Securing the Shuttle
Joseph R. (Bob) Granger, CPP, is the director of security for United Space Alliance, which is NASA’s space shuttle prime contractor, with primary locations at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the Johnson Space Center in Texas and Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama. Granger is responsible for all aspects of USA’s security worldwide, including personnel and industrial security, as well as internal physical security and access, and integrity controls for the space shuttle fleet. He is also the current president of ASIS International, the largest organization for security management professionals worldwide.
Why and how did you get into the security industry?
I actually started my career path in the military (Army) working in the communications arena assigned to the Army Security Agency. Following my tour in the military and Vietnam, I returned to my hometown on Florida’s Space coast to discover that employment opportunities were scarce because the NASA Apollo program was winding down. I had never given much thought about becoming a police officer until someone told me that the police department was going to hire some folks and send them to the academy.
After several years serving in law enforcement I learned that a SWAT team was being formed at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC), and that they were interested in certified law enforcement officers. I was accepted and that began my journey into the opportunities that the private security sector had to offer. I am now entering my 30th year in various security and security management positions supporting NASA at KSC.
What do you hope to accomplish in your ASIS presidency? What are your goals for this year?
Having been a member of the ASIS Board of Directors for the past 5 years, and member and subsequent chairman of our Strategic Planning Committee, my goal is to continue supporting the goals and strategies developed by our Board and Committee. These include providing outstanding educational opportunities that serve the needs of our members, continuing to develop standards and guidelines, and expanding our recognition as the leading professional organization advancing security worldwide.
How do you start and end your work day? Is there any typical day?
Probably like everyone else. I have an 8 to 5 “day job” now that allows me to get a cup of coffee, sit down at my desk and check my “inbox,” which at one time was an actual brown wooden box sitting on the corner of my desk that has now evolved into the cyberspace e-mail “inbox”.
How I end my day has evolved also. Years ago I could walk away from my desk “inbox” and go home. Now, that sneaky little BlackBerry cyber “inbox” follows me home and everywhere.
As I drive to and from work through the Kennedy Space Center and see the wonderful sights of NASA and the space program, I start or end my day (sometimes both) feeling very proud to be part of history!
I think if you ask any security manager “Is there a typical day?” the answer will probably be “sure, they are all typical ... and completely different.” The challenges one faces with a job that deals with people, technology or equipment, or processes, promises that each day will be slightly different.
How do you and your team work with your IT department?
We have a great team relationship. In the past, our IT security folks were part of the security department, and in our program, we have evolved together.
What are some of the challenges with protecting intellectual property?
One of the greatest challenges is actually identifying what is the intellectual property that really needs protecting. Sometimes you can “overkill” trying to protect too much material that really does not need it.
Have you experienced any surprises in your security career?
Oh yes; the first surprise to me was discovering all the facets of security that were revealed after joining ASIS. I had the traditional opinion, coming from law enforcement, that security was primarily a guard force career path. When I started learning that security encompassed many professional disciplines and potential paths I began taking advantage of every educational opportunity I could.
On a personal level, what are some of your goals?
To complete my career with the Space Shuttle program and maybe begin teaching security-related subjects. I enjoy teaching and my favorite subject, that I have fun helping people with as they enter this profession, is understanding the processes involved in threat, vulnerability and risk assessments, and risk management.
How do you spend your free time?
I have been married to my spouse for half of my life now… I must honestly add the best half. Now, having said that, I have to say that a good portion of my free time is the “honey-do” list. When we have free time beyond that, we both love to go fishing, play billiards and do woodworking.