Homeland Security Is Not An Island
Across the country, thousands of governments, quasi-governmental authorities, and private businesses are working out independent Homeland security plans. While state and federal Homeland security departments provide general guidance and some funding, these larger governments must deal with their own Homeland security problems.
“No government agency is responsible for developing security concepts for broad regions,” says Lou Kelly, president and CEO of The Security Network, a San Diego-based non-profit organization. “Creating fully integrated regional security plans is a brand new problem, something very different from what local governments have done before.”
In Southern California, for example, a handful of county governments have diverse views on Homeland security. Within each county, dozens of city governments are also taking up unique Homeland security initiatives. Then there is the port, the border between the United States and Mexico, military bases, law enforcement and emergency response agencies, public and private transportation groups, a nuclear power plant, and thousands of private sector businesses. “All these agencies, organizations and businesses are trying to pursue Homeland security within their four walls,” Kelly says.
Kelly says his 6-month-old non-profit can help these diverse governments and organizations begin to coordinate their efforts and create a Homeland security model for other regions of the country.
Kelly brings years of non-profit experience in coordinating the development of advanced technologies to his new project. In addition to his post with The Security Network, Kelly also serves as president of Lockheed Martin ORINCON Technologies, a non-profit arm of Lockheed, which pursues technology development projects. He helped start the Center for Commercialization of Advanced Technologies (CCAT), a San Diego based non-profit funded by Congress. CCAT money supports projects developed by new companies with innovative ideas. Kelly serves as chairman of the CCAT Executive Board.
The Security Network aims to provide a forum where regional public and private governments, institutions, and businesses can plan regional security initiatives and pursue grants that will fund promising ideas. Kelly has laid out five specific goals for the organization:
To promote the development and implementation of actionable regional security plans.
To promote the development of dual-use security technologies. A port, for example, could more easily afford monitoring technology if it also helps manage port operations more efficiently.
To operate as a national test bed for security concepts and technologies funded by government grants.
To develop and maintain a national database of companies and academic groups focused on the security field.
To organize and sponsor national events and meetings.
The Security Network began official operations in January. Unofficially, Kelly was collecting members since early 2004. Members include government agencies and private businesses. The organization’s advisory committee includes representatives from the Transportation Security Agency, the FBI, San Diego City Homeland Security, the San Diego County Sheriff’s office, the San Diego Harbor Police and San Diego State University.
Twelve corporate sponsors have signed on, including Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and SAIC.
Most of The Security Network’s work will take place in meetings of 15 Special Interest Groups (SIGs) covering areas such as borders, chemical/biological security, commercial and residential security, critical infrastructure, food and agriculture, first responders, healthcare and transportation.
Co-chairs from government and industry run each SIG. “These are working groups that discuss security needs,” Kelly says. “The goal is for government people to communicate needs to business people.
“Business will bring an understanding of technology to the discussion,” Kelly continues.
In June, The Security Network will take its message to a national audience with The Security Summit. Set for June 29-30 at the Bahia Resort Hotel in San Diego, the event is designed for C-level executives, government officials and university representatives. Jules Kroll, vice chairman of Marsh Inc., and founder of Kroll Inc., will deliver the keynote address.