National Intergovernmental Policy Forum Takes on Domestic Terrorism Issues

Article excerpt

The National League of Cities' voiced its growing concerns about domestic terrorism last October during a forum of leading local, state, federal, military and defense industry officials in Washington, D.C.

"Weapons of Mass Destruction & Domestic Preparedness: Policy Issues and Program Requirements" was sponsored by Defense Week of King Communications Group, Inc. to foster alliances among governmental leaders and industry officials regarding chemical and biological nonproliferation, state and municipal program requirements for counterterrorism, and advanced technologies to detect and respond to the use of chemical or biological agents.

The three-day conference involved officials from the Department of Defense, Department of Energy, Department of Justice, Department of Health and Human Services, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Council Member Olden Henson of Hayward, Calif., who serves on NLC's Public Safety & Crime Prevention Steering Committee was a meeting participant. He called attention to local concerns and framed the issues from the municipal perspective. "The challenges we face," he said, "to prepare state and local governments and their first responders to deal with terrorist incidents are complex and multifaceted."

"Whether chemical or biological agents are used, our cities must be prepared for a variety of threats. Large scale evacuations, public health emergencies, the detection of explosives, and identifying other hazardous materials are just a few of these challenges in the event of a terrorist threat or incident."

During a panel discussion on technical and policy issues at the state and municipal levels, Council Member Henson carried forth the Public Safety Committee's concerns about cities' ability to implement proper consequence management policies in the event of a terrorist incident. …