The National Association of Security Companies (NASCO), a contract-security trade association representing firms employing more than 400,000 security officers, held the first ever Contract Security Summit at the Hall of States Building in Washington, D.C. The day-long summit attracted nearly 70 senior, contract security executives, as well as representatives from the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Protective Service and Capital Hill staffers.
The Summit was developed by NASCO to facilitate discussions and focus attention on the latest trends and issues impacting the contract security industry a top priority for NASCO this year.
John Mica (R-FL), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Aviation, welcomed participants and began the day by discussing his role in the TSA-opt out program, as well as the increased need for private security to support government security efforts. In response to a question regarding the difficulties of navigating through the Department of Homeland Security, Mica
said: “Your industry needs to show Congress how private security works.” That task is NASCO’s first priority for 2006, and one of the main reasons NASCO gathered together these government and private security professionals.
Tracy A. Henke, Assistant Secretary for the Office of Grants and Training, spoke about the importance of private security personnel participating in joint training with federal agencies. She also pointed out that the DHS is certifying more and more state training programs. Also discussed was the potential for private security to provide airport screening, but along with that point came the recognition that airports will need separate funding sources. That necessity brought the discussion around to how cities can obtain the money they need to fund their training needs through the DHS.
Highlights of the summit include two break-out sessions designed to foster an open discussion regarding issues directly impacting contract security operations. Closing out the day were scheduled appointments with Congressional leaders and senior staff on Capital Hill.
“We need to continue to discuss and identify common areas of interest, both in the government and the commercial security markets, so we can better represent the contract security community,” said NASCO Executive Director Joseph Ricci.