Former Homeland Security Secretary Ridge launches security consultancy

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Former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge has formed his own private security consulting firm.

The company, Ridge Global LLC, will offer a variety of consulting services, including what it calls "strategic business generation, global trade security, risk assessment and contingency planning, crisis management and communications, leadership guidance and change management, special event security and technology innovation and integration," according to a news release.

Ridge, a former Republican governor of Pennsylvania, also announced the formation of the Ridge Global Advisory Committee, which includes international security and terrorism analyst Gen. Barry McCaffrey, former Homeland Security advisor Gen. John Gordon, former U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Thomas Collins and former White House Cyber Security Advisor Howard Schmidt.

This is "a true Washington-style consulting group," Tim Bennett, president of the Cyber Security Industry Alliance (CSIA), told "It's a blend of senior former U.S. government officials who have senior-level contacts in the U.S. and with senior-level foreign government officials."

The company will find plenty of opportunity "as more foreign governments become aware of the need to secure their critical infrastructures — everything from IT to telecom, to water, power, food and transportation," Bennett added.

Amit Yoran, former director of the National Cyber Security Division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and CEO of NetWitness, praised Ridge's leadership ability.

"Tom has tremendous insight into security — its challenges, the infrastructure problems and strategies," Yoran, who worked under Ridge at DHS, told "I think he can bring a lot to the table — he clearly has national and global perspective and experience."

"Think back to America immediately following 9/11,” Yoran added. “We're talking about a lot of uncertainty, confusion and hysteria. I would say one of Tom's strengths is the charismatic leadership he showed during those times with a lot of uncertainty and facing challenges from unknown threats."

Ridge Global's client list includes the government of Albania, which is relying on the company to help the Adriatic democracy join NATO in 2008. Ridge Global will also work with another consulting firm, Deloitte & Touche, in its government-focused projects.

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