Thursday, February 25, 2010

Reader Comment – 02-24-10 First Responder Ambushes

Red Team posted a comment to my blog about why first responders to a terrorist attack at a high-risk chemical facility might be at an additional risk of being attacked upon arrival. Red Team wrote:
“An ambush style attack with the use of direct fire weapons is possible, just look at the Mumbai attacks in '08. However, the use of IEDS is the most likely course of action. A VBIED (Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Device) is the most likely course of action by extremists. It's a technique that is proven. There is a lower risk of death or detection in a VBIED attack as opposed to a direct fire attack.”
I certainly have to agree with this tactical analysis. Recent history shows plenty of instances where terrorists place explosive devices of all sizes near the site of an initial attack with the specific intention of hurting first responders and the innocent on-lookers that respond to all noisy and violent incidents. It increases the terror factor and typically the body count for their attacks. What I was trying to point out in that blog was not how the attack might happen (and there are a multitude of possible ambush techniques that could be effectively used), but that first responders to a complex assault target like a chemical facility might be at an increased risk of such an ambush because of possible time constraints on the initial attack. A simple attack where a VBIED is crashed through the front gate and detonated takes no time, but an assault requiring multiple charges be set at specific locations for maximum effect cannot afford to be interrupted by the arrival of the cavalry. Having said that; Red Team, keep the tactical comments coming. Security managers need to understand how their potential opponents operate. Very few of them (SM’s) have the practical tactical training (a downside to the smaller professional military we have maintained since the end of the Draft in ’72) that some of us have received. A properly designed security system needs to take these tactical realities into account.

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