Chicago Picked as NATO 2012 Location

On May 20-21, 2012, the NATO 2012 Summit was held in Chicago, Illinois. A few months earlier, the 2012 Chicago NATO Host Committee engaged Hillard Heintze as a trusted security advisor to address a wide spectrum of Summit-related issues spanning emergency preparedness, security, communications and operational matters between the City and the Chicago business community.

High-Profile and High Security

Over the course of this high-profile assignment, Hillard Heintze (1) planned, designed and delivered a series of executive briefings related to emergency preparedness, security and response and recovery plans; (2) served as liaison between the City’s Office of Emergency Management and the Chicago business community related to the issues that arose prior to and during the Summit; (3) created and staffed a business command center to address Summit-related issues during the events; and (4) designed and managed a real-time communication, notifications and alerting system for disseminating information through multiple communications channels before and during the Summit.

The Windy City Comes Away with a Win

In addition to helping the City reduce the cost of insurance for the Summit, Chicago’s approach to the NATO 2012 Summit – to the surprise of media outlets across the country – set many new best practice thresholds. The City has now become a model in areas such as pre-event liaison with the business community; real-time, security-related communications during the proceedings; and policing large protests with acute attention to First Amendment rights and a restrained approach to the use of force.

The Perspective of the Project Manager

“To understand the significance of Chicago’s success during this Summit, you have to consider the potential disruptive power of such an event to a city’s economic engine. 

When businesses have no visibility into the security environment – protester locations and actions, accurate information sources, City responses – they tend to react to rumors and hearsay. Which can lead to drastic, costly actions that cripple business operations for up to several weeks. Like closing offices, deferring orders and shipments, and postponing events.

Chicago delivered a win here – in ways that will be emulated by other cities here in the United States and worldwide in addressing future Summits.”