The Government Technology & Services Coalition (GTSC) was established in 2011 by small companies working in the federal homeland security market to help bring innovation to the various missions associated with homeland security. It is a non-profit organisation that works to establish relationships with government partners to help achieve their missions with the best technology, ideas, and partners in the market.
Kristina Tanasichuk is the founder, chair and CEO of GTSC who manages both the association and also serves as executive editor of their new media platform acquisition, Homeland Security Today. Kristina explains to Transport Security World the extraordinary efforts being made in the security industry, how analysis has improved and why Homeland Security Today is so important.
Dave Songer (DS): Hi Kristina, you’ve got some great experience of working in the security industry, what do you most enjoy about working in it?
Kristina Tanasichuk (KT): I feel as though I’m making a tangible difference, bringing people together and pushing to get things done. I like to say: “Less talking, more doing” and feel like in my role I’m able to push towards the mission of implementing those changes that are needed to protect our nation and our way of life.
(DS): What is the biggest professional challenge you’ve faced?
(KT): The biggest professional challenge for me, and I believe for many others, is to convince people that deterrence/prevention/preparedness is a real thing and everyone plays a role. People roll their eyes when you talk about cyber hygiene or a family emergency plan, but at the end of the day the statistics show it’s you, clicking on a shoe sale or wanting free football tickets that caused that breach.
And while we complain about what the government is not doing, we ourselves don’t have a plan to take care of our families in an extended power outage or disaster. I worked closely with the American Red Cross on their preparedness efforts and people care about these issues right after they’ve been hit. I work on cybersecurity issues and awareness in everything I do and it is equally difficult. The challenge is to get people to realise we’re all interconnected and that their behaviour impacts well beyond just their circle.
(DS): How has the transport security industry changed since you began working in it?
(KT): I think a lot of our programmes and organisations devoted to security in the transport industry have matured considerably. From our evolution as a critical infrastructure, to the evolution of the Transportation Security Administration, they’ve all developed very good relationships between the public and private sectors and have evolved our conversations around how we balance the needs of the travelling public and the transport of goods/trade with security. We’ve also improved the intelligence and analysis side and adopted more risk assessment frameworks that encourage layered security solutions. This has closed a lot of gaps.
(DS): And how do you think it will change in the future?
(KT): Right now we still enjoy relatively unencumbered travel – transportation security could certainly intensify if there is a successful attack either on our surface transportation or our cargo transportation networks. I also believe there will be continued scrutiny on the supply chain and how the transportation industry fits, and their role, in the security of that chain.
(DS): You’re the owner and executive editor of Homeland Security Today Magazine – that sounds fascinating, what more can you tell me about that?
(KT): We purchased the platform late last year to broaden our members reach and to bring to it the incredible contacts we have in our @GTSCoalition family. We are tired of the sensationalism around security and wanted to bring the voice of true experts to the conversation. If you’ve been secretary of homeland security and are now in the private sector, I would consider you a real expert. If you are former head of the Science and Technology Directorate and are now the chief technology officer of a large integrator, you really are an expert.
We believe that by bringing the level of conversation up around everything from cyber to terrorism tactics and physical security, we will contribute tremendously to the conversation around how to secure our homeland. We have broadened the platform’s topics and specialised newsletters to reach the numerous professionals interested in security; if you want terrorism info, we’ve got it. If you want information on maritime/United States Coast Guard ops, we’ve got it. We’ve been expanding to meet the needs of this critical and diverse community.
(DS): What are GTSC’s key business priorities? Are you able to give specific details on a project or target?
(KT): To make sure our government partners know about, and are able to access, the best ideas and technologies to achieve their mission. For our members we strive to provide them with a host of programming to assure that they understand the mission of their government partners, that they have their internal business processes in place, and that they operate with the highest level of ethics and security in the industry. Our priority is to continue developing and nurturing the best environment for the people and companies that want to secure our country.
(DS): Which security product or service do you most admire?
(KT): I am in awe with what data analytics can do to help target resources and understand behaviour. From applications in cyber, to data on social media activity that predicts terrorist attacks, the potential of what we can do and learn to make the nation safer is extraordinary.
(DS): Thanks so much for taking part, Kristina.
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