In its recent Quadrennial Homeland Security Review, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), a government agency now in its 11th year of existence, outlined its strategies for becoming a more integrated and agile agency capable of keeping up with a rapidly changing threat landscape.

Part of that strategy, according to a FedScoop.comreport, includes several initiatives by DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson, including forging a better relationship with the private sector in order to take advantage of innovation, and by attracting “the best and the brightest from the private sector to come work for us,” Secretary Johnson said in a February 6 speech.

One of the best and brightest recent hires is former Air Force officer and U.S. counterterrorism coordinator Francis X. Taylor, who on April 14 became Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis at DHS. Taylor is charged with providing the Secretary, DHS senior leadership, the DHS components, and state, local, tribal and private sector partners with homeland security intelligence and information needed to keep the U.S. safe, secure and resilient.

Previously, Taylor was Vice President and Chief Security Officer for the General Electric Company in Fairfield, Connecticut, where he managed the security operations and crisis management processes designed to ensure the security of GE employees and operations globally.

Before GE, Taylor had a distinguished 35-year career in government service, where he held several senior positions managing investigations, security and counterterrorism issues. He served as the Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security and Director of the Office of Foreign Missions, with the rank of Ambassador. He was responsible for the global security of all U.S. diplomatic personnel and facilities. He also served as the U.S. Ambassador at Large and Coordinator for Counterterrorism for the Department of State, where he was responsible for implementing U.S. counterterrorism policy overseas and coordinating the U.S. government response to international terrorist activities.

In an exclusive interview with Security magazine, Taylor says that he returned to work in the public sector at this point in his career because: “It is simple. I have served in the government for 35 of my 44 years of service, and it’s always been a place where I have had great personal and professional satisfaction. So when Secretary Johnson asked me to join him here, I was honored to be asked and thrilled to join his team.”

He explains that his role at GE in particular prepared him for this new challenge. “Leadership experiences are a life-long journey,” he says, “and watching one of the great American corporate giants operate was an experience, but leadership and management traits translate into both the public and private sector, so my time at GE reinforced my commitment to having clearly defined objects that you measure to ensure you are getting what you think you are getting. My private sector experience has helped to reconfirm the fact that metrics are critical to clearly demonstrate where you are and where you are going.”

It’s worth noting that Taylor was Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security and Director of the Office of Foreign Missions. He and others were instrumental with OSAC’s evolution into a successful model of public and private partnerships. Taylor is quick to not take all of the credit for OSAC’s success, but he does say that he and his colleagues at the time had a vision for OSAC, and they made it happen. “My vision of any organization is that it has to understand its mission from a customer perspective. I got OSAC focused on how to get information to customers in a timely fashion,” Taylor says. “We grew it from 40 chapters in embassies to more than 100 because I felt very strongly that it was the way for the State Department to communicate with our business community on global threats. OSAC is one of the premier public-private partnerships because it is so customer focused on the information needs of the private sector.”

His short- and long-term goals at DHS, he says, are to first “learn this organization and its mission and to understand how it fits into the broader intelligence community. Long term, I want to make the organization work from a continuous improvement perspective, and to continue to evolve our capabilities. This agency has grown since it started 11 years ago, and we are getting better every day in terms of focusing on a unity of efforts. I think what will people will begin to see [from DHS] is a consistency of approach in our efforts of our many parts towards the one goal of protecting the homeland.”

Taylor said that chief security officers (CSOs) and enterprise security executives in the private sector can expect from him an understanding of how important the public-private sector partnership is for the security of the U.S. and its global counterparts.

“We will always look for opportunities to broaden information sharing,” he says, “so that our private sector partners have access to information that allows them to protect their businesses and the long term economic security of our communities.”


The Chamber of Commerce and DHS

The “new and improved” look that DHS seems to be adopting is welcome news to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and its National Security Task Force. Ann M. Beauchesne is Vice President, National Security & Emergency Preparedness, for the Chamber. The task force is responsible for the development and advancement of Chamber policy related to cybersecurity, supply chain, customs and trade facilitation, public-private partnerships and emergency preparedness. It is chaired by Tom Ridge, former Pennsylvania Governor and first Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, and it is comprised of more than 170 companies, associations, and state and local chambers. Specifically, the task force advances Chamber priorities on national security by engaging Capitol Hill, the administration and international governments. 

Beauchesne with Adam Salerno, a senior director at the Chamber, in particular, work with DHS staff for U.S. Chamber of Commerce members. “When DHS comes up with new regulations, it’s our job to make sure that our members have a seat at the table,” Beauchesne explains. “We help our members with a number of issues, including supply chain, border security, cargo security, business continuity and preparedness, trade secrets, insider threats and more. We have a great opportunity to get DHS the information that they need from the private sector, and that helps DHS to shape policy. It’s an excellent public-private partnership that we work hard to maintain.”

The relationship does ebb and flow, Beauchesne admits. “It is not always perfect.  And in the early days we certainly needed to build trust on both sides of the relationship. In short, the partnership needed work That has evolved over the years to where we are now at the point where meetings with DHS are collaborative and prescriptive.” 

It hasn’t always been that way. DHS may have a difficult reputation, depending upon who you speak with, in part because it is “terrible about telling their story,” Beauchesne says. “They don’t market their successes. Plus, it’s a complicated department. There are 22 agencies within DHS that are not co-located or housed together…plus there’s a lot of staff rotation, unlike the FBI or other government agencies. And at the same time, they are dealing with very difficult issues.”

Beauchesne and Salerno are hopeful that good changes are ahead, particularly with Taylor in place at the agency. They have to do so, Salerno says. “There’s always a challenge to make sure the private sector has a seat at the table and some government agencies are better than others,” Salerno adds. “DHS recognizes that the private sector is a critical partner, and that they need to ensure the physical security of the United States, without hurting our economic security. Solving these issues are not always easy, but when done correctly, the U.S. benefits as a whole,” he says.


Work In, Benefits Out

Ultimately, with a public-private partnership, what you put in is what you get out, says Wesley Bull, Senior Director/Head of Global Protective Services at NVIDIA, a company that invented the GPU – the engine of modern visual computing. The company, headquartered in Santa Clara, California, has 8,800 employees worldwide. Traditionally a semiconductor company, it evolved into software and hardware solutions, recently expanded into consumer products such as cellphones, tablets and gaming devices.

Bull, whose diverse background includes experience in law enforcement, corporate strategic planning, enterprise risk and cyber security, has a deep and broad perspective “with what our public sectors partners are looking for,” he explains. “An interesting aspect is that at times and in many cases, the public sector doesn’t realize the depth of expertise that many private sector professionals have, and vice versa.  As you engage each other, the information and the learnings become so robust and you have a much better sense of the needs and requirements and benefits on both sides of the table.”

In his two years with NVIDIA, Bull has further developed relationships with an array of academic institutions, public safety agencies, the FBI, U.S. Secret Service and DHS on matters relevant to NVIDIA. He did the same with a previous CSO role with a financial services company where he benefitted from relationships and task force roles with the FBI and U.S. Secret Service.  He is actively engaged in relationships with those organizations today, but his level of activity and areas of interest may change as the business needs change.

“I am a realist and find you only get out of it what you put into it, so my approach is to invest adequate time up front to understand mutual areas of concern and develop trust,” he says. “We all have so much coming at us. For what’s it worth I also try to take a realistic assessment of our time investment and what tangible contributions we can make. With the diversification of our business model we ostensibly faced a new set of risks and threats to consider. Therefore, my team had to identify and assess the various risks and mitigation strategies for supply chain matters, counterfeiting and even corporate espionage concerns, so there are sound arguments about why I want to stay plugged in and accurately determine which agency is most appropriate to partner with based upon their respective mission(s).”

One specific public partnership from which Bull and NVIDIA has benefitted is the local fusion center, the Northern California Regional Intelligence Center (NCRIC), which employs a full-time private sector liaison that creates a mechanism where private sector personnel can obtain security clearances and actionable intelligence. During a recent in-country coup situation in Thailand, both NCRIC and OSAC were helpful with intelligence that assisted Bull with improved situational awareness to ultimately make the decision of getting NVIDIA employees out of country and back home safely.

Bull offered a final salient point on the importance of developing these partnerships – increasingly the private sector security function is actually the first line of defense (and arguably offense) to a wide variety of threats, particularly in the global business environment.  As such, it is that much more important that public-private partners have well-developed relationships in advance of actual events to preempt, prepare and prevail in successfully navigating and adjudicating these events.”


Calling on Partnerships to Mitigate Copper Thefts

Angela Day’s landline kept going dead in 2012. She didn’t have a cellphone she could use instead because cell coverage is spotty in the Appalachian region of Ohio where she lives. According to a PBSreport on copper theft, when her father became ill and she called 911, her phone didn’t work because thieves had stolen her telephone wires. “For five years running, the state has led the nation in metal thefts,” said the PBS report. “And from one corner of Ohio to another, thieves have put the public in danger.”

It’s an area where a stronger public-private partnership is much needed, says Stanley Skipworth, Director of Campus Safety, University of La Verne, who also is President of the California Council of Governments (CALCOG) and Vice Mayor for the city of Corona, California.

Skipworth, who has a law enforcement background as well, says that there is a “vicious cycle that currently exists in all too many local, regional and special districts and how these thefts and their associated damages thrust a tremendous expenditure upon already fragile budgets.” 

There are theft-prevention resources and methods being used in the fight against copper theft, such as perimeter alarms, security cameras, enhanced lighting, additional locking of gates and entryways and the partnership of local law enforcement and other security industry professionals to assess and determine solutions appropriate for a specific location, and all are valid, important and essential to the continued fight to protect private and public properties and facilities, he says. “But there may be an opportunity for more preventative measures,” Skipworth says. “In my own community, we have experienced losses from parks and schools in particular through the theft of copper wire that had been installed for exterior lighting.  As this trend grew upon our community, we employed many of physical security methods, but I have continued to ask more from those who should be our closest allies and partners: the copper wire manufacturers. I suggest that if we can bring our commercial construction industry together, and in particular those manufacturers who produce copper wiring and other applicable and appropriate materials, we have an opportunity to introduce a method that will make the most effective connection to the salvage and scrap outlets,” he says.

“My recommendation is to ask local, regional, state and national leaders to call upon our manufacturers of these materials to develop and install digital imprinting at the time of the wire production, so that in every couple of feet a specific, undetectable serialized marking can be made. In turn, that same cable can then be recorded as to where it was shipped – and installed – and that information retained with the local project holder. Concurrently, a simple digital code reader – very much available now with existing and very reasonably priced technologies – could be mandated at salvage and scrap yards, where buyers would then be required to record any and all codes and the name of the seller, and then notify local law enforcement of the acquisition, and, an appropriate time frame to hold that material until it is checked and cleared by that police, sheriff or other law enforcement agency,” he says.

According to Skipworth, digital imprinting could require very little real change at the manufacturing level, provide a true anti-theft measure and allow for the repurposing of the other methods of crime prevention back towards other concerns. More importantly, the very likely dramatic reduction in theft of serialized cable and wire would stabilize the public works and facilities management budgets of cities, schools and businesses, he says. “Not one solution will fix it, but all of these things help resolve gaps that I don’t think need to be there,” Skipworth says.


The Big Picture

ASIS International  offers the Certified Protection Professional (CPP) credential to senior security professionals with at least seven years of relevant work experience. This credential focuses on the “big picture” for security, including company or organizational policies and procedures, as well as relevant information technologies, tools and techniques.

Owen J. Monaghan, CPP, is an Assistant Chief in the New York City Police Department and is the Commanding Officer of Patrol Borough Brooklyn South. As president of ASIS’s Professional Certification Board he has been touting the advantages of the benefits of security certifications to his police
officer colleagues.

He believes in the program and the benefits that it provides. “I have been working to show my colleagues the benefits of private sector certification,” Monaghan says. In a security situation or one where the public and private sector need to work together, for example, Monaghan explains, there is a level of buy-in and appreciation of what both parties do and don’t do. “When I work with private sector and those security professionals see what I can do and they see my certification, there’s a certain amount of respect that we give each other,” he says. “The end result is a partnership that is working together towards a common goal.”

“Bringing law enforcement into a private security situation does not mean that we simply giving a rubber stamp to a security project,” he notes. “Police officers who have a certification helps to take them into the corporate culture of security, which is an established and specialized skill set. More importantly, for police officers, the CPP designation creates self-development. Our officers now recognize the need to market themselves and improve on what they offer to an employer, whether that’s within or outside the police department. The CPP designation is another achievement that brings a sense of pride and accomplishment.”