Homeland security market update

According to vendors that specialize in solutions for the homeland security market, the government is once again falling into the pitfalls of becoming reactionary rather than proactive in addressing certain issues that affect our nation’s security.

Hans Kobler, executive chairman of ICx Technologies, with the recent transition from the Bush White House to the Obama administration, there remains some underlying security problems that haven’t been addressed in a while such as air cargo screening and screening for nuclear material at seaports.

“There is a lot of pent up demand (for security solutions) in the government and on top of that, they have stimulus funds,” he said.

Kobler said that they expect to see an increase in revenues next year; however, he indicated that he remains hopeful that things may start to pick up by the end of 2009.

A major trend that Kobler said he has seen recently is a demand for solutions to fight asymmetric warfare, more commonly as irregular defense, which involves making very destructive weapons with simple tools, such as the improvised explosive devices that have caused so many injuries and fatalities in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“People need to technology to detect these types of devices,” Kobler said. “There’s been a blurring of the traditional lines of defense.

Kobler added that his company is no longer just making solutions for one particular segment of the government because he said there are really not that many barriers between agencies like the Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security. Both agencies are in the market for similar type solutions now.

According to Marshall Keith James, senior program director for SoBran, there has been an unfortunate downward trend in the government of actually taking the steps necessary to adequately secure many of its facilities.

SoBran, which has been in business for over 22 years, specializes in the design and construction of CBRNE (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosives) processing facilities for the government.

James says the majority of the company’s work revolves around the inspection of mail for chemical and biological threats like Anthrax. The company also works with large corporations like Gannett Publishing, as well as high-profile individuals.
Unlike when the Anthrax mail attacks struck Washington D.C. and New York shortly after Sept. 11, James said many in the government are falling back into reactionary modes and than being proactive about their mail security, which is more vulnerable than many people think.

“People tend to minimize the threat when it happens every day,” he said.

Despite the recent passage of the stimulus package, James says that his company has yet to reap the benefits.