Dr. Erroll G. Southers, TAL Global’s Managing Director, Counter-Terrorism & Infrastructure Protection, delivered the keynote address at the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) of San Francisco membership luncheon on Thursday, September 17 at The City Club. The presentation, titled “Terrorism & Its Implications for Commercial Real Estate”, offered the 120 attendees a seasoned perspective on the threat of terrorism to commercial real estate in the US, and on ways to mitigate that threat.
Dr. Southers provided an overview of the current terrorism threat to the United States, and the role Property Management teams could and should play in preventing, mitigating and recovering from terrorist events (such as the Boston Marathon bombing). Additionally, Dr. Southers addressed “best practices”, standards for evaluation and methods for quantifying the value of strong counter-terrorism programs.
From Mogadishu to Minneapolis, an intelligent, adaptive, homegrown adversary confronts nations around the world, how critical infrastructure remains a desired target and intelligence analysis is crucial. Despite the investment in protection, vulnerabilities will always present opportunities for high casualties, significant economic loss and a chance to undermine public confidence in the security system. “In spite of our best efforts and significant expenditures, we can never completely eliminate the risk,” said Southers.
Dr. Southers discussed this emerging threat, explaining the multiple extremist ideologies that threaten national security while providing specific insights for building mangers and stakeholders on how to effectively mitigate threats to public buildings through effective utilization of infrastructure protection techniques, coupled with counter-terrorism approaches that involve intricate collaboration and coordination among the diplomatic, military, intelligence and law enforcement communities, as well as cooperation between public and private sectors.
Many dignitaries were in attendance, including San Francisco’s Police Chief Greg Suhr; San Francisco’s Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White; BOMA’s San Francisco President, Blake Peterson; General Manager of the Transamerica Pyramid Phil Rapoport; BOMA San Francisco Executive Vice President Marc Intermaggio; and BOMA’s Emergency Preparedness Committee Chair Stacia Keisner.
San Francisco’s BOMA is one of the city’s oldest business organizations and the largest organization representing the commercial real estate industry. It is a not-for-profit trade association whose mission is to provide services and tools to help members succeed, including legislative and regulatory advocacy, labor negotiations, training and professional development, and networking for business development opportunities.
In addition to his position with TAL Global, Dr. Southers is the Director of Homegrown Violent Extremism Studies in the Safe Communities Institute of the Sol Price School of Public Policy, Adjunct Professor of Homeland Security and Public Policy and counter-terrorism subject matter expert at the University of Southern California (USC). Dr. Southers was President Barack Obama’s first nominee for TSA Assistant Secretary and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Deputy Director for Critical Infrastructure of the California Office of Homeland Security. He is a noted counter-terrorism expert for media networks and lectures and consults around the world.