Is it security or bureaucracy?

Security results in action. Bureaucracy results in more bureaucracy.

There is no group of people better qualified to discuss action and response than pilots. From our first day of flying training our flight instructors teach us not to take an action for granted. Flip a switch, look for an action. Make a control input, ensure you get the desired response.

Security is the same. It’s action-based, not paperwork-based. If the result of a security input is paperwork or some other form of passive response, then you don’t have security; you have bureaucracy. Bureaucracy is not a solution. Oh, it may eventually crank out something that looks like action. But by the time it does, the action is typically too little, too late, or inappropriate for the circumstances.

In developing an effective security program, flying communities, be they airports or flying organizations, need to examine three resources: People, procedures, and equipment. Security procedures must address observations, inputs, and desired responses. Using this simple methodology to develop security procedures helps to create effective security, not bureaucracy. Bureaucracy in any form is no substitute for action. Bureaucracy is a game winner…for an adversary.

Action protects airplanes, equipment, hangars, and airports.

Examine the security procedures for your airport or flying organization. Is each statement an action statement? In other words, is there a specified action for a security input or observation? Does that specified action describe who, what, when, and how?

Here is an example: “When an intruder is observed breaching the airport fence , first ensure that you are not in immediate danger and then contact the airport manager at XXX-XXXX and briefly relay who you are, what you saw, where you saw it, and any other relevant details.” Perhaps the airport manager will ask you to write down what you saw, but that shouldn’t be the primary or only action given in a security procedure.

Again, flyers are a great group to address security because we understand not to drop the airplane to fly the microphone or write up an engine maintenance squawk while performing a dead stick landing. Security should work the same way: Relevant action first, then everything else after that. Anything else is just bureaucracy.

Fly safe, and be secure!

Dave Hook, an expert on general aviation security, is president of Planehook Aviation Services, LLC in San Antonio, Texas.



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