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Standards Resources Emerge to Support Multi-layered Approach to Homeland Security

New York, Mar 22, 2005

“For two years now, it has been the responsibility of Homeland Security to lead the unified national effort to daily and consistently improve our security and preparedness measures....But the federal government cannot fund or address all of the risks involved with terrorism on its own. To complete our mission, we must and do count heavily on partnerships with our state and local governments and the private sector.”

These remarks were made recently during an interview and speech at George Washington University by Michael Chertoff, the newly appointed secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. Chertoff addressed his plans to transform the department through a full-scale review that would result in adjustments to spending and operations. “The kind of true partnership that protecting the homeland requires means that we not only share information but also responsibility. It means that we not only exchange expertise but also expect accountability. It means that our partners must bear a part of the security burden as well as become part of the security solution,” he continued.

The idea of a multi-layered approach to homeland security, one that includes active participation by citizens and private sector businesses, is supported and promoted by many security experts. Private industry has begun to view security and preparedness as an integral part of operations, while acknowledging its broader role in national security. The voluntary standardization community has stepped forward to offer solutions for both the public and private sectors that aid in addressing such a formidable challenge, most notably with NFPA 1600, the National Preparedness Standard on Disaster/Emergency Management and Business Continuity Programs. [See related story: 9-11 Commission Report Includes Endorsement of American National Standard on Emergency Preparedness]

American National Standards Institute member ASIS International (ASIS) recently announced yet another contribution with the security organization's release of a free resource for businesses that are concerned about preparedness for a disaster or emergency. The Business Continuity Guideline: A Practical Approach for Emergency Preparedness, Crisis Management, and Disaster Recovery is a series of interrelated processes and activities to assist in creating, testing, and maintaining an organization-wide plan for use in the event of a crisis that threatens the viability and continuity of the organization. The Guideline provides step-by-step preparation and activation guidance, including readiness, prevention, response, recovery, testing and training, and evaluation and maintenance. It also includes an easy-to-understand appendix entitled "Business Continuity Checklist."

“Whether you have 50,000 or 50 employees,” says Regis Becker, global director of security and compliance at PPG Industries and chair of the ASIS Commission on Guidelines, “this is a must-read for the security director in a large corporation or the small business owner. Today’s threats require the creation of an ongoing, interactive process that serves to assure the continuation of an organization’s core activities before, during, and most important, after a major crisis.”

The ASIS Commission on Guidelines was established in early 2001 by ASIS and aims to advance the practice of security through the development of risk mitigation guidelines within a voluntary, consensus-based process utilizing to the fullest extent possible the knowledge, experience, and expertise of ASIS membership and the security industry.

For more information about ASIS guidelines, visit

Download the Business Continuity Guideline

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