NVision Solutions Chief Operations Officer Testifies at Congressional Homeland Security Hearing on SAFETY Act
June 2, 2011 -- Bay Saint Louis, Miss. – Craig Harvey, Chief Operations Officer and Executive Vice President of NVision Solutions, Inc., was asked by Congressman Bennie Thompson (MS) to testify before a hearing of the Committee on Homeland Security’s Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection and Security Technologies last week in the Cannon House Office Building. The hearing, “Unlocking the SAFETY Act’s Potential to Promote Technology and Combat Terrorism,” was held to examine the effectiveness of the SAFETY Act.
Congress passed the SAFETY (Support Anti-terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies) Act as part of the Homeland Security Act of 2002, due to concern of private companies who were developing and deploying anti-terrorism products and services. The concern was that their technologies could leave them and their customers exposed to enormous civil liabilities. The SAFETY Act is meant to protect technology providers as well as the businesses and facilities using them and to encourage people to use them before the fact.
“Legal precedents such as those emanating from 9/11 attacks as well as those holding the port authority of New York and New Jersey liable for the 1993 World Trade Center attacks make it clear that civil litigation can intimidate developers and users of security technologies and services after a terrorist event,” said Subcommittee Chairman, Representative Dan Lungren (CA). “I want to ensure that the SAFETY Act is attracting maximum participation from the private sector in the homeland security marketplace for the protection of all Americans.”
NVision Solutions pursued the SAFETY Act designation for REACT (Real-Time Emergency Action Coordination Tool). REACT is a web-based, all-hazards, emergency management, common operating picture (COP) linked to smartphones for tracking and reporting from the field to an Emergency Operations Center or Unified Command. REACT was jointly developed over the past 6 years with NASA Stennis Space Center and using Hancock County Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and St Tammany Parish, LA Emergency Management Agency as real-life test beds.
During his testimony before the committee, Harvey commented on NVision’s experience with the complexity of the Safety Act Application. “It is onerous and time consuming as it should be given the gravity of what is at stake. There was one particular problem that our company encountered in the application process. DHS informed us we had 30 days to cover a one million dollar insurance liability before we were officially protected by the act’s indemnification clause,” said Harvey. “This requirement was the primary obstacle of the process that presented us with difficulty. We found that insurers were unfamiliar with the SAFETY Act and unwilling to cover ‘acts of terrorism.’ Despite the fixed liability we were unable find affordable insurance. Ultimately, armed with help and encouragement from DHS, we finally located a broker willing to provide affordable insurance and finalized our SAFETY Act designation.”
During the question and answer period Harvey was asked by Ranking Member Yvette D. Clarke (NY), what impact the proximity to NASA Stennis Space Center may have had on the product or the process. Harvey replied that NVision was formed inside the business incubator at NASA Stennis Space Center and access to NASA facilities and relationships built with NASA Scientist and Engineers played a critical role in the development of REACT and NVision Solutions.
Harvey says that NVision Solutions has made significant investment in learning the ins and outs of the process. NVision now offers consulting services to small and medium-sized enterprises interested in mitigating the effort required for a successful submission. “We would like to put our experience to work to help other companies so they don’t have to ‘reinvent the wheel,’ so to speak,” said Harvey.
Others testifying before the committee included Paul Benda of the Department of Homeland Security; Marc Pearl of the Department of Homeland Security; Brian Finch, a Partner of Dickstein Shapiro, LLP; and, Scott Boylan, Vice President and General Counsel of Morpho Detection, Inc.
NVision Solutions, Inc. is a small, disadvantaged, minority, woman-owned certified 8(a) firm specializing in advanced geospatial solutions. NVision, headquartered near the NASA Stennis Space Center in south Mississippi, is an active member of the EIGS geospatial technology cluster of the Magnolia Business Alliance (MBA). MBA’s goal is to impact economic development by serving as an advocate for small and medium sized businesses. For more information about NVision Solutions, Inc., call 228.242.0010, or visit www.NVisionSolutions.com.
CONTACT: Craig Harvey, (228-242-0015), Email Contact