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Security Science: The Theory and Practice of Security
  • David J Brooks, Dr.

Book review:


The writing of this book by us has been a true adventure, as we believe that we have made a quantum step in the understanding of the design, application, operations, and education of security by having a theoretical foundation for our security content. We consider that a theoretical foundation to the understanding and application of security at the national and commercial levels will enhance the future development of the discipline.

Professional development is an essential component of professional employment, as it allows the individual to maintain currency in their chosen field of a career. A characteristic of professional development is that it is both ongoing and directed: that is, to maintain the confidence of the community in the knowledge and skills base of a profession, the individual must continue to strive to be at the leading edge of knowledge in their chosen discipline.

The security industry has become an integral part of business enterprise and human activities: wherever businesses engage in wealth creating activities and people congregate into groups for leisure or living. The functional aspects of security are necessary to ensure protection and safety of individuals and assets. The security of persons, assets and information remain the responsibility of government, large organisations, and the community. At best, the study of security can only be considered as an emerging discipline, and in some minds still a component of criminology. However, over the past decade sufficient new knowledge in the domain of asset protection has been published that there is a case for the claim of security to be considered as a distinction and discrete body of knowledge.

The purpose of this book is to seek regularity and internal consistency within the knowledge domain of security, and to demonstrate the underlying principles applied in the understanding of security to those of the scientific method. That is, much of the knowledge domain of security can be discussed in terms of theory, either as newly developed paradigms for asset protection or as well established theories within other disciplines. Thus by borrowing theories from other disciplines it may be possible to enhance the understanding and hence development of the emerging discipline of Security Science.

Using theories to apply methods of protection allows a degree of prediction and provides a robust test for the discipline. Nevertheless, for security and in particular the security industry, to reach such a state requires further professionalization at many levels. To be considered a profession requires defined concepts that form a body of knowledge and that this body has structure. Knowledge is being defined within the broader context of security; however, the relevance and relationship of such knowledge has to be determined. If security is an emerging discipline, what concepts are more related to security than another and how does it relate to the knowledge structure? An understanding of how security knowledge is structured, and its interrelationship and interdependencies are an important element in achieving regularity and consistency. Ultimately, a structure of security knowledge may be formed that supports a discipline of Security Science.

The principal themes of the book are according to our philosophy of the structure of knowledge in the discipline of Security Science, and as such will influence the arguments and discussions on the future directions in the study of the protection of assets. These themes of the book include an understanding of the concept and management of security, together with security risk and the management of security risk. Thus by developing a theoretical context for these principal themes of the knowledge base, it is possible build a knowledge structure that can be applied to aspects of security that can be operationalised to fulfil the function of protecting the assets of an organisation. According to these themes, the understanding of the ideas of asset protection has been strongly influenced by Bloom’s Taxonomy, where a hierarchy of understanding of concepts and principles has been presented to ensure that advanced level thinking is applied to the preservation of well-being and safety.

The book has presented a case for the future direction in the development of Security Science through the understanding of the knowledge associated with asset protection and the processes to achieve asset protection. On the concept of security, Chapter 1 discusses the notion of asset protection according to sociological traits, and the perceptions of the functions of security. A description of the scientific method is presented to establish the basis for theories of security. Chapter 2 discusses the principles of security management within the concept of resilience applied to asset protection. The principles of risk, security risk and security risk management are presented and applied in Chapter 3. The social and cultural theories associated with the risk management process are considered in order to evaluate the theories that underlie decision-making within security risk management. Chapter 4 compares and contrasts the security strategies that may be used to improve the built environment, considering such techniques as physical measures, CPTED, lighting and the landscape, and the interrelationship between facilities and security.

The Chapter 5 presents the need for physical security for the protection of assets, and considers the defence in depth principle as an important approach. The applications of the routine activity theory through defence in depth and crime prevention through environmental design are appropriate applications in security. The applications of critical path analysis and universal element conceptual mapping in Chapter 6 are suitable strategies for assessing physical attacks on facilities. Also the types and functions of detection systems are discussed, with understanding of the possibility of being defeated. Furthermore, Chapter 7 describes the principles of access control with an emphasis on biometric identification. The modes of attack on biometric systems are considered in order that these might be prevented. The Chapter 8 discusses knowledge management as strategies and practices in an organisation to consolidate the corporate understanding of its information. The importance of security intelligence applied to the security management plan is presented, together with some discussion on espionage and insider security threats. The importance of the four stages of business continuity management in the context of a crisis is presented in the Chapter 9. Finally, the Chapter 10 discusses the future of the concept of security in short, medium, and long-term predictions for its future directions and outcomes.

The foundation for the continued development of formal knowledge of security and its applications for the protection of assets in the national and international contexts will depend upon understanding the principles and concepts of the emerging discipline of Security Science. A theory driven learning program at the undergraduate and graduate levels of study will ensure that the formal understanding of security will prevail. The knowledge base for the emerging discipline of security will be enhanced by ongoing research, both in the fundamental context of theory development and the applied context such as knowledge management and business continuity management. Such emergence will provide the foundation for the formal discipline of Security Science, providing organisational security with an element in becoming a profession.

Dr Clifton L Smith & Dr David J Brooks

September, 2012

Publication Date
Winter March 1, 2013
Citation Information
David J Brooks. Security Science: The Theory and Practice of Security. Waltham MA(2013)
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