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Homeland Security Professionals Gather for Discussion of DHS Needs

ANSI-HSSP co-chairs provide overview of standardization community efforts

Washington, DC, Sep 11, 2003

Dan Bart and Mary Saunders, co-chairs of the American National Standards Institute Homeland Security Standards Panel (ANSI-HSSP), met today with more than 170 public and private sector representatives focused on homeland security requirements, contracting mechanisms and acquisition.

The audience gathered in Washington, DC, for the Defense Week-sponsored conference, Contracting for Homeland Security R&D, the third in a series of conferences to address where the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is focusing its R&D priorities and how it will manage its IT acquisition. The two-day event, which began yesterday, was held at the Cafritz Convention Center on the George Washington University campus. Its focus was to help the homeland security community define needs, as well as provide insight into the way in which industry can help fulfill those needs in the spirit of the public/private partnership fostered by the Bush administration.

The opening keynote address featured Dr. Jane Alexander, director of the Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency (HSARPA). Dr. Alexander specifically profiled R&D business opportunities for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) technologies. These include cybersecurity, intermodal nuclear-biological-chemical (NBC) sensors, explosives detection and the command and control functions supporting the BioWatch Initiative -- the nationwide deployment of early warning sensors to help detect potential biological attacks.

Mr. Greg Rothwell, chief procurement officer at DHS, provided an overview of the Department’s acquisition process and later participated in a panel discussion on the DHS acquisition model.

Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers (R-KY), chairman of the House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, provided today's luncheon address. Congressman Rogers confirmed his committee’s view of the critically important role of R&D to support DHS needs and illustrated his remarks with examples of program areas that were currently receiving “priority attention” in the DHS budget considerations.

Mr. Bart and Ms. Saunders introduced the audience to the work of the ANSI-HSSP and provided an overview of its roles, tasks, and recent accomplishments. Their presentation explained how and why the ANSI-HSSP was formed, how it will go about identifying existing standards to meet urgent needs, how it will facilitate standards solutions where needs exist, and how companies and government agencies can become involved.

In describing the ANSI-HSSP’s purpose, Mr. Bart explained that the group serves “as a forum where private and public sector interests agree to cooperatively address the homeland security and emergency preparedness needs of the nation.”

The co-chairs also explained that a workshop approach is being taken to address specific HS standards areas. The common goals of the workshops are to identify for specific areas the existing standards, standards under development, gap areas, and any related existing or required conformity assessment programs.

Ms. Saunders related the work of the ANSI-HSSP to the interests of the conference attendees by citing the need for standards related to bio-assay kits. She also noted that the first workshop will be on biometrics; it will be held on September 24, 2003, following the Biometric Consortium Conference in Arlington, Virginia.

“The ANSI-HSSP co-chairs provided invaluable insight into the workings of the Panel,” said John Morton, director of conferences for Defense Week. “Identification of the activities that are underway and the organizations that are involved in the ANSI-HSSP was very helpful for the conference attendees.”

Since 1998 and the previous administration's promulgation of Presidential Decision Directives 62 and 63, Defense Week has presented over a dozen of conferences devoted to domestic preparedness and national critical-infrastructure protection.

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