Magazine article Security Management

Maximizing Security with Quality Assurance Programs

Magazine article Security Management

Maximizing Security with Quality Assurance Programs

Article excerpt

SINCE THE ATTACK ON THE US diplomatic mission in Kuwait in 1983, 400 similar attacks have been mounted abroad against US personnel and property. In 1988, for example, 44 assaults took place.(1) Are diplomatic missions properly protected against such assaults?

Many of these assaults can be categorized as forced entry or ballistic attacks. Forced entry attacks typically involve an agitated and unorganized yet motivated group of individuals who attempt to breach a diplomatic mission's defenses. They typically use hand-held tools, such as hammers, rams, and steel pipes. They also may set fires by using Molotov cocktails or other methods.

An example of a forced entry attack was the assault on the US mission in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, in 1988. A mob attempted to penetrate the mission's defenses using battering rams and fires. Interior penetration of the US mission was not successful.

Ballistic attacks usually involve indiscriminate firing small arms, such as high-powered rifles or automatic weapons like the AK-47 or the Uzi. This type of attack was conducted against the US mission in San Salvador, El Salvador, in 1987. Other forms of attack encountered include blast, rocket-propelled grenade, and electronic and human espionage. This article addresses forced entry and ballistic attacks and a systems-engineered quality assurance program (QAP) to improve the performance of the equipment designed to counter these violent acts. IN 1987, THE US DEPARTMENT OF STATE'S Physical Security Programs section (DS-PSP), part of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, conceptualized an (1) Testimony of Sheldon Krys, Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security, before the Subcommittee on International Operations, October 24, 1989. important program. Its goal was to improve the performance of forced entry and ballistic resistant (FE-BR) doors, windows, and louvers used in the State Department's defense system. The most cost-effective way to improve these FE-BR systems was to build a three-pronged systematic QAP.

The program was based on the premise that quality assurance principles and practices would lead to an improvement in FE-BR system effectiveness. This would, in turn, enhance the security of the defense system. This premise has proven valid due to cooperation between the State Department and various manufacturers and suppliers.

The first element of the QAP is the FE-BR system test program. This consists of destructive testing of equipment that has previously met State Department test standards. It also includes enhancing those test standards to reflect a systems engineering approach to threats.

The second element is the application of quality assurance principles and practices to manufacturers' and suppliers' production processes. Having each of the manufacturers adopt a uniform quality control system was essential. Additional efforts included analyzing window production techniques and developing a nondestructive test method for windows.

The third element is the Macintosh-based inventory and tracking data base for FE-BR systems and components. Known as the physical security equipment inventory management system (PSEIMS), this data base is the centralizing point for the QAP. It tracks 10,000 FE-BR systems worldwide.

This computerized system is a formatted relational data base that uses Hypercard and Fourth Dimension software. A mouse is used with a graphic interface. Among the redeeming qualities of the system are its user-friendly nature and interapplication capabilities. A novice can operate the system with as little as four hours' training.

The data base contains test data, production and shipping information through a bar code system, FE-BR system cost, and grounds and floor plans. PSEIMS provides security assessment, facility management, and property resource management capabilities for DS-PSP personnel by post, region, or worldwide groupings. DS-PSP INITIALLY CONTEMPLATED COMputer simulation of forced entry and ballistic attack scenarios. …

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