WASHINGTON – Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., and Ranking Member Susan Collins R-Maine., Wednesday held a hearing to focus on lessons learned from the Mumbai attacks and examine best practices in the private sector for the protection of soft targets.

Witnesses included the Vice President for Corporate Security for Marriott International and the Managing Director of Tishman Speyer, a global property management company.

“One of the most difficult challenges that the Mumbai attacks illuminated is the protection of soft targets,” Lieberman said. “The Mumbai terrorists attacked hotels, an outdoor café, a Jewish community center, and a movie theater – places that are not traditionally subject to a high level of security. The protection of these kinds of soft targets is a challenge in an open society as – by definition – they are facilities that must be easily accessible to the general public and are often used by large numbers of people at one time. But that does not mean that we can leave soft targets unguarded.”

“With approximately 85 percent of our country’s critical infrastructure in private hands, strong public-private partnerships are essential to preventing attacks and promoting resiliency when disaster strikes,” said Collins. “The fact is that the government, working alone, simply does not have the resources to protect all critical infrastructure from attack or to rebuild and recover after a disaster. Effective prevention, preparedness, and resiliency rely on the vigilance and cooperation of the owners and operators of the private facilities and the general public.”

Today’s hearing built on a January 8th hearing during which top intelligence and law enforcement officials discussed the security lessons learned from the terrorist attacks on Mumbai in November 2008.

“A range of activities and investments must be deployed to enhance soft target security, including security awareness training for personnel, physical security measures and effective information sharing between the government and the private sector,” Lieberman added. “A basic level of security is important across all commercial sectors and to commerce itself.”

Witnesses included Brian Michael Jenkins, Senior Advisor for the RAND Corporation, Ashley J. Tellis, a Senior Associate for Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, J. Alan Orlob, Vice President, Corporate Security for Marriott International, Inc. and Michael L. Norton, Managing Director, Global Property Management and Operations, Tishman Speyer.