Policy Issues
Homeland Security / RE-ISAC

Key Points
Enhancing Security and Resilience in the Face of Dynamic Threats 

More detailed information on various Homeland Security issues can be found in recent issues of Roundtable Weekly — our weekly policy eNewsletter archive that can searched by key word or phrase.  The Roundtable's 2017 National Policy Agenda, Real Estate: A Foundation for Growth, includes a section on Homeland Security.

 Policy Issues Snapshotdetails follow list below:  

Strengthening U.S. Security and Resilience Remains Top Roundtable Priority        

  ISIL Threat to Europe: Most Severe – “Way of Life” Attacks Terrorize Continent 

 Homeland Security Task Force

Information Sharing and Critical Infrastructure: Real Estate Information Sharing and Analysis Center (RE-ISAC)   

Cybersecurity Legislation Enacted  

The Roundtable Continues to Work Closely with DHS, FBI and the ODNI    

 Climate Change: Threat to Economic Security     

DHS Oversight Reform Needed      

✓ Strengthening U.S. Security and Resilience Remains Top Roundtable Priorities 
The U.S. continues to face the evolving threat of international and domestic terrorism, as well as an emerging set of challenges in securing borders, developing national and community resilience against natural disasters, and ensuring the continued security of critical infrastructure.  Incidents in New York, New Jersey and Saint Cloud, MN also raise concerns about the threat of homegrown violent extremists (HVEs) and “way of life” attacks in the U.S.


Updated news on various Tax policy issues can be found in recent issues of Roundtable Weekly — our policy eNewsletter archive that can searched by key word or phrase.

The Roundtable’s Homeland Security Task Force (HSTF) and Real Estate Information Sharing and Analysis Center (www.reisac.org) remains focused on measures that businesses can take—such as creating infrastructure that is resistant to physical damage, enhancing resilience, and increasing cross-agency information sharing cooperation—to enhance security.  To this end, our HSTF works with government officials and private sector partners to prevent, detect and respond to a multiplicity of such key threats. Strengthening the security and resilience the commercial facilities sector remains a top Roundtable priority and is an important aspect of managing any facility where people live, work, shop and play.

Presidential Policy Directive 8 (PPD-8) states that our national preparedness is to be based on core capabilities that support "strengthening the security and resilience of the United States through systematic preparation for the threats that pose the greatest risk to the security of the Nation, including acts of terrorism, cyber attacks, pandemics, and catastrophic natural disasters. 

The Roundtable continues to play a vital role in this effort through a variety of efforts. 

✓ ISIL: Global Terrorist Threat 
The U.S. Intelligence Community’s  threat assessment warns of “a challenging threat environment .” The report warns, “The acute and enduring nature of demographic, economic, political, social, and technological factors contribute to the motivation of individuals and groups and their participation in violent extremist activities. These factors ensure that terrorism will remain one of several primary national security challenges for the United States in 2017.

The report also states that the Islamic State “has become the pre-eminent terrorist threat” facing the world.  ISIL’s “increasing ability to direct and inspire attacks against a wide range of targets around the world”3 raise concerns about enhanced threats to the homeland.  Successful domestic terror attacks, including the killings San Bernardino, could motivate “homegrown violent extremists” to carry out similar attacks in the future. Domestic terrorists could be motivated “to replicate opportunistic attacks with little or no warnings, diminishing our ability to detect terrorist operational planning and readiness.”

In addition, terrorist attacks in Paris, Nice and Brussels raise concerns about potential threats to public transportation and “way of life” targets in Europe. ISIL has demonstrated an ability to coordinate attacks in Europe from the Middle East. Europe’s porous borders create challenges for intelligence agencies and leave it vulnerable to foreign fighters who have slipped back into the continent from Iraq and Syria.

In the U.S., federal prosecutors have charged 85 men and women around the country in connection with the Islamic State. So far, 33 have been convicted. Men outnumber women in those cases by about 7 to 1. The average age of the individuals is 27. One is a minor. The FBI says that, in a handful of cases, it has disrupted plots targeting U.S. military or law enforcement personnel.

✓ Homeland Security Task Force 
The Real Estate Roundtable's Homeland Security Task Force (HSTF) is focused on enhancing the commercial facilities sector’s ability to meet its current and future security-related challenges by analyzing threats, sharing information and fostering resilience through a broad threat matrix of physical and cyber risks. 

The HSTF meets regularly and coordinates briefings with representatives from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and other state and local agencies to discuss potential threats to the sector and to enhance risk mitigation.

Additionally, the HSTF oversees the work of the Real Estate Information Sharing and Analysis Center (RE-ISAC) — www.reisac.org — a public-private partnership between the U.S. commercial facilities sector and federal homeland security officials started by the Roundtable in 2003.

Special sessions of our Homeland Security Task Force (HSTF) have been held recently in the FBI’s Strategic Information and Operations Center (SIOC) and at the World Trade Center in New York. The HSTF works with many of the key leaders in the nation’s fight against terrorism.

2017 PolAg cover x200

The Roundtable's 2017 National Policy Agenda, Real Estate: A Foundation for Growth, includes a section on Homeland.

✓ Information Sharing and Critical Infrastructure: Real Estate Information Sharing and Analysis Center (RE-ISAC)
The Real Estate Information Sharing and Analysis Center (RE-ISAC) – www.reisac.org – is a public-private partnership between the U.S. commercial facilities sector and federal homeland security officials organized by The Real Estate Roundtable in February 2003.  Information sharing — in a systematic and sustained manner — continues to be one of the most effective weapons in protecting the nation’s critical infrastructure.

The RE-ISAC serves as the primary conduit of terrorism, cyber and natural hazard warning and response information between the government and the commercial facilities sector. The RE-ISAC proactively manages risk and strengthens the security and resilience of the U.S. commercial facilities sector infrastructure to aid protection and prevention.

By providing the commercial facilities sector with more resilient information sharing strategies and tactics, the RE-ISAC provides an effective tool to help reduce their vulnerability to acts of terrorism and other risks. The RE-ISAC is helping to advance the industry’s homeland security efforts and provides the U.S. real estate sector with its own homeland security network and features full-time team who oversee a dynamic 24/7, two-way conduit for the exchange of threat-related information between the federal, state and local governments, law enforcement, intelligence agencies, and private sources.

Real estate has a dominant influence on the nation’s economy and is part of the Department of Homeland Security’s Commercial Facilities (CF) Sector. The CF Sector is one of the few CI sectors that terrorists have attacked successfully.

The RE-ISAC operates in full compliance with Presidential Policy Directive 21, “Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience” (12 February 2013), which mandates that the public and private sectors share information about physical and cyber security threats and vulnerabilits to help protect the U.S. critical infrastructure. The RE-ISAC includes the entire commercial facilities sector critical infrastructure (CI) component of the US economy.   RE-ISAC members include the principal owners, investors and managers of commercial facilities in the U.S. and is supported by ten organizations.

The RE-ISAC is part of the National Council of ISACs – whose mission is to advance the physical and cyber security of the critical infrastructures of North America by establishing and maintaining a framework for valuable interaction between and among the ISACs and with government.

Through a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with DHS’s National Protection and Programs Directorate, the RE-ISAC engages in operational efforts to better coordinate activities supporting the detection, prevention, and mitigation of cybersecurity, communications reliability, and related data threats to critical infrastructure. The RE-ISAC team maintains access and on-site presence within the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) in order to effectively conduct joint analytical activities, and to coordinate cybersecurity analysis and collaborative activities.    

2017 PolAg cover x200

The Roundtable's 2017 National Policy Agenda, Real Estate: A Foundation for Growth, includes a section on Homeland Security.

✓ Cybersecurity Legislation Enacted
The Cybersecurity Act of 2015 was signed into law on December 18, 2015. The new law provides authorization and liability protection for cybersecurity monitoring and information-sharing and authorization for cyber defensive measures. Importantly, the measure helps enable businesses to share information and mitigate threats without the fear of legal repercussions later.

Enacting comprehensive cybersecurity information sharing legislation has long been a top priority of the Roundtable. After four years of efforts, the law creates a new regime to encourage federal agencies to share cyber intelligence with the private sector more rapidly.

By encouraging better, more effective information sharing within the private sector and also from the government to private sector, the law complements our information sharing and analysis work with the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC).

✓ The Roundtable Continues to Work Closely with DHS, FBI and the ODNI     
The Roundtable remains focused on ensuring on managing and mitigating risks to the commercial facilities sector generally — and that of real estate in particular.  To that end, The Roundtable continues to pursue a number of approaches to achieve this mission.

The Homeland Security Task Force (HSTF) has held a series of briefings at the National Counter Terrorism Center (NCTC) for key intelligence community analysts regarding the classes of commercial real estate properties that are of a high interest to terrorist groups, and to sensitize them to the types of information that will better enable infrastructure owners and operators to protect these key assets.

As part of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) Trade Association Partners, our HSTF has established constructive two-way communication between the intelligence community and the private sector.  Our work also continues with the DHS’ Commercial Facility Sector Coordinating Council.

In addition to working with relevant law enforcement and intelligence agencies, the HSTF is working to find new sources and methods to secure high-profile commercial facility sector assets and improve their emergency preparedness.

The HSTF and RE-ISAC are pursuing a number of new approaches to help this effort:

  • Touchstone – A groundbreaking information sharing project between the FBI and the private sector led by HSTF leadership.  After a successful pilot in Washington, DC, similar efforts are underway in Los Angeles and Seattle.
  • After Action Reporting – After action reports on major incidents -- such as the Boston Marathon attack – have been developed and disseminated to RE-ISAC information sharing network.
  • Cyber – Working with our FS-ISAC partners, the RE-ISAC and HSTF are working toward a more robust strategy for real estate to address the cyber threat.

✓ Climate Change: Threat to Economic Security
Climate change poses an immediate threat to real estate. Developing appropriate responses to extreme weather remains a top priority for our HSTF and the RE-ISAC.

In the wake of a series of enormous storms over the past few years, natural catastrophe risks continue to be a challenge for building owners.  Recent climatic changes in the Northern Hemisphere are having serious repercussions on critical infrastructure, including commercial real estate. 

The HSTF and RE-ISAC are working to address these threats through increased resilience and enhanced information sharing.

✓ DHS Oversight Reform Needed

• DHS Oversight Reform Needed
Since The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is overseen by nearly 100 of Congressional committees and caucuses, many with duplicative jurisdictional roles. Such bureaucratic oversight is undermining the Department’s ability to accomplish its important mission.

The Roundtable believes it is important to streamline congressional oversight of DHS. Such oversight should be comprised of one primary homeland security committee in the House and the Senate with additional oversight by the Intelligence Committees and a Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee in both chambers.

There is broad bipartisan support for reform among former and current government officials, security experts and the 9/11 Commission. 

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This year the Homeland Security Task Force (HSTF) is co-chaired by Joseph Billy (Prudential) and Chris Woiwode (Macerich) and vice-chaired by Michael Grossman (Westfield).  For additional information on homeland security issues, please contact Clifton "Chip" Rodgers, Jr., Senior Vice President, The Real Estate Roundtable at (202) 639-8400.

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