PGC International members prepare to form government affairs task group
Members of PGC International, Topeka, Kan., discussed forming a government affairs task group during the organization’s Annual Symposium, Nov. 2-4, at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, Md.
The idea for the group came about from the upcoming change in the Interagency Security Commitee Security Design Criteria. “The ISC hasn’t been updated in six years, said Brian Pittman, director of marketing and communication, PGC. “Now, there’s an update that’s been worked on, but we don’t know the details of it.”
The original criteria was developed after the Oklahoma City bombing by the Justice Department, and the U.S. Marshals, said Joseph L. Smith, senior vice president, Security Engineering & Applied Sciences, Applied Research Associates Inc., Vicksburg, Miss. “That was followed by a more architecturally oriented criteria by the GSA in 1996-97. That in turn evolved into the ISC Security Design Criteria. GSA was chairing that at the time around 2000. It was signed prior to Sept. 11  by the GSA, and was used until April 19 of this year. Around 2004, DHS took over the chairmanship of the document.”
The new criteria was released to federal agencies after April 19 this year, Smith said. “It is a very comprehensive implementation of physical security, and more heavily based on having a thorough threat and risk assessment for every project,” he said. There are four volumes, one of which is classified, and it relies heavily on project-specific risk assessment. After its release, “the DHS has recognized that there are some issues that need to be ironed out,” he said. “So, there’ll be a 2-year trial period. We’re in that period now.”
The new criteria is a big question mark, said Scott Haddock, president, GlassLock Inc., Easton, Md . “There’s a lot of uncertainty. We, as an industry, have a lot of folks who have gone through past requirements, and we want to offer some of our experience to the fed. Not to mention that there are a lot of folks here who have spent a lot of money on testing to meet past requirements. Do we have to start over? Should we be able to use our previous data points?”
It’s unclear at this point whether those tests/data would be usable with the new requirement, Smith said. “It’s fair to say that with any change in criteria, there’s always going to be a period of adjustment,” he said. “During that time, the criteria will evolve. The members of this industry will learn to interact with the government and GCs. And the key to being successful will be to make sure that if they bid on a job, they understand clearly all the requirements, and not assume that everything’s in place like in the past. Make sure you get a good blast and security consultant on board and have him extrapolate all the data.”
Even though the criteria is still in the trial phase, PGC members decided to be proactive and expressed interest in forming a task group to work with the government.
“Over the years, we’ve done quite well working with the government,” said Urmilla Sowell, president, PGC International. “However, ever since Sept. 11 , with the document going from Homeland Security to GSA, things have fallen apart. It would be a good idea to start a task force. We want to get your input and take that to the government.”
To request a position on the committee, write Sara Neiswanger, PGC International account executive, at firstname.lastname@example.org. The committee will schedule its initial meeting later in November.