Homeland Security Dept. Needs Help
For the proposed Department of Homeland Security to succeed, it
will need substantial help from state and local government and the
private sector, according to Army Maj. Gen. Bruce Lawlor, senior
director of protection and prevention for the White House Office
of Homeland Security.
“Terrorism is too big, too complex, too robust. The federal
government doesn’t have enough resources,” and coping
with it “is a national mission,” requiring the support
of all elements of society, he told a Washington, D.C conference,
sponsored by the Association for Enterprise Integration, the University
of Pennsylvania and George Washington University. “It is not
just a federal mission,” he added.
U.S. strategy for homeland security is currently focused upon increasing
protection for all modes of transportation, Lawlor said. Transportation
is also connected to the economy, which is largely dependent on
freedom of movement, by air, rail and highway, he said.
The United States needs to find ways to tighten security at its
borders without making it too difficult for ordinary visitors to
enter the country, Lawlor said. “We must continue to welcome
people from all parts of the globe. We have to keep the borders
open, and still stop that very small number of people that we don’t
To do a better job of that, the administration has proposed bringing
the Coast Guard, Border Patrol, Immigration and Naturalization Service,
and Customs Service into the proposed department of homeland security.
“We need a mechanism to glue it all together,” Lawlor
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Defense Dept. Reaching Out to Small Biz
The Defense Department is growing “increasing dependent on
the capabilities of the business community—both large and
small—to provide the technology, innovations and ingenuity
necessary for homeland security,” said Michael Wynne, principal
deputy undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and
“We are trying to take full advantage of the innovations
that you bring,” Wynne told small business leaders at the
U.S. Senate’s Small Business Homeland Security Expo. “The
Defense Department considers small business to be a high priority.
Approximately 88 percent of all Defense Department prime contractors
are small businesses, (which) demonstrates how important this small
business world is to our department.
“Our dependence on small business is increasing,” Wynne
said. By fiscal year 2001, the number of small businesses receiving
contract awards grew by 1,825, he said. Small business received
more than $50 billion of Defense Department procurement dollars
last year alone, “and more, through our prime contractors,”
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Letter Carriers Won’t Help Track Terrorists
The Department of Justice wants industry to encourage workers to
participate in Operation TIPS (Terrorism Information and Prevention
System). In certain sectors, “workers are ideally suited to
help in the anti-terrorism effort because their routines allow them
to recognize unusual events and have expressed a desire for a mechanism
to report these events to authorities,” said the program’s
web site. The government wants citizens to “identify suspicious
or unusual activities in public areas and along transportation routes.”
The United States Postal Service however, has declined to participate
in the project until a more constructive plan is proposed. “Our
letter carriers are union employees and we could not and would not
agree to their participation in this program without first discussing
all aspects of the program with them first and allow them input
into the decision,” said Sue Brennan, a Postal Service spokesperson.
Operation TIPS is a national program that calls upon “millions
of American workers who, in the daily course of their work, are
in a unique position to see potentially unusual or suspicious activity
in public places,” according to its web site, at www.citizencorps.gov.
The program is one of several comprising one of the Bush administration’s
homeland security initiatives, called ‘Citizen Corps.’
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Small Businesses Urged to Participate
Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass, sponsored the U.S. Senate’s first
Small Business Homeland Security Expo, along with Sen. Kit Bond,
R-Mo. They both sit on the Small Business Committee.
Kerry said that small-business technology entrepreneurs have a
role in homeland security and can make useful contributions. “For
each of these small businesses represented here today, there is
the possibility of finding a solution to some of the challenges
of making us more secure at less expense,” he said.
“It is the small businesses, particularly on the technology
cutting edge, that bring us the high value-added jobs that change
the work place, provide greater opportunity and raise the income
of our fellow Americans,” he said.
A message to the federal agencies, Kerry said, is that large companies
are not the only option when it comes to advanced technology for
homeland security. There are thousands of small firms that can “respond
quickly, that are more flexible, that have a greater capacity to
be able to respond more creatively,” he said. “Many
of these companies have contacted our committee, expressing frustration
in these past months not knowing how they can access the procurement
process, not knowing how they can get noticed, not sure that people
in bureaucracy are paying attention to some of the ideas that they
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Assessing Vulnerability of Drinking Water
The Environmental Protection Agency has been “a little skimpish”
in taking steps to prevent terrorist attacks against U.S. infrastructure,
said Tom Dunne, EPA’s associate assistant administrator for
solid waste and emergency response. But that’s changing somewhat,
he told a recent conference on terrorism.
In response to 9/11, Congress gave EPA an $89 million supplemental
appropriation to reduce the vulnerability of the nation’s
drinking water to terrorist attack.
Nearly 400 towns, cities and counties around the country are eligible
to receive up to $115,000 in grants this year to assess the vulnerability
of their water systems and to design an emergency-response plan.
These large systems provide drinking water to nearly half of all
Americans served by public water systems.
The vulnerability assessments must be complete with six months
of the grant award or by the end of the calendar year, whichever
is later, EPA said. Other activities under the grant should be completed
in a reasonable time thereafter.
Altogether, Dunne said, 15,000 federal, state, local and private
facilities are conducting similar risk-management programs, but
there may be as many as 500,000 such facilities that need them.
He applauded the American Chemical Society, which in June required
its members to adopt a new security code obligating them to:
Some kind of third-party audit is necessary for a facility to get
a thorough, objective view of the effectiveness of its security
apparatus, Dunne said.
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Coast Guard Project Aims for Rapid Response
The Coast Guard is aggressively pursuing the modernization of its
30-year old National Distress and Response System. The service said
the upgraded system would add significantly to its growing homeland
security mission. Three companies—General Dynamics, Lockheed
Martin and SAIC—are vying for a one billion-dollar contract,
which would extend to 2020. The companies were each awarded a contract
in 2000 to develop the preliminary system design. The downselect
will take place this fall.
The existing system is antiquated and is starting to have reliability
problems, according to the Coast Guard. Oftentimes, communication
is garbled and there are areas where different posts cannot communicate
with one another.
The old system leaves 14 percent of the regions uncovered. The
46 Coast Guard regions, at this point, are all autonomous. The modernized
system will be a nationwide communication platform that could cover
most of the currently existing gaps.
“This system provides situational awareness up to 20 nautical
miles from the shore,” said Jeff Osman, of General Dynamics.
It also offers practical information and shows where the resources
are, he added.
“One person who sits there and gets the initial call should
be able to say these are the assets that are immediately available
and which use of the asset will solve the problem,” he said.
“It gives them the opportunity to see this is the situation
I have, these are the assets I can use, I know where they are, I
know where they need to be and I can send for the rescue immediately.”
The new system would detect problems in about one second, be able
to locate them, plan the mission, deploy assets and be able to manage
It has three subsystems: ground, vessel and portable. The subsystems
will be deployed in 46 group communication centers, will have 300-400
high sites (communication towers), 657 boats and 3,000 handheld