Five States Come Together for Security Discussions
PRINCETON, NJ 12/14/2015 – Homeland security leaders from New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware convened early this month for the Regional Homeland Security Advisor (HSA) Conference in Princeton, New Jersey. The meeting, hosted by the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness and its Director, Dr. Chris Rodriguez, provided a forum for top security officials from the five states to share threat intelligence and best practices and increase coordination across the region. Although the size and scope of their organizations vary, HSAs are responsible for keeping Governors informed on issues affecting homeland security in their states.
The conference had been planned for months, but it came amidst the tragic events in Paris and San Bernardino. “Since 2013, the rapid global proliferation of violent ideology has tragically manifested in attacks throughout the world and at home. Recent events underscore the importance of a state-level approach to coordinated intelligence sharing to counter modern day threats,” said Director Rodriguez. “I thank my counterparts for their visit, as well as their collective efforts to further strengthen the important partnerships that law enforcement and public safety communities have established within the region.”
The HSAs and their delegations discussed the current terrorist threat environment in the region and country, briefed on their state’s security efforts, addressed domestic terrorism, disaster preparedness, cybersecurity, and training. Officials conferred on the evolving global threat landscape and their states’ counterterrorism posture, noting some of the challenges of countering the geographically dispersed nature of recent threats and terrorists’ rapid adoption of new technologies.
“In this new threat environment, it is incumbent on all of us to reinforce to our local communities and to the public the importance of being vigilant and reporting suspicious activity, especially as we enter the holiday season,” said Director Rodriguez.
Since New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a Memorandum of Understanding on counterterrorism in October 2014, New Jersey and New York have enhanced interagency coordination and preparedness efforts for terrorism response.
“We have never seen greater cooperation between our two states on intelligence and information sharing,” said John Melville, Commissioner of New York’s Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services. “The meeting in Princeton not only reinforced that strong partnership but also allowed us to expand regional contacts.”
The conference concluded with a tour of the New Jersey Cybersecurity & Communications Integration Cell (NJCCIC), the state’s one-stop shop for cybersecurity information sharing, threat analysis, and incident reporting. Located at the Regional Operations Intelligence Center in West Trenton, the NJCCIC was created under the Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness to help manage both cyber threats and cyber risks for New Jersey’s public and private sector constituents. More information can be found at www.cyber.nj.gov.