"Knowledge is power".
Sir Francis Bacon, Religious Meditations, Of Heresies, 1597
You've heard the above quote before, but have you thought how it relates to terrorism? Terrorists try to control us by causing fear that is unique to our environment. Hijackings, active shooters, VBIEDs, homicide bombers, etc.., keep law-abiding citizens hunkered down. People won't go to work, kids will not show up at school, businesses suffer from lack of productivity and lost earnings. Government revenue shrinks and financially everything gets worse everywhere. To combat terrorism, the police, homeland security, and other protection assets actively pursue terrorists before they have a chance to strike. The hope is to intercept terrorist activities while the event in still in the planning stages. Regardless of which side you are on, you need "knowledge" first in order to be able to cross the threshold between planning and action. One of the universal truths of law enforcement is this: "It's not what you know, but who you know". This statement has served me well over the course of my career and as my career grew, so did the list of those I knew.
At some point, we will leave "the service," and in whatever we do, we will lose sources of information such as NCIC, Lexis-Nexis, or other investigative support and "law enforcement sensitive" methods of information sharing. Once we lay down the badge, we lose our legitimacy in having a "need to know." We probably all have dreams of just retiring and finding that perfectly-nestled fishing spot to catch the big one, but the truth is that cops don't do that. We don't retire. Cops are A+ "go getters," and after spending the best part of our lives protecting others, we simply find another way of doing the same thing. That's why private security is such a huge draw for retired LEOs. Arguably, the world is more dangerous than it has ever been and private sector protection is growing more than ever before. The problem is the threat environment has changed in the business world, because the economy has changed. We are now global, which means more U.S. citizens are living abroad, more U.S. assets are "across the pond" and more and more people "over there" hate us here. In order to get a grip, you had better dust off that list to find those you once knew on the job in order to get up to speed. Chances are they've left policing as well. Where do some of the experts go after they retire?
The purpose of the Anti-Terrorism Accreditation Board (ATAB) , according to Chairman of the Board Dr. John Spears, Ph.D., was "to bridge the gap" between public and private protection efforts. ATAB is a private, not-for-profit organization that seeks to transmit specialist knowledge about anti-terrorism to its members across the broad spectrum of the security field. Ultimately, ATAB "trains and certifies Terrorism Responders" and by doing so, serves as an anti-terrorism information clearing house and communications web-based switchboard. Organizationally, the dissemination of information is accomplished through committees & training materials
There are 16 different committees that represent the essential cross-section of our nation's terrorism defense. These committees are Private and Transportation Security, Military Liaison, Hospital and Healthcare Systems, Tactical Medical, Biometrics, Training, Certifications, Homeland Security, Physical Security, Terrorism Studies and Standards, K9 Development, Computer Security, Disaster Management and Policy and Procedures. Committee members also serve as a communication portal where questions posed by those needing to know will be directed to the right person with the answer.
Literally hundreds of governmental publications, educational tools, and data banks were combined to collect all that is reasonably known about how terrorists function, their targets, who they are, where they are, how to hurt them and how to protect yourself. Sources of information were obtained from the U.S. Army, Department of Transportation, FEMA, and National Fire Academy courses, to name a few. Curriculum, best standards and practices, and other information are reviewed by the subject matter experts within these groups for verification and legitimacy. For those currently serving in law enforcement, much of the curriculum is already POST certified and directly applicable to the daily mission of state and local public safety agencies.
CAS and CMAS
Looking to earn CEUs to maintain another certification that you may have, or are you looking for a professional certification? Do you have what it takes to earn the "Certified Anti-Terrorism Specialist" or the advanced "Certified Master Anti-Terrorism Specialist" designation? According to ATAB, "Qualifying as a Certified Anti-Terrorism Specialist is not an easy endeavor." Only those who have proved that they have experience or have otherwise become a documented expert in "terrorism detection, deterrence and/or response" have a chance of earning this distinction. Applicants are first accepted based on another CAS referral, and for those seeking certification, points are accumulated by a thorough review of an applicant's work experience, education and score on an exam. Earning the CMAS is just as arduous, requiring time-in-grade with additional coursework for most. There is a cost associated with pursuing certifications, but unlike other organizations that seek to make a profit, ATAB, in the words of Certification Chairman Dr. Keith Flannaghan, Ph.D., "…put the money we get from certifications back into training materials." Nobody at ATAB gets paid; it's a volunteer effort in the best form. Finally, the leadership of ATAB recently established the Roy A. Bordes Excellence in Security Scholarship Award for professionals seeking to advance security. The scholarship will pay for ATAB membership, certification, training materials and training activities for a full year.
Keep in mind that no single organization can meet the needs of everyone, but when it comes to the topic of terrorism it is hard to believe that another could outdo ATAB. The experts are there, advanced certifications are available, proven training materials exist in abundance, and the price is right. Terrorism is generational and it won't go away. It's time to get caught up and stay one step ahead of those who want us dead.
Anti-Terrorism Accreditation Board