INTERNATIONAL FOUNDATION FORCULTURAL PROPERTY PROTECTION
Reposted from Security Management Magazine
Burnout. It’s the word that has haunted organizations since the COVID-19 pandemic cranked up the pressure on remote workforces. It’s a state of perpetual emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion, and it comes with decreased motivation, lowered performance, and a negative attitude toward others or oneself. Burnout can turn overall tiredness or malaise into a state of being too exhausted to function.
While this can be personally devastating, the risk of burnout could present even deeper challenges for perpetually lean security teams. Disengaged security employees can miss warning signs of security breaches, fail to connect with other departments and stakeholders, and lose some of their passion to keep people, assets, and places safe.
Worldwide, only 32 percent of employees say they are thriving right now, according to the Gallup State of the Global Workplace 2022 Report, and 43 percent report high levels of daily stress. This is one of the drivers behind the ongoing Great Resignation; people who feel tense or stressed during the workday are three times as likely to seek employment elsewhere, the American Psychological Association (APA) found in 2021.
To combat stress burnout, however, security leaders must encourage purposeful disconnection from work without losing employees’ motivation to succeed.
For inspiration on this front, security leaders should look to military units and firefighters, says Wendy Bashnan, chief security officer for Nielsen Company. These groups are capable of sustaining periods of extreme stress and danger, interspersed with periods of rest and separation from the action. But when units come back together, they can pick up where they left off, adds Bashnan, who spent 30 years in the public sector before transitioning to private business.
Currently, she is responsible for a small team of security professionals who help the business manage security risk and resiliency across 55 countries. That breadth of responsibility means that team members need to juggle many different tasks and challenges on a regular basis. For high-performance security professionals, their motivation is often the deeper meaning they find in their work.
“To be honest, most of the people that I have worked with throughout my career, their personalities have driven them to this profession, to this field,” Bashnan says. “It’s that sense of purpose, that sense of service that motivates them.”
But that works against them when they try to shoulder too much responsibility, remaining mentally on-call at all times. And that sustained stress level leads to burnout, turnover, and even physical health issues.
“The biggest challenge for my team is to encourage them to pull back and take time off, because they feel obligated to support whatever team it is that they’re working with,” she adds. “And that feeling that if they did take personal time, they’re letting down their teammates—that’s the message we need to tweak moving forward.”
High-performance employees bring a lot to the table. They have the drive, intellect, and emotional intelligence to succeed and add value to the organization. They also bring some common psychological dynamics.
Star employees often feel the weight of others’ expectations keenly, and their drive to meet or exceed those expectations can push them to work beyond their limits, especially in times of stress or crisis, according to Harvard Business Review.
In small or short-term doses, stress can be motivational, leading to periods of intense concentration, effectiveness, and productivity. But long-term stress conditions—such as when crises pile up and overlap—undercut those benefits.
Industrial and organizational psychologists have found that hinderance stressors that are outside an employee’s control can feel like barriers to achieving good outcomes. These can include red tape, a lack of resources, or conflicting goals within the organization or department. Challenge stressors, though, can be positive. These are tasks that a person feels he or she can overcome while growing and improving, such as learning a new skill that will help the employee tackle a new responsibility at work.
“Research further suggests that people find challenge stressors motivating because they expect that if they put the work in, they can achieve an outcome they value,” wrote Stephanie Pappas for the Monitor on Psychology. “Hindrance stressors, on the other hand, feel insurmountable—no matter how hard you work, a satisfactory result is out of reach.”
Hinderance stressors were in ready supply during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, when security professionals faced myriad unexpected challenges without the resources or autonomy to address them.
“The challenge that we’ve seen over the past two and a half years with COVID is that we’re seeing layers of crises on top of crises, so they’re overlapping for extended periods of time, and that does put additional stress on the team,” Bashnan says. “There’s a feeling that there’s never downtime.”
“Historically as an industry, we are accustomed to the rollercoaster—the highs when the crisis is most urgent and then it calms, becomes manageable, and we’re ready for the next crisis that comes into play,” she continues. “During this pandemic, we’ve been at this elevated peak of crisis that’s continued with other crises on top. Now we’re in a rollercoaster that’s twirling and spinning on top of everything, and we never get the calm we’re accustomed to.”
Although stress is not uncommon for security professionals, she says each person will need to find his or her own ways to manage and recover from it. Luckily, good managers can be there to help.
Vacations are not just fun—they are necessary, says Avril Eklund, CPP, head of global physical security for GitHub. Time off enables team members to take a step back from workplace stressors and to gain some valuable perspective and mental clarity, she adds.
Unfortunately, a paradox around work stress recovery is working against security departments. A 2018 article in the journal Research in Organizational Behavior found that “recovery processes are impaired when individuals are facing a high level of job stressors.”
In other words, the more stressful a job is at a certain time, the more compelled a high-performing worker is to put in longer hours, take fewer breaks, and even eat less healthily, further depleting the worker’s energy levels to handle the stress. Pushing through the stress simply does not work.
“I’m very fortunate that I hired really high-performing people,” Eklund says. “I meet with them every week to make sure that they’re not getting overwhelmed, because—being high performers—they’re often inclined to take on more and more and more.”
Especially after a two-year stretch of COVID-19 response, she adds that she was seeing early signs of burnout and wanted to head it off at the pass.
“People were starting to be tired coming to work, have less enthusiasm for things they used to be enthusiastic about,” she says. “I don’t think that our interpersonal relationships changed at all—nobody was being mean to each other or dropping balls—but just the lack of enthusiasm. I’d get the feeling when I talked to them that it was the same stuff, different day. The spark was missing from our conversations.”
This year, Eklund has started ensuring that her team members take vacation to address early signs of burnout. GitHub’s security team has an unlimited time off policy, but because of the cycle of crises, no one has been taking advantage of it, she says.
“They need that break from work,” Eklund adds. “And as their leader, I model that and make sure that I take time off. And when I do, I do my best to truly disconnect so that I can help them see that it’s okay for them to totally disconnect as well and refocus their minds for a week on something that’s not COVID, not security, not risk. We’ll be fine—everyone else can pick up the slack for that week, and we’ll be okay.”
This does require some planning, though. Team members heading out of the office are instructed to turn off messaging platforms like Slack and set their status to “away.” The rest of the team uses send times on email and Slack to postpone non-urgent queries from hitting the vacationing team member’s inbox.
The security team also starts a “While You Were Away” digital document, where they keep a running log of essential activities and status updates. When the person returns from time off, he or she can skim through one document to catch up, rather than scrambling to sift through a week’s worth of emails.
Eklund also works to address the rest of the organization’s assumption that security is available 24/7. She is setting expectations with outreach through the company’s Intranet to explain how the security team works and what sort of response time to expect for different queries. This enhances transparency while building in some breathing room for her team.
Taking time away also lets team members recharge their sense of purpose, she says.
“If you get an opportunity to look back at the work you’ve been doing, now you’re coming back with a different perspective,” Eklund adds. “Sometimes you need that break from the work you’re doing to look at it with fresh eyes.”
Even a short break, like taking a walk or using a long lunch break to do some gardening, can lend valuable perspective and uncover potential solutions.
Security leaders can also influence by example. Employees take cues—whether spoken or implied—from their leaders about what behavior is acceptable and expected. For employees to feel comfortable stepping away, asking for professional development opportunities, or sharing when they feel overwhelmed, CSOs must model that behavior themselves, whether by taking disconnected vacations or simply logging out at the end of the day.
While vacations and time off are an effective reboot for security teams, employees and leaders can take steps to disengage before they even leave their desk for the day. Roy Lemons, CPP, CSO for International Paper, says it’s important to develop small rituals to mark the beginning and end of the workday, especially for remote employees who no longer commute to and from a physical office or site.
At the start of every day, Lemons takes a few minutes to consider something that went well and something that went wrong the previous day, and he ponders how he could have improved his response. This reflection builds a sense of accomplishment and a drive for continuous improvement at work, he says. And at the end of the day, Lemons doesn’t just close his laptop or put it in a drawer—he powers it down completely. It would only take an extra five minutes to restart the computer in the event of an after-hours emergency, but that extra step also gives Lemons pause when he considers logging back in to answer a few emails in the evening.
“Humans always try to find the path of least resistance,” he says. “If it’s difficult for me to do it, then I ask the question ‘do I really have to do it?’” This enables him to reprioritize work versus personal activities, rather than reflexively logging back onto the computer.
A bored high-performer is a disengaged high-performer. When people are bored, their judgment, goal-directed planning, focus, and control over emotions all suffer, found neurologist Dr. Judy Willis in her paper Neuroscience Reveals That Boredom Hurts. In addition, monotonous workcan negatively impact mental health, add to stress, and lead to burnout. A lack of autonomy and the inability to grow make matters worse.
According to the APA’s 2021 Work and Well-being Survey, a lack of development opportunities exacerbates workplace stress—52 percent of employees surveyed in 2021 found that a lack of opportunity to expand had a strong impact on their job satisfaction.
At International Paper, stretch goals are part of the fabric of performance reviews, and Lemons helps his team look for professional development opportunities that fit their needs and interests. Each member of Lemons’ security team must be CPP certified, and International Paper funds their certification journeys and supports them while they pursue educational opportunities.
“If you truly want to get the value out of the training, then what you need to do is make sure to carve out time,” Lemons says. “Do not assign that person any response capability during that period; they need to be in the moment to get the value out of that and come back. We make sure there’s coverage so they can go and not get pulled into something.”
Employees do not necessarily need to look outside the company for opportunities to grow, either. Employees interested in learning more about cybersecurity can partner with International Paper’s IT department to identify key educational areas or the best certifications, and team members focused on learning more about regional risk or specific business areas can go on site visits to different locations and manufacturing facilities to expand their viewpoints, Lemons says.
Within the security department, Bashnan is cross-training her team to cover each other’s roles and responsibilities—including hers. This serves multiple purposes: it adds resiliency and backup coverage for key roles, it lets security employees try new things, and it encourages a growth mind-set, she says.
As well as diversifying skills within the security department, expanding the security team overall can free up high-performing employees’ time to focus on more proactive, strategic functions like threat hunting and building additional organizational value, Bashnan says.
“I try to earnestly include team members in the work that I am doing,” she says. “And in many ways, I am coaching them to do the work so that they can do it themselves. If I can teach them to do what I do, then I can sit back and actually be that strategic thinker and start that threat hunting that needs to be done and look around corners. That’s what the C-suite wants a CSO to do, but they don’t appreciate the amount of firefighting we have to do on a day-to-day basis that takes us away from that strategic thinking.”
“We’re always slightly understaffed, slightly underbudget, and being asked to do more with less, but you can only do so much,” she adds. “So, you’re always in a reactionary position.”
Bashnan started tapping into the 21,000 other Nielsen employees worldwide, deputizing them as de facto security employees and educating them so they can perform some tasks themselves, rather than relying entirely on the security team.
For example, a U.S. facility was broken into, and Bashnan received an email notification that morning about the event. But within that notification, the facilities and operations managers at that location outlined all the steps they had already taken—crossing those tasks off the security team’s list and keeping the response tied into local responders and capabilities.
“For me, that’s a huge win,” Bashnan says.
In crisis response, the more internal teams are involved, the more security teams can excel. For Eklund, GitHub’s COVID-19 response benefitted strongly from HR, legal, and other departments joining the taskforce.
“We are working on rebuilding our crisis management team to spread the load a little bit better across our information security function, our legal function, our HR function,” she says. “We’re the intake portal but training these other teams about what their responsibilities are so it doesn’t fall all on us.”
For a protracted crisis like COVID-19 or the war in Ukraine, one team of seven security professionals cannot carry that load, Eklund adds. “We need to be able to pull in partners.”
Don’t underestimate your influence to motivate the team.
“A leader’s words are more impactful than anybody else in the company,” Lemons says. “No matter what the boss’s boss’s boss says, your boss is the one who has the most impact on you.”
While some employees are fueled by widespread recognition, many security team members would benefit from a simple note from their CSO acknowledging their hard work and effort, even if the project fell short or could be improved.
Lemons also has calendars set up with notifications for employees’ work anniversaries and birthdays, so he can take a few minutes to send out work anniversary notifications to the team or recognize them during meetings. “It sounds silly, but it actually does mean a lot to people,” he says.
Eklund stepped up her regular check-ins with her team to have frank conversations about their hours, workload, how they are managing different time zones or responsibilities, and whether people are contacting them at all hours with queries and requests.
See Original Post
Reposted from Artnet News
Along with the Eiffel Tower turning off its sparkling lights earlier every evening, the Louvre’s pyramid and other monuments around Europe are responding to the ongoing energy crisis with a variety of measures that range from the symbolic to the practical.
This week, French culture minister Rima Abdul Malak said on France 2 television that the Louvre’s iconic glass pyramid would no longer be lit after 11 p.m. The Chateau of Versailles was up next, she said, with lights out by 10 p.m.—an hour earlier than usual—starting next week.
These admittedly “symbolic” measures, Abdul Malak said, “are also important for raising public awareness, and mobilizing citizens.”
Across Europe, fears of facing the coming winter, amid soaring energy costs and possible blackouts, have pushed governments to call for unified, belt-tightening efforts to reduce energy consumption. Some are also offering spending caps on electricity and gas bills, as was announced on Wednesday in the UK.
Cultural institutions and monuments have been singled out as focal points for implementing these new, power-saving tactics, as they struggle to deal with soaring energy costs. Some are even considering closing their doors to the public, at least part of the time.
“We welcome the six-month energy price cap [announced by the UK government today], which should help museums in the short-term get through the winter period,” said Sharon Heal, the director of Museums Association, representing 1,800 UK institutions, in a message to Artnet News. “However, it is only a temporary fix and will not address the systemic underfunding of the sector over the past decade.”
Heal notes that while some UK cities suggest museums serve as “warm banks,” or shelters from the cold, that may be less feasible as “some institutions are considering reducing opening hours or site closures if anticipated price rises materialize.”
“Many museums across the UK have pledged to open their doors as warm, safe spaces for their communities over the winter,” Heal added, since they are “ideal places to provide this service… But in order for us to do that we need to be able to keep the doors open.”
In Germany this week, state and federal leaders in the cultural sector met to underline the importance of cultural institutions in collective, “social self-understanding,” and to ensure they are supported during the current crisis.
The group, including German culture minister Claudia Roth, identified which institutions are part of a so-called “critical infrastructure,” or “cultural assets of great importance for cultural heritage,” to be prioritized with aid in case of a gas emergency. Plus, funds originally slated for cultural events will go towards alleviating rapidly increasing energy costs in targeted cases.
“Only together, with all of our expertise and strength, can we master the major challenges [ahead],” said German Culture Minister Claudia Roth in a statement following the meeting.
As it tries to wean itself off its heavy dependence on Russian gas, Germany is leading the charge in terms of drastic cutbacks to gas consumption, by about 21% since last year. Some analysts say that level of collective effort could keep Europe’s largest economy from running out of gas in the near future. This month, a new German law went into effect to ensure that happens.
The measure restricts heating of public buildings to a max of 19° C (66.2° F), while rooms and passageways are to be kept unheated. The initiative also forbids monuments be lit at night, except for emergency purposes and special events. Meanwhile, the German museum umbrella group, Deutsche Museumsbund has amassed a listof practical, energy-saving tips for art institutions to follow.
This summer the French government also called for “sobriety” measures to reduce energy consumption by 10% for 2024. Similar to their German neighbors, room temperatures under public jurisdiction are to be kept at a max of 19° C in winter, and no less than 26° C (78.8° F) with air conditioning in the summer. Abdul Malak announced that she had sent a questionnaire to cultural venues across the country to request “proposals and suggestions for the management… of the energy crisis,” with her ministry issuing its concluding analysis later this month.
Some museums are already leading by example. The Musée d’Orsay and the L’Orangerie in Paris told Artnet News it has reduced energy consumption by 15 percent over the first eight months of this year, versus 2021. Those results were mainly achieved by progressively changing all the museums’ lighting to LED bulbs. “The main energy costs in a museum like Orsay are linked to lighting and maintaining consistent climatic conditions in line with international conservation norms,” said a museum representative.
In 2023, the museum’s energy bill is expected to jump to 12 percent of its total budget, or more than $3 million, versus 5 percent of the 2022 budget. “Our ambition is to reduce our energy consumption by 25 percent by 2024, thanks to significant investment dedicated to ongoing LED installation, and the modernization of technical equipment controls,” the museum added.
The Orsay and other historic monuments, however, point out they were not originally designed to serve as museums, making them less energy efficient. The Orsay, a former train station, will propose “significant renovations” as a result.
The same is true in the UK. “Many museums are housed in historic buildings. They are not energy efficient and are costly to run, heat and maintain,” Heal said. “In the medium term we need investment to support museums to become more energy efficient and environmentally friendly, so we can reduce our carbon footprint and create sustainable futures for our organizations and our communities. And we need strategic long-term investment that addresses the issues caused by underfunding.” The Museum Associaton found that between 2010 and 2020, spending by local authorities on museums and galleries dropped 27 percent in real terms.
The more modern Centre Pompidou, on the other hand, was conceived as a museum, and has been regularly reducing energy consumption over the years. In response to the current crisis, the museum said it would turn off the lights on its façade as soon as it closes to the public, at 10:30 p.m. Only security lighting will remain on, while “other measures are being examined,” a museum spokesperson told Artnet News, noting renovations planned for after the 2024 Olympics will permit a 40 percent reduction of energy.
The museum’s programming joins others such as the Bourse de Commerce, Pinault Collection, in addressing environmental issues this fall.
The Louvre is also doing its part. In addition to turning off its glowing pyramid at 11 p.m. instead of 1 a.m., it set a 10 percent energy reduction goal back in 2019, to be reached over a 5-year-period. And in 2021, the museum said it reduced its energy by 17 percent compared to 2018, to 74,500mW.
“All together,” a Louvre spokesperson told Artnet News, “that represents 1,160 tons less CO2 emissions per year, the equivalent of 10,000 trips from Paris to Marseille by car.”
Reposted from Radio Free Europe
Ukraine has accused Russian forces of looting priceless artifacts from a museum in the southern city of Melitopol as fighting and missile strikes continued in Ukraine’s south and east.
Melitopol Mayor Ivan Fedorov said during a national telethon that “the orcs have taken hold of our Scythian gold,” using a derogatory term by which many Ukrainians refer to the invading Russian soldiers. “We don’t know where they took it.”
The New York Times reported that the director of the Melitopol Museum of Local History, Leila Ibrahimova, said museum workers had hidden the priceless treasure in boxes in a cellar. After Russian troops abducted and interrogated her for several hours in March, Ibrahimova left Melitopol for Kyiv-controlled territory.
Melitopol has been occupied by Russian forces since early March.
Last week, she was informed by the museum’s caretaker that the Russians had discovered the boxes with the help of the Russian-appointed de facto museum director. Russian troops and intelligence officers watched as a Russian in a white lab coat carefully removed the artifacts, which are more than 2,300 years old, and took them away.
According to The New York Times, at least 198 gold items, rare old weapons, a number of silver coins, and medals were removed.
Ukrainian officials had earlier said that Russian forces had looted paintings, icons, and sculptures from a museum in the Azov Sea port of Mariupol. Officials said on April 29 that more than 250 cultural institutions had been damaged or destroyed since the Russians invaded on February 24. Kyiv has accused the Russian government of carrying out a policy of “genocide” against the Ukrainian nation.
In an interview on Russian television, the Russian-appointed de facto museum head, Yevhen Horlachev, said the artifacts “are of great culture value for the entire former Soviet Union” and accused the museum staff of expending “a lot of effort and energy” to hide them.
He did not say where the artifacts had been taken.
Russia and Ukraine have been locked in a dispute over other Scythian artifacts currently located in the Netherlands since the Russian annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region in 2014.
The artifacts from several Crimean museums were on display in Amsterdam when Russia seized the Black Sea peninsula, and both Russia and Ukraine claimed ownership. In October 2021, a Dutch court awarded control of the treasures to Ukraine, but they remain in the Netherlands.
Melitopol Museum Director Ibrahimova said the museum’s caretaker was abducted from her home at gunpoint on April 29 and has not been heard from since.
Reposted from Artnet News
Frequent museum goers may notice that they aren’t just expanding their minds but also unwinding them by relieving stress.
A pilot study at Brugmann University Hospital in Brussels, Belgium, is testing whether art and culture can relieve people’s everyday anxiety by focusing their minds on more positive stimuli. As part of a new six-month pilot project, some patients suffering from poor mental health will be offered a “museum prescription.”
The scheme will offer up to five free visits to Brussels cultural institutions, accompanied by friends or family. The voluntary treatment would be added to the range of existing services, including medication and therapy, and is reserved for those suffering from relatively mild conditions, such as burnout, depression, and anxiety.
Participating organizations include contemporary art space Centrale, the Fashion and Lace Museum, the Sewer Museum, and the extensive wardrobe that dresses up the city’s infamous public statue Mannekin Pis, a little boy peeing.
The initiative also aims to foster reconnection among a society that spent years locked up during the pandemic. It is hoped that the free visits will serve as a catalyst to encourage more active participation in Brussels’s rich offerings.
“I want everybody back in our cultural institutions,” the city’s deputy mayor for culture, Delphine Houba, told the Guardian. But there have long been financial and cultural barriers to access. “They don’t feel at least, they don’t think that it’s for them.”
She said the project was inspired by a 2018 scheme which saw Canadian doctors prescribe free visits to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.
One of the organizers, Hélène Boyer, vice-president of Médecins francophones du Canada, told the Montreal Gazette at the time that art therapy has scientifically proven health benefits. “It increases our level of cortisol and our level of serotonin. We secrete hormones when we visit a museum and these hormones are responsible for our well-being.”
The success of the pilot program in Brussels will be measured by patient feedback to their doctor. If it appears to be having a positive effect, the initiative may be extended to include more museums and other activities, such as visiting the cinema.
Often oversimplified as “See Something, Say Something,” situational awareness (SA) is a consequence of the mental process of collecting an observation, using expertise to orient or understand what was observed, and then, if needed, making a prediction of potential outcome to inform a response.
These predictions may be imperfect, but they can offer potentially life-saving glimpses into the future. As with most skill sets, experience makes all the difference, and SA can be honed. One way to improve SA is through understanding its core elements. SA applies to nearly every aspect of life, but its value is perhaps most apparent in the moments prior to an active shooter attack. Situational awareness can provide the forewarning needed to save lives.
Imagine being a security officer outside of a high school. The human eye is drawn to movement, so you observe a vehicle arriving. Nothing suspicious, just a change to the normal or baseline traffic pattern. You notice an Uber sign on the car as a student-aged male exits. You realize it is odd for students to arrive via Uber, especially near the end of the school day. The student moves away from the car, and you observe he is carrying a large black nylon case. As you orient or assess the situation, you realize it might be a rifle case. Highly focused, you recognize the person is an expelled student. The survival aspects of SA kick in, and you predict the situation is dangerous. You decide to act, implementing a campuswide lockdown and calling for police. This is an example of how SA could provide forewarning and save lives.
The ultimate function of SA is to enhance survival by predicting dangerousness. This requires recognition and analysis. The more effective the analysis, the more accurate the subsequent prediction. Occasionally, this process happens so rapidly it can be described as intuition.
“Intuition is recognition. Nothing more, nothing less,” said Nobel laureate, economist, and psychiatrist Daniel Kahneman.
People are hardwired for survival, but the programming is incomplete—it needs additional data, especially when dealing with modern environments and hazards. Our brains eagerly complete the coding by cataloging potential dangers in mental file folders called schema.
Each schema contains information about an experience, and while they are not limited to dangerous incidents, this type of schema seems to be more easily created and more readily accessible to help protect us from future hazards. For instance, touching a hot stove once is usually sufficient to form a schema that lasts a lifetime.
Schema also help with more complicated processes, and the more comprehensive and accurate the file folders on a specific topic, the greater the person’s expertise. This allows the person to orient more effectively and decide the best possible response faster. In time-critical situations, these mental file folders create tactical shortcuts. These rapid conclusions are often referred to as intuition.
Intuition is not innate, but as expertise is developed, people can rapidly access their library of knowledge to apply case-based reasoning to solve novel or new problems. When a new problem is presented, it is compared with all the cases in the library, and the case that matches most closely is used to solve the new problem. A toddler walking toward a busy street can observe the moving cars, but he or she does not have the expertise to appropriately predict danger. A 5-year-old, on the other hand, can use case-based reasoning to refrain from walking in front of something that is harmful, even if he or she has not seen the hazard before—applying knowledge about the danger of moving cars to trains or other vehicles.
The mind’s ability to recall and apply lessons learned is astounding; but also, imperfect. In his best-selling book Thinking, Fast and Slow, Kahneman explains how our brains process information. The mind has two systems, he says: system one handles reflexive tasks, like 2 + 2, and system two takes over when the task calls for deliberate thought, like 17 x 34. Whenever possible, the brain will default to system one to save energy. Kahneman calls this the law of least effort.
Intuition, which is sometimes described as rapid recognition or “knowing without knowing why,” is reflexive and resides in system one. Problems arise when the situation requires more analysis than system one can handle. This is not to suggest intuition is always wrong—it is certainly not. Intuition is typically right in two ways: it acts in response to something, and it acts in your best interest. However, intuition is fallible and should be questioned, especially when making high-stakes predictions.
For an example, answer this basic math problem in your mind as fast as possible:
A baseball bat and ball cost $1.10. The bat costs $1.00 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?
Unless you have seen this problem before, your intuition probably came up with 10 cents, which is wrong. System one thinking made a quick calculation of subtracting one dollar from the total and assumed the balance of 10 cents was the answer. The correct answer is the ball costs 5 cents, meaning the bat costs $1.05—bringing the total to $1.10.
While intuition is imperfect, the life-saving value of rapid recognition should not be discounted. The book Left of Bang, which is based on the U.S. Marine Corps Combat Hunter Program, provides the following example. In the summer of 2004 in Mosul, Iraq, Sgt. First Class Edward Tierney was with his squad on patrol when the group observed a car parked on the sidewalk. Inside were two boys staring at the soldiers. The car was not aligned with traffic, the windows were up, and it was extremely hot. One soldier asked if he could provide the boys with water. Tierney observed, rapidly oriented, and correctly predicted danger. He ordered his men to fall back, and the vehicle exploded. No soldiers were killed or seriously injured.
People are the only creatures that willingly ignore warning signs. When a gazelle in the wild perceives danger, it will flee. It will not try to convince itself to be braver or less paranoid. However, humans are also the only creature capable of questioning intuition. System one thinking is excellent at observation, but its strength is not orientation. Whenever time allows, break the law of least effort and fully orient before moving towards danger.
Like most abilities, there are varying levels of SA. Jeff Cooper, a U.S. Marine and innovator of tactical training, pioneered the concept of color-coding awareness levels, and his system—Cooper’s Color Code—has been used to train military and law enforcement for decades. There is often overlap between levels, but the code helps to organize SA into useful categories.
White is the lowest level of SA, but it is absolutely necessary. Being asleep is at the extreme end of this level, but no one can maintain SA during all waking hours. As the mind relaxes, it loses both system one and system two abilities.
Yellow is the goal for most situations. It represents being both prepared and relaxed. This state allows both systems one and two to function, bringing intuition and complex problem-solving abilities to the table.
Orange is a state of focus and alertness to possible danger. The downside is it can create focus lock, which occurs when the mind is focused on a single thing. Sometimes focus lock is needed. For instance, if a police officer is told be on the lookout for a red SUV, he or she will often experience focus lock. Officers will be somewhat oblivious to other criminal activity to maintain a heightened ability to observe a red SUV. Sometimes focus lock is the result of a distraction, like looking at a social media feed on a smartphone. There are times when focus lock is acceptable, or even desirable—just choose those times intentionally.
The orange state is mentally taxing and cannot be sustained for long periods. Neither can red—action mode, where all focus is on the emergency at hand. Black is panic mode, which is a breakdown in physical and mental abilities. Panic is a stress response often associated with fear, and it has no survival value.
These levels have varying shades, and the mind can easily transition from level to the next. Bypassing levels under stress is difficult, though, and surprises tend to make people skip over different levels. We have all experienced being startled awake by a simple phone call that poses no threat. If the startle out of white mode—whether the person was asleep or just zoned out—came from imminent danger, panic is more likely to set in. Actively choosing when you are in the white or unfocused level of SA will help to mitigate the risk of such surprise escalations.
White should be reserved for places that you reasonably believe you are safe, such as your home. If you need to relax or focus on your phone in an unfamiliar area, take a moment to familiarize yourself with the nearest entrances and exits. This way, if an emergency startles you out of white mode, you can orient your escape faster. Mobility is survivability.
Yellow should be the goal when in public or at work. Being prepared, alert, and relaxed allows access to both systems of thinking, and it is sustainable for long periods. When something is observed that requires greater focus, it is easy to transition from yellow to orange. In the rare instances the situation requires an emergency action, progression from orange to red is efficient. Typically, a de-escalation from orange back to yellow is easy.
For most people, safety is the norm, and most of our patterns of life are routine. Recognizing these normal patterns as the baseline makes changes, or anomalies, more obvious. This also reduces what we have to observe. It does, however, require you to be alert.
Developing good habits and practicing them are critical to sustaining SA. And, because people are almost always the greatest risk, a system of observing people is vital. Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart, is credited with instructing employees to make eye contact and greet every customer they meet. Many major luxury hotel chains used this concept to create the 10/5 rule for guest interactions.
This makes for excellent customer service, but with a little understanding of what makes people dangerous, it enhances SA by engaging system one thinking to identify potential threats. A slight modification to the rule is the 20/10 guide: At around 20 feet away, make eye contact and either smile at the person or maintain a neutral expression. Quickly glance at the person to notice their attire and any objects they are carrying. At around 10 feet away, offer a friendly greeting. This approach allows you to notice carried objects, body language, and facial expressions.
Facial expressions can be an effective way to estimate the emotion of someone near you. Research studies have shown people can identify six basic categories of emotions: happiness, surprise, sadness, anger, fear, and disgust. The emotional expressions of a dangerous person are most likely to be fear and anger, but a broader SA approach should consider other factors such as carried objects and body language, not just facial expressions. Another element to consider is if the facial expression aligns with the general mood of the situation. For instance, a person showing disgust at a political rally, when most other people are happy, could be a concern.
In almost all cases, the person most responsible for your safety is you. To quote retired special operations veteran and author Patrick McNamara, “You are the agent in charge of your own personal protection detail.” In crowded environments, pay attention to the general mood of the crowd. Is it relaxed, anxious, happy, volatile? If people sense danger or intend to inflict violence, their demeanours will change. If you are attuned to these moods or atmospherics, you can respond more quickly.
Atmospherics describes the collective attitudes or mood within an environment. Sometimes that is controlled by the space, such as a casino that wants you to stay longer, but other times atmospherics are driven by the people around you. If you have ever arrived at a friend’s home and interrupted a spousal quarrel, you understand. No one needed to tell you something was off.
Reading atmospherics helps in crowded public places because it is impossible to scan everyone. Universal indicators of imminent danger—like a person aiming a weapon, major anomalies, or changes to the baseline—are easily observed. But other indicators are more subtle. Rather than trying to observe everyone, there are groups of people that, absent an overt hostile act, can be statistically discounted as a threat. Outliers exist in any statistical groupings, but past attacks indicate that members of these groups do not pose a significant risk of an active shooter type attack.
Families. While family groups are usually uninvolved in mass violence events, this does not mean attackers cannot pose as a family to try and lessen their profile.
Children younger than 10. The 1998 Westside Middle School shooting was carried out by an 11-year-old and a 13-year-old. After triggering a fire alarm to force evacuation, the killers waited in the woods to ambush staff and students, killing five and wounding 10. However, young children have rarely been perpetrators of mass violence incidents.
Men older than 70. This age may increase. The killer in the Las Vegas Route 91 Harvest Music Festival shooting was 64, and the shooter in the 2010 U.S. Holocaust Museum shooting that killed a museum special police officer was 88 years old.
Groups of intended users. A group of five or more people who are using the location for its intended purpose are unlikely to pose a threat of mass violence, such as an active shooter. However, an attacker could attempt to piggyback or join intended users to soften his or her profile. Large groups may be a greater risk for assault, as being part of a group can lead to heightened emotional states that include excitement, anger, and hostility.
Watching people is critical, but not enough. SA requires understanding your environment. An operational environment analysis (OEA) is the process of assessing a location as it pertains to your safety. Far less in depth than a security assessment, an OEA involves locating exits or paths of escape, defining intended users, and determining patterns of movement and typical behavior, which can include attire and carried objects. Understanding the environment enhances your ability to make decisions when it is time to act. Pay special attention to places where you spend the most time.
At home. Consider interior rooms that could provide a layer of safety from an intruder or severe weather. Ensure these areas have access to communication and tools for protection. Note all paths of escape, including windows. Practice opening them or place an object nearby to break and clear away glass.
At work. Consider areas that will provide protection—remember that thin walls or cubicles offer little to no cover from gunfire. Evading a human threat may be your best option. Locate objects that could provide cover along paths of escape. In a rapid evacuation, most people will attempt to flee via their same path of entry. This causes unacceptable risks and delays. At the 2003 fire at the Station nightclub in Rhode Island, the vast majority of the incident’s 100 victims became trapped at the main entrance, despite numerous other exits and ground floor windows.
Escaping a building via a window may be the best option in an emergency. Obviously lower windows are safer, but there is no way to guarantee safety.
Escaping from a ground floor window offers virtually no risk. From the second floor (10 feet), a jump is highly survivable if the person’s head is protected, but leg injuries are possible. From the third floor (20 feet), serious injuries should be expected, but the fall is survivable if the head is protected. Dropping from above 25 feet poses an extreme risk to life. The higher the distance, the lower the probability of survival.
A 2005 French study, Prognostic factors in victims of falls from height, examined 287 victims of falls. Factors that determined survivability included height of fall, age, impact surface nature, and body part that first touches the ground. In this study, 100 percent of falls from higher than 30 meters (98 feet) were fatal. Knowing the approximate height of windows before an emergency helps prepare people to make decisions under stress.
“In a moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the worst thing you can do is nothing,” said U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt. The predictive element of SA allows people to prepare for action. In a time-critical situation, you simply cannot allow perfect to be the enemy of good.
In the OODA loop, observe and orient are elements of situational awareness. Decide and act complete the cycle, and they represent situational action.
The amount of time you have to decide or formulate a plan is dependent upon a number of factors that are likely out of your control. When time is of the essence, it may be necessary to sacrifice perfection for timeliness. One philosophy is to aim for an 80 percent solution, meaning that the decision maker can move quickly to implement a plan that most likely addresses most of the problem. In an emergency, recognizing the extent of peril and rapidly developing an 80 percent solution can save lives compared to taking the time to attempt to develop a theoretically perfect response.
While the 80 percent approach has countless non-emergency applications, in an emergency, the priority must be saving lives. For instance, if an active shooter is in a crowded school hallway, an 80 percent solution could be ordering students to run away from the shooter to the nearest exit. Is this response perfect? No. There could be another shooter, and this rapid evacuation will make student accountability a challenge. However, the response will likely remove the most students from direct contact with a shooter as fast as possible. SA comes into play here as well—it helps people better predict danger and quickly develop a plan of action.
A key premise of the 80 percent solution is training. In an emergency, people do not rise to the occasion—they drop to their lowest level of training. If they are unprepared, fear will bring about panic and system two thinking will shut down and greatly reduce problem-solving abilities. It is imperative that organizations provide sufficient training so that 80 percent solutions are viable.
Proper training should instill the confidence to react under stress. An 80/20 solution accepts an imperfect plan and embraces change during execution. For instance, if a shooter is in a classroom, the priority must be to enter the classroom. There are numerous unknowns: Do I have adequate firepower? Where is the shooter in the room? Will students be in the way? A theoretically perfect plan may attempt to address these issues, but the cost is time. Sufficient training prepares an officer to move forward with an 80 percent solution that prioritizes entry.
Fear and panic are connected. But in an emergency, fear is manageable; panic can be deadly.
Fear is generally classified as an emotion, whereas panic is defined as a physical response to stress. We can feel fear with panic, and we can panic without fear. When fear and panic are combined, the experience is more severe and can be termed extreme survival stress. This process starts with an observation that is perceived as threat to survival. Once the threat is perceived, absent a more logical survival plan, the brain’s amygdala sends an all-systems alert that triggers extreme survival stress or a severe level of black on Cooper’s Color Code.
Symptoms of extreme survival stress—none of which are conducive to surviving a modern-day emergency—include freezing, irrational decision making, submissive behavior, perception of slowed movement or time, high heart rate, shaking, or poor communication.
Surprise, when coupled with fear, can initiate panic and extreme survival stress. Often, SA can prevent or mitigate the surprise, preventing the subsequent stress response. If you have observed a person, oriented their movement, attire, body language and/or facial expression, and predicted that something is off, you are less likely to be surprised if the person is violent. Ideally, that prediction will prompt an 80 percent solution if things escalate. If you failed to observe the person until he or she is already in the process of an attack, panic is far more likely.
When properly honed, SA is your most valuable survival tool. It isn’t a mystical force, or a superpower limited to special operations. SA is a mental process that can be enhanced by comprehending how it works, observing people, understanding your environment, and continually improving your knowledge about the patterns of life.
Reposted from The Art Newspaper
Taking up the charge of its nearly 100-year history as the oldest and largest art museum in Kentucky, the Speed Art Museum in Louisville has made its mission to create opportunities for the entire community to connect deeply and personally with art. My colleagues and I believe that in order to be truly inclusive, museums must represent their communities holistically and engage directly with the issues that are most important to the people they serve.
In March 2020, when the tragedy and injustice of Breonna Taylor’s killing during a raid by Louisville Metro Police Department rocked the community and ignited a spark throughout the country, the museum (under the leadership of my predecessor, Stephen Reily) knew it was time to act. The question was not “Should we respond to this moment?” or even “How do we respond to this moment?” but rather “What do we believe we can offer to the community at this time, and what is the best way to do it?” Amy Sherald’s generous offer to exhibit her portrait of Taylor planted the seeds for Promise, Witness, Remembrance, the Speed’s 2021 exhibition reflecting on Taylor’s life, death and the year of protests that followed. The objective was to use art to provide a platform and timely resources for open discussion, deep personal reflection and community healing.
Curated by Allison Glenn, the exhibition was guided by a national advisory panel supporting the curatorial process; a research committee to gather public feedback; and a local steering committee of Bipoc (Black, Indigenous and people of colour) residents, assembled by Toya Northington, the Speed’s community engagement strategist, to ensure the exhibition and programming reflected the perspectives of local community members. Taylor’s family, in particular her mother, were integrally involved with every decision; the museum could not have earned the trust of the community without first earning their blessing and support. The confluence of these groups made it possible to take the exhibition from idea to reality in a matter of months, and represented the next extension of the Speed’s leadership and engagement model—demonstrating that embracing an iterative process and opening up the very workings of the institution allows for a real-time, effective response to community needs.
Promise, Witness, Remembrance resonated deeply with the Louisville community and with audiences around the country, creating opportunities for conversation and catharsis that bridged connections between highly personal experiences with gun violence and the national outcry over racial injustice. But Taylor’s unjust killing was far from an isolated incident; in 2021 alone, Kentucky saw almost 400 deaths from gun violence, disproportionately affecting Black residents, and the state continues to face stark racial and class disparities across education, housing, policing and incarceration, health outcomes and other key indicators of systemic inequity that ripple through the Louisville community.
When I arrived at the Speed in September 2021, shortly after the exhibition had closed, I knew we must make a commitment to carry forward these lessons on the power of listening and engagement, incorporating them more deeply on an institutional level. By taking an approach that is community-driven and draws on the existing strengths and capacities of the people, the Speed has transformed its programming to reflect the needs and voices of its public, broadening its audience and continuously adapting to new input and opportunities.
A cornerstone of the Speed’s public programming is Community Connections, a workshop series that creates a platform for marginalized community members to explore new modes of self-expression and collective reflection through art-making and discussion. Launched in 2018, the program partners with existing community groups to facilitate opportunities that fulfill a need or address an ongoing issue.
One recent project, The Promise, is a direct extension of this commitment to respond directly to issues facing Louisville’s Black community. Led by the multimedia artist Roberto Visani, the three-month programme brought together Black community members who have been affected by gun violence to explore the history of firearms in the US, learn about artists whose work involves guns and create their own new works, currently on view at the Speed (until 23 October). Crucially, The Promise is structured as a participatory action research project, using a deeply intentional framework and methodology to help community members capture their own experiences in a way that emphasises ownership, agency and advocacy for social change.
Since Promise, Witness, Remembrance, we have expanded the local steering committee to an institutional level, advising on initiatives from programming and exhibitions to hiring and external communications. The research committee has also continued, ensuring the museum is serving the community effectively. We have expanded relationships with local organisations deeply rooted in the Black community, creating lasting partnerships that maximise shared resources and reach. This summer, we also created two new roles to continue this crucial work, with Northington becoming our inaugural director of equity, inclusion and belonging and Fari Nzinga spearheading new, intersectional education initiatives as curator of academic engagement and special projects.
Reposted from Security Management Magazine
During a crisis or major event it can be easy to focus on the matter at hand. But malicious actors often seek such distractions to use them to their advantage, so security professionals need to think critically about their vulnerabilities to limit opportunities for harm.
Many organizations have gone to great lengths to secure their facilities, whether that is a single building or an entire compound. But as adversaries’ capabilities advance and attack planning cycles accelerate due to the increased availability of open-source information, the days when an organization’s physical security program started at the perimeter fence are behind us.
This new era requires security programs and initiatives that prevail both inside and outside of the perimeter. Security professionals need to think like an adversary, constantly envisioning how a current event—whether planned or unplanned—could be used to an attacker’s advantage.
The traditional layered approach to physical security is a combination of the perimeter, external structure measures, and internal building measures. This involves identifying the sector and regional risks, designing and incorporating appropriate security measures for each layer, arranging for contract guard services, implementing standard operating procedures (SOPs), and exercising plans on a regular basis. Some security programs also use advanced countermeasures and technology, including drones.
Outside the perimeter, certain security initiatives can be implemented to provide an expanded, layered approach to security. Proactive security professionals leverage extensive intelligence networks, and—in some cases—these include confidential informants. Further capitalizing on threat intelligence, security leaders have engaged with regional fusion centers and benefited from industry and law enforcement organizations that share threat intelligence and situational awareness information.
Security leaders take the time to educate their teams through awareness programs, such as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s “See Something, Say Something” campaign, and communicate good practices to staff, contractors, and businesses and organizations in the area. The more individuals who provide natural surveillance and report any suspicious activity, the greater the likelihood of thwarting an attack. And while these measures help with day-to-day security, they can also come in handy during atypical times.
Around the globe, natural disasters regularly disrupt operations, whether they occur with little forewarning—like derechos, earthquakes, or tornados—or advance notice, including hurricanes or typhoons. Critical incidents have similar divisions: human-caused accidents like train derailments or incident-triggered civil unrest can be unexpected, while other events like parades, sporting events, or festivals can be planned months ahead of time.
Any of these events can impact staffing, disrupt public works, and impact the availability of first responders. If an organization is not prepared, these changes provide bad actors with the opportunity to take advantage of distractions to possibly gain access to a facility. Criminals may seek to steal products if the opportunity is right, or may take advantage of an event to conduct an orchestrated theft of intellectual property. On a larger scale, ideology-driven violent extremists are committed to disrupting and crippling critical infrastructure for their cause, and a major event often sparks concern that threat actors will attack during the confusion.
“During an unusual event or critical incident that impacts a facility, it is the perfect time for an enemy to accelerate their planning process and launch an intrusion or attack,” says Brad Baker, a retired federal supervisory special agent and current security consultant. Baker has conducted physical security assessments and training for federal and private facilities worldwide. “An initial attack or unusual event may simply be utilized as a diversionary tactic in which the main attack will occur at a different breach point. It is imperative that security forces remain vigilant and be prepared for bad actors—whose mission is to take advantage of the current situation—to launch a follow-on attack.”
To maintain a heightened level of awareness, security professionals may find themselves reviewing daily weather forecasts to understand what events could impact their facility and community. Weather-related events can wreak havoc on critical infrastructure and associated facilities. Beyond that impact, incidents can stress security assignments and create an unusually high workload for the community’s first responders and public works services. There is also significant stress associated with disruptions to employees’ personal lives. This is often overlooked, but it should be addressed through family assistance programs or other means to allow employees to focus on their work.
To map out where an organization can boost its preparedness, consider four scenarios.
Unexpected weather. Your hypothetical facility has been affected by an unexpected thunderstorm. Torrential rain saturates the ground, accompanied by lightning, which interferes with your buried perimeter detection systems. The wind-driven rain limits the visibility of your external security cameras. Facility guards are still required to complete their patrol rounds, whether this is a walking route or one that can be done using a vehicle, but their visibility and comfort level are compromised. In addition, your facility might experience power or communications outages that—without a backup power source—can render some security countermeasures ineffective.
Meanwhile, a bad actor may see this as an excellent opportunity to execute an intrusion or attack, banking on the storm impacting your security plans.
From a security continuity perspective, how can you mitigate the potential effect of this situation? Consider installing a backup generator or microgrid and ensure all security systems are prioritized to be fed from this alternate power source. For mobile communications, do not rely on a single carrier. Instead, have devices or mobile hotspots available from an alternative carrier.
Your security plan should include a section or annex that outlines any revised SOPs for these types of situations, Baker says. This includes various mandates: call in extra personnel to increase guard levels; order activated perimeter patrols to ensure that intruders have not accessed the grounds; or lock down some entrances so that personnel can focus on securing a reduced number of ingress points.
Consider what steps adversaries could use to take advantage of the event, and then your team should develop processes that would counter a malicious actor’s potential actions.
Expected weather. You are the security leader for an organization with facilities across the United States, some of which are in a hurricane-prone area. A large tropical storm is forming, and it is expected to remain a tropical storm with winds of less than 70 miles per hour. One of your coastal facilities is in its path, so a decision is made to provide additional support by sending security personnel from your inland facilities. Your public information officer announces this decision on social media to show your organization’s response to the event, so the movement of security staff is now open knowledge.
Bad actors who have been surveilling your organization see this announcement and realize that your inland facilities will have temporary security personnel shortages. They also determine through research, open-source information, and their own surveillance that your organization has not invested in state-of-the-art countermeasures and is very dependent on a security force to monitor and control facility access. Their interest is piqued by your research and development (R&D) laboratory at one inland facility. Your organization is about to beta test a new chemical mixture and manufacturing process, and one of the bad actors determines that this intellectual property could be a valuable target.
By thinking like an adversary, you understand that because of the reduction in security staffing and the lack of in-depth countermeasures, your inland facilities will be more exposed to an intrusion. After an employee—who has embraced the “See Something, Say Something” initiative—reported someone parked down the street taking pictures of your facility, your concern is heightened further.
The facility security plan in this case cannot be focused solely on just one facility because the sites in the storm’s path justifiably need more staff. But the annex in your security plan should emphasize that due to the R&D lab’s risk profile, this facility should provide fewer personnel to the coastal facility than other sites. With the staff that does remain, the SOP annex should address the implementation of extended hours—including overtime pay—for the security staff. Consider having a pre-approved, vetted vendor on call to supplement some of your staffing needs with mobile video surveillance and camera monitoring or alarm verification services.
“It is critical that security leaders have established, vetted suppliers long before a storm, natural disaster, or civil unrest to support them,” says Marc Bognar, CPP, a security consultant with 40 years of experience in security services.
“As the storm or civil unrest is bearing down, it is often too late as suppliers will already have committed their resources, and any remaining resources will be very costly and could prove unreliable. Make sure you vet your intended supplier well in advance of the potential need to ensure they meet your insurance, state, and local licensing requirements,” adds Bognar, who has planned and executed multiple security team deployments during natural disasters, civil disturbances, and other crises.
“Do your due diligence to ensure they really have a plan and the resources to support you,” he continues. “Keep in mind that their local employees will also be impacted by a natural disaster and may struggle to support your needs. Having a plan to bring employees from outside of the impacted area is a good approach, but requires you to vet how they will house, feed, and transport employees. Although some jurisdictions will waive local licensing requirements during a natural disaster, provided the employees are similarly licensed in another jurisdiction, such a decision or declaration can take time.”
Planned event. In honor of a national holiday, your city announced a three-day celebration and a parade eight weeks from today. City officials expect huge crowds during each day of this festivity, and the parade route will feature entertainment and street vendors.
In reviewing the parade schedule, you identify that more than a dozen street vendor tents will be set up along Main Street, which runs along the south side of your building. A concert stage will be in the park across from your building, and the two streets on the east and west of your facility will be closed at their intersections with Main Street, although parking will still be permitted up to the road closure signs. Due to several bridge and road projects—which will not be completed in time for the parade—traffic is expected to be congested.
A lone actor or criminal enterprise in your proximity may see this as an opportunity to conduct surveillance or execute an attack. They could rent a vendor space and sell a product or craft from the front of the tent while they utilize the back to plot and launch their activity. They know that the concert performers across the street will create loud music, which could drown out any noise from saws and drills, and the ensuing light shows will complicate the field of view for security personnel who are monitoring cameras. The crowds themselves, along with the parade, will provide escape cover and ultimately affect police response times if the criminals’ activities are discovered.
Luckily for your organization, you think like an adversary and have an annex in place to address all of this. Since you have a few months to prepare and exercise your plan, you will be ready, no matter what these bad actors have in mind.
As Bognar suggests, you have vetted and secured extra security staff that will be in place several days prior to, during, and after the parade. Earlier in the year, you conducted a tabletop exercise that included the regional representative from your vetted security contractor, so the group is familiar with your plans and SOPs.
Your annex identifies a revised video monitoring schedule so that each member of the monitoring staff views a reduced number of cameras. This enables them to become intimately familiar with every aspect of their assigned camera views, which means they can detect anomalies faster.
All building accent lighting hardware will be cleaned or replaced to ensure the best possible lighting. All ground floor windows have been reinforced, and you have limited building traffic by requesting that personnel work from home if they can during the days of the event.
Because you have already partnered with the regional fusion center, you solicit any relevant intelligence and suspicious activity reports (SARs) and share that information with your security staff.
You work with the city planning department to create a space between your building and the vendor’s tents, and you get approval to have jersey barriers placed at the back of the vendor tents. This move protects pedestrians on the sidewalk and restricts access to these tents to the front only, facing away from your building. You also work with the city to have it restrict all parking along the north side of your building, convincing officials to instead use this open street parking to position first responder vehicles.
Unplanned critical incident. An event—from a fuel price hike to an incident of violence—triggers civil unrest, and thousands take to the streets in defiance of curfews and police orders. Some bad actors within the large crowds are looking for every opportunity to damage property, interrupt commerce, and congest traffic while they protest. They have taken to social media and threatened to firebomb businesses in the area. Unfortunately, your building is next to the news station, which has been targeted by protesters in the past. Law enforcement is caught off-guard by the speed, size, and intensity of the protests, so it has diverted all of its nearby resources to this incident.
Your building is set back from the road and has two parking lots between the facility and the news station. One parking area is closer to the building, and the other connects through several brick walkways. Due to the essential services that you provide to the community, your building needs to remain open.
Your SOP annex for this type of situation has been prepared using industry best practices, and it has been exercised and validated. Upon learning of the protests, your security team immediately activates the annex. The front entrance near the news station is closed, and signs are posted directing visitors to the rear parking lot entrance, which you have fully staffed. Removeable driveway bollards are put into place, closing the parking lot closest to the building. The design of your landscaping—utilizing decorative rock walls, strategically placed trees, and water gardens in accordance with crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED) principles—makes it virtually impossible to drive a vehicle near the building. All deliveries to the property have been canceled until further notice.
Your lobby staff, which now includes a security guard, is protected by bullet-resistant acrylic. The steel-reinforced, magnetically locked doors leading from the lobby into the rest of the facility are in lockdown mode, and public access is restricted to the lobby. All meetings that involve non-personnel at the facility have been canceled. All these procedures limit the number of people entering the facility while narrowing points of access to enable more effective controls.
It is difficult to quantify deterrence, and you might never know if the measures taken have stopped an intrusion. A bad actor may show up at a facility prepared to attempt access, only to observe that the security team is one step ahead and his or her chances of success seem extremely limited. Security’s unsung success may cause people to question why the extra efforts were necessary, but security teams should not be deterred from staying vigilant.
The National Museum of Brazil (Museu Nacional-UFRJ) in Rio de Janeiro has unveiled the first phase of a phoenix project this week nearly four years after a fire gutted the historic institution and consumed most of its collection.
The museum had hoped to open one wing of the building in time for the Brazilian bicentennial of independence on 7 September but faced various financial and pandemic-related delays.
Instead, the Rio de Janeiro-based firms Velatura Restaurações and Construtora Biapó have completed the restoration of the museum’s façade, and marble statues that once flanked the museum’s roof are being exhibited in the adjoining Quinta da Boa Vista park. Replicas have been fabricated for the building to safeguard the originals.
Several other exhibitions, including a collection of minerals, will also be installed on the ground-floor of the museum and visible to visitors from the outside. The full building is now tentatively scheduled to reopen in 2027.
The museum had been underfunded and vulnerable to fire for years. After a series of warnings, an overheated air-conditioning unit caught fire on 2 September 2018 and quickly spread throughout the 122-room building. Within two hours, the museum itself, and more than 18 million pieces in its archive, had been destroyed.
Inspectors had warned of a fire risk as early as 2004. Just months before the fire, an anonymous public complaint was submitted to federal prosecutors by an architect who identified and photographed specific hazards throughout the building.
The tragedy prompted debate on the state of cultural funding in Brazil ahead of the election of the far-right president Jair Bolsonaro, following the appointment of the former president Michel Temer, whose administrations both imposed significant cuts on the cultural budget.
The museum’s director, Alexander Kellner, was appointed to the role around six months before the fire struck. “Of course, this is not something that anyone would like to happen in their career—I will go down in history as the director of the museum that caught fire,” he tells The Art Newspaper. “But as long as my health allows I’ll work to recuperate the museum because overcoming this tragedy can perhaps be an inspiration for other struggling museums in Brazil and throughout South America.”
Shortly after the fire, Kellner published an open letter to Brazil’s national congress and the country’s then presidential candidates calling for the government to reinforce cultural funding and further commit to reconstruction efforts. As the October presidential election looms, he hopes there will be “more gestures of goodwill from the government, and some promises of investment in culture”, because “currently there is close to zero”.
The renovation is estimated to cost around 380 million reais ($75m) but the final figure could reach around 500 million reais ($97m). The federal government has contributed around 300,000 reais ($58,000) each year. “It’s something but it’s peanuts in comparison to what we really need for the project,” Kellner says. “All the federal funding comes from tax deductions, which the ministry of education—the government—has to then approve.”
The Rio de Janeiro government has donated 55 million reais ($11m) and the Brazilian Development Bank has donated around 50 million reais ($10m); other significant endowments have come from private donors and foreign governments.
The São Paulo-based firm H+F Architects, led by Eduardo Ferroni and Pablo Hereñu, has overseen the interior renovation since 2020. According to Hereñu, the fire created a “violent intervention”, making visible parts of the building that would not have surfaced during a normal renovation.
Originally the home of the Portuguese slave trader Elias Antônio Lopes, the building became the residence of the Portuguese royal family in 1808 before becoming a museum in 1892. Throughout the process, it was remodeled and rebuilt and expanded several times. “Some of these layers have been hidden for more than a hundred years,” Hereñu says.
Once the renovation is complete, the architects hope the history of the building will be more visible. “We would like to make it easier for visitors to read this timeline through the building itself—to reveal the contradictions that exist here,” Hereñu says. “There were arches that were cut in the middle, windows hidden by new walls, paint covered by dozens of layers and many other elements that tell this complex story.”
When it reopens, the museum will inescapably be more modern. “We are attempting to conserve everything that survived. But, in many situations, everything was destroyed,” Hereñu says. “There will be a more contemporary atmosphere, with a mixture of elements conserved and restored.”
Before the fire, the museum had around 3,400 sq. m of exhibition space, within which 6,000 objects were displayed. The future museum will contain around 5,500 sq. m of exhibition space with the capacity to display around 10,000 objects.
One of the most significant parts of the project is rebuilding the museum’s collection, which included more than 20 million objects, including botanical specimens, Indigenous objects, meteorites, fossils and archaeological artefacts. The fire destroyed around 85% of the collection, not including around 15% that was stored in an external facility.
The museum has a “wish list” of objects it hopes will be donated by Brazilian and foreign institutions. Significant contributions so far include a promise from Unesco to donate 140 objects in total from each of its geoparks and a collection of botanical specimens from the Amazon from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
As Brazil seeks to re-establish its cultural identity through the restoration of its most significant institution, Kellner emphasises that it “needs to deserve this new material”, and it will “only prove that we deserve the materials if we rebuild the palace with the best safety measures in place”.
Around 50,000 objects were recovered from the fire. Among the works that survived was a 12,000-year-old skull nicknamed “Luzia”, the oldest human remains discovered in South America and a cornerstone of the museum’s collection. The Bendegó meteorite, the largest meteorite ever found in Brazil, discovered in 1784 in Bahia, was also found intact.
The federal organisations that administer the museum—the Instituto do Patrimônio Histórico e Artístico Nacional (Iphan) and the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro UFRJ—were recently accused of “irregularities” in the hiring process of companies involved in the reconstruction project.
According to a complaint that has now reached Congress, there has been a “triangulation that could reveal an evident game of marked cards and conflict of interest that has been fueling the flames of serious suspicion of corruption” in the project.
The complaint specifically states that a technical coordinator of the IPHAN, which was in charge of providing inspection services, is the son-in-law of two consultants contracted to produce proposals and guidelines for the reconstruction process. The investigation remains ongoing.
The purpose of training is to inspire a sense of confidence and competence where knowledge and skill are otherwise wanting. Training has no practical value without that animating purpose. Training that leaves participants terrorized, anxious, and bruised fails the foundational ideal that makes it meaningful.
Recent research, buttressed by a resurgence of common sense, suggests that the graphic, dramatized, flashy active shooter training that has become a staple in educational settings harms rather than helps.
The centerpiece of fashionable active shooter training is reality-based, scenario-based, or stress inoculation training (for better or worse, the terms have come to be used interchangeably).
Law enforcement did not forge the concept of stress inoculation or the edgy terminology that grew out of it. Law enforcement co-opted the concept from psychology, which used it to treat psychological conditions and phobias. Distilled to essentials, the idea was to introduce a person to the environment (or element thereof) exciting the traumatic response in controlled, measured, and rationally sequenced doses in a systematic effort to build tolerance against the trauma.
For psychologists, the focus is inoculation. For law enforcement trainers, the focus is stress.
In practice, for law enforcement, the concept devolved into heaping stress onto trainees with little regard for anything else. Stress became an end in itself—and the more elaborate and wild the stress, the “cooler” and “more real” the training seems. “Ready, stress, go!” became the clarion call of the high-octane trainer. The problem with this approach is that it contradicts the premise of stress inoculation. Heaping stress on trainees does not magically prepare them. On the contrary, it deepens the tendency to inaction and pathology.
Proper training can and should empower. Good, active-minded trainers remind themselves regularly that stress is not an end in itself but rather a means to achieve efficacy in real world encounters. There is no clear evidence that trainees are empowered to act with any degree of efficacy in real-world encounters after being confronted with potboiler scenarios teeming with juiced-up “bad guys” clad in imposing tactical gear, cutting edge weaponry, and thundering grenades, bursting into classrooms like modern day Mongols, capping teachers in the backs of their heads and spraying fake blood around, peppering the mayhem with occasional witty quips. On the contrary, such theater dials up anxiety.
There is nothing “real” about reality-based training. Reality-based is much like the “based on a true story” moniker designed to pique TV show viewership. Melodramatic half re-enactments induce stress. They do not, in themselves, help to manage stress. The result is a deepened sense of anxiety and helplessness.
By contrast, just like fire drills and evacuation drills, lockdown drills can be very effective precisely because they focus on developing simple, fluid mechanics in prescribed contexts. The basic mechanics, reinforced by regular practice, support action against stressors that would otherwise overwhelm someone asked, in effect, to improvise his or her way through the chaos. Just as with fire drills or evacuation drills, lockdown drills should be conducted with a focus on calm, deliberate action. And they work.
Where employed, lockdowns have impeded killers from gaining access to victims. Training scenarios should do essentially the same thing. They should focus on developing the right mind-set and mechanics in tightly scripted—not improvised—exercises designed to train, not test, such that action becomes second nature. Fire drills would never have worked if, while practicing the mechanics of calm, orderly evacuation, administrators ran about during drills while wielding flame throwers and screaming “Fire! Fire! The fire is going to get you!” But active shooter training for civilians—including children—teems with that sort of drama.
Additionally, consider: is the focus on mitigation justified by the data? Mass murderers do not emerge out of nowhere—kids do not snap suddenly. They telegraph their troubled intentions, generally more than once and in more than one way.
Court officials knew of the two killers at Columbine High School long before the massacre because they had been arrested before. And the courts recognized them as troubled; part of their plea after their arrest involved court-ordered counseling. Police, too, knew the two students. Indeed, police had prepared a warrant to search the room of Eric Harris based on, among other things, information that he had made terrorist threats. The warrant was never executed.
School officials and teachers had detected warning signs as well. The killers had written and turned in school projects praising the killing apparatus of the Nazis. At least one teacher expressed concern about what the praise might mean but without substantive follow-up. Some parents knew of the killers’ aberrant behavior and complained to police.
There were, in short, many inflection points but no coordinated, integrated response to interrupt the path to violence.
Columbine was not a one-off. Recent reports authored by the United States Secret Service confirm the pattern (see Protecting America’s Schools and Averting Targeted School Violence). These mass attackers engage in alarming behavior in 100 percent of the cases surveyed in school settings. This is an extraordinary statistic, not least because it screams of the opportunity to prevent these events before they happen. So why is the focal point of training on mitigation after violence commences? The priorities are inverted. Prevention should be the primary, though not exclusive, focus of training and policy.
Furthermore, it is important that threat assessment teams avoid cloistering themselves within the educational setting, as so often happens. Coordination is crucial. Lack of coordination results in missed opportunities, as Columbine and many other incidents illustrates. Effective threat assessment teams establish liaisons with counterparts in other agencies—law enforcement, district attorneys, family courts, and departments of mental health and youth services. Many agencies with unique powers and mandates coordinating effort to address the same threat afford a range of possibilities unavailable to a single organization. The value of an integrated approachcannot be overestimated.
Horror-film style, gory, simunition-riddled, semi-improvised theater that masquerades as training has provably failed. It has not reduced the number of active shooter incidents year over year. It has not diminished the number of deaths. It has not produced a civilian populace prepared to confront a killer. On the contrary, as argued, the evidence demonstrates that it has produced a civilian populace more anxiety-ridden than ever after the training. If training in school settings is to be mandated and supported by government funding, perhaps the dollars should go to protocols and practices that do not make the problem worse.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, the Strutt North Mill Museum, a historic 19th century textile mills located in Derbyshire’s picturesque Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site, attracted up 4,000 visitors a year.
The small museum houses a collection that includes a spinning mule, used to spin cotton, and an early mechanical knitting machine, as well as ephemera and objects such as handmade hosiery once worn by King George III and Queen Victoria. The museum preserved an important piece of the region’s local industrial history.
But in April this year the Strutt announced it would be permanently closing its doors to the public in September after losing a grant to the tune of £50,000 from the Amber Valley District Council, as part of the UK Budget Reduction Plan introduced in the wake of the pandemic.
John Layton, chairman of the Belper North Mill Trust, said the museum was “a very much loved local landmark” but that they had not been able to secure further public money because they do not own the building. “We are living in difficult economic times and there’s no easy solution,” he told The Art Newspaper.
Without funding, the museum is caught in a catch 22, unable to invest in improvements needed to boost visitor numbers to create more secure income streams less reliant on grants. A Labour MP on the Amber Valley District Council called the closure “an insult to local people past and present whose heritage and culture was celebrated in the museum."
The Strutt North Mill Museum is one of many regional museum and heritage sites across the UK that has struggled during the pandemic, when national closures fell during the peak season between Easter and September—a time when heritage sites anticipate earning 70% of their annual turnover. Some heritage charities, according to Heritage Alliance, have seen their non-grant income fall by up to 90% over the last two years.
Future remains unclear
While many heritage sites have steadily re-opened, there are now new challenges to face: the impact of the current cost of living crisis, loss of staff and public engagement, and rising fuel and energy prices are still yet uncertain, and the future for many is unclear.
Anne Young, the director of strategy and innovation at the Heritage Fund— one of the key funders of the UK’s heritage projects—framed the situation the sector is facing unequivocally as the "gravest threat since the Second World War".
In May, Art Fund published the results of their nationwide museum directors report, compiled from responses from 200 directors across the country. The outlook remains grim, with the cost of living crisis posing a looming threat and challenge to both staff and audiences, while emergency funding made available during the pandemic no longer accessible.
“The true impact of past cuts and future losses will be felt sharply and deeply," the Art Fund report says. “The cost of living crisis looms large in discussions about staffing, with concerns particularly focused on the lowest paid staff and those living in rural areas needing to commute to work.” Meanwhile, the data reports reduced visitor numbers for 2021-2022: down 39% compared to pre-pandemic figures.
Cautious optimism and resilience
Yet despite this, others are cautiously optimistic. Respondents to the first survey sent in February 2022 as part of a new directive launched by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, UK Heritage Pulse project, were surprisingly positive. Of 277 respondents (a number that is indicative rather than comprehensively representative), confidence in survival over the next six months averaged 4.3 out of 5. This is a vastly differently outlook to a similar survey conducted by the organisation in 2020, when 37% of respondents felt they would not survive more than six months.
It may be the case that the true effects of the current crisis are not yet being felt—but the pandemic has perhaps made organisations more resilient and adaptable. A spokesperson at English Heritage, a charity responsible for over 400 monuments, buildings and sites across England, including Stone Henge, Hadrian’s Wall and Dover Castle, reflected a similar sentiment.
“We’re not seeing any immediate impact, although it’s something we are monitoring very closely. In terms of visitors to our sites, we’ve had a relatively positive start to the financial year, but it is early days, people are still making their plans as to how they’re going to spend their time—and money. Rising fuel prices may mean reduced numbers at those sites that can only be reached by car or a delay in the recovery of inbound tourism. However, some of that risk may be mitigated by the fact that the current airport disruption might encourage domestic visits while the weaker pound sterling might improve the UK’s attraction as an international holiday destination.”
In 2021, in addition to a surge in memberships, English Heritage saw an increased number of visitors at smaller, local sites such as Barnard Castle in Durham, Boscobel House, Shropshire, and Wrest Park, Bedfordshire, which recorded its highest visitor numbers to date.
The support of the local community seems paramount to an organisation’s success. On 15 June, Colchester Museums announced that a planned exhibition on witchcraft and magic at Colchester Castle could go ahead thanks to a crowdfunding campaign that raised more than £15,000. The majority 200 donors were local people who contributed even “at a time of great financial hardship for many families,” says Pamela Cox, Colchester Borough Council member.
Ultimately, economic instability and global politics might be driving a shift in perception of local heritage sites and their importance as part of the social fabric and identity of communities where people are increasingly rooted and invested. As English Heritage suggests: “These are the places where history happened; these historic sites bring us solace and refreshment, because they have survived, because they're still standing—and because the stories they tell us help give perspective in uncertain times.”
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