Appendix 2 to Annex N
Homeland Security Regional Response System Overview
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In the late 1990s, the State Emergency Management Agency began to serve as a conduit for federal and state grant money that was provided to local jurisdictions in Missouri to both build basic haz-mat response capability, as well as enhance already existing haz-mat response capability. Some of this money was used to provide training for participants in the program, in addition to buying equipment. Participants were involved in the State Fire Mutual Aid system recognized by the State Fire Marshal's Office. However, there was little consistency between participants in expectations or commitment to the program.
After the terrorist attack and anthrax letters in the fall of 2001, and the advent of Homeland Security grant funding, additional money was made available to the participants involved in the haz-mat program to focus on the terrorist threat. Existing participants were rolled into a Homeland Security Response Team (HSRT) program. Additional haz-mat teams were brought into the program, and other emergency response capability such as SWAT and EMS were combined together to constitute 28 individual HSRT "Teams" throughout Missouri. However, there was no consistency from team to team as to size, types of emergency response disciplines involved, or under what circumstances they would respond outside of their own jurisdiction.
In some but not all instances, MOUs were entered into between the state of Missouri and the local jurisdictions who were participating in the HSRT program. However, there was no consistency in these MOUs from team to team. Some HSRT teams with lesser capabilities were designated as "forward teams" and received less funding than other teams, but there was no well thought out plan or strategy on deployment of the teams, under what authority they would be deployed, etc. There was no ability to ask for or deploy only the SWAT or haz-mat component of the team if that is all that was needed.
To date, over 30 million dollars of federal Homeland Security grant money has been spent on the HSRT program in Missouri. The federal Department of Homeland Security recognized the lack of consistency and sustainability in Missouri's CBRNE/WMD initiative and when they awarded the FY-2006 Homeland Security grants, prohibited Missouri from spending any more money on this program until the program justification was re-designed and rewritten to truly reflect a sustainable, consistent, multi-hazard response capability.
In December 2005, with the oversight of the Governor's Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC) on the HSRT program, the Council decided that this program needed to evolve into a true regionally focused multi-hazard "CBRNE/WMD" response network or system that was scalable as the need dictated. The Homeland Security Coordinator and the Executive Director of the Missouri Emergency Response Commission were directed by the Advisory Council to become involved in the HSRT program and develop it into a regionally focused system of local resource that could receive homeland security grant funding and other state support. This was the start of the Homeland Security Regional Response System concept.
As a result of the HSAC mandates, an Executive Steering Committee for the Homeland Security Regional Response System was formed. The goal of the Executive Steering Committee was to help obtain regional and local input on moving from 28 multi-discipline teams to a concept of having a network or system in each homeland security region that can bring together individual disciplines as need to respond to CBRNE/WMD incidents. The primary members of the Committee are generally comprised of the Homeland Security Response Team representatives who are already on the nine (9) Homeland Security Regional Oversight Committees (RHSOC), as well as representatives from each of the two Urban Area Security Initiative areas of Kansas City and St. Louis. In several instances, the Executive Steering Committee members are not the RHSOC representatives, but have been elected by the consensus by the members of a working group in their region.
The Executive Steering Committee's mission is to provide operational and tactical guidance for the Homeland Security Regional Response System (HSRRS) program. Under the HSRRS, the funding for the program in each region is tied to a "threat matrix". This threat matrix is based on population, number of counties, and number of critical infrastructure and key assets as reflected in the Homeland Security Critical Infrastructure Data Base, in each region. The Governor's Homeland Security Advisory Council sets the overall funding level for this program, utilizing federal Homeland Security grant funding.
Primary and alternate representatives from each region who serve on the HSRRS Executive Steering Committee are responsible for setting up a working group within their regional to determine how that money will be spent to sustain a HSRRS program in their region. The money is administered through the State Administrative Agent, SEMA, to the individual jurisdictions through the regional working groups.
To participate in the HSRRS, a jurisdiction has to agree, in principal, that they are willing, under the existing mutual aid framework, to allow their participant disciplines such as a haz-mat team or SWAT team, to respond to CBRNE/WMD emergencies within their region, and possibly statewide, as their availability and the situation warrants. It is recognized that the state has no authority to order deployment of participants, and any response is within the guidelines of the existing Missouri mutual aid system. Part of the grant money acceptance documentation, which each grantee must sign before they receive federal homeland security grant, articulates this expectation.
Participation in the old HSRT program does not mandate continuing participation in this program, and the expectations or lack thereof for any individual jurisdiction under the HSRT program does not automatically carry over into the HSRRS.
The HSRRS recognizes that individual jurisdictions in each region have basic response assets and capabilities such as haz-mat response teams, SWAT team, EMS, bomb squads, etc. The grant money provided through the HSRRS is not designed to sustain these basic core capabilities, nor establish new basic core capabilities in jurisdictions that do not already have them. The HS grant money from this program is meant to sustain CBRNE/WMD related enhanced capabilities for the above described response assets, such as the capability of a SWAT team to operate in a hazardous materials environment with level A or B or personal protection equipment (PPE), or a haz-mat team to operate at a higher "resource type" level than is expected of a basic haz-mat team. The working groups in each region are expected to collectively agree on funding priorities, the number of different disciplines involved in the program in each region, and other related matters for their regions.
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