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ASIS News May 2016


ASIS International, (ISC)², and ISACA— together the preeminent professional associations for physical, cyber and information security—have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to develop a Security Awareness American National Standard. This guidance standard will address the intersections of physical, cyber, and information security management to help organizations of all sizes maximize protection of people, property, and assets.

“The human element is central to any successful security strategy. By promoting a ‘security awareness culture,’ organizations can proactively prevent problems that detract from achieving their business objectives,” says Dr. Marc H. Siegel, commissioner, ASIS Global Standards Initiative. “The proposed standard will integrate physical, cyber, and information security into day-to-day business and risk management practices. It will emphasize that everyone in the organization is part of the risk equation, and therefore, part of the solution.”

The standard will focus on cross-disciplinary management measures, as well as awareness and training programs to help organizations and their supply chains prepare for and minimize the likelihood of an undesirable event, as well as respond to and recover from a security incident.

ASIS, (ISC)², and ISACA will form a joint technical committee and working group to develop the standard, soliciting input from security experts around the globe. The committee will operate under ASIS’s ANSI-accredited process to develop an American National Standard that can be applied anywhere worldwide.

Technical committee formation was expected to begin in April. For more information: [email protected]. ​


The security industry’s most influential event, the ASIS International 62nd Annual Seminar and Exhibits (ASIS 2016), will take place at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, September 12-15. The keynote speakers for the event will be award-winning journalist Ted Kop­pel; Elliott Abrams, senior fellow for Middle Eastern Studies, Council on Foreign Relations; and Dr. Beck Weathers, survivor of the 1996 Mount Everest tragedy and inspiration for the 2015 feature film Everest.

Koppel. Ted Koppel will speak Tuesday, September 13. From the funeral of President John F. Kennedy in 1963 to the celebrated release of Nelson Mandela after 26 years in prison, Koppel has covered our world’s most significant milestones for more than 50 years. At ASIS 2016, Koppel will share from his most recent book—a New York Times best seller—Lights Out, which examines the threat of a cybercatastrophe and evaluates how America can prepare for such an event.

Abrams. Elliott Abrams will make his keynote speech Wednesday, September 14. He will examine U.S. foreign policy challenges, drawing from his acute understanding of American history and his own senior-level experience making foreign policy during Ronald Reagan’s and George W. Bush’s administrations, to answer this critical, timely question: “What needs to be done to keep America safe amid the instability and danger that rages in the Middle East region?”

Abrams was Bush’s special assistant to the president and senior director of the National Security Council for Near East and North African Affairs. Abrams became deputy national security advisor for global democracy strategy. 

Weathers. At the Closing Luncheon of the Seminar and Exhibits on Thursday, September 15, attendees will hear from a man who survived against all odds, and whose life was forever altered by his time on the world’s tallest mountain. Caught in one of the most violent storms in the recorded history of the mountain that led to the deaths of eight other climbers and team leaders, Weathers was at first presumed dead by other survivors. During his address, Weathers will reflect on his survival, lessons learned, and his appreciation for getting a second chance at life.

Visit for the most up-to-date information on the ASIS 62nd Annual Seminar and Exhibits.​


By Michael Gips.

For 42 years, as ASIS grew from 6,000 members and $300,000 in revenue to 38,000 members and more than $30 million in revenue, Susan Melnicove was behind the scenes. Melnicove shined the spotlight on members, speakers, educators, partners, and colleagues, always careful not to cast her own shadow over the proceedings. With Melnicove’s retirement effective April 29th, the spotlight finally—deservedly—focuses on her.

Her list of accomplishments is dizzy­ing: In the mid to late seventies she helped develop ASIS’s certification program. More than 8,000 certificants now hold the CPP, PSP, or PCI designation. In the early eighties, she helped build the collection that became the O.P. Norton Information Resources Center. It now houses more than 50,000 printed books and documents and thousands of recordings and digital materials. 

She presided over the annual seminar and exhibits while it grew from 100 booths and barely 400 attendees to a high of 2,700 booths and 24,000 attendees. She created educational programming to meet the evolving needs of practitioners, from terrorism prevention to social media risks, and she pushed ASIS to expand globally, ultimately running regular conferences in Europe, Asia Pacific, and the Middle East. When ASIS acquired the Protection of Assets manual, she worked with staff and volunteers to refresh and update this key resource. She started up a book publishing department, and after 9-11, she launched ASIS’s standards and guidelines program, which to date has yielded 14 ANSI standards and 7 ASIS guidelines.

Melnicove downplays her role in these accomplishments, preferring to credit the membership. “Truly, the success of ASIS is not about me but about the dedication and efforts of the members,” she says. And the numbers just represent the surface of her service. “I am incredibly fortunate to have spent the past 42 years in my dream job…. It’s the quality of the relationships and experiences that have fueled my passion for my role, the Society, the profession, and the industry.”

And Melnicove is quick to acknowledge the role of her staff. “They are the experts behind everything,” she says.

Melnicove’s impact is pervasive. “I’ve known Susan for more than 10 years,” says 2016 ASIS President David C. Davis, CPP, “and it never fails to astound me how well she has served the Society in so many ways. The membership and profession owe her a tremendous debt of gratitude.”

ASIS CEO Peter J. O’Neil also recognizes Melnicove’s profound impact on ASIS and on the practice of security. “Professionalization, standards and guidelines, educational developments, certification—the works,” says O’Neil. “If it advanced the profession in the last four decades, there’s a good chance Susan had a big part in it. She will leave a lasting legacy.”

Melnicove began her ASIS career shortly after graduating from the University of Maryland. Becoming ASIS’s seventh staff member, she processed membership applications on her first day on the job. She has had a hand in virtually everything, eventually working her way up to head of meetings and membership, then director and ultimately vice president of ASIS’s Edu­cation Division. She held ASIS’s top Education position for 22 years.