Industry leaders form Homeland Security Industries Association

Nov. 1, 2002
WASHINGTON—Leaders in the security and defense industry recently formed the Homeland Security Industries Association (HSIA), to enable government and industry to work closely together on homeland security areas.

by John McHale

WASHINGTON—Leaders in the security and defense industry recently formed the Homeland Security Industries Association (HSIA), to enable government and industry to work closely together on homeland security areas.

More than 60 companies helped form HSIA, which first met in September, says Steve Ellis director of communications for HSIA. The organization has 20 members including defense prime contractors General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin.

HSIA is a non-profit organization, headquartered in Washington, that keeps members up to date on homeland security issues, Ellis says. Its president and founder is Washington attorney Bruce Aitken, Co-chair of Aitken, Irvin, Berlin & Vrooman, LLP. Organization chairman Bruce d'Grazia is vice president of Versar Inc. of Springfield, Va. The vice chairman is Joseph D'Agostino, executive vice president of Haynes Security Inc. in Newark, N.J.

The new association will serve four major purposes for its members, including:

  • monitoring and analysis of homeland security related legislation, regulations hearings;
  • reviewing and disseminating to members information related to federal, state, and local requests for proposals related to homeland security procurement;
  • developing of papers, reflecting industry positions that may be shared with federal, state, and local government officials; and
  • providing a networking forum for its members.

The HSIA position statements address airport security, port and maritime security, protection against bio-terrorism and chemical agent attacks, radiological and nuclear security, critical infrastructure protection and physical security, information technology security, security equipment and information sharing security, and best business practices.

"There is no greater national or international priority than homeland security," Aitken says. "It is the business of all business. While the federal and state governments have necessarily taken an increased role in homeland security since the events of 9/11/2001, the private sector has to be ready to partner on the execution side. We believe the HSIA will prove mutually beneficial to the vitally important homeland security mission before us all."

"There are associations where homeland security is a part of their mission — they touch on it from a variety of areas," d'Grazia explains. "HSIA is the only trade association that focuses entirely on homeland security, and we think our role is key as the nation moves forward to further protect the homeland."

The HSIA provides a forum for the exchange of ideas, methodologies, and experiences, D'Agostino says. "We have knowledge in delivering security products and services that can only bode well for serving our end-user government customers and the American public."

HSIA officials have also formed position statements to address key areas of focus in a national homeland security program and offer guidance on how HSIA members might assist.

"These position statements are indicative of the input we envision from HSIA," Aitken says. "The statement points blend industry expertise, reality, and knowledge. Some of the suggestions endorse things the government is already doing, while others expand proposals and legislation currently under consideration.

"For example, we are recommending an expansion of the pilot program under which airport security will be handled by private firms meeting federal standards and operating under federal supervision — at least during the transition period leading to federalization of airport security," Aitken continues. "In addition, HSIA is supporting consideration of the introduction of passive detection systems for radiological, chemical, and biological agents, as well as expansion of federal standards to private airports.

"In the area of port and maritime security, HSIA is supporting consideration of adoption of the National Maritime Work Identification project and a requirement for background checks for personnel working in the maritime/port environment," he adds. For bio-terrorism and radiological and nuclear security, HSIA contends that the development of building decontamination standards would be a tremendous contribution as would a thorough environmental analysis of the side effects of decontamination techniques.

"On critical infrastructure and physical security, HSIA is encouraging greater information exchange among all government officials and broadband spectrum management," Aitken says.

For more information contact Steve Ellis by phone at 301-947-0513, by e-mail at [email protected], or on the World Wide Web at

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