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Protective Security Advisors Could Be Good Partners

The Department of Homeland Security’s Infrastructure Protection Program contains the Protective Security Coordination Division.  The Division includes nearly 90 field staff in all 50 states trained to work with each of the 18 critical infrastructure sectors to help reduce risk from terrorist attack and, as an expanded part of their mission, to serve as the national coordinators for protective programs, facilitating response to and recovery from all hazards.

Some of you may have received notice of impending ECIP (enhanced critical infrastructure protection) site visits for water utilities in your state.  These are conducted by the PSA, or Protective Security Advisor in your state.  In progress since 2008, these site visits form the foundation for a relatively new effort to assess “like” facilities to evaluate their overall security profile.  Using a common “protective measures index,” water utilities that participate in this initiative receive a comparative evaluation of their security condition with other similarly sized and sourced systems across numerous factors ranging from fencing to resiliency.

Based on discussions held during the Joint Water Sector Coordination Council-Government Coordinating Council meeting earlier this week, ASDWA is hopeful that these evaluations may be rolled and aggregated to the state level (understanding that no utility-specific information can be provided) and shared with primacy agencies to identify common challenge areas that may benefit from technical assistance or support.  ASDWA also recommended that PSAs should reach out to state primacy and/or security coordinators to gain better understanding of the Water Sector and to allow states to direct water system requests for support or assistance to PSAs as appropriate.