public-private partnerships lead the way to security

August 20, 2013 - Article reads in
Tim Baer, executive vice president, Corporate Security at Target, introduces the forum.

In July, experts from the public and private sectors gathered in Aspen, Colo., to take part in the Aspen Security Forum, an annual meeting of top national security experts hosted by our partner organization, The Aspen Institute and sponsored by Target.

Several of our teams and leaders from across the company, representing a range of areas such as Marketing, Corporate Security, Finance, Government Affairs, International, Information Security and more, attended the forum in person to take part in the discussions with members of the Aspen Homeland Security Group, government officials, industry leaders, investors and nationally noted journalists. Representing the private sector, they shared thoughts on national and global security, the importance of innovation and the value of public-private partnerships, representing the private sector. 

Before the official conference began, Brad Brekke, vice president of Corporate Security at Target, facilitated a roundtable discussion on the need for public-private partnerships with the Aspen Security Group. By joining discussions and sharing insights and information, businesses like Target can help both national and local safety partners mitigate potential security risks.

As Tim Baer, executive vice president, General Counsel and Corporate Security at Target (pictured above), introduced the forum's opening session, he addressed an important question, and one that was on a lot of the attendees’ minds: What is a retail company like Target doing at a security conference?

“The retail business is at the nexus of public safety and commerce,” he explained. “Target is committed to helping build strong, healthy safe communities, which is why we often take part in community discussions about safety, security and other well-being topics. Through our partnerships, we’re able to play a bigger role in supporting the communities where we do business and helping our partners identify and thwart potential security risks.”  The session featured special guest General Mark Welsh, Chief of Staff, U.S. Air Force, who spoke on the topic of homeland security, emerging risk and the military’s preparedness.

Later, while kicking off a panel on the industry's role in cyber security, Ralph Boelter, director of Corporate Security at Target, explained how retail companies can share expertise to help community partners protect information as well.

“As the owner and operator of most of the nation's critical infrastructure, and the repository of considerable expertise in the field, industry has a huge role to play in cyber security,” he said. “The pathway forward will require an alignment of effort on the part of the public sector and the private industry, and that spirit of partnership and cooperation will be key  to a successful strategy for countering cyber threats in the future.”

The panel of experts included Michael Chertoff, former secretary of Homeland Security; Kevin Mandia, founder and chief executive officer, Mandiant; and Suzanne Spaulding, Department of Homeland Security deputy undersecretary for the National Protection and Programs Directorate.

Throughout the three-day forum, team members and leaders took part in more discussions during the events and activities, sharing thoughts, insights and information to help protect the American public from safety threats including cyber attacks, terrorism and natural disasters.

Watch more videos from the 2013 Aspen Security Forum, and visit the Safety & Preparedness pages to learn more about the programs and partners Target supports.

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