Homeland Security Offers Online Tool to Assess Stadium Security

Fashioned after online self-assessment tools used by authorities to assess vulnerabilities at airports, the Department of Homeland Security on Friday unveiled software it developed to let officials identify vulnerabilities and assess the security at stadiums with large seating capacity.

The vulnerability self-assessment tool, which is accessible through a Web portal, incorporates industry safety and security best practices for critical infrastructure to assist in establishing a security baseline for each stadium. Once a baseline is established, the tool identifies the strengths of existing security programs as well as areas in need of improvement, letting authorities prioritize vital improvements to a stadium's security.

The new tool is designed for the more than 400 large-capacity stadiums that seat more than 30,000 people. Later this year, the tool will be made available to operators of arenas, convention centers, and performing arts centers. "Our goal is to encourage stadium managers to integrate this tool into their standard planning process and use it throughout the year," Frank Libutti, undersecretary of information analysis and infrastructure Protection, said in a statement.

According to Homeland Security, the department will provide stadium general managers with a password-protected Web address to access the tool, which it describes as easy to use.

Among the key areas the tool focuses on: information security, physical assets, communication security, and personnel security. Users will receive a comprehensive report that measures the effectiveness of the facility's current security plan and provides best practices for implementing future improvements to the facility's security program.

By submitting the information to Homeland Security, the department says, stadium operators will be given the ability to compare their security practices with other large facilities. All information given to and corresponding reports from the department are confidential to the facility and won't be made available to other parties.

The online tool will also be coupled with a help desk to clarify terminology or assist with technical issues while completing the assessment.