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Strategic and Tactical Survival

Survival and Profitability

The concept of ‘strategic and tactical survival’ tends to evoke mental images of military forces and combat. However, in the contemporary world, this concept also extends to how businesses must reorient planning to deal with new threats and risk paradigms. Global terrorism, narco-crime syndicates, cyber threats, and political instability pose a range of challenges for businesses. The idea that security is simply “good looks and reliable night watchmen” is antiquated as lamplighters igniting gas streetlights. New threats require companies to include corporate security education and counterterrorism jobs in their budgets. One immediate impact is the increased cost of doing business. Businesses will conduct an analysis of risks versus costs. What is the return on investment for the security costs (money, people, time, opportunity costs, and potential liabilities)? How does security support continued profitability?

Each business has a different threat context ranging from those operating internationally to domestic operations with limited direct exposure to terrorism and narco-crime groups. However, the starting point for every business is corporate security education. Each business must frame the security needs for their operations and be able to assess the return on investment for security dollars spent. Larger international companies will create counterterrorism jobs as part of this process. These companies face high risks of kidnappings, cyber threats, sabotage, piracy, and terrorist attacks against people and property. The bottom-line payback is obvious as effective security can reduce or eliminate these potentially catastrophic security problems.

Managing the Business in the Face of Security Threats

The initial determination is to establish a threat baseline for the business. The Internet, FBI, law enforcement, private security consultant firms, and Interpol are sources for information on trends in terrorism and the related threats. Kidnapping by a terrorist group or criminal gang may not be a serious threat in the US, but is an ever-present danger and serious problem for businesses operating in Latin America, the Middle East and parts of Asia.1 Police records document international kidnappings at approximately 2,000 victims during the last ten years.2 Cyber threats continue to proliferate as a worldwide threat to businesses large and small around the globe. Cybercrime is fast growing as a criminal enterprise costing businesses and individuals billions of dollars each year.3 Threats from radical Islamist terrorist groups combine all the various safety and security threats to people and business property. The very nature of terrorism is that it is virtually impossible to predict. Europe offers several examples of terrorist incidents including: high-profile kidnappings of German and Italian business executives, lethal attacks on targeted businesses such as the assault on the Charlie Hebdo magazine employees, and continuous breaches of corporate proprietary data. The trends in terrorism and criminal activities dictate that businesses must institute more effective security policies and upgrade the professional capabilities of the security staff.

Investing Corporate Funds in Security for a High Return on Investment (ROI)

The first step in solving any problem is to fully understand the problem. For businesses large and small, this first step is obtaining a professional corporate security education. The range of education requirements covers many disciplines including executive protection, high-tech physical security systems, intelligence, threat analysis, security planning, risk and crisis management, and counterterrorism. The operative word is professional, which shapes the choices to obtain a quality cost-effective corporate security education. Only a few schools specialize in the academic disciplines that are the foundation of contemporary business security needs. These schools are best represented by a select number of online universities that make security, protection, intelligence, and counterterrorism the exclusive core of the school curriculum. Furthermore, these schools will hire faculty members who have experience in the real world problems of security, intelligence, and counterterrorism. This type of faculty brings a combination of knowledge and experience to provide students an education that immediately produces benefits to the business security needs. Investing in individuals seeking counterterrorism jobs and companies upgrading their security capabilities to match the new threats will bring a high return to that investment.


1. Kidnapping Westerners is big business. (2014). USA Today. Retrieved: www.usatoday.com
2. Yun, M. (2007). Hostage Taking and Kidnapping in Terrorism. Retrieved: www.kucampus.kaplan.edu
3. Cybercrime. (2014). Department of Justice. Retrieved: www.justice.gov

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