Monday, March 16, 2009

HS Committee Schedule – Week of 3-16-09

The House Homeland Security Committee has a full slate of hearings this week. There are four subcommittee meetings scheduled covering a wide range of subjects; from FEMA preparedness to human trafficking. Only one looks to be of potential interest to the chemical security community; a hearing on DHS intelligence on Wednesday at 10am EDT to be conducted by the Subcommittee on Intelligence, Information Sharing and Terrorism Risk Assessment. According to the Committee web site the hearing will “examine what homeland security intelligence is; the Department's role in developing it as a new intelligence discipline; and how the Department and others can provide State, local and tribal authorities with national situational awareness of threats while building privacy and civil liberties protections into the process”. I would be happier if the “and others” were more explicitly listed as ‘private sector partners’; the usual term that is applied to the privately held components of the critical infrastructure/key resources (CIKR) portion of the National Infrastructure Protection Plan. I have yet to see any specific plan for sharing intelligence or ‘national situational awareness of threats’ with high-risk chemical facilities. I doubt that the Subcommittee will address this issue as none of the witnesses has a background in industrial security nor will there be anyone present from DHS to answer a whole list of questions that I would like to hear asked. It will, however, be interesting to hear from the wide variety of law enforcement types about how they view the current information sharing situation with DHS intelligence types.

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