New Jersey Homeland Security operations
| 05.30.2006 | 08:17:11 | Views: 2203 | ID:
May 31: The Philadelphia Inquirer ran a story by the Associated Press chronicling the duties of New Jersey's director of homeland security since the position was elevated in the state to the governor's cabinet. Director Richard Canas "has moved to address key concerns, such as chemical plant safety, communications, and, perhaps most important, accountability - making sure New Jersey's far-flung and sometimes competitive agencies and first responders know exactly who is in charge of what," the AP reported. Canas told the AP, "The hardest part of this thing is that it's moving so fast that I'm afraid I'm going to miss something. ... It's a very broad mandate."
Before taking the helm of New Jersey's homeland security operations, Canas was the National Security Council under George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Canas also worked in the Central Intelligence Agency and was the director of the National Drug Intelligence Center.Other recent efforts by Canas include a bird flu pandemic plan that is being ironed out through a series of "table-top" exercises according to the state's homeland security site through a press release. The exercise, under the aegis of a theoretical or logistical discussion, was "designed to assess New Jersey's ability to respond to a pandemic event; identify any communication gaps between State agencies; and help direct the State's ongoing planning for a possible pandemic." A local NBC affiliate reported that among the participants will be Rutgers University, and federal officials from the Department of Health and Human Services, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as New Jersey homeland security officials. Additional homeland security operations in New Jersey were detailed by the Inquirer on Monday. County officials in Gloucester, a southern Jersey county, have begun training "employee volunteers under the County on Patrol program," which is designed to help local law enforcement. One county official told the Inquirer that "volunteer employees were learning how to spot obvious as well as discreet activities that could be deemed suspicious under new counterterrorism guidelines. For example, a person videotaping a chemical plant or a refinery should be reported." Canas said he ongoing community preparations and state programs have made him "extremely impressed so far at our ability to analyze information - international information, national and local information. ... Our ability is 100 times better than it was prior to 9/11."
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