Establishment and implementation of this program will require the creation of standards and a process commonly applicable across private sector organizations. Title IX provides guidance for both. However, ease and efficiency of implementation will depend on public-private cooperation under the aegis of DHS.
An early action for DHS, mandated by Title IX, is to identify the standards to be used in consultation with the full range of stakeholders from standards-setting organizations, to Sector Coordinating Councils, among others. It is urgent that DRI International, as the premier education and certification body in BC/DR, determine its equities in Title IX and begin sustained engagement with other stakeholders who will collectively shape Title IX implementation.
Moreover, since the language of Title IX prohibits the Selected Entity (or Entities) from performing accreditation and certification, DRI International must decide where its services will best fit into this process.
The private sector is divided on acceptance of Title IX. On one side, passage of Title IX was supported by the Homeland Security and Defense Business Council (www.homelandcouncil.org). The council has approximately 70 members consisting of large and medium-size corporations, a majority of which are in the security and IT sectors. On the other side, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce sent Congress an "all members" letter opposing the passage of the Act and is expected to make an effort to repeal Title IX. This is a fluid situation; some large corporations hold membership in both the council and the chamber, and many others have yet to take a position.
Under Title IX the DHS Private Sector Office is tasked with making the business case for private sector preparedness and is now in the process of doing so.
The identified issues of private sector concern are:
u Fear that a "voluntary" standard will become a de facto "unfunded mandate" for government contractors;
u "Audit fatigue" from all sources (not just preparedness-related); and
u The need for a common (easy) self-assessment mechanism – especially for small business.
Leadership of the program will be headed by a DHS "designated officer" in consultation with other identified DHS officials. The program structure will see the designated officer supervising a "selected entity" (possibly more than one) that will carry out accreditations and oversee certification by multiple "accredited third party certifiers."
For standards, Title IX modifies the definition in the Homeland Security Act of 2002 by citing NFPA 1600 as an example of a common set of standards ("such as" in the Act’s language). However, Title IX does not endorse NFPA 1600 to exclude the consideration and integration of other standards. In fact, to craft a program relevant for the broad sweep of the private sector, many relevant standards will have to be taken into account.
Implementation of the private sector preparedness program has an ambitious schedule. Title IX includes two date-specific milestones for realizing the project, both linked to the date of enactment by Congress. These are as follows by literal count of calendar days:
u Sept. 1, 2007: No later than 30 days after enactment, Secretary Chertoff must choose the designated officer to lead the program.
u Feb. 28, 2008: No later than 210 days after enactment, the designated officer shall:
wEnter into agreement(s) with one or more "selected entities" that will carry out accreditations and oversee the certification process
wBegin supporting development and updating voluntary preparedness standards through voluntary consensus standard organizations
wDevelop and promote a program to certify preparedness of private sector entities
wImplement that program through any entity with which the Designated Officer has reached an agreement for that purpose
Ellis Stanley, Sr., CEM, is general manager of the City of Los Angeles, Department of Emergency Preparedness. Stanley is active in the profession having been president of the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM), the American Society of Professional Emergency Planners (ASPEP), and the National Defense Transportation Association (NDTA), the Metropolitan Atlanta Chapter of the National Forum for Black Public Administrators (NFBPA) and vice-chair of the Association of Contingency Planners (ACP). He also chaired the Certified Emergency Managers Certification Commission. He is vice-president for Public Sector of the Business & Industry Council on Emergency Preparedness and Planning (BICEPP) and is on the Emergency Services Committee of the American Red Cross Los Angeles Chapter. The City Council has also appointed him to the Emergency Preparedness Commission for County and Cities of Los Angeles, and he is a member of the City’s Emergency Operations Board.
"Appeared in DRJ's Fall 2007 Issue"