Next week, the Heritage Foundation will host “Homeland Security 2010: The Future of Defending the Homeland.” This will be a week-long series of panels aimed at providing a good background for Congressional Staffers new to Homeland Security issues. Heritage did this last year, and it was an excellent event. It should be informative and helpful for the folks who provide the leg work for our Legislative Branch.

This program is diverse. The event begins on Monday, August 23, focusing on maritime security. Two panels will look at this huge area from the civilian and military standpoints.

I will sit on one of the panels and will look at the immense task of achieving maritime security and what has been done so far in pursuit of it. My time as the Deputy Assistant SecDef for Homeland Defense included a great deal of focus on this crucial defense domain.

On Tuesday, the attention will shift to Science and Technology, with two panels looking at the role of fundamental science in security, specifically bioterrorism. Day Three’s panel reaches out to the private sector on its pivotal roll in Homeland Security. It will cover Critical Infrastructure Protection (most of which is privately owned), and the expanding role of the private sector in response since 9/11, Katrina, and the Gulf Oil Spill.

Thursday turns to my favorite – cybersecurity. The actual titles of these panels are intriguing: “Big Brother and the Civilian Network” and “Cyber Nukes: War and Terrorism in the Cyber Domain.” I will be presenting on the latter panel and will look at one of my pet subjects, the growing potential for cyber terrorism once terrorists are enabled by cyber criminal networks.

The five-day program is rounded out with panels looking at the role of state and local government in our response to terrorism and the overall preparedness, response and recovery system.

This outreach to the Staffers is a laudable and worthy task. These (mostly) young citizens are highly educated and very motivated to serve their members in the task of creating an effective legal underpinning for our Homeland Security efforts. By gathering together a diverse group of academics, practitioners, industry types and pundits, Heritage provides an excellent menu of topics from which the staff personnel can choose to augment their knowledge, and with whom they can debate and discuss the issues.

I am very happy to have been asked to participate, and I will be prepared for a great deal of learning and free flowing discourse.  The panels are open to the public and all are welcome. I highly recommend it.

You can RSVP for the panels and find out more by visiting The Heritage Foundation’s website.

Dr. Steven Bucci is director of the Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation. He was previously a lead consultant to IBM on cyber security policy. Bucci’s military and government service make him a recognized expert in the interagency process and defense of U.S. interests, particularly with regard to critical infrastructure and what he calls the productive interplay of government and the private sector. Read More