Letter to the Editor: Security for Artisans A Reflective Practitioner's View of Today's Security Professional and the Protection Business
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Security is receptive to scientific advance, but is no field for scientists to dominate. The exigencies of protection are too fluid and the stakes too high for submitting one's livelihood, assets, or life to rigid metrics and laboratory-grade theories that fall apart on first contact with mortal hazard. On the other hand, security is no long-term home for artists, either. Not that the protective world need be inhospitable to creativity or innovation ''' particularly if these produce desired protection on time and within ambient resource constraints. However, the artist's highest aspiration to be and do something unique will find a better home elsewhere. In the protection business, it is not only useful but necessary to be able to replicate and commoditize one's highest achievement, to spread it widely and often without taking credit for it. In this context, die-hard artists will surely look to greener pastures more befitting their egos and temperaments. Where does that leave us, then, if security is neither art nor science and if security welcomes visitors from both camps but offers a home to neither? Security at its best is a home for artisans. It is one of those hybrid disciplines whose highest expressions derive from synthesis, from blending theory and innovation together and then applying the mixture with gusto and finesse to situations where success may occasionally surface but where failure is unmistakable and fatal to people, institutions, or careers. Security is no place for the faint of heart, for the indecisive, for the chronically risk averse. It can be a natural fit, however, for defenders, pragmatic idealists, and masters of the calculated risk.
This article appeared in Homeland Security Affairs (February 2011), v.7 no. 1
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