ASIS International on Wednesday announced that it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate. Under the agreement, the DHS will work in partnership with ASIS, through various outreach efforts, to communicate some of the its capability gaps and technology requirements to ASIS’ vendor and member communities as part of an effort to bolster the agency’s technology resources.
According to Thomas J. Langer, CPP, secretary of the ASIS board and vice president of security for BAE Systems, the MOU will really help the private security community understand what DHS is looking at regarding risk mitigation and the type of research they’re doing with respect to security technology.
“We can bring together with DHS, not only the solutions of our vendors, but actually getting the research in the community focused in a way that’s responsive to what they need and also expose to them to this organization that’s quite collaborative, works together and provides some vendor opportunities to them,” explained Langer. “I think it’s a great exchange, a great partnership and relationship to really kind of leverage our industry for the benefit of DHS.”
In recent years, public-private partnerships have become increasingly important in helping secure the nation’s cities and critical infrastructure assets and Langer feels that this agreement between ASIS and the DHS reaffirms just how critical these partnerships have become.
“Here we are 13 years post-9/11 and there’s a realization from a government funding standpoint that they’re going to need to leverage private industry and public-private partnerships to solve some of these issues,” he said. “Money in the federal government is going to be directed to other programs and I think to leverage what’s out there in private industry to help with some of the critical infrastructure that DHS is looking at is going to be very beneficial going forward.”
Langer said he believes that DHS wants to be able to push some of its critical infrastructure partners towards cutting-edge solutions that are currently being developed in the industry, which are not only technical but also procedural.
“There are a lot of things going on within the community at ASIS International and DHS can leverage those advancements to different parts of critical infrastructure because security goes across everything that we do in this country,” added Langer. “A lot of us maybe think of it in terms of defense, intelligence or retail or whatever, but it cuts across almost every part of our infrastructure in the United States. I think we’ve got a great cross-section that we can offer the DHS as far as members, vendors and practitioners.”
For ASIS members and vendors, Langer said the MOU gives them a “one-stop shop” for what the DHS is thinking about in terms of technology and the security gaps they’re seeing throughout the country.
“It helps the industry really focus their research and solutions towards what is being identified right now by DHS as some of the critical problems that the nation’s facing,” he said. “If everybody is going to be trying to get the most out of every last dollar, this is a great way of doing it. You’re focusing your research and your development on areas that are critical for the country.”