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Book Review: Soft Targets

CRC Press;; 494 pages; $89.95.

​Once upon a time, security professionals did not worry about soft targets and crisis management. The security management function was compartmentalized, and the discipline of crisis management did not yet exist. Those days are gone forever. Today, security managers are expected to be multi-disciplined business partners with the ability to perform several functions at once: security director, emergency planner, first responder, analyst, teacher, and trainer are just some of the roles they might fill.

How can one be expected to understand so many diverse yet interconnected roles at the same time? Reading Soft Targets and Crisis Management may help. This impressive book is the best security and crisis management compendium available today. It is an essential tool that should be in the library of every security and emergency manager concerned that the evolution of crime and terrorism has made soft targets fair game. 

Along with a host of eminent contributors, authors Fagel and Hesterman walk the reader through all the different phases of an event from planning to recovery to business continuity, highlighting the steps that can be taken along the way to prevent or mitigate the damage from an attack.

This book is general enough to recommend an all-hazards approach for routine events, yet specialized enough to include segments on church security, hospital business continuity, sports venues, schools, public health systems, and active shooter scenarios. It contains updates to historically tried-and-true concepts such as target hardening, while articulating the need for less– conventional–strategies like fusion centers for sharing intelligence and cybercrime defenses.

This is a well written must-read for security managers, emergency planners, and first responders. It is also an excellent textbook for instructors and professors.

Reviewer: Jim Murray, CPP, is an adjunct professor at Buena Vista University. He has extensive experience in the areas of law enforcement, corporate security, and crisis management.