Airports are facing more security challenges than ever. The number of air passengers is doubling every 15 years just as security dangers multiply across the world. Technology is enabling massive advances in security, but there are other elements that should be embraced — from exploring the power of human intuition to the lessons learnt by the military through the adoption of concentric rings of security and the very real dangers from insider threats.

Cybersecurity is also an increasing and potentially catastrophic risk which, along with other emerging threats, needs to be addressed with greater creativity and imagination. Much is being done to deal with the risk — not least with industry programs such as Fast Travel, Smart Security and now the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) and Airports Council International’s (ACI) latest initiative, NEXTT (New Experience in Travel and Technologies) — but the message from every key organization is that the industry must do more, particularly when it comes to political will and a readiness to share experiences and best practice.

Watermark’s Dr. Jennifer Hesterman and David Menzel, Director, Government Markets for SITA, have written a thoughtful and insightful article on this subject and published in the Journal of Airport Management. The above is the abstract. To read the full article, click HERE.


Dr. Hesterman retired as a Colonel in the U.S. Air Force. Her last assignment was Vice Commander at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland, where she led installation security, force support, and the 1st Helicopter Squadron. She regularly escorted the U.S. president and other heads of state on the ramp.

After retiring in 2007, she started work as a private contractor in Washington, DC, studying international and domestic terrorist organizations, transnational threats, organized crime and the terrorist and criminal exploitation of the Internet. She is senior fellow at the Center for Cyber and Homeland Security at George Washington University, a member of the Board of Directors for the International Foundation for Protection Officers, and advises the Homeland Security Training Institute at the College of DuPage in Chicago.

She holds a doctoral degree from Benedictine University, Master of Science degrees from Johns Hopkins University and Air University, and a Bachelor of Science from Penn State University. In 2003, she was a National Defense Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. where she studied the terror-crime nexus. She is a 2006 alumnus of the Harvard Senior Executive Fellows program.

An award-winning writer, her book Soft Target Hardening: Protecting People from Attack was the ASIS Security Book of the Year for 2015 and the second edition of the book won the same award in 2019. She also authored Soft Target Crisis Management (2016) and The Terrorist-Criminal Nexus (2013). Jenni is dynamic and sought-after public speaker for ASIS, FBI, DHS, ASIS, DoD, state and local law enforcement agencies, Major League Baseball and others.

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