According to Dr. Marc Siegel, Program Director of the USISTF, the goal of the project is to develop a significant improvement in security at facilities of national importance.Israeli-US cooperation in the area of homeland security has never been closer. A recent example stems from the initiative of the US-Israel Science and Technology Foundation (USISTF), a joint American-Israeli organization founded to promote high-tech development.
The Foundation invited Israeli and American companies to submit applications for a pilot project to test and demonstrate an integrated security management systems approach for use in homeland security. Development of such a system has become a priority in the wake of the September 11th attacks.
According to Dr. Marc Siegel, Program Director of the USISTF, the goal of the project is to develop a significant improvement in security at facilities of national importance.
The project was born as a result of a meeting in Washington D.C. earlier this year where managers responsible for security and environment from both countries got together to cooperate in the bi-national pilot program. The systems will be tested in coordination with Israeli hospitals, fuel companies and the Postal Authority.
The successful applicants will work together in bi-national teams at pilot sites in each country where they will demonstrate the security management concept.
The pilot project is being conducted through the US?Israel Science and Technology Commission (USISTC) and its sister body, the US-Israel Science & Technology Foundation (USISTF). The Commission was established in 1994 by the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and President Bill Clinton to promote high tech cooperation between Israel and the US.
The USISTF plans to draw on the International Standards Organization?s environmental standard and its quality management as models for an integrated management system for homeland security.
“There is a new safety and emergency preparedness standard. What it has in common with the environmental standard is that both work on the ?Plan, Do, Act, Check? model,” Siegel said. The concept is to establish a system of steps that should be taken in order to analyze the risk and vulnerabilities, prioritize them, develop a plan of how they should be dealt with, and develop emergency plans, as well as education plans for the employees in the organization.
“A study of the combined quality/environmental/safety/security management systems approach will be conducted using pilot case studies in Israel and the U.S”. Siegel told ISRAEL21c. “Security threats cannot be solved by technology alone. There has to be good methodology of how threats are identified, and how they should be dealt with.”
The USISTF has established four working groups that are using the existing standards for quality, environment, safety and emergency preparedness and are drafting guidelines to be given to the successful applicants as a starting point for their projects. The working groups will also be monitoring the progress of the pilots, developing a final version of a security standard, and developing guidelines of how the standard should be implemented.
Models that were set for the management systems approaches for quality assurance and environmental management systems are being adapted to that of homeland security.
The advantage of this type of management system approach is that companies that have gone through this exercise have been able to make their plants or facilities more efficient and more profitable. For example, the Israel Air Force, using the ISO process for environmental management, was able to increase the efficiency of their operations.
One common factor to both systems is the idea of prevention. An environmental management system relies heavily on modifying processes and procedures to minimize the generation of pollution. The philosophy is similar for security in that the processes and procedures are modified in order to minimize the risk of a potential attack.
So far, significant progress has been reported by the Foundation. In August, one of the working groups met in Israel and completed the preliminary drafting of guidelines for an integrated security standard, and plans were finalized to enable the pilot schemes to start working.