Governors to release road map for homeland security

The National Governors Association is preparing a homeland security report to help guide state and local governments on issues ranging from bioterrorism and public health to emergency communications and disaster response.

The report, which is slated for release before the end of December, is the result of a yearlong effort by the NGA Homeland Security Policy Academy. The group delivered its findings to the governors after a two-day meeting late last month in Savannah, Ga.

The academy, established in February, included teams from seven states and one territory. Each team consisted of six individuals representing homeland security advisers, adjutant generals, state emergency management directors, public health directors and local emergency management, health and law enforcement officials.

A common denominator in the presentations was that states intend to secure federal funding and share information across all levels of government.

The states that participated and their focus:

  • Georgia The state will develop a long-term strategy for consolidating divergent terrorism prevention planning efforts by federal, state and local government with a special focus on information sharing and intelligence gathering.

  • Indiana The state will develop a software tool for IT project management to assimilate all state agencies' activities into Indiana's Counter Terrorism and Security Council.

  • Iowa The state will implement a comprehensive strategy to secure Iowa from terrorist attacks with a specific focus on enhancing biological and agricultural terrorism prevention.

  • Ohio The state will focus on the development of a single, integrated command structure that encompasses both public and private entities in preparation for a bioterrorism attack.

  • Pennsylvania The state will focus on regional sharing of criminal justice information and establish a computer network linking 130 hospitals and 50,000 doctors to monitor trends that may lead to early detection of a bioterrorist attack.

  • Utah The state will focus on enhancing and sustaining organizational structure to ensure coordination and information sharing at all levels of government and the private sector.

  • Virgin Islands The territory will continue to assess its critical infrastructures, specifically ports and refineries; seek to break the connection between drugs and terrorists; and examine liability issues for first responders.

  • West Virginia The state will focus on developing interoperable communications and public health efforts to prepare for possible bioterrorist attacks.

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