Security Forward Risk and Intelligence Forum’s summer meeting was held at The London Capital Club in the City of London. Our numbers keep increasing. We had twenty-five people at the meeting and dinner, which is getting close to capacity. The meeting started with a presentation from guest speaker Mark Wrightson, who is Vice President, Corporate Security, for Millicom Cellular SA, a Swedish Telecoms/Cable/TV and media company which operates in fifteen emerging markets in Central/South America and Africa. With about 26,000 employees the company provides communication solutions in countries where fixed line and reliable data services are still rare. Mark is responsible for physical and information security, for crisis planning and business continuity, fraud investigation and health & safety. He has been with the company for two and a half years, creating a security model and structure from scratch. Before joining Millicom, Mark was the UK & Ireland security advisor for Shell International and before that he enjoyed twenty years working in Intelligence and Security as an Army officer. Mark described the challenges involved in "Setting Up A Security Model From Scratch" which has to cover both Africa and South America and take account of the different cultures involved, which in turn influences the Corporate Culture of the organisation. This was a fascinating talk and Mark was most informative and candid, which is only made possible by our strict adherence to ‘The Chatham House Rule’. This was a very interactive session and clearly added value to those present.
After our usual round-robin to identify ‘in tray’ issues and concerns, our own ‘Speaker in Residence’, Lt Colonel Crispin Black MBE MPHIL, addressed "What Will It Feel Like Living On Planet Earth With Ten Billion Other People". As always, Crispin’s intellectual curiosity allowed him to range far and wide to support his assumptions. He told the tale of Daniel Boone, the great American frontiersman who left North Carolina because he thought it was getting too crowded and moved to Kentucky, only to move on when another family settled in the same valley, thus making this new territory overcrowded in his estimation. Crispin’s talk took in Dien Bien Phu and the French evacuation from Vietnam and moved on to the green revolution of the 1950’s which allowed a great surge in food production. He touched on Thomas Malthaus yet concluded that population density may not be such a bad thing and that as population grows, so do the number of intellectually gifted people who may be able to solve future challenges. He used a bell curve to make his point showing the normal distribution of measured results for any population. As has become a tradition, Crispin proposed a cocktail, a "Shanghai Buck", popular in the 1930s when people marvelled at how crowded China seemed then. His thought-provoking talk led on to a very good discussion.
Following our Shanghai Bucks, our brave dinner speaker was Tom Harvey, who currently works as a Senior Red Team Consultant for BP, having spent the previous seven years working in the Public Sector across counter terrorism, support to military, political risk and cyber security. Tom gave an excellent talk on cyber security and the interactive discussion that followed was made all the more valuable due to the extremely well-informed audience present.
Future meetings are planned for 8 December 2015, 22 March 2016 and 29 June 2016.