We constantly hear that security professionals refer to certain areas in their installations as being critical or of utmost importance. What does this mean? Usually, this means that if something was to happen in this area, there would be numerous casualties and damage to the facility would be extensive. Is this theory or reality?
Well, this is more theory than reality as it has no solid security foundation. When we refer to an area being critical to the facility, it must be secured accordingly. But not the area itself only!!! Rather, the areas prior to arriving to the critical area is where security is required to be integrated in a smart manner and through the application of interdependent security rings.
The Americans and Europeans are still struggling with what I am saying and seem incapable in securing a critical area rather than just calling it critical. If you look at most secured facilities in the US and Europe you will notice a defensive security apparatus which invites the problem to come in. The security does not start from the exterior to the interior. In some cases, the initial security ring should be a mile away from the entrance to the facility.
What does this give you?
If you look for the weapon, your security will start rather inside your facility and clearly cause huge lines and a high concentration of people, making yourself a very vulnerable target.
But if you look for the terrorist, then you will be performing integrated activities far away from the critical area of your facility so that detection and neutralization take place in the non critical areas
One would assume that the post 9/11 era would apply a real change on the ground that would achieve strategic and operational objectives. Unfortunately, the changes are very cosmetic.
So defining an area as being critical requires properly securing your facility. Not from your eyes but from the enemy's.