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Announcing the 2019 ASIS Book of the Year

​ASIS International is awarding its Security Industry Book of the Year Award to the second edition of Soft Target Hardening: Protecting People from Attack by Jennifer Hesterman, PhD. 

Soft Target Hardening is exceptional in all respects,” commented Ernest Vendrell, CPP, cochair, ASIS Book of the Year Committee. “The book makes an important contribution to the security industry and allied disciplines.”

The first edition of Dr. Hesterman’s book won the award in 2015. She will receive the award on Monday, 9 September at Global Security Exchange (GSX). 

Now in its sixth year, the Security Industry Book of the Year is chosen by a committee of ASIS members who are established authors, editors, and reviewers. Eligible books were authored by ASIS members and published in 2018. 

Fourteen books were eligible for this year’s award. The committee considered all of those, choosing three finalists from the contenders. The other two finalists were Reawakening America: Leadership, Vigilance, and Collaboration by Vincent Bove, CPP, and Workplace Violence: Issues in Threat Management​ by Christina M. Holbrook, David E. Bixler, Eugene A. Rugala, and Carri Casteel. The winning book and the finalists will be available for sale at GSX. They can be ordered from the ASIS store at​. Reviews of the winner and two finalists follow.

Congratulations to the winner, finalists, and everyone who authored a book last year!​

ASIS Security Industry Book of th​e Year Review

Soft Target Hardening: Protecting People from Attack, Second Edition. By Jennifer Hesterman. Routledge; available from; 460 pages; $75 (members); $80 (nonmembers).​

Instances of active shooter assaults underline a universal truth in security: it is easier to commit crime or terrorism when a facility has minimal security. Security professionals call these low-security locations soft targets. The second edition of Soft Target Hardening offers a comprehensive approach to increasing organizational security to address increasing criminal, terrorist, and mass-casualty threats and vulnerabilities. Author Jennifer Hesterman, a retired U.S. Air Force colonel, draws upon her experience securing military assets overseas and applies it to protecting soft targets in the domestic and civilian space.

The book makes a comprehensive case for the need to take responsibility for security in soft targets. It breaks down the current terror threats posed by ISIS and al Qaeda, as well as the threat of lone wolf attackers, militia groups, sovereign citizens, anarchists, and drug trafficking organizations. 

In addition to describing the likely assailants, Hesterman provides an in-depth exposé of the vulnerabilities unique to the various types of soft targets: schools, hospitals, workplaces, sports or entertainment venues, and shopping centers, for instance. What makes this book a great read, especially for college-level security management courses, is that it offers solutions to address the vulnerabilities.

Facts and statistics will equip the reader to become an effective corporate security evangelist. Furthermore, the book provides useful templates for threat assessment and planning purposes. For this feature alone, the current edition is an invaluable resource for security executives, threat assessors, and security management scholars.

The increasing tempo and diversity of attacks make it simply unrealistic to assume the public sector will provide a comprehensive solution to every organization. By adopting the principles in this book, readers can take an important first step to recognizing and mitigating threats to their organizations.  

Reviewer: A. Benjamin Mannes, CPP, serves as chief compliance officer for a Philadelphia-based financial firm and was the founder of Mannes & Associates. His two decades of experience include roles as a former city and federal law enforcement officer as well as the director, Office of Investigations for the American Board of Internal Medicine. He is a member of the ASIS Philadelphia Chapter.

Finalist Book Review

Workplace Violence: Issues in Threat Management​. By Christina M. Holbrook, David E. Bixler, Eugene A. Rugala, Carri Casteel. Routledge; available from; 112 pages; $60 (members); $65 (nonmembers).

Writing an industry reference book on one of the hottest topics in the security management field challenges authors to bring something new and valuable to the industry. Workplace Violence: Issues in Threat Management successfully meets this challenge. The topic is on the minds of every security practitioner, and this book provides exactly what experts in our field need—data. 

Developing policies and plans that are not based on current research and statistics will not likely be effective. In Workplace Violence, the authors provide the most current numbers impacting workplace violence. Although the book may be considered statistic-heavy, that is its fundamental strength. 

Chapters effectively address the different types of threat and risk assessments and make clear that no assessment will provide the desired results unless it is based on up-to-date information. These threat assessments and how they play out are examined through case studies with real-life examples. 

The text emphasizes that the foundation of workplace violence prevention and mitigation is an effective policy. The authors guide the reader through the components of what the policy should and, just as importantly, should not contain.

Noted security and legal professionals Michael Crane, CPP, and Matthew Doherty provide a chapter on how federal, state, and local laws may impact an organization’s ability to conduct threat assessments. They point out many key provisions from regulatory bodies that the reader needs to be aware of to avoid breaking the law or exposing the company to liability.

Workplace Violence provides a foundation, current data, policy action, legal consideration, assessment models, and outcomes—all the necessary steps for an organization to design, implement, and effectively support a workplace violence prevention and mitigation program. 

Reviewer: Michael S. D’Angelo, CPP, is the principal and lead consultant for Secure Direction Consulting, LLC, a South Florida–based security consulting firm. Previously, he was a security leader with Baptist Health South Florida. He is a retired major from the South Miami, Florida Police Department. D’Angelo is an ASIS member and currently serves on the Healthcare Security Council.

Finalist Book Revie​w

Reawakening America: Leadership, Vigilance, and Collaboration. By Vincent J. Bove, CPP. Lulu Publishing Services; available from; 704 pages; $35 (members); $40 (nonmembers).

There is no doubt that Vincent Bove, CPP, is a proud, motivated, patriotic citizen who loves his nation, its citizens, the law enforcement community, and the members of the armed forces. In Reawakening America: Leadership, Vigilance, and Collaboration, a collection of 210 public presentations he delivered from 2014 to 2018, he highlights the accomplishments of Americans in responding to corruption, violence, terrorism, citizen–police divisiveness, and illegal drugs. He calls for “ethical leadership, heightened vigilance, and unwavering collaboration” in the fight to bring back the unique sense of national and individual character, ethics, and values that have mad​e America the model of democracy. 

Each presentation covers a pertinent subject with multiple facts and references stated in paragraph outline format. From protecting houses of worship to prom night tragedies, he cites real scenarios and actions that can be taken to prevent or mitigate these societal problems. 

Many of the presentations focus on law enforcement and, in particular, the programs of the New York City Police Department, with minimal reference to security collaboration. His efforts could be strengthened with more references to public–private efforts as described in the COPS publication, Operation Partnership: Trends and Practices in Law Enforcement and Private Security Collaborations, and the ASIS publication, OPERATION PARTNERSHIP: Primer on Getting Started​.

Because of the nature of his subjects, there is a large amount of repetition; however, the presentations can be an excellent resource for those who appear before employees and the public as speakers. Each presentation is well organized, easy to read, and to the point. A final thought: once read, you will come away with the positive thought that the nation is reawakening through the admirable actions of dedicated Americans willing and able to tackle the ills of society and win.

Reviewer: James T. (Tom) Roberts, CPP, is president, Starboard Focus Continuity Planners. Previously he was chief security officer at the U.S. Army Medical Command and a district U.S. Marshal. Roberts has been a member of the ASIS Professional Certification Board, chaired the Law Enforcement Liaison and Healthcare Security Councils, and served as regional vice president and chapter chair.