ANSI - American National Standards Institute
 Print this article  Previous Next 

HSSP Convenes Eighth Plenary Session on Homeland Security Standards

New York, Oct 23, 2009

On October 21, 2009, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) hosted nearly 90 public and private sector stakeholders at its eighth annual Homeland Security Standards Panel (HSSP) Plenary. Held at the Renaissance Washington, DC hotel, the meeting’s theme was homeland security standards and their business application in the private sector.

A common theme that emerged over the course of the meeting was the importance of leveraging the public-private partnership in the successful implementation of homeland security standards. Several speakers noted the key role that the HSSP plays in facilitating these standards. Another sentiment repeated throughout the event was the significance of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995, Public Law 104-113 (NTTAA) and OMB Circular A-119 as recognition of the value of standards developed by the private sector.

A keynote speech was given by Bert Coursey, standards executive for the Science and Technology Directorate’s Office of Standards at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), on behalf of Bradley Buswell, under secretary for science and technology (acting) for the DHS. Mr. Coursey reported that one of the top seven priorities of DHS secretary Janet Napolitano relates to strengthening the focus on science and technology applications for protecting the nation, an area that encompasses standards and conformity assessment programs. He noted the importance of standards in assuring that homeland security technology is effective.

The first panel of the day, ANSI-HSSP Update on Transit Security Standardization, addressed the high-level findings of the ANSI-HSSP Workshop on Transit Security Standardization in January 2009. This included the key areas of video analytics and surveillance, access control and intrusion detection, and explosives detection equipment.

ANSI-HSSP Update on Emergency Preparedness for Persons with Disabilities and Special Needs was the focus of the Plenary’s second panel. Allan Fraser, building code specialist for the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), spoke on high-level findings from the February 2009 HSSP workshop on this topic [see related article], and provided an overview of next steps. These include the formation of a task group of ANSI-HSSP that will identify and prioritize specific needs such as public education, enhanced federal policy, transportation needs, and other issues. One of the main priorities identified in the February 2009 workshop, stair travel devices for use by persons with disabilities during an emergency, is currently being addressed by a newly formed committee: the RESNA (Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America) Standards Committee on Emergency Stair Travel Devices for Individuals with Disabilities. Glenn Hedman, chair of this committee, provided an overview of the group’s goals, and encouraged attendees to join.

Participants then heard an update on the joint efforts of ANSI and the Internet Security Alliance (ISA) in Phase II of their work with cyber risk presented by Larry Clinton, president of ISA. Phase I focused on providing questions that organizations and CFOs should be asking to identify and quantify the financial risk associated with cybersecurity. Phase II is focused on developing a broader implementation strategy/process for use by the full C-suite community.

The next panel of the day detailed the Private Sector Voluntary Certification Program (PS-Prep). Workshop participants discussed the recent Federal Register notice issued by the DHS announcing their intent to select three standards for adoption in the program. [see related news item] The panel addressed the standards selection, the certification aspect, and small business considerations.

Following discussion of the PS-Prep Program, panelists and attendees discussed Homeland Security Standards and their Private Sector Application. Speakers focused on the lifecycle of standards, as well as the development of standards and conformity assessment for body armor and radiological detection equipment. A number of programs were also referenced, including the GRaADER (Graduation Radiation Detection Evaluation and Recording) program from the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO). Attendees also learned about the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP), which is now required for laboratories participating in military and Department of Defense testing.

The final panel of the Plenary highlighted Homeland Security Standards Resources. This informative session provided clarification on the various standards resources that exist to date, including the Target Capabilities List (TCL), the Authorized Equipment List (AEL), the Responder Knowledge Base (RKB), and the Homeland Security Standards Database (HSSD). Bob Hager, ANSI senior director of publishing and production, provided a presentation on the HSSD, a database powered by ANSI, and solicited input from attendees on how the product can be further enhanced to meet their needs.

For more information on HSSP or to participate in Panel activities, contact Jessica Carl, ANSI program administrator for standards panels (212.642.4903,

Standards Portal