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Chertoff Addresses Private Sector on Preparedness and Response

New York, Apr 26, 2005

“Homeland security does not simply rest upon federal action; it requires collective national and even international action. When it comes to the protection of our people, our infrastructure, our companies, our communities, our country, we all have a role to play.”

This observation came from Michael Chertoff, secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in his first remarks to the private sector as secretary. Chertoff addressed an audience of business leaders at New York University’s Center for Catastrophic Preparedness and Response on April 26. Hosting the address was one of CCPR’s leading projects – the International Center for Enterprise Preparedness, or INTERCEP.

INTERCEP is an international resource for education and research in private sector crisis management and business continuity. The center grew out of key DHS initiatives and the recommendations in the final report of the 9-11 Commission, which included the American National Standard for Disaster/Emergency Management and Business Continuity Programs (NFPA 1600). Developed through a partnership between the Working Group on Private Sector Preparedness and the Homeland Security Standards Panel of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI-HSSP), the recommendation of NFPA 1600 was the work of safety, security, and business continuity experts from a wide range of industries and associations. Bill Raisch, executive director of INTERCEP, serves as chair of the working group as well as on the steering committee of the ANSI-HSSP.

“The work of ANSI's Homeland Security Standards Panel has been central to answering the question of 'what' the private sector should do on issues of preparedness and security. Its research and subsequent recommendation of NFPA 1600 as the National Preparedness Standard for the Private Sector is a prime example of identifying consensus-based solutions,” said Raisch. “NYU's International Center for Enterprise Preparedness is funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as the first academic center dedicated to private sector preparedness. Given this challenge, INTERCEP greatly values its participation on the HSSP and strongly encourages other organizations to participate in the important work of the panel.”

According to INTERCEP, businesses and other private sector organizations own 85% of America’s infrastructure and employ the vast majority of the country’s employees, so engaging private enterprise is essential to all homeland security efforts. Secretary Chertoff stressed his intention to foster the relationship between DHS and the private sector going forward.

"We can do many things on the federal level to help our private sector partners meet this shared responsibility. We can provide you information and intelligence about certain kinds of threats; we can help you identify vulnerabilities and develop security plans; we can set standards and share best practices; and we can provide some level of funding. And when necessary, we can require a set of specific security steps if voluntary measures fail to achieve their needed result."

The ANSI-HSSP recently issued a summary of accomplishments acheived since it was established two years ago, which includes the private sector emergency preparedness and business continuity national standard, along with standards work in biometrics, biological and chemical threat agents, emergency communications and more. To view the entire summary, visit the ANSI-HSSP website (

Read Chertoff’s complete remarks here

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