It doesn’t have much to do with sourcing or business practices, but the attempted terrorist attack on Christmas day did get me thinking about the use of intelligence, and how our government really does a poor job managing it.

There has been a lot of coverage in the media on this latest attempt, much of the discussion focusing on the government response and the new safety procedures that have been added to make sure an attack like this never happens again. The government acted quickly, and now we have more intense screening at the security line and more bomb sniffing dogs at the airports. The most interesting new rules involve what happens after you get on the plane. Here are a few I have read or heard about over the last few days.

Passengers are not allowed to get out of their seats for the last hour of the flight.

Passengers are not allowed to have anything on their laps for the last hour of the flight.

Airlines have been asked to turn off the screens that show passengers where they are on the flight route.

Passengers must be quick when using the bathroom.

I even heard about a case where a little girl was told she wasn’t allowed to read her book for the last hour of the flight.

The problem with the new precautions is that they are based on this single recent incident, with little or no attention paid to the fundamental underlying problem. Terrorists understand the rules, and then formulate plans to work around those rules. If they know you can’t get up in the last hour of a flight, they will make their attempts before that last hour. If you aren’t allowed in the bathroom for more than a few minutes (sorry Grandpa) then they will get faster, or go to a plan that doesn’t involve the bathroom.

Once a terrorist gets on a plane, the best protection we have is the other passengers. Americans have consistently shown after 9/11 that if someone tries something on a plane, we will take them down, and our success rate is very high. If the government really wants to protect us, the focus should be keeping the terrorists off the planes to begin with. In this case, the FBI was even alerted about the terrorist prior to his entry in the U.S., but the warning wasn’t acted on. The Fort Hood massacre was another example where information was available that could have been used to prevent the incident, but wasn’t. In fact, most of our recent attacks didn’t happen because of a lack of information, but rather a lack of response based on the information.

If you want to make sure I sit still for the last hour of my flight, that’s fine, but it does not make me feel any safer. I would feel safer if I though my government understood the information it collects, and acted on it.

Of course, the leap from government National Security Intelligence to corporate Strategic Market Intelligence is a big one, but the government might want to take notice of how best in class supply chain organizations use and respond to changes in market intel. Over the next few weeks I will be blogging about market intelligence in the supply chain world – what it is, how to get it, and how to use it effectively.

Share To:

Joe Payne

Post A Comment:

0 comments so far,add yours