By Andy Jabbour
This is a small update to a post shared a year ago, “The SUN also rises… (a peek into Gate 15).” The name of the post borrows from the title of the first published novel by Earnest Hemingway (1926) and speaks to our daily paper, the Situational Update Notification (SUN).
I get asked a lot of questions about Gate 15, like, “what does Gate 15 mean?” (see here – Gate 15: What’s in a Name? for that answer). I also get a lot of questions about two other areas. One of those is about the SUN, our free daily online paper. The other is about our business model, as a for-profit vs. a non-profit. So, let me explain those briefly.
The SUN, our free, every weekday online paper, stands for “Situational Update Notification.” On the website, under our logo, you see our tagline – “homeland security risk management expertise; providing a threat-informed, risk-based approach to analysis, preparedness and operations.” Informing that threat-informed, risk-based approach is constant application of the intelligence cycle. With that, we process a lot of information, a lot of different ways, from a lot of different places. We use that to inform our analysis, preparedness and operational support. When Gate 15 was in the early days of 2014, we were three men deep and I was largely responsible for collection and initial dissemination of information to my teammates. That was done by a variety of ways, which became really cumbersome. We streamlined that process into two primary means of sharing information.
One is a private, internal process. The other is the publicly shared open source process, which we inform via Twitter and the SUN. We openly share the SUN as a way of contributing to the homeland security mission. As we build the product, content is racked and stacked in a way that is intended to tell a story and help prioritize information over the reporting period to make it easy to review, process and apply.
2021 Update: One thought we had this last year, given significant polarization on some notable issues and the way that can trigger strong feelings and responses, was the idea to clearly note this in the Editor’s note: “The SUN is used to help inform Gate 15’s intelligence cycle and internal activities and is provided as a courtesy to our partners and interested individuals. While we attempt to tell a story with the posts we include, we recognize some titles and links may suggest opinions or bias. The links we include are for security awareness, preparedness, and resilience. They do not necessarily reflect the personal opinions of our team, and Gate 15 does not seek to promote any particular view or ideology.” It is important that, while we recognize our team holds a variety of beliefs and opinions, our work remains as impartial and unbiased as possible. We discussed that further in our April 2021 Risk Roundtable podcast: EP 18. Security / Analytical Bias.
On our website, we state, “Gate 15 strives to be a contributing partner to the community of homeland security and intelligence professionals supporting organizational and individual security, resilience and freedom.” One way we do that is openly sharing information and work with others to help inform their missions.
Gate 15 strives to be a contributing partner to the community of homeland security and intelligence professionals supporting organizational and individual security, resilience and freedom.
If we can save a colleague time by helping to provide curated content that may help them be more efficient and successful, we’re glad to do that. We gain a lot from our peers and the security and intelligence community and one way we try to contribute is by openly sharing. I grew up in the Army. Two important ideas I took from that experience were “unity of effort” and “massing fires.” Those are important concepts and we try to apply those to our day-to-day work. Freely sharing the SUN is one way we support our team and our community (and the casual reader too).
Gate 15 was established in hopes of building a business focused on positively contributing in our areas of expertise – both for our clients and the community of partners we work with – to help maintain our common freedoms and ways of life by supporting organizational security and resilience. We seek to achieve this while fostering an open, healthy work environment for our team members and contributing to the communities in which we live.
That leads nicely to the next question I often get asked about. Why aren’t you a non-profit? Also on our website is a purpose statement: “Gate 15 was established in hopes of building a business focused on positively contributing in our areas of expertise – both for our clients and the community of partners we work with – to help maintain our common freedoms and ways of life by supporting organizational security and resilience. We seek to achieve this while fostering an open, healthy work environment for our team members and contributing to the communities in which we live.” We strive to do really good work, the best we can, because we believe in it. We’re a for profit business for two reasons:
- I am not ready to give decision-making authority to a Board. I founded Gate 15 and believe in what we’re doing and will continue to drive that mission as best I can. As a non-profit, I would have to give up that control, or a part of it, which I’m not willing to do.
- From an administrative standpoint, it is easier to operate as a for-profit than a non-profit. Less rules to be mindful of, more freedom to run with the ball.
These days, many have a false belief that “for-profit” is bad and “non-profit” is good. I’ll be candid, there are a lot of poorly run, badly managed, and even unethically acting non-profit businesses. I’ve had the leader of one non-profit try to put Gate 15 down by – on several occasions – emphasizing that their organization is a non-profit in contrast to our for-profit business. But the organizational model doesn’t make a business “good” or “bad,” leaders and people do. How we conduct ourselves is what matters, not how we pay our taxes. We invest everything we have in our team and our mission and do our best to give as much as we can to our clients and community while ensuring we can keep the lights on. We do that as a for-profit business and will continue to do so.
2021 Update: While Gate 15 remains a for-profit organization committed to doing the most we can for our homeland security community, we also develop projects that extend beyond Gate 15. We call these “incubator projects.” In that spirit, we launched and continue to sponsor the Faith-Based Information Sharing and Analysis Organization (FB-ISAO), an independent, registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. We began that effort in 2015 and continue to support that organization’s development at no cost. We’re also excited to announce a new incubator project in the coming weeks! Stay tuned for that and we’ll be happy to update this post with that information next year 😃.
Now you know a little more about Gate 15! Have questions or concerns? Reach out anytime. Our team is grateful for the work we get to do and the people and organizations we get to do that work with. As long as I have the opportunity to lead this team, we’ll continue to do that to the best of our ability.
Thanks for reading!