The attack on Brussels Airport has forced all airports around the globe to tighten up security and be even more vigilant. MIA is no different.
What happened immediately after the attacks?
First of all, we kicked in gear immediately when the news reports started coming in. Like we did with Glasgow, we don't wait to be told whether we need to heighten our security or not. We intuitively at MIA come together immediately and put forward-leaning measures in place that we can sustain to rachet up security at MIA.
How long do you keep that heightened level?
We keep the heightened security going on a day-to-day basis. Miami Airport, we are already operating at a heightened state of security because we are aware that we have to get it right every day. The terrorists only need one shot. We can't afford to be complacent or lax. So we take these types of incidents around the world as an opportunity for us to check ourselves and make sure that we are being as vigilant as possible. It boils down to vigilance. Any attack that is in the planning stages can be mitigated through observation techniques. If people can report suspicious behavior, and it seems like a cliche, but that is a critical tool as part of a security program for any critical infrastructure is vigilance. And at Miami Airport, we were the first airport in the country to launch behavior detection launched in 2006 because we recognized this as a very critical tool. We need to be mindful of people's behaviors and how they are acting. That can help us detect those anomalies and possibly mitigate any potential threats.
A taxi driver in Brussels is now helping in the investigation of the bombing.
It was due to that taxi driver's vigilance and his observations that led the authorities to be able to detect and intercept and dismantle any planning going on, and that was critical. For us at Miami we're happy that we were ahead of the curve on this one and we continued to utilize our behavior detection skills every day. Every single employee at this airport gets that training. The airport attack in Brussels was on the soft side; likewise was the Metro explosions. These are areas that are very difficult to secure in a public facility. That's why it's important for everybody that works in that domain to be trained in behavior detection so they can be noticing strange things. For example, the two brothers were wearing the gloves on their left hands...that would stick out. These guys were taught to dress and blend, and that's what they do. They try to blend in, and that's why it's important to be very observant of your surroundings. We can't afford not to. In this day and age we're living in right now, the ISIL threat is not just overseas. It is here, and we have to be mindful that it is right here in our own community, and a lot of us just don't understand that or believe that or want to deny that. You can't; it's here and we need to be vigilant.