Advocacy Starts With You: Highlights From Security Industry Leaders Taking Their Stories to Capitol Hill

With a new congress come new opportunities for engagement. The 2022 midterm elections changed the landscape of Capitol Hill, and work that didn’t get across the finish line in the last Congress has to begin the process over again, so the Security Industry Association (SIA), with support from the Electronic Security Association (ESA) and The Monitoring Association (TMA), created the Security Leaders Forum to make sure the 118th Congress starts off the right way.

On March 7-8, 2023, nearly 50 security industry executives representing SIA, ESA and TMA gathered in Washington, D.C., to take the industry’s message to policymakers on Capitol Hill.

The program kicked off with attendees hearing from Kevin McAleenan, CEO of SIA member company Pangiam and former acting secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), about how the industry can effectively work with DHS, and Neil Bradley, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Chief Policy Officer, on the political and economic headwinds to expect this Congress.

The following day included a jam-packed morning session with featured speakers, highlighting key subject areas – Rep. Burgess Owens (R-Utah) covering school safety, Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) reporting on cybersecurity and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Rep. Andrew Garbarino (R-N.Y.) discussing the House Homeland Security Committee and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and Congressman Dave Joyce (R-Ohio) updating on the House Appropriations Committee’s work.

The Security Leaders Forum also brought in a number of key staffers from prudent committees and the political operations of both the House Whip’s and Speaker’s offices.

Attendees spent the afternoon walking the halls of both chambers, meeting with lawmakers, their staff and committee staff to convey the industry’s policy priorities, but also to educate on the important role our industry plays in producing, providing, installing and maintaining the solutions that protect the American people and our nation’s critical assets.

Policymakers and their staff rely on the expertise and insight of industry leaders to craft appropriate and targeted policies. Sometimes, well-intended legislation comes with security impacts, and it is borne out of policymakers not fully understanding a certain technology or a specific solution. Input from security stakeholders can lead to enhanced safety initiatives and legislation designed to be security-forward.

All told, Security Leader Forum participants had nearly 60 meetings on the Hill – sharing personal perspectives and detailing how policy impacts their business, their employees, their customers and even the public – with members of both the House and the Senate, their personal staff and the staff of key committees.

Whether by identifying issues, offering advice, dispelling myths, encouraging action or simply creating relationships, Security Leaders Forum attendees undoubtedly had an impact on future advocacy efforts.

Thank you to all of our event attendees, speakers and sponsors Allegion, Amazon and Johnson Controls for helping make the inaugural Security Leaders Forum a success!