2008 Government Summit Draws Record Crowd
A record number of industry executives turned out for the Security Industry Associations’s 2008 Government Summit, June 9-11 in Washington, DC. The three-day program featured informative keynote remarks, engaging panel sessions and plenty of time for networking with state and federal policymakers.
Rep. David Price, chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, kicked-off the Summit with remarks focused on his subcommittee’s markup of the FY09 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill. Price indicated the bill would not vary much from previous years saying, “This is a bill, the hallmark of which has been focusing on first responders, focusing on natural disaster preparedness and relief, and trying to think ahead of the curve in terms of the kinds of protections that we need to put in place. So there are no radical discontinuities between last year’s bill and this one.” SIA presented Price with a Global Security Leadership Award in recognition of his strong support of the Port and Transit Security Grant Programs.
Following Price’s remarks, Tony York, president, International Association for Healthcare Security & Safety, discussed the need for increased education and funding for security programs and services to secure our nation’s health care system. Hospitals, he noted, are laggards when it comes to technology not applied to patient care. York said that 73 percent of hospital security funds go towards staffing costs. Only 13 percent is allocated for technology and of that, half is spent on maintenance. He closed his remarks by thanking SIA for the work done in support of the Hospital Security Grants Program.
Panelists at the Summit examined issues affecting TWIC implementation and the Airport Credential Identity Solution (ACIS). Citing concerns with interoperability and universal access, Charles Chambers with the North American Airport Council noted that “opening up [airport] systems is concerning to airports,” because the belief is “fewer people with cards and access make it safer.” ACIS Program Manager Chris Runde noted that it is not about universal access or access control. ACIS should leverage best practices and FIPS 201 standards to create a biometric aviation solution. He said the aim is for identity interoperability among airports, where, “cards can be read at any airport” resulting in real-time identity management. Maurine Fanguy provided a TWIC enrollment update, noting that 118 centers have opened nationwide with 335,000 workers enrolled. She noted unforeseen challenges include unusually large hands of port workers as well as keeping up with demand. Diane Wilson noted that TSA and airports are moving toward biometrically enabled physical access control systems (PACS) and that testing and qualifying biometric products supports informed product selection by ports.
Citing his support for The Local Preparedness Acquisition Act, lunch keynote speaker GSA Commissioner Jim Williams said Schedule 84 legislation “is past due” and that he “looks forward to the Schedule 84 legislation passing quickly.” Williams went on to discuss the agency’s MAS transformation process and his goal of bringing products to market faster. He said FAS is looking across the schedules program, specifically 84, and determining how to map products and services to meet customer needs.
Greg Starr, acting assistant secretary for the state department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, discussed what it takes to provide a safe and secure environment in a range of conditions, from technologically forward countries to poverty-ridden areas with limited capabilities. He advised the audience to research the unique needs of embassies before making a sales pitch and to be prepared to answer how a product will add value to the organization.
Speakers looked at the differences between IPv4 and IPv6. The promise of simplified installations and new features that IPv6 brings to the table were discussed. The U.S. Government’s next generation Networx project (based on IPv6) and implementation timelines were explored. The session finished up with a look at future functionality that IPv6 will enable, including possible personnel and asset tracking.
Panelists discussed the challenges state and local agencies face when trying to address their Homeland security needs. Speakers Laura Waxman, U.S. Conference of Mayors; Eric Olafson, Miami Dade County; Joe Chandler, North Carolina Governor Mike Easley’s Office; and Chris Logan, National Governors Association, echoed the need for interoperable solutions, sustainable, predictable funds and clear standards.
It was a standing room only crowd at SIA’s 2008 Public Policy Dinner at Clyde’s of Gallery Place. Over cocktails and hoer-d-oeuvres, industry execs networked with embassy staff, government security practitioners and federal policy makers. SIA Statesman Awards were presented to: Rob Zivney for his work on PIV related issues and recent HSPD-12 testimony; Roger Roehr for providing expert advice in preparation for the HSPD-12 hearing and leadership role in SIA Webinars and Government Summit planning; and Scott Boylan for his work on cooperative purchasing and the Higher Education Bill security amendment. In addition, GSA’s Josh Sawsliak received SIA’s Distinguished Public Service Award. Several members of Congress were on hand to pick up Global Security Leadership Awards including Reps. Yvette Clark (D-NY), Jim Langevin (D-RI), Steve Rothman (D-NJ) and Mark Souder (R-IN).
GSA’s Kelli Stoker and David Drabkin talked about how the agency is looking to improve the schedules program. Stoker noted that Schedule 84 saw $1.8 billion in sales through April 2008 and was on track to do more than $2.3 billion by year’s end. She noted that opening schedule 84 to state and locals would generate additional revenue, improve interoperability between local, state and federal agencies, and “is a good deal for taxpayers.” NASA’s Patrick Logan noted that SEWP does not view GSA as a competitor and detailed the differences between the two procurement vehicles. In addition, Kelly Kroll provided an overview of how state and local entities procure goods and services through GSA and cooperative purchasing agreements.
Amy Lassi, project management officer for the Department of Homeland Security spoke about the different types of federal grants funds available to state and local authorities. She noted that DHS gives more than $3.6 billion in federal grants to state and local authorities, with almost 50 percent of that earmarked for security based projects. Ed Merkle, director of Port Security and Emergency Operations at the Port of Virginia, spoke about the constant need for Ports to be vigilant on security, citing interoperability of equipment to be the largest and most significant of his current security purchasing needs. Finally, Steve Bamford, assistant chief of police for the city of Manassas, spoke about the numerous facilities, both public and private that the police department is responsible for protecting. He also cited interoperability of equipment to be one of his primary concerns when purchasing or recommending the purchase of security equipment.
DHS Chief Privacy Officer Hugo Teufel III spoke about the need to ensure the preservation of the founding fathers’ wishes regarding personal privacy. He said that when security versus privacy is considered as a zero sum game, privacy loses out. Teufel stressed that it is possible to both preserve privacy as well as maintain security. One participant asked why it is important that data printed on the front of a card be encrypted in an electronic data form. Teufel noted that that this is primarily a concern because the misuse of personally identifiable information goes up significantly in an easy-to-use electronic format and therefore needs to be encrypted.
The conference wrapped up with a discussion on Network Security and its relationship to physical security. Dr. Jay Patel, CEO of Optellios Inc., spoke about network security at the physical layer and the capability of fiber being tapped and hacked. Dave Twinam, senior engineering manager for Cisco Systems, spoke about network security at the link layer and the multiple security breakdowns that arise due to ‘out of the box’ plug and play devices. Howard Waltzman, partner at Mayer Brown LLP, spoke about the debate on the Hill between the Internet provider’s right to monitor and classify data that flows across its bandwidth, and the public right to have personal privacy. He argued that an Internet provider’s rights to monitor and classify data on the network would decrease Internet vulnerabilities and make the Internet more secure.