Failure in Pope’s Security Urges Change in the Command and Control System

By Dialogo
July 26, 2013


During the pope’s visit to Rio de Janeiro, the entire convoy was kept for more than 35 extra minutes on a busy street, in downtown.



This serious vulnerability was the result of a lack in coordination between the Extraordinary Security Department for Large Events (from the Ministry of Justice) and the Transportation Department of the City of Rio de Janeiro.



During the unbelievable incident, escorts on motorcycles were confused about the itinerary and Federal Police officers stepped out of their vehicles, in an attempt to prevent access to the pope.



The images were transmitted live to the world and caused great apprehension because of the danger that the sovereign pontiff was exposed to, and the possibility of an attack.



The lack of consensus between both responsible agencies, during the evaluation of errors, clearly shows the absence of unity of command in managing the process.



A very different command and control structure was used at the 2012 Rio+20 Conference, and at the 2011 Military World Games, both very successful.



The motivation, which was probably political-ideologically driven, was articulated between the ministries of Defense and Justice, against the recommendations of the Armed Forces Joint Staff.



This experimental and unprecedented structure tends to present problems in the coordination, control, synchronization matrix, and in the circumvention of terrorist threats (reactively, counter-terrorism and proactively, anti-terrorism).



The lack of unity of command most likely led to a disregard of the performance study of the scenario promoted by the Brazilian Intelligence Agency (ABIN), most of all, considering the instability in the city since the Confederations Cup, in which riots caused by unsatisfied crowds who have been trying to take advantage of the visibility of large events to obtain public attention for their demands and to erode the government of the state of Rio de Janeiro.



It is clear that for the 2014 World Cup it will be necessary to return to the systematically adopted method used in previous events, such as the London Olympic Games and the Rio+20 Conference.










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