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Security Deep Dive: Boosting Your Threat Assessment Savvy

Extremism is a perennial topic for security professionals to lose sleep over. It has many facets, from terrorism to far-left or far-right ideologies and more, but extremism often spills over from the realm of personal viewpoints into interpersonal violence or threats.

“One of the issues that is striking me recently is how the approaches we use to address extremism are evolving—from early identification of those within or associated with our organizations who may be vulnerable to extremism due to increased isolation, personal stressors, grievances, or persistent affiliations that result in manifestations of self-harm, to intervention when conflict or violence erupts as an extremism artifact,” says Diana Concannon, PCI, associate provost at Alliant University and chair of the ASIS Extremism and Political Instability Community (EPIC). “This requires the application of the practical situational awareness, emotional intelligence, bias-awareness, and deep listening skills in which the best in our profession have received training.”



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In addition, she notes, extremism requires assessors to distinguish between people who make a threat and people who pose a threat.

“As we allocate resources to address potential true threats of violence, I believe we must be aware that our new reality will also require us to assist those that we serve to differentiate between what they feel to be threatening and what actually is,” she continues.In this way, we ensure we are supporting resilience, enhancing the safety literacy of our organizations, and perhaps contributing to environments in which tolerance for non-harmful disagreements is increased.”

In an effort to get ahead of potential attacks and intervene, many security professionals are turning to threat and behavioral assessment techniques and teams. If you want to learn more about this nuanced and proactive approach to risk mitigation, GSX 2023 has you covered. (All times are in Central Time).

Monday, 11 September

Start your Monday with “Behavioral Threat Assessment—The Eight Proximal Warning Behaviors,” presented by Joshua Shelton, CPP, senior security specialist at FedEx. Here, you’ll learn about the pathway to violence and how it applies in a corporate setting, as well as how to identify key concerning behaviors.

Also on Monday at 1:30 p.m. in the ASIS Hub, EPIC will be hosting its information session. Attendees can stop by to meet with community leaders and learn more about how to get involved in the community’s work.

And at 2:00 p.m., Douglas DeLancey, CPP, branch chief of strategy at the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), will share how to protect your facility or venue from the threat of a terrorist bombing attack. This session will be livestreamed for GSX Digital attendees.

Tuesday, 12 September

Want to learn more about indicators of violence and protecting religious organizations? During “Houses of Worship: Behavioral Threat Assessment and Management within a Mature Safety and Security Model” on Tuesday at 11:45 a.m. Dan Graeber, vice president of faith-based initiatives at the Center for Personal Protection and Safety Inc., and David Benson, senior advisor of global operations and threat mitigation at DJ Benson & Associates, will unpack how to prevent violence in houses of worship and address challenges threat assessors face.

Wednesday, 13 September

For leaders looking to conduct more effective insider assessments, learning about enhanced cognitive interviews could help optimize their assessment skills. Dave Benson from the Center for Personal Protection and Safety, Inc., takes the stage Wednesday morning from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. to offer some best practices.

At the same time on Wednesday morning, “Protecting Against Anti-Semitic Attacks: Target Hardening & Operational Solutions” with Greg Schneider, CPP, vice president and general manager at Global Secure 3, will cover the five motivations that lead to anti-Semitic attacks and measures to protect Jewish sites.

If you’re more interested in school security threat assessments, Joshua Villines, CPP, PCI, PSP, is also hosting a session at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday focused on “Preventing Active Assailants in Schools—A Layered Security Approach.” The session will outline how to layer policies, procedures, and practices—including threat assessments—in practical and effective ways.

Rounding out the morning, Susan Schneider, chief of the active assailant security branch at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), and Jake Newton, vice president of security solutions at CPPS Inc., will share insights on targeted violence and how to create a work environment free from violence. Their session, “Targeted Violence: The Events that Shaped Today’s Standards and Instructions,” will begin at 9:45 a.m.

"I'm excited that many of the presentations offered at this year’s GSX include trainings related to important topics such as behavioral threat assessment, and the associated tactical and strategic skills that we vitally need to address the contemporary threats—whether credible or a compromise to the well-being of those we serve,” Concannon adds.

Exhibit Hall

More than 400 companies will have their tools and solutions on display throughout the GSX Exhibit Hall. Here are a few that focus on threat assessments:

  • Looking to enhance your security management and threat assessment skills? The University of Houston provides a Downtown Master of Security Management Online Program that could help you get started. Booth 1508.

  • Resolver’s corporate security software provides insights to help manage incidents, investigations, security operations, risk assessments, and threat protection. Booth 4333.

  • Canadian firm Xpera has more than 24 locations providing surveillance, investigations, security consulting, threat risk assessments, occupational health and safety audits, and more to help ensure business resiliency. Booth 4578.


For more on improving threat assessments globally, check out “Translating Your Threat Assessment Approach” by Cornelis van Putten and Bram B. Van der Meer.

Claire Meyer is managing editor for Security Management, which publishes the GSX Daily. Connect with her directly on LinkedIn or at [email protected].