CWMD’s Acting Assistant Secretary Gary Rasicot traveled to Atlanta, Georgia, this week to lead a bipartisan staff delegation from the House of Representatives’ Homeland Security Committee in a series of meetings with Georgia state officials and local leaders from three of CWMD’s signature programs: BioWatch, Securing the Cities (STC), and the Mobile Detection Deployment Program (MDDP). Mr. Rasicot was joined by senior congressional staff from the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness Response and Recovery.
“Keeping our communities safe is this Office’s number one priority. Our signature programs, STC, MDDP, and BioWatch, help ensure threats are detected early, so first responders can act quickly,” said Acting Assistant Secretary Gary Rasicot. “To achieve our mission, our most valuable tool is our state and local partners – the members of law enforcement, fire departments, and public health officials, who are on the ground serving their communities each day. Atlanta’s STC, MDDP, and BioWatch Programs are excellent examples of what we can do together at all levels of government to protect our country from serious threats.”
Acting Assistant Secretary Rasicot started the trip with a visit to the Atlanta STC Program where he met with local and state leaders. He received a briefing from Atlanta STC leadership and attended multiple demonstrations from first responders, such as the Atlanta Police Department’s Bomb Squad, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Georgia Department of Public Safety, and Atlanta Fire and Rescue. The STC Program is designed to prevent radiological or nuclear terrorist attacks in high-risk urban areas through a cooperative agreement grant process with eligible U.S. regions. CWMD has an STC program in more than a dozen major cities in America.
In the afternoon, Acting Assistant Secretary Rasicot led the delegation to the Georgia Public Health Laboratory for a BioWatch program briefing and demonstration. The delegation met with the Lab lead, the BioWatch Lab team, and the local BioWatch Advisory Committee Chair and Members to discuss the status of the program and how CWMD can assist them to best protect their communities. CWMD’s BioWatch Program gives warning of an airborne bioterrorist attack. While it is an integrated biodefense network that is federally funded and managed, it is locally operated. CWMD leads the program in over thirty metropolitan areas across the United States.
The delegation concluded with a stop at the Federal Air Marshal Service in Atlanta to attend a training by the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response Program (VIPR) and CWMD’s MDDP. MDDP and TSA/VIPR have an enduring partnership and rich history supporting operations throughout the nation. MDDP enhances chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear detection and interdiction capabilities by deploying equipment and technical support personnel during domestic law enforcement counter-terrorism operations, and events of national significance.
CWMD continues to support our communities and keep them safe by serving as DHS’s focal point for countering weapons of mass destruction efforts. By supporting operational partners across federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial levels, CWMD coordinates DHS efforts to safeguard the United States against chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threats.