Enactment of the STOP School Violence Act in 2018 revives federal grant assistance specifically for school security improvements, fulfilling a top policy priority for SIA since funding for a similar program through the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) lapsed in 2012.
Representing the primary congressional response to the tragic attack on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, 2018, the new law authorized nearly $1 billion in matching grants for K-12 school safety initiatives through 2028, with a third of this funding directed primarily for campus security-related infrastructure and technology.
Representing solutions providers as key school safety stakeholders, SIA worked with like-minded education, law enforcement and parent groups to support specific provisions in the new law allowing maximum flexibility in use of funds and supporting an effective balance between physical security and human behavioral prevention approaches.
Congress enacted the Secure Airport Public Spaces Act as part of a 5-year reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), recognizing the need for increasing traveler safety throughout unscreened areas where recent attacks have occurred.
SIA worked with airports organizations to support enactment of this key policy priority. The new law will help airports field fully integrated security systems covering all public areas, by allowing the use of Airport Improvement Program grants to install video surveillance systems outside Transportation Security Administration-screened zones such as baggage claims or pickup and drop-off areas. Previously, such grants were only authorized for such equipment and uses inside these zones.
Federal Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS)/Counter-UAS Authorities
The security industry is rapidly adopting capabilities to provide UAS and counter-UAS technologies for both government and commercial; however, outdated regulations and legal uncertainties have hindered adoption of counter-UAS technology beyond detection and tracking, which does not fully address the risk from hostile drones.
Guided by SIA’s Autonomous Security Robotics Working Group, SIA worked with allied organizations to successfully support the inclusion of the Preventing Emerging Threats Act in the FAA reauthorization bill, providing new legal authority specifically to DOJ and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to counter UAS threats to covered facilities or assets using measures such as physical removal, GPS jamming and radio disruption.
The new law also includes a significant streamlining of regulatory waiver requirements facing UAS operators. Waivers of current FAA rules are often necessary for security UAS operations, such as night flight and operating the aircraft from outside line of sight.
Public Spaces and Vehicular Attacks
Also supported by SIA was enactment of the Vehicular Terrorism Prevention Act. This new law directs DHS to submit a strategy on vehicular terrorism to Congress in 2019 and refocus department-wide efforts on addressing the threat posed by hostile vehicle attacks on public spaces, including methods to improve information sharing activities with the private sector and related training activities.
FEDERAL AGENCY ENGAGEMENT
Following outreach to members, and led by the SIA Government Relations Committee, SIA filed comments with the U.S. Trade Representative expressing concerns with the latest series of additional tariffs on Chinese goods imposed by the Trump administration. SIA’s comments identified 29 categories of goods that include key security products widely imported by U.S. security companies, such as alarm and access control components and smoke detectors. SIA detailed the expected U.S. economic impact from the tariffs and requested removal of these categories from the list.
While supportive of efforts to address unfair Chinese trade practices, SIA is concerned that escalating tariffs ultimately harm U.S. businesses. As of this writing the U.S. and Chinese governments are engaged in trade negotiations that could result in the eventual lifting of these additional tariffs. SIA will continue to urge policy makers to achieve a resolution as quickly as possible.
SIA’s identity and procurement policy working groups drafted and submitted comments to the Office of Management and Budget on a draft federal identity policy, which supports greatly needed modernization of physical access control systems (PACS) protecting federal facilities.
SIA also issued initial guidance and analysis to members following enactment of a federal procurement prohibition on certain Chinese telecommunications and video surveillance products and submitted comments on implementation considerations to the government following extensive outreach to stakeholders within the industry. Implementing regulations are expected to be published during the first half of 2019.
In 2018, SIA staff testified before five separate legislatures discussing legislation ranging from right to repair to biometrics use, alarm permitting and tax incentives (Maryland, Vermont, New Hampshire, California and New Jersey).
EDUCATION AND OUTREACH
Congressional Briefing on School Safety
In conjunction with the 2018 GovSummit, SIA hosted a daylong briefing on Capitol Hill in coordination with the Congressional School Safety Caucus to discuss new public- and private-sector initiatives encouraging school safety and security improvements. The discussion included presentations from the U.S. Department of Education, DHS, the Police Foundation, the Secure Schools Alliance, the National Fire Protection Association and the Partner Alliance for Safer Schools.
SIA and members also presented a panel discussion on school safety technology in April before state legislators from around the country serving on the American Legislative Exchange Council Communications and Technology Task Force.
Agency Training – PACS
By request from the General Services Administration (GSA), SIA and the GSA co-led a daylong reverse industry training on PACS, held Sept. 17 in Washington D.C. The training, offered to federal government personnel, featured presentations from SIA member subject matter experts.
Congressional Briefing on Vehicular Terrorism
SIA has worked to raise awareness of the important issue of countering vehicular terrorism among policy makers and hosted a roundtable briefing on May 10 in Washington, D.C. The briefing featured remarks and participation from members of Congress, congressional staff, federal agency personnel, state and local government leaders, project designers and other stakeholders and focused on physical security measures that protect against hostile vehicle attacks and how policies, standards and funding can be coordinated to better protect public spaces.
SIA and members also presented at a policy summit before a group of state legislators from across the country on how local communities are taking action to mitigate these threats.
INDUSTRY AND ASSOCIATION COLLABORATION
In support of policy objectives, SIA joined forces with key organizations, including the Airports Council International, the Commercial Drone Alliance, the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, the Electronic Security Association, the Information Technology Industry Council, the Secure Schools Alliance, the National Association of School Resource Officers, the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators, the National School Boards Association, the School Superintendents Association, the Fraternal Order of Police, the Door and Hardware Institute, CompTIA, the Document Security Alliance, the Storefront Safety Council, the Secure Technology Alliance, the International Biometrics + Identity Association and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
State Contracting Guide
The SIA Quick Start Guide to State Contracting was created to help security manufacturers, integrators and service providers seeking to expand their government business, which is considerably more complicated than commercial contracting. The guide focuses on the 25 states with the highest expenditures on security products and includes information on cooperative purchasing programs used by these states, key differences in procurement rules between states, contact information for each state’s chief procurement officer and a glossary of essential terminology for navigating state contracting.
UAS FAQ for the Security Industry
SIA unveiled its UAS FAQ for the Security Industry to assist security providers and practitioners in comprehending the unmanned aerial systems (UAS) regulatory landscape prior to procuring and operating UAS for commercial security purposes. The fact sheet covers general regulatory requirements for UAS operations, counter-UAS rules and potential legal action, pilot certification requirements and UAS waiver authorization for certain UAS operations.
Security Policy Brief
To help SIA members stay informed about state and federal policies that affect their businesses – and SIA’s involvement in those issues – SIA Government Relations launched a digital product titled Security Policy Brief that allows members to track current state legislative proposals, activities and trends impacting the security industry.
The 2018 SIA GovSummit included a record 334 participants and an impressive lineup of speakers, including DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Director Christopher Krebs, DHS Chief Procurement Officer Soraya Correa and U.S. Department of Education Deputy Secretary Mick Zais.
SIA GovSummit also included the fourth annual Capitol Hill day, in which more than 20 SIA members met with members of Congress to discuss legislative issues impacting the security industry, and SIA hosted a briefing and roundtable event on school safety in partnership with the Congressional School Safety Caucus.
During the 2018 election cycle, seven out of eight congressional incumbents supported by SIA’s political action committee (PAC), known as SecurityPAC, were successfully reelected. SecurityPAC enables SIA to be directly involved in the political process by identifying congressional champions of the security industry and contributing to their reelection efforts. For more information about how to support SecurityPAC, contact Joey Hoellerer at email@example.com.