The following is an excerpt.

Civil infrastructure security is of central interest to SFI CASA and several of the partners. No wonder, then, that experts move from one partner to another from time to time.

Rolf Jullum can claim his fair share of the honour for providing SIMLab with a shock tube. His former employer, the Norwegian National Security Authority, contributed heavily to financing it. Photo: Lena Knutli.
Rolf Jullum can claim his fair share of the honour for providing SIMLab with a shock tube. His former employer, the Norwegian National Security Authority, contributed heavily to financing it. Photo: Lena Knutli.

Rolf Jullum is a fresh example. At the time of this interview a few weeks ago, he was principal engineer at the Norwegian National Security Authority. Today he works for the Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation. His tasks remain much the same. Primarily he is Head of Analysis and Evaluation for the security projects of the government.

His expertise civil infrastructure security is fundamental in the ongoing planning of the new buildings at the governmental quarters in central Oslo.


Safe windows

Rolf Jullum knows quite a bit about the topic. It has been his metier almost since finishing his civil engineering exam at NTNU in 1983, but especially from 1990. From then on, he has been securing governmental buildings, ministers’ residences, police and operation headquarters, embassies and prisons.

Jullum led the expert group in the formal survey and clearing of the government buildings after bomb attack in Oslo 22 July 2011.

Because he contributed to their design and installation in the first place, he can show examples of measures that left key places almost unharmed. Materials and structures in window design is but one of many examples.


What’s in it

For such measures to function optimally, you need more than decades of experience.

“We need to be close to the research field if we are to understand the basics when we develop new security measures and requirements. The Norwegian National Security Authority makes guidelines and recommendations. Then they carry out inspections to make sure that the guidelines and recommendations have been followed,” Jullum explains. The Ministry also uses scientific requirements in the development of the buildings and infrastructure.

This is often more complicated than it seems:

“We discover time and again that manufacturers make products to match standard tests. The problem is that they don’t necessarily survive more realistic tests. Safety glass is a typical example.”


Important partner

Therefore, it is an ongoing process to adjust and update the standards. SFI CASA is an important partner in this process. The research provides insight in the limitations of materials and structures. In the shock tube that The Norwegian National Security Authority was central in financing, glass and other materials can be tested. The modelling competence in the centre then contributes to the establishment of new standards.

“The reason for our involvement in the shock tube, was the need to test materials and structures exposed to blasts. We had our theories about how they would behave, but limited possibilities for making accurate calculations,” Jullum goes on.

With the shock tube, a great number of tests can be carried out under controlled conditions, and with hugely improved possibilities for measuring what goes on. This, in turn, facilitates the design and construction of safety measures that work.


New job, same challenge

In his new job, Rolf Jullum will depend largely on the recommendations of his former employer. The ministry itself does not perform tests or make standards. They rely on the recommendations from The Norwegian National Security Authority and on recommendations from two other SFI CASA partners – The Norwegian Defence Estates Agency and engineering firm Multiconsult. The ministry also relies on the security standards from Norwegian Standards.

“In this context I would like to stress the importance of making research results available to everyone. We all become better if we share our expertise fully,” Jullum points out.


The real thing

In his former job, Jullum carried out tests from time to time.

“One example is when we decided to investigate a proof of concept; a drone carrying an explosive. We had the blast go off outside a window and could verify that people sitting inside the window would have been killed.”

Occasionally, agencies also combine forces to carry out large, full-scale tests. A massive example is under preparation in Northern Sweden this spring. A blast 40 times stronger than the bomb used in Oslo on 22 July 2011 will be set off. Many nations take part. Norway has built a three storey building in concrete that will be exposed to the explosion.


The devil is everywhere

According to the saying, the devil is in the detail. In Rolf Jullum’s world, the devil is everywhere:

“We always have to keep the totality in mind. To make sure that we control the whole chain of potential consequences of a blast or other attack, it is never sufficient to look at one element only. A safe window may be highly dangerous if it blows out of its frames and hits the people inside. Safety always includes the interplay between solutions.”

To keep the devil at bay, Jullum sees a great need for both his former and present employer to maintain the close relations with SIMLab and SFI CASA:

“We need your research on materials and structures, we need your ability to model and simulate and verify,” he concludes.