Today, U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand reintroduced legislation to make the State University of New York (SUNY) a member of the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium (NDPC), a partnership of several organizations meant to enhance the emergency preparedness of federal, state, local, and nongovernmental emergency responders and counter-terrorism teams. The NDPC is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) National Preparedness Directorate and has a 12 year history of substantial improvements to national preparedness. SUNY’s inclusion in the consortium would contribute considerable security training and research expertise to the NDPC, and would fill a geographic void as the NDPC currently lacks a member organization in the northeast. Schumer and Gillibrand note that currently, SUNY’s National Center for Security and Preparedness (NCSP) trains emergency personal and first-responders throughout the state on how to protect infrastructure and respond to biological hazards, and his legislation would allow NCSP to share their expertise on a national level.
“The inclusion of SUNY’s National Center for Security and Preparedness in this national consortium would be a win-win for New Yorkers and emergency personnel nationwide,” said Schumer. “The NCSP would have the resources to expand its preparedness training and educational programs for New York emergency personnel, while also extending the reach of their expertise to emergency responders and counter-terrorism teams across the country. At a time when the United States’ must have the highest level of counter-terrorism preparedness, the nation has a lot to learn from the NCSP’s expertise in protecting infrastructure and responding to biological hazards.”
“New York knows better than any the threats we face,” Senator Gillibrand said. “SUNY is home to cutting edge research and innovation that can provide great improvements to America’s preparedness – whether for a terrorist attack or responding to natural disasters. Adding SUNY to the NDPC will help give our first responders the tools and training they need to keep more Americans safe, and save lives.”
“The addition of the National Center for Security & Preparedness at the University at Albany State University of New York will expand the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium with a center in the northeastern region of nation and will expand this premier consortium’s capabilities in the areas of intelligence, information sharing, and terrorism interdiction,” said Rick Matthews, the Director of the National Center for Security & Preparedness. “The relationship of the Center with the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services will also enable national level scenario-based, high-performance terrorism interdiction training to be brought to the Sate Preparedness Training Center in central New York.”
SUNY’s National Center for Security and Preparedness trains emergency personnel throughout the state to protect infrastructure and respond to biological hazards, and would join seven existing member organizations if added through this legislation. Currently, the NDPC has seven member organizations including the Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP) in Alabama, the Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center (EMRTC) at New Mexico Tech, the National Center for BioMedical Research and Training (NCBRT) at Louisiana State University, the National Emergency Response and Rescue Training Center (NERRTC) at Texas A&M, the National Disaster Preparedness Training Center at the University of Hawaii, the Counter Terrorism Operations Support (CTOS)/the Nevada Test Site (NTS) in North Las Vegas, and the Transportation Technology Center, Inc. in Pueblo, Colorado. Between these seven members, the NDPC trains federal, state, local, tribal, and nongovernmental groups in emergency response techniques and disaster preparedness strategies that reduce vulnerability to criminal and terrorist incidents. Each facility has a specific role in ensuring the preparedness of our nation’s first responders. Since 1998, the Consortium has trained 750,000 people.
SUNY would be the first member organization from the northeast. Schumer and Gillibrand’s legislation will integrate the National Center for Security and Preparedness, a subset of the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy at the University of Albany, into the NDPC. The Center, though located in Albany, is a combined effort of all 64 SUNY campuses, and will create a program focused on intelligence, infrastructure protection and analysis, information sharing, and critical decision-making – areas that none of the NDPC’s current member organizations currently address.
The legislation would provide the center with $5 million for administrative and technical efforts related to the development and delivery of a Department of Homeland Security certified course that will train critical infrastructure protection analysts. There is a pressing need to provide technical training to those professionals engaged at federal, state, and local levels in analytical techniques and processes necessary to conduct risk assessments and analysis, including simulations and modeling, of the infrastructure identified as critical by national, state, or local security officials.
The senators state that SUNY NCSP’s inclusion in the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium would be a win-win, allowing SUNY to expand its preparedness training and educational programs in New York, while sharing their incredible expertise with emergency personnel nationwide. SUNY being the largest higher-education system in the nation, with proximity to thousands of first response organizations and a population of tens of millions, would make the NCSP an invaluable NDPC member.