Department of Defense Homeland Security
From: DEFENSE PRESS SERVICE LIST On Behalf Of Press Service
Sent: 26 November 2002 22:18
To: [EMAIL PROTECTED]
Subject: New Security Department Reinforces NORTHCOM Mission
By Master Sgt. Bob Haskell
Special to the American Forces Press Service
The National Guard has given the U.S. Northern Command a base
that it can build on, one of that new organization's high-
ranking officers said recently.
Furthermore, the new Cabinet-level Department of Homeland
Security will reinforce the Northern Command's mission of
safeguarding this country, Air Force Maj. Gen. Dale Meyerrose
maintained during a Nov. 13 summit on homeland security.
President George W. Bush signed the legislation creating the new
department on Nov. 25. Meyerrose is the director of
architectures and integrations for the Northern Command that was
stood up at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colo.,
on Oct. 1. He is also director for command control systems at
the North American Aerospace Defense Command's headquarters at
Peterson. He is the chief information officer for both commands.
Meyerrose is responsible for creating the communications and
informational architecture so that Northern Command personnel
can support and share information with civil authorities,
including the FBI and the Federal Emergency Management Agency,
when directed by the president and the secretary of defense.
"I think it will only make our job easier," Meyerrose told
reporters about the new Homeland Security Department that
President George W. Bush has championed in the wake of the
terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The U.S. House of
Representatives approved 299-121 on Nov. 13; the Senate
decisively endorsed the homeland security bill 90-9 on Nov. 19.
"It provides an organization at the national level which links
what we do in the Department of Defense with other departments
and, hopefully, down to the states and other jurisdictions,"
explained Meyerrose, one of the keynote speakers during the
The new department will include all, or parts of, 22 separate
federal agencies, including Customs, the Coast Guard and the
FEMA, in the largest governmental reorganization since the
Department of Defense was formed in 1947.
It will help, Meyerrose said, because "a lot of architecture,
constructs and concepts of operation that need to be put in
place are beyond the scope of the Department of Defense and
Northern Command. That's where the Department of Homeland
Security, of which we will be a supporting part, will come in
Nearly 200 people attended the conference, which explored ways
in which computer-driven technology can help numerous agencies
protect the United States. It is critical for all federal, state
and local agencies to be able to communicate quickly so
information can be transformed into action should this country
be attacked again, Meyerrose and other speakers insisted.
The challenge, Meyerrose explained, is finding the best way to
transform a voice report from an emergency responder who is
first on the scene of a terrorist attack or natural disaster
into a digital format that provides reports to all coordinating
"I need to change my foundation from 'need to know' to 'need to
share'" without compromising the security of sensitive
information that could help an enemy, observed Meyerrose, an Air
Force Academy graduate who has been a communications officer for
27 years. "We must be able to move secret information from
trusted environment to trusted environment," he added.
The Northern Command, commanded by Air Force Gen. Ralph
Eberhart, is primarily responsible for protecting the
continental United States and its contiguous waters, from the
Aleutian Islands in the Pacific Ocean to Puerto Rico and the
U.S. Virgin Islands in the Caribbean, from external threats and
attacks, Meyerrose stressed.
It is also prepared, when ordered by the president or secretary
of defense, to support a lead federal agency in case civil
authorities cannot deal with a catastrophic domestic event such
as the terrorist attacks against the World Trade Center and the
Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001. That is when it is critical for
Northern Command to be able to communicate with the FBI or FEMA,
"It is our belief that the unity of command embodied by
NORTHCOM will allow this country to raise that capability to a
new height," he said.
Meyerrose said that he and his Northern Command colleagues would
strive to improve the informational architecture by coordinating
communications systems that already exist and by improving on
procedures that are already in place.
The National Guard already has established procedures that will
help, he said, because 26 of the adjutants general in the 54
states and territories already serve in dual capacities as state
military leaders and state emergency managers.
"They have lots of existing programs for consequence management
Meyerrose said. "They already have existing lines of
communications and interoperable systems that become an avenue
for expanding into a more encompassing thing.
"That's an example of somebody who's been working [at this] for
a period of time and has made a lot of progress. Now we're
trying to provide that unification across the entire country."
The issue of homeland security is not new, said Meyerrose, even
though the formation of the Northern Command marks the first
time that a single military combatant commander has been placed
in charge of homeland defense since George Washington took
command of the new Continental Army on June 15, 1775. "Many
people have toiled over this for several years," Meyerrose
"Make no mistake," he said. "We already have the capability to
meet today's mission requirements by building on those that
previously existed within the Department of Defense and other
(Master Sgt. Bob Haskell is assigned to the National Guard
Bureau Public Affairs Office, Arlington, Va.)
Visit the "Department of Defense Homeland Security" Web site
at http://www.defenselink.mil/specials/homeland/ to learn more
about the Department of Defense role in homeland security.
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