SIA GovSummit Tackles Top Issues in Perimeter Security and Combating New and Enhanced Threats

Rob Reiter headshot
Rob Reiter, principal at Reiter and Reiter Consulting, is chair of SIA’s Perimeter Security Subcommittee.

The Security Industry Association put together an excellent industry/government/researcher event in the form of the 2022 SIA GovSummit, held May 25-26 in Washington, D.C. Pulling together more than 50 speakers on dozens of topics, this year’s GovSummit featured presentations on standards, budget trends, new initiatives and all manner of topics covering everything from how SIA can support its members to how the security industry can support government agencies and operators of facilities and utilities responding to the growing list of threats America is facing.

In particular, it struck me how quickly the threat and risk side of our business is having to react to new and enhanced threats. In the old days, perimeter security consisted of fences, gates and guards; now a perimeter needs to be secure against vehicles, armed intruders, drones, network hackers and people spoofing credentials to simply walk into a building and start stealing secrets or in some way compromise the operations inside.

TRVA session at GovSummit

After a keynote presentation by Ms. Figen Murray, OBE, a speaker and counterterrorism advocate, on her fight in the United Kingdom to create the “Protect Duty” legislation Martyn’s Law, several panels took the stage to speak about the Protect Duty and the rapid evolution of threat, risk and vulnerability assessment (TRVA) standards to protect and standardize safety in public areas, such as retail districts, tourist areas and crowded spaces. SIA has been working for two years with the Perimeter Security Suppliers Association (PSSA) and agencies in the U.K. to bring some of their guidelines and best practices over to the United States to integrate parts of their processes into ours, as well as cooperating with U.S. federal and other agencies to modernize and strengthen security planning standards.

The aims of this effort by SIA include:

  • Creating our own best practices and guidelines for the training and ongoing education of the professionals responsible for writing or reviewing or carrying out security assessments
  • Conforming these new practice guidelines with those discussed at GovSummit by active participants in the Interagency Security Committee, which is engaging in this effort under the auspices of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, which is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • Integrating into SIA planning some of the methodologies that members of PSSA and U.K. security companies are bringing forward in response to the provisions of Protect Duty, which include some level of threat assessments for over 600,000 retail shops, restaurants, venues and public areas and some required amount of approved threat response, be it hardened perimeter security, staff training or better signage and crowd controls
GovSummit panel on U.S. and U.K. approaches to threat mitigation

The discussion on Protect Duty and evolving standards for public safety has created a dialogue going forward that seemed to have been stalled while COVID-19 limited in-person interactions. One first-time GovSummit attendee was John Singer, strategic marketing director, safety and security, for Atkore. Singer commented:

”I learned a great deal on so many topics and was able to have in-depth discussions with several industry experts during the Government Summit. I found that the emphasis in the U.K. on the Protect Duty and the discussions of protection of crowds and the public to be particularly informative. Clearly, this will be a rapidly evolving sector for the security industry in the U.S. as funding and new standards come on line.”

John Singer, strategic marketing director, safety and security, Atkore
GovSummit panel on standards in mitigating terrorism threats

Many SIA members and volunteers connected to SIA’s Perimeter Security Subcommittee served as panelists and presenters at GovSummit, and several members generously supported the event as sponsors. Because the overall event was so well attended and well received, we have heard some enthusiastic comments. Joseph Hauss, president of Gibraltar Perimeter Security, had this to say:

“As a SIA member and GovSummit sponsor, Gibraltar was expecting to see good turnout from the federal agencies in the D.C. area and also sit in on some of the educational sessions and roundtables relevant to our industry. We were very impressed with the overall turnout and high level of engagement with attendees from both the private and federal sectors.”

Joseph Hauss, president, Gibraltar Perimeter Security

In the months to come, the SIA Perimeter Security Subcommittee will continue working on a number of projects and resources which will improve the way the industry does things, builds things and markets new products. Look for white papers and other announcements from the subcommittee on a range of topics, including accidental or deliberate vehicle incursions, TRVA guidelines, nomenclature for marketing claims, best practices for temporary barrier deployments and much more.

And I look forward to seeing everyone next year at GovSummit 2023!