Officials back public/private partnerships

Building ongoing relationships between the public and private sectors is critical to successful information sharing between government and industry, representatives of industry groups and government officials said today.

Those officials, speaking as panelists at the GovSec and U.S. Law conference in Washington, D.C., said information sharing during a crisis can be helped by sustaining working relationships between government and industry.

“The whole point of resilience is to come back to normal life,” said Danielle Camner Lindholm, vice president for policy of Business Executives for National Security. “A big piece of what the private sector offers — and why it’s important for us to work together — is the end result that it all goes back to normal. So it’s not just about what you can buy or what can you get from the private sector … it’s what is the big picture. What do we want to be in the aftermath of a disaster?”

The Homeland Security Department heads the government’s efforts to coordinate with the private sector to protect critical infrastructure. The department has also organized cybersecurity exercises that involved the private sector.

“It’s having that common language … Being able to create not only the partnerships, but being able to create the common ground, being able to understand where each other is coming from,” said Heather Blanchard, the business liaison director for technology at DHS' private sector office.

“Once you do that you’re able to create these partnerships and they are able to be more sustainable, you’re going to be able to talk to them, you’re going to be able to quickly during a crisis be able to know exactly who to call and what to do,” Blanchard added.

The 1105 Government Information Group, the parent company of Federal Computer Week, is a sponsor of the GovSec and U.S. Law conference.

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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