Terrorist Threat Blog

by Antiterrorism Consulting

 05 / 29 / 2014


Design Basis Threat : What's this?  


We will try to briefly explain this new concept of crime prevention. The subject is very vast and wide, but the purpose of this article is to try to explain the economic benefits of the use of DBT.


In recent years, we have seen in the world, urbanization of the industrial areas, leading to encompass industrial activities within towns and cities. A rise of the inhabitants around the industries under terrorist threat has influenced the national and international law (U.S., Russia, Europe). Globalization and immigration has contributed to change in a way remarkable, the character and the footprint of the city. Now we can see a mixture of races, religions, political and philosophical thoughts that are completely different from each other.

The biggest challenge is the need to ensure adequate security to the surrounding community. The common criminal activities involving industrial or infrastructure, recently dropped, since physical systems that have been adopted to prevent this type of crime; but some criminal activities, such as terrorist attacks or sabotage have increased substantially, even coming to be labeled in some sectors. 

In this article we will explain how during the process of modernization (or newly developed) of an industrial or critical infrastructure, it would be appropriate for managers and Security Manager, use the new design and philosophy of "Design Basis Threat - DBT"  for the prevention of criminal activities.

The concept of "Design Basis Threat" - DBT - was created to manage the terrorist threat to nuclear power plants, but later was expanded to adapt to the military sector, and finally to the civilian sector, particularly in the design and modernization of infrastructure and industrial activities under risk of terrorist attacks and other criminal activity (sabotage or espionage very high).

The level of exposure of an industrial or infrastructure to terrorist threats or various crimes, it is quite difficult, because it is impossible to predict how and when an criminal event can occur. In this field there are no databases, as it may be for the design of earthquake-resistant structures, and therefore it is based on the study of local criminal activities, especially on their "modus operandi". These criminal acts are usually classified into low probability of occurrence (espionage or terrorist attack), but the damage associated with them is high or incalculable, both for the industrial activity itself (loss of productivity, structural damage, theft of patents) and for the the surrounding society.

Through the DBT, it has been shown that the crime can be reduced even in the design phase, through careful urban design. Through a study of the urban environment, designers can study and plan the urban areas (access roads, parking areas, entrances, etc ...) to deter potential aggressors, both from committing a crime, that also by gathering information on the property (assets known as "intelligence"). A well implemented design, lead the surrounding population, insurance corporation and authorities, to consider the area more safe and secure, and less exposed to probable crimes against society or the structure itself. At the end, we obtain that the industrial and infrastructure become more resistant to the crimes with an economic cost for the same irrelevant, and at a cost much lower.

As we have already mentioned, the DBT doesn't apply only to new structures, but we can appaly it also during the process of modernization. In practice, if you think to modernize your perimeter, or parking or gates, you should consider the option of evaluating the impact that may have on crime, because a subsequent review may involve additional costs. Normally you underestimate that urban design (gates, perimeter fence, benches, fountains, street lamps ... ) will have a significant impact on reduction to criminal activity, like also a careful choice of materials and placement, can reduce significantly the exposure of the structure itself to criminal activity. For example, a correct placement of trees can be a barrier that prevents an terrorist attack to the structure, and the cost associated with it is virtually "zero".

The DBT helps industrial activities to understand how to locate offices or furnishings within it. In this way you can reduce the exposure of occupants to debris that can be generated in case of an explosion. It has been shown that the majority of victims of terrorist attack, can be originate from debris / missiles that are generated by an explosion, therefore, a strong reduction of debris, consequently leads to a reduction of the victims and damage to surrounding structures.

The systematic use of DBT in all new industrial or infrastructure, or only in the early stages of restructuring, rappresent an economic advantage and allows a continuity production that should not be underestimated. Prolonged interruption of production activities for a "non-evaluation or terrorist threat" may represent a competitive disadvantage and a cost, sometimes not sustainable, as a subsequent adjustment can lead to higher spending instead would have been clearly set out in the planning stage.


by - Antiterrorism Consulting ®