Thursday, March 12, 2009

HS Subcommittee Looks at Mumbai Attacks

Yesterday the House Subcommittee on Transportation Security and Infrastructure Protection held a hearing that took a look at the Mumbai attack of last fall and tried to discern the lessons that could be applied to protecting infrastructure in the United States. While the witnesses, with the exception of NYPD Commissioner Kelly, were different than those that appeared before a similar Senate hearing in January, the focus was much the same. Committee members and witnesses alike tended to focus on potential target in the US that would be similar to those attacked in Mumbai. This certainly provides fertile ground for security planning. Hotels and restaurants, as well as police forces, need to look at these attacks in detail to see what measures they can take to prevent, or mitigate the effects of, similar attacks in this country. But, as more than one witness noted, there is no way to adequately protect soft targets like these in a free society. It would have been refreshing to hear at least one witness tell the committee that it is not only ‘soft targets’ that have lessons to learn from the Mumbai attacks. Similar types of organized attacks are also a potential threat to hardened facilities. The typical unarmed guards found at all most all high-risk chemical facilities would stand little chance of slowing, much less stopping such an assault. Only an armed, on-site response force would be able to interpose itself between armed intruders and high-consequence targets within the facility. There are certainly safety issues that would need to be dealt with, but the highest risk facilities are going to have to re-examine their opposition to armed protective forces.

No comments:

/* Use this with templates/template-twocol.html */