Protecting A President: A High-Tech Shield

Aftter NYPD sharpshooters fired more than 75 rounds of ammunition into the shield, Vic LaSala of ADSI showed CBS News the results.
As Barack Obama prepares for Tuesday's inauguration, so is American Defense System Inc. They created the bulletproof glass that will shield Obama. Armen Keteyian took a look at this high grade glass and its designers.

When Barack Obama first stepped out on the stage as president-elect, a new transparent shield made its own debut.

CBS News chief investigative correspondent Armen Keteyian recently took an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at the high-tech suburban New York company, little known to the public, that created the shield entrusted with the monumental task of protecting the president: American Defense Systems Inc.

"We are here to protect and serve those who protect, defend and serve us," said the president and CEO of ADSI, Tony Piscitelli.

Mr. Obama's shield is starkly different -- lighter, thinner, and stronger -- than the one first built to guard President Ronald Reagan.

Today, there are multi-layered combinations of space-age material, including glass, ceramic, crystal, and even polymers, like those used to cover a golf ball.

One side of the glass is called the attack side. President-elect Obama, standing on the inside will be facing what is called the "safe side."

The glass is designed to resist bullets, blasts and unwanted entry while providing the clear-eyed access the press and public have come to expect.

"This glass went under the scrutiny of three men with special lights and jeweler's loupe," said Piscitelli.

ADSI allowed two NYPD sharpshooters to put their product to the test.

In all, they fired more than 75 rounds of high-caliber ammo into a shield. CBS News then inspected the results with Vic LaSala, the company's head of research and development.

The attack-side glass was harmed by the bullets, which created spider-web patterns on it. But the safe side, though it had spewed bits of debris, remained smooth and solid.

The defense company doesn't just protect presidents and the pope. Its armor and shields are also safeguarding the lives of law enforcement, and troops on the front lines in Afghanistan and Iraq.

But for all ADSI does to keep our military safe by modifying vehicles, shielding our soldiers from snipers and bombs, it's most vital mission is to protect and serve the president.