Module 9: Security Plans and Planning

chapter image“Dig the well before you are thirsty.” – Chinese Proverb

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

“In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower

These quotations illustrate the fact that planning is basically a process of thinking ahead. Planning has long been an important part of work in hostile environments or humanitarian work. Emergency operations planning, logistics planning, and food needs planning are among many examples familiar to this role. More recently, security planning has also been added to the list of core competencies of humanitarian field managers. Careful forethought regarding actions to take when confronted with likely security threats can mean the difference between life or death. In particular, planning for how to extricate staff in the event of a serious deterioration of the situation, or evacuation planning, has become a minimum standard for safe operations in insecure environments.

This chapter will illustrate the importance of security planning and provide you with some guidelines and practical advice on how to structure and manage your security plans. In particular, you will learn:

  • objectives imagePre Assignment Security Assessment
  • The relationship between security plans and planning and the SRA process.
  • How to determine the level of planning needed by your office.
  • The basic contents and structure of a comprehensive field security plan.
  • The specific design and use of scenario-based security contingency plans as components of the overall security plan.
  • How to relate your planning to your budget.

The relationship between security plans and Security Risk Assessment

How do security plans and planning fit in with the SRA model shown in the preceding chapters?

In module 8 we already saw one way in which planning figures in SRA. As a key part of the risk reduction toolkit, security planning is an important preventive and mitigating measure to be taken during the decision and implementation part of SRA.

model 1

This diagram illustrates another way to view the relationship— presenting security planning as overlapping yet separate from SRA. This is because you must do your SRA first in order to know what to plan for; then, using your analysis of the threats, vulnerabilities and risks, you can plan accordingly. A third overlapping activity—Critical Incident Management— is included in the diagram because an accurate assessment and well-prepared plans will increase your ability to respond to a critical security incident more effectively, should it occur. This activity will be discussed in detail in the next chapter.

Finally, you will notice that the arrows on the diagram above link activities forward as well as backward. This is because an incident, should it occur, hopefully produces new insights and lessons learned; and these should be used to update your SRA and revise plans accordingly in a constant feedback loop. Security Risk Assessment, Security Plans and Planning and Critical Incident Management constitute the principle tools of Security Risk Management.