VULNERABILITY ASSESSMENT

DONALD E. NEALE

Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.

ELIZABETH M. JACKSON

George Mason University School of Law, Arlington, Virginia

GLENN COGHLAN, CPP

Founder and CEO, Coghlan Associates, Inc., Springfield, Virginia

1 DEFINING TERMINOLOGY

The term vulnerability assessment is commonly misunderstood. Surveys and inspections are regularly labeled as vulnerability assessments, possibly due to the fact that surveys, inspections, and vulnerability assessments all have a security focus and use a checklist to maintain their scope. Although these terminologies are often used interchangeably, the following descriptions delineate their differences.

Survey. In general terms, a survey identifies current security posture and helps ascertain what countermeasures/protective measures exist or need to exist. The survey process is used to gather information about a site and its countermeasures/protective measures. The information is then analyzed in order to make recommendations for the security design of a site, whether an individual building, an entire complex with multiple buildings or facilities, or an event location.

Inspection. An inspection is conducted to verify compliance with pre-established security standards and procedures as described in policy and regulation in an effort to help maintain security posture. Inspection teams use checklists to compare a site's security posture to that outlined by an authoritative or regulatory body, the results of ...

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