Experts Discuss Bioterrorism at ASIS Conference
FEARS THAT AMERICA HAS GROWN complacent since the 9/11 terrorist attacks was the theme at The American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS) International’s “Bioterrorism, Weapons of Mass Destruction and the Security Professional” conference held November 7 and 8 in Philadelphia. Complacency has made us ill-prepared, concluded a roster of eight security industry experts who talked about threats from anthrax, bubonic plague and other deadly biological agents. Moderator Henry Nocella, a private consultant and former security chief for Bestfoods, said the United States needs to pay more attention to the motivations of extremists. “We’ve been at war for 25 years,” Nocella said, after outlining a litany of attacks attributed to Al-Qaeda and other groups. He characterized these groups as driven by cultural and political insults, the deep impact of which Americans fail to comprehend. Members of these groups, he said, nurse this hurt and pass down the need for vengeance from generation to generation. They are highly educated and motivated by religious fervor that, again, most Americans can’t fathom. They will be patient in extracting revenge but also itching to use nuclear and biological weapons against us. “If we want to meet this threat, we need to wake up,” Nocella said. “The American public is absolutely, positively asleep at the switch.” Keynote speaker Ronald Blanck, former Army Surgeon General and president of University of North Texas Health Science Center, said we still don’t have “an overarching national strategy to deal with this” terrorist threat. “Bioweapons” scare him more, however, because contagious diseases such as smallpox can spread long after a terrorist introduces the agent into a population. “Every other weapon you know about, it’s

overt,” Blanck said. “Even a nuke is contained. Bioweapons can’t be contained.”

Protecting corporations
Anthrax mailings in recent history caused post office shutdowns that cost millions and lasted months. Steve Lund’s job is to prevent that kind of situation at Intel Corp., where he is director of security. “One of the biggest things we look at is the operational impact of business continuity,” Lund said. “If you can imagine a manufacturing facility taken out of commission, it makes a big impact downstream. The idea is to keep the business going.” The Santa Clara, Calif.-based computer chip maker has a global presence, and Lund said Intel’s corporate philosophy emphasized cooperation and coordination with local law enforcement at all of their facilities. Intel security, he said, has set up levels of

response that includes an emergency operations center (EOC) at every major site with smaller sites linked to an EOC “parent.” It is a chain-of-command system in which each team member, from the EOC coordinator to all department heads, has specific duties during an emergency. The presenters were in consensus on one overriding issue: keeping the bioterror threat at bay won’t be easy. Doug Callen, chief security officer with the Transportation Safety Administration, said major U.S. cities lag far behind in the kind of CCTV surveillance that helped piece together the case against the suicide bombers in the London Underground bombings in July 2005. Comoderator Robin McFee, a toxicologist and president of Emergistics US Inc., a Texas-based consulting company, reiterated Blanck’s message that Americans are too blasé about bioterror. She said that hospitals, labs and other facilities often store deadly material without thought of security. “If you have nasty stuff in your facility, don’t assume other people don’t want it,” McFee said. Like Blanck, she is worried about Russia’s unaccounted for store of smallpox, anthrax, plague and other lethal agents. Americans, she said, think they are safe from these now-unfamiliar killers but that is another foolish assumption. EC

—John Fulmer

Grocery Chain Tackles Energy Costs
LOCAL GROCERY STORES IN IDAHO aren’t waiting for government regulations to enforce energy conservation—they are implementing new policies on their own. Albertsons Inc., the second largest grocery store chain in the nation, has implemented an “aggressive energy management program” in its 2,500 stores. Due to rising energy costs, the company is trying to reduce the amount of electricity by 20 million kilowatt-hours a month. The company has added skylights, energy-efficient lighting systems and motion-sensor lighting into its stores. Albertsons is also upgrading existing stores with more efficient refrigeration systems and motion sensors in offices and restrooms. EC

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful