O’Malley Named Council of Governors Co-Chair
President Barack Obama named Governor Martin O’Malley co-chair of the Council of Governors, an entity created by the President that recognizes the important role that state and local governments play in homeland security and defense on Monday, Feb. 25. The Council brings governors and key federal officials together to address issues associated with the National Guard, homeland security and defense support to civil authorities.
Governor O’Malley, who was first appointed to the Council in 2010, will be joined by Iowa Governor Terry Branstad as co-chair. The council consists of ten governors, five Democrats and five Republican, as well as the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the President’s Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Advisor, the Commander of U.S. Northern Command, and the Chief of the National Guard Bureau.
“Protecting the safety and security of the people we serve is the first priority of all elected officials,” said Governor O’Malley. “Together, with our federal, state and local partners, we’re working to build a more resilient Maryland and a more resilient nation.”
Every day, the O’Malley-Brown Administration works to ensure that the State remains prepared for the worst and able to quickly bounce back in case of a disaster. “One of the first issues addressed by the Council of Governors was ‘Dual Status Command,’ which was identified as the best solution to address governors’ long-standing concerns regarding the need to ensure coordination between state and federal military forces during disaster response,” said Maj. Gen. James A. Adkins, adjutant general of Maryland. “During Hurricane Sandy, Governor O’Malley implemented the dual status command concept for the first time leading the way in the implementation of one of the major achievements of the Council of Governors and thereby making Maryland a leader in how we respond to emergencies.”
The Governor is also co-chair of the National Governors Association Special Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety and serves on the U.S. Homeland Security Advisory Council to help shape national homeland security policy.
The O’Malley-Brown Administration continues to make steady progress to enhance the security of Maryland’s critical infrastructure. In December 2012 the State completed the first phase of a statewide 700 MHZ interoperable public safety radio system. This radio system provides clear, digital communication between responder agencies in multiple jurisdictions and is on track to be completed statewide by the end of 2016. The first completed phase covers an area of Central Maryland that includes two-thirds of the State’s critical infrastructure, including the Bay Bridge, BWI-Thurgood Marshal Airport, and the Fort McHenry and Baltimore Harbor Tunnels. At many of these same critical facilities, the Administration has also invested heavily in tools like Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) that assist law enforcement agencies in their mission to protect and secure them. Today, first responders in Maryland have access to a shared CCTV network of more than 800 cameras that provide situational awareness of Maryland’s roads, bridges, tunnels, and other key transportation assets. In 2012, the U.S. Coast Guard awarded the Port of Baltimore a near-perfect score in its annual security assessment for the fourth consecutive year.