Rick C. Mathews, Director
National Center for Security & Preparedness
423 State Street
Albany, NY 12203
5900 Airport Road
Oriskany, NY 13424
24 April, 2013
On April 18-19th, 2013, the National Center for Security & Preparedness (NCSP) and the New York State Preparedness Training Center (SPTC) delivered the EMS Triage and Multiple Casualty Incident (MCI) Management course.
Recent events, such as the Boston Marathon bombing, highlight the need for high-end scenario-based training for EMS. Considering the limited resources and large number of victims to be treated, the EMS community can never be over prepared for responding to an MCI. The EMS Triage and Multiple Casualty Incident Management course is intended to train EMS providers to be ready for these once in a career situations.
The course arms EMS providers with the knowledge and skills needed to effectively respond to and manage a multiple casualty incident. Students learn principles and practices of triage, scene management, communications, and coordination through a combination of classroom discussion, skill development lanes, and scenario-based activities. By the end of the two-day course, students have responded to 11 MCI scenario-based activities – more than most EMS providers will see in a lifetime.
EMS Triage and MCI Management is part of a wider effort by the NCSP and SPTC to develop and deliver training for the EMS community. EMS courses currently in development include EMS High Threat, EMS for Active Shooter Situations, and Tactical EMS. These courses will join EMS Triage and MCI Management, EMS Special Situations, and Advanced Active Shooters Scenario: Tactics & Operations Course (A2S2: T&O) on the list of EMS courses offered at the SPTC.
NCSP and SPTC Continue to Deliver Cutting Edge Training with Woodland Tactics and Operations Course Pilot
24 April, 2013
On April 10th-11th, 2013, the National Center for Security & Preparedness (NCSP), in partnership with the NYS Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Services (DHSES) and State Preparedness Training Center (SPTC) conducted a pilot delivery of the Woodland Tactics and Operations course. The training, developed with the assistance of the New York Tactical Officers Association (NYTOA), is part of a wider effort by the NCSP and SPTC to provide high-end, scenario-based training for the first responder community.
The course was developed in light of the increasingly prevalent need for law enforcement patrol officers and tactical operators to conduct operations and criminal investigations in hostile, non-permissive wilderness terrain. From counter narcotics and eradication, to weapons smuggling and fugitive apprehension, the course reinforces and builds upon existing skills to better prepare law enforcement patrol officers to respond to, and operate in rural or wooded environments.
The Woodland Tactics and Operations course familiarized students with basic principles of land navigation, team movement tactics and techniques, and rural operational mission planning through a combination of classroom discussion, skill development lanes, and high-end scenario-based training. Students also received instruction in law enforcement direct threat care, which equips first responders with basic, life-saving care techniques such as tourniquet application and wound packing with a hemostatic agent.
The training culminated with students participating in two major scenarios that utilized the SPTC’s real world training venues and live role players to immerse students in rural, non-permissive, and hostile operating terrain. Each scenario-based activity was designed to exercise the students’ baseline and newly learned skills in a realistic environment. At the conclusion of each scenario-based activity, SME-instructors provided students with feedback about the decisions they made to navigate and execute missions, focusing on the key learning points from classroom instruction and skill development lanes.
A total of twenty students, primarily from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Police, took part in the pilot, which was taught by an instructional team of four NCSP subject matter experts (SMEs). Following the highly positive feedback from students, instructors, and senior police officials, the Woodland Tactics and Operations course is now being developed and optimized for future deliveries.
24 April, 2013
As part of its efforts to create a robust, scenario-based training program, the National Center for Security & Preparedness, in partnership with the NYS Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Services and the State Preparedness Training Center, delivered a Safety Officer Training Workshop on February 27th, 2013. The audience was comprised of members of the NCSP/SPTC trainer and role player programs.
Safety Officers play an integral role in the high-end performance-based training offered at the SPTC. These individuals make it possible for students to completely immerse themselves in activities that are inherently designed to put the students in atypical situations, creating safety concerns. Safety Officers are charged with securing weapons on premises, ensuring that training weapons are used correctly, maintaining scene safety throughout activities, monitoring student health, and recording any safety-related incidents that occur.
NCSP Director Rick Mathews and SPTC Interim Director of Operations Bob Stallman co-taught the workshop. Mathews emphasized the importance of instructor and Safety Officer collaboration to make scenario-based activities safe and effective for all students. Stallman reviewed SPTC safety procedures regarding trainings that include Simunitions® Non-Lethal Training weapons systems.
The NCSP and SPTC plan to deliver additional Safety Officer Training Workshops in the future to compliment the expanding scenario-based trainings available at the SPTC.
20 February, 2013
In the wake of active shooter incidents in schools across the United States in recent years, the National Center for Security & Preparedness (NSCP), in partnership with the NYS Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Services (DHSES), State Preparedness Training Center (SPTC), other state agencies, is responding with a training workshop that provides educators, school staff, and administrators with essential knowledge and awareness to appropriately react and respond to an active shooter in school facilities.
First piloted in a delivery to the Utica City School District, the
School Violence: Active Shooter Incident Awarenessworkshop has been delivered to more than half a dozen school districts across New York state, as well as Union College in Schenectady. To date, some 1200 educators, staff, administrators, and local emergency responders have participated in the program.
The workshop is a two-hour discussion-based training led by Subject Matter Expert (SME) instructors from the NCSP and SPTC and driven by participant input. SME instructors introduce participants to the subject of active shooter incidents through a discussion of other forms of school violence and case studies of some well-known incidents in the United States that provided lessons for the future. The primary objective of the course is providing educators, administrators, and school staff with an overview of the law enforcement response to an active shooter response. The NCSP and SPTC believe it is important that the participants understand what to expect and how to react in the event that they are ever involved in an active shooter incident on campus. Towards the end of the workshop, participants have the opportunity to pose questions to the SME instructors and local law enforcement regarding the topics covered.
While School Violence: Active Shooter Incident Awareness focuses on responding to an active shooter in a school, there is also an hour-long optional training module on threat assessment. This module provides educators, administrators, and school staff with the tools to identify a potential active shooter. It is built on best practices developed by the United States Secret Service and United States Department of Education in their 2002 publication Threat Assessment in Schools.
After the first round of successful deliveries, the NCSP and SPTC are ramping up for increased interest in the training program. Another 10 deliveries (ranging from 25-300 participants) are planned across the state this spring, with more school districts and colleges expected to come on board. Future deliveries will look to incorporate local law enforcement, fire, and EMS into the training.
20 February, 2013
The National Center for Security & Preparedness (NCSP), in conjunction with the NYS Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES) and the NY State Preparedness Training Center (SPTC), is at the forefront of EMS training development and delivery. The limited nature of high-end EMS training across the country has led to the development of several courses at the SPTC The NCSP is incorporating new venues available at the SPTC to expand EMS training and fill this significant gap in first responder training.
Currently, there are two EMS courses in the pilot phase- EMS Special Situations and EMS Triage and Multiple Casualty Incident Management (TMCIM). Both courses use a blend of classroom based learning, skill development lanes, and scenario-based learning activities to engage students.
EMS Special Situations: Winter Version was delivered on January 29th and 30th, 2013. When students arrived at the SPTC, they quickly found that the cold and icy climate, along with a heavy fog that initially limited line of sight to only a few feet, was built in to the delivery of the course. Subject matter expert instructors discussed how adverse conditions, such as winter weather, affect EMS incident management. In the scenario-based activities, which were largely conducted in outside training venues, students focused on preventing the onset of hypothermia and other seasonally affected issues in their patients.
EMS TMCIM was delivered on February 2nd and 3rd, 2013. Students practiced scene orchestration & management and triage methods in many of the venues at the SPTC. Students were taught to rely on each other just as much as they relied on the tools and equipment brought to each response. Most students found the course essential, preparing them to coordinate more effectively in multiple casualty incidents.
An essential aspect of these trainings was the use of role players. Having role players as patients enriched the training experience exponentially, with EMS providers able to interact with humans rather than handling mannequins or other lesser alternatives. The makeup and moulage (mock injuries) applied to the role players enhanced realism even further. Some wounds were so authentic and gruesome that the individuals looked as if they had just walked off of a professional movie set. The NCSP and SPTC are expanding the makeup and moulage responsibilities for future trainings based on the great reception from the students.
Both courses also utilized the newly developed Field Operations Building (FOB) in their deliveries. Students practiced skill lanes in the classrooms throughout the FOB. They also staged and dispatched to responses from ambulance bays in the garage, adding an element of realism to the trainings that heightened the student’s experience. NCSP instructors and staff found the space to be particularly useful for overall coordination of the courses and look forward to incorporating the space into future training development.
With the success of these trainings, the NCSP is moving forward with development of more EMS courses, including EMS High Threat and Tactical EMS. These courses will be piloted in Spring 2013. The NCSP and SPTC continue to develop and provide world-class performance level EMS training, addressing a critical need for EMS providers throughout the nation.
New SPTC Field Operations Building Provides Exciting Opportunities for Enhancing Scenario-Based Training
29 January, 2013
The NY State Preparedness Training Center (SPTC) has recently completed construction on its Field Operations Building (FOB). The FOB promotes enhanced capabilities and flexibility in the design of functionally-integrated, high-end, scenario-based training at the SPTC. The building boasts:
The FOB will act as a hub for training involving the SPTC’s emergency vehicle operations course (EVOC) facilities and scenario venues, providing a central starting point and command center for all first responder groups. The vehicle staging facilities support integrated and separate dispatching of law enforcement, EMS, and fire responders to a scene. The flex space attached to the emergency department entrance can be adjusted to scenarios of varying size, scope, and complexity.
The NCSP and SPTC are currently incorporating the new facility in training development and updates. For example, during the Advanced Active Shooters Scenario: Tactics & Operations Course (A2S2: T&O) scenarios, instructors will dispatch students from the FOB to create a clearer distinction between traditional active shooter response and the LE/EMS task force approach the course advocates for larger, Mumbai-style attacks. In future deliveries of the EMS: Special Situations Course, students will dispatch from the FOB to the scenarios. Teams already on-scene will be able to call for backup, which will be standing by at the FOB. The FOB enriches the scenarios through instructor design and adaptation, improving the training experience through added realism and functionality.
The FOB and the training opportunities it advances signify a substantial step forward in the NCSP and DHSES’s efforts to build the SPTC into a world-class, functionally-integrated training center. Completion of the facility occurs as crews begin work on the SPTC’s new Cityscape, which will also provide unique opportunities for high-end training in the future.
10 December, 2012
On November 28th – 29th, 2012, the National Center for Security & Preparedness (NCSP) and the New York State Preparedness Training Center (SPTC) conducted the first pilot for the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Triage and Multiple Casualty Incident (MCI) Management course. The training is part of a wider effort by the NCSP and SPTC to provide high-end, scenario-based training for the EMS community. These courses reinforce and build upon existing skills, introducing techniques designed to prepare responders for terrorist attacks, major disasters, and other catastrophic events. Triage and MCI management are essential skills for EMS personnel when responding to such events.
In this course, students learned and practiced concepts and skills related to MCI scene management and patient triage through a mixture of skill-based activities, classroom discussion, and scenario-based training. Following a brief introduction and MCI overview, instructors and students discussed the START, SMART, JumpSTART, and SALT triage systems in the context of multiple casualty incidents. Short classroom discussion was followed by small group skill development lanes, which encouraged students to build and exercise the skills covered during the course. Each skill lane also presented students with challenges, such as low light and difficult patient movement environments. Students then participated in a tabletop exercise using the Rosterfield simulation board to discuss MCI management.
Students finished the training by participating in several scenarios. The scenarios in this course utilized the SPTC’s reality-based training venues and live role players to immerse students in MCIs. Each scenario was designed to exercise the students’ baseline and newly learned skills in a realistic environment. At the conclusion of each scenario, SME-instructors provided students with feedback about the decisions they made to triage and treat patients, focusing on the key learning points from classroom instruction and skill development lanes.
Sixteen students from EMS and fire services across New York State participated, with certifications ranging from Basic EMT to Paramedic. The pilot was taught by eleven EMS Subject Matter Expert (SME) instructors from across the United States.
Based heavily on the positive student feedback, the NCSP and SPTC will continue to develop the EMS Triage and Multiple Casualty Management course for future offerings. This course will join EMS Special Situations, the Advanced Active Shooters Scenario: Tactics & Operations Course, and the Tactical Emergency Casualty Care workshop on the rapidly growing list of courses for EMS at the SPTC.
14 November, 2012
On October 27, 2012, the National Center for Security & Preparedness (NCSP), in conjunction with the State Preparedness Training Center (SPTC), delivered the first Homeland Security: Academia Meets Practice workshop. The goal of the workshop was to familiarize the students, who were primarily from the academic community, with the practical application of various homeland security missions and challenges. Students were introduced to topics in intelligence, counter terrorism and terrorist interdiction, chemical and biological weapons, homemade explosives (HMEs), and multiple casualty incident (MCI) management. The workshop was taught by subject matter expert instructors from the NCSP, SPTC staff, and representatives from the NYS DHSES Office of Counter Terrorism and State Office of Emergency Management.
Homeland Security: Academia Meets Practice drew undergraduate and graduate students, professors, and administrators from over a dozen colleges and universities. The workshop was designed to introduce key concepts from the perspective of homeland security practitioners through facilitated discussion and hands-on learning. Activities and discussions included:
Homeland Security: Academia Meets Practice is a key aspect of the NCSP’s efforts to serve as a conduit between these two perspectives on homeland security. The link between the insights derived from academic research and theory and practical application is important in strengthening the nation’s ability to prevent, prepare for, mitigate, respond to, and recover from disasters and acts of terrorism. In the future, the NCSP and SPTC plan to develop more workshops with similar goals. For example, the center is currently in the conceptual development phase of a three-day course where higher education students and faculty will be fully immersed in the training opportunities available at the SPTC through discussion and scenario-based training.
Homeland Security: Academia Meets Practice was well received by those who attended:
“The program provided a glimpse into the real world of first responders and the challenges they face each day. It was invaluable to merge the academic side of homeland security with real world experts and experience. The instructors were top-notch; their expertise is derived from years of experience in the field.” – Joan Fahey, University at Albany graduate student
“I thought the Academia Meets Practice workshop was a great opportunity for students to experience some of the skills necessary to be successfully involved in emergency response. While classroom work is great at communicating information, this workshop opened the door to give students the opportunity to use that information. I sincerely hope that there are further collaborations between the academic world and the practical world at the State Preparedness Training Center.” – Michael Mazurowski, Erie Community College, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medical Technology,
“Academia Meets Practice was an eye-opening experience. For me, playing an EMS responder had the greatest impression. I was also a fan of the explosives portion. It was very interesting and something I don't think I would see anywhere else.” – Kate Hanecak, University at Albany graduate student
“Homeland Security: Academia Meets Practice was an excellent overview of the many components of what the New York State Preparedness Center has to offer, as well as identifying just what the current threat trends are perceived to be. The class highlighted a number of the various training evolutions designed to prepare this State for what could be coming next, including the use of improvised explosive materials and mass casualty response. Our State and our First Responders are well served by the facility and we want thank the staff for bringing this insight to the public.” – Gregg Blosat Captain, D District Buffalo Police Department
"The Homeland Security: Academia Meets Practice workshop was an excellent opportunity for various individuals ranging from law enforcement, EMTs and paramedics, government contractors, academics, and students like myself to come together and learn about the importance of bridging the gap." – Jeffrey Vargas, University at Albany undergraduate student
“The Academia Meets Practice day was very useful for me as an educator, giving me a better appreciation of the practitioner perspective and giving me insight into the current best practices of first responders. Having talked to my students I believe it was also extremely beneficial for them. They came away with a much clearer understanding of what is entailed in working in the area of homeland security and emergency management – plus they had a lot of fun.” – Victor Asal, University at Albany Associate Professor of Political Science
4 November, 2012
Through its strategic partnership with the NYS Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES) the National Center for Security and Preparedness (NCSP) has been working with the NY State Preparedness Training Center (SPTC) to develop unique emergency vehicle operator courses (EVOC) to support emergency responders throughout New York State and beyond. In addition to the extensive law enforcement training already taking place at the SPTC’s recently completed EVOC facilities, the NCSP and SPTC are working to provide programs geared toward the greater response community- including EMS and fire.
As part of this effort, the NCSP is developing the Emergency Vehicle Defensive Driving (EVDD) Course to provide basic training on both non-emergency and emergency vehicle driving. The EVDD course is designed to fill an important need by presenting safe emergency driving techniques that are applicable to all responders, regardless of the type of vehicle they operate.
The NCSP and SPTC delivered the first pilot of the EVDD course from October 23rd-25th, 2012. Nineteen students participated, including representatives from the NYS Office of Fire Prevention & Control, NYS Office of Emergency Management, NYS Office of Counter Terrorism, the NYS Department of Health Bureau of EMS, and the U.S. Coast Guard.
The lead instructor for the course was NCSP Subject Matter Expert (SME) instructor Sam Jess, a retired NY State Trooper and former sheriff of Herkimer County with 50 years of experience in law enforcement and over three decades of EVOC instruction. Jess headed a team of 7 other SMEs, all with extensive backgrounds in EVOC instruction.
Students and SMEs spent the first day in the classroom reviewing legal guidelines for operating emergency vehicles, effective driving habits and techniques for accident avoidance, and best practices for safely responding to emergency situations.
The final two days were spent on the SPTC’s EVOC track. Students were given the opportunity to put knowledge gained in the classroom into practice, using their own agency-assigned vehicles, ranging from 4-door sedans, to mid-sized SUVs and large pickup trucks. Students rotated through 3-separate courses executing serpentines, 180-degree turns, backing exercises, and other crash avoidance maneuvers. Students also spent a few hours on the highway response course to familiarize themselves with responding to emergencies and disasters under higher speeds.
With the successful completion of the pilot course, the NCSP is working to further develop courses in emergency vehicle operations to meet the needs of New York State’s first responder community. Future deliveries will look to incorporate instruction for ambulance operators and trailer towing.
4 November, 2012
Staff from the National Center for Security & Preparedness (NCSP) attended the Vital Signs EMS Conference from October 18th to the 21st at the OnCenter in Syracuse, NY. One of the largest educational conferences for EMS providers in the United States, Vital Signs is hosted by the NYS Department of Health’s Bureau of EMS. NCSP staff worked with staff from the NYS Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES) to promote the unique training opportunities that are available for EMS providers at the State Preparedness Training Center (SPTC).
Conference attendees represented a wide variety of state and local agencies, volunteer organizations, and private companies from across the state. Vital Signs was, therefore, an excellent opportunity for the NCSP and SPTC to spread awareness regarding its robust EMS and multi-disciplined training efforts. Multimedia presentations specifically highlighted current and future site improvements at the SPTC as well as recent deliveries of the EMS: Special Situations and Advanced Active Shooters: Tactics & Operations Courses.
EMS providers present at the conference expressed enthusiasm for current and future training offerings at the SPTC, noting specifically that the programs fill a significant gap in first responder training. Many with tactical medical or military training were encouraged to hear that ideas from those programs are being tailored and expanded to provide training for all levels of EMS providers. They pointed out the importance of concepts such as Tactical Emergency Casualty Care, triage, and multiple casualty incident management play in preparing for and responding to terrorist events and disasters.
4 November, 2012
The National Center for Security & Preparedness (NCSP) delivered another successful Advanced Active Shooters Scenarios Tactics and Operations (A2S2: T&O) Course in collaboration with the NYS Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services(NYSDHSES) at the State Preparedness Training Center (SPTC) on October 4th and 5th, 2012.
In this iteration of the course, NCSP subject matter expert instructors (SME-instructors) utilized new resources to improve the training experience for students. The NCSP and SPTC are constantly reviewing courses to ensure optimum outcomes. Subject matter expert instructors hot-wash after every course delivery, incorporate student feedback, and ultimately recommend ways to improve for the future. For this iteration, the SME-instructors designed further opportunities for interdisciplinary interaction- one of the course’s central goals.
The integrated skill lanes featured more opportunities for EMS students to interact with law enforcement students. Subject matter expert instructors taught EMS students how to administer self and buddy care under direct and indirect threat during the individual skill lanes. Later, EMS students worked one-on-one with law enforcement students to teach and practice these skills under the supervision and guidance of the SME-instructors. Students became more familiar with each other earlier in the training, building a rapport that improved response in the scenario-based activities.
This delivery of A2S2: T&O reflects the commitment on the part of the NCSP and SPTC to develop high-end integrated homeland security training that meets the goals set out in the National Preparedness Goal and New York State Homeland Security Strategy. The next course is scheduled for early 2013. For more information on the A2S2: T&O course, please see our projects page.
17 September, 2012
On August 28 and 29, 2012 the National Center for Security & Preparedness (NCSP) and the State Preparedness Training Center (SPTC), NYS Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services delivered the Advanced Active Shooters Scenario: Tactics & Operations Course (A2S2: T&O) for the sixth time. Twenty-four emergency medical services (EMS), fire rescue, and law enforcement personnel attended. The course was taught by NCSP subject matter expert instructors from both EMS and law enforcement backgrounds. A2S2: T&O is a two day instructor-led performance-level offensive course. It is scenario-driven to guide participants through a mixture of situations that require emergency responders to focus on higher level objectives and making immediate judgments and decisions.
A2S2 T&O demonstrates the commitment of the NCSP and SPTC to providing high-end, multi-disciplined homeland security training. The course is designed around a potential Mumbai-style terrorist attack against the United States, particularly the state of New York. Such coordinated attacks might include small arms fire, automatic weapons, and improvised explosive device (IED) detonations at multiple locations in a jurisdiction. A2S2: T&O is high-tempo and high-stress to simulate an attack that could last for twelve or more hours, overwhelming local jurisdictions’ capability to respond without significant assistance from other local, state, and federal agencies. The scenarios are built to be highly realistic, using live role players, emergency response vehicles, and specialized reality-based venues at the SPTC.
General topics covered during the A2S2: T&O course include a historical overview of the Mumbai attack, self and buddy care, IED awareness, task force movement. The course also covers service-specific skills. Law enforcement personnel were taught door breaching skills, linear target clearing, patrol officer movement, and room clearing. EMS personnel were taught Tactical Emergency Casualty Care (TECC), hemorrhage control, triage, weapons clearing, and patient evacuation. Scenarios required the application and integration of skills learned in both general and service-specific instruction as participants worked together over the two day course.
Course participants included responders from across New York State, including the NYPD and FDNY. The students were highly satisfied overall; they noted specifically that the integration of EMS/fire rescue and law enforcement assets was useful and fills what they consider a pressing need in first responder training nationally. The next delivery of the A2S2 course is scheduled to be conducted on October 4 and 5, 2012.
17 September, 2012
The National Center for Security & Preparedness (NCSP) and State Preparedness Training Center (SPTC), NYS Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services delivered the first pilot of the EMS Special Situations Course on August 25 and 26, 2012. The course had over twenty Emergency Medical Services (EMS) students and was taught by subject matter expert (SME)-instructors from across the nation.
The EMS Special Situations Course trains EMS and fire rescue personnel to respond to requests for service involving special circumstances often not encountered during routine response. The emphasis is on using basic skills that these personnel already possess while teaching new concepts that complement their understanding. For instance, SME-instructors presented a basic overview of Tactical Emergency Casualty Care (TECC) and basic skills that assist in TECC phases, including tourniquet application, hemostatic agent application, and use of the Reeves Sleeve® and SKED® for patient transport.
The training emphasizes the importance of learning through doing, with scenario-based activities comprising the bulk of the curriculum. Students worked in teams to respond to special situations, including multiple patients, physical hazards, and difficult operating environments (all indirect threat situations). Each scenario is designed to strengthen basic emergency medical skills and develop new skills through instruction, practice, and individualized coaching from the SME-instructors. The scenarios took place at seven specialized venues at the SPTC, including many that were recently added and used for the first time.
Students confidently responded to the training, gaining insights from their response to the scenarios. The students adapted their approach and mindsets, employing basic skills as well as unconventional methods to work through the special situations. Many were impressed with the expertise of the SME-instructors and expressed interest in attending future EMS trainings at the SPTC.
19 July, 2012
Following its recent commitment to train the EMS community in different aspects of emergency care, the NCSP presented the Tactical Emergency Casualty Care (TECC) workshop at the State Preparedness Training Center in Oriskany, New York. Personnel from various EMS, fire, and law enforcement agencies across New York attended the workshop, which lasted from June 19-June 20. The workshop was taught by NCSP subject matter expert instructors and instructors from the Committee for Tactical Emergency Casualty Care and the George Washington University.
Adapted from the military's Tactical Combat Casualty Care, TECC seeks to provide civilian emergency responders with the skills to treat patients in a rapidly changing, high threat environment. The workshop builds on the knowledge and training participants already possess and applies those everyday skills to less common, high stress situations. TECC is divided into three phases of care (in increasing quality and complexity): Direct Threat, Indirect Threat, and Evacuation Care.
The group of seventy participants, comprised of local, state, and federal First Responders from various disciplines, participated in exercises at the training center that related to the main aspects of TECC. On the first day, participants were introduced to the development and implementation of TECC principles. Working in groups they practiced a number of TECC techniques, and concluded the day with a discussion of their performance.
On the second day of the workshop, participants were introduced to basic triage techniques. They again worked in groups to practically apply these skills. Participants were also able to utilize the lessons and techniques they had learned from the first day as the instructors simulated various real-world emergency situations, ensuring that the participants were familiar and comfortable with administering proper emergency care in both typical and atypical scenarios. The workshop closed with a review of the participants’ strengths and deficiencies in administering TECC techniques.
19 July, 2012
On June 12 and 13, 2012, the National Center for Security & Preparedness and the New York State Preparedness Training Center delivered the next two workshops in the Counter-Terrorism Workshop Series: "How to Hunt" Criminals and Terrorists: The Actionable Intelligence Workshop and Counter Surveillance for Law Enforcement & Analysts. The workshops were taught by NCSP Subject Matter Expert Paul Smith and held at the New York State Police Academy. Forty professionals from the law enforcement, counter-terrorism, and intelligence communities participated in each of the workshops.
"How to Hunt" Criminals and Terrorists: The Actionable Intelligence Workshop taught participants tools for aggressively collecting and using actionable intelligence. The Counter Surveillance workshop built on the lessons from the previous day, discussing methods of surveillance that could be integral in identifying a terrorist threat. Both workshops recognized law enforcement's primary purpose of defeating criminality while trying to integrate their increasing role in mitigating counter-terrorism threats.
19 July, 2012
The National Center for Security & Preparedness (NCSP), in partnership with the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES) and the New York State Department of Health EMS Bureau, has begun development of a variety of courses for emergency medical services (EMS) personnel. The courses are designed for delivery at the State Preparedness Training Center (SPTC) in Oriskany, NY.
Work on these courses kicked off in June with a two-day curriculum development meeting hosted at the SPTC. A group of the nation's leaders in EMS, tactical EMS, military medicine, and hospital administration advised New York State how to best prepare EMS through scenario-based training.
From the meeting, the EMS Special Situations Course was crafted. The course provides training for EMS personnel to respond to calls involving extraordinarily complex circumstances that are not encountered during a routine response. These situations often involve multiple patients with imminent and changing physical hazards, violent subjects, and difficult operating environments. Such special situations require EMS personnel to liaise with other agencies, establish their own incident commands, assess and evaluate the safety of scenes involving "high threat" circumstances, and employ advanced medical techniques necessary to manage these complex scenarios.
This training is designed to develop skills in advanced techniques through instruction, practice, and practical scenario based activities. The scenarios that comprise this course present participants with circumstances that exceed the capabilities of a single EMS unit and require effective situational awareness, scene assessment, communication and coordination, teamwork, and decision making. Although complex responses are atypical in many local jurisdictions, the situations are designed to expose participants to scenario-based activities that invoke skills EMS personnel have trained and prepared for, but do not experience on a regular basis.
The pilot delivery of the course is slated for August 25-26, 2012 at the SPTC.
Other EMS courses in development in 2012 include EMS High Threat Scenarios and Tactical EMS.
04 April, 2012
The NCSP continued its commitment to deliver high quality training for the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services with two offerings of the Counter-Terrorism Workshop on Triacetone Triperoxide (TATP). The first workshop was delivered on March 29, 2012 at the New York State Preparedness Training Center (SPTC) in Oriskany, NY. A second was delivered on March 30, 2012 in Cheektowaga, NY (Erie County).
Over 150 homeland security professionals and first responders from across New York and Canada participated in these four hour workshops, which provide these individuals with the tools necessary to identify this homemade explosive and its precursors. The workshop was instructed by NCSP Subject Matter Experts Pablo Arroyo and Ray Crowley.
For more information visit our projects page on TATP.
04 April, 2012
On March 15, 2012, the NCSP, in support of the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (NYSDHSES), facilitated an all-day training needs assessment and stakeholder focus group on the use of the State Preparedness Training Center (SPTC) in Oriskany, NY.
This event was aimed at collecting the knowledge of first responders in shaping the construction of the SPTC and the ongoing development of the state’s Homeland Security Strategic Training and Exercise Plan (HS-STEP) centered at the SPTC.
Over 60 Homeland Security Administrators and Executive Managers from local, state, and federal agencies attended the focus group to discuss the physical development of the SPTC and agency specific training needs in a number of areas. Representing agencies from across New York State, participants came from the fire service, EMS, law enforcement (state, local and federal), military, environmental protection, and emergency management.
All participants were provided with a thorough overview of the current and future state-of-the-art training facilities and capabilities at the SPTC. Participants expressed a wide range of training needs and an interest in future involvement with the SPTC.
03 April, 2012
YONKERS, NY (WAMC) - Four days after a hack attack shut them down, Westchester County's websites are back in operation. Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.
The security breach affected several of Westchester County's offices, including the county's homepage, as well as pages pointing to the county executive, the DA, the county clerk and the Board of Legislators. The hacker left a signature message on the sites mocking the county's computer security, saying "Security is a joke! ... Your box owned by Mr.XHat."
Westchester County Deputy Communications Director Donna Greene emphasizes no important data was compromised. Some pages remained accessible. She notes that IT staffers are working to ensure that the restored websites remain secure. Greene explained the hacker found a website vulnerability to exploit. Rick Mathews with the National Center for Security & Preparedness at the University at Albany, says these types of threats are common hacker practices. Mathews urges all computer users, businesses, governments and citizens - be vigilant when it comes to protecting your data. Security experts say many "hack attacks" originate outside North America and are difficult to trace.
Listen to audio here.
14 March, 2012
The National Center for Security & Preparedness (NCSP) has completed development of the Advanced Active Shooters Scenario (A2S2) course suite for the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES). A2S2 is made up of two courses: Tactics & Operations (T&O) and Command & Planning (C&P).
The courses were developed for delivery at the State Preparedness Training Center (SPTC) in Oriskany, NY. They involve rigorous training, combining skill and knowledge development with functionally integrated, scenario-based activities. There are no known programs of this scale and scope offered anywhere else in the country. The Training Support Package for the A2S2 course suite has been submitted for approval by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
The A2S2 T&O course is intended to prepare law enforcement officers, EMS personnel, and bomb technicians for synchronic attacks by multiple attackers across multiple locations. The course addresses the interdiction of attackers who may be using firearms and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) against civilians and responders. The C&P course helps state and local leaders prepare their communities for this type of incident.
The A2S2 course suite is the product of several years of work, including five successful and well-received deliveries of the T&O course and three of the C&P course to date. Participants in both courses have included representatives of both state and local agencies from across New York.
The courses were developed and are delivered by a team of NCSP subject matter expert instructors from across the country. As the courses were constructed, NCSP staff and students worked closely with the instructional teams to build and refine the course materials for final submission.
13 March, 2012
The National Center for Security & Preparedness (NCSP) recently completed a critical infrastructure protection research project related to the energy sector in the Great Lakes Region (including New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and the Canadian Province of Ontario). The project was conducted for the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, Office of Counter Terrorism (DHSES, OCT). It involved a comprehensive open source review of the vulnerabilities and resilience of oil and natural gas pipeline and electric infrastructure in the region, threats to this infrastructure, and the security and economic consequences of power disruption. The review also covered federal, state, and local security initiatives the United States' energy relationship with Canada.
In December, the NCSP submitted a final report to DHSES, OCT entitled "Energy Generation and Transmission in the Great Lakes Region." The research team found that aging infrastructure is an growing concern for the electric industry and that the increased dependency on cyber infrastructure in the energy sector brings both benefits and challenges. The conclusions presented in the report are based on specific questions posed by DHSES, OCT and are as follows:
The NCSP research team was led by Rod MacDonald, the Director of the Initiative for System Dynamics in the Public Sector and a lecturer at the Rockefeller College. The team also included a project coordinator, Marie Reilly, a technical writer, Carl Filbrich, and four graduate students: David Gottesman, Jayson Kratoville, Ben Spear, and Brandon Kennedy. The internal review team included Michael Fagel, an NCSP Subject Matter Expert in infrastructure protection and Hwa-young Sin, an expert in energy, economics, and the environment. Throughout the course of the project, the research team also worked with experts from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the NYS GIS Clearinghouse through the DHSES Office of Cyber Security, the New York Power Authority (NYPA), and the private sector.
You can download the full report here.
29 November, 2011
At the request of the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, the NCSP delivered the course Critical Decision Making during Crisis at the State Preparedness Training Center in Oriskany, NY November 29-30, 2011. The two day course, developed by the NCSP in 2009, was delivered to over forty (40) participants from federal, state, and agencies and authorities, local law enforcement, and fire services, and not-for-profit agencies. The participants traveled from across the state, from as far away as New York City. The course is comprised of a variety of activities including instructor-led discussions, small group activities, and scenario-based simulations.
The U.S. DHS approved management level course was presented by three subject matter expert instructors affiliated with the NCSP:
Policy Forum: Chasing Criminals vs. Chasing Terrorists: Comparing Investigation Standards and Criminal Procedures in the Post-9/11 World - Reflections on the Patriot Act
20 October, 2011
One of the most important outcomes of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, has been the ways and means available for stopping terrorist acts. Prior to the 9/11 attacks investigating suspected terrorists and interdicting potential acts was largely akin to other investigations of suspected criminals, especially when those investigations occurred on US soil or involved US citizens. Subsequent to the 9/11 attacks, Congress passed the Patriot Act. It was intended to greatly aid the nation's "war on terror." The Act, among other measures, reduced certain restrictions dealing with electronic surveillance and intelligence gathering, financial transaction records, and the detention and deportation of immigrants suspected of terrorism-related acts. It also expanded the definition of terrorism.
This policy forum will provide an opportunity for participants to consider these and other related issues as they pertain to counter-terrorism efforts in the U.S., through facilitated discussions among the panelists and the audience as they relate to the forum's topic.
The forum will be moderated by Jim Clark, Counsel to the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services.
Among the four panelists are Rick Hartunian, the U.S Attorney for the Northern District of New York, with over 20 years of prosecutorial experience; and Boris Lederer, senior subject matter expert with the National Center for Security & Preparedness who brings many years of operational experience in counter-terrorism, terrorism interdiction, and related areas on a global platform to the discussions.
19 October, 2011
Director Mathews was interviewed on WCNY's The Capitol Pressrom with Susan Arbetter on Wednesday October 19, 2011. They discussed the Patriot Act and its effectiveness. Director Mathews also discussed the upcoming Policy Forum that will be presented by the National Center for Security & Preparedness and the Rockefeller Institute of Government on Thursday October 20, 2011. The interview can be found around the 23 minute mark.
The Daily Gazette (Schenectady)
16 October, 2011
The videos have all the charm and subtlety of a government-produced presentation -- because they are. In one, an employee opens a secured door when a man walks up, arms full of boxes. The employee cheerfully lets the man in. She's a lifesaver, the man says. The employee is just glad to help.
In the other, the same scenario is presented. The man with the boxes asks the employee if she can let him in. But this time the employee tells the man she's sorry, she can't do that. She then abruptly goes in herself and closes the door behind her.
The videos, part of a Federal Emergency Management Agency course on workplace security awareness, stress the importance of keeping secure areas secure.
The experts say everyone, from rank-and-file workers to security guards, should be aware of the need for a secure workplace. And policies aimed at keeping the workplace safe must be followed by everyone
An example of what could happen when policies are disregarded occurred last weekend at the offices of The Daily Gazette, when a security guard allowed an unknown man into the building so he could get a drink of water.
That act of kindness violated the newspaper's weekend policy barring anyone without an access code from entering the building. It also set off a chain of events that ended when police shot the man, who they said had a knife and lunged at an officer with it.
The man's actions, police later concluded, was an attempt on his part to commit suicide by forcing the police to shoot him. The man survived and has since been charged.
It's a prime example, experts say, of what can happen when security policies aren't followed. Businesses, they say, must have clear policies and ensure that those policies are followed.
"Sometimes things seem cumbersome," said Jeff Flint, executive director of the National Association of Security Companies, an industry group. "But an incident happening like this is why those procedures are in place, and it's important to follow them every time."
Making sure a business or office building is secure is an ongoing struggle, experts say. It's not only a matter of ensuring security procedures are followed, but balancing those with the courteous handling of customers and others who come to conduct business.
An important aspect of security is proper training, and refreshing that training through discussion of possible scenarios, experts said. What happens if this happens? What happens if that happens?
There are also physical barriers that can be put in place to control access to most of a building, and there are ways to monitor and control access.
But even those methods can fail when the human element is introduced, experts said.
Rick Mathews, director of the National Center for Security & Preparedness at the University at Albany, suggested it's precisely the weaknesses in the system, like the kindness of individuals, that intruders look for.
"A policy is only as good as people who enforce them," Mathews said. Employees going through secure doors can't let others go with them, even if their visit is for seemingly legitimate purposes, he said.
"There can't be exceptions," Mathews said. "When there are exceptions to a rule, bad guys will exploit the exception."
It's that human element that introduces much of the risk, said Harry Buffardi, former Schenectady County sheriff and now an assistant professor in the Schenectady County Community College criminal justice program.
It's possible to eliminate the human element altogether, Buffardi said, but not for a business that depends on customer traffic. An ATM, he noted, is a pretty secure banking outlet, but it's not very good at customer service.
To minimize the risk that human element introduces, Buffardi said there must be clear training on what the policies are and what the potentials are if those policies are not followed.
Every business must assess its own security needs, from the building to the landscape to technology. There must be protocol for who can enter what area and why, and there should be drills or discussions about what would happen in different situations.
"It's almost impossible to prevent all possible circumstances," Buffardi said. But he said you can limit a business' exposure.
Flint, of the security companies trade group, echoed the need for a review to balance security and the needs for access by the public.
For security guards, Flint said it's important they get constant reminders and training on the procedures for the facility where they're working.
"The only defense against [a security breach] is having the proper procedure, constant training and reminding yourself why those procedures exist and of the importance to follow them every time."
At The Daily Gazette, management is reviewing all those things.
The security guard who let the man in was immediately replaced. The paper is also reviewing its security company itself, meeting with others last week, General Manager Daniel Beck said.
Beck saw the consequences of the security breach firsthand. He was called to the office by the security guard and later witnessed the shooting. The incident, he said, put employee safety at risk and was a serious breach of security.
"You can't put a price on a person's safety," Beck said. "It's just something that the company is committed to, keeping its employees safe."
"If we told everyone about all our procedures and tactics, we'd be giving away the shot," he said.
Reach Gazette reporter Steven Cook at 395-3122 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: The Daily Gazette (Schenectady)
7 October, 2011
Elmhurst — In August, as the city was scrambling to prepare for what many were predicting to be a potentially devastating hurricane, controversy arose over what was otherwise an innocuous answer at a press conference: There would be no evacuation of Rikers Island, Mayor Bloomberg said.
After a prisoner advocacy blog called Solitary Watch posted something about the mayor's announcement—drawing comparisons to stranded prisoners left behind in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina—a number of other websites followed suit, along with a few traditional news outlets. Twitter users caught on shortly after; a petition demanding the city take action was circulated. Many were struck by the fact that while the city was shutting down its transportation system and making other unprecedented storm plans, the some 14,000 people housed on Rikers Island would stay put.
Irene came and went, however, and with a wet whimper instead of a bang. The ten jail facilities on Rikers came through unscathed, as the mayor's office and the Department of Correction repeatedly said they would, and it seems as though the jail was never in any real danger from the storm to begin with. But the incident raised a question that received little public attention before: how the city would deal with the tens of thousands of inmates on Rikers, an island accessible by only one bridge, should an emergency arise.
"Whether they had to evacuate Rikers or not during Irene, they'll have to evacuate eventually," says Dr. Irwin Redlener, director at the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. "The key point is, do they have an effective evacuation plan at the jail? And to my impression they do not."
A no-flood zone?
The Office of Emergency Management's hurricane evacuation map color-codes low-lying areas as either Zone A, B, or C—from the highest risk of flooding from a hurricane storm surge to the lowest risk. Rikers, 96 acres nestled in the East River between Queens and the mainland Bronx, is shown as all white, meaning at no risk of flooding.
"The vast majority of Rikers Island is located in a No Flood Zone," Department of Correction spokeswoman Sharmen Stein wrote in an e-mail.
"Only one facility is located in Zone C—the first floor of that one jail may be vulnerable to some flooding, but is not susceptible to loss of life. In that instance, the inmates and staff assigned to the first floor would be relocated to higher floors in the jail, or moved temporarily to other facilities on Rikers Island. It is only a narrow portion of the outer perimeter of the island—where there are no jails—that might be vulnerable to flooding, even in a Category 4 hurricane."
Klaus Jacob, a research scientist at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and a member of the mayor's New York City Panel on Climate Change, says that in the event of a 100-year storm—a magnitude of storm that, statistically speaking, has a one percent chance of happening in a given year—"only a small fringe of the island" would flood.
He added that New York State emergency maps, like the city's map, show portions of the island at risk of flooding should a category 3 or 4 hurricane occur, while other portions of the are shown as above any flood zone.
"It seems understandable that an evacuation was not warranted for Irene since it did not make a hurricane category 1, nor did it make a 100-year storm," Jacob says. Indeed, Irene was downgraded to a tropical storm by the time it hit New York.
An enormous undertaking
The decision to evacuate a correctional facility, experts say, is a tremendously complicated one, dependent on a number of factors and hypothetical situations.
"The evacuation plan is going to be based upon the speed they need [to move], how much time they have, the resources they need to make it happen," says Rick Mathews, Director of the National Center for Security and Preparedness at SUNY Albany. "Where are you going to take them to? How far away?"
Stein, at the DOC, denied previous news reports that the department has no evacuation plan for the facilities on Rikers, insisting that the department is "continually reviewing and refining its contingency plans," and that these include the consideration of both small scale relocations and an evacuation of the entire population of the island, if need be. She would not comment on specifically where inmates would be transferred to in that case, citing security reasons.
"We would relocate as much of the population as the situation requires," Stein wrote in an e-mail.
Martin Horn, former commissioner at the DOC who left the department in 2009 for a teaching position at John Jay College, says that the department met with the OEM following Hurricane Katrina to revamp its emergency plans. These included evacuation, he says, but under extreme circumstances.
"[We] concluded that it would be a very, very difficult exercise, and it would take a more severe storm than what we experienced this time," Horn explains. "Getting tens of thousands of inmates off of Rikers Island is an enormous undertaking, and not something you do quietly."
An evacuation of that magnitude would take, at a minimum, 48 hours to carry out, Horn estimates. The realistic difficulties of carrying out such a task, he says, led the department to conclude that a "defend in place" plan is the most viable, with the possible evacuation of more vulnerable inmates—the elderly, ill, or expectant mothers. At any given time, Rikers is equipped with enough fuel and food to self sustain for at least seven days, he says.
According to Mathews, the risks posed by a large-scale evacuation can sometimes outweigh the benefits, making staying put the better option, if it's a viable one.
"A lot of these facilities, particularly correctional facilities, because they're designed to keep people in and secure, are much more stable. They're able to withstand assaults like a category 1 storm," he says. "A lot of the times it's safer to shelter in place than to risk the movement."
Spread the Risk
In a post-9/11 world filled with hypothetical worst case scenarios, Rikers Island seems especially at risk for emergency, considering its large population, the fact that there's only one route in and off of the island and its proximity to LaGuardia Airport.
"Rikers, because of its physical location, and the logistics with respect to getting to and getting from the island being so fragile, puts it in a really special category," says Redlener. "Not only is it a vulnerable population but it's also in a vulnerable location with a lot of unusual challenges."
"My worst fear always was something at LaGuardia," says Horn. "My worst-case scenario was some sort of explosion, and fumes drifting over."
During his time as commissioner, Horn wanted to reduce the population of Rikers Island, transferring inmates to jails in the other boroughs, to locations more easily accessible.
"I felt it was better to distribute the risk," he explains.
For several years, the city planned to open a 2,000-plus bed jail facility in the South Bronx to absorb that number of inmates from Rikers. Plans for the proposed Oak Point Detention Center were officially squashed in 2008, however, after opposition from local groups and elected officials.
Another plan, to expand the recently reopened Brooklyn Detention Center to nearly double its capacity, was also dropped last summer after a firestorm of criticism. The DOC's most recent plans call for the Brooklyn facility, and another in Kew Gardens, Queens, to be "fully utilized," but not expanded.
Mathews also said that some secrecy is necessary.
The construction of a new, 1,500-bed jail on Rikers is being planned for completion in 2017, and several older buildings will be taken down with its opening—ultimately reducing the capacity at Rikers by around 3,000 inmates, according to the DOC.
11 September, 2011
A decade has passed since Sept. 11, 2001, but the events of that day have never faded from the nation's consciousness. The response to the terrorist attacks was immediate, large-scale and long-lasting.
Our public policy continues to be shaped and influenced by the tragedy that killed nearly 3,000 Americans, while many of our political debates revolve around issues stemming from 9/11. Headlines about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, protests in the Middle East, security measures in airports, immigration and even government debt remind us, in ways that are both explicit and implicit, of September 11.
After 9/11, safety and security became the paramount concern.
While many argue that the security enhancements made after September 11 were necessary, others have suggested that the cost was too high, and that the consequence has been an unprecedented erosion of our civil rights. The result has been an ongoing debate over which changes were necessary to ensure our safety, and which have crossed the line.
"This is a country where we're fiercely independent," said Rick Mathews, director of the National Center for Security and Preparedness at Rockefeller College in Albany. "We're free. We like our lifestyle here. But we're also pretty vulnerable, if a bad guy wants to do something. So we have to balance safety with our constitutional rights. We're still working through those issues. It's a major cultural change, and I think it's going to continue for a generation."
Mathews said that the response to 9/11 has been appropriate, and that the increased security and more aggressive surveillance has prevented attacks.
"Most of the public doesn't have a clue how many times we've stopped bad people from doing bad things," Mathews said. "Terrorists plan long-term. They want to get us to a mindset where we're apathetic."
Not everyone believes the response to 9/11 was appropriate.
After 9/11, "People were willing to say, 'Take away my rights,' " said Leonard Cutler, a professor of public law at Siena College who has written two 9/11-related books. "That concerns me."
"When you compromise the legal rights granted to you by the Constitution, it raises real questions," Cutler said. "I am opposed to sacrificing that which we are entitled to for national security purposes."
The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 marked the first time American civilians had been murdered en masse by a foreign enemy on their own soil. Though sometimes compared to the attack on Pearl Harbor, most experts see key differences between the two events: the attack on Pearl Harbor targeted the military, and was carried out by a known enemy, as opposed to a shadowy, stateless terrorist organization that few Americans had ever heard of.
The attacks made Americans feel sad, fearful, anxious and angry, and those feelings still exist today, as the raw outpourings of emotion at the news of Osama bin Laden's death earlier this year showed. This lingering fear explains why Americans have voiced little protest as their privacy rights have diminished, experts said.
Sheldon Solomon, a professor of psychology at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs and co-author of the 2003 book "In the Wake of 9/11: The Psychology of Terror," recently wrote a piece about the 10th anniversary of 9/11 for the Chronicle of Higher Education. In the piece, titled "Death," Solomon writes that Sept. 11 was all about death, saying, "September 11 tore a gaping hole in the collectively woven American cultural tapestry, stripping us of our shield against terror, exposing us naked to the nightmare of death; a nightmare (to adapt a phrase from James Joyce) from which we have yet to awaken." The images of the attacks, he writes, reminded Americans of their "own vulnerability and mortality."
Solomon writes that Americans initially responded to 9/11 with "extraordinary compassion," but that "lingering fears of death also stoked hatred, righteous indignation and demands for lethal vengeance." At the same time, they also spent much of the past decade numbing themselves to their fears by gambling, watching TV, drinking and doing drugs, he said. "There's been too much denial of death and not enough affirmation of life," he wrote.
Sense of Gloom
Solomon said that Americans' feelings of gloom have been enhanced by continuing bad news -- the collapse of the economy in 2008, the ongoing wars, the debate over the debt ceiling, high rates of joblessness. He said that if the country was doing better, the 10th anniversary of September 11 might be less psychologically distressing; instead, it will likely reinforce the pain and terror people felt that day.
Solomon has conducted experiments showing that when people were reminded of death or 9/11, they were more likely to support former President George W. Bush. He said that the 10th anniversary would provide an opportunity for politicians to exploit 9/11 all over again. "I do think some of the same anti-Islamic sentiments and 'Go America' sentiments will be raised," he said. "The idea that you're with us or against us will be raised."
There has not been a second terrorist attack in the U.S. since 9/11, but Americans continue to worry about the possibility of such an attack, experts said.
"I think before [Sept. 11] Americans thought terrorist attacks happened elsewhere," said Richard Lachman, a professor of sociology at the University at Albany. "Even though there hasn't been another terrorist attack, and 100 times as many people are killed in car accidents each year, people are more nervous." The attack on 9/11 "was different from anything that happened in the U.S. before," he said. "It was a really spectacular attack in the worst sort of way. It's gotten constant attention, and it was exploited by the Bush administration."
Policy-wise, the biggest changes since Sept. 11 have occurred in the area of civil liberties and national security. Today, the emphasis is on preventing future terrorist attacks, rather than investigating and prosecuting past crimes.
After 9/11, the controversial Patriot Act, which expanded the authority of American law enforcement for the purpose of fighting terrorism, was passed, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security created. The use of torture had long been banned by the U.S., but techniques such as water boarding and enhanced interrogation were used on terror suspects, although President Barack Obama later banned such practices. The National Security Agency began eavesdropping on people living within the U.S. without obtaining warrants, something the agency had never done before and that civil liberties groups decried as illegal.
In the Capital Region, residents got an up-close look at one of the government's new prevention-fighting strategies when two Muslim men were arrested in a sting operation and charged with conspiring to aid a terrorist organization. The entire scheme was orchestrated by an FBI informant, and critics complained that neither man would have gotten involved in the scheme if not for the manipulation of the FBI informant. But both were found guilty, and officials hailed the case as a successful terrorism-prevention effort.
New information about how the war on terror is fought continues to surface.
Last month, news reports informed the public of how the CIA has helped transform the New York Police Department into one of the most aggressive domestic intelligence agencies in the country; as part of a human mapping program, the department has sent undercover officers, known as "rakers," into minority neighborhoods, where they've monitored bookstores, bars, cafes and mosques.
Mathews said the Patriot Act enabled "law enforcement to go after suspected terrorists much, much earlier, before crimes are committed."
He said the bombing of Oklahoma City in 1995 inspired law enforcement agencies to rethink how they approached terrorism -- "we realized we weren't prepared to respond to weapons of mass destruction and terrorist acts -- and that those efforts accelerated after 9/11. One big change entails teaching responders about how terrorists think and plan for attacks.
Mathews said that today's terrorists are much more likely to work alone than in the past; the 9/11 terrorists, for instance, operated in cells. "They're using handguns and smaller weapons," he said. "So now we're having to train again, and change our practices and procedures to respond to these changes." Mathews said terrorists are always looking for new ways to attack or intimidate people, which keeps law enforcement and responders on their toes.
"It's an evolving thing," Mathews said.
Mathews also said that some secrecy is necessary.
"If we told everyone about all our procedures and tactics, we'd be giving away the shot," he said.
Cutler said news of the partnership between the NYPD and CIA disturbed him. "The CIA is not a domestic agency," he said. "Serious questions have to be raised." He said one of the more troubling developments since 9/11 "has been the Kafkaesque notion of holding individuals in detention indefinitely, and not telling them why they're being held."
When Obama was elected, he promised to end many of the Bush tactics used in the war on terror; one of his biggest promises was to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, where terror suspects have been detained without trial for years. But that didn't happen, and for the most part Obama has continued the practices of his predecessor. Critics said this has legitimized those tactics, and made them a more official and established part of U.S. policy.
The American Civil Liberties Union recently released a report titled "A Call to Courage: Reclaiming Our Liberties Ten Years After 9/11," in which the group argues that too much has been sacrificed in the name of national security.
Melane Trimble, executive director of the Capital Region chapter of the ACLU, said the ACLU has been trying to educate the public about civil liberties and the changes of the past 10 years.
"The ACLU is here to tell people there's a need for balance," she said. She said the public has been too willing to give up rights in exchange for safety, but that this is changing. "Ten years later, people are able to look at what was a rational response to 9/11 and what was not," she said.
Source: Schenectady Gazette
23 June, 2011
Senators Reintroduce Legislation to Include SUNY's National Center for Security Preparedness in NDPC, Program Boasts Unique Expertise In Biological Hazards and Infrastructure Protection, Invaluable Addition to Seven-Member Organization
Legislation Would Allow SUNY to Develop and Deliver DHS- Certified National Program Unique to NDPC; Program Would Focus On Intelligence, Infrastructure Protection, Information Sharing and Critical Decision Making
Schumer, Gillibrand: SUNY's Participation In National Consortium A Win-Win For New York and Emergency Personnel Nationwide
Today, U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand reintroduced legislation to make the State University of New York (SUNY) a member of the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium (NDPC), a partnership of several organizations meant to enhance the emergency preparedness of federal, state, local, and nongovernmental emergency responders and counter-terrorism teams. The NDPC is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) National Preparedness Directorate and has a 12 year history of substantial improvements to national preparedness. SUNY's inclusion in the consortium would contribute considerable security training and research expertise to the NDPC, and would fill a geographic void as the NDPC currently lacks a member organization in the northeast. Schumer and Gillibrand note that currently, SUNY's National Center for Security and Preparedness (NCSP) trains emergency personal and first-responders throughout the state on how to protect infrastructure and respond to biological hazards, and his legislation would allow NCSP to share their expertise on a national level.
"The inclusion of SUNY's National Center for Security and Preparedness in this national consortium would be a win-win for New Yorkers and emergency personnel nationwide," said Schumer. "The NCSP would have the resources to expand its preparedness training and educational programs for New York emergency personnel, while also extending the reach of their expertise to emergency responders and counter-terrorism teams across the country. At a time when the United States' must have the highest level of counter-terrorism preparedness, the nation has a lot to learn from the NCSP's expertise in protecting infrastructure and responding to biological hazards."
"New York knows better than any the threats we face," Senator Gillibrand said. "SUNY is home to cutting edge research and innovation that can provide great improvements to America's preparedness – whether for a terrorist attack or responding to natural disasters. Adding SUNY to the NDPC will help give our first responders the tools and training they need to keep more Americans safe, and save lives."
"The addition of the National Center for Security & Preparedness at the University at Albany State University of New York will expand the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium with a center in the northeastern region of nation and will expand this premier consortium's capabilities in the areas of intelligence, information sharing, and terrorism interdiction," said Rick Matthews, the Director of the National Center for Security & Preparedness. "The relationship of the Center with the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services will also enable national level scenario-based, high-performance terrorism interdiction training to be brought to the Sate Preparedness Training Center in central New York."
SUNY's National Center for Security and Preparedness trains emergency personnel throughout the state to protect infrastructure and respond to biological hazards, and would join seven existing member organizations if added through this legislation. Currently, the NDPC has seven member organizations including the Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP) in Alabama, the Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center (EMRTC) at New Mexico Tech, the National Center for BioMedical Research and Training (NCBRT) at Louisiana State University, the National Emergency Response and Rescue Training Center (NERRTC) at Texas A&M, the National Disaster Preparedness Training Center at the University of Hawaii, the Counter Terrorism Operations Support (CTOS)/the Nevada Test Site (NTS) in North Las Vegas, and the Transportation Technology Center, Inc. in Pueblo, Colorado. Between these seven members, the NDPC trains federal, state, local, tribal, and nongovernmental groups in emergency response techniques and disaster preparedness strategies that reduce vulnerability to criminal and terrorist incidents. Each facility has a specific role in ensuring the preparedness of our nation's first responders. Since 1998, the Consortium has trained 750,000 people.
SUNY would be the first member organization from the northeast. Schumer and Gillibrand's legislation will integrate the National Center for Security and Preparedness, a subset of the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy at the University of Albany, into the NDPC. The Center, though located in Albany, is a combined effort of all 64 SUNY campuses, and will create a program focused on intelligence, infrastructure protection and analysis, information sharing, and critical decision-making – areas that none of the NDPC's current member organizations currently address.
The legislation would provide the center with $5 million for administrative and technical efforts related to the development and delivery of a Department of Homeland Security certified course that will train critical infrastructure protection analysts. There is a pressing need to provide technical training to those professionals engaged at federal, state, and local levels in analytical techniques and processes necessary to conduct risk assessments and analysis, including simulations and modeling, of the infrastructure identified as critical by national, state, or local security officials.
The senators state that SUNY NCSP's inclusion in the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium would be a win-win, allowing SUNY to expand its preparedness training and educational programs in New York, while sharing their incredible expertise with emergency personnel nationwide. SUNY being the largest higher-education system in the nation, with proximity to thousands of first response organizations and a population of tens of millions, would make the NCSP an invaluable NDPC member.
3 May, 2011
While the death of Osama bin Laden sparked celebrations for some, for others, it brought fears of reprisal attacks. YNN's Solomon Syed headed to Albany International Airport to find out how travelers are feeling about flying, and how security personnel are handling the heightened threat level.
COLONIE, N.Y. -- He may be dead, but the result of Osama Bin Laden's legacy's on full display at the Albany International Airport includes long lines at security and on-going TSA pat downs in attempt to prevent another 9/11 from ever happening again.
"Well, I've always felt just as safe as ever," said traveler Ruth Masiewicz.
Those sentiments echoed by many in the terminal; they feel just as safe Monday as they ever have. Airport spokesman Doug Myers said everything is normal despite the elevated security level, but counterterrorism experts say bin Laden's death could also elevate al Qaeda's efforts.
"Al Qaeda's a network. It's not like an organization with a single CEO and always following simple directives," said Rick Mathews, who founded UAlbany's National Center for Security and Preparedness. He helps train New York State's Homeland Security agents.
He said, "It's reasonable to expect that al Qaeda operatives or cells will try to exact some revenge, if you will."
And at least one flyer feared some bin Laden backlash.
"I felt less safe to be honest," said Tyler Flynn. "I didn't know if his people were gonna do anything about it so I kinda felt less safe."
But others are confident it's just too soon for a coordinated attack.
"I don't think you can get a ticket and get organized that fast," said traveler Lee Moore. "I think there would be more chance in getting hurt in some mall or something like that."
Mathews agrees that malls and other so-called soft targets with minimal security are at greater future risk than airports. But much like the small pieces of information that led to bin Laden's death, he said people should stay vigilant.
"They should be alert for their surroundings, something that looks to be different or out of place, unusual behaviors, and then like we say, if you see anything unusual, say something," said Mathews.
And what Mathews refers to there has turned into the statewide "see something, say something" campaign. He stresses how important that is because given how long it took to find bin Laden, given the intelligence network we have, it shows just how complex al Qaeda really is and how much help authorities need in stopping terror plots.
30 November, 2010
The NCSP continues to work with executives from NTT Data, Japan's largest IT systems integrator through Dynamic Strategies Asia (Washington, DC) as they develop their homeland security related initiatives in Japan and elsewhere across the globe. The NCSP’s efforts are significantly supported by the Center for Technology (CTG) in Government (UAlbany). Pictured is Director Rick C. Mathews and CTG Director Theresa Pardo, along with executives from NTT Data: Hidechika Miyaji, Shoji Nakaniwa, and Atsushi Ogawa, as well as Andrew Saidel (President & CEO, Dynamic Strategies Asia, LC). Also pictured is an interpreter. Not pictured is Anthony Cresswell of CTG.
14 May, 2010
NEW YORK CITY, N.Y. -- There was a brief scare Thursday night after police were notified of a suspicious car with gas cans in it near Union Square.
Part of the area was evacuated, but it turned out to be a false alarm.
Meanwhile, three Pakistani men were arrested Thursday in a series of raids across the Northeast in connection with the failed Times Square bombing.
Last night's scare is a clear indication that tensions remain high in New York City after the attempted bombing in Times Square.
In fact, the NYPD has reported a 30 percent jump in suspicious package and vehicle calls in the last two weeks.
And yesterday's false alarm comes as the feds round up people believed to be connected to Times Square suspect Faisal Shazad.
A local terrorism expert isn't surprised by any of this.
Rick Mathews, the director of the national center for security and preparedness at University at Albany says New York Police and the FBI will be looking for anyone who has a connection or info about the alleged bomb maker.
"Understanding he admitted himself he had training in Pakistan and came back. Obviously he was taught to do some things," Mathews said. "I think it's speculative to think it is a network if any. I think it's fair to say he knew some people and that is what it is all about."
Later today, Mathews is hosting a class in Oneida County to examine the New York City incident, how the bomb was made and Faisal Shazad's activities prior to placing the bomb in Times Square.
Government Security News
26 April, 2010
New York's two Democratic senators, Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, have introduced legislation that would "enhance" the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium, a group of seven education and training centers across the U.S. that focus on security matters, by adding an eighth member to the consortium, the State University of New York's National Center for Security and Preparedness.
"The SUNY campuses provide extraordinary capabilities to help the Nation in the areas of intelligence, infrastructure protection analysis, information sharing, and critical decision making," says the proposed legislation, S. 3236, which the senators introduced on April 21.
The National Domestic Preparedness Consortium (NDPC), a professional alliance sponsored through the National Preparedness Directorate at DHS, is made up of seven members, including the Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP) in Anniston, AL; the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology (New Mexico Tech); Louisiana State University's Academy of Counter-Terrorist Education (National Center for Biomedical Research and Training); Texas A&M University National Emergency Response and Rescue Training Center (TEEX); the Department of Energy's Nevada Test Site (NTS); the Transportation Technology Center, Inc. (TTCI); and the National Disaster Preparedness Training Center at the University of Hawaii (NDPTC).
Each of these organizations has distinguished themselves nationally as experts in chemicals, explosives, radiological/nuclear devices, bioterrorism, counter-terrorism, agro-terrorism, and emergency management systems, says the Consortium's Web site.
SUNY's National Center for Security and Preparedness helps leverage the resources of all 64 SUNY campuses to develop homeland security training and apply SUNY's homeland security research, says the legislation.
The measure was referred to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
5 January, 2010
Today we welcome Rick Mathews, Director of the National Center for Security and Preparedness. Rick discusses airport security and other issues with WAMC listeners. Host: Alan Chartock.