’s Island. That could have been 400 pounds of ‘missing’ Russian plutonium in the rowboat and we can all imagine what the reaction would have been, especially if it was discovered after Detroit no longer existed. ‘What ifs’ aside, it is clearly in both our countries’ interest to cooperate and reach joint solutions to our mutual marine security challenges because that’s what they are; mutual problems with joint solutions.

As is so often the case, the place to begin is with existing information. Instead of just more security, we need better, intelligence-driven security. On the American side, this will mean tracking vessel traffic and responding to targets of interest. On the Canadian side, it will mean the same but with the rather important additional step of actually assigning personnel to perform the task. This is nothing less than finally creating – and funding – a fully empowered, properly trained and appropriately equipped marine enforcement and patrol capacity. Which logo is on the side of the boat or the chopper tail or pursuit vehicle door is not as important as making the decision to get the job done.

How about the Royal Canadian Border Services Mounted Coast Guard Ports Police Agency – or RCBSMCGPPA for short? Just kidding, but you get the picture.

While we’re at it, let’s admit that disbanding the Ports Police was a mistake and assign the RCBSMCGPPA (or its alternative) to Canadian seaports and end the cancerous grip organized crime has established, which might just help stem the flood of drugs and counterfeit goods into our country.

Who knows? With the RCBSMCGPPA in place, we could probably even find a way to enforce the Customs Act, and the Criminal Code, and put a dent in Hizballah’s bank account by stopping the export of stolen autos from our seaports.

In summary, keeping that border ‘undefended,’ in the classic militaristic sense, is both desirable and possible if we focus on keeping our mutual surveillance and intelligence eyes wide open – and by doing things jointly wherever possible. Far from compromising our sovereignty, we’ll actually be exercising it because after all… we are in this together.   

Formerly an Alberta Crown Prosecutor, Executive Director of the Canadian Police Association and Director of Operations for the D.C. based Investigative Project on Terrorism, Scott Newark has also served as a Security Policy Advisor to both the Ontario and Canadian Government and is currently the Vice Chair/Operations of the National Security Group in Ottawa.
© FrontLine Security 2007



Public and Private Information Sharing
Securing Our Intangible Economy
© 2007 FrontLine Security (Vol 2, No 4)

Motivated partially by self-preservation, but also by a “carrot & stick” combination of grants and threats of litigation – the public and private sector “information sharing and analysis” that occurred prior to Y2K was unprecedented.

The preparation for the Y2K roll-over proved a significant global effort that focused the entire world’s attention on how dependent we had become on hardware and software conceived in an era of relative cyber-innocence. The pre-Y2K years also popularized the term “Critical Infrastructure Protection” (CIP) as governments recognized a need for shared public-private responsibility of global information networks. The actual roll-over thus occurred with minimal disruption.

After 9/11, the original cyber focus of CIP organizations broadened to an all-­hazards perspective. Lead agencies found many information sharing challenges butting against the “need-to-know” wall of the security and intelligence community.

It is interesting to recognize that these early CIP concepts and challenges surfaced during the era of the “knowledge economy” – when information ceased being scarce. Since 2002, this knowledge economy has evolved to its current state, now known as the Intangible Economy, one which is even more dependent on a global information sharing network. Information sharing can be examined based on four factors of production for this intangible economy:

  • knowledge assets (what people know and put into use);
  • collaboration assets (who people interact with to create value);
  • engagement assets (the level of energy and commitment of people); and
  • time quality (how quickly value is created)

Each of these four factors are applied to the needs of three groups of stakeholders who have a vested interest in sharing CIP related information:

  • Local – those that have an immediate need to respond to an event;
  • Business sectors – who have a shared interest in the continuity of operations of their sector; and
  • Governments – who have a geopolitical and strategic interest in CIP

Local Stakeholders
The familiar “Neighbourhood Watch” program illustrates the importance that most communities place on watching out for one another. Knowledge assets (what people know and put into use) provide daily examples of how individuals quickly identify unusual occurrences, whether related to natural hazards, strangers in their midst, or unusual behaviour. These could occur at a local bank, school, or the local dump. When something unusual happens, the collaboration assets (who people interact with to create value) are often the friends and business associates that they see on a regular basis, be they doctors, lawyers, police or firefighters. These individual stakeholders have the engagement assets (the level of energy and commitment of people), based on a vested community interest in the outcome. When it comes to the time quality (how quickly value is created) of information sharing, the success of any “Amber Alert” program typifies this added value of a quick response at the local level to find lost or kidnapped children.

This same process of information sharing related to knowledge, collaboration and engagement assets combined with the time quality is what is required by first responders to respond effectively to CIP events. What may be missing at the local level is access to specialist resources or funding to enable preparation of such things as a local (tactical) disaster response plan and training.

Business Sector Stakeholders
In addition to the required opportunity to compete on an equal footing, members of most business sectors also have a vested interest in the health of their sector. The whole financial sector, for example,  wants to ensure that consumers retain faith in the use of automated teller machines. Similarly, the telecommunications sector must assure the public that the internet can be safe for e-commerce.

Typically, knowledge assets in a given sector are made available by their respective trade associations. The Canadian Bakers’ Association, the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries, and the Canadian Electrical Associa­tion are prime examples of how competitive issues are set aside when it comes to ensuring the delivery of common services in a secure and professional manner.

Likewise, the collaboration assets within a sector are often major consumers of a product or service that exhibit a high degree of interdependency. For example, the transportation of chemicals or manufactured goods via rail or surface carriers is a well-known supply chain where each sector is dependent upon the other to effect a mutually successful transaction.

When an incident occurs that threatens to disrupt that supply chain, the engagement assets are rapidly deployed. The time quality of the response to an unexpected disruption is critical to all.

Recognition of this mutual interest in the resilience of a sector is one of the primary reasons for the success of sector-based Information Sharing and Analysis Centers (ISAC’s) in the United States.

Government Stakeholders
Governments typically have a dual role: one as regulator, and the other as servant of the national good. Thus, the knowledge assets sometimes place government organizations in a potential conflict of interest when viewed from the perspective of those being regulated.

Typically, the collaboration assets within government and with the business sectors are not necessarily the same as those expected to respond tactically to CIP crises.

Similarly, the engagement assets within government are focused on their areas of jurisdiction. The limited role and conflicting mandates of various government departments often result in stovepipes that limit the time quality of positive government intervention.

However, the strategic value of government’s knowledge, collaboration and engagement assets are of critical importance in establishing the strategic direction of the national economy for all business sectors and for dealing with our national security and prosperity agenda.

The time quality of national assets that can be brought to bear in an ice storm, flood or power outage is measured in days and weeks and not in minutes and hours as at first responders and local levels. In fact, one of the primary tasks of governments is to coordinate the efforts of multiple departments at federal, provincial and territorial governments. Examples of information sharing and analysis at this level can be found in the various U.S. government and sector coordinating councils that work with U.S.-based sector ISACs.

Finally, if we step away from the ­individual needs of the three stakeholder groups, and look at the system that allows them to collaborate and coordinate their activities, the U.S. model contains many elements that could well serve Canada’s needs.

Many examples of local or regional ­centers already share and analyze information that is focused on a common interest. There are State fusion centers, cross border economic regions (Pacific North West Economic Region – PNWER), and large metropolitan incident response teams. All of these local stakeholder groups exhibit excellent examples of knowledge, collaboration and engagement assets intended to provide the “time quality” response in a crisis.

In the U.S., business sector-based ISACs receive information from local, state and federal agencies, law enforcement agencies, vendors, media and the Internet, ISAC members, Critical Emergency Response Teams, academia, think tanks, and from their national intelligence community. The sector ISAC provides the venue for approved information exchanges with other ISAC’s, the government and the ISAC members.

The approved information exchange is based on government protocols and caveats and individual member agreements. The ISAC operates as a trusted third party with the appropriate physical and personnel security clearances. Because they are sector-based, they cater to the reality of the business world that crosses international and inter-provincial borders. Many of the ISACs have international members – and contributions are received from, and distributed to, international entities. Several Canadian business entities currently participate in cross-border ISACs.

What is seriously missing, however, is a Trusted Third Party (TTP) that provides for the two-way sharing and analysis of information, respecting protocols and caveats for sharing data between the Canadian government and industry.

The U.S. model provides a formal government coordinating council that serves the dual purpose of coordination among government entities, and provision of a focal point for discussions with a similar ­private sector entity that represents multiple business sectors.

In the current Canadian model, Public Safety Canada provides a venue for collaboration among multiple government departments. However, it lacks a necessary ­government coordinating council that represents a combination of federal, provincial and territorial interests. Similarly, there is no equivalent industry sector coordinating council that represents the interest of multiple business sectors in discussions with multiple government agencies.

Many of the early CIP information sharing and analysis efforts were conceived in the early stages of the knowledge economy. Having examined today’s information sharing and analysis needs based on the four factors of productivity for the intangible economy, we can asses the U.S. model and lessons learned in terms of its potential to meet Canadian needs.

Based on this, four recommendations are offered to the Canadian CIP public and private community for the short, medium and long term:

Short Term

  • Develop local regional information sharing and analysis capabilities (they can be called ISAC’s, fusion centers, watch and warning centers – as long as their information sharing objective is clearly defined).
  • CIP owners and operators should investigate the benefits of becoming members of existing sector-based ISAC’s and/or other ISAC’s that are a critical part of their supply chain and exploit the specialist expertise that they provide.

Medium Term

  • Establish a Canadian TTP entity to provide the venue for information sharing and analysis according to protocols of caveated data between Canadian ­government and Canadian ­private sector entities.

Long Term

  • Government and industry could establish coordinating councils to focus information sharing and analysis discussions across multiple levels of government ­(federal, provincial, territorial and local)­ and between multiple business sectors.

In Y2K we succeeded in focusing both government and industry to find a solution to a problem with a fixed deadline. Unfortunately, most CIP related events have no fixed dates to focus our attention and the sharing of critical information suffers. What is needed now is leadership within all groups to move quickly toward a “Made In Canada” public-private information sharing solution.  

Jim Robbins is President of EWA Canada Ltd and a member of the Board of Directors and a Senior Advisor to the International Systems Security Engineering Association.
© FrontLine Security 2007