Emergency Preparedness

The Tempo Tempest Facing the Security Enterprise

Opinion and Thought Leadership
By Tom Henkey, CEM
Director of Emergency Management, Titan Security Group

From a high-level perspective, the greatest emerging problem facing homeland security and emergency management professionals is not any single challenge but rather the speed of emerging challenges. Taken in isolation, there may be an argument to be made that any individual risk or hazard is the greatest threat facing U.S. homeland security professionals. Strong and valid cases could be made for climate change, the opioid epidemic, violent crime, malign foreign governments, foreign terrorist organizations, or domestic violent extremists to be the single greatest emerging challenge.

Yet, ultimately, it is the pace and tempo of these evolving and metastasizing challenges which represents the greatest strain on our national emergency management and homeland security enterprises. Rather than a single hazard emerging as the clear and present danger which must be addressed, it is rapidly emerging patterns of change which pose the greatest strain on the current structure. Frequently magnifying these challenges is an obsolete warning network based on outdated predictive modeling.

The challenge is, in essence, a more rapid evolution of threats than of mitigations. This disparity impacts organizations regardless of sector – private, public, or nonprofit. This same mismatch was cited by panelists in the recent Center for Homeland Defense and Security (CHDS) webinar “America in 2023 and Beyond: Changes in the Homeland Security Landscape.” Rather than citing a single isolated issue or challenge that provided the most concern – particularly for professionals working in an all-hazards environment – panelists focused on the rapidly evolving threat landscape.

Just a handful of concrete examples help to make this “meta-challenge” all the more clear:

As these examples readily display, it is not merely a lack of information that is hampering effective planning and mitigation efforts to address these challenges, but also outdated methodologies and datasets. Decision makers are therefore faced with obsolete information in an accelerating change environment – a two-headed monster which foretells a very challenging future indeed.

All is not gloom and doom, however. The homeland security enterprise has rapidly evolved before, driven by rapid shocks and emerging threats. The lasting outcome of today’s premier challenge will depend on the enterprise’s ability to do so again – rapidly and systemically. Successful adaptation will rely on recognizing the threat posed by rapid change to the status quo, and establishing effective information streams to plan and act accordingly.

About Titan Security Group

Titan launched in 1994 with a vision for a better way to provide security services to the Midwest. Today, Titan is one of the largest security companies in North America, scheduling approximately 120,000 hours per week, employing more than 3,600 security staff, and has enjoyed over twenty-seven consecutive years of successfully serving our clients across a wide range of industries. Titan delivers results to clients through flexible, customized security solutions, and superior customer service. The Titan approach combines traditional security staffing with electronic security systems to provide integrated, efficient, and customized safety and security solutions from a single source.

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