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ANSI Homeland Security Standards Panel Releases Workshop Report on Global Supply Chain Security Standards

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Homeland Security Standards Panel (HSSP) has released a workshop report examining approaches to safeguarding international supply chains - which rely heavily on transportation and postal infrastructure - from the dangers posed by counterfeiting, security threats, and other issues. The two-day event, Global Supply Chain Security Standards, was held September 12-13, 2012, in Washington, DC, and included representatives of government agencies and standards developing organizations (SDOs), among others. Participants examined the current national strategy related to global supply chain protection, as well as the status of related standards being developed by public and private groups.

Since 2003, the ANSI-HSSP has worked with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to bolster the development of voluntary standards related to homeland security and emergency preparedness. The workshop, which was held in conjunction with HSSP's annual plenary, focused on security measures that seek to ensure the quality and safety of the global supply chain, which plays an essential part in the U.S. and international economies.

During the workshop's first discussion, White House Global Supply Chain Security Strategy Implementation Plan, participants looked at the U.S. government's national strategy to bolster the resiliency of global supply chains. In January 2012, the White House issued a strategic document, titled National Strategy for Global Supply Chain Security, that set down recommendations for safeguarding key elements of the worldwide system while allowing for the timely, efficient shipment of goods to and from the United States. While numerous standards related to trade and transportation exist, speakers suggested that only a small percentage of current standards supported the national strategy, suggesting that new or updated standards were required.

The second discussion, International Policy and Perspective, examined supply chain issues and security approaches, with a focus on international cooperation. Participants discussed recent agreements between the U.S. and European Union based on a common, risk-based, and cost-effective approaches to transportation and supply chain security. Also highlighted was the SAFE Framework of Standards to Secure and Facilitate Global Trade, which was adopted by the World Customs Organization (WCO) Council in 2005 in an effort to bolster standards that work to safeguard supply chain security and facilitation. The discussion also touched on the importance of addressing costs related to standards and testing in this area, as well as the need for flexible global guidelines to compliment relevant technical standards.

As part of U.S. Federal Programs and Perspectives, the third panel discussion, participants looked at the activities of a DHS working group on risk characterization related to the supply chain, as well as plans for a joint U.S.-EU Supply Chain Security pilot program, and information related to the 2001 Maritime Transportation Security Act, which mandates investigation into anti-terrorism protections being taken at ports in other nations.

During the workshop's fourth panel discussion, Private-Sector Programs and Perspectives, participants suggested that a single system of global supply chain standardization, based on a uniform conformity assessment approach, would be the preferred way to address the safety and security of international supply chains. The discussion touched on the Customs-Trade Partnership against Terrorism (C-TPAT) initiative, which embeds its security criteria in private contracts with related vendors and suppliers, using the negative financial effects of failing to comply to help enforce compliance. The use of internal assessment tools by private organizations - notably in the screening of air cargo - in the place of third-party security assessments was also discussed.

The fifth discussion, Anti-Counterfeiting in the Supply Chain, looked at ways to address the growing issues worldwide related to counterfeiting, which is thought to cost the U.S. $250 billion in economic costs and 750,000 lost jobs each year. Participants argued that anti-counterfeiting efforts should use a risk-based strategy and incorporate technical standards that are effective for new and old technology alike, while also addressing the needs of subsections and complete systems of the global supply chain. The panel urged information sharing within industry and suggested that a defined supplier selection process, in concert with an effective chain of custody, would help to ensure that only approved suppliers are manufacturing branded products. For more information about standards-related strategies for addressing counterfeiting, see Best Practices in the Fight Against Global Counterfeiting: An Action Guide to Strengthen Cooperation and Collaboration across Industry Sectors and among Global Supply Chains, a free report compiled by ANSI.

The workshop's final panel discussion, Standards for Anti-Counterfeiting in the Global Supply Chain, looked at the work of International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Technical Committee (TC) 247, Fraud Countermeasures and Controls. The panel also touched on the essential role played by conformity assessment bodies in objectively examining and determining whether supply chain protection standards are being correctly implemented.

Following the panel discussions, Gordon Gillerman, director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)'s Standards Services Group and ANSI-HSSP's public-sector co-chair, presented HSSP's annual plenary session. In his remarks, Mr. Gillerman highlighted the important role expected to be played by HSSP in working with the private sector to implement the goals set down in the White House's national global supply chain security strategy.

The full workshop report is available here.

The ANSI-HSSP provides the unique opportunity for the homeland security, emergency preparedness, business continuity communities, and other stakeholders to come together to discuss strategic approaches to current challenges, recent successes, and future outlooks. For more information on the ANSI-HSSP, visit


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