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Charter Agreed and Initial Priorities Set for ANSI Homeland Security Standards Panel

New York, May 09, 2003

Planning for the work of the ANSI Homeland Security Standards Panel (ANSI-HSSP) continued this week as members of an Interim Steering Committee (ISC) agreed on a charter and the formation of four coordinating committees. The May 7 meeting was the second time members of the ISC gathered to lay the groundwork for the Panel and prepare for the first full ANSI-HSSP meeting at the Gaithersburg, Maryland campus of the National Institute of Standards and Technology on June 9 and 10, 2003.

At the first ISC meeting in early April, a decision was made to have the ANSI-HSSP initially focus on needs identified by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Input from the two-month old Department is helping the Panel focus on several high-priority items.

According to Dr. Bert Coursey, a DHS spokesperson, the immediate needs include the development of a national infrastructure for HS measurements and standards in the following areas:

Radiological/nuclear detectorsChemical/explosives sensors
Anthrax detectorsModeling, simulation and analysis
Decontamination standardsTraining for emergency responders
Cyber security standardsInteroperable communications
Biometrics for entry/exit programCertification of equipment/personnel

Key among these is the coordination of standards and evaluation methods for weapons of mass destruction (WMD) detection technologies, including those used for chemical, radiological, nuclear and biological weapons. Coursey reports that the DHS is already engaging with other U.S. government agencies, including the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy, to advance work that is underway or completed in the WMD arena.

Dr. Coursey expressed his gratitude to the private sector for “its willingness to help develop standards” to meet DHS needs. “ANSI accredits approximately 280 standards developing organizations,” he said, “and represents more than one million U.S. scientists and engineers that are willing to donate some of their time and energy to developing standards for DHS.”

The ISC has recommended that the Panel’s work be primarily divided among four coordinating committees to initially address the immediate needs listed above: certification and accreditation; critical infrastructure protection; countermeasures for security technology and systems; and countermeasures for public health. Some work areas are expected to require crossover among the committees. At the June 9-10 meetings, breakout sessions will run concurrently for each of the coordinating committees.

The ANSI-HSSP co-chairs, Dan Bart (Telecommunications Industry Association) and Mary Saunders (National Institute of Standards and Technology), request that attendees be individuals who are technically knowledgeable about one or more of these initial ten focus areas and are able to identify existing standards, work in progress, or gaps that exist where standards are needed. Attendance is expected to include many of the nearly 150 entities and individuals that have already expressed interest in participating on the ANSI-HSSP.

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) launched HSSP earlier this year in response to concerns that neither the government nor the private sector has a coordinated program for setting standards for terrorism preparedness, which could range from performance goals to operational procedures and equipment specifications. Membership in ANSI is not a requirement for participation on the ANSI-HSSP.

Organizations interested in participating on the ANSI-HSSP or attending the first meeting may contact the ANSI-HSSP secretary, Matthew Deane (E:; tel: 212.642.4992).

 Homeland Defense and Security Standardization Collaborative