Thursday, August 20, 2009

The New Business of Homeland Security

(Sixth in the BorderLines' series on the Border Security Industrial Complex.)
DHS’ private contracting provides one look at the new homeland security business. In large part, it’s an offshoot of the military contracting industry. DHS’s top ten contractors, for example, include Boeing (ranking first), General Dynamics, SAIC, L-3 Communications, and Lockheed-Martin.
Also prominent among DHS contractors are information systems and computer technology firms, such as IBM, Accenture, Unisys, Booz Allen Hamilton, and Siemens. Also figuring prominently among the top DHS contractors is Wackenhut, a more traditional security industry, which provides custodial services for the Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Another leading element in the new homeland security industry is represented by intelligence contractors. According to an estimate by the Defense Intelligence Agency, as much as 70% of new intelligence operations by the federal government’s intelligence apparatus, including NSA, are contracted out to private businesses.
The booming homeland security industry also includes biotech, electronic surveillance, and cybersecurity firms – all of which are likely prospective clients of the Chertoff Group.
Fresh from DHS, Chertoff says that the Chertoff Group provides an especially well-informed perspective of the character and direction of the new homeland security industry.
HSToday, a new homeland security industry magazine, interviewed Chertoff shortly after he founded the new firm and observed that part of Chertoff's “new mission is to better define homeland security for the private sector and thereby increase investment opportunities.”
Chertoff concurred with the HSToday editor's description of the firm's mission and went on to expound on the emerging definition and dimensions of the homeland security industry. Chertoff noted that there exists much confusion about what homeland security really is.
Having emerged directly from government the Chertoff Group has, says Chertoff, “a clear vision of what homeland security is.” According to Chertoff, “It’s not the same as defense, it’s not the same as law enforcement, although it partakes of elements of those as well as things that are neither.”
Homeland security, Chertoff explained, is a blend of the military and the police/first responder sectors, observing that there is a great need in the private sector “to fill the gap and cover a system of homeland security in a way that is end to end that is not covered by the defense community or the law enforcement community.”
Chertoff asserted that there are “many great opportunities” for investment and “many great technologies” to apply to homeland security needs. Chertoff Group, he said, can fill the gap, define the opportunities, and pick the best technologies. Furthermore:
“As many of the principal architects of homeland security and the doctrine we [Chertoff Group] have a pretty good feel for how to look at problems end to end and then to anticipate problems where there may be technologies that fit into that problem solution…. So, working with investors, defense contractors and others who either want to organically grow into homeland security or want to make acquisitions, I think we’ve got a really unique value and perspective that we can add in terms of how things fit in terms of an overarching strategy.”
“What sets the Chertoff Group apart,” says Chertoff Group, “is the breadth of our industry knowledge, the depth of our experience and the extent of our close contacts with industry leaders worldwide.”
Chertoff Group Gets Down to Business
Chertoff Group describes itself as “a security and risk management advisory firm that counsels corporate and government clients addressing threats related to terrorism, fraud, cyber security, border protection and supply chain security.” In a nod to the key role of Bush administration figures in the new security company, Chertoff Group states that it “provides business leaders and local government officials with the same kind of high-level, strategic thinking and diligent execution that have kept the American homeland and its people safe since 9/11.”
Comprising “many of the principal architects” of homeland security, Chertoff Group is, according to its website, approaching the business from three angles: risk-management and security services, crisis management, and mergers & acquisitions (M&A).
The group’s risk-management and security services division aims to cover everything from global strategy, border protection, infrastructure protection, biometrics, global commerce, disaster preparedness, information assurance, intelligence, counterterrorism, and chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear security. The firm promises to “guide you to the best sources for trained personnel and security technology.”
One of the firm’s first contracts involves a cybersecurity client, according to a Wall Street Journal article. Chertoff Group has also secured a contract with BioNeutral Group, which hopes to commercialize a chemical-based technology that will neutralize toxins.
"We are excited to engage former Secretary Chertoff and his firm to assist us in our endeavors; presenting our proprietary technology to the various markets including health, defense and bio security," commented Stephen J. Browand, president and CEO of BioNeutral. "It is a privilege to have such an elite group represent our Company and we are confident that they will play a significant role in the successful strategic introduction of our life saving technology.”
Photo: National Security Agency headquarters

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