• Home
  • Other
  • Compare and contrast security threat assessment and security risk assessment for contemporary security and intelligence professionals

Compare and contrast security threat assessment and security risk assessment for contemporary security and intelligence professionals

  • Category:
  • Document type:
  • Level:
  • Page:
  • Words:


Security threat assessment versus security risk assessment for contemporary security and intelligence professionals

Students Name:


Security is paramount in the life of every human being. It is the main reason countries invest heavily in the area of intelligence and recruitment of security personnel. Each government ensures adequate training of armed forces as well as the various investigative divisions. The primary reason behind the distinctive treatment of security matters entirely relies on the establishment of the fundamental principles that define the stability of a nation planted on safety. In the recent past, we have witnessed numerous terrorism-related attacks, cybercrimes, organized crimes, illegal migrations and others, in many countries around the globe, some of which have most advanced and secure intelligence details. This predicament has adversely affected the reputation, economy, tourism among others, in the states hit by such security threats. However, despite the countless provocations facing the security sector, some of them are solvable through the process of security risk and threat assessment. It is therefore very crucial to focus our attention on these two important factors and draw a conclusion based on the analysis of each. The scope of this essay principally is in the critical assessment of risk and threat through a comparison of their similarities and differences besides the consideration of their importance in the security domain.

Security threat and risk assessments overview

Decision making in the security departments predominantly relies on a level of threat and risk identification and prevention. However, these two terms are often used interchangeably despite them having a distinct meaning altogether. It is, therefore,
important to have to define the terms used here to have a thorough understanding of their intended meaning in this essay. According to Sluis & Bekkers (2011), security attribute to any act that aims at consistently and voluntarily, guarding individuals or property against external or internal harm inflicted intentionally. These harms are exclusive of natural calamities like accidents and environmental disasters. Security risk assessment, therefore, is the process of identifying, evaluation and analyzing the contingencies to safety by determining the probability of their occurrence and the impacts emerging from it. A platform that carefully distinguishes threats classifies assets and estimates the vulnerabilities are concurrently issuing a report on the methodologies to initiate an efficient control system (Kiran et al. 2013). According to Rouse (2014), security risk assessment involves the determination of the variables that possess an adverse influence on the ability of security teams to perform effectively.

On the other hand, threats are an expression of the likelihood of a specified kind of an attack happening to a target of individuals or a place (Beken, 2011). The threat is anything with the might to deliberately, or accidentally pose a danger on an asset with the aim of destroying, obtaining or damaging it (LLC, 2016). Therefore, security threat assessment, therefore, is a process identifies, examines and consolidates data from reliable sources to determine the likelihood of a potential threat to happen within the anticipated period within a particular locality (Smith & Brook, 2013)

Vulnerability defines the exploitable proneness of a security system to a threat attack. Vulnerability assessment involves a well-outlined and organized structure that describes every possible security event and relates it to an occurrence avenue (Optimal Security, 2016)

Assets, on the other hand, refer to something that needs protection due to its value. It ranges from the property, which may include tangible or intangible, people and information about a company, a country or an individual.

In the light of the above definitions, our focus shifts to the critical analysis of the security risk analysis, security threat analysis and the vulnerability thereof and how they are interlinked concerning the security agents and personnel. From above, it is clear that risk is a result of the combination of assets, threats, and vulnerabilities. Therefore, enumerating each of them individually is instrumental and influential in the security sector.

Security risk assessment is a decisive formation that necessarily involves a critical analysis of a situation with the aim of identifying a potential threat, which helps the security agencies to lay down procedures to protect an asset. Threat identification is simply done through the development of a system that tries to answer the how, why, what, where, when and who questions.

Security risk assessment versus threat assessment

The initial stage of this assessment involves the recognition of the source of the security risk. These sources come from a broad spectrum of security threats including but not limited to natural, criminal and terrorists. In this case, we will use an example of terrorism as an example of our threat since it is the most recent source of threat in many countries across the globe. After the identification of a threat, it vital to analyze the cause of such risks. Causes of such risks may be because of unemployment, weak security details, lack of intelligence among others. The next step entails figuring out the potential incidence and premonition of the consequences of such a threat. In addition to this, the identification of the physical location and the target group of assets in such a risk and its conceptualization for the purposes of placing important measures to control or prevent such happenings. Specification of time of a risk to happen is also critical. The proprietors of such heinous risks and the involved in the risk have to be clearly outlined for the betterment of the results of an outstanding security risk assessment.

On the other hand, security threat assessment engages many aspects of the security risk assessment especially in the identification of a threat and implementation of the methodology formed to combat security threats. In the security threat identification, for instance, treat assessment involves a clear definition of the threat source, location, target as well as the impact it may have on the target. However, whilst security risk assessment is interested in drawing a big image of a potential threat, the threat assessment aims at identifying the specific threat and performing a critical analysis of the same with an intention to stopping such occurrences. It is a key tool for the determination of the likelihood of a threat to occur within a stipulated period. It is a means of quantifying the intent and capabilities of a threat on an asset (HB 167, Pg. 56). In addition to the above, threat assessment involves the determination of the possibility of a threat to occur and the success of the occurrence, which result, to the threat likelihood. The security threat assessment anchors its argument on public participation level, exposure to a potential threat, the driving force to the security threat and the geographical locality of an asset exposed to the threat.

From the analysis above, it is eminent that, the security threat and risk assessments are cardinal to the implementation of the set security details to protect and preserve the reputation of an asset. However, it is not easy to achieve this without considering the vulnerability of such details to threat or a risk. Therefore, security bodies need to go an extra mile in the determination of the effectiveness of the every decision made to prevent the success of a possible threat in line with the means by which such calamities may befall an asset. The implication to the security forces is that the rate of security alertness, response, and recovery from an attack should be very high in order to prevent the possible adverse effects of such attacks. In addition to this, there ought to be a system that is effective in the prevention and delaying of the occurrence of a foreseen threat or attack. The precautions above play an important role in controlling the impacts of a predetermined security threat or risk.


In conclusion, the knowledge of threat and risk is the very foundation of the security and intelligence. It is comprised of the best approach to the modern methods of combating security predicaments, which have become a menace to the assets. For instance, terrorism being a global threat instills fear in the lives of people and in many occasions, we have witnessed the loss of lives through brutal and archaic means. Extensive damages to properties are common to areas hit by terrorists. It is, therefore, vital to carry out risk and threat assessment in an informed manner to prevent such occurrences. In the light of such security threats and risks, the assessment need arises to provide a well-structured methodology deal with the thorn in the flesh. This calls for a proper understanding and knowledge in the security risk assessment as well as security threat assessment through definitions and proper utilization of the principles and tool provided thereof. Hence, this review has its scope concentrated on the workability and the reliability of each assessment technique. It has clearly analyzed the functionality and the relationships of each technique to threat and risk management and this extensive survey is important in making informed decisions especially in dealing with capital threats. The above literature has brought out the key comparisons and contrasts of threats and risks associated with security and intelligence divisions. It is, therefore, more important to take precautions to anticipated security threat other than living on the consequences brought by the success of such an event.


ACIE/AEA (2011) Joint Briefing. Aviation Security: 10 Years on from 9/11. Retrieved 8/27/2016 from: .http://files.aea.be/news/joint_ACI_AEA.pdf

Anderson, B. (2010). Preemption, precaution, preparedness: Anticipatory action and future geographies. Progress in Human Geography, 34 (6): 777-798.

Brooks, D.J. (2010). What is security: definition through knowledge categorization. Security Journal, 23(3), 225–239.

Clapper, J. R., (2016). Worldwide intelligence Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence community. Retrieved 8/27/2016 from: https://www.dni.gov/files/documents/SASC_Unclassified_2016_ATA_SFR_FINAL.pdf

Garcia, M.L. (2008). The Design and Evaluation of Physical Protection Systems. 2nd ed. Burlington, MA: Butterworth-Heinemann.

Fischer, R.J. and Green, G. (2004). Introduction to Security. 7th ed. Boston: Butterworth Heinemann

Fischer, R.J., Halibozek, E. and Green, G. (2008). Introduction to Security. 8th ed. Boston: Butterworth-Heinemann.

Health and Safety Executive (2014). Risk Assessment. A Brief Guide to Controlling Risks in the Work Place. Published on August 27, 2014.

Kiran, D. V., Reddy, L.S., & Haritha, L. N. (2013). A comparative Analysis n Risk Assessment Information Security Models. International Journal of Computer Application, 87, 9.

Knoke, M.E. (2012). Physical Security: Protection of Assets Manual. Alexandria, VA: ASIS International.

Smith, C.L. and Brooks, D.J. (2013). Security Science: The Theory and Practice of Security. Waltham, MA: Elsevier.

Shedd, D. R., (2016). Intelligence and National defense. Retrieved 8/27/2016 from, http://index.heritage.org/military/2016/essays/intelligence-and-national-defense/.

Talbot, J. and Jakeman, M. (2009). Security Risk Management: Body of Knowledge. 2nd ed. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc

Van Sluis, A., Marks, P.K. and Bekkers, V.J.J.M. (2011). Nodal policing in the Netherlands Strategic and normative considerations on an evolving practice. Policing: A Journal of Police and Practice, 5 (4): 365-371.

Verfaillie, K., Vander Beken, T. and Defruytier, M. (2009). Hinking About Future And Long Term Assessments. European Organised Crime Scenarios For 2015 T. Vander Beken, ed. Antwerp-Apeldoorn: Maklu Publishers.