A Convergence of Communities

Presented at The Last HOPE (2008), July 19, 2008, 11 a.m. (60 minutes)

Most people in either industry already know something about the relatively recent convergence of computer technology (CT) and physical security. But they probably aren't aware that computer professionals are increasingly assuming a leadership role in the process, as well as the management of the process. Moreover, the physical security and computer technology (CT) and information technology (IT) communities have traditionally been at odds. Computer professionals don't know as much about physical security electronic systems and devices as they think they do. Conversely, physical security senior managers know virtually nothing about CT and some don't want to! This session will examine the convergence phenomenon from both perspectives. It will review what is occurring, how it is happening, and what effects it has on both security and CT/IT. The effects upon, and from, the Department of Homeland Security will be discussed. The session will conclude with an in-depth analysis of Homeland Security's shortcomings and unmet needs and the role of CT/IT in protecting the nation. The critical need to triage security resources will be examined, along with a look at how it should be done, as well as an attempt to understand why it isn't already happening.


  • John Strauchs
    John Strauchs is a former staff intelligence officer with the CIA who has since become a nationally-recognized expert on security systems technology in the physical security arena. He has more than 38 years of experience and owned a professional security engineering firm for 23 years, Systech Group, Inc. He now runs a consulting firm, Strauchs LLC. He has testified before Congress on security matters. Landmark projects he has led include the Ronald Reagan Building, the World Trade Center following the 1993 bombing, and Ben Gurion Airport in Israel. He is one of the chief authors of the ISC (GSA) Security Design Criteria. He has written or contributed to more than 90 professional journal articles and ten books. He has been interviewed on security matters on NBC Nightly News, the Today Show, the Jim Lehrer News Hour, Equal Time, and others. He has been quoted or interviewed by the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Chicago Tribune, Washington Times, and others. As a pertinent aside, he was the subject matter expert for the motion picture Sneakers and assisted in the development of the caper scenes in the movie. What few know, however, is that he inserted deliberate, but subtle, technical errors so that defeat techniques couldn�t be easily copied by would-be miscreants.


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