James Gagliano is a retired FBI supervisory special agent, CNN law enforcement analyst, doctoral candidate and adjunct assistant professor at St. John’s University. He will present the day two keynote, “21st Century Best Practices: Reporting from the Front Lines on How Law Enforcement and the Security Industry are Confronting Emerging Threats.”
ISC East eNews spoke with Gagliano ahead of the show to find out what he plans to talk about and what he hopes attendees will take away from his keynote.
ISC East eNews: Tell us briefly about your background and what you feel your experience brings to this keynote for the security industry?
Gagliano: I am a West Point graduate, and I spent four years as an Army officer. I worked at the FBI from every angle, from undercover agent to criminal squad, on tactical teams, and the FBI hostage rescue team. I headed the crisis management program for the FBI’s largest field office. I ran my own resident agency in upstate New York, and spent time overseas in Afghanistan. People might say, well you must not have been any good at any of them because you didn’t much spend time doing any one thing. But I have a wide and diverse background, so it gave me a good appreciation for issues that the security industry faces. I’m currently a doctoral candidate at St. Johns and part of that is looking at public-private partnerships — what we call joint working endeavors. The private sector security industry is an entity that agencies like the FBI and Homeland Security must work intimately with.
ISC East eNews: Why are public-private partnerships such an important topic for you?
Gagliano: We are all trying to figure out ways to do things smarter, and mitigate and reduce risk. I have seen public-private partnerships when they worked well and I have seen them when they failed. If we will keep our country safe, it cannot be done just by the federal government or by private industry; it has to be a relationship. In this business, the bad guys only have to get it right once. We in the security industry have to get it right every single time.
I always say this, but sometimes I think the private industry in the security realm does a better job than we do in federal law enforcement. It is harder to get into some private businesses than 26 Federal Plaza where the FBI is located. Private industry has taken some security issues and concerns more seriously than we have in the U.S. So the partnership between the two is, I think, exceedingly important as we go forward to keep this country safe. How do we keep an open society and the civil liberties that are part of our country’s fabric, but send our kids to the mall on a Friday night and not worry about something bad happening to them?
ISC East eNews: How does your work at CNN fit with the rest of your experience?
Gagliano: Well I come from a very conservative background — West Point, the U.S. military, the FBI. Now I work for CNN, the mainstream media, per se, which looks at things through a different prism, as their role is to test power and challenge assumptions. People try to pigeonhole me based on entities I have been, or am associated with. They see my work as an analyst for CNN and think that the media controls my expressed views. They don’t. I am able to share my views, unfiltered. I like to look at things from a common-sense, nonpartisan perspective. In analyzing crisis incidents for the network, I am there to call “balls and strikes,” not to editorialize. I’m privileged to have a platform where journalism and homeland security intersect. And the lessons are abundant. Hopefully, by sharing them on-air in the wake of critical incidents, it helps move the conversation forward.
ISC East eNews: What do you plan to talk about in your keynote speech?
Gagliano: I will look at security from both a procedural and strategic perspective. How does that translate? We will talk about active-shooter events and how law enforcement has changed and evolved since the 1966 Austin Clock Tower shooting. It will not just focus on active-shooter scenarios, but also terror incidents and lone-wolf situations. We will look at what has changed from the FBI’s perspective and examine some new more modern things like drone usage. I love that Amazon can drop off an Atlanta Falcons hoodie for my son for Christmas by drone delivery; but how does that same technology affect Yankee Stadium security on opening day? What are security professionals and company CSOs dealing with in the cyber and physical security realms? I will try to hit the important parts of this — give the macro perspective, but also give some small vignettes and stories about my experiences whether as FBI or a media analyst.
ISC East eNews: What do you hope attendees take away from this keynote?
Gagliano: Keynotes are meant to be entertaining, but at the same time you hope they come away with one, two or three key things they hadn’t thought about before. I want them to be entertained, walk away with some historical perspective and give them some things to think about to make whatever organization they work for safer. I love speaking to groups that are as passionate about the topic as I am. I want to inspire them, motivate them, and hopefully someone takes something from this and comes up with an idea that will make us all safer in the future. That is my goal.
Be sure not to miss what is sure to be an interesting presentation, tomorrow, November 15, from 1 - 2 p.m. in 1A30.