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Homeland Security Assessment Manual: A Comprehensive Organizational Assessment Based on Baldrige Criteria

By Paul D. Barnard, M.S., CPP, CISM

***** Homeland Security Assessment Manual: A Comprehensive Organizational Assessment Based on Baldrige Criteria. By Donald C. Fisher, Ph.D; published by ASQ Quality Press, www.qualitypress.asq.org (Web); 223 pages; $40.

It was only a matter of time for the Malcolm Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence, which measures business performance, to be found applicable to the functions of the security industry. Developing metrics to measure performance and benchmark best practices is a must for professional advancement. This approach marks a long overdue challenge to the security industry, which has overrelied on checklist-based compliance inspections. Resource stewardship and protection demand nothing less than objective, testable performance measures. Author Donald C. Fisher’s approach is a pioneering effort to integrate proven business concepts, such as the Baldrige Criteria, into homeland security applications.

As in most books that apply new concepts, it’s best to read this one sequentially, because each chapter builds on previous ones. Chapter One aligns the Baldrige Criteria assessment scoring system with the color-coded Homeland Security Advisory System. Baldrige assessment reviews comprise both process and results evaluations. Homeland security scoring profiles have been developed based on the Homeland Security Advisory System to assist an organization with assessing its level of preparedness for a major terrorist attack.

Chapter Two explains how to use the manual, addressing how to initiate and prepare an assessment, choose an assessment team, and prepare an organizational overview. The detailed organizational overview is broken down into seven categories: leadership; strategic planning; customer and market focus; measurement, analysis, and knowledge management; human resources focus; process management; and business results. The final chapter focuses on transforming assessment findings into actionable strategies for a homeland security plan.

Lots of worksheets and white space in the book enable readers to document and organize their own assessment process. These forms are also digitally available on the included CD. Five appendices, a glossary, references, and notes are also helpful.

This work is for the seasoned security management professional. The lay audience or lesser-experienced practitioners may be overwhelmed by the depth and complexity of the assessment process. The true proof of value of this work cannot be established until one has actually walked through the steps for his or her organization and created an effective assessment that is accepted without reservation by the responsible stakeholders. But with this publication, Fisher has certainly pulled off his end of the bargain.


Reviewer: Paul D. Barnard, M.S., CPP, CISM (Certified Information Security Manager), is a security manager for the Department of Defense. He is a member of ASIS International. The opinion expressed is solely that of the reviewer, and does not imply a view of the U.S. government or of any other organization

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