Bay Ridge

Donovan looks to beef up Dept. of Homeland Security

Looks to secure high-volume tourist areas like Coney Island boardwalk

July 3, 2018 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The House previously passed a bill sponsored by U.S. Rep. Dan Donovan aimed at improving security measures at high-volume tourist locations like the Riegelmann Boardwalk in Coney Island to prevent vehicular terror attacks. Eagle file photo by Paula Katinas

Terrorists are always working to develop new ways to attack the U.S. and the nation needs to be ready to counter them, according to a Brooklyn lawmaker who is seeking to beef up the Department of Homeland Security. 

U.S. Rep. Dan Donovan (R-Southwest Brooklyn-Staten Island) has introduced legislation that he said would ensure that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has the tools it needs to counter continuing threats posed by terrorists looking to use weapons of mass destruction.

The bill, called the Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Act, would create a new office, the Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office, which would operate under the jurisdiction of DHS.

The idea is to improve coordination among various anti-terror efforts at the federal level, Donovan said.

“The threats our nation faces from our adversaries are always evolving. Terrorist groups want to inflict maximum damage by using a wide scope of weapons including chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear agents,” Donovan said in a statement.

The bill also calls on the federal government to permanently authorize Securing the Cities, a program that provides resources to local governments to work to prevent nuclear and radiological attacks in urban settings like New York City that are considered to be high-risk areas. 

Donovan, who is chairman of the House Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications, said he included several ideas in his bill that had been brought up by anti-terror experts at a subcommittee hearing he chaired earlier this year.

“The improvements my bill calls for come directly from expert testimony outlined during a previous hearing on weapons of mass destruction, and it’s critical that we continue to give DHS the tools needed to secure our nation and the American people,” he stated. 

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One witness at the hearing testified that the creation of a Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office would result in better sharing of ideas between agencies. 

Last month, the House passed the Shielding Public Spaces from Vehicular Terrorism Act, a bill Donovan introduced to improve efforts to fight vehicular terror attacks.

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