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A Decade after 9/11, ANSI Homeland Security Standards Panel Examines Past Achievements and Charts Path Forward

In the decade following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the homeland security and emergency preparedness communities have made tremendous strides in improving the safety of citizens and critical infrastructure both at home and abroad. A continual review of the standards and conformance activities that contribute to a safer world, however, is essential to assuring continued security. On November 9, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Homeland Security Standards Panel (HSSP) gathered in Arlington, VA, to examine progress made over the past decade and discuss a path forward at its Tenth Plenary Meeting: Achievements from the Past Decade and Charting the Path Forward.

The ANSI-HSSP has worked since 2003 to accelerate the development of voluntary standards for homeland security and emergency preparedness in support of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate.


In his opening remarks, ANSI president and CEO S. Joe Bhatia pointed to some of the high-level accomplishments the HSSP has achieved over the last nine years in collaboration with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the 9-11 Commission, national standards bodies around the globe, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), and others in the public and private sectors.

Keynote speaker Adam K. Theil, fire chief for the city of Alexandria, VA, acknowledged the critical role that standards - particularly those supporting personnel training and interoperability - play in enabling first responders to coordinate activities in emergency environments. Chief Theil also emphasized the need for engaging various stakeholders in the standards development process, as well as the continual revision of standards to keep up with technology and public policy.

Standards Development in Response to Terrorism Threats
In the first panel of the day, Chris Dubay, vice president and chief engineer at the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), moderated a discussion examining some of the standards that have been developed to respond to potential terrorist threats, others that are on the horizon, and gap areas that still exist. Items discussed included standards and guidance documents addressing CBRNE (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosives) threats, including the National Strategy for CBRNE Standards, standards from ASTM International, and the Stakeholders Panel on Agent Detection Assays (SPADA), as well as NFPA standards for first responders.

An "All Hazards" Standards Approach
Dan Bart of Valley View Corporation moderated a panel focused on hazards standards, including those that have been published, those under development, and gap areas that may exist. Among the topics discussed were biometric identification standards, the Digital Imaging and Communications in Security (DICOS) standard from NEMA, and initiatives within the water sector to ensure a secure and resilient drinking water and wastewater infrastructure.

Re-emphasizing Risk Management
Joseph S. Broz, Ph.D., managing partner at Defense Capital Advisors, LLC, served as the moderator for a panel addressing how the standards community has leveraged a risk management approach for supply chain security and other homeland security areas. According to panelists, it is critical for organizations to invest in proactive, preventative controls for risk management to ensure business continuity. Participants explored such tools as the Voluntary Private Sector Preparedness Accreditation & Certification Program (PS-Prep), the Red Cross Ready Rating Program, and ISO 28000:2007, Specification for security management systems for the supply chain.

Charting the Path Forward
Gordon Gillerman, director of the standards services group at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), moderated a session examining current international, regional, and industry initiatives that are paving the way forward for continued security. According to the panel, international harmonization on standards and conformity assessment activities is vital to global security. And while public-private-sector partnerships are largely in place to develop standards, test methods and conformity assessment programs are still needed. Panelists agreed that the business case for standards needs to be emphasized to end users in order to engage them in the standards development process. The panel also identified the need to engage the insurance industry, the small business community, and other stakeholders less represented in the standards development process in order to move forward with the successful development and adoption of standards.

The presentations from the plenary meeting are available in the ANSI-HSSP library.

A final report detailing findings and recommendations from the workshop will be published in the coming weeks. For more information on the work of the ANSI-HSSP, visit

The Tenth Plenary meeting of the ANSI-HSSP was sponsored by National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Homeland Security Studies and Analysis Institute.


Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


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Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


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