Towards a Safer and More Secure World

15 March 2015

A Request to FrontLine Readers

It has been an interesting first few months for me as the new editor of Frontline Safety and Security. I have spent the last few months meeting with organizations tasked with, or interested in, keeping the public safe – let’s call them partners in safety and security. These have included various intelligence organizations, associations, first responders, and Universities. I have also attended a variety of security and intelligence conferences. The reason for these get-togethers was two-fold:

First, I wanted to find out what issues are confronting these important members of our safety and security community. What issue do they need written about? What do they need help with?

Second, I wanted to reach out to potential partners who would be willing to work with Frontline Safety and Security to help shape this important publication as it heads into its second decade as a forum for the public safety and enforcement communities that protect our security writ large.

In addition, as part of my regular travels over the last few months, I have met with safety and security professionals from Israel, South Africa, United Kingdom and elsewhere. This community, while guarded in many respects, is also anxious to share their approaches to safety/security in an effort to strengthen all response to myriad threats that can jeopardize a peaceful way of life.

There are great practices and experiences around the world in safety and security that need to be shared, and I am working hard to ensure that Frontline Safety and Security becomes the “go to” publication for sharing these practices. Readers will see a bit of this in this issue with Noam Gilutz’s sharing of some of Israel’s success in developing cyber entrepreneurs, with more to come.

What struck me during all of these encounters is the sheer breadth of the groups involved in helping to keep their country’s citizens safe and secure. What surprised me, however, was the commonality of concerns among these varied organizations.

Perhaps the breadth is best exemplified in the Canadian Safety and Security Program’s “communities of practice”, which includes chemical, biological, radiological-nuclear, explosives, forensics, biometrics (for national security), border and transportation security, critical infrastructure vulnerabilities, resiliency and interdependencies, e-security, emergency management systems and interoperability, psychosocial and community resilience, and first responders (fire, paramedics, police and law enforcement). Adding to this exhaustive list of players and categories, are the associations who represent members within these communities of practice (for example the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries), and the academic institutions that provide training in these areas such as the George Brown College School of Emergency Management, or University of Ottawa’s Telfer School of Management, which are actively engaged in police, intelligence and crisis management training.

And let’s not forget the wide array of government departments and agencies, at all levels, that are dedicated to North American safety and security: federal agencies such as the overarching FEMA and DHS in the U.S., and the department of Public Safety in Canada; and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, which is tasked with maintaining food safety and security; and private organizations such as NavCan, which is responsible for navigation safety in Canada; State and Provincial Emergency Management offices, the U.S. National Guard, and so many others.

There are numerous volunteer organizations, such as Search and Rescue groups and the Airport Watch program which was spearheaded by an Ottawa RCMP officer and is now an international group of volunteers dedicated to assisting authorities with perimetre surveillance.

Without exaggerating, it truly is impossible to list them all but, in the spirit of interoperability, FrontLine does its best to cover the issues of importance to each and every one of our readers – because none of you work in silos during an emergency!

As I mentioned earlier, the second thing that struck me was the commonality of what is seen as the priorities in safety and security. The top two that surfaced at all of my meetings was cyber-security (a focus in this issue) and critical infrastructure security.

These two areas were front and center with the government people I met with, associations and even private sector groups – and is a topic readers will see a continued focus on in future issues.

Each of these groups also has sub-topics that are also of key importance. For instance, an important concern for first responders is that of identifying and treating mental health issues, including PTSD – a problem all first responder leaders are faced with. As one Police Chief said this month, you can’t separate policing and health. This important issue will be increasingly addressed in our pages. The category of “responder health” writ large also encompasses pandemic preparedness, as was recently in the global consciousness when medical practitioners flocked to Africa to battle Ebola. I am reaching out to all groups to let me know what their sub-topic area(s) of importance are.

All of these organizations need to work together to ensure the safety of our citizens, and all have concerns that need to be addressed within the pages of FrontLine Security and Safety.

It was not that long ago that Chris MacLean, the publisher, asked if I would be willing to serve as executive editor of Frontline Safety and Security. Her passion for helping create a safer and more secure world convinced me that I would have to get involved, and I hope those who read this column share this passion and similarly are willing to work with me towards this goal and will share their ideas and concerns, and offer me their help.

We will share with readers international best practice and articles addressing key concerns of our safety and security community, in partnership with all of you.

In some cases, we will have to sound the alarm along many areas of Safety and Security. For example, this quote from Michel Coulombe, head of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, in the CSIS annual report, says it all: “There are violent people and violent groups that want to kill Canadians. It’s a sobering observation to make, and there is no euphemistic way of saying it.” Also to sound another alarm, as noted in Canada’s Aid Effectiveness Agenda: Increasing food security is one of Canada’s three priority international development themes, and “Canadians demand food safety and traceability.”

To all of you, who work in these and similar organizations, I offer an opportunity to share your concerns and your knowledge with our readers. Send me what you consider to be the top safety and security issues, what you feel is needed to keep us all safe and secure, and what you think should be covered in FrontLine Security and Safety. I also urge those with products and services, to support the work of this magazine by advertising in our pages.

Join me, let’s work together to create a safer and more secure world. Send me your ideas, requests, offers. Who do you think we should approach to write articles about safety and security? How can you help? I look forward to and welcome your contributions, assistance and comments.

Jonathan Calof, Executive Editor
© FrontLine Security 2015