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A Risk and Threat Assessment-Security Management


ARisk and Threat Assessment-Security Management

Theimportance of security management cannot be gainsaid as far as thestability of an organization is concerned. This is especiallyconsidering that security determines the level of utility thatindividuals derive from other freedoms. Unfortunately, thecontemporary human society has been met with numerous challenges toits security. These challenges have been changing both in magnitudeand in intensity, especially considering the advent of technology.Needless to say, there are some environments and entities that aremore vulnerable to security threats than others. Indeed, thecontemporary human society has seen an increase in some forms ofsecurity threats such as terrorism, which target particular entitieswhere they can inflict maximum damage. Some of the most vulnerableplaces in the United States are airports especially considering theSeptember 11 terrorist attacks. The increased vulnerabilitynecessitates that these entities put in place varied measures thatenhance their security. This is the case for Minneapolis Saint PaulInternational Airport.


Locatedwithin the Minneapolis and St. Paul area in Minnesota Minneapolis,Saint Paul International Airport is ranked the 17thbusiest airport in U.S.A and 41stin the world. Considering that the airport holds such a huge numberof passengers, it’s only of much importance that it has anexcellent organizational plan that takes care of all departments andensures a seamless interaction of the various departments in order tohave a flawless coordination of activities. As such, MinneapolisSaint Paul International Airport’s organizational structure isdesigned in a way that modern security systems has been employed inall corners of the airport, which includes leveraging on the latesttechnology in security.

Followingthe terror attacks in September 2001 in America, the U.S governmenttook upon itself to form the transportation and securityadministration (TSA), an agency that would be deployed in the all thecountry’s transport systems to enhance the screening of passengersin order to deal with any security breaches. As such, MinneapolisSaint Paul International Airport police department works hand in handwith the TSA. The two agencies are majorly concerned withintelligence on any terrorism activities and work together to ensurea safe and secure environment for anybody using the airport, be it apassengers or employees.

Inline with this, security in the airport is enhanced in ways such asconducting security screening to anyone that access the facility. Assuch TSA conducts screening on one international checkpoint, sixlocal check points on the ticketing areas, in addition to the skywaysecurity checkpoint. This also sees security check points open atapproximately the same time as the ticket counters, though this iswith an exception of the employees. The Skyway security checkpointis however open for a few hours to keep it secures from aerialsecurity threats.

Whenit comes to handling of equipment’s, TSA has gone on to put anumber of advanced imaging technology machines. With such technology,TSA is cable of detecting a wide range of security threats totransport in a matter of seconds, hence are well placed to protectthe passengers and crews. TSA in conjunction with the airport’spolice have also placed in mechanisms for PreCheck screening system,which is an expedited screening initiative aimed at enhancingaviation security. This is done by placing more focus on prescreeningpassengers in order to accelerate their travel experience. Theprocess allows passengers to leave their shoes on, gels and aerosolsand laptops in their carry bags as they go through the screeningmachines. TSA has further collaborated with the American border andprotection customs as well as the American airlines as a part of thepre-flight screening program. TSA has also been involved inpre-selecting persons to participate for individual flights testingwhereby, passengers are able to learn whether they are eligible forthe expedited screening process. This has been done all in theefforts to come up with secure and fast screening processes that arenon-intrusive to the passengers privacy and take a shorter time toconduct the screening.

Thelatest efforts to enhance airport security saw a new securitycheckpoint unveiled at the airport in the year 2012. This is a sixlane security screening checkpoint in terminal 2 that was purposed toincrease processing efficiency and reduce the waiting time. Thealready working five lane checkpoints were also remodeled toaccommodate advanced screening equipment.

Assessmentof the strength of security system in the airport

Airportsecurity is one of the biggest challenges of all airports since theyare prime targets for terrorist attacks. The magnitude of air travelthat is experienced at Minneapolis Saint Paul International Airportis such big that it is a potential terror target hence the need forintense security as an absolute requirement. With regard toMinneapolis Saint Paul International Airport security system, thekind of man power and technology put in place is high-quality whichhighlights how strong their security system is. Prioritized strengthsin the airport’s security system can be seen in the amount oftechnology put in place. In this line, the top notch screening ofpassengers using metal detectors and explosive detection mechanismsonly highlights how effective is the security system (Price andForrest, 2013)

Themeasure to enhance security has seen Minneapolis Saint PaulInternational Airport have its food outlets start using plasticutensils as opposed to making use of glasses designed of glass andother metal utensils to reduce their usage as weapons. A check at thesensitive areas in the airport shows that sensitive area such asoperational spaces and ramps are restricted from the general public.This to a great way minimizes any security threats highlighting theeffectiveness of the security system.

Fornon-passengers checking in the airport to receive their friends andrelatives, they are now no longer allowed on the concourses. As such,non-passengers are required to acquire a gate pass to for them toaccess the secure sections of the airport. The main reason for thisis that a non-passenger is required to have a gate pass that can alsobe used to enable both children and the elderly have access thesensitive, high security areas in the airport. In case of any plansto have business meetings inside the airport’s secure areas, anotice of at least 24 hours must be given to arrange for theiraccommodation. This helps to keep off people who may have other,motives have access to the airport high sensitive security areas.

Anotherpriority security strength of the Minneapolis Saint PaulInternational airport is the employing of fiber optic perimeterdetection system. with the use of such systems, the airport securitycan locate detect any interference to the secured perimeter, while atthe same time ensuring instantaneous notification, which allows thesecurity to assess the threat, and neutralize it accordingly..

Generally,passengers, as well as those receiving those who are arriving gothrough thorough screening by the airport security and directed toareas where exit gates to aircrafts are located. Minneapolis SaintPaul International Airport has further employed an ultramodern methodof intelligence gathering that are very well suited to counter anyacts of terrorism.

Thesecurity system employed by TSA is one of the most advanced andinnovative multi-level surveillance and intelligence gathering systemwhich is able to monitor the entire airport and give real timesituational awareness to whoever is in charge of security. Theconcept is a priority strength security in that it is based onintegrating and merging data from different kinds of real timesensors. The data generated provides an evaluation of all the ongoingholistic view of the airport’s security. The up to secondinformation is thus shared between ass the security authorities tokeep them updated and able to detect any security threat. Thisfurther allows decision makers in the security sector have asituational assessment and are able interlink effectively indetermining the most effective way to neutralize any threats (Priceand Forrest, 2013)

However,some weaknesses are still prevalent in the system in various areas.This can be seen in the sense that the fact that the airport has twopolice units, both the airport police and TSA, conflict of roles mayarise at times which may give a leeway for security breach. As such,the conflict in roles may see passengers fly though under suspiciouscircumstances. This may happen whereby the counter-terrorist policeare unable to sort out what “terrorists” are carrying and do nottake the initiative to question (Price and Forrest, 2013). In a casewhere the security officials are unable to tell what exactlypassengers are carrying though it does not look like it poses anysecurity threats leading to a security breach hence endangering thelives of everyone in the airport.

Vulnerabilitiesof the security system can also be seen in the sense that most threatdetections still work as stand-alone detection systems, some withunacceptably high rates of false alarms combined with slow output.The individual systems further impose high demands on the individualoperators. Such challenges may end up putting unwarranted pressure onsecurity operators which may lead to lapses and expose the entiresystem to security threats. To get a better understanding of this,consider, for instance, a team of terrorists aiming to place anexplosive device on a passenger aircraft. If they managed to separatethe elements of the explosive, then each of them may be able to getthrough security screening individually and assemble the device onceinside the aircraft. With the challenges that come with standalonedetection systems, terrorists could find their way into the plane,which is a weakness in the security system.

Itis also worth noting that part of the major activities of thesecurity checks is dependent observation skills of the securityagents. As such, security personnel must be able to identifysuspicious looking individuals or items and neutralize the potentialsecurity threat. However, the security checks are characterized byrecurrent and monotonous activities, making the security agents proneto lack of concentration. This means that their lack of concentrationis a threat to security to some extent considering that a passengercarrying error items may slip through.

Assessmentof the influence of crime and criminology in Airports

Federalinvestigators in various cases have identified lapses when it comesto screening in various country’s airports through the use thecomplete body scanners. This is despite Department of HomelandSecurity allocating over 90 million dollars to replace the old magnetmeters with the controversial X-ray body scanning equipments intendedto sense items that are not sensed by the metal detector which showsthat there were suspected security faults with them (Elia, 2010). Inconnection with this, the Journal of Transportation Security had theview that terrorists could still use the system to fool some of thescreening equipments by swallowing explosive gadgets..

Accordingto my own assessment about influence of crime and criminology inairports, security threat reports from various security studiesconducted by the TSA reveals that crime is still very much prevalentin airports despite the technological efforts put in place to counterthe vice. The major cause of alarm from the TSA officials was theprospect that their security agents could be breached. Insider threathas been and is still one of the main concerns to the aviationindustry.

In2008, TSA experimented on various ways that can be employed inairport screening processes in a bid to compare the benefits, costs,and impacts of the whole process. The pilot study was designed andput into practice with the help of the Homeland Security Institute.The findings quite shocking if the indicators were anything to go by.Additionally, there has been growing criticism pertaining to a numberof screening policies that TSA has adopted including securitypat-downs administered on young children, as well as travelers whoare aged 90 and above (Elia, 2010). Nevertheless, TSA has come outstrongly against such criticism and underlined the persistentinterest that terrorists have had on commercial aviation. TSAjustifies its actions by noting that counterterror officials havetime and again had intelligence on renewed interests fro terroristswho were surgically implanting bombs in their bodies in a bid toescape being caught by the airport security agents.

Sincethe September 11th2001 attacks, the Minneapolis/Saint Paul International Airport hasrevamped its entire screening workforce, with vast investments beingmade in an effort to enhance technology, which has been set upacross all parts of the country. Of particular note is the fact thatthese developments have not deterred passengers from making it to theairport even in cases where they should not have. Indeed, there havebeen cases where cell phone-sized stun guns have come up in planesearches. As much as it was commonly believed that the guns were notaimed at being used in attacks, the episode underlines the deficiencyin screening techniques used. This triggered the carrying out ofinvestigations were carried out in an effort to determine how and whysuch weapons could make it inside the plane. This was undoubtedlyevidence of security lapse. On the same note, such incidents wherethe three layers of security at the Minneapolis/Saint PaulInternational Airport have proved ineffective are common withpassengers boarding the planes with expired passports and boardingpasses. There are also cases whereby some passengers have refused tobe screened hence become subject to extreme bodily pat downs. Assuch, many of them have complained the process was overboard withsome of them complaining that they were being sexually harassed..Some citizens have even gone ahead and sued the government, withallegation that the screening machines tore into the citizen’sright to privacy.. A federal appeals court went on to side with theauthorities though acknowledged that the government did not fullycomply with the regulations in the law when it brought about the useof the contentious screening machines (Elia, 2010).

Inairport situations, thieves are usually opportunists explaining whychance theft is one of the major security threats at airports. Insuch cases fatigued or preoccupied travelers, can be easy robberytargets. It is also worth noting that security checkpoints can notcomprehensively deal with all potential criminals. This is becauseeven though only ticketed travelers can pass through, someopportunistic thieves can make it through and slip away with otherpassenger’s belongings without their knowledge.

Additionally,leaving your luggage and any other property without anybody checkingon it only tempts thieves and in the process causing immenselogistical challenges for people in the airport.. It is commonnowadays to see, airport police responding to every piece of propertythat is left alone and opportunistic persons are able to note if anything is not under good care for just a minute or two hence mightseize the opportunity and leave with the luggage (Lafontaine, 2012).Also the police have to attend to such commodities in fear thatsomething dangerous like a bomb might have been left behind leadingto unnecessary commotions inside the airport, which only heightensthe possibility of a security breach in the process. As such it’simportant for passengers to keep watch of their stuff and never leaveit unattended whenever one is in the airport.

Itsworth noting that any luggage left un-attended and gets lost atairports in many cases turns out to have been misplaced. A case inpoint is when, the Los Angeles international airport carried out afollow up on calls of people who had reported to have lost theiritems. In 2006, the security agents at the airport discovered that27% of the luggage was later found in other passengers belonging, orhad been returned by the airports, so called ‘lost and found unit’(Lafontaine, 2012).

Additionally,the government has, for a long time been aware, as well as immenselyconcerned about “insider threat”, a situation that emanates fromindividuals with access to private and secure areas wishing to harmthe entities. Indeed, such individuals have, in the past, been usedby terrorists in their efforts to gain access to sensitiveinformation that would aid terror operations, as well as accessoverseas target. For instance, cases where florists working in hotelshave been known to have helped facilitate the attacks (Lafontaine,2012).

Theinfluence of crime and criminology in airports as we have seen so farhas far-reaching effects and much still have to be done to fightcrime in airports. Insider threats however remains a challenge tosecurity officials who have in various cases assisted in conductingthe crimes. The use of ray screening mechanisms still does not gowell with some passengers complaining that the process is anintrusive one and infringes on their privacy rights.The risingcases of passengers coming up with new methods to smuggle incontraband products still remain a challenge to airport securitysystems to keep on coming up with new systems to cope with the newrising forms of crime. All these issues provide a glimpse of whatsecurity officials such as those in Minneapolis Saint PaulInternational Airport go through in a bid to keep the airport terrorfree. However, a risk and security management mechanism such asemployed by St. Paul Airport shows that, with diligent care andleveraging in the latest security mechanisms, terror in airports canbe contained to minimal levels


Elia,B. (2010). Airportand Aviation Security: U.S. Policy and Strategy in the Age ofGlobalization.Amazon.com

Lafontaine,B. (2012). InformationTechnology Systems at Airports: A Primer.Amazon.com

Price,J., &amp Forrest, J. (2013). PracticalAviation Security: Predicting and Preventing Future Threats.Oxford: Elsevier Science.