International Security Management Update: Terrorist Attack in Canada

On 22, 2014 a gunman fatally shot a Canadian soldier guarding the Canadian War Memorial in Ottawa, Canada. The assailant then attempted to assault the Canadian Parliament building but was shot dead before he could continue his rampage. Although an investigation is still ongoing, the shooter was identified as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, a radicalized Muslim convert and ISIS sympathizer. The attack in Canada has caused many in the media to speculate that so-called “lone wolf” terrorists present the most significant terrorist threat today.

Lone wolves are self-radicalized individuals who have few formal connections to the terrorist groups they support. Rather, they are inspired by these groups to commit acts of violence. This lack of formal affiliation means that lone wolf attacks are generally less sophisticated. Unfortunately, it also means that there are simply no channels of communication that security services can intercept and exploit. As a result, lone wolves are more unpredictable.

While lone wolf attacks are certainly a concern, they are not as unique a threat as many in the media suppose. Disgruntled employees, mentally ill individuals, and radical political groups have been a part of the security landscape for a long time. Indeed, theses examples are similar to lone wolves in that they commit acts of violence that are unsophisticated, yet difficult to anticipate. From a security perspective, lone wolf violence is similar to many other types of violent acts.

Fortunately, international security managers have a reasonably effective tool to deal with such threats: Physical Security. Metal detectors, security guards, physical barriers, CCTVs, and access controls are very common, yet very capable security methods. When managed well and in concert, these techniques can do much to mitigate the threat of lone wolves and other dangers.

Obviously, physical security is not a full guarantee. As every risk manager knows, few risks can be eliminated entirely. To be sure, lone wolf attacks are difficult to predict, and could become more common. However, this does not make them impossible to defend against. Well-executed physical security measures are designed to deal with the unanticipated, and are tried and tested tools to meet the threat of lone wolves and other security challenges.

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About the IMG Group

The IMG Group is a leading international security management firm, with considerable experience in physical security. Corporate or business organizations concerned about their need for detailed international security management planning can reach out to the IMG Group for assistance. The company’s expert security consultants provide services such as employee security, VIP and executive protection, risk and threat assessments, workplace violence prevention, protective services, crisis management planning, and more.

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