Captain Ainsley Morthorpe, director of policing and security and service security adviser - Royal Australian Navy

CAPTAIN Ainsley Morthorpe, director of policing and security and the service security adviser – Royal Australian Navy, told attendees at Security & Government Expo in Canberra that the best security suppliers had an operational mindset.

Captain Morthorpe, who has had commanded 2 ships and an operational base during his career, spoke as part of the ASIS ACT seminars at SAGE. He said it was vital security suppliers learned and spoke the language of operations and understood the mindset of their customers so that security became an enabler to business and operations, not just a thing that had to be done.

According to Captain Morthorpe; whose remit covers multiple shore bases across Australia, as well as more than 12,000 RAN personnel plus APS and contractors working in the Navy group; technology should not be installed for its own sake but needed to account for the human element.

“There’s a lot of great security technology out there but from a security leadership perspective, I need to be convinced such technology will assist us in meeting clear operational goals – whether those be the protection of assets or the protection of personnel. This includes the operation and sustainment of that technology,” he said. “It is vital that a leader understand the effect that will be delivered by that technology, its strengths but more importantly its weaknesses.”

Captain Morthorpe also touched on the challenges of securing RAN bases in major cities, which he said required a flexible and robust sense of collective security when compared to that of an operational warship, which in addition to high tech detection and response mechanisms, has a synergy of command and purpose that makes it far more responsive to developing threats.

“The challenge for a leader in a shore base is that all manner of units exist, with a plethora of goals, personnel and perception of threat and risk; this requires a leader who can explain and influence by making clear the effectiveness of certain security controls rather than simply reading the ‘glossy brochure’,” Captain Morthorpe said.