Kathleen Parker

WASHINGTON -- Where there's a terrorist, there's a business opportunity.

If you're new to that concept, no worries. There's still plenty of money to be made in the homeland security industry.

You've heard of IEDs -- those nasty roadside bombs that have killed too many American sons and daughters. Well, here's worse news -- or maybe good news for your investment portfolio: IEDs may be coming to America.

And this means that counter-IED technology will be the newest market segment in homeland security. Thrilling, isn't it?

So goes the newest prediction from Homeland Security Research Corp. (HSRC), a Washington-based consultancy group that caters to businesses and governments. Some of its clients include the U.S. House of Representatives, NATO, the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute and the governments of Japan and Sweden, as well as such corporations as Boeing, DuPont, Panasonic and Cisco, just to name a few.

You can be a client, too, but it'll cost you. You know what they say: It takes money to make money. If you want a peek at the just-released report on the future of IED markets, you'll have to pony up $5,950.

For that, you'll get 279 pages, 94 figures and 144 tables explaining that, even if things improve in the Middle East, the problem of IEDs will continue. Indeed, we're likely to see them increasingly migrate to civilian areas around the world -- an event for which the U.S. and Western Europe are "catastrophically underprepared," according to the folks at HSRC.

But that's OK because technology is in the works and, in collateral benefits, there's money to be made. Our present technological weakness will be the driving force behind a thriving counter-IED market that the HSRC predicts will attain a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 8 percent to 12 percent in the next two decades.

The business of homeland security is nothing new. In fact, some market observers wonder if the boom is already past. Venture capitalists who had hoped to make big gains in the markets created by terrorism began expressing doubts about sustainability of earnings growth at least a year ago.

But then, there's always something new around the corner. With each new terrorist innovation comes a new market. HSRC predicts a robust business in homeland security, figuring the U.S. market share will reach $115 billion by 2011. Civitas Group, another Washington-based investment firm specializing in security, puts the U.S. share of the global homeland security market at $140 billion during the next five years.

Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker is a syndicated columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group.
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