Why Worry about Industrial Security?

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Col NN Bhatia (Retd)
Col NN Bhatia (Retd)
Col NN Bhatia (Retd), besides being a combat military veteran is perhaps the only freelance consultant in Industrial Security. He has audited large numbers of core strategic industries in both private and public sectors such as Aeronautics, Airports, Banks, Defence, DRDOs, Mints, Nuclear Energy, Oil, Power, Ports, Prasar Bharti (AIR & Doordarshan Kendras) Railways, Refineries, Space, Ship Building, Telecom & various vital Research Centres & Laboratories and conducted numerous Industrial Security & Disaster Management Training Programs, Seminars, Workshops & Exhibitions & interacted with numerous Ministries, Departments & NGOs and undertaken Industrial Security Audits, Reviews, Training & Advice in Disaster Management & handling of IEDs & Explosives. He has vast experience in the management of the Human Resources, Training & Development, Liaison, Fire Fighting, Logistics, Equipment & Material Management, Strategic Decision-Making Process, clearance of Maps & Aerial Photography (GIS), Explosives handling, Industrial Security & Disaster Management. He is physically, mentally and attitudinally sound having good communication skills to undertake Industrial Security Consultancy, IED handling, Coordination & Liaison Assignments to add to the productivity of the Organisation. He can also organise discreet customised intelligence gathering & surveillance operations on a turnkey basis for his clients. He is a prolific writer written numerous articles on industrial security, national and geostrategic security issues and 5 books- KUMAONI Nostalgia, Industrial and Infrastructure Security in 2 volumes, Soldier Mountaineer (biography of international mountaineer Col Narender Kumar 'Bull' and Reminiscing Battle of Rezang La. *Views are personal.

The National Security Management requires an integrated approach and coordinated applications of the state’s political, military, diplomatic, scientific, industrial, and technological resources to protect and promote national security goals and objectives. National security in this context is reviewed in terms of external and internal threats, economic security, technological and industrial strength, and foreign policy. The National Security Council (NSC) has enumerated several broad areas concerning national security:-

a. External security,

b. Security threats involving nuclear energy, space, and high technology,

c. Trends in the world economy and economic security threats in the areas of energy, foreign trade, food, finance, and ecology,

d. Internal security, including counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism,

e. Patterns of alienation emerging in the country, especially those with social, regional, or communal dimensions.

f. Security threats posed by trans-border crimes such as smuggling, trafficking in arms, drugs, and narcotics, and

g. Coordination in intelligence collection and taking of intelligence agencies so that intelligence collection plan focuses on areas of concern.

Industrial Security, therefore, forms an integral part of National Security management. Though in the initial years of independence, not much concern was shown in Industrial Security. Of late, however, multi-dimensional threats to national security have increased from international terrorism, gheraos, strikes, and the emergence of white-collar crimes and cyber-terrorism.

Dynamics of Industrial Security and Future Trends

  • Industrial Security is no longer mere ‘Chowkidari’ but an all-pervasive management function of asset protection, loss prevention, and crisis management in a cost-effective manner.
  • Our vital core and strategic installations are the most vulnerable targets of terrorists, enemy agents, saboteurs, and subversive elements. There are grave threats of invisible enemies operating through optical mouse in cyberspace to all such vital installations necessary components of national security.
  • Technological advancements in Industrial Security have access control, surveillance, detection, and damage control that are more effective, accurate, and timely. Industrial Security Management and Security Officers cannot remain content with their preventive and physical security roles. They have to be proactive and upgrade their skills as terrorists, and anti-national elements (ANEs) use hi-tech equipment to destroy our vital installations.
  • Contrary to the earlier notion that all expenditure on security was of ‘no return investment’, Industrial Security has graduated from ‘Chowkidari’ to Asset Protection, Loss Prevention, Crime Control, Intelligence, Safety, and Disaster Management.

Industrial Security implies: –

  • Physical Security of Buildings, Plants, and Materials.
  • Security of Personnel Working Therein.
  • Security of Documents Including Drawings, R&D / Computer Data, and Other Sensitive Records.

Why Worry about Industrial Security?

  • There is heavy investment in creating industry and industrial infrastructure.
  • Strategic Industrial Sectors like aeronautics, defence, DR&DO economic, energy, nuclear power, oil, railways, space, shipping and transport etc., are essential for economic development and national security.
  • The industry provides large-scale employment.
  • Industrial development ensures economic self-reliance.
  • Threats to all industries, especially in the sensitive sectors, are genuinely grave.
  • Neither states nor central forces are available to provide minimal essential security. The private security sector is disorganized and provides only ill-trained and ill-equipped medically unfit guards who perform 12 hours and longer shifts daily.
  • Implementation of ‘The Private Security Agencies Regulation Act 2005 has been passed, but its implementation is dismissal.

Multi-dimensional Threats

Most of them summed as under are:-

  • Espionage
  • Sabotage & Subversion
  • Terrorism including kidnapping and abduction
  • Fire
  • Mob Violence
  • Theft and Pilferage
  • Natural Calamities
  • Cyber Terrorism
  • White Collar Crimes

With dwindled demoralized US presence, the Talibanization of Afghanistan due to low morale and corruption-ridden politicians, bureaucrats, and Afghanistan National Army (ANA) was swift in the fast forward mode with tacit support and involvement of Pakistan rightly accused of covertly aiding the Taliban in Afghanistan, not realizing over potential violence on its borders along Durand Line NOT acceptable as the International Border (IB) between the two countries and Baluchistan. But Pakistan, the diehard Taliban supporter, right now is musing over its short term gains, the potential threats Taliban poses to India in J&K, our other Muslim dominated areas, and core strategic industrial sector, notwithstanding Talibani threats to Pakistan (Baluchistan & Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Iran, Uighur insurgency in China and the Central Asian Republics CARs) along the Russian borders.

Effective Steps in industrial security Management

  • A thorough preliminary appreciation of threat assessment,
  • Based on threat appreciation evolution of security plan,
  • Formulation of organizational security policy,
  • Periodical review of threat assessment to fine-tune security needs,
  • Selection of suitable security agency with clear demarcation of command and control if multiple agencies are employed,
  • Judicious and cost-effective integration of men, machines and technologies,
  • Issuance of clear cut guidelines, standing orders and standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the security personnel/force,
  • Training and motivation of security personnel/force,
  • Periodical practising dry runs and mock drills with the participation of employees, executives and local administration like police, health, fire services and cyber-crime experts,
  • Periodic internal and external security audits by professionals, and
  • Periodic sensitization of all employees at various levels.

Internal Vigilance

All industrial, R&D, and technological organizations working in a competitive environment lay stress on keeping the level of production/research and maintaining the morale, discipline, sense of commitment, and welfare of the employees. However, their safeguards necessary against industrial sabotage, Espionage, pilferages, thefts, and subversion must be foolproof. The physical and perimeter security are easiest to organize but not optimized due to terrain and climatic conditions, non-integration of expansion plans at the design stage, and deployment of unarmed un-trained private security guards. The success of internal vigilance lies in ensuring that SOP’s are periodically updated and fully complied with. The most sensitive and difficult areas of vigilance are to ensure protection from natural and manmade disasters, optimum security of the IT, expensive materials and goods, sensitive documents, R&D, and records that must be adequately protected.

Industrial security should never be an afterthought. It should always be planned at the conceptual or design stage of the plant or industry and given as much importance as production or profit by the management. To make security management effective, the security managers must ensure that the security measures are not scary, prohibitively expensive, and user-friendly, and cost-effective.


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