man on the bridge by  Edward Munch

Worst case scenario

Worst case Scenario thinking in security.

Risk management involves mitigating against real and current threats, here the word “real” plays a crucial part in this conversation.

The effect of news media on our perception of threats cannot be underestimated so its best to remember a few things about the news media. firstly, the news media is competitive environment whereby  profit demands being first and overwhelming in coverage. It also must develop a narrative that captivates the audience. the prime narrative in this equation is fear, another is sensationalism. The combination of these and the growth of the social media and its ability to further amplify the worse aspect of the news media coverage of certain event brings us to a point of collective “worse case thinking” .

In the case of normal man and woman in society this only leads to increase anxiety and paranoia which  harms the individual’s quality of life. In society, the effect are hysteria, xenophobia and willingness to forgo long established civil liberties, all adding to negative trends in society and potential abuse of power.

The impact that concerns us as security specialist is exemplified by Dick Cheney who was the vice president in G.W.|Bush’s administration. Whereby he advocated that a %1 potential of AL Qaeda arming themselves with a nuclear weapon was to be treated as a %100 certainty to create adequate response. while at first look based on our instance reaction we may be inclined to agree,on  a professional  we must logically realise to change a very low probability to an absolute certainty is purely a great flight of imagination and mostly emotional .This is not based on correct mitigation of a threat and management of risk. The immediate effect is simply focusing attention on the remotest of possibilities and devoting undue amount of attention and resources, at the cost of dealing with more current and real threats.

In society this leads to overt measures , increase in intrusive security protocols some of which is alarming to the public & does not deter attacks but merely changes their nature .

The impact on the state of mind of security personnel, specialist , planners and interactions with their normal environments and the basic of their jobs is far more detrimental than can be measured.

Simply that fear itself, one of the very thing we are to guard the rest of the society against and create a sense of security and normally which are some of prime reasons we are employed , fear takes control  of  us and inevitably leads to over sights , over reaction and failures  .