ISO/TC 223

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ISO/TC 223 is a technical committee of the International Organization for Standardization formed to develop standards in the area of societal security: increasing crisis and continuity management and capabilities through technical, human, organization, operational, and management approaches as well as operational functionality and interoperability, as well as awareness amongst all interested parties and stakeholders.

ISO/TC 223 will work towards international standardization that provides protection from and response to risks of unintentionally, intentionally, and naturally caused crises and disasters that disrupt and have consequences on societal functions. The committee will use an all-hazards perspective covering the phases of emergency and crisis management before, during, and after a societal security incident.

ISO/TC 223 will address and supplement issues not currently addressed by other technical committees or international bodies which ISO has formal agreements.

Security challenges to society

Now and in the future, survival of nations and citizens concerns the security of critical functions of society, rather than only the classical focus on the security of the territory. This shift entails the ability of the government and civil society to function, critical infrastructures to be maintained, the democratic ability to govern, and to manifest certain basic values. These abilities are put under pressure during severe crises. In societal security several elements that traditionally have been kept apart are becoming fused: procedures for peace and war merge, internal and external security are interlocked, and the ambitions of enhancing state security and providing citizen safety become blurred.

These are new challenges. They have implications for what (concepts and) tools we need to enhance security, citizens safety and crisis management capacity in an increasingly interdependent and borderless world. And these trans-boundary challenges are not covered by the traditional concept of national civil defence. A new title is suggested with the primary purpose to provide an “umbrella-concept” under which standardization activities can be developed that support the safeguarding of core functions of society as well as providing guidelines for the response and recovery from catastrophinc events. Thus, the new title of ISO/TC 223 is "Societal Security" marking a new direction.

Current objectives for the work of ISO/TC 223

Taking the recommendations and assessments made in the Final Report of ISO Advisory Group on Security as a point of departure, the objective of ISO/TC 223 is to assess the need for and develop ISO standards and other deliverables within its chosen scope.

In doing so, it should:

• ensure that ISO/TC 223 is aware of relevant international policy developments and trends within its scope,
• ensure cooperation with other standardization groups dealing with security aspects,
• ensure that as many as possible of relevant stakeholders are aware of and participates in the work of the Technical Committee,
• ensure that the work is in line with ISO/TMB Implementation Guidance on Global Relevance of ISO Technical Work and Publications,
• ensure that the work is conducted according to the ISO/IEC Directives.

Scope and initial priorities of ISO/TC 223[edit]

The ISO Advisory Group on Security (AGS) in its Final Report (ISO/TMB/AGS N 46) refers to several studies concluding that standards play a critical role in ensuring security and that in key security areas standards are not complete or lacking.

International standardization in the area of societal security, aimed at increasing crisis and continuity management and capabilities through technical, human, organization, operational, and management approaches as well as operational functionality and interoperability, as well as awareness amongst all interested parties and stakeholders.

TC 223 will work towards international standardization that provides protection from and response to risks of unintentionally, intentionally, and naturally caused crises and disasters that disrupt and have consequences on societal functions. The committee will use an all-hazards perspective covering the phases of emergency and crisis management before, during, and after a societal security incident.

ISO/TC 223 will address and supplement issues not currently addressed by other technical committees or international bodies which ISO has formal agreements.

The initial priority of ISO/TC 223 is therefore to identify those standards and other deliverables within the agreed scope of the TC that are deemed necessary to develop by the committee but are still missing and are not being developed by others, as well as to ensure cooperation and liaisons with existing ISO/TC’s and other standards developers in the field.

The standardization activity in ISO/TC 223 will consider all phases of crisis management in natural, accidental or antagonistic events (the all-hazards approach). Aspects of security efforts, including studies, preparations, analysis, systems development, evaluation, prognoses, and after action review will be addressed. Society faces a broad range of societal vulnerabilities and disruptive challenges. Efficient crisis management typically builds upon the functioning of, and standards and methods used in, normal day-to-day activities which are put under severe pressure in an unfolding crisis. In order to build greater overall resilience the ISO/TC 223 standardization work aims at facilitating co-ordinated multi-functional efforts in severe crises that have an impact on security at society level.

To identify key standardization areas a combined top-down bottom-up approach is suggested. AGS recognized in their Final Report that Technical Committees working with standards in this area frequently use a bottom-up approach. Therefore ISO/TC 223 intends to complement this work method with a top-down approach developed on the basis of recognized threats and vulnerabilities as well as business needs. This complementing analysis will bring added values to standards and other deliverables.

In real time events, accidents and crises, time is a critical factor and can not be spent on translations and interpretations of messages. Internationally, a lot of effort is already put into standardizing information flow between organizations working within different functional segments of societal security (“stove-pipes”). Police information exchange with Interpol and EUROPOL are examples of de facto standards on information flow. On the military side treaty organizations have standards for information exchange. ISO/TC223 will therefore, initially prioritize but not limit itself to the development of standards to facilitate multi-functional crisis management and cross-over information exchange, in order to avoid problems with co-operation in a “stove-pipe” approach. Moreover ISO/TC 223 will emphasize harmonization with other standardization initiatives concerning vocabulary, terminology, concepts and basic principles. Ongoing activities within the standardization area (ISO, IEC, IEEE, CEN) and within international and regional organizations, will be considered (see also 4.2). Identification of best practices in procedures and methodologies will be another important element.

Introduction to Societal Security[edit]

The term Societal security was introduced as a political science concept developed by Nicholas Cringall in 1984. The definition of Societal Security for ISO/TC 223 is broader than just TO DEAL what might challenge the group's identity.

In recent years there have been many highly consequential natural disasters, terrorist attacks and severe crises, which have propelled the issue of crisis management to the top of the national agenda in many countries. As functions in society are shared there is a need to engage individuals, organizations, the private sector and the government in an inclusive discussion on how to better prepare, respond to and recover from crises.

Now and in the future, survival of nations and citizens concerns the security of critical functions of society, rather than only the classical focus on the security of the territory. This shift entails the ability of the government and civil society to function, critical infrastructures to be maintained, the democratic ability to govern, and to manifest certain basic values. Such abilities are put under pressure during severe crises. In societal security several elements that traditionally have been kept apart are becoming fused: procedures for peace and war merge, internal and external security are interlocked, and the ambitions of enhancing state security and providing citizen safety become blurred.

These are new and more complex challenges. These challenges have implications for what (concepts and) tools we need to enhance security, citizens safety and crisis management capacity in an increasingly interdependent and borderless world. Such trans-boundary challenges are not covered by the traditional concept of national civil defence.

Thus, the proposed “umbrella”-concept of societal security is aimed at countering the threats and vulnerabilities in society that require comprehensive crisis management and business continuity systems which are multi-sector, multi-national and multi-continental.

Increased societal security requires a capacity for holistic crisis management emphasizing interoperability and including all key phases of crises. This capacity should have an overall flexibility in order to be able to manage crises that include un-predicted and un-expected elements and events. The purpose is to build a greater overall resilience in the face of a broad range of societal vulnerabilities and disruptive challenges.

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