Trends Column / Security Leadership and Management

2011: Year of the OSAC

January 1, 2011
KEYWORDS leadership / osac / trends
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While the Security 500 report identifies the best programs, biggest investors and brightest leaders in 16 sectors, the fact remains that all of these organizations are inextricably entwined with smaller organizations across multiple supply chains. This is especially true for enterprises with international operations. And it is the broader group of Security 50,000 organizations upon which they rely to execute their strategies.

For example, universities typically outsource their college bookstores to contract management firms (dating back to 1915, in some cases) and those stores are both in the heart of the campus and using the university’s brand online. What security measures for background personnel checks or delivery service contracts are demanded by campus security of these service companies? Or how about that fast food franchise in the student union? You get the idea.

Globally, the complexity and challenges are greatly multiplied. The risk to people, property and brand are greater outside the United States and the reliance on local and perhaps non-vetted service providers is riskier. This is the where the Security 50,000 can gain a competitive advantage supporting and supplying the big guys.

Among the greatest resources available, whether a Security 500 or Security 50,000 organization, is the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC). Few Security 500 organizations are not members today, yet OSAC’s value is immense. David Stern of the NBA once noted that the NBA’s international expansion would not have been possible without OSAC’s involvement and support.

And that is why any organization doing business outside the United States, at any level, should join this amazing organization. OSAC was the brain child of Secretary of State George Schultz, 25 years ago (and we are proud to have the opportunity to run their 25th anniversary recognition advertisement in this issue), to provide U.S. civilian security leaders and organizations with non-classified international security information. In fact, about 90 percent of the information collected by OSAC is non-classified and distributed to OSAC members daily. Their new web site is excellent (as is ours, by the way!!). OSAC involves private sector leaders, and John McClurg of Honeywell was named co-chairman at the recent annual meeting in November. McClurg shares his goals and OSAC’s mission:

“The next two years should prove as challenging and as exciting as any of those comprising the last 25 years of OSAC’s history. Clearly the threats that we face as a community are as potentially consequential and complex as any of those faced by past generations. As the new co-chair I’ll look to capitalize on the significant investment made by our U.S. State Department in the OSAC organization and its underlying infrastructure. That means looking for ways to truly leverage the ever-increasing depth represented in our Research & Information Support Center (RISC); bolstering the support given to our regional and sector-specific groups; assuring the vibrancy and relevancy of our Country Councils; and continuing our concerted effort to expand a more diverse membership, particularly as far as NGO’s, academia, faith-based organizations, and mid-cap companies are concerned. And finally, with our ‘next generation’web site in place, I look forward to better constituent outreach and interaction, allowing for greater customization and greater collaboration among our constituents, OSAC analysts and Regional Security Officers (RSOs), strategically positioned around the globe to listen to the voice of their private sector customers as they lock-shields with them in their collective efforts to safeguard the lives and business interests of Americans abroad.”

Lynn Mattice, Chairman, Board of Advisors, Security Executive Council, shared his experience relying on OSAC to successfully help organizations operate overseas. “I am very fortunate to have been around OSAC for all but a couple of the annual events during the past 25 years. Over the years OSAC has gone from inception under the visionary Secretary of State George Shultz who created OSAC, to near collapse to become one of the most effective collaborations between government and the private sector in existence. Following the days of OSAC’s near demise, more enlightened leaders in the State Department have come to understand the value OSAC provides in helping to protect American business operating in foreign lands.

“That strong support has resulted in budget increases and professional analytical staff expansions. Today, OSAC plays a vital role in assisting American business, academia, faith-based organizations and NGO’s as they operate in foreign countries around the globe. The really great thing about OSAC is that this joint public-private sector collaborative team is always striving to do better and provide more services and assistance to the constituents that it serves. OSAC’s latest goal is to find a way to reach those firms that do not have a CSO and have no idea what they don’t know relative to the risks and threats that they face in attempting to navigate a complex and sometimes very dangerous global economy.”

With more than 7,500 members and 1,300 associates, your organization should check out what OSAC has to offer. Joining is free. But as Richard Gunthner, CSO at MasterCard will tell you, the value is priceless.

As 2011 begins we have closed the books on Security’s most successful year to date. Launched in July 2006 as your business magazine, we are proud and pleased to deliver the information you want, where and when you want it, in print, in person and online. I would like to thank BNP Media, the incredible Security Media Groupteam, our advisory board and our valued partners who have greatly contributed to our success. Best wishes to you in the New Year and thank you for being part of the Security family.  

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