The world is a different place since September 11, 2001. Everything changed that day, from the way we fly, to how we see the world, to the way we do business. This includes how we think about technology, and how we protect the people and institutions developing the tools we need to fight terrorism. Post 9/11, it became obvious that something needed to be done to help companies who create anti-terrorism technologies. So how do you do that?
By using the SAFETY Act, of course.
Over the years, the has worked with businesses and the public sector to help incentivize innovation for counterterrorism. The principal goal of OSAI is to provide risk mitigation to product manufacturers and service providers that support the homeland security enterprise. The risk mitigation is key. It’s provided through protections outlined in the Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies (SAFETY) Act of 2002 in the form of a so-named Designation. That Designation caps a company’s liability in the event of an act of terrorism. There is also a Certification, which allows covered businesses to use the government contractor defense in court and may provide complete protection from liability.
So who can apply for these protections? The SAFETY Act Final Rule allows virtually any entity (government, state, local, tribal, territorial, or private sector) to submit a core set of standards, technical specifications, operating procedures, etc. to OSAI for evaluation, which is then sent to me for approval. In total, we have covered 826 technologies to date. Companies like K2 Solutions, Inc. that detects explosives and the Green Bay Packers who provide security at Lambeau Field, are a few examples of entities with approved technologies.
Our aim at S&T is to ensure the possessors of such anti-terrorism technologies are not deterred by the threat of liability from developing and commercializing products and technologies that could save lives in the event of a terrorist attack.
The SAFETY Act is all about empowering businesses and companies. At S&T, we recognize that the universe of technologies that can be deployed against terrorism includes far more than just physical products. Therefore, the defense of the homeland will require deployment of a broad range of solutions. This includes services, software, and other forms of intellectual property. Qualified anti-terrorism technologies have been broadly defined in the SAFETY Act (and I encourage all those interested to learn more), but it boils down to this: The SAFETY Act is here to manage risk and protect people and businesses from an effect of terrorism not often considered in the wake of an attack.
If you are still asking “Why the SAFETY Act?” Because we need that tech. Because it’s a part of securing the homeland. To put it simply: because it matters.
At its core, the SAFETY Act is a set of tools designed to incentivize businesses to produce and deploy innovative homeland security products, and it has been working. Over the years, the SAFETY Act and sponsors have seen success in spurring interest in their programs. If your office has a program and would like to pursue a Designation or Certification, you can learn more on our website, www.SAFETYAct.gov or contact us at OSAI@hq.dhs.gov.