FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (Click here for PDF version)
New technologies ready for front lines of terrorism war
Command & control equipment, communications help
COLUMBUS, Ohio (Dec. 14, 2004) - There are many affordable, currently available technologies that would allow state and local governments to be better prepared for any emergency - not just a terrorist attack, experts agreed during a think tank forum Dec. 13 at Ohio State University.
"States and cities need the same tools the military has," said Paul Helmke, former mayor of Fort Wayne, Ind., and now chairman of anti-terror consultancy Sentry Points. "But most municipalities don't think they're going to be the target of terrorism - instead, they're more concerned about accidents and emergencies."
In other words, participants were told during the day-long session at OSU's Schottenstein Center, any equipment must not only be "off-the-shelf" and affordable, but also easy to integrate into current systems and available for use on a daily basis.
Too often, a vendor will come in and suggest revamping the communications system - something a city may have spent thousands of dollars on, said Dan Estrem, ex-FBI counter-terrorism agent and currently consultant for Center for Strategic Management. That won't fly and could even alienate the government against new expenditures. New technologies must fit into current configurations and leverage assets. He also said it is important to make sure the technology is easy to use by the rank and file or it will never be successfully adopted.
Among the tools presented at the forum:
Also highlighted during the forum was The Ohio State University Program for International and Homeland Security, which identifies key policy issues, needs and obstacles affecting cross-agency command and control implementation and coordination.
"Kenneth Morckel, Director of the Ohio Department of Public Safety, and Ohio Homeland Security have a robust and well-organized program compared to other states," said Warren Parish, co-host, and Homeland Security consultant.
"The forum was a great success," said Michael McKibben, founder and chairman of Leader, host for the event. "We're already three years past the events of 9/11 and many state and local governments are still no closer to having many of the command and control tools they need in the event of major emergencies. This forum showed that those tools are affordable and available now."
For more information, contact John Frees at 614-939-1674 or Michael McKibben at 614-890-1986.