Evaluation of Local Infrastructure Protection Program
Dave Carlson - January 24, 2007
This article concludes that efforts to secure a major event make lesser events more vulnerable. It is unfortunate that sometimes best intentions backfire. The 2005 and 2006 Super Bowl events received significant protection from potential terrorist actions. Even NORAD gets involved with Super Bowl protection these days. When security experts publicize their efforts to prevent or deter specific terrorist actions, they are providing a source of training for novice terrorist organizations. The ironic truth is that revealing methods to defend against unlikely attacks also reveals a previously unknown vulnerability. This is a dilemma each local community must resolve for their own specific situation. Sometimes, “Wow! I never thought of that before,” is not a good thing.
Evaluation of Local Infrastructure Protection Program
Candiotti & Phillips (2005) reported the security efforts taken to protect the 2005 Super Bowl event in Jacksonville, Florida. "’We've been planning for 18 months,’ said Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford who is overseeing the efforts” (¶ 3).
The article will evaluate the pros and cons of efforts to protect the local Super Bowl venue by analyzing the security of the 2005 and 2006 Super Bowl events. You will read about the background and some specifics of Super Bowl security efforts. However, the discussion and conclusion may not be what you would expect. The final question this paper will consider is: “Do efforts to secure a major event make lesser events more vulnerable?”
Following the terrorist attacks in September 2001, people of the United States started taking infrastructure security more seriously. The attacks irrevocably destroyed the myth that the United States was invulnerable to significant terrorist attack. Local governments were forced to consider major events as significant components of their social infrastructure.
There can be little argument against the notion that the Super Bowl, with 80,000 fans and thousands more support personnel, is a significant part of the local infrastructure for a community hosting this annual sporting event. A pilot with Customs and Border Protection expressed his support of this concept in an interview with CNN when he said, “We approach this mission with a great amount of enthusiasm... This is the greatest sporting event we have in the United States. And we're protecting that event and we're protecting the American people” (Candiotti & Phillips, 2005, ¶ 24).
Some people, including Weimann (2006), may argue against local officials overreacting to the threat that may or may not be present.
Amid all the dire warnings and alarming statistics that the subject of cybeterrorism generates, it is important to remember one simple statistic: so far, there has been no recorded instance of a terrorist cyberattack on U.S. public facilities, transportation systems, nuclear power plants, power grids, or other key components of the national infrastructure. Cyberattacks are common, but terrorists have not conducted them, and those attacks that have occurred have not sought to inflict the kind of damage that would qualify them as cyberterrorism. (p. 164)
Just because something has never happened before, it doesn’t mean that it will not happen in the future. Implementing appropriate security to help protect against terrorist attack is just as important as wearing a seatbelt to help prevent serious injury in a car accident.
For at least a couple of generations, local governments have been providing various levels of security for local sporting events. These security measures may include a single unarmed part-time security guard to entire law enforcement teams and roving patrols. An event as significant as the Super Bowl demands much more security than a single local government can provide.
Security teams for the 2005 Super Bowl included “SWAT teams, bomb technicians, maritime and aviation operations, and WMD specialists” (Westcott, 2005, ¶ 6). In addition to participation of the FBI and 40 other law enforcement agencies (Westcott, 2005, ¶ 2), some of the security methods employed during the 2005 Super Bowl, as reported by Candiotti & Phillips of CNN (2005), were:
- Cameras with the ability to zoom in on any seat or employee location in the stadium;
- Uniformed and plain-close law enforcement officials scattered throughout the area;
- Careful searches of almost every bag carried into the stadium;
- Erection of new fences to deter people from infiltrating into the area;
- Rerouting of traffic to keep vehicle away from vulnerable and sensitive areas;
- Specific precautions up to several miles from the stadium;
- 30-mile (48-km) no-fly zone around the stadium;
- Surveillance planes to track aircraft within 250-mile radius of the stadium;
- Periodic fly-overs of the area to watch for suspicious activity on the ground;
- 14-mile (22.5-km) safety zone along the St. John’s River;
- Forward-looking infrared (FLIR) cameras with night-vision technology;
- Underwater diver inspection of hulls of floating hotels to ensure nothing suspicious;
- Highway cameras specifically watching for hijacked busses miles from the area;
- Bomb squads and sniffer dogs on stand-by to react to bomb threats;
- And more.
Authorities used a system called IRRIS (http://www.irris.com/Technology/overview.htm) “to monitor hazardous materials, arms, ammunition and explosives shipments and ensure that all were kept at least 50 miles away” (Allred, 2006, p. 3) from the Super Bowl event. IRRIS is a series of satellites and eight separate computer systems to create a Common Operating Picture (COP) of the area. This COP, including 150+ infrastructure data layers can be retrieved from a Web-based portal (Allred, 2006, p. 8).
Detroit officials observed the security efforts of the 2005 Super Bowl, because they would be host for the 2006 Super Bowl. In an interview with CNN, Detroit Assistant Police Chief Walter Martin responded to the efforts by saying, “This is huge. I didn't realize how huge it was until I got down here” (Candiotti & Phillips, 2005, ¶ 21). Even though Martin was awed by the huge effort, history proved his prediction that they were “ready for the challenge” (Candiotti & Phillips, 2005, ¶ 21) as valid.
A new, unique, challenge increasing the security concerns of the 2006 Super Bowl in Detroit is the fact that it is on the international border between the United States and Canada. U.S. and Canadian officials coordinated like never before to ensure their security efforts were coordinated along hundreds of miles of waterways and sky space surrounding the area (Todd, 2006, ¶ 29).
In addition to incorporating the security methods employed during the 2005 Super Bowl, the security planners of Super Bowl 2006 employed the following:
- Employing the Michigan National Guard troops to patrol the area (Weiss, 2006, ¶ 1);
- Use of special sensors to identify weapons of mass destruction (Weiss, 2006, ¶ 1);
- Non-intrusive Gamma Ray inspections for incoming shipments (CBP, 2006, ¶ 3);
- Advanced passenger information for border crossing from Canada (CBP, 2006, ¶ 4);
- Explosive detection canine teams at bridge and tunnel crossings (CBP, 2006, ¶ 5);
- Establish Joint Operations Center, Intelligence Operations Center, and Joint Information Center to support various different functions (CBP, 2006, ¶ 7);
- Establish a security zone to protect more than 450,000 people (American Forces Press Service, 2006, ¶ 10);
- 300 Citizen Corps volunteers trained as Community Emergency Response Teams (Zulinski, 2006, p. 1);
- Facial recognition biometrics devices that compared video surveillance images against a watch list of wanted persons (Reynolds, 2006, p. 13).
Additionally, North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) had “fighter jets and helicopters enforcing a 30-mile flight-restriction on Super Sunday” (Todd, 2006, ¶ 29). Assets included “CF 18s, F 16s, an E-3 airborne early warning and control system aircraft, and air refueling tankers” (American Forces Press Service, 2006, ¶ 5). These were unprecedented security operations for a sporting event, reflecting international cooperation.
It is laudable that local governments are able to rally around significant public events, such as the Super Bowl, and receive meaningful federal and international support. Since local communities (like most other organizations in the world) have limited resources, they are forced to choose which events they protect. “Many programs at this level, when they exist, are badly underfunded and lag badly behind the private sector” (Cordesman , 2002, p. 151).
The intent of this paper is not to poke holes in the security efforts of an event such as the Super Bowl. The intent is to evaluate the weaknesses revealed by such magnificent demonstrations of security efforts. There is no evidence to suggest that each time there is a sporting event in the Detroit Ford Stadium that NORAD deploys massive air cover.
A question to consider is, “If there is an air threat for the Super Bowl, will that threat not exist for a regular NFL football game?” The threat still exists, but there is not the same level of protection for regular events.
Efforts to secure a major event make lesser events more vulnerable. It is unfortunate that sometimes best intentions backfire. When security experts publicize their efforts to prevent or deter specific terrorist actions, they are providing a source of training for novice terrorist organizations. The ironic truth is that revealing methods to defend against unlikely attacks also reveals a previously unknown vulnerability. This is a dilemma each local community must resolve for their own specific situation. Sometimes, “Wow! I never thought of that before,” is not a good thing.
Allred, P. (2006). IRRIS: Your eye on military logistics and transportation security. [Electronic version]. Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, Transportation Engineering Agency. Retrieved January 23, 2007 from http://gis.esri.com/library/userconf/feduc06/docs/irris.pdf
American Forces Press Service. (2006). NORAD and U.S. Coast Guard set for Super Bowl security. Retrieved January 23, 2007 from http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Feb2006/20060203_4106.html
Candiotti, S. and Phillips, R. (2005). Security super tight for Super Bowl. CNN, Saturday, February 5, 2005. Retrieved January 23, 2007 from http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/02/05/superbowl.security/index.html
CBP. (2006). Customs and Border Protection assists Super Bowl security efforts. U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Retrieved January 23, 2007 from http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/newsroom/fact_sheets/superbowl_2006.xml
Cordesman, A. H. (2002). Cyber-Threats, information warfare, and critical infrastructure protection: Defending the U.S. homeland. Westport, CT: Praeger.
Reynolds, G. S. (2006). Facial recognition: A biometric for the fight against check fraud. [Electronic version]. Journal of Economic Crime Management, 4(2), 1-38. Retrieved January 24, 2007 from http://ecii.edu/academic/institutes/ecii/publications/articles/51D65C02-E579-E18B-0FEAA4E2F6D50356.pdf
Todd, B. (2006). Super Bowl security. CNN, Thursday, February 2, 2006. Retrieved January 23, 2007 from http://www.cnn.com/2006/EDUCATION/02/02/transcript.fri/index.html
Weimann, G. (2006). Terror on the Internet: The new arena, the new challenges. Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace.
Weiss, T. (2006). Super Bowl security to use sensor fusion to fight WMD threats. Computerworld, February 02, 2006. Retrieved January 23, 2007 from http://www.computerworld.com/securitytopics/security/story/0,10801,108304,00.html?source=x73
Westcott, J. (2006). Super Bowl XXXIX: The successful response of the FBI and its partners. FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, 75(1). [Electronic version]. Retrieved January 23, 2007 from http://www.fbi.gov/publications/leb/2006/jan2006/jan2006leb.htm
Zulinski, G. (2006). The Detroit, Michigan Citizen Corps’ special event program. [Electronic version]. Lessons Learned Information Sharing. Retrieved January 23, 2007 from http://www.citizencorps.gov/pdf/llis/lessons-learned-mi-event-partnership.pdf