The International Monetary Fund (IMF) located in the heart of Washington, D.C., is an organization of 188 countries working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world.
Annual Meetings are held in the spring and fall, bringing together officials from the 188 countries. “The meetings are a joint effort between the IMF and the World Bank Group which is located across the street,” said Charlie Gleichenhaus, Deputy Chief of Security, IMF. “The meetings have customarily been held in Washington, D.C. for two consecutive years and in another member country in the third year.”
For the spring meeting, thousands of government officials, individuals from the private sector, journalists, civil society representatives, and other interested observers gather with the country officials to discuss progress on the work of the IMF and the World Bank.
The fall meeting includes central bankers, ministers of finance and development, private sector executives, and academics to discuss issues of global concern, including the world economic outlook, poverty eradication, economic development, and aid effectiveness.
The Annual Meetings bring together thousands of high-profile guests and visitors that come from different backgrounds and beliefs. “The environment is very multi-cultural during the meetings,” said Gleichenhaus. “Security and safety is always top of mind as there are very important world figures that make an appearance and we need to provide them with the highest level of protection.”
The main components of the security plan for the meetings include logistics and operations, and crisis management.
“There are protocols in place to ensure individuals entering the facility are screened in a timely and efficient manner, badging procedures to help identify guests and emergency response plans to combat escalating situations,” said Gleichenhaus. “It is the security team’s responsibility to handle these components and work closely with the Secret Service and local police department to create a safe zone for individuals coming into the meeting perimeters.”
“There are multiple entry points of access for visitors and it is critical that the screening and inspection process is consistent,” said Vincent O’Neill, Chief, “ Headquarters Security, IMF. “There are a lot of eyes watching the individuals that come into the facility to ensure their safety and it is important that each guest be provided the same level of screening and security.”
“There is an expectation of security and safety at the IMF,” said Warren Young, Chief Security Services, IMF. “Striking a balance between the level of security provided and the free flowing environment during the meetings is difficult. We need to make sure their screening experience is professional and efficient, but we can’t leave gaps in security.”
Allied Universal has been providing a high-level of security to the IMF since 2003. In total, there are more than 130 armed Allied Universal security officers on site to help ensure the safety and security of guests and visitors.
“We customize our recruitment efforts to align with the specific needs of our clients,” said Steve Somers, Vice President of Operations, Allied Universal. “At the IMF, we have a very extensive hiring process to ensure that we find the right fit of individual for this multi-cultural environment. The chemistry has to be spot on as they will be working with individuals from other countries and cultures and there needs to be an understanding of their background and a respect for their work.”
Allied Universal managers, supervisors and security officers work with IMF security officials, Secret Service and local law enforcement to prepare for special visits and the Annual Meetings.
“We know when the Annual Meetings are going to take place and have an opportunity to prepare for the guests’ arrival, but in reality, there could be any number of world leaders at the IMF on any given day,” said Somers. “It is our job to provide the highest level of customer service possible, ensure each guest has a great experience during the screening process and throughout their visit, and continuously deliver a consistent level of professionalism and protection every day.”
It is Allied Universal’s responsibility to handle screening and badging daily, but this is especially important during the Annual Meetings due to the large number of executives and high-profile guests entering the facility. “It is because of our extensive on-site, hands-on training that we can provide guests the highest level of customer service and security during the screening process,” said Somers. “Additionally, we have plans in place to handle any screening, badging or security issues that may arise.”
The IMF looks at Allied Universal as a part of their team. “The Allied Universal security officers are the face of our security program,” said Gleichenhaus. “They have consistently received high reviews and great feedback about the services they provide. Allied Universal’s security team is very well respected and works well with the other security teams on site to create a layered approach to security.”
Because of the superior level of service provided by the Allied Universal team and their commitment to the safety and security of the IMF and its guests, the screening process is viewed as a top-notch security effort. Screening times have been reduced at the entry points and visitors are able to make their way through the processes in an efficient manner.
“Due to the professionalism and level of services provided by the Allied Universal team, we have seen a decrease in wait time for the screening and badging of our guests,” said O’Neill. “We are able to keep individuals moving through the screening process quickly while still maintaining a high level of security. The less our guests think about security, the better.”
Additionally, the Allied Universal team has mastered the art of partnering with the IMF.
“We are all in this together and this partnership is the key to our security success,” said Young. “The Annual Meetings are without a doubt the largest regular gathering of international members. If anything goes wrong, we will hear about it. The true mark of our security success is when we don’t hear a thing. It is a dual effort between IMF security officials and the Allied Universal security team.