Letter to the Editor

Your View 8/25: Homeland security

Monday, August 25, 2003

The Standard Democrat had an article on Aug. 17 about the Missouri Department of Homeland Security.

For those who may be interested in learning more about this department, here is some information I found on the Internet.

"Gov. Bob Holden created the Missouri Office of Homeland Security on Sept. 26, 2001. Missouri was the first state in the nation to create an office reporting directly to the governor and charged to assist the governor in leading the Missouri's response to the disaster of Sept. 11, 2001. Governor Holden appointed Col. Tim Daniel, U.S. Army (Retired) to this cabinet level position. Colonel Daniel's job was to assess the readiness of the state and its communities to deter, prevent and appropriately respond to acts of terrorism in Missouri.

In November 2001 Governor Holden appointed the Missouri Security Panel. The Panel consisted of leaders representing state and local government, state and local law, fire and emergency planning officials, private citizens and other relevant officials. The results of the panel were briefed to Governor Holden on Jan. 25, 2002, and these results serve as valuable signposts in the homeland security programs of Missouri.

Despite limited funding opportunities, Missouri's communities have been taking appropriate action to assess and act on their communities. Because of the existence of natural disasters of significant consequence the State of Missouri, county and local governments have been preparing to respond to large-scale disasters for a number of years. As a result, Missouri is well prepared to address the consequences of most disasters, natural or man-made. However, no state or community is prepared to fully and adequately respond to the consequences of a weapon of mass destruction (WMD). Because of the significance of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, it is appropriate for planning to now focus largely but not exclusively on detecting and preventing terrorist attacks and specifically on responding to the tragedy of WMD. You are invited to review the summary of activities accomplished at the state level in the Year In Review.

On Sept. 11, 2002 Governor Holden through Executive Order 02-15 and Executive Order 02-16, created the Missouri Security Council. The Council will make recommendations to the governor regarding homeland security issues that are significant and interdepartmental in nature. The Council will serve as the Board of Directors for the Office of Homeland Security. Finally, the Council will recommend the level of state participation and leadership in issues that must be coordinated regionally, statewide or that involves local government and the private sector."

For more information, you can visit the Missouri Department of Homeland Security Website at: www.homelandsecurity.state.mo.us/