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ASIS and OHS. (ASIS News).

ASIS International has been asked to provide private security expertise to the White House Office of Homeland Security (OHS) through participation in a series of critical infrastructure workshops with federal government agencies. Additionally, ASIS has suggested significant changes to OHS's proposed Advisory System for warning the public and industry of possible terrorist attacks.

Pitching in. The OHS workshops are part of a series of initiatives by OHS to support the development of a national physical infrastructure protection plan. According to OHS, this plan will "provide core input into an overarching homeland security strategy document, and will include a wide range of recommended actions aimed at protecting the physical infrastructure of the United States from the terrorist threat."

The industry sectors that likely will be the focus of the workshops include transportation, electric power, oil and gas, telecommunications, banking and financial services, and emergency services. ASIS is working through its council structure to identify individual members of the Society who are experts in these industry segments and to encourage their participation in the sessions. Other experts who are ASIS members are urged to request that their employers contact OHS to inquire about participation in these sessions.

According to an official statement, OHS views the workshops as venues "for government and private sector representatives to designate their priority assets, systems, and infrastructures; discuss physical protective requirements according to sector threats, risk assessments, and human/economic/public confidence/national defense consequences; and identify a wide range of infrastructure protection problems and candidate solutions."

The first industry sector to be examined is transportation, including aviation, rail, highways, shipping, pipelines, and the postal system. A transportation workshop is scheduled for March 26-27, 2003, in Arlington, Virginia.

Pointing out. Suggestions on the proposed Advisory System were sent in a letter to both the FBI and OHS's director, Tom Ridge. Ridge had solicited comments on the system from ASIS and other major business associations during a conference call the day before the public announcement of the system.

Citing private security's responsibility for "protection of life and property in most of America's critical infrastructures," the letter from ASIS President Steven C. Millwee, CPP, stressed the importance of early notification to private security officials. "They are the protectors and first responders in virtually every large business and many of the medium-sized businesses in America, including companies and facilities in critical industries such as energy, chemicals, transportation, telecommunications, finance, and defense contracting," wrote Millwee.

The proposed Advisory System calls for the U.S. Attorney General to "develop a system for conveying relevant information to federal, state, and local officials and the private sector expeditiously," but also calls for state and local officials to "be informed in advance...when possible." Millwee says that ASIS wants to ensure that private security officials also receive advance notification. "If our professionals are to be able to plan and adjust security measures effectively, they cannot wait for a general public announcement, Millwee explained.

Millwee also suggested that ASIS, as the largest and most established association of security professionals, be the focal point for dissemination of the advisories to private industry. "With threat conditions being assigned for the entire nation, or for a particular region or industrial sector," he stared, "ASIS, with its extensive database, facilities, and resources, is the logical conduit for rapidly organizing and communicating this crucial information to thousands or to just a few American businesses."
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Title Annotation:Office of Homeland Security
Publication:Security Management
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2002
Words:563
Previous Article:Business news. (Industry Focus).
Next Article:Dues Increase. (ASIS News).
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