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HSSP Plenary addresses private sector preparedness.

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October 15, 2008 - On Oct 2, 2008, ANSI held its 7th annual Homeland Security Standards Panel Plenary, which addressed private sector preparedness, voluntary certification programs, and Title IX of Public Law (PL) 110-53. Keynote speaker, Dennis Schrader, deputy administrator of national preparedness for FEMA, emphasized that goal of Title IX program is to improve private sector preparedness in disaster management, emergency management, and business continuity to enhance nationwide resilience.

ANSI-HSSP Plenary Addresses Title IX Requirements for Private Sector Preparedness


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American National Standards Institute (ANSI)
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Press release date: October 7, 2008

On October 2, 2008, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) hosted nearly 150 public and private sector stakeholders at its seventh annual Homeland Security Standards Panel (HSSP) Plenary. Held at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Briefing Center in Washington, DC, the event addressed private sector preparedness, voluntary certification programs, and Title IX of Public Law (PL) 110-53.

The plenary featured keynote speaker Dennis Schrader, deputy administrator of national preparedness for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). In his address, Mr. Schrader emphasized that the goal of the Title IX program is to improve private sector preparedness in disaster management, emergency management, and business continuity to enhance nationwide resilience.

"I am extremely encouraged by the industry's enthusiasm toward the Department's Title IX efforts and believe that the collective will foster a culture of preparedness that will lend itself toward facilitated collaboration over both the short and long term," said Mr. Schrader.

Further introductory remarks were provided by Emily Walker, former 9/11 commission staff, and Dr. Bert Coursey, standards executive for the Science & Technology Office of Standards at DHS.

Discussions at the plenary were organized into several panel sessions. The first detailed Standards Involved in the Title IX Program. Under the terms of the Title IX program, DHS will adopt and utilize voluntary preparedness standards to assess private sector entity compliance with criteria for preparedness, disaster management, emergency management, and business continuity programs. Panelists addressed a series of topics regarding the program, including the government's role in implementing the program and the findings of the "Framework for Voluntary Preparedness" report, which was prepared for the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation earlier this year.

The second panel at the Plenary covered the development and implementation of an Accreditation/Certification Program. Title IX of PL 110-53 states, "A selected entity shall manage the accreditation process and oversee the certification process in accordance with the program established under this subsection and accredit qualified third parties to carry out the certification program established under this subsection." DHS announced in July that it signed an agreement with the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB) to establish and oversee the development and implementation of the accreditation and certification requirements for the program. [see related article] Panelists in this session addressed the advanced assessment recognition processes that take into account the maturity of an organization's system, the security of information as it relates to assessments, the investment of time needed to certify organizations of different sizes, and the accountability that certification provides.

In the third panel of the day, attendees were introduced to the Business Case for Certification under Title IX. Leaders from organizations faced with certification responsibilities provided first hand accounts of the process, stating the challenges and benefits of certification from their perspective.

"Title IX will have a significant impact on American businesses and their ability to prevent, prepare for, and recover from any type of interruption, whether it is a natural or manmade disaster," said Al Martinez-Fonts, assistant secretary for the Private Sector Office at the DHS.

The day's final panel focused on Cyber Security, including the challenges and biggest issues associated with cyber risk, a subject that will be addressed in more detail by the forthcoming ANSI-Internet Security Alliance (ISA) publication, The Financial Impact of Cyber Risk: 50 Questions Every CFO Should Ask. [see related article]. The panelists - all members of the team that prepared the publication - role-played a scenario where a CFO addressed his internal team, including a Chief Technology Officer, Chief Legal Council, Head of Communications, Insurance Representative, and Chief Compliance Officer - all players involved in cyber security management.

To view presentations from the Plenary, visit the ANSI Public Documents Library. For more information on HSSP or to participate in Panel activities, contact Jessica Carl, ANSI program administrator for standards panels (212.642.4903, jcarl@ansi.org).
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