SCN launches a National Jewish Security Operations Command Center

Jewish institution security coordinator The Secure Community Network opened a command center to monitor antisemitic threats.

Cars cause streaks of lights as they drive past a red light camera in downtown Chicago (photo credit: JIM YOUNG / REUTERS)
Cars cause streaks of lights as they drive past a red light camera in downtown Chicago
(photo credit: JIM YOUNG / REUTERS)

WASHINGTON – The Secure Community Network (SCN), the official safety and security organization of the Jewish Federations of North America and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, has launched an advanced National Jewish Security Operations Command Center (JSOCC).

“It is going to provide that centralized location that the community has been lacking in terms of instant reporting, tracking threats, tracking operational security issues and concerns,” said Michael Masters, national director and CEO of SCN.

Another benefit of the new center, he said, is “ensuring coordination between the Jewish communities around the country with our law enforcement partners and with our other partners within the Jewish community. So this is really a game-changer in terms of Jewish safety and security.”

When asked what the operation was like before the launching of JSOCC and what the difference is going to be, Masters said that “we created our duty desk in 2017, and we have been developing, with key partners around the world, various proprietary technology stacks to help us deal with the threats facing the community.”

 SCN command center (credit: Courtesy) SCN command center (credit: Courtesy)

He stressed that “this center integrates all of those technologies in one location. It also provides a robust single component for us to operate from – not only on a daily basis, but in the event of an incident. We have all seen the value of a unified command location during incidents where different partners can come together and work to address a crisis. And this now provides that fusion center-style command center for us.”

He added that “the center provides a central location for all of our intelligence analysts to work out of, along with our operations response coordination team. Someone picks up the phone at our duty desk 24-7, 365 days a year. Every single day, they’re getting reports and issues from around the country. Just this morning, we’ve gotten incidents from Canada, from Tennessee, from California and from Arizona.”

He said that the center will also have the capacity to monitor events occurring at Jewish facilities around the country. “We are consistently identifying Jewish facilities and organizations and putting them into the system and working to monitor conditions around those facilities,” he said. “We also run the national mass notification system for the Jewish community. So at a push of a button, as we identify an issue or incident, we have the capability to alert people in a facility, in a community or nationally as that takes place.”

There are now over 50 Jewish community security directors around the country. “That number has more than doubled in the last three years,” said Masters. “A key component when we start a security program in a community is to communicate to the community the importance of incident reporting. One of the things that we see when we start a security program in a community is on average, a 78% increase in reporting of incidents, threats or issues from that community. So, it’s a lot about education, it’s important that people report, obviously, to law enforcement.”

According to SCN, the new center is custom designed “based on an extensive review of public and private best practices, the command center includes a sixteen-foot video wall to allow for optimal incident tracking and response, workstations and complete audio/visual capabilities for live or recorded briefings, presentations and webinars.”

“We heard the message loud and clear – more needs to be done to protect the Jewish community,” Masters added. “This facility is a significant step forward in protecting our people.”

In 2020, SCN`s Operations Center and Duty Desk saw an approximately 125% increase in reporting of incidents and issues related to the Jewish community, the organization said in a statement. “Additionally, the FBI reported nearly 60% of religiously motivated hate crimes targeted Jews, despite the fact that Jews are just 2% of the American population,” SCN noted. “This dynamic threat environment requires an enhancement in technology platforms and resources, and this facility will provide it.”

The new center was fully operational for the High Holy Days and monitored and analyzed intelligence and reports nonstop for 24 hours a day, SCN added.