Security Measures for the 2006 Winter Games Good to Go
by Jim Kouri, CPP
The 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece, were held against the backdrop of growing concerns about international terrorism. Despite widespread fears of a potential terrorist attack on the Olympics, Greece hosted a safe and secure event with no terrorist incidents. To assist Greece in securing the 2004 Games, US government agencies provided training and other support in the four years leading up to the Games.
In addition, the US government provided some security and other assistance to American athletes, spectators, and commercial investors, and expects to continue such support for future Olympics, including the upcoming 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy. Security experts interviewed by the Government Accounting Office were asked to determine the US approach and coordination efforts for providing security assistance to the 2004 Summer Olympics. Experts also examined the roles of US agencies in Athens Olympics security and their financial outlays. In addition, they reviewed lessons learned in providing security assistance in support of the Olympics and how they are being incorporated into preparations for future Olympics.
In 2001, the United States began planning its security assistance for the 2004 Summer Olympics, responding to the heightened worldwide anxiety following the September 11 attacks and Greece's request for international advice on its security plan. The United States based much of its security assistance on knowledge gained through Greece's participation in the Department of State's Antiterrorism Assistance Program and through the staging of a major US military exercise in March 2004.
Based on these assessments, the United States employed a coordinated approach in providing security assistance to Greece for the Olympics. The US Ambassador in Greece coordinated and led the US interagency efforts in-country, while the State-chaired interagency working group in Washington, DC, coordinated domestic contributions. Furthermore, the United States participated in a seven-country coordination group that aimed to identify potential areas of cooperation on security and support for Greece. Almost 20 entities and offices within a number of US agencies provided more than $35 million in security assistance and support to the government of Greece.
The Departments of State, Homeland Security, Defense, and Justice provided security training to various elements of the Greek government; the Departments of Energy and Justice provided crisis response assistance during the Olympics; and the State Department also provided special security and other assistance to US athletes, spectators, and corporate sponsors.
Following the 2004 Summer Games, these US agencies identified a number of lessons learned, such as the importance of assessing host governments' security capabilities early to assist in planning US support, appointing key personnel to craft unified messages for the US security efforts, and coordinating with multilateral and other organizing entities. These lessons were then communicated by Washington, DC-and Athens-based personnel to US officials in Italy who are preparing to support the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin.
Sources: US Department of State, US Department of Defense, US Department of Justice, US Department of Homeland Security, General Accounting Office, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, National Security Institute, National Association of Chiefs of Police, American Federation of Police
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for a number of organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. He writes for many police and crime magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer, Campus Law Enforcement Journal, and others. He's appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com, Booksamillion.com, and can be ordered at local bookstores. Kouri holds a bachelor of science in criminal justice and master of arts in public administration and he's a board certified protection professional.