The Department of Homeland Security released a progress report today outlining how it has successfully met many of the 9-11 Commission's recommendations for protecting the country from terrorism and other hazards.
“The 9/11 Commission’s recommendations have in many ways set the course for the Department’s efforts to combat security threats,” said Secretary Janet Napolitano in a press release. “We have answered these challenges by building an agency far better equipped to combat terrorism, and we will continue to expand these capabilities as we move forward in our mission to keep America safe and secure.”
One 9-11 Commission recommendation highlighted in DHS' progress report was helping the private sector prepare for emergencies and disasters. According to the commission, it was one of the department's most critical responsibilities after witness after witness told it the private sector was not prepared for 9-11. "Private-sector preparedness is not a luxury; it is a cost of doing business in the post-9/11 world. It is ignored at a tremendous potential cost in lives, money, and national security," the commission said in its report.
Here's how DHS has fared in implementing this recommendation, according to its progress report.
- DHS created the Private Sector Office to provide America’s private sector with a direct line of communication to DHS, promote public-private sector partnerships, and advise the Secretary on 8 key issues. The Private Sector Office reaches nearly 2,000 private sector stakeholders, connecting with more than 4 million businesses and stakeholders worldwide.
- DHS launched the Ready Business Campaign and the Ready Business Mentoring Initiative, which help businesses prepare their employees and operations in the event of an emergency.
- FEMA established a Private Sector Division to improve information sharing and coordination with the private sector during disaster planning, response and recovery efforts.
- DHS established Sector and Government Coordinating Councils for the 18 Critical Infrastructure/Key Resource Sectors, including over 700 owner and operator institutions and 200 trade associations (representing over 4 million institutions).
- DHS is developing the Voluntary Private Sector Preparedness Accreditation and Certification Program to establish a common set of criteria and standards for private sector preparedness in disaster management, emergency management, and business continuity.
- DHS published the Information Technology (IT) Sector Specific Plan in May 2007 to provide a framework for identifying and managing IT Sector risk, enhancing information sharing, identifying existing and future protective programs, and structuring research and development.
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