TRAVEL TO CHALLENGING DESTINATIONS
Manager, Intelligence Products and Services
• Responsible for intelligence collection, analysis, and production at Global
• Intelligence officer in the US Navy Reserve
• Current doctoral research focuses on suicide terrorism
• Boston University
• Bachelor’s Degree (Political Science & History)
• Master’s Degree (International Relations & Religion)
• Northeastern University
• Ph.D. Candidate (Political Science)
To provide tools and knowledge to
empower you to identify, assess, and
mitigate risks associated with your
Factors to Consider
• Destination – Country, Region,
• Traveler – Risk tolerance,
• Types of risks – Terrorism,
environmental, civil unrest, crime,
Levels of Risk
• Dependent on subjective assessment
PERCEPTIONS OF RISK
How do we perceive risks?
• Emotional vs. rational calculations
• Probability and impact
• “Terrorism” versus
• Being your own worst enemy –
many risks are self-induced
misperceptions or preventable
through small steps
*Total deaths = 10,545
Source: US State Department
42% of homicides
occurred in Mexico
U.S CITIZEN DEATHS OVERSEAS (October 2002 – June 2015)
COLLECTING AND ASSESSING
Where can you get information?
• Government websites (U.S. State Dept., British FCO, Australian Smart Traveller, etc.
• Government travel warnings
• Embassies (Regional Security Officers, Consular offices)
• Travel websites (TripAdvisor, WikiTravel, etc.)
• Ask locals
Awareness of risks ≠ increased risks
Being prepared but not scared
Note: Most trips to most locations occur without incident!
• Risk ratings (overall, medical, and security), security & health
assessments, destination details, entry & exit requirements,
• Updated at least every 45 days
State Department Products
• Travel Warning
• Travel Alerts
• Security Messages
• Emergency Messages
STATE DEPT TRAVEL WARNINGS
Small steps can reduce risk
• Know the “no go” areas (country and city levels)
• Take simple precautions
• Trust your instinct
• Follow local news
• Have plans in place – map your visit
• Always maintain situational awareness
• Be resilient
Lower Omo Valley, Ethiopia
Situation: Security trending downwards –
intertribal tensions and government
crackdowns. Client has a trip scheduled
in upcoming months.
Solution: Multi-modal intelligence
collection effort, periodic updates to the
client, local on-the-ground report.
Eastern Democratic Republic of
the Congo (DRC)
Situation: Multiple non-profit clients
traveling to eastern parts of the DRC –
one of the most hostile, violent, and
unstable regions in the world.
Solution: In-depth analysis of trends,
violence, militant groups in the region,
Know your own vulnerabilities and unique risks – ignorance is your worst enemy.
Use rationality (rather than emotion) to guide risk assessments.
Be curious – ask questions and find answers!