Other: Instrument for securing military objects


Defence Physical Security Design Tool

Between 2005 and 2007, TNO developed a Defence Physical Security Design tool for Defence, a tool for designing and assessing plans for the physical security of military objects. The Defence Physical Security design tool, hereafter simply referred to as the ‘tool’, was intended to support the assessment of security plans and ensured that the process of establishing a security plan was more clearly traceable.

In the early years of this millennium, the Netherlands Ministry of Defence made several negative headlines regarding shortcomings in their physical object security. Despite the constant attention to physical object security at the Ministry of Defence, shortcomings were sometimes identified. Most of them turned out to be related to the massive reorganisations within Defence in the 1990s. The most far-reaching measure for physical security was the abolition of obligatory military service. As a result, a large contingent of conscripts deployed as guards fell away. A second important reason was that physical security plans, often for historical reasons, were drawn up in different ways at each Defence unit. That is why it was often impossible to check why certain measures had or had not been taken.

The Ministry of Defence subsequently tackled this problem structurally. For example, the security plans of the many Defence locations should be easier to assess and decisions taken during the development process of the security plans should be traceable. As a result of the new Defence organisation and the new management model, it had also become necessary to reorganise several management and supervision functions, to standardise and centralise various processes and resources where possible, and to strengthen supervision of implementation.

To simplify and improve the checking of security plans for physical objects, the Ministry of Defence decided to have a tool or PC package developed by TNO. This tool was to function as an interactive methodological prescription in the design and assessment of physical security plans. The tool made it possible to establish clear assessment criteria at a central level for the design of physical security plans. In addition, it provided the operational commanders with a tool with which they could test their plans themselves before they were presented to the Defence Audit Service (ADD) for assessment. The tool was therefore initially intended for the ADD to assess the physical security plans.
Secondly, the section commanders could use the tool for making their security plans. During the development, it became clear that the tool also offered solutions for identified shortcomings in the existing security plans. The design of unambiguous and verifiable plans, therefore, became the main goal of the tool.

In the field of physical security, the tool had to generate concrete measures based on given threat characteristics and with which a centrally determined level of physical security could be offered. In addition, the tool had to record the motivation for certain choices or the reason for deviation from rules set at a central level. This made the development process of a security plan transparent, which was also a necessary condition for maintenance and updates.

The specifications for the functionality and user interface of the tool were then determined in several sessions with the various stakeholders of the Ministry of Defence:

  • The tool supports the design of a security plan for objects of the highest three security categories. The four security categories established within the Ministry of Defence with their security standards are:
    • category 1 – acceptance of damage is unacceptable,
    • category 2 – damage is in principle not acceptable,
    • category 3 – damage should be avoided as much as possible, and
    • category 4 – standard precautions are sufficient;
  • The tool supports the audit of a security plan;
  • The tool can be used throughout the Armed Forces, including for military missions abroad;
  • The development of the generated security plan is made traceable;
  • The tool generates clear reports;
  • Defence must be able to maintain and update the tool itself.
Guarding an Apache at air base Gilze-Rijen (Photo: Maartje Roos)
Guarding an Apache at airbase Gilze-Rijen (Photo: Maartje Roos)

The tool contained one unambiguous normative collection of structural, electronic and organisational measures for physical security, which were often determined empirically by the Ministry of Defence itself. At a central level, it was determined up to which security level the measures from this collection offered protection given the threat level. This security level corresponds to the category classification (security standard) of the object to be protected. All measures in the collection were intended to have a signalling or burglary-retarding effect. The numerical values used for the retarding effects of architectural elements were based on international standards and research carried out by the Ministry of Defence itself. Each security plan had to be built based on this set of measures. The results thus obtained were therefore more comparable and easily verifiable.
The tool did not pretend to provide every (for example architectural) detail of an object in all situations. It was therefore possible that the operational commander deviated from the measures produced by the tool based on well-founded reasons. The tool then offered the opportunity to include this deviation in the security plan. The reason for deviating had to be motivated. The deviating measures needed to meet the security standard in a verifiable manner.
The tool could also offer alternative solutions from which the commander could choose. For example, by placing classified documents elsewhere, adequate security could perhaps be achieved at lower costs.

Specification and programming of the tool took place in 2005 and 2006. During the summer of 2006, the first version was tested on several physical objects of the Armed Forces. The operational introduction at the Ministry of Defence took place in stages in 2007. The Ministry of Defence later also considered expanding the tool to make it suitable for information security. The tool was maintained by a commercial company on behalf of the Ministry of Defence.

Instrument Physical Security Defence
The tool “Physical Security Defence”




This page was derived from an earlier article in Dutch by ir. H.A. van Hoof and ing. G.P. van Voorthuijsen.