Dover Speedway Plays It Safe

By Matthew Harwood

It’s 6 p.m. on a balmy summer  evening. Seven men sit inside a cramped hotel room just off North Dupont Highway in Dover, Delaware. Among the men are an expert in military assaults, a systems expert, and an expert in weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Three of the men are clearly orchestrating the plans; they do most of the talking. The seventh man is a trainee. He says little as he listens intently.

Six traffic lights down from the hotel sit their targets: Dover International Speedway and Dover Downs Hotel and Casino. At 9 a.m. the next day, their operation will be­gin. What looks like the early beginnings of the execution phase of a terrorist operation is actually anything but. The seven men in the hotel room are all either U.S. government employees or former government employees who now work as contractors.

For the next three days these men will walk every square foot of the Dover International Speedway and Dover Downs Hotel and Casino looking for vulnerabilities that terrorists could exploit to create a mass casualty event.

Security Management was granted extraordinary access to this specific exercise to learn and observe what these men do as part of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) mission to protect critical infrastructure and key resources (CI/KR) in the United States.


DHS Responds

Ms. Sherry Harowitz
Security Management Online
1625 Prince Street
Alexandria, VA 22314

Dear Ms. Harowitz:

Matthew Harwood’s article, “Dover Speedway Plays It Safe,” (Security Management Online, June 2009) does a commendable job of highlighting the role that a vigorous and voluntary public-private partnership plays in ensuring the security of the Nation’s critical infrastructure and key resources (CIKR). Collaborative efforts such as the Site Assistance Visit (SAV) described in the article help CIKR owners and operators implement site security and incident response measures that are truly effective.

Mr. Harwood correctly identifies the Protected Critical Infrastructure Information (PCII) Program as an essential tool for facilitating information-sharing partnerships. SAVs are just one of many government data-collection processes that integrate PCII protections.

The PCII Program protects critical infrastructure information that is voluntarily shared with the government for homeland security purposes. Typically, information shared with the Federal government becomes public record, accessible through public disclosure laws. Designation of such information as PCII, however, ensures that it will be protected from public disclosure and will not be used in civil litigation or for regulatory purposes. Its unauthorized disclosure, as Mr. Harwood noted, is prohibited and punishable by law.

To date, however, public disclosure of PCII has not been an issue, since PCII Program safeguards ensure that only trained and authorized individuals, with a verifiable need-to-know, have access to PCII and use it exclusively for homeland security purposes.

Private sector CIKR owners and operators can learn more about the benefits of the PCII Program by visiting our Web page at, by calling (202) 360-3023, or by e-mailing


Laura Kimberly
PCII Program Manager
Office of Infrastructure Protection
U.S. Department of Homeland Security


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