A call to action for innovative security leadership – Canadian Government Executive

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May 7, 2012

A call to action for innovative security leadership

CGE Vol.13 No.2 February 2007

Public security, once a task relegated to the “guns and badges” folks in our public sector communities, has now become a front and center policy issue for the national governments of the industrialized world.

For some countries, the call to action was swift and decisive; there was a need to implement demonstrable changes to address citizens’ and markets’ real and perceived security concerns. Tens of billions of dollars were allocated to major transformation initiatives, stop-gap measures, and large-scale pilot projects. The business case for spending the funds was simply stated as “public security”. No complicated multi-year justifications, no complex ROI formulas, and no elaborate strategy – these were national security projects, national policy priorities, a war on terrorism, and a national crisis.

Admittedly, not all the initiatives launched proved to be successful. However, the early adopters of change have a number of success stories, and some lessons learned that they are now rolling out across the public sector. These success stories are big and small, and are establishing the innovators as global leaders.

This early call to action was also heard by the private sector: an opportunity to develop end-to-end solutions with some of the “edge technologies” that show tremendous potential to not only drive the next generation of supply chains for the private sector, but drive economic prosperity and build capacity. The experience and skills acquired in implementing these “edge technology” solutions, including RFID, Smart Card, Biometric, identity management, real time location, real time identification, smart container, supply chain visibility and next generation command and control are now rolling out to the private sector as more mature solutions. They are resulting in overall economic improvements, and driving the countries’ economic prosperity.

There is also a better understanding of the resistance to change in the public sector. Identity management is a controversial aspect of the security programs. The need for better ID management is not going away, but it has been met with a high level of resistance in many countries. Some, such as Australia, realize they need to communicate clearly to their citizens a future state that is not only about security and control, but is conscious of individual citizen’s experience. Government efficiencies, and most importantly, the privacy and security safeguards and monitoring required to support the country’s privacy laws and regulations, must take citizen needs into account.

In Canada, a post 9/11 public cry for demonstrable change simply has not materialized. Our call to action has really been more of a call to plan for action and this presents us with an opportunity – one of productivity, leadership and innovation.

Instead of addressing security as a compliance issue with other jurisdictions or international organizations, as many countries were forced to do, Canada has an opportunity to take a more strategic and innovative approach – one where security is a component of the change, rather than the strategy or end game. The opportunity is to redefine Canada as a global leader in the movement of goods and people.

The question is not if we should utilize biometrics in our border security solution, but how should we develop the most efficient and effective border user experience, be it with the commercial goods and the associated workers, our citizens, and/or with visitors or transiting visitors to our country? How do we redefine the process, in collaboration with the airline, train and shipping industries, to truly create a best-in-class customer experience?

The security requirements should not drive the redesign of the process. Rather, they must be overlaid into the design. Identity management needs to be addressed, not resisted or debated for years to come. It will be easier to communicate to the public the need for change if it is positioned as part of an overall vision for our country, our government, our private sector and our citizens. A vision where Canada builds its own capacity, does its own assembly, leverages its rich technology solutions, and integrates them to not only support its own broader security and identity management needs, but those of other countries too.

The question then is how do we make our ports more secure to ensure they are viewed as world class, supporting real-time supply chain requirements of the private sector and the needs of the public sector? How does Canada leverage the “edge technology” to create a real-time operational toolset to facilitate the border experience at ports? What other edge technologies can enable the security and efficiency of the operation? Positioning Canada to address the realities of global supply chains and the growing need for global visibility of cargo and goods movements will certainly help to facilitate the introduction of the required security attributes. But the premise is a world-class supply chain, not a security compliance project.

With the Vancouver Olympics scheduled for 2010, Canada has an opportunity to engage the private sector to implement a showcase for the world to witness. Canada needs to embrace the imperative for greater security, channel this imperative into projects that help to redefine our nation’s leadership position in international trade and citizen travel experience. This is not an opportunity for more planning, it’s a call for action!

Michel Brazeau is executive vice president responsible for federal government and Eastern Canada business for EDS. He is also a member of the EDS Global Government Industry team.

SIDEBAR

City of Anaheim, California
First responders and crisis managers in the City of Anaheim faced major obstacles to sharing critical information across jurisdictions. The situation is hardly unique to Anaheim. Stovepipe communications systems have been identified as a problem on a national level in every country. Given the region’s dual roles as a thriving urban area and resort destination (Disney, MGM), city leaders understood the urgency of breaking down traditional silos and building a model for collaboration. The Enterprise Virtual Operations Center (EVOC) breaks down barriers to assist emergency responders and government officials with appropriate and secure sharing of information to aid rapid decision-making in a virtual environment. In managing events such as attacks or natural disasters, saving time can mean saving lives.

EVOC integrated their existing applications and data sources to provide a common operational picture from wherever you are, in real time. This “edge technology” has enabled the redefinition of their command and control center. Historically tied to a physical location, it has now been virtualized. Organizations everywhere struggle with selecting the location of a disaster command and control center, looking for guarantees that it will still be operational in a crisis situation. This question has been rendered moot – the “center” has been virtualized to any device that can connect to the internet. Designed with daily operations in mind, EVOC helps assure that collaboration is seamless and easily accomplished for routine tasks – making it a natural practice when emergencies arise.

This “edge technology” is quickly becoming mainstream, being extended into other national public sector use, including a National Identity Intelligence System. The

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