It hasn’t been a great year for White House security. Drunk driving Secret Service agents, a knife-wielding assailant, a quadcopter, and even a four year old have all gotten past what should have been secure parameters surrounding 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Unsurprisingly, these incidents have prompted an update for the White House fence and other practical security measures. This month, the White House will be implementing an anti-climb feature as a “temporary design solution” but will it be effective and is it the best tool for the job?

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Discreet And Defensive Steel
The new White House fence anti-climb feature is meant to improve security, making the fence more difficult to scale without making the executive property look too fortress-like. The outward leaning steel spikes will be temporary incorporated by a clamp that will affix to the current rails. The new security enhancements are meant to be inconspicuous among the iron pickets that are part of the barrier’s original design, which the Secret Service and the National Park Service hope will retain a look of respectability and familiar aesthetics while enhancing security.

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A Tough Task In Need Of Innovation
Finding ways to improve security on a property that is subjected to breaches—which may increase in terms of sophistication and incidence—that also includes a lot of ground, is frequented by many people each and every day, and must also retain a certain impression, is not an easy task. Obviously, a fence isn’t the only security measure; other defenses to be updated will include traffic barriers, which will soon go from concrete to steel plates that can be raised and lowered, new security officer booths, and a greater number of vehicle checkpoints.

Ideas On And Off The Table
There’s been no shortage of suggestions for other security improvements. Proposals have included a moat, which has been rejected, as well as barbed wire, an electrified fence, or a solid wall—all also rejected as not to make the iconic White House look like a penitentiary or prison facility. Some have said that a greater number of better-trained guards are the best solution available, at least until technology can provide an answer.

What are your thoughts on this security measure and its design? Do you think this temporary addition will be effective? How would you use design or technology to protect the White House and other areas of national concern? Comment and tell us what you think.

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