In his position as Vice President and Chief Security Officer of Global Security, Claude J. Nebel Jr. has built a team to ensure the safety and security of Cargill Inc. through the programs of Asset/Physical Security, Investigations, Crisis Management and Intelligence. Cargill — a $114.7 billion company — is a major international producer and marketer of food, agricultural, financial, and industrial products and services. Since becoming a member of the Cargill team in August 2008, Nebel has led various industry and workplace safety standards, which play a critical role in Cargill’s foundational goal to work relentlessly to nourish 70 countries around the world in a safe, responsible and sustainable way.
“At Cargill, security is a priority,” Nebel says. “The protection of its programs, customers, and the security of our people is high on the list. I’m fortunate to be part of a global team that works very hard to ensure Cargill meets its mission through the protection and mitigation of risks to any of its businesses, customers, people and assets.”
His depth of knowledge in global security was instrumental to improving the safety and security of employees and assets at Cargill’s facilities. Initially, Nebel’s primary focus was to evaluate the security risks the company faced globally. “When you have this knowledge, you can then focus on developing policies, programs and strategies to address compliance, operational, strategic and financial security risk — all relating to the staff, assets and facilities.”
Having a strategic mindset from the onset was critical for Nebel, helping him ensure threats that could jeopardize Cargill’s assets or people are subdued through fine-tuned security programs based on an understanding of hazards, crisis management and investigative tools.
“Though my intention was never to build a giant security department, we have grown extensively, which has helped us evaluate what our security needs are and surgically focus on mitigating any threat that could cause serious loss or damage to our organization.”
Global security has changed dramatically over the past years, specifically in the world of cyber and technical programs, Nebel says. “Technological advances have revolutionized the traditional definition of security and asset protection and have broadened the scope of physical security threats,” he explains.
Passionate about keeping all aspects of his organization safe, Nebel says one of his goals over the years has been to frequently collaborate and forge close ties with all business functions to align their operations with the aim of advancing business continuity while keeping the business safe. “Security truly has to be a partnership with the business and all its functions. Whether it’s working with environmental health and safety or food safety, leaders have to come together to develop relevant programs to manage rising physical threats that increase risk and potentially could disrupt the company’s critical mission objectives.”
Nebel recommends security leaders, especially those coming into the field today, “stay focused, stay attuned to the latest issues, and utilize the most innovative tools available to address security risks.”
Before assuming his role at Cargill, Nebel was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Office of Foreign Missions, U.S. Department of State, approved by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in January 2007.
In 1987, Nebel began his career with the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DSS), as a Special Agent assigned to the Washington Field Office and served in many challenging positions during his tenure. His previous roles include Senior Regional Security Officer, American Embassy Berlin, July 2005 to 2007; Regional Security Officer, American Consulate General in Frankfurt, 2004 to 2005; Special Agent in Charge of the Boston Field Office, 2001 to 2004; Regional Security Officer, Copenhagen, Denmark, 1998 to 2001; Special Agent, Criminal Investigative Liaison Branch, Washington, D.C., 1995 to 1998; Regional Security Officer, American Embassy Tel Aviv, 1993 to 1995; Senior Supervisor for Protective Security Details for several former Secretaries of State; and Site Security Manager for U.S. Consulates in Lahore and Peshawar, Pakistan, 1988 to 1989.
At the Department of State, Nebel coordinated all operations related to agreements and permissions as specified in the Foreign Missions Act, accorded to more than 2,000 foreign embassies and missions employing over 50,000 diplomatic personnel nationwide. In addition to formulating policies and directing the implementation of various programs that impacted foreign missions and national security, he ensured that policies and programs worked together to enhance the safety and well-being of U.S. diplomatic and consular staff overseas. Nebel also coordinated programs of the Office of Foreign Missions with appropriate national security and law enforcement agencies, as well as interfaced with foreign ambassadors from 200-plus countries assigned to the U.S.
For his outstanding work at the Department of State, Nebel received several awards, including Group Superior Honor Awards, Group Meritorious Honor Awards and Meritorious Honor Awards. For his outstanding leadership and management during 9/11, Nebel was awarded the 2003 Leadership Award by the City of Boston’s Federal Executive Board.
“There were several projects and initiatives that took place throughout my careers that were truly great, all due to the innovative hard work and fortitude of those on my teams,” Nebel says. “It is their dedication and success that I am most proud of.”
Nebel is a member of various agencies, including the International Security Management Association (ISMA), American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS), Private Sector Co-Chair at the U.S. State Department Overseas Security Advisory Committee (OSAC), the Federal Bureau of Investigation Domestic Security Advisory Council, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, the Diplomatic Security Special Agents Association, Greater Boston Federal Executive Board and the Boston Senior Executive Board. Previously, he was a member of the U.S. Attorney General’s Anti-Terrorism Task Force.
As Private Sector Co-Chair at OSAC, Nebel says it has been an eye-opening experience to work with other council members to ensure the best security possible for U.S. companies that operate overseas. “It’s been a great experience,” he says. “To work with colleagues to help develop a web of programs and initiatives to be used globally has been an honor.”
Professionally, Nebel hopes to continue working and collaborating with colleagues and creating partnerships to help security remain flexible. “Security is constantly evolving, and we must evolve with it. When I first started in the government sector, cybersecurity, for instance, was not an entity. Some core security programs remain important, but as technology develops and changes in this digital world and we experience mass disruption induced by pandemics, we must also prioritize how we respond to crises. My goal, then, is to continue to work with colleagues and look to the future to where we need to be, rather than looking backward. That’s where our focus should be.”
Nebel holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa. and a Master of Arts degree in Administration of Justice, Law Enforcement from the University of Pittsburgh.
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