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Reactions to the war.

What did your company do to safeguard its assets when the war broke out in the Persian Gulf? Here are a few reactions.

ON WEDNESDAY EVENING, JANUARY 16, BRIAN HOLLSTEIN, director of security at Xerox Corporation, was in Washington, DC, attending the ASIS Volunteer Leadership Meeting. For security purposes, he had left the television on in his hotel room that evening. So when he went to get his coat from the room, he heard a newscaster announce the United States had gone to war with Iraq. That night none of the offices were open at Xerox -- all the action began the next morning when Hollstein called his office to leave his phone number and to talk to key individuals in his organization.

People across the country heard about the war in the Persian Gulf in similar ways. Most security managers received the news from the barrage of information on televisions, and for almost all, the war was no surprise. Key security personnel at various organizations were interviewed a few weeks after the war started. These individuals provided a glimpse of how the outbreak of war in the Persian Gulf affected security at organizations around the United States. What practical measures were taken, and how was vital information communicated to employees?

The following security professionals were interviewed: Thomas Bresson, chief of the security services division at the Smithsonian Institution; John Chatowski, CPP, manager of government security for TRW Space and Defense Sector; James Elliott, security specialist at Washington Dulles International Airport; William Haywood, CPP, corporate security manager at Dow Corning Corporation; Brian Hollstein, CPP, corporate security manager for Xerox Corporation; Carl Newby, CPP, security manager for the United States and Canada at Levi Strauss and Company; and Mary Rawle, CPP, manager of risk analysis at Texas Instruments.

On Wednesday, January 16 -- the night of the allied coalition's first bomb attack on Iraq -- most companies were already closed, so security forces could take little action. Security's work actually began the next day. Fortunately, most organizations had emergency or contingency programs already in place on Thursday, January 17. Some of these plans had been formed when the Persian Gulf crisis began in August; other plans had been a part of security programs for a longer time.

As a result of this prior organizing, security action mainly called for expansion or review of existing plans. Companies implemented practical measures as a part of this expansion process. Business travel, physical security, and intelligence gathering were all affected by these extra measures.

Even before the war started, Texas Instruments had issued guidelines that restricted travel -- particularly to Europe -- to essential business only. "We have contingency plans developed for all our high-risk areas," said Rawle. "Those plans are currently in place at each of the locations so that if something happens, they can be implemented immediately. There are different levels to those plans." Texas Instruments had already canceled trips to the Middle East with the exception of travel necessary to support contracts.

Both Xerox and Dow Corning implemented travel policies similar to those in place at Texas Instruments. Their policies restricted travel in the Gulf region and put limits and checks on business travel to other places around the world. For instance, at Xerox, employees could not travel unless the plans had been cleared with their supervisors. "To make that stick," explained Hollstein, "all we had to do was contact the travel department and people couldn't make reservations unless they'd taken the appropriate action."

According to Haywood, during the first few days of the war Dow Corning business travel by airplane was completely banned. Problems arose with employees who were already traveling. If those people were in the United States, they could use only cars or trains. "Now we've gone into travel by necessity with the approval of area managers," said Haywood.

The travel policy was more flexible at TRW. "We have not prohibited people from foreign travel, but we have intensified our information program," said Chatowski. He mentioned that even before any hostilities in the Gulf, TRW had had a briefing program for people who were going to travel outside of the United States. Chatowski explained the reasons for this program: "They are briefed because they are subject to rules and regulations and because we have an obligation to keep employees safe."

In addition to restricting airline travel and trips to certain locations, Levi Strauss took other precautions. "For example, if somebody really has to go to the Caribbean and yet the only airline that flies there is a restricted airline," said Newby, "we have to do some juggling and some modification to try to let them conduct business." Newby elaborated on this policy: "If you can't fly airline A but it's the only one that goes to country B, then we say you can fly airline A departing the United States, because we feel the security programs at US airlines should be sufficient. But you can't fly airline A departing from country B."

In the first few days of the Persian Gulf War, security at home was another point of concern. Virtually every company used additional security procedures during that period. Extra measures ranged from tightening physical security controls to increasing information networks.

Dulles Airport's actions, like those at other airports, were in compliance with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) threat levels. "That night, when hostilities started, we went to threat level four, which creates much greater restrictiveness for entering the airport -- for both passengers and employees," said Elliott. Internal access control was particularly affected as a result of that threat level. For instance, Dulles security officials began to monitor access control points closely so piggy-backing was kept to a minimum -- if not entirely eliminated from the process.

Even before January 15, the United Nation's deadline, practical measures were implemented at Dulles. Security officials had confiscated IDs of employees from several companies who had access to the airport. These companies either had not complied with or had not responded to security requests. Also, airline companies could no longer pick up flight crew members from inside the airport operations area. These two measures successfully decreased the amount of traffic inside the operations perimeter.

The Smithsonian Institution started its long-range security planning at the beginning of January 1991. Bresson first contacted the FBI. Through the FBI, Bresson contacted a working group of security people in the Washington, DC, area. This group later became part of a command center run by the FBI but accessible to government agencies. The group functioned like TRW's information network of local, state, and federal agencies. "The purpose of the group was to keep everyone informed of the intelligence information and the state of affairs from a terrorist point of view," explained Bresson.

The Smithsonian also took specific actions to safeguard its buildings. Security officers were made more visible and required to check all staff badges carefully. In the Smithsonian's many galleries, a higher sense of alertness for discarded packages was instilled, and security patrols of restrooms and areas where items might be left were increased. Eventually, the Smithsonian instituted a policy that required limited checking of all parcels brought into the building. All items such as briefcases, purses, and bags were visually inspected after they came through the front entrance. Additional checking procedures applied to packages received through the mail and those delivered by couriers. All such parcels were brought to a central location and examined. Couriers no longer had free access to different parts of the building.

Texas Instruments increased its security patrols -- it even brought some extra contract security personnel onsite. Dow Corning also stepped up its security officer patrols and made its officers more visible. For example, a security officer was constantly kept posted in the reception area.

Several companies began to pay closer attention to the security of executives in their organizations. At Xerox, the level of security depended somewhat on an employee's position in the company. For instance, more was done to safeguard those people in corporate or executive positions, particularly individuals who traveled frequently. The protection policy at TRW "provided increased information and awareness for high-visibility employees and international travelers to make sure they were not vulnerable," said Chatowski.

THROUGHOUT THE FIRST DAYS OF the war, the need for clear and quick communication with employees was a common thread in all organizations. Employees at all levels needed to know immediately of changes in security procedures. Full support and cooperation among all levels of management facilitated this information exchange and the resulting security action.

During the first days of the Gulf War, senior management at Xerox made the final decisions regarding security after consulting with the security division. Employees in managerial positions were informed about these decisions through an electronic communication system called Management Communique. Other employees were informed of the new security procedures through Today at Xerox, another electronic bulletin. Over the following days, more updates were given. Hollstein noted the crisis even produced some positive results: "It gave the security forces at Xerox an opportunity to reach out with a positive attitude to a large number of employees and to serve them individually," said Hollstein.

In many cases, security plans would have been stymied if not for advanced communication networks. At the beginning of the Gulf crisis, these networks proved their worth. "Word got around fast thanks to the marvelous electronic communication systems we have," said Hollstein. "I can get anywhere in the Xerox world within minutes." He also felt employees were reacting well to security's efforts: "People often complain that security isn't good enough -- in fact, before, it seemed the only complaints I ever got were about problems with security badges. Now they're saying 'Look, a security gate at a garage was left open this morning. Security should check it out'."

The process of communicating news to employees at Texas Instruments was similar to that at Xerox, with management again playing a crucial role. For instance, at the onset of the war, the corporate security director met with the board of directors to gain its full support. The travel advisories and policy recommendations were set by the corporate security director. The decisions about essential or nonessential business travel were made by senior management within each product division. Rawle said Texas Instruments gave the first advisory on January 10. After that date, several more were issued.

As with Xerox, these advisories were sent through an electronic mail system that connects Texas Instruments' headquarters with every senior officer, site manager, security manager, and human resources manager worldwide, along with the corporate travel office. "With electronic communication," said Rawle, "when we hit the button here, every site around the world has the information immediately." The managers then passed on the information to employees in their respective groups.

Management at TRW also notified employees of security changes by electronic mail. "Management must play a big part, and security must be prepared to provide the best information possible," said Chatowski. TRW also established a greater dialogue with its public relations staff. The company felt it would be beneficial to have one spokesperson for the whole organization. In fact, the security department actually published threat awareness messages for employees in conjunction with the public relations department.

At the Smithsonian, Bresson faxed security alerts to managers since not all necessary people were on an electronic line. Those key people then disseminated the news to the rest of the Smithsonian employees. And the employees' feedback has been positive. "We're getting good support from the staff. I think everyone's totally aware of the potential dangers," commented Bresson.

Security managers at Dulles Airport paid particular attention to ensure that the night shift employees were also informed about new or updated security procedures. Elliott noticed the security staff developed an extremely positive and cooperative security attitude -- an attitude that may be lacking until a crisis arises. "Most employees have become much more attentive, challenging people who are displaying identification and making sure access doors don't get left open inadvertently," said Elliott.

Haywood sent a note to each of the area managers at the Dow Corning sites in the United States, Europe, and Asia, asking that they review their emergency plans. Haywood personally contacted the most critical sites. Following that step, "each of the area managers put out an internal news article that explained what we were doing and why we were doing it," said Haywood. This notice was followed a few days later by another update, which included travel tips. Haywood also kept key employees at different sites aware of pertinent information by providing them with news from the ASISNET on-line system.

Levi Strauss also sent out at least four separate messages through an electronic mail system. These messages were monitored daily and changed if necessary. In sites such as Canada, each message also appeared in at least five languages. Newby said Levi Strauss wanted to be particularly sensitive to its employees with varying ethnic backgrounds. And employees at Levi Strauss were listening to security notices: "Because people have made the effort to call and inquire about [security] status and what they should be concerned about, I think their attention spans are a little broader than they might have been six months ago," said Newby.

Clearly, practical security measures at these organizations could not have been implemented without a highly effective and far-reaching system of communication. According to each interviewee, at the top of this system of communication was upper management. Successful security at these organizations required commitment and support from this level of management combined with the work of each company's security staff. The result, a safe working environment, helped maintain a business-as-usual atmosphere -- an atmosphere that all employees could work in, even when the country was at war. Newby stressed the thoughts of all the security professionals interviewed when he said: "Our philosophy is to keep the employees out of harm's way."

Jennifer Kornegay is production editor of Security Management.
COPYRIGHT 1991 American Society for Industrial Security
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Special Report; Persian Gulf War, 1991
Author:Kornegay, Jennifer
Publication:Security Management
Article Type:Cover Story
Date:Apr 1, 1991
Words:2317
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