Initiative maps out homeland efforts
- By Dibya Sarkar
- Nov 03, 2002
National Governors Association Center for Best Practices Homeland Security/Emergency
Management Web site
Representatives from seven states and a U.S. territory recently unveiled
homeland security action plans that were developed during the past year
in an initiative sponsored by the National Governors Association.
The plans will serve as road maps for future homeland security efforts
including bioterrorism response, emergency communications and disaster response.
Plans were presented during an NGA "policy academy" meeting in Savannah,
Ga., Oct. 29-30.
NGA will analyze the state plans and draft a report containing lessons
learned and best practices that will be sent to the homeland security advisers
of all governors by late November or early December, according to Ann Beauchesne,
who directs NGA's Homeland Security and Emergency Management division.
Governors from the states and territory appointed six-member teams of
high-level officials, including homeland security advisers, adjutant generals,
state emergency management and public health directors, and local emergency
management, health and law enforcement officials.
"The teams worked intensively to explore current policies and procedures
and engaged in cross-team analysis of areas for improvement and innovation
and customized their strategies concerning a specific policy or issue area,"
Beauchesne said. Common denominators included securing funding and sharing
information among state, local and federal authorities, she added.
In an e-mail message, Beauchesne provided sketches of what each team
* Georgia is developing a long-term strategy — with a special focus
on information sharing and intelligence gathering — consolidating the anti-terrorism
planning efforts conducted by local, state and federal governments.
* Indiana is focusing on an information technology project management
software tool to assimilate all state agencies' activities into the state's
Counter Terrorism and Security Council.
* Iowa will look at enhancing bioterrorism and agroterrorism preparedness
as it coordinates and implements its comprehensive state strategy.
* Ohio will develop a "single, integrated command structure" encompassing
both public and private entities and develop a management model that links
agencies in a nonhierarchical fashion.
* Pennsylvania is setting up a computer network linking 130 hospitals
and 50,000 doctors to monitor trends that may lead to early detection of
a bioterrorism attack.
* Utah will enhance and sustain an organizational structure — developed
when it hosted the Olympics — to ensure coordination and information sharing
at all levels of government and with the private sector.
* West Virginia will develop interoperable communications and public
health efforts to prepare for bioterrorism.
* The Virgin Islands will continue to assess critical infrastructures,
specifically ports and refineries. The territory also will sever the link
between drugs and terrorists and will examine liability issues for first