New York report recommends tech research center

“After the Storm … New York’s State of Readiness”

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A new report describing New York’s homeland security vulnerabilities recommends the creation of a center where representatives from the public, private and academic sectors can develop innovative technologies.

“While the state has made tremendous strides in protecting its citizens since then, we lack a single place where experts in government, industry, the private sector and academia can convene to receive guidance on the state’s homeland security needs and policies, and government can receive information about reliable homeland security technology,” according to the annual report prepared by the state Senate Committee on Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs.

The report, “After the Storm,” recommends establishing a Center for Homeland Security Innovation as a “nexus” of public- and private-sector resources to develop strategy, policy and technology.

The center could provide test beds allowing scientists, business leaders and academic experts to develop next generation technologies and test them in real world settings with end users. The center could also help develop the state’s homeland security industry and spur economic development.

Overall, the report, released Jan. 30, gave mixed reviews to New York’s all-hazards preparation, pointing to weaknesses in protecting the Port of New York and New Jersey and Long Island.

"Our findings show that a storm cloud is brewing over New York State, exposing major vulnerabilities in our homeland security and emergency preparedness systems," wrote state Sen. Michael Balboni, who is chairman of the committee that prepared the report.

However, the report highlighted several important developments including a $2 billion statewide wireless network initiative to establish seamless interoperable communications, some improved intelligence sharing and intent to comply with the federal Real ID Act that requires minimum standards for driver’s licenses. The report also highlighted a new $212 million electronic surveillance system that will be installed throughout the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Among several priorities for 2006, the report listed new legislation to overhaul the state’s out-of-date computer crime laws to address computer intrusion and cyberterrorism.

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