In his September 2016 cover story for The Atlantic, Stephen Brill suggested that infrastructure’s outsize political influence today has only been amplified and accelerated by the country’s ongoing reaction to the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Under the moniker of “critical infrastructure protection,” energy-production, transportation-logistics, waste-disposal, and other sites have been transformed from often-overlooked megaprojects on the edge of the metropolis into the heavily fortified, tactical crown jewels of the modern state. Bridges, tunnels, ports, dams, pipelines, and airfields have an emergent geopolitical clout that now rivals democratically elected civic institutions.

[Michelle] Sosa and [Anthony] McGinty’s unit is LAX’s attempt to reinvent itself as a player on the international intelligence stage. Their work promises to propel the city’s aging airport to the forefront of today’s conversations about what it means to protect critical infrastructure and, in the process, to redefine where true power lies in the 21st-century metropolis.

Geopolitics aside, the emergence of a dedicated intelligence unit at LAX, separate from national and international intelligence organizations such as the CIA and FBI, is undoubtedly on the rise.