Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

May 14, 2009

Heyman emphasizes preparedness for catastrophe

Filed under: Congress and HLS,Strategy — by Philip J. Palin on May 14, 2009

In Wednesday testimony to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, David Heyman, the President’s nominee for Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security (Policy), emphasized the need for catastrophic risk-readiness.

The following is excerpted from his prepared statement:

In the realm of homeland security, we may face challenges— naturally-occurring disasters and deliberate attacks—so large, they require the full force of our nation—of our cities, states, and federal government—to come together to respond. We face a continuing terrorist threat that is both nimble and dynamic. It exploits the seams of our society, operating in the gaps between bureaucratic notions of foreign and domestic, state and federal, civil and military. To counter these threats, I believe we must have in place a truly national homeland security enterprise—one that is as agile and seamless as those who seek to harm us, and as capable and responsive as needed to prevent, protect against, and, if needed, rapidly recover from all hazards, natural and deliberate. If I am confirmed, I will work every day to meet these challenges, and to help develop a national culture of preparedness that focuses on building more self-reliant communities and individuals. We must institute a greater real-time situational awareness capacity, which means better information sharing consistent with privacy and civil liberties. We need also need to institute a national risk-based planning capability. And we must extend and bolster our capacity at home, by working closely with our international partners abroad.

Mr. Heyman’s complete remarks and an archived webcast can be found on the Committee’s website.

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1 Comment »

Comment by William R. Cumming

May 14, 2009 @ 10:34 am

I like the prepared statement extract! Be interesting to know why or if he thinks we have not made much progress towards those ends since 9/11! Of if progress made, exactly what and why.
For one thing it is certain that NO President has decided that domestic civil crisis response needs a chain of command or a system or process! One may ask why unless it is a simplistic let the military do it?
Also it is very clear that NO Governor ever thinks about mobilization of resources for catastrophic situations within his/her state that might have to be brought in from beyond the borders of his/her state. Yes, FEMA might repeat might be able to provide money and some information if a declaration by the President. But what do the Governors and there staffs know about who, what, why, where, when federal resources will be brought to bear specifically and what capability will they have [specifically logistics, personnel, training, equipment ability to monitor and decontaminate] and how really interoperable are all federal, state and local communication and other systems–in fact how much joint training and exercising is really being accomplished? Hey some of the problems identified in the prepared statement have been identified and existed for decades–so what is the probability of solution NOW?

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