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Terrorists often go to great lengths to study their targets prior to an attack. Predictable patterns in the deployment and allocation of security resources can therefore create vulnerabilities “Know your enemy and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles.” – Sun Tzu It’s well known military axiom that you should study your opponent to determine any patterns and weaknesses. We all know that terrorist and other criminals often go to great lengths to study and observe their targets prior to an attack, as witnessed by the preparations taken by the perpetrators of both the 9/11 and 7/7 attacks in the US and UK respectively. Predictable patterns in the deployment and allocation of security resources – things like patrols, canines and checkpoints – create vulnerabilities that can be exploited. Eliminating predictable patterns, in effect randomising them, would remove many of these vulnerabilities and improve the performance and effectiveness of security forces. But how to effectively randomise things consistently over a prolonged period of time has proved to be a challenge. People are creatures of habit and unless great pains are taken to prevent it, we naturally fall into patterns, oftentimes without even knowing it. Having limited resources to meet an unlimited number of threats is another challenge security organisations face. Deploying available resources as efficiently as possible in order to meet the most probably threats is a critical part of the security equation. We only have so much we can do with what we have available, so anything that can increase the effectiveness of these resources can be a great help. After all, allocating our resources efficiently to protect against a wide variety of threats is a daunting task. SOLUTION The solution is to measure our resources against the threat and then deploy them as effectively as possible to counter the threat while eliminating the predictable patterns that create vulnerabilities and weaknesses. This may sound easy in theory, but it’s hard to put into practice. Human beings have biases and tend to fall into habits and patterns, often without even being aware of it. Because it is difficult to consistently achieve randomisation using human schedulers there

has been an effort to develop technological solutions for the problem, using sophisticated game theory models that can take the available resources to the most probable threats and then produce patrol schedules and resource allocations that maximise the effectiveness of the available resources. ARMOR One such system is ARMOR (Assistant for Randomised Monitoring Over Routes), a security risk mitigation and resource optimisation system that has shown great promise in increasing the effectiveness of security teams. Using algorithms derived from game theory to effectively randomise security schedules and plans, ARMOR gives security forces the ability to improve their coverage and maximise the effectiveness of their limited resources. How effective are these systems? The ARMOR software has been successfully

Written by Steve Chambers, Pentagon Protection


forces. Measurements were taken to compare the predictability of patrol patterns both before and after the ARMOR programme was implemented. Other metrics such as the capture rate of guns, fare evaders and arrest warrants issued were also tracked. The results were conclusive. Every evaluation demonstrated the superior effectiveness of the ARMOR software versus any other resource deployment method. One study which compared ARMOR scheduling of canine patrols versus a uniform random schedule showed that ARMOR scheduling resulted in a doubling of patrol effectiveness, allowing the same results to be achieved with half the resources – three canines scheduled by ARMOR achieved better results than six canines deployed using current measures. Scheduling of US Coast Guard maritime patrols also showed an increase in effectiveness once ARMOR scheduling was implemented. Research done prior to ARMOR implementation showed definite patterns to harbour patrol routines. Upon implementation of ARMOR new patrol areas were formed that contained more targets per patrol and thus fewer patrol areas. Using sophisticated software programmes to schedule security patrols may seem unusual but it promises great results. Complex security environments like the London transportation network and similar could benefit greatly from programmes like ARMOR, which makes everyone safer. COVERING MORE WITH LESS All indications are that available security resources will become more limited for the foreseeable future, while the threats we must

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One study which compared ARMOR scheduling of canine patrols versus a uniform random schedule showed that ARMOR scheduling resulted in a doubling of patrol effectiveness, allowing the same results to be achieved with half the resources deployed in a variety of security environments ranging from airport security to maritime patrols, including real world deployments at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), the US Federal Air Marshal Service, the US Coast Guard and the US Transportation Security Agency (TSA). SUPERIOR EFFECTIVENESS ARMOR’s effectiveness has been measured using several comprehensive exercises designed to gauge the change in results versus manually scheduled security operations (the status quo). These exercises included software simulations as well as simulated intrusion attempts by various ‘Red Team’

prepare against will most likely increase. Implementing ARMOR, or similar software scheduling programmes, are a way to cover more with less, maximising the effectiveness of our security forces to protect property and lives. Because we believe there are enormous advantages to be derived by implementing the ARMOR software across the security spectrum in the UK and throughout Europe, the SDS Group has partnered with ARMORWAY to promote the system within Europe. L FURTHER INFORMATION 01580 715038



Counter Terror Business 13  

The Business magazine for Security Technology

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