2012 Chemical Sector Security Summit: Potential Threat Actors

On the first day of the Summit, I had the opportunity to moderate a breakout session entitled “Potential Threat Actors’ Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures.” Panel members included Timothy Scott, Chief Security Officer, Dow Chemical, Clyde Miller, Director of Corporate Security, BASF, and Scott McDougall, Intelligence Analyst, Office of Intelligence and Analysis, Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Mr. Scott opened the session by discussing some of the security challenges companies with global operations face today. In addition to maintaining robust physical security at all international locations, he emphasized the importance of ensuring a secure global supply chain. Mr. Scott explained programs such as the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) have helped mitigate some of threats inherent to the global chemical supply chain.

Mr. Miller then shared some of his thoughts on the threats facing industry today. He explained that BASF has always taken an “all threats” approach to security, analyzing not only the threat of terrorist attack but also internal threats such as workplace violence. He echoed Mr. Scott’s views regarding securing the global supply chain and specifically discussed some of the supply chain risks BASF faces in Mexico. Mr. Miller also noted that securing company cyber networks is essential today given the rapid rise of global cyber attacks.

Following Mr. Miller’s remarks, Mr. McDougall reviewed several recent terrorist attacks/attempted attacks to demonstrate the types of threats we face today. He explained that we have seen a move away from large-scale, long-planned, mass casualty attacks to smaller, less organized attacks that can have a significant economic impact.

He noted the 2010 airplane printer bomb plot as an example of an attempted attack that, while not successful, made had a significant economic impact, costing the U.S. millions of dollars in subsequent security upgrades and analysis. Mr. McDougall also discussed the case of Naser Abdo, the U.S. soldier who, before his July 2011 arrest, was planning to set off bombs at locations outside of Fort Hood, Texas where soldiers commonly gather. He explained that when arrested, Mr. Abdo was found with a copy of an article from an al-Qaida magazine with instructions for building simple bombs, demonstrating  that terrorists need not be formally trained to plot and carry out attacks.

I look forward to sharing additional insights from other sessions in the coming weeks, so visit the blog regularly for new posts.

Ryan Loughin is Director of Petro, Chemical & Energy Solutions for Tyco Integrated Security. He and his team have led many petrochemical security projects in North America, South America, Europe, Africa and Asia. Loughin has more than 14 years of experience in petrochemical and energy security and provides security education and services to CFATS (Chemical-Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards) and MTSA (Maritime Transportation Security Act) -affected companies. Loughin is a member of the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association (NPRA), Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates (SOCMA), American Chemistry Council (ACC), Energy Security Council (ESC) and American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS). Loughin has worked with hundreds of MTSA and CFATS affected sites and has also provided guidance on many ACC Responsible Care Security Code projects.

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