Science & Tech

Beyond the Beltway: Focusing on Hometown Security

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Kennedy School report issues recommendations for state and local planners

“Beyond the Beltway: Focusing on Hometown Security,” prepared by participants in the Kennedy School’s Executive Session on Domestic Preparedness, calls upon federal officials to place greater emphasis upon local emergency planning efforts as an integral part of the national security strategy. That strategy, the report concludes, must go beyond the formation of a Department of Homeland Security to protect Americans in their hometowns. Utilizing lessons learned from preparedness efforts in cities and towns throughout the United States, the report is intended to stimulate discussion about and initiate action to address security priorities on the grassroots level. “One of the lessons from 9/11 is that terrorist organizations can strike anywhere, anytime, and the first responders to the scene play the primary role in assessing and containing the damage, tending to the injured, providing information to the local community, and saving lives,” said Juliette Kayyem, executive director of the ESDP and former member of the National Commission on Terrorism. “While the creation of a federal department of homeland security continues in Washington, we simply cannot afford to overlook the financial and other critical support local and state planners need to prepare for a major emergency in their own backyards.”