As 2019 ended with two notable attacks on people and places of faith, many organizations are trying to better understand their threat environment and what responsible security looks like. As recently stated by the Homeland Security Advisory Committee (HSAC) Subcommittee for the Prevention of Targeted Violence Against Faith-Based Organizations, “Securing a congregation is a bottom-up process, and there are no one-size-fits-all security plans… While each place of worship will need to create a system that suits its individual resources, culture, and comfort level, there are concrete steps FBOs can take to enhance security.”
The Faith-Based Information Sharing and Analysis Organization (FB-ISAO) is excited to announce the start of our 2020 Workshop Series focusing on Hostile Events Preparedness. With the process formally starting in July 2019, FB-ISAO led a collaborative planning process among the ISAO, U.S. Government partners, and state and local government and law enforcement partners from around the United States. After months of development, we’re excited to conduct the first workshop in Orlando, Florida on 19 February and then to continue to confirmed exercises scheduled from Virginia to Wisconsin and planning underway for other locations around the country.
“While religious institutions have a high profile as victims of violence, their low profile in the public conscience should not lull law enforcement into delaying a partnership to prepare for the worst. FB-ISAO regional workshops play a crucial role in fostering these important relationships, while identifying national and regional capabilities to address security gaps.” – William Flynn, Former, DHS Deputy Assistant Security, Infrastructure Protection, President, GARDA Risk Management, LLC, and FB-ISAO Advisory Board and Business Resilience Group member.
2020 Workshop Series objectives include:
- Provide a one-day forum for faith-based and charity organizations to enhance their threat awareness and preparedness relating to potential physical attacks at their facilities.
- Use a hostile events scenario to provide participants an opportunity to interact with one another and discuss issues, concerns, best practices and other salient points regarding physical security preparedness, coordination and response among participants.
- Use a hostile events scenario to provide participants with greater awareness of U.S. Government and local government resources, guidance and best practices relating to hostile events and physical security to help inform organizational preparedness, security & resilience.
Exercises are a vital part of preparedness and security.
“‘If I could make one ‘ask’ it would be that every entity, large or small, plan for the risks they face – and EXERCISE those plans…This process should be a collaborative effort with community partners, internal and external stakeholders, and others who may be impacted or responding if an incident occurs.” – Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Assistant Director for Infrastructure Security Brian Harrell in Homeland Security Today, 31 December 2019.
The workshops will educate participants on the Hostile Events Attack Cycle and challenge them to consider their preparedness and ability to respond to an enduring threat challenge facing all organizations – to include places of worship and charities. Watch the video on our events page to hear FB-ISAO Advisory Board member and Executive Program Manager InfraGard National Religious Facilities Protection Program, Curtis Jones discuss the importance of these exercises.
“Sadly, due to recent events, a lot of folks are in a reactive mode and they may be drawing the wrong lessons from some of our recent tragedies. In these exercises, FB-ISAO won’t advocate for or against having armed security, for example, and the workshops won’t be presentations. Rather, these workshops are an opportunity for participants to share and learn from peers and public sector partners about best practices, lessons learned, challenges and key considerations. There are best practices but there is no ‘cookie-cutter’ solution for security. Through these workshops, we hope participants come out more informed, more aware, and more prepared to go back and mature their organization’s security and resilience in a way that respects their specific needs. The community of faith is stronger when we work together. These workshops are one of the key ways FB-ISAO strives to encourage that.” – Andy Jabbour, cofounder and Managing Director, FB-ISAO.
Stay aware of workshop dates and locations here, where you can also sign up for FB-ISAO’s free Hostile Events Preparedness webinars, provided by homeland security risk management experts from Gate 15, an FB-ISAO sponsor.
Workshop Schedule (developing):
- 19 Feb: Florida: Orlando, Valencia School of Public Safety
- 24 Mar: Virginia Workshop I: Ashburn, St. Theresa Church
- 14 Apr: Virginia Workshop II: Virginia Beach, St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church
- Jun: California: Northern California, location TBD
- 12 Nov: Wisconsin: Madison, Overture Center for the Performing Arts
- Other events may include Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and others.
FB-ISAO is a membership-driven organization that is open to US citizens of all faiths and their supporting organizations.
The Faith-Based Information Sharing and Analysis Organization serves as a trusted partner at the center of a national network of faith-based organizations and associations that have been informed and equipped to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from incidents arising from all-hazards, ensuring the resilience and continuity of these important community assets that include Cybersecurity incidents, Physical security incidents, Public health incidents and Natural disasters. Find us at FB-ISAO and join the conversation on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Contact: Mayya Saab, Faith-Based Information Sharing and Analysis Organization
The Virginia Fusion Center’s VFC SHIELD program provides a conduit for information exchange between citizens, businesses, organizations and public safety agencies. VFC SHIELD provides information on personal safety, crime prevention measures, suspicious activity recognition, safety for houses of worship among others. Through training, preparation, and situational awareness, individuals can utilize this information to better protect themselves, their families and their communities.
Contact: Austin White, Deputy Director, Virginia Fusion Center