Vulnerability Checklist: Target Hardening Against Vehicular Assault

Updated: May 17

Vehicular terrorism is on the rise. In the past five years, 16 vehicular attacks have occurred worldwide. The aim of these assaults was a wide range of targets from the London Bridge in March of 2017 to the most recent attack in the U.S. on the streets of New York City in May of 2017. In addition to ramming, vehicles armed with bombs are also making a devastating impact on critical infrastructure, like the vehicular bomb blast of an AT&T communications facility in Nashville in December of 2020. You may think that protecting critical infrastructure specifically refers to essential buildings, but infrastructure can also include utilities, bigdata, telecommunications, and transportation systems. All of these resources have different needs and vulnerabilities when it comes to vehicular assault. The first step to protecting your asset, however, is identifying its weaknesses.


Target hardening is assessing and bolstering the security of critical infrastructure. The Department of Homeland Security issues industry specific guidelines on how to protect your critical infrastructure from being attacked. They provide examples on how to mitigate risk from multiple types of damage including blast and vehicular ramming. The following is a quick checklist to help you identify common vulnerabilities on your site and take action to target harden your assets from vehicular assault:


Remove Direct Access

The layout of your critical infrastructure site is vital to preventing vehicle assault. Entrance roads to the site should be offset by single or double 90-degree turns, reducing vehicle approach speed. The flow of vehicle and pedestrian traffic needs to be monitored and circulated around the site, eliminating direct approaches to the structure.


Create Setback Distance

Setback is the distance between the critical entity and the roadway and is analogous with the stand-off distance required to protect from a vehicle bomb blast. The setback distance will depend on your level of risk; however, the more distance created between uncontrolled vehicles and your asset, the better. Intuitive designs like open lawns provide increased visibility and an aesthetically pleasing space that doubles as a protective layer. Trees, concrete planters, hedges, and bollards seamlessly secure your setback distance without disrupting the flow of pedestrians.


Control Vehicle Access

Every site should have at least two access points: one for authorized vehicles and one for trucks delivering supplies. These two types of entry vehicles differ in traffic flow and scheduled arrivals and will need to be monitored differently. Having two access points also allows for traffic to be routed safely to the alternate exit if one of the access points is blocked or unusable.


Deploy Anti-Ram Devices

Utilize anti-ram perimeter fencing and other types of barrier controls to halt attacking vehicles and direct pedestrians and authorized vehicles to a single, monitored visitor entrance. Secure access points and parking areas with anti-ram protection capable of stopping the threat vehicle’s weight at the speed attainable by that vehicle on impact.


Innovo Solutions

Innovo Security Works will work with you to assess and target harden your critical infrastructure. Whether you would like to create setback distance with anti-ram barriers, secure access points with crash-rated gates, or fortify existing gates with anti-ram technology, we will help you find a solution that fits the needs of your unique structure.