One of the layers of security protecting Barack Obama today as he's sworn in as president and makes his first speech as chief executive will be bullet- and blast-resistant glass panels produced by American Defense Systems Inc. of Hicksville and arrayed around the podium.
Ordered by the Secret Service under a contract whose details and cost are classified, the panels are made of multiple layers of glass bonded with a proprietary substance, said Roger Ward, the company's vice president of marketing and investor relations.
The panels are designed to both deflect the paths of - and absorb - projectiles, including bullets and fragments from explosives. "Obviously it can't stop everything; it depends on what's being thrown at it," Ward said yesterday. "But, without question, I can state that the glass will stop [a round from] any handgun, and it will stop assault rifles. It will stop a lot."
American Defense glass has protected Obama twice before during speeches, Ward said, while an earlier design of its panels surrounded President George W. Bush during his 2005 inauguration.
Founded in 2002 by its current chief executive, Tony Piscitelli, American Defense also makes traditional opaque armor, and its main business is supplying protective systems for operators of military construction equipment being used in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The company, whose shares are traded on the American Stock Exchange, employs about 90 people in Hicksville. In a statement Dec. 29, it forecast a 26 percent increase in revenues this year over last, to more than $52 million.