Magazine article Security Management

Home on the Page. (News and Trends)

Magazine article Security Management

Home on the Page. (News and Trends)

Article excerpt

With the creation of the new U.S. Department of Homeland Security, security developments are proceeding apace, in both the public and private sectors. Check out SM Online's constantly updated cache of reports, white papers, surveys, studies, and articles, starting with this month's highlighted selections. Also look for the @ sign throughout the magazine to identify links to supplemental online material. And don't forget to check for updates on workshops and member services.

Federal buildings. Security of federal buildings rocketed to the top of the government's priority list following the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and the Justice Department's release of its Valnerability Assessment of Federal Facilities two months later. In light of the September u attacks, the US. General Accounting Office was recently asked to look into whether federal agencies had brought their buildings up to the standards set out in the vulnerability assessment. Auditors found that while half of the 22 agencies examined said that they had completed security assessments of their facilities, another nine hadn't completed the task (two other agencies' facility security was handled by the General Services Administration, which reported completing assessments for all its owned, but not leased, properties).

Why the holdup? Leased space was identified as a problem by i6 agencies that reported "having difficulty getting the lessor to allow security countermeasures in buildings that are not fully occupied by federal employees," according to the auditors, Thirteen agencies pointed to funding and staffing problems. Other complaints included poor quality of contract guards, employee resistance, building location, and relations with local governments. For example, an interstate highway runs beneath the Department of Labor's headquarters, yet attempts to bar truck access to the tunnel have yet to be approved by the District of Columbia. Get the full report on SM Online.

Homeland security costs. Some observers have suggested that al Qaeda is succeeding in wreaking havoc on the U.S. economy because its attacks have caused government and industry to overspend on security. The data tell a different story, according to a recent report by Bart Hobijn, an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank in New York. While homeland defense funding as a share of the gross domestic product (GDP) has tripled, it still represents only 0.35 percent of the GDP.

When the $38 billion allocated to homeland security in 2003 is added to the Defense Department's $379 billion budget, the total represents about 3.8 percent of the GDP. "This share would be about the same as the share of national defense outlays in 1995 and would still be lower than it was in any year between 1947 and 1994," writes Hobijn. Increases in state and local security budgets won't break the bank either, he argues, because that cost totals only about one-thousandth of state and local budgets, and he suggests that expenditures might be lower going forward because many "initial expenditures represent onetime investments in necessary equipment." SM Online has the Hobijn report.

Interviewing. Investigators interviewing suspects face the tricky task of exerting enough pressure to gain an admission without crossing the line into coercion. …

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