Here’s a statement that should be obvious by now: Our economic stability and national security are conjoined twins – one can’t exist without the other.  As this administration focuses on economic stimulus packages to respond to our country’s economic crisis, it is easy to lose sight of Homeland Security priorities. This would be unwise. Right before us are opportunities to use the same resources for both economic growth and Homeland Security concerns.  The business case for security is now also the nation’s case for security.

Companies have had a historically hard time building the business case for security. In this economic downturn, it is arguably even harder to justify adopting security practices that require precious resources to mitigate an unknown security risk.  And yet, the business case is already here, undercover. The same processes that companies need to adopt to improve security would also improve supply chain safety, improve IT security, reduce products liability risk and address other vulnerabilities. And in the aggregate, this improves national security. Certainly, the latter issues should be top of mind.   With headlines such as:

Fake Internet drugs risk lives, fund terrorism
Study finds that 62 percent of the prescription-only medicines offered on the Internet are fakes; some of the fake-drug schemes are operated by terrorist organizations as a means of raising funds.

Breach of federal jobs site highlights need for contractor liability, security observer says

Agencies should hold contractors liable for security breaches to encourage better protection of sensitive information upfront, said a director at a top computer security training organization in response to this week’s breach of the federal government’s primary Web site for job postings.

Product recalls at record high in Europe
Product recalls and notifications of dangerous merchandise reached record levels in the European Union last year, with the number of suspect goods reported more than double that in the US.

The rate of notifications was up by about 15 per cent and the total of faulty items reported was 1,546. That compared with 1,337 in the previous year, and more than 700 items in 2005.

It seems that DHS and the Homeland Security community at large are missing a significant opportunity of turning these vulnerabilities into corporate strengths.  While not the sexiest of topic areas and certainly not a “24” Jack Bauer type of discussion – the private sector is the center piece of our national homeland security strategy. And yet, our government efforts continue to focus on the headlines relating to terrorism and miss the opportunity to energize businesses around making this nation safer and at the same creating corporate value. Most companies will not relate to the terrorism argument at this point – they likely have little cash reserve to spend on protecting themselves.  But – it has been shown that protection and security can actually add value to a company.   If the government can recognize the linkage between financial stimulus and homeland security, then companies can be incented to investments that will be tied to value and collaterally, but most importantly, to our nation’s security.