Official outlines intergovernmental efforts to bolster security

Homeland security officials are working with state and local governments to implement initiatives aimed at boosting the sharing of emergency-response resources and improving the ability of different agencies' equipment to communicate with each other, a Homeland Security Department official said on Thursday.

Michael Brown, undersecretary for the department's emergency preparedness and response directorate, told the House Homeland Security Committee that his agency is moving forward with programs that are aimed at boosting domestic preparedness in case of natural disasters or terrorist attacks similar to those of Sept. 11, 2001.

The directorate plans to distribute more than $145 million this year in conjunction with the Justice Department's Community Oriented Policing Service, Brown said in a prepared statement.

State and local governments "will compete for demonstration projects that will explore uses of equipment and technologies to increase interoperability among the fire, law enforcement and emergency-medical-services communities," he said. Those projects will serve as models for technical solutions in public safety that can be deployed throughout the country, he added.

Emergency-response and public-safety groups have been grappling with the poor interoperability of their communications and other equipment that are seen as vital to coordinating response efforts in situations like those on Sept. 11.

On another front, Brown's directorate held a nationwide exercise and training program to simulate conditions of a terrorist attack. "This exercise was a success in part because it revealed several areas for improvement the directorate is now addressing" Brown said. It "also validated that our existing processes and procedures will allow [the directorate] to respond to a disaster, including a terrorist attack with a weapon of mass destruction."

The agency spent $165 million in April to fund emergency-management performance grants, which are targeted toward helping state and local "first responders" to emergencies plan similar training exercises. The agency also will award nearly $74 million to help states upgrade their emergency operations centers with new technologies and physical improvements.

The directorate, furthermore, is developing new inter-local and intrastate agreements to share equipment and personnel, Brown said. Those mutual-aid requests will be integrated into a national system for "requesting, receiving and managing emergency-response resources," which he said would enhance the nation's ability to recover in an emergency.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.