By Gary Warner
This week, President Obama unveiled a set of guidelines issued by the National Institutes of Standards and Technology and a new public-private partnership program. While I join with others in applauding Mr. Obama’s creativity in making progress in protecting our nation’s cyber infrastructure, it is important to note what is and what is not being addressed by these guidelines. Where, for example, does the Target Breach fall?
By Gary Warner
Last Thursday, a chemical storage tank leaked about 7,500 gallons of 4-methylcyclohexane methanol into the Elk River, just one mile upstream from the West Virginia American Water plant. Thankfully, the water plant owner was forward thinking enough to invest in preparedness before an immediate need arose. This undoubtedly helped the plant respond to the chemical leak. Something tells me there’s a lesson there.
The United States might look less welcoming to foreign investment these days. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) has ceased operations temporarily. Foreign investors seeking the “safe harbor” that CFIUS approval confers will have to wait until CFIUS resumes operations in order to close acquisitions of U.S. companies.
The Office of the Chief Procurement at DHS sent a “heads-up” notice that ought to get more than passing interest from the private sector. Yesterday, DHS posted a Request for Information on FedBizOpps seeking comments and suggestions on the data fields in the DHS Acquisition Planning Forecast System (APFS). DHS officials have repeatedly promised to update the APFS and make it more user-friendly, and this RFI is evidence they are sticking to their promise.
For several years, Security Debrief contributors have joined Francis Rose on Federal News Radio to discuss security issues and the role of the Federal government. For the homeland and national security crowd, In Depth with Francis Rose offers insightful and informative discussions, and there is a growing audience of listeners outside the Beltway. Recently, the news and talk radio magazine TALKERS added Francis Rose to its annual list of the top 250 talk show hosts in America.
A significant part of America’s homeland security efforts is preparing to resist, mitigate and recover from disasters manmade and natural. With the private sector owning the vast majority of U.S. infrastructure, as well as the critical role businesses play in the community and the economy, private sector preparedness has long been a priority, since the 9/11 Commission issued its final report. It has taken a long time, however, for DHS’ Voluntary Private Sector Preparedness Program to gain momentum.
The Bipartisan Policy Center launched its Homeland Security Project today, led by former 9/11 Commission Co-Chairs Tom Kean and Lee Hamilton. Through this project, a group of 14 homeland security practitioners and scholars will create bipartisan recommendations on emerging terrorist threats, not unlike the 9/11 Commission.
I spoke to students at the Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security. The school helps military officers get their master’s degrees, but mine was not a military audience at all – many were homeland leaders from throughout the public and private sectors. To be sure, America has gained a lot since the 9/11 attacks, part of which is a brotherhood shared by all homeland professionals..
By Steven Krause
The upcoming FY2013 budget request will begin to identify winners and losers in this new scenario. However they are applied, reductions announced on Thursday equal the elimination, roughly, of one Lockheed Martin or a General Dynamics plus a Raytheon – every year for the next 10 years. This new normal can spell terrific opportunity for firms that are willing to shed comfortable habits and plunge into the maelstrom with courage.
The time has come for the U.S. government to focus a single agency’s efforts on reinforcing the security of the electrical grid, MIT researchers said today in a wide-rangingreport.
The issue, MIT’s researchers say, is that the many stakeholders involved in maintaining the U.S. electrical grid aren’t working together, even though “cybersecurity regulations for bulk power systems already exist in the form of the NERC Critical Infrastructure Protection reliability standards.” For one, the researchers point out, those standards only apply to “the bulk power system and [do] not include the distribution system.” Distribution utilities on the local level are operating outside current regulations, making managing the entire grid practically impossible, the researchers added.