ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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ANSI-HSSP Interim Steering Committee Holds First Meeting

Group to lay out framework and operational structure for full panel

New York, Apr 07, 2003

The American National Standards Institute’s Homeland Security Standards Panel (ANSI-HSSP) plans to initially narrow its scope to concentrate on responding to the standardization needs of the Department of Homeland Security. While the revised area of work would continue to leave the door open for other security standards needs, members of an interim steering committee (ISC) formed to lay out the framework and operational structure for the panel felt that a more narrow focus initially would aid in overall productivity and responsiveness.

This proposal will be considered by the more than 25 appointed members of the ISC, along with representatives of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and ANSI staff, who attended the opening meeting in Washington, DC on Friday, April 4. The Panel was launched by ANSI in February in response to concerns that neither the government nor the private sector has a coordinated program for setting homeland security and emergency preparedness standards. The originally proposed mission encompassed “generic homeland security needs.”

According to the ANSI-HSSP co-chairs, Dan Bart (Telecommunications Industry Association) and Mary Saunders (National Institute of Standards and Technology), a decision on the proposed revised scope is likely to be finalized at the ISC’s next meeting in May.

“The ANSI-HSSP will be looking very closely at the department’s needs as it outlines its work,” said Dr. Mark W. Hurwitz, ANSI president and CEO. “This will involve the coordination of standards for transportation, biometrics, cyber-security, the interoperability of emergency response equipment, and much more.”

DHS representative Dr. Holly Dockery, director of standards/state and local interactions in the science and technology directorate, explained that initial work of the department has concentrated on advocating and leading the development and deployment of countermeasures for nuclear, radiological, chemical, biological and cyber/IT threats and critical infrastructure protection. “The process of identifying needs has been overwhelming due to the breadth and scope of the work,” she said. Proposed solutions must also comply with requirements from H.R. 5005, the “Safety Act,” governing anti-terrorism technologies.

Dr. Dockery also noted that, while the preferred approach is to have needs and standards drive tool acquisition, numerous technologies and instruments are already being purchased and implemented. Thus, the standards community must immediately develop and drive a process to provide mechanisms for integrating threat definition, user needs, and technology capabilities and limitations into a robust metric for assessing effectiveness.

“We look to the panel to provide a forum in which industry and government work together to align the cutting-edge efforts of the standards community with urgent national priorities related to Homeland Security,” explained Dr. George W. Arnold, chairman of the ANSI Board of Directors. “We will be guided, to be sure, by the needs and priorities articulated by government. And we will bring to bear the expertise of the standards community in an efficient, effective, and expeditious manner to identify the appropriate solutions.”

Dr. Arnold’s remarks were echoed by many of the government agency representatives in attendance, citing “robust libraries of existing standards” that could be used by DHS. Many speakers cautioned against merely cataloging existing standards, indicating that the value would come from identifying the available standards that would be most useful.

Dr. Dockery concurred: “There is just so much out there that can help us. We just need to determine if it truly fits into the DHS system of needs.” She also noted that, though DHS had only been operating officially for about one month, there were already four draft American National Standards dealing with nuclear radiation detection (within the N42.32 – N42.35) that were contained within the DHS Science and Technology standards portfolio.

Many organizations are already working closely with the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies on specific standards projects. The ANSI-HSSP will facilitate information on and coordination of those efforts. More than 125 entities and individuals are listed on a preliminary membership roster, and the group is receiving new membership requests on a daily basis.

The full panel will meet sometime this summer to launch standard-setting efforts, bringing together diverse representatives from the public and private sector and all key economic and infrastructure sectors.

Membership in the ANSI-HSSP is open to representatives of industry, government, professional societies, trade associations, standards developers, and consortia groups directly involved in U.S. Homeland Security standardization. Membership in ANSI is not a requirement.

Organizations interested in joining the ANSI-HSSP, or those who wish to submit comments or clarification are asked to complete the ANSI-HSSP survey and contact the ANSI-HSSP secretary, Matthew Deane (E:; tel: 212.642.4992).

(left to right) Dr. Mark W. Hurwitz (ANSI); Dr. George W. Arnold (ANSI); Ms. Mary Saunders, Co-Chair (NIST); Mr. Dan Bart, Co-Chair (TIA); Dr. Holly Dockery (DHS); Dr. Bert Coursey (DHS)