Posts Tagged Report

Publications: Sandia Report Draws Lessons Learned From 23 ‘Perfect Heists’

Deception, patience are common ingredients
While methods and implementation of the heists varied greatly, there were common factors. At least one form of deception was used in 21 of the heists, ranging from impersonating law enforcement to use of decoy vehicles to concealing surveillance equipment. Insiders — willing, unwitting and coerced — played a role in the majority of cases. The Antwerp Diamond Center’s building manager even provided blueprints to the heist mastermind, thinking he was just another tenant.
“I learned from this study that these thieves have a lot of patience. Most spent months and even years planning. They were very deliberate in how they defeated security measures and those methods were often very low-tech, like using hair spray to disable infrared sensors,” said Lafleur. “In most of these heists, multiple security measures were defeated.”
Another finding is that weapons aren’t needed to steal a lot of money. Four of the top five heists, in terms of value, were weaponless.

For obvious reasons, this report will have immense value for those out there that are in the business of countering this kind of crime. There is such a thing as the perfect heist, and this is an excellent study of those types of heists.  I was particularly interested in the lessons learned aspect of the report.

In it, they listed 44 items of interest for security professionals. They also described the average successful criminal. Here is a snippet.

Several key lessons are identified in each focus area, and an overview of the commonalities and bounds of criminal team characteristics and capabilities is provided. In brief, the typical criminal is a 30-39 year old man and experienced career criminal who is native to the country whose valuables he is targeting. The typical on-scene criminal team consists of 2-8 accomplices, typically perpetrating the robbery as a single team, although breaking into multiple sub-teams is not uncommon. Use of weapons is typical but in many cases not required for success. Thieves are willing to devote substantial resources to planning, spending in some cases more than two years, hundreds of thousands of dollars, and procuring transportation for thousands of pounds of loot. Thieves are frequently thorough and innovative in their planning, developing security defeat methods that are physically simple but highly targeted toward vulnerabilities the thieves have identified in advance of the heist. In the identification and exploitation of these vulnerabilities, deceptions and insiders almost always play a role. Multiple insiders, unwillingly or willingly colluding, are not uncommon; and while insiders span a variety of origins and roles, by far the most common type is the coerced insider who unwillingly assists in the crime, often upon threat of losing his own life or the lives of his family members.

That is some serious patience and ‘know your enemy, know yourself’ stuff there. The use of insiders, willing or not, is also very interesting.

Now what this report did not include was the vast group of criminals that absolutely need to be studied in Russia, South Asia, East Asia and Australia. It would also be helpful for them to go older than the 1970’s, but at least they have a good smattering of successful modern day heists. Here is a quote.

This expansion might continue to track down details of thefts that commonly make published lists of top heists, or it might take the direction of purposefully widening the scope geographically (e.g., to include heists in Russia, South Asia, East Asia, and Australia) and temporally (e.g., to include heists prior to the 1970s, perhaps as far back as the early 1900s, or farther back to the 1800s or even 1700s) to ensure the representation of a greater diversity of criminal methods and techniques in the data.

Check it out and this thing is filled with the good stuff. –Matt

Read the report here.




Sandia report draws lessons learned from ‘perfect heists’ for national security
August 19, 2014
In 2003, the unthinkable happened at Belgium’s Antwerp Diamond Center. Thieves broke into its reputedly impenetrable vault and made off with hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of diamonds, gold, cash and other valuables.
Through years of meticulous planning, they got past police officers less than 200 feet away, access controls into the building, a combination-and-key-lock vault door, a magnetic seal on the vault door and motion, infrared, light and seismic detectors within the vault.
The Antwerp Diamond Center theft and other sophisticated, high-value heists show that motivated criminals can find ways to overcome every obstacle between them and their targets. Can the Energy and Defense departments, responsible for analyzing, designing and implementing complex systems to protect vital national security assets, learn from security failures in the banking, art and jewelry worlds?
Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , ,

Publications: Freedonia Report On Global Demand For Security Services

This publication is very expensive, but you can buy bits and pieces of it at your own choosing. I am not getting any kickbacks or anything from this group, and I am only putting this out there as information for the readership to check out.

To go along with my post on crowdfunding, the global demand for security is increasing, and the factors driving the demand are evident in this report.

Factors such as rapid gains in economic activity, rising personal incomes, foreign investment activity, and concern that public safety forces are overburdened, corrupt, or unable to provide sufficient protection will boost gains. Furthermore, increasing regulation and a trend toward greater professionalism in many of these local security service markets will improve public trust in security service businesses, thereby driving gains.

I have seen these trends and talked about them here on the blog. China is blowing up when it comes to security services. Africa will definitely need services, and thanks to the cartels in Mexico, security will continue to be in high demand.  The US continues to be the largest consumer of security services in the world, which is interesting. Also, the progression towards ISO certification for maritime PMSC’s–which will probably carry over to land based PMSC’s in the future, is a sign of this ‘professionalizing’ of the industry. Check it out. –Matt


Global demand for security services is driven by rising urbanization, the real and perceived risks of crime and terrorism, and a belief that public safety measures are insufficient.
World demand to 7.4% annually through 2016
Global demand for private contract security services will increase 7.4 percent annually to $244 billion in 2016. In general, demand for security services is driven by rising urbanization, the real and perceived risks of crime and terrorism, belief that public safety measures are insufficient, and growth of a middle class with assets to protect and the means to pay for supplementary security measures. The security service market will also be supported by an improved economic environment and building construction activity.
Developing areas to see strongest gains in demand

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , ,

Publications: IG Review Of Best Value Contracting For DoS Local Guard Programs

After reading the latest report on the Benghazi attack called Flashing Red: A Special Report On The Terrorist Attack At Benghazi, I came across another really cool report they referenced in regards to Best Value contracting. I thought it was pretty interesting and worthy of some attention here.

Here is the quote about it from the Benghazi report.

Though a few members of the February 17 Brigade and the Libya Shield militia assisted the Americans on the night of the attack, the security that these militias and the local police provided to U.S. personnel was woefully inadequate to the dangerous security environment in Benghazi.
The unarmed local contract guards also provided no meaningful resistance to the attackers. The Department of State’s Inspector General had previously found that concerns about local security guards were not limited to Libya. A February 2012 Department of State Inspector General (IG) report found that more than two-thirds of 86 diplomatic posts around the world surveyed reported problems with their local guard contractors. Of those posts that reported problems with their contractors, 37 percent said there was an insufficient number of local guards and 40 percent said there was insufficient training. The IG found that overseas diplomatic posts, particularly those in high-threat situations beyond Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan urgently needed best-value contracting, which takes into account the past performance of contractors.
Recommendation: When it becomes clear that a host nation cannot adequately perform its functions under the Vienna Convention, the Department of State must provide additional security measures of its own, urgently attempt to upgrade the host nation security forces, or decide to close a U.S. Diplomatic facility and remove U.S. personnel until appropriate steps can be taken to provide adequate security. American personnel who serve us abroad must often work in high risk environments, but when they do, we must provide them with adequate security. That clearly was not the case in Benghazi on September 11, 2012.
Recommendation: The Department must conduct a review of its local guard programs and particularly the use of local guard contractors at high-risk posts who do not meet appropriate standards necessary for the protection of our personnel or facilities.

Did you read that highlight? Urgently needed Best Value contracting….. and this is the IG saying this. lol Myself and others have been promoting the concept for awhile now and at least the IG get’s it. It sounds like DoS is starting to see the light as well.

The one interesting point that was discussed is the 10 percent price preference rule and how local guard force companies were just partnering with US companies in order to qualify. Here is a quote:

U.S. companies or qualified joint ventures “shall be evaluated by reducing the bid by 10 percent.” Based on an examination of contract competition documents for 35 local guard contracts, OIG found that the 10 percent price preference given to qualifying U.S. companies had no effect on the outcome of the awards. OIG further determined that it is easy for foreign companies wishing to take advantage of the price preference to become eligible by simply forming a joint venture with a U.S. company, thus largely negating the purpose of the preference.

So private industry found a loophole and exploited it to win contracts. With that said, I agree with the IG’s take on the 10 percent rule, and that it needs to be changed in order for it to be effective. Here is their suggestion.

Review the need for a 10 percent price preference given to U.S. companies bidding on local guard contracts because the preference has not been demonstrated to be a factor in recent local guard competitions.

Check it out below and it will be located in my Scribd or here on the blog for future reference. –Matt


Tags: , , , , , , ,

Maritime Security: The Security Costs Of Piracy For 2011?

Below I have posted this report that One Earth Future Foundation put together, and have also posted an article that describes a lack of reporting from private security companies that stopped attacks, due to liability reasons. My simple question here is how can we truly tally the cost effectiveness of armed security on boats, if we do not have accurate data inputs?

In the report, I went to page 16 to catch anything that perked me up. One figure talked about the cost of security equipment investments made by all the ships mentioned. Razor wire was the most preferred out of all of the security equipment listed. They averaged the value of all of the razor wire purchased last year at about $434,552,160! Wow, razor wire is quite the business. Acoustic devices like the LRAD came in at second costliest at $133,717,500.

Here are two quotes that I combined for further analysis of the statistics.

Average ransoms increased 25% from approximately $4 million in 2010 to $5 million in 2011…… In 2011, Somali pirates attacked 237 ships and successfully hijacked 28.

So that is 1.158 Billion dollars that shipping companies could have lost potentially if those 237 ships had actually been taken. Not to mention the costs of ransoms, medical care, transport, rescue or lawsuits for every hostage taken, and the rising costs of insurance premiums because of all of those potential hijackings. In other words, these statistics are misleading and they do not show the cost if security measures were not taken.

The other part of the report was the percentages of armed security on boats. Here is the quote.

Varying sources estimate that the additional costs of armed guards are anywhere between $30,000 and $100,000 per transit through the HRA. According to the Independent Maritime Security Association, the use of a private armed security team generally costs around $50,000 per transit. We have estimated that approximately 25% of vessels transiting the HRA employ armed guards. It is important to note that this figure of 25% is an estimation of the entire year of 2011. From discussions with leading shipping industry representatives, we understand that the proportion of vessels employing armed guards increased rapidly throughout 2011, and by the end of the year this figure was closer to 50% of vessels.
If there are approximately 42,450 transits through the HRA each year, then around 10,612 transits employ armed security. At an average cost of $50,000 per transit, the total costs of private armed security are estimated to be in the region of $530.6 million per year.

So here is the question. How can anyone say that if only 25% of the ships last year were covered by armed security, that armed security is not successful? Get back to me when 100 percent of the ships have armed security, and then we can talk about effectiveness.

Also, how many armed guards on boats were the primary reason why any of those 237 ships attacked were not taken, and how many of these hijackings were prevented because of navies? Because if  we want to get technical, only 25% of the boats had armed security, yet the navies of the world with all of their might were involved as well, then who here is truly effective at preventing attacks? Whose cost is more justified?

Which brings us to the other article in my little collection below about the lack of good reportage by private security companies on the attacks they prevent. In order to prove effectiveness, then accurate figures on attacks prevented by private armed security on boats is crucial. Who knows how many actual attacks were prevented by armed security over the last couple of years? Are all the companies from all over the world reporting their actions, or are they not reporting because of fear of liability issues?

“Security teams are shaping this on-board decision-making for reasons of liability, because of the action they may have taken to defend ships against attack,” said Church, who works at a counter-piracy base in Northwood, England……
As many as half of all ships sailing through the region now use armed guards, the foundation said at the forum. That’s up from 25 per cent earlier this year, and companies providing security earn $530.6 million annually, it estimated. A total of 42,450 vessels pass through the region annually, it says.
Church cited a “disconnect” between the number of attacks expected last year, based on military intelligence assessments of pirates’ strength, and levels in 2009 and 2010. A “plausible argument” can be made that the increase in armed guards was the cause, he said.
Somali pirate attacks rose to 237 in 2011 from 219 in the previous year, according to figures from the London-based International Maritime Bureau. No legal framework exists to establish how armed guards should interact with pirates and what happens if any attackers are killed or injured, Pottengal Mukundan, the bureau’s director, said at the forum.”

So those are just a few thoughts on security costs and where we are at. I also like to bring this up to bring some balance to the discussion about cost effectiveness. Most of all though, these statistics and estimations add to the overall picture. If only 25 % of the ships transiting through the HRA had armed security in 2011 and we are now just at 50%, then we have a market with room to grow. –Matt


Security Equipment and Guards: A notable trend in 2011 was the rapid escalation in the use of private armed security. The total cost of both security equipment and armed guards in 2011 was between $1.06 and $1.16 billion.

One Earth Future Foundation Page 16
3. The Cost of Security Equipment and Guards
An increasing number of ship owners are seeking to protect their vessels against pirate attack when transiting the HRA with security equipment and/or private armed (or unarmed) security guards.
a) Security Equipment
According to the latest (fourth) version of Best Management Practices for Protection against Somalia Based Piracy (BMP4), a number of security measures should be taken by vessels to prevent and defend against a pirate attack. BMP4 describes these ship protection measures as “the most basic that are likely to be effective,” and ship owners are encouraged to conduct a full risk assessment prior to entering the high risk area. Suggested measures include (but are not limited to): Enhanced watch keeping/lookout/ and vigilance, maneuvering practice, enhanced protection of/and controlling access to the bridge, closed circuit television , upper deck lighting, razor wire, alarms, water spray and foam monitors, citadels/safe muster points.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , ,

Afghanistan: Petraeus Gives His Assessment On Progress To The Senate Armed Services Committee


What I did here is to read through the good General’s report and statements, and bring out some of the quotes of stuff I thought was cool. The first quote came from a question that Petraeus answered in regards to private security contractors in Afghanistan. This quote only reconfirms the idea that contractors will continue to be used in the same way, and until Afghanistan can square away their project. The statement hints to this concept of an ‘Afghan public protection force’ through the Ministry of Interior. We will see how that goes?

The other quotes speak for themselves. The bottom line assessment basically states that the Taliban momentum has been halted in Afghanistan. That is awesome, but it also mentions how fragile this is–which is a common theme with many of Petraeus’ assessments during war time. Always giving a cautionary thumbs up…

I was also intrigued by the Afghan Local Police Initiative, and it seems like this is an area that Petraeus is really enthused about.  It would make sense that this is working, just as long as it was being done correctly.  If villages have the ability to protect themselves, then the Taliban is limited in using their default mechanism of control–and that is fear and intimidation.  We just have to make sure that we are not giving up any moral or mental ground, strategically speaking, when it comes to this battle over the local populations. Thats fine that we arm them, but we still need to be working on keeping them on our side.  Good stuff though.

And along those lines, the Taliban reconciliation efforts sound promising. With ‘turned enemy combatants’, we have the ability to possibly create some pseudo-operators?  I would have to think that out of the 700 or so turned Taliban, that there would be a few that we could use to penetrate into Pakistan and get bigger fish? Progress in Afghanistan is great, but I say use these guys to go after the big prize called Osama Bin Laden and his irhabist scum bag friends.

Under the purchases quote, the thing that I clued in on were the blimps and aerostat towers.  Lots of eyes in the sky, to include the drones, really help in our decision making loops or OODA. (the observe portion) With blimps and tower systems, you don’t have to depend upon fuel or electricity to keep it constantly flying.  You just put it up in the air or raise it, and put eyes on the areas of importance. This observation capability is a night and day operation, and that is a huge advantage on the battlefield.

I also liked the mention of the CERP or Commander’s Emergency Response Program.  This was used to great advantage by commanders in Iraq, and it is great to see that it is useful in Afghanistan.  It is simply using money as a strategic asset to local operations. A commander could pay for a ditch to be dug, or pay some blood money to the parents of a lost child.  They can do all sorts of interesting things with this money to positively impact relations between the locals and that military unit.  The Taliban uses money to impact relations with the locals as well, and this is just one area a commander can compete in and even dominate in, to deny the Taliban any advantage.

The way I see it, is that this is a ‘all politics is local‘ issue, and you could frame this as the foreigner versus the local thug (with emphasis on local). CERP at least allows a commander to be competitive, and help to make him a better idea than the other guy. –Matt

Private Security Contractors

(In regards to a recent agreement that would allow the Afghan government to continue to use private contractors for a specified period.)

“My deputy commander e-mailed me this morning right before this and said there had been an agreement on the ability to continue the use of private security contractors for a specified period, as a bridge to achieving what, I think, President Karzai understandably wants to do – which is to bring these kinds of forces underneath the oversight of the Afghan public protection force, an element of the Ministry of Interior, so that they are not in a sense armed elements that may be working for a former warlord or another,” he said.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Publications: OIG MERO Kabul Embassy Security Force Performance Evaluation–Sept 2010

OIG MERO Kabul Embassy Security Force Performance Evaluation, Sept 2010

Tags: , , , , , , , ,