This module focuses on the practical elements of conducting a threat assessment for a military installation. Threat assessment is broken down into five phases:
- Study the Adversary
- Study the Support Element
- Writing the Report
Table of Contents
Phase I – Study the Adversary
Elements to explore include:
- The enemy’s security and intelligence apparatus
- Conventional forces (in areas where conventional and irregular forces are fighting in the same region, this is where Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield becomes important)
- Insurgent/guerilla forces
- Terrorist and criminal operations
- Activists and supporters of the above
Questions to answer for each of the above include:
- What is their ideological motivation?
- Who supports them and how?
- What do they hope to gain?
- How do they define victory
Phase II – Study the Support Element
This involves exploring elements like geography, social, political and economic factors, environmental, religious and other elements that may impact your ability to blend in or to seek refuge.
How are friendly forces perceived by the community at large, are locals generally supportive or generally hostage?
At this point it’s important to examine the potential vulnerabilities to the installation that could be exploited by terrorists. This allows for the introduction of force protection elements to reduce the impact of these vulnerabilities.
Phase III – Assessment
In the assessment phase of the threat assessment, all capabilities and intentions of terrorist groups operating in the area must be explored and documented to determine the potential threat they pose.
These should be examined with a focus on realistic possibilities; for instance, while many groups might have the capability to perform hostage takings, only groups that have actually expressed a willingness in doing so or have previously committed kidnappings or hostage takings should be assumed to have the intention.
As part of comprehensive documentation, indicators of possible or probable terrorist activity should be written. This goes back to the EEI identified in ICT2A08L used to build the analytical well of knowledge.
Phase IV – Recommendations
Now that you’ve documented a variety of potential vulnerabilities where the capabilities of the terrorist groups intersect with their intentions and with identified weaknesses in the installation, it’s important to produce recommendations that allow personnel and physical structures to be hardened.
For instance, physical security could involve more stringent examinations of vehicles in areas with suspected vehicle bombs while reminding personnel of OPSEC can help in environments where a counterintelligence threat has been identified.
Phase V – Writing the Report
The final stage involves documenting the above. By documenting the existing security situation and the rationale for recommendations, you allow yourself to track the implementation of those solutions and to build capacity in the unit for future assessments.
This also allows you to look back on past threat assessments for “lessons learned” that may emerge after future attacks, and sharpen your skills as a threat analyst.
There is no official format prescribed for reports, though this module identifies a 5 paragraph structure:
- Executive Summary
- Paragraph 1 describing the threats currently present
- Paragraph 2 describing the unit or installation to be protected (including the surrounding area, mission, or other relevant information)
- Paragraph 3 – Describing vulnerabilities as areas where the installation profile overlaps with identified threats
- Paragraph 4 – Recommendations that focus on each specific threat and remediation measures