Donovan looks to beef up Dept. Of Homeland Security

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 Southwest Brooklyn lawmaker who is seeking to beef up the Department of Homeland Security.

U.S. Rep. Dan Donovan, a Republican representing portions of southwest Brooklyn and all of Staten Island, has introduced legislation that he said would ensure that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has the tools it needs to parry 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 (CWMD) 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 permanent authorization by the federal government of 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 chairperson 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.

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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