THE MAGAZINE

Homeland Security Techniques and Technologies

By Richard Parry, CPP, CISM

Homeland Security Techniques and Technologies. By Jesus Mena; published by Charles River Media, 800/382-8505 (phone), www.charlesriver.com (Web); 331 pages; $49.95.

 Homeland security means different things to different people. In this book, author Jesus Mena focuses on the information-sharing aspect of homeland security. His book is a well-organized discussion of the need for, and the existing capabilities in, the collection, analysis, and dissemination of data useful for combating terrorism in the 21st century. As such, it is more suited to government agencies with homeland security functions than to corporate security professionals. In fact, its genesis was a white paper written for the CIO of an unnamed federal homeland security agency.

Mena approaches the ubiquitous problem of data sharing by outlining six tasks that offer specific solutions for collection, assimilation, and distribution of actionable intelligence. Existing data sources, services, and software will go a long way towards creating "a centralized self-adaptive national defense system," asserts Mena.

Accompanying the book is a CD that contains marketing demos of some of the products mentioned in the book. It is only marginally useful for learning how these products work.

Homeland Security Techniques and Technologies also describes methodologies useful for detecting crime associated with terrorism. Data mining is the key technology in the battle against terrorism, Mena states, in that such analysis can help predict specific human behavior.

While these and other technologies and techniques are conceptually intriguing and no doubt feasible, the primary issue of intelligence sharing remains unaddressed. The real problem is neither the techniques nor the technologies, but rather that individual agencies tasked with securing the United States must overcome obstacles of ego and culture to extend their capabilities, and share their knowledge and analysis freely with their sister organizations.

Although this volume isn't likely to find its way to the shelves of corporate security professionals, it proffers a reasonable methodology for intelligence organizations to compile, sort, and evaluate the data that is essential to homeland security.


 

Reviewer: Richard Parry, CPP, CISM (Certified Information Security Manager), is director of safety and security for Iron Mountain Inc, in Boston, Massachusetts. He is a member of ASIS International

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