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Security Management, January 2004 | Go to article overview

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Visited by more than 40,000 virtual information seekers monthly, Security Management Online continues to offer security professionals the actionable information they need. Some of the most recent examples of such information is below. Also look for the @ sign throughout the magazine for references to bonus online materials.

Bridges and tunnels. Under the aegis of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, a group of experts from the private sector, government, and academia has crafted a set of seven "overarching recommendations" for securing bridges and tunnels. The panel suggests going outside federal-aid highway-funding sources to find money to address security issues. In addition, the FHWA should collaborate with the Transportation Security Administration in the latter's effort to "prioritize critical bridges and tunnels and to administer fund allocation to responsible agencies to meet high-priority security needs." Also, the panel proposes developing engineering standards for bridge and tunnel security. The report, which also contains appendixes on countermeasure options, operational security practices, and a case study in risk assessment, can be found on SM Online.

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Bioterror. Federal, state, and local governments continue to grapple with the need to improve their bioterrorism programs. One critical facility that hasn't received enough attention, according to the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO), is the Plum Island Animal Disease Center in New York, where research is conducted on animal disease for the purpose of preventing and dealing with the accidental or intentional introduction of a pathogen in the food supply. According to the GAO, "fundamental concerns" remain about Plum Island's security. For example, alarms and door sensors "are not fully operational," and lighting was found to be inadequate for CCTV capture outside the complex. More alarmingly, the lab lacked adequate access control for pathogens. Eight scientists from outside the United States have been granted unescorted access to the pathogen area "despite incomplete background checks." Nonlab workers such as janitors have not always been escorted. Among GAO recommendations is that the complex consult with other labs about securing pathogens.

Another GAO report discusses the public-health response to the 2001 anthrax incidents and how the administrators at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have implemented the lessons learned. For instance, CDC has been developing databases and expertise on biological agents likely to be used in a terrorist attack.

Both reports are on SM Online.

Water supply. The Environmental Protection Agency was recently charged with developing the Water Security Research and Technical Support Action Plan, which identifies water security issues and presents research and technical-support needs. In reviewing this plan, the National Research Council (NRC) has suggested modifications. For instance, while the plan lists the many needs in water-security research and technical support, the NRC emphasizes that such research and support alone do little to improve the security of U.S. drinking water and wastewater systems. "Improved protection will only result when the information and knowledge obtained from the projects are integrated into funded water security plans that are implemented by collaborations of private and public organizations," the NRC says in a recently released report. …

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