Pallone, Holt Announce Further Initiatives for Homeland Security at Fort Monmouth
Washington, D.C. --- U.S. Reps. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Rush Holt (D-NJ) today announced several initiatives related to homeland security at Fort Monmouth that follow a conference held yesterday with Governor James E. McGreevey.
To further the Governor's efforts, the two New Jersey lawmakers announced today that Fort Monmouth immediately plans to begin collaborating with the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) on providing technical expertise to state and local first responders and homeland security agencies. Fort Monmouth will test and evaluate technological products in order to find the best products that serve the specific needs of the agencies around the state. Pallone and Holt said NJIT and Fort Monmouth plan to hold monthly meetings to begin the process of building these partnerships so such collaboration can take place.
Pallone and Holt say they will also request $2 million for NJIT from the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee to help it coordinate these efforts around the state in an effort to better protect our state.
"Fort Monmouth is one of the premiere communications centers in the nation," Pallone said. " Why should these agencies consult with non-governmental entities when Fort Monmouth has the brain power right here in their own back yard? It only makes sense that the Fort provide its technological expertise to state and local agencies to ensure they're equipped with the best technology."
The two lawmakers also lauded the Governor's decision to place an emergency medicine and management training and simulation center at Fort Monmouth through its Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS). The center would bring together first responders and public safety officials from around the entire Northeast Region to train on different biological or chemical threat scenarios. DHSS also plans to locate an Auxiliary Satellite Command Center at Fort Monmouth to guarantee that there is continuity of operations in the event of an attack. Today, all of DHSS' control and command centers are located in the Trenton area.
"Today, if a terrorist attack were to occur near Trenton, there would be no backup command center," Holt said. "By creating an Auxiliary Command Center at Fort Monmouth, we will ensure New Jersey has the ability to conduct uninterrupted command and control in the event of a biological or chemical terrorist attack."
The center would join several other federal entities auxiliary command centers at Fort Monmouth, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which successfully operated during the giant northeast blackout last summer.
The governor also instructed Dr. Clifton R. Lacy, DHSS Commissioner, to explore bringing much of the state's strategic stockpile of pharmaceuticals, antidotes, equipment and supplies to the heavily secure Fort Monmouth. Currently, these stockpiles are located at multiple undisclosed locations around the state. The tight security already in existence at Fort Monmouth, coupled with the Fort's central location, make it the ideal place for the state to store its strategic stockpile.
Fort Monmouth has become a national leader in the areas of homeland defense and security. As evidenced by Governor McGreevey's announcement yesterday, state and local entities are flocking to the Fort for help with their homeland security needs. In addition to the DHSS and FEMA, Fort Monmouth is playing a pivotal security role to the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) of New York.
Through the Research Development Engineering Center, Fort Monmouth is providing engineering support for the MTA to protect New York City's bridges, tunnels, subways and trains from future terrorist attacks.