ISC West Panel Forecasts Federal Security Funding

A panel of security industry representatives provided an update on federal appropriations affecting the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS), wastewater treatment systems, port security, K-12 education and other market sectors at ISC West on Thursday.

“A View From Washington: Follow the Money,” moderated by Don Erickson, director of government relations for the Security Industry Association (SIA), provided insight into how Congress may possibly fund or reform certain federal programs that end users rely on to finance the procurement and installation of security products and services.

Panelists included Andrew Weis, managing director, Civitas Group; Craig Sharman, director of government relations, Tyco Int’l; and Michael McCarthy, senior advisor to Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-NY).

The panelists said re-authorization of CFATS is unlikely at the present time, because federal legislators are focusing their attention primarily on health-care reform and economic stimulus. McCarthy said the program currently lacks support from Democrats who control chairmanships of Senate committees that could bring it to the floor for a vote. In late 2009, the House of Representatives passed legislation that would have reauthorized CFATS. At the time the Senate’s approval of the bill was considered imminent but has since stalled.

Panelists also addressed port security funding programs such as the SAFE Port Act, initially established in 2007, that currently provides $400 million annually through 2011 for acquisition of security systems at shipping gateways. Funds are available for gates and fencing, remote surveillance and concealed video systems.

Additionally, the federal stimulus bill included $150 million for ports and $150 million for transit agencies to purchase security systems. Public transportation agencies also have access to $3.4 billion from 2008-2011 from the Improving America’s Security Act of 2007. Those funds can be used for perimeter protection, surveillance equipment and fire suppression equipment.

Other topics discussed included government contract reform and campus security funding.

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