Are You Ready for More Standards?

March 11, 2003
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has established the Homeland Security Standards Panel (HSSP), a coordinating body for the development of homeland security and emergency preparedness standards.

ANSI, a private non-profit organization that administers and coordinates the U.S. voluntary standardization and conformity assessment systems, established HSSP in direct response to needs identified in the Jan. 2 report for Congress, Homeland Security: Standards for State and Local Preparedness.

"Neither the federal government, nor the nongovernmental sector presently has a comprehensive, consolidated program for developing new preparedness standards," the report states. Formation of the panel also supports the March 1 transfer of 22 federal agencies to the new Department of Homeland Security.

HSSP's initial tasks will be to catalog, promote, accelerate and coordinate the development of standards in homeland security areas including transportation, biometrics, cyber security, and interoperability of emergency-response equipment. HSSP will also identify and communicate to the government about current standards that can meet urgent needs.

"ANSI is uniquely positioned to address the urgent national priorities in homeland security by facilitating the standardization efforts of the public and private sectors," said Dr. Arden L. Bement Jr., director of the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology. "ANSI is the logical source in the private sector to undertake this important initiative, which complements NIST's role to coordinate Federal activities in voluntary standards. NIST is pleased to have been asked to provide the co-chair for this very important panel."

Members of HSSP will include representatives of industry, government, professional societies, trade associations, standards developers and consortia groups directly involved in U.S. homeland security efforts.

About the Author

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the former content director of EHS Today, and is currently the EHSQ content & community lead at Intelex Technologies Inc. She has written about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990.

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