Magazine article Security Management

Home on the Page @ WWW.Securitymanagement.Com

Magazine article Security Management

Home on the Page @ WWW.Securitymanagement.Com

Article excerpt

As the world of security becomes more complicated and encompassing, Security Management editors offer an easy way to locate the most critical information: Just look to Security Management Online, where the best resources have been gathered for easy reference. Below are a few items that have been selected for our readers. Also look for the @ sign throughout the magazine for links to more supplemental material online. And, as always, consult www.asisonline.org for ASIS International events and activities.

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Contingency planning. In the week after the U.S. financial markets opened after the 9-11 attacks, the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted more than 1,500 points--or by almost 16 percent--and the already decimated NASDAQ dropped from 1800 to 1400. The strike showed how much disruption and panic terrorists could wreak to the heart of the U.S. financial system. Fearing a disruption to either of the two commercial banks that settle all trades and facilitate financing for all the major participants in the U.S. government securities market, the Federal Reserve Board formed a private-sector Working Group on Government Securities Clearance and Settlement to mitigate the risks of interruption. The working group has issued a report containing nine recommendations, all of which the Fed has endorsed. One recommendation is the development of "NewBank," a "dormant bank" that could be activated if one of the two major clearing banks exit the field and no other qualified bank fills in. The Fed has established a private-sector Working Group on NewBank Implementation to flesh out the particulars. The government securities working group's report also recommends more traditional methods of contingency planning, including the creation of a secure private-sector telecommunications infrastructure for clearance and settlement of government securities. SM Online has the report.

Public health. If there's a common theme to attempts at protecting U.S. infrastructure, it can be summed up this way: "Important progress has been made, but crucial vulnerabilities remain." This summation is essentially the conclusion of two new reports, both about the readiness of the public health system for incidents of bioterrorism.

The first is a survey of 42 state and local public-health officials by Elin Gursky of the Century Foundation (a nonprofit public-policy research firm). It reveals "fundamental fault lines in America's public-health systems." While states and localities have used an infusion of federal funds wisely to invest in equipment and training, they lack the background and experience to handle a bioterrorist attack, the report concludes. And while federal funds pour in for bioterrorism, states are slashing budgets from more traditional public-health efforts. "If allowed to keep shrinking," Gursky writes, "the public health workforce would quickly be overwhelmed in the event of a bioterrorist attack...."

The second report, also by the foundation, looks at public-health preparedness in Illinois. It shows the state to be ahead in its readiness for a bioterror attack. However, the hiring of key positions using federal money has been delayed by bureaucracy and other factors, so only half of 62 new epidemiologists, lab personnel, and other positions had been filled by mid-2003. (The state was chosen for study in part because some have called it representative of the nation in its demographics and politics.) Both reports are available at SM Online.

Partnerships. One persistent concern about policing is that officers are so burdened with paperwork and ancillary tasks that too much of their time is diverted from fighting crime. …

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