Interagency Security Committee, United States

Interagency Security Committee, United States

The United States Interagency Security Committee was created on October 19, 1995, by executive order of President Bill Clinton. The order provided for increased security measures for non-military federal buildings. The committee operates within the executive branch of the government and consists of the President and heads of nearly 20 major departments and agencies of the United States government.

After the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and the first bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993, several government officials lobbied for increased security in and around various federal offices around the nation. While many of the buildings hired private security personnel, or reached agreements with local law enforcement about providing security services, many locations were not adequately staffed. In addition, some facilities were not built to adequately survive a terrorist attack. The Interagency Security Committee was charged with inspecting each federal facility for structural stability and for needed security measures. The committee further discussed implementation of metal detectors, security cameras, and other security technologies. These measures were intended to create a safer place for people to work.

Other sensitive security needs also fall into the committee's jurisdiction. When the Interagency Security Committee was first assembled, a central database of all federal facilities did not exist. A database was created that not only listed properties, but also building function and condition, security systems, and even employees. This database stores information about the general infrastructure of the extended federal government.

In addition, the creation of the Interagency Security Committee provided increased data protection measures. A number of mishaps involving the loss or mishandling of sensitive information stored on computers prompted the need for centralized discussion of how best to protect federal data. Since the committee's inception, two additional laws have been passed to strengthen computer privacy and data protection not only on the federal, but also on the corporate and private level.

Questions of the overall effectiveness of the committee came into question following the most recent attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in 2001. Critics claim the database remains incomplete, federal computer privacy systems are dated and ineffective, and overall security in federal facilities has not significantly improved. Others expect the committee to be replaced by or subsumed into the Department of Homeland Security. Many supporters maintain that the committee has not had enough time or resources to finish their task, but have made progress toward their goals.


Homeland Security, United States Department of

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