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Book Review: Homeland Security and Private Sector Business

?�CRC Press;; 288 pages; $79.95

It�s estimated that 85 percent of U.S. infrastructure is owned and operated by the private sector. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) considers 16 sectors to be critical to sustain everyday life. Given that terrorism has reached U.S. soil, author Elsa Lee proposes that a greater effort needs to be made by the private sector to partner with government and take responsibility for its common defense.�

Citing numerous sources, the author, a former counterintelligence agent with the U.S. Army, does a nice job of outlining the fundamentals of terrorism, DHS, threat methodology, risk mitigation, and preparation. Nearly 50 pages are devoted to human dynamics and organizational management, and the appendix provides a good example of a basic security plan for small business. � ��

Parts of the book could be improved upon, however. The author makes questionable editorial comments that are dated and unwarranted�for example, �The private sector is uncertain about the steps that follow risk and vulnerability assessments�. One of the critical gaps of preparedness is that no one within infrastructure sectors seems to be performing trend analysis as a way to more effectively secure them.� There are factual flaws such as the claim that North Korea is a �state sponsor of terrorism,� a designation rescinded by the U.S. State Department in 2008.�

An overabundance of credit is given to the federal government for providing solutions and few references are made to the public-private relationships that existed before 9-11. Conversely, too little credit is given to successful information-sharing initiatives that have grown since 9-11. Based on the tone of much of the text, one would think that the private sector is resting on its laurels and expecting DHS to provide the majority of solutions. Those who have worked both sides of the public-private fence know that the opposite is often the case.�


Reviewer Erik Antons CPP, PSP, is manager of international security and executive services for Sempra Energy and is a former special agent with the Diplomatic Security Service, U.S. Department of State. He is a member of the ASIS Global Terrorism, Political Instability, and International Crime Council.