Operational Value of Threat, Risk, and Vulnerability Assessments

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The Operational Value of Threat, Risk, and Vulnerability Assessments is a course designed by the National Domestic Preparedness Coalition in cooperation with George Mason University for the U.S Department of Homeland Security, under the 2007 Competitive Training Grant Program. The 3-day training course will be presented throughout the United States to assist homeland security professionals, from all emergency response disciplines and the private sector, responsible for managing risk, to understand and use operationally, information gathered in various threat, risk, and vulnerability assessment methodologies.

opval_fader_image_2.jpgCourse content focuses on helping homeland security professionals analyze and apply information gathered in the assessment process to enhance operations, including: patrol and tactical operations, intelligence gathering, community programs, emergency planning, resource allocation, response to Homeland Security Advisory System (HSAS) color-code changes and DHS Alerts, response and recovery, and selection of technology. Participants will receive a Participant Manual, access to a web-based post-course resource site, and a resource CD. Additionally, participants will receive 2.4 CEU credits from George Mason University and a certificate of attendance from DHS and the National Domestic Preparedness Coalition.


Q1. What is a threat assessment? (Show/hide answer)

A threat assessment examines factors including a community’s strengths, weaknesses, and emergency response capabilities and identifies critical facilities, infrastructures and events. Threat assessments also consider potential threat elements, and take into consideration all hazards. The threat assessment can help determine the likelihood that given the current intelligence or designated federal, state or local threat levels, a specific target will be subject to attack.

Q2. What is a risk Assessment? (Show/hide answer)

A risk assessment is a method of estimating the anticipated or expected loss from the occurrence of an adverse event by using the quantitative and/or qualitative values which relate to exposure and a recognized threat and impact.

Q3. What is a vulnerability assessment? (Show/hide answer)

A vulnerability assessment is an on-site review of the potential target and will include the active participation of personnel who are associated with the target, as well as subject matter experts. A vulnerability assessment will address, the existing overall state of security for the asset, the asset’s overall vulnerability to attack, the degree of protection provided by an asset’s security, fire, and emergency protection systems, financial vulnerability of the enterprise, the overall readiness of a community in relationship to the asset’s security, emergency, crisis, and consequence response capabilities including its emergency plan, and recommendations for establishing a total security program.

Q4. How long do threat, risk, and vulnerability assessments take to complete? (Show/hide answer)

Assessment times will vary for several reasons. Some assessments may request less information by design or may only address one aspect of a more comprehensive assessment. In addition, the size or criticalness of the facility or community may demand more time to gather the needed information. A final consideration would be the assessment team's desire to complete a comprehensive assessment which will benefit the community on a daily basis.

Q5. Who should be included on an assessment team? (Show/hide answer)

There is not a specific time that can be identified to complete most assessments. The complexity of the assessment and availability of manpower could impact the time it takes to complete an assessment. Some assessments may only require hours to complete while other may take days or weeks to complete. Most assessments should include representatives from law enforcement, fire, and the facility. Although it may not be necessary for a representative to participate as a full time assessment team member, their input may be critical to the overall mission of prevention, protection, response, and recovery.

Q6. Where can I find threat, risk, and vulnerability assessments? (Show/hide answer)

Assessments are completed by a cornucopia of disciplines including the following:

Emergency Management
Law Enforcement
Fire and Rescue
Emergency Medical Services
Private Sector
Health and Medical
Public Safety
Public Works
Public Health
Water Management
Environmental Management
Department of Defense (DoD)
Coast Guard

Q7. What equipment should I have to conduct vulnerability assessments? (Show/hide answer)
Common equipment that should be considered when conducting vulnerability assessments include but should not be limited to:

Various tools to include hammer, screwdrivers, knife, magnet, and a tape measure
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