Sharing Information to Counter Terrorism... and Protect People and Property
“It is the policy of the United States to strengthen the security and resilience of its critical infrastructure against both physical and cyber threats. The Federal Government shall work with critical infrastructure owners and operators and (State, Local, Tribal and Territorial) entities to take proactive steps to manage risk and strengthen the security and resilience of the Nation's critical infrastructure, considering all hazards that could have a debilitating impact on national security, economic stability, public health and safety, or any combination thereof. These efforts shall seek to reduce vulnerabilities, minimize consequences, identify and disrupt threats, and hasten response and recovery efforts related to critical infrastructure.” – Presidential Policy Directive 21, “Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience” (12 February 2013)
Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, high-profile office properties, apartment buildings, shopping malls and hotels all have been identified as potential terrorist targets by both international terrorist groups and domestic extremists. In response, industry organizations have worked with the government to prevent, detect and respond to terrorist threats and malicious incidents.
The Real Estate Information Sharing and Analysis Center (RE-ISAC), a not-for-profit information sharing entity organized by The Real Estate Roundtable in February 2003, is a public-private partnership between the US commercial facilities sector and federal homeland security officials which serves as the primary conduit of terrorism, cyber and natural hazard warning and response information between the government and the commercial facilities sector.
By bringing together industry representatives and the government to aggregate, share and assess information on terrorism, the quality, quantity, relevance and overall value of the information increases exponentially. As a result, the ISAC and its members are able to achieve objectives that no single industry organization could accomplish alone. This benefits the industry, government and the nation as a whole.
The ISAC's Role
The role of the Real Estate ISAC is to support the critical infrastructure protection mission of commercial real estate owners and operators by providing information on potential human-caused incidents and natural disasters to enable them to identify potential risks, mitigate them to the extent possible, respond effectively to any incidents that affect real estate assets and the people in them and restore normal operations as soon as possible following disruptions. In short, it is to enhance the resilience of the commercial real estate sector, which has been deemed by the government as a critical infrastructure component of our national economy and way of life.
The RE-ISAC operates in full consonance with Presidential Policy Directive 21, “Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience,” dated 12 February 2013, by proactively managing risk and strengthening the security and resilience of the US commercial facilities / commercial real estate critical infrastructure, considering all hazards that could significantly impact our national security and economic stability. The RE-ISAC’s efforts shall seek to reduce vulnerabilities, minimize consequences, identify and disrupt threats, and hasten response and recovery efforts related to commercial facilities / commercial real estate critical infrastructure.
Achievement of the above is accomplished through multiple efforts and activities to include, but not limited to:
- Facilitate information analysis in order to detect patterns or trends and to develop potentially coordinated action steps, support effective information exchange (including terrorist alerts and advisories) and collaboration:
- between Federal, State and local government entities, including DHS, the FBI and the US fusion centers and the associations, owners and operators of the nation’s commercial facilities / commercial real estate critical infrastructure;
- within the US commercial facilities / commercial real estate critical infrastructure community;
- with other critical infrastructure partners in other sectors to support common situational awareness and cooperation.
- Provide analytical and informational products, alerts and other communications to inform situational awareness, decision-making, preparedness, security and resilience within the US commercial facilities / commercial real estate critical infrastructure community.
- Foster effective relationships within the commercial facilities / commercial real estate critical infrastructure industry and with government partners at all levels to assist steady-state operations and incident response and recovery as well as to share useful information, and discuss and develop “best practices” and solutions on sector and sub-sector specific issues (such as matters affecting retail or office property owners) or cross-sector issues such as risk assessment, asset fortification/hardening, building security and emergency-response planning.
- Encourage the preparedness and resilience of industry partners within the US commercial facilities / commercial real estate critical infrastructure community to be able to deliberately prevent against and protect, mitigate, respond and recover facilities from all-hazard incidents that could significantly impact our national security and economic stability.
To learn more about the Real Estate ISAC and the context in which it's been established, view this presentation (”Why An ISAC?”).
More Information on ISACs
Other industries operate ISACs in partnership with the federal government. These include the financial services, electric power, oil and gas, water, telecommunications, information technology, chemical and food sectors, among others. Each has been designated by the Federal government as a critical infrastructure / key resource component of the US economy and each has an ISAC to facilitate information sharing to improve that sector’s resilience.
Presidential Decision Directive 63, “Protecting America’s Critical Infrastructure”, signed 22 May 1998 created the framework for this public-private response. Homeland Security Presidential Directive 7, “Critical Infrastructure Identification, Prioritization, and Protection”, signed 17 December 2003, issued by President George W. Bush extended and amplified the earlier order. Most recently, President Obama updated this previous guidance with his signing of Presidential Policy Directive 21, “Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience,” dated 12 February 2013.