Day of Man raises awareness, funds

first_imgWhile most Notre Dame students scramble for their hats and scarves on snowy South Bend mornings, the men of Siegfried Hall will break out their summer wardrobes once again during today’s seventh annual Day of Man. The Ramblers will sport shorts, flip-flops and pink T-shirts to raise awareness of homelessness and fundraise for the South Bend Center for the Homeless. Senior Andrew Ritter, a co-commissioner of the event, said the Day of Man is a unique and rewarding opportunity for students to experience solidarity with people who lack basic living necessities. “We are more than glad to be cold one day for those who are cold everyday,” he said. “It is our way of standing in solidarity with them and bringing awareness to the fact that a lot of people are not properly clothed and are having to live outside in this South Bend winter.” Historically, Ritter said the event has been highly successful in terms of both student participation and fundraising, as well as in direct donations to the Center for the Homeless. Last year’s Day of Man brought in more than $5,000. “Siegfried usually has about 175 out of the 240 men in the hall participate, and their efforts go along way in raising money,” Ritter said. “Truthfully, though, we hope to increase [donations] this year in order to contribute more to the Center.” Junior co-commissioner Johnny Dang said aside from the tangible benefits the fundraiser provides for the Center for the Homeless, the event has an equally important effect on student participants.   “[Participants] come to understand that during this time of year a lot of people who are homeless are struggling to find warmth,” he said. “This is one day where they will learn to appreciate the things that they have … and how fortunate they are.” Sophomore Taylor Roberts said he was initially hesitant about participating in the Day of Man, but he was ultimately satisfied with the experience. “You always question yourself when your cup is empty and you’re walking out in the cold,” he said. “But once you get your first couple of dollars, it really sinks in that you’re doing a good thing.” Despite the event’s benefits, Roberts said it is limited in terms of addressing the complexity of homelessness in a holistic manner. “I admit that I don’t think you can feel the full effect [of homelessness],” he said. “There are so many other factors including the lack of food, the lack of shelter during even harsher conditions and often mental and physical illness.” Though the Day of Man may not be an authentic proxy experience for homelessness, Roberts said it provides students with a new perspective on a real issue. “The event does signify a big step forward in realizing some of the hardships that the homeless do experience while also extending a hand and making a difference,” he said. Contact Michael Fernandes [email protected]last_img read more

Rio 2016 Reaches Stage 5 of Preparations for Possible Terrorist Attacks

first_imgBy Fernando Montenegro, Brazilian Army Colonel (R) August 05, 2016 The last few weeks saw the activation of the Brazilian Army’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Defense Battalion and its bomb squads. Many of these activities were clearly tests to check out the response capabilities of the security structure set up for the Rio 2016 Olympics. In order to expand the capillarity of vectors to allow identifying possible attacks, training was provided to security professionals and workers in other relevant areas, such as the hospitality industry. This action allowed more people to begin to participate more actively in preventing attacks. This is important, because the level of sophistication with which these terrorist attacks were carried out in the last two decades has surprised experts. Their detailed planning is no longer concerned with just causing the highest number of casualties, but also with how these actions can contribute to increasing their own visibility and the public opinion’s feeling of insecurity. This way, terrorist organizations succeed in transforming tactical actions from the operational and strategic levels to directly reach the political level. The methodology to plan an attack follows a primer where seven stages are recommended, regardless of the techniques, tactics, and procedures (TTP) that are chosen to carry out a terrorist attack. The first stage of an attack consists of finding information about potential targets that have more visibility in the public domain information sources. Priority is given to targets which may cause the highest possible impact on the international media, keeping in line with the organization’s strategic objectives. The second stage consists of intelligence surveillance and surveying of the targets selected in the preceding stage. A stronger effort is dedicated to the targets with higher vulnerability potential. During surveillance, priority is given to the observations conducted on individuals, facilities, practices, procedures, routines, transportation, trip itineraries, travel, and security measures already in place. If all goes well over the first two, the third stage will finalize the choice of a specific target, which will then be the object of actual planning to carry out the action. But before making the final decision, they must answer the following questions: – Will the operation succeed in affecting a large public, regardless of the number of immediate casualties? – Will the target in question be covered as high profile by the media? – Does the success of the action impart the right message to the public selected as a priority? – Is the effect produced consistent with the organization’s strategic objectives? – Does the target bring about a substantial advantage to the organization, by giving it the opportunity to demonstrate its operational capability? – Do the results of a cost-benefit analysis support going ahead with the operation? The fourth stage includes the type of surveillance that precedes the attack, in order to fine-tune the final planning. In this stage, more detailed information is needed to decide critical aspects such as the logistics and operational procedures. This phase can take days, weeks, months, and even years for everything to be consolidated. It all depends on the target’s complexity. Here, the priority is checking out existing security measures; detailing preparation operations, especially regarding the concentration on personnel and material means; recruiting the most qualified individuals, accordingto the requirements; establishing one or more operational bases in the area of interest that contains the objective; defining, assessing, and testing escape and evasion routes; and defining in detail the means which will be employed aggressively in attacking the target. The fifth stage is the one the alleged terrorists of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games presently find themselves in. As in any other military operation, particularly special operations, drills are conducted to correct any failures that may not have been detected before and during planning. This increases the chances of a successful attack. These practices are essential because they allow them to confirm data used in planning the operation, and develop tactical alternatives to decisions on how to act. In principle, the following need to be taken into account: devices in the objective area; actions taken to accomplish the objective; escape and evasion routes; and performance of the equipment, weapons, ammunition, and explosives. This stage is the last chance that security managers have to use the established intelligence system to identify terrorist cells, lone wolves, or the chosen target, and thus, to thwart the terrorist attack before it happens. The sixth stage consists of taking action at the objective site. In fact, we notice that various simultaneous attacks can occur over different targets. This characteristic of the most recent terrorist campaigns hampers the prevention and response capabilities of the intelligence agencies and security forces, which will then be at a great disadvantage for not having identified the attack while it was being prepared. It is clear that the response teams arrived at the attack locations only after these attacks have been launched with the best use of the surprise factor. Terrorists have the advantages of choosing the location, tactical surprise, distraction actions, blocking positions to slow down response teams, and finally, the choice of time and way of executing the attack (especially in the case of suicide attacks). The seventh and last stage covers three basic procedures: escape, evasion, and exploration. Normally, the techniques, tactics, and procedures used for escape and evasion are subject to extensive drill and rehearsal. When they succeed, they contribute as a multiplying factor to the overall terror effect. Even if suicide bombers die while carrying out the attacks, there will always be the escape and evasion of those involved in the support operations which, because of their training, are considered more difficult to replace than the suicide bombers themselves. In order to better understand this dynamic situation, these operational support elements are frequently responsible for delivering the suicide bomber to the most adequate location for the attack, or to indicate the ideal moment to trigger an explosive, for example. The post-attack exploration is the very reason of every terrorist action, which attempts to use all available means to publicize the event. A process of preparation takes place in order to be most agile in disseminating and taking the most advantage possible of the moment. Planning the use of media, previously prepared manifestos, use of the Internet, radio, edited videos, TV, podcasts, and other means contribute decisively to all of this. The ramifications of well-planned and successful terrorist actions have significant impact over different target audiences, including effects on personnel recruitment and raising financial support. On the other hand, frustrated or failed attacks have the opposite effect. They destroy the image of the organization, showing it as vulnerable and ineffective. The current scenario clearly shows the high degree of sophistication in the planning, organization, creativity, and technical training of the terrorist organizations such as the Islamic State, Hamas, Hezbollah, and Al Qaeda. Many of the operations have features that are similar to those conducted by special operations forces. Therefore, countries that are the main targets for terrorist attacks have realized that it is practically impossible to prevent this new form of terrorist attack from occurring even by expanding the range of their intelligence operations. To offset this, a decision has been made to invest in preparing the forces dealing with the response and damage control. In general terms, these are the features under which the security for Rio 2016 has been structured in order to fight the terrorism challenge. Since the country has no history of recent terrorist attacks, many residents of Rio de Janeiro have been repeating the very popular saying that “God is Brazilian.” We sure hope that is the case, because, unfortunately, the Olympic Games have a sad history of being the target of terrorist actions.*Brazilian Army Colonel (R) Fernando Montenegro of the Special Forces is a former Officer of Operations of the Anti-Terrorism Detachment, as well as Professor of the Graduate Program on Security Management, and Control at the Autonomous University of Lisbon, Portugal.last_img read more

5,000 CU reps head to capital

first_imgThe largest gathering of credit unions in the country will kick off this weekend when CUNA hosts its annual Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC). Approximately 5,000 people are expected for the meeting at the Washington Convention Center.And for the first time, a little piece of history will also be visiting the meeting.Although CUNA and its state leagues host meetings in advance of the GAC itself, the conference officially launches on Sunday afternoon, beginning with a Small Credit Union Roundtable and first-time attendee orientation, before the first keynote address begins at 4 p.m. The opening keynote will be given by the portrait and documentary photographer who goes by the single name Platon. Platon has worked to promote inclusion and human rights around the world.GAC will include full days of keynote addresses and breakout sessions on Monday and Tuesday, with a half-day scheduled for Wednesday. Wednesday afternoon and Thursday will include the annual Hike the Hill effort by credit union representatives as they meet with their respective members of Congress. continue reading » 1SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more