Much like other days that will live on in infamy, most people remember where they were and what they were doing on Sept. 11, 2001. It’s hard to believe five years have passed since I sat transfixed in front of my TV — heartsick, frightened and enraged — watching the World Trade Center tragedy unfold. Like most Americans, it forever changed my view of national security.
The recent attempted jetliner bombings in Great Britain is a bracing reminder of our continued vulnerability. As citizens and as providers of electronic security solutions, we must remain vigilant in our resolve to safeguard people, assets and the American way of life.
I asked the presidents of our industry’s leading trade associations (for more, see page 46): How has 9/11 affected our industry? Following are the responses of Jeff Spivey (ASIS), John Murphy (CSAA), Gene Riddlebaugh (NAAA), George Gunning (NBFAA), James Shannon (NFPA), Bill Bozeman (PSA) and Bill Gorski (SIA).
Spivey: Security awareness is higher. ASIS participated in a study in which it showed that, in general, where you have a security professional [security director/manager], the best practices, training, etc., are up since 9/11. Where you do not have the focal point of a security professional within a company, there is a much greater chance of complacency. The key is that there has been an increase in security directors since 9/11.
Murphy: Sept. 11 allowed responding police departments to use expanded national security duties as a means to refocus the spotlight on the choking financial and manpower burden of responding to false alarms. Any change in governmental focus or a funding shift that affects police staffing also has the potential to impact alarm response. In the end, that was OK. If it was not 9/11, something else would have propelled the issue of false alarms into the spotlight, and the industry should be tasked to do its part to solve it.
While we want to make sure this country is kept safe from terrorism, the industry also has to make sure our customers are not treated like second-class citizens when it comes to a reasonable response by their police department.
Riddlebaugh: It pulled the entire country together in a common cause. It also brought out the carpetbaggers, but those leaches, for the most part were taken care of by 2004.
Gunning: The attack had a tremendous impact on our industry. Every company, government agency and organization reviewed their security and safety programs. In most cases, the products, services and support offered by our industry provided the solutions to their concerns.
Shannon: Sept. 11 has brought security to the forefront of everyone’s mind. Security always existed but was seldom discussed in public because of the nature of the subject, and the unwillingness to disclose security plans and strategies. However, security is now a very hot topic and strategies and techniques are openly discussed without releasing any specific information regarding a security program. Information sharing is more widely accepted. Additionally, we have seen the development of all sorts of new security devices and equipment.
Bozeman: Increased awareness led to major corporations participating in our industry, which was once very much a niche industry. Consequently, 9/11 changed the entire dynamics of security as we once knew it. Security is no longer a cottage industry. Billions of DHS dollars are in the pipe, and these dollars drive technology, investment and the strategic planning of security manufacturers, integrators and end users.
Gorski: HSPD-12 and FIPS 201 are very tangible effects that will have far-reaching effects on every aspect of the industry. This includes the development of a new generation of electronic security systems, convergence with the IT sector, and new requirements for system ability, scalability and integration into a LAN/WAN documentation.