The Security Network: bring local solutions to the country at large

Wednesday, March 1, 2006

SAN DIEGO--When it comes to homeland security, government and industry simply don't communicate well enough. So believes Lockheed Martin Orincon president Lou Kelly. But, through his position as director of the Security Network, a San Diego-based non-profit, he's trying to change that. "If you look at the research that [the Department of Homeland Security is] doing, there is no bridge between the research that they're expending and the industry."
"A lot of people," said Kelly, "confuse [the Department of Defense] with DHS, [believing they] have the same kind of capability. But really they're quite different. DOD has the ability to understand what the long-term requirements of the Navy, Army, etc., are within their structure, to fund the research, and to employ the new products in their own marketplace.
"But if you look at DHS, they can spend the money to do the research, but about 90 percent of the user community doesn't fall within their four walls. Around 90 percent of all the critical infrastructure is within the private sector."
The power plants, industrial facilities, oil processing facilities and more that are so important to protect from terrorists are not under the control of Homeland Security and thus can't communicate with a unified front what products and processes they most need to be developed.
"So [the Security Network is] looking to bring together the federal, state, and local entities that are deployed [in San Diego], along with the private sector stakeholders, along with the suppliers," said Kelly, to get them talking about reducing the duplication of effort.
"San Diego is unique," said William Lynch, vice president at ProAssociates, a firm that finances the security market and which is a founding partner in the Security Network. "It's got a nuclear plant, the busiest border crossing, the military industrial complex; it's got telecom, it's really a microcosm of the country at large...If you can figure out how to secure San Diego, you can take that and apply it to other regions. We're trying to avoid the Swiss-cheese effect - take off on the convergence, team building and collaboration."
Currently, roughly a year into to operations, the Network is at the level of organizing their now annual Security Summit, holding quarterly briefing sessions and putting together working groups. This year, however, the port security working group--which includes the local Coast Guard second-in-command, an industry representative, and local government officials--hopes to chart a course of action that would not only be an enhancement to the San Diego port, but would apply to ports throughout the United States. Then, said Kelly, they'll ask DHS to fund the program so that Security Network could validate that plan.
"Then we can demonstrate how this organization can improve the national situation," said Kelly.