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EPA’s Homeland Security Research Center Turns 10 Today!

2012 September 28

By Jonathan G. Herrmann, P.E., BCEE

When I watched Claire Danes accept an Emmy Award for her role as Carrie Mathison in the television series “HOMELAND” last Sunday evening, I was again reminded that homeland security is neither out of sight nor out of mind. 

In fact, today, EPA’s National Homeland Security Research Center turns 10! 

I had the great honor of being one of the Center’s founding members when it was formally established on September 28, 2002.  We drew upon the experience and expertise of the scientific, technical, and administrative staff from across EPA’s Office of Research and Development in creating the Center.  Our near-term goal was to put in place a talented team of individuals to support the Agency in responding to the tragedy of 9/11 and the Amerithrax attacks later in 2001. 

The events of 9/11 were devastating to the American public and their impact was felt around the World.  Amerithrax killed five people and contaminated at least 17 buildings with weaponized anthrax spores.  These incidents, along with the possibility of other attacks, required the U.S. Government—at all levels—to do what was necessary to respond and recover—and prevent attacks from happening again in the United States. 

EPA continues to play a critical role in protecting the country’s water infrastructure and has the responsibility to address the intentional contamination of buildings, water systems and public areas.  These activities are informed and supported by our research results and scientific and technical expertise. 

Our work is guided by laws, Presidential Directives, the National Response Framework, and is consistent with the National Security Strategy.  EPA scientists and engineers provide guidance, tools and technical support to decision makers at the federal, state, and local levels to ensure that decontamination is as cost-effective and timely as possible.  Together with our partners in EPA’s Program Offices and Regions, we enhance the nation’s capability to prepare for, respond to, and recover from both man-made and natural disasters.

Events like Hurricane Katrina (2005), the Deepwater Horizon oil spill (2010) and, more recently, the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster in Japan (2011) tested our capabilities like never before.  Along with Agency peers and colleagues from across the federal government, EPA scientists and engineers stepped up to these extraordinary challenges with their time, skills, expertise, energy, and dedication.

I am proud of EPA’s homeland security research efforts and the contributions that the Center has made.  Our efforts strengthen our nation’s resiliency and advance EPA’s mission to protect public health and the environment. 

About the author:  Jonathan Herrmann is Director, National Homeland Security Research Center, EPA Office of Research and Development.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action.

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5 Responses leave one →
  1. Brendan Doyle permalink
    September 30, 2012

    Happy Birthday NHSRC!

  2. jack McGraw permalink
    October 29, 2012

    Congratulations NHSRC! It has been a pleasure to be a part of your “larger team” all these years.

    May you continue to grow and make even a larger contribution in the future.

    Jack

  3. Mohamed Ammer permalink
    June 6, 2013

    that is good for me ,thanks

  4. wiseman permalink
    October 14, 2013

    An agency that can efficiently and effectively assess and mitigate threats to environmental infrastructure is of critical importance in today’s world.

    We live in a technological era that a very small amount of a weaponized chemical or biological contaminants could be easily distributed to huge amounts of people almost effortlessly.

    Being able to identify vulnerable infrastructure and figure out ways of fortifying them is of the highest priority. I am certainly glad that we have hard working and dedicated scientists and specialists on the job. Way to go NHSRC!

  5. Teri Green permalink
    October 18, 2013

    Technology that would help with communication during emergencies is satellite cell phones. Off laying cell phones onto the sat network would help emergency workers and the general population.

    Thanks
    Teri
    Teri Green

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