Sunday, August 22, 2010

Gate Busting

Earlier this month I posted a blog about perimeter fencing and I talked about how easy it was to penetrate fences. I didn’t particularly address the issue of vulnerability of gates, but CNN® provided video evidence earlier this week of how easy it is for vehicles to break through many standard gates. According to the accompanying news story the pickup truck was being chased by police when it entered the airfield through the closed gate. Pursuing police were able to stop the truck before it got near any aircraft.

Perimeter Gates

Most gates, like most fences, are designed to keep honest people honest, not to provide a serious impediment to unauthorized entry by vehicles. Where there is no specific reason to expect antagonists to crash a gate, these standard gates are perfectly adequate to define a boundary. Where there is a suspected risk of terrorist attack, facilities relying on a perimeter fence to reduce the risk of a vehicle borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) being introduced to the facility will require a specially designed (and much more expensive) gate.

Airport Security

While this isn’t an airport security blog, I can’t help but mention how badly this incident reflects on the status of airport security. This country has spent untold billions of dollars on TSA screeners, high-tech screening devices, and complex programs to ensure that all packages going into cargo holds are properly screened. Now we see how totally inadequate simple perimeter security measures are around the same airports.

If this truck hadn’t been closely pursued by a number of police cars, there would have been little that would have prevented a VBIED from being driven into planes waiting on the tarmac. Even a truck load of heavily armed gunmen could have destroyed a number of loaded aircraft. Obviously the vulnerability assessment at this airport (and probably most others as well) failed to take a serious look a perimeter security measures.

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