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  • Writer's pictureMichael Padilla-Pagan Pay

Dear Customer it is Identity that drives what takes place on the ground

Last week, I traveled to Dortmund where I engaged with customers about their staff entering complex hot zones. We discussed the relevance and importance of not only HEAT training as well as counter surveillance training, which are at the crux of all security awareness, but also about understanding societies and delving into those systemic drivers. We have found out that the frequently neglected issue is: identity. My staff consider this facet so natural in our analysis and operations and so we covert and preach to our customers about what are the drivers to consider when operating in a complex and hot zone.

Identity underlies the majority of ethnic and religious conflict. When an individual feels that his or her identity -- such as values, beliefs, or customs that are intrinsically important to his or her sense of self and belonging -- is threatened or taken away, a violent response is only natural. We continue saying this: the majority of today’s conflicts emanate in societies. Identity analysis can pinpoint the dominant identity within an individual or community, possible causes of violence, and can establish a new narrative designed to prevent conflict.

Forecast threats before they unfold, and mitigate the negative impacts

Traditional “reactive” responses continue to drive counter-terrorism initiatives and dominate the media throughout the world. This traditional approach focuses on the symptoms, not the causes, of mass violence. Analysis of core identities is a proactive approach that can help forecast seemingly “uncalled for” and “unpredictable” atrocities.

The U.S. government’s profiling techniques fail to prevent mass violence because they are reactive. Current strategies rely on increasing amounts of technology to solve what is fundamentally a human issue – and we keep saying for months: it will not work. Profiling methods based on race, ethnicity, or religion have limited predictive power. Identity analysis provides the missing link.

The current system for tracking and profiling terror suspects makes it impossible to hold prospective terrorists without first obtaining guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This is when suspects slip through the cracks, maintain their ability to purchase assault weapons, and are able to commit massacres like in Orlando or now even Dallas.

Both of these recent incidents has been described as a “lone wolf terrorist” for being U.S. citizens with no clear ties to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Yet, the Orlando shooter was known to the FBI, who investigated him in 2013 and 2014 concerning inflammatory extremist comments towards co-workers and ties to an American suicide bomber in Syria. The Orlando shooter was even placed on a terrorist watch list, but removed when the investigations were closed.

So whether you are a customer or future customer, or work with law enforcement and policy-making, you need to employ identity analysis in order to pinpoint and forecast the motivations and behaviors of potential perpetrators. While it is impossible for outsiders to reason with or change an individual’s belief system, it is possible to predict their actions before they cause irreparable damage to human lives.  In short we accurately forecast threats before they unfold, and provide engagement strategies to mitigate their negative impacts. Our methodology pinpoints the systemic drivers of instability across any ethnic, religious, political or economic condition. ICESERVE24 delivers solutions to improve clients’ decision making in hostile and high risk environments.

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