TISP Becomes SAME Council

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At the SAME Board of Direction meeting May 18 in Houston, the board voted to approve the full integration of The Infrastructure Security Partnership (TISP) into SAME as a council, which includes a voting position on the board for the TISP chair.

SAME has served as Secretariat of TISP for several years and a number of SAME Posts have achieved the Infrastructure Resilience & Emergency Preparedness Streamer. Many Posts have collaborated with TISP on hosting workshops and presentations on critical infrastructure and resilience, including a successful regional workshop in 2013 held between the New York City, New Jersey and Philadelphia Posts.

TISP was founded in 2001 after the attacks of 9/11 to facilitate a forum for advancing practice and policy for the protection of our nation’s critical infrastructure. For more on the history of TISP, its working groups, its mission and how to get involved, visit www.same.org/tisp.

The following speech was made by Ernie Edgar, Chair of TISP, during the 2015 Critical Infrastructure Symposium, held April 20-21 outside Baltimore. Edgar details TISP’s year in review and discusses what lay ahead for SAME and TISP together.

Photo7“Welcome to the 2015 Critical Infrastructure Symposium.

Thank you to our CIS Program Committee. The Technical Program and Paper Reviews are administered by our Knowledge, Skills and Education Committee. We received over 80 papers to fill 48 session presentations. The committee has performed outstanding work to present one of the best programs on critical infrastructure security and resilience offered.

Thank you to our sponsors and TISP leaders for dedicating the time and resources to make CIS possible. And thank you to Joe Schroedel, the Society of American Military Engineer’s new Executive Director. The mission of the Society of Military Engineers is to improve our nation’s security.

At last year’s Symposium, I was able to say that after several years of thought leadership and discussion, the concept of resilience as advocated by TISP had become widely accepted as a social and policy goal.  Starting last year, TISP was moving the discussion from “What is resilience and why do we need it?” to “How do we get there?” So it is this year. Operationalizing resilience remains TISP’s goal.  Community resilience and sustainability are the linchpin of resilience on a larger scale. As we discussed last year, all disasters are fundamentally local.  Including the local perspective in the latest version of the National Infrastructure Protection Plan was the single most significant development of last year.

This year, the 2015 Critical Infrastructure Symposium highlights three P’s of resilience:  Partnership, Planning and Performance. Partnerships are essential to resilience. Simply put, there is no resilience without partnership and collaboration between and among federal, state and local government, the private sector, designers, contractors, operators, vendors and users—we all have a stake and a role to play. Planning and Performance is a constant cycle with resilience. Thinking about resilience requires prior planning and performance, which then results in resilience. 

With those P’s in mind, our Symposium this year has a flavor of thinking future and thinking local. First, thinking future. Steve Hart, a TISP Board member and professor at the Virginia Military Institute, has a vision for showing off the sharp young minds that are our leaders of tomorrow. To achieve resilience today, we must challenge our students to explore different policies, procedures, designs and materials for the infrastructure of tomorrow.

The Collegiate Infrastructure Challenge is new to this year’s Symposium. It is an open-ended student competition that provides an opportunity for participants to engage critically, creatively and completely with a complex infrastructure problem, for which the college teams must envision and describe a transformative solution. Five teams representing the Citadel, Virginia Military Institute, the U.S. Naval Academy and John Hopkins University are considering the issues of today’s segmented national transportation system and designing the solution for a future system that effectively and efficiently integrates all transportation modes (Aviation, Highway, Maritime, Pipeline, and Railroad).

At our working breakfast, in this room, tomorrow morning the team captains will present their solution to all of us attendees. Each project will be evaluated for:

  1. Innovation: Is the solution a game changer?
  2. Suitability: Does the solution solve the problem?
  3. Feasibility: Can the solution actually be reasonably implemented?
  4. Acceptability: Can society live with the costs associated with the solution?
  5. Completeness: Have all aspects of the solution been addressed? (Political, Social, Economic, Information, Infrastructure)?

 

This is something you will NOT want to miss. This is also just the beginning. We will grow the Infrastructure Challenge to become a Grand National Challenge including many more colleges competing and developing resilient solutions for the 22nd century infrastructure we need. Next, thinking local. Since TISP’s formation in September 2001, we have succeeded with our partners in moving our country to enhance national security by incorporating resilience policy. The National Security Strategy, the National Infrastructure Protection Plan, the Army Corps of Engineers North Atlantic Coastal Comprehensive Study, and the soon to be released NIST National Resilience Framework all reflect TISP’s leadership and substantive input. Through these efforts our nation is growing stronger and more resilient to natural disasters and manmade disruptions. You will see more of this during the Symposium. For example, David Flanigan of the Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University will present on the Emergency Management Resiliency Assessment. And Kevin Clement from the Texas Office of Homeland Security will present on their regional resilience approach to implementing the Texas Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Plan.

That is a healthy start—but there is more to do. One of our Board Members, the National League of Cities, completed a recent survey of city elected leaders, city managers, planners, sustainability staff, and other officials identified the following needs:

  • 44% of respondents indicated a need for assistance conducting a vulnerability assessment
  • 61% need assistance in identifying adaptation and resilience strategies
  • 72% need assistance in modifying outdated policy to include resilience
  • 81% need strategies to implement resilience activities

These results validate the findings of TISP’s 2012-2013 Regional Resilience Workshop Series: Community and Regional Infrastructure Prioritization Strategies, which reached many of the same conclusions.

Coming out of this week’s Symposium, TISP has an ambitious agenda. First is TISP’s organizational approach.  TISP and SAME have a shared mission of supporting and improving our nation’s security.  In the case of TISP, that mission manifests itself in infrastructure resilience.  TISP and SAME have already agreed to integrate our administrative functions so that the business of running TISP is more efficient.  On the programs side, we must make better use of SAME’s 100-plus local Posts to achieve our mission.  These local Posts provide the framework for programs designed to address the gaps the National League of Cities identified, and to implement solutions such as those we’ve tested in our RDR Guide.  The national structure of SAME combined with the advisory and facilitation role TISP has played at the national level then provide a mechanism for the local discussions and local solutions to bubble up and out to policy makers across our country.

TISP, its partners, and SAME can develop programs and solutions that would be implemented by the SAME Posts and other association chapters. Programs could include:

  • workshops;
  • processes for performing elements of a Regional Disaster Resilience Plan;
  • relationship building between military installation commanders and community leaders;
  • models for running exercises and consequence management; and
  • professional development for engineers to learn risk and resilience manager skills.

Tomorrow, between 1:00 pm and 4:00 pm, your SAME and TISP board and committees leaders will meet to plan these efforts in more detail. If you are not already planning to tour the DC Water Authority with Jim Holloway or participate in Steve Hart’s training course to develop a facility risk profile, you are welcome to join us for that planning effort.

Second is further engagement with the Regional Consortium Coordinating Council, or RC3, which is one of three cross-cutting, multi-jurisdictional councils advising decision-makers on the policy and implementation of the National Infrastructure Protection Plan. TISP is a member of its Executive Council.  In the coming year, we expect SAME Posts and other association chapters that are part of TISP to become more involved in the growing regional public private partnerships and to develop new partnerships in places where they do not exist. Through the RC3, TISP and SAME can exchange knowledge, needs and priorities with our federal partners. TISP, SAME and our partners can then develop new programs for SAME Posts, association chapters and regional public-private partnerships (P3s) to put into place.

And third is our Regional Disaster Resilience Guide.  Some localities and state governments across the U.S. have already been partnering with private sector and other stakeholders to improve regional and community resilience. These partnerships have identified gaps and proposed solutions to better prepare for and mitigate vulnerabilities associated with interdependent infrastructure systems.  One of the best examples is the partnership in this region, an eight state coalition known as the All Hazards Consortium, led by Tom Moran. In support of these kinds of discussions, TISP has published several editions of our Regional Disaster Resilience Guide, the most recent of which you can download for free from the TISP website. It includes field-tested implementation templates and other resources useful to initiating new regional resilience programs. Four years have passed since its last release, which means it is time to evaluate the performance of the RDR Guide and consider enhancements.

There is much to be done to make our society more resilient. As Chair of TISP, I welcome you to this Symposium. I look forward to the discussions we will have here. And I ask you to stay engaged in this conversation, and to ask others to join, as we work together to decide how we can incorporate resilience into our infrastructure.”

For more information on the entire 2015 Critical Infrastructure Symposium, click here to read the event recap as well as check out more photos from the event. 

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