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Local Homeland Security representatives have a lot to give.

* The Department of Homeland Security has 70 protective security advisors spread out across the country to help local companies, public utilities and other "critical infrastructure" facilities get a handle on their vulnerabilities.

And that's all the representatives are offering--just help, Robert Winters, the advisor for Western Pennsylvania, said at the Gov Sec conference in Washington, D.C. The advisors do not have a regulatory role, and aren't there to promulgate laws.

"We are on the streets beating the pavement to provide free DHS services," he said. They let those who oversee security know about DHS services such as security assessments, which can show them how well they are prepared compared to similar facilities. They are also tasked with visiting every site on the national critical infrastructure list to let managers know that they are there to help. There are 32 in his area of operations.

One of the services offered is an infrastructure survey tool. It "gives them something that shows that a six-foot tall wooden fence has less security and protection than a nine-foot chain-link fence with barbed wire on top," he said.

"We spend a lot of time beating the bush and being the salesmen for these kinds of ideas," he said.

Like most of the protective security advisors, he comes from the area where be serves. "It's essential that each of us who are in the protective security adviser program have this connection to the local area," he said. "We're very much in tune with the infrastructure that is in our areas as well as the key people who are important to those systems."

When the G-20 meeting came to Pittsburgh last year, he knew all the players and brought them to the table for the Secret Service to interact with.

"Quite frankly, I get contacted to get people off the No-Fly list more than anything else," he added.

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Title Annotation:SECURITYBEAT
Comment:Local Homeland Security representatives have a lot to give.(SECURITYBEAT)
Publication:National Defense
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2010
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