Secure Commonwealth Panel Meets
Yesterday was the first meeting of the Secure Commonwealth Panel since the new administration’s inauguration. Craig Carper reports.
The Secure Commonwealth Panel was created by former Governor Jim Gilmore shortly after 9/11, to analyze Virginia’s preparedness for all types of disaster scenarios, ranging from hurricanes to terrorist attacks.
Panel members include legislators as well as former Defense Department, Homeland Security and White House officials. The panel is chaired by Terrie Suit, Governor McDonnell’s Assistant for Commonwealth Preparedness.
Suit says much of the meeting focused on educating new members about existing infrastructure, so the group can determine where the Commonwealth can be stronger, while keeping in mind that budget dollars are scarce.
Suit: One area that’s of concern to us, we want to put a little more time into, and emphasis into recovery, recovery after a disaster. I think we’ve done a pretty good job at getting all the plans in place for the actual responding at the time of the disaster or just prior to, for example with the snow storms and the hurricane, but now we need to be also looking at recovery.
Suit says the panel will most likely meet quarterly, but will be ready to have emergency meetings as needed. The group will be breaking into subpanels including critical infrastructure, health and medical, and media outreach. The panel is expected to have legislative recommendations by their next meeting in the fall.
Craig Carper, WCVE News, Capitol Square