Dam Security and Protection Technical Seminar - Phoenix, Arizona

Dam Security and Protection Technical Seminar (L260)


Dams, levees, and related facilities are a vital part of the Nation’s infrastructure, providing a wide range of economic, environmental, and social benefits. Those benefits include hydroelectric power, river navigation, water supply, wildlife habitats, waste management, flood control, and recreation.


The Dam Security and Protection Technical Seminar was developed in collaboration between the Department of Homeland Security, Office of Infrastructure Protection, Dams Sector Specific Agency (Dams SSA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Emergency Management Institute and provides dam owners and operators, emergency managers, and other relevant stakeholders with information on the fundamental aspects of security and protection for dams, levees, and related facilities. It provides a solid foundation for the effective implementation of security and protection programs.


This course provides participants with basic concepts related to threat, vulnerability, and consequence as key risk variables. It provides an overview of threats and relevant attack vectors and describes potential suspicious activities. The course addresses common physical vulnerabilities and related protective measures, including both land-side and waterside considerations. It includes information on the basic components of effective security and crisis management programs, including the development of security plans and incident response plans. It also addresses cybersecurity risks, security compromises, and privacy incidents.


Course Objectives

Upon completion of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Discuss the purpose of risk assessment methodologies and results
  • Describe potential threats and relevant attack vectors
  • Evaluate the features of a given dam to identify potential surveillance locations and determine appropriate actions for detection and response
  • Describe protective measures applicable to dams and levees
  • Design and implement a security program
  • Design and implement a crisis management program
  • Describe the basic elements of cybersecurity


Target Audience

This course is designed for dam owners and operators; professional staff of dam safety and dam security programs; emergency managers at the Federal, State, local, tribal, and territorial levels; and other safety, security, and incident management personnel with roles and responsibilities relevant to dams and related infrastructure.



The Dam Security and Protection Technical Seminar focuses on key security and protection concepts and their integration into risk management strategies.  

The scope of the course includes:

  • Risk, risk components, and risk assessment strategies
  • Threats and attack vectors
  • Surveillance tactics and surveillance detection
  • Suspicious activities
  • Common vulnerabilities
  • Security programs, including selecting protective measures and developing and implementing security plans
  • Crisis management programs, including developing and implementing response plans, continuity plans, and exercises


Course Design

This course is designed for delivery in the classroom.  Lecture, discussion, and multiple hands-on activities are incorporated to enable participants to learn, practice, and demonstrate their knowledge.

Activities include a method to grade participants, when appropriate, using a checklist administered by the instructors.


Course Schedule

Day 1

Day 2


Unit 0:  Overview

Unit 1:  Understanding Risk

Unit 2:  Threats and Adversaries

Unit 3:  Surveillance, Detection, and Reporting

Unit 4:  Security Programs and Protective Measures

Unit 5:  Incident Preparedness and Response

Unit 6:  Cybersecurity and Information Assurance

Unit 7:  Summary





Central Arizona Project Headquarters

23636 North 7th Street

Phoenix, AZ 85085 

Speaker and Presenter Information

James O’Brien, PH.D. - Contractor to DHS


Dr. O’Brien has a distinguished forty-year record of providing leadership, program management, planning, training and exercises in the field of emergency management. In addition to two decades of street level public safety positions, he served three years as an emergency management training officer; ten years as a disaster operations planner; and eight years as the Director of Clark County, Nevada, Emergency Management, developing and implementing the Las Vegas Urban Area Strategy, Concept of Operations and Operations Plans (CONOPS and OPLANS) for emergency mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery and performing disaster operations planning with continuity of government (COG) and continuity of operations planning (COOP) elements.  Dr. O’Brien teaches Emergency Management face-to-face and through online courses through Southern Utah University and also a series of online classes as part of a Master's Degree in Criminology for Regis University in Denver, Colorado.


Dr. O’Brien is an accomplished training developer, instructor, and evaluator.  He has over twenty years of experience training senior management, front-line supervisors, and tactical personnel in law enforcement, fire, emergency medical, public works, public health, and administration encompassing well over 20,000 students. Topics included incident command system, planning, hazard mitigation, response, recovery, leadership, followership, and decision-making.  He has FEMA Train-the-Trainer certificates for multiple courses. He assessed over 180 Emergency Management Institute courses for alignment of course objectives with emergency management competency standards established by the International Association of Emergency Managers.


Dr. O’Brien has many years of EOC experience. He established the documentation, format, processes, and validation methods for a multi-agency coordination center, or EOC, to serve a population of 2.5 million residents and 42 million annual visitors in Clark County.  He established training requirements for EOC staff, conducted tabletop, functional, and full-scale exercises to validate the EOC functions.  He designed the information management processes that could switch back and forth from paper-based to Internet-based as a contingency if system failures occurred.  He designed the transition from a dual-use conference room to a dedicated facility for EOC functions, including space planning, staffing, equipping, security, and was a member of the FEMA working group that developed CPG-601, Design and Management of Emergency Operations Centers.

Expected Number of Attendees


Relevant Government Agencies

Army, DOD & Military, Dept of Agriculture, Dept of Energy, Dept of Homeland Security, Dept of the Interior, EPA, SSA, Other Federal Agencies, State Government, County Government, City Government, Municipal Government, FEMA, Coast Guard, National Guard Association

This event has no exhibitor/sponsor opportunities

Tue-Wed, Jan 23-24, 2018, 7:30am - 5:00pm

Complimentary:    $ 0.00

Central Arizona Project Headquarters
23636 North 7th Street
Phoenix, AZ 85085
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