Perhaps the most important role of any corporate security professional is ensuring the safety and well-being of employees. Those stakes escalate when employees travel to international “hot spots.” Regions of the world controlled by terrorist groups and lawlessness often lack the basic health and security resources to assist employees who must live and work in unstable environments.
How did ISIS grow from an organization no one had heard of to a worldwide threat? Two speakers, who served in Iraq with the U. S. military, answered this question during The ISIS Threat session at the 60th Annual ASIS Seminar and Exhibits in Atlanta.
William Scott, CPP, and Greg Schneider, CPP, members of the ASIS Global Terrorism, Political Instability, and International Crime Council, shared their views on how ISIS developed, how the group is organized, and how the leaders are attaining their goals.
When the U.S. began its 2003 offense campaign in Iraq, Scott said, the best intelligence at the time warned that the military could expect to encounter seven Iraqi Army divisions. In fact, they engaged one division. “What happened to the others,” he asked? Admittedly some simply abandoned their posts, he said, but a contingent just disappeared, thinking, “We’re going to bide our time, and when we get stronger, that’s when you’ll see us again.”
The speakers profiled ISIS leaders, their brutal tactics, and their ruthless ability to seize major cities and hold on to them as they acquired financial resources through oil. While they have been able to recruit ISIS fighters from Western nations, many are “lone wolves” just wanting to join a winning side. “Fortunately, from a security point of view,” said Scott, “lone wolves make tradecraft errors and tactical mistakes, which often lead to the destruction of their activities.”
Despite the wealth of information provided in the session, the speakers acknowledged that ISIS remains an enigma.” It’s fluid, even at the top,” said Schneider. “They’re making it up as they go along.”
The key issues that will determine the future trajectory of American power are outlined in the 2015 Global Forecast: Crisis and Opportunity, a publication from the Center for Strategic and International Studies. This analysis identifies possible crises and opportunities that could surface in the next year, discusses how to handle each possibility, and reports on the long-term effects the identified scenarios may have on the future of the United States and its international counterparts.
A comprehensive review of the many international, national, and local resources on terrorism has been compiled by the ASIS Information Resources Center (IRC). The PDF provides access to reports, essays, news, and opinions from thought leaders involved in creating policies and practices on terrorism and counterterrorism.