Governors' Homeland Security Advisors Council To Focus on Six Issues

The executive committee of the newly created Governors' Homeland Security Advisors Council met for the first time recently in Charleston, S.C., to establish its priorities for the coming year and organize standing committees to focus on those priorities.

The National Governors Association (NGA) and the membership of the council chose the executive committee, while council membership elected a chair and vice chair in July from among the members of the executive committee. The chair, vice chair and executive committee members are:

  • Arizona Homeland Security Director Frank Navarette, chair
  • California Homeland Security Director Matthew Bettenhausen, vice chair
  • Massachusetts Law Enforcement and Homeland Security Undersecretary Robert Haas
  • Delaware Safety and Homeland Security Secretary David Mitchell
  • Michigan Homeland Security Advisor Col. Michael McDaniel
  • Minnesota Public Safety Commissioner Michael Campion
  • Washington Military Department Director Maj. Gen. Timothy Lowenberg
  • South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division Chief Robert Stewart

At the Charleston meeting, the executive committee focused on defining the council's role in assisting and advising governors on significant issues facing the states in the area of homeland security. The council established standing committees to focus on six issues identified as top priorities for the coming year: intelligence and information sharing; protection of critical infrastructure; border security; interoperability of public safety communications; catastrophic planning; and grants and funding.

"The creation of a Governors' Homeland Security Advisors Council will improve the ability of our nation's governors to share best practices on homeland security and preparedness issues," said Navarrete. "I am honored to serve as this council's chair alongside members whose diverse and deep experience in the homeland security arena will allow us to speak with a well-informed, unified voice."

Bettenhausen said the six committees the council has established will allow the members to work collaboratively to share experiences and ideas and develop strategies to address common concerns, risks and threats. "I look forward to working closely with Frank Navarette, the executive committee and the homeland security advisors from throughout the nation as we continue to address some of the most important security-related issues facing the United States," he said.

The National Governors Association Center for Best Practices formed the Governors Homeland Security Advisors Council in June 2006 to provide a forum for the 55 advisors appointed by the governors of each state and territory to share common concerns and develop strategies for managing homeland security threats. The council will meet twice each year, once in Washington, D.C. and once in a state, and will convene as necessary by conference call. The first meeting of the full council is scheduled to take place this fall.

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