In late November 2015, the U.S. State Department issued a worldwide travel alert, calling for Americans – to include corporations and organizations – to be cautious as they travel. The U.S. State Department, in its warning, said that international terror groups, including Islamic State and Boko Haram, “continue to plan terrorist attacks in multiple regions. These attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics, using conventional and non-conventional weapons and targeting both official and private interests.” The U.S. State Department said there would be additional security screenings and “unexpected disruptions” until the travel alert expires in late February 2016. The State Department further informs that there is a continuing threat from unaffiliated persons planning attacks inspired by major terrorist organizations but conducted on an individual basis. Extremists have targeted large sporting events, theaters, open markets, and aviation services. The U.S. State Department worldwide issues travel alerts to disseminate information about terrorist threats or other relatively short-term or transnational conditions that could pose significant risks to individuals and affect their travel plans.
In light of the recent U.S. State Department’s issuance of worldwide travel alert, Kroll offers the following travel safety information for the holiday period:
- For business travelers, consult with your company’s travel and/or security representatives regarding compliance with corporate travel requirements (e.g., insurance policies, legal releases, etc.) before your travel.
- Collect and record all necessary emergency numbers (i.e., company personnel, government agencies, contractual support services, etc.) in physical and electronic formats.
- For overseas travel, register in the U.S. State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) https://step.state.gov/step/
- Be informed—check for any travel advisories for countries you plan to visit. Travel Warnings and Consular Information Sheets are available on the State Department Web site: http://travel.state.gov
- Research the crime threat level in the country, region, and area before traveling internationally.
- Maintain a low profile. Do not wear or carry anything with a company name or logo.
- Take all necessary medication and sufficient amounts while traveling. Keep prescription drugs in original containers with a copy of the prescription.
- Be prepared for additional security screening and unexpected disruptions during the current worldwide travel alert period.
- Stay in touch with your family members and ensure they know how to reach you in the event of an emergency. If your family needs to reach you because of an emergency at home or if they are worried about your welfare, they should call the Office of Overseas Citizens Services in Washington, D.C. at 1-888-407-4747 (during business hours) or 202-647-5225 (after hours).
- Be aware of immediate surroundings and avoid large crowds or crowded places. Avoid street demonstrations.
- Exercise vigilance when in public places or using various transportation modes. If meeting another traveler, do not stand near waste containers, a typical location for explosive devices.
- Stay away from unattended luggage or boxes. If possible, meet your party at an access-controlled section like an airline club.
- Exercise particular caution during the holiday season and at holiday festivals or events.
- Monitor media and local information sources and factor updated information into personal travel plans and activities.
- Maintain cultural awareness for the location visited.
The following recommendations are provided to maintain security awareness at corporate/organizational facilities during the escalated warning period:
- Maintain operational security commensurate with the existing threat.
- Maintain information sharing among peer businesses and neighboring companies, as well as public / private sector partnerships (OSAC, DSAC, NYPD Shield, InfraGard). Review existing access control measures and upgrade where necessary.
- Maintain security awareness training, refresher training and pertinent information updates.
- Ensure staff remains vigilant. Staff should maintain situational awareness of threats and vulnerabilities.
- Ensure support functions are coordinated and current.
- Be aware of individuals conducting surveillance activities at the site. Staff should be reminded not to divulge specific information that is company-private, privileged, or unwarranted for dissemination to external parties.
- Remind all staff how to report security-related concerns.
By Kroll Editorial Team