Governor Enacts Homeland Security Law

(Senator Will Espero joins the Governor for the signing of Senate Bill 680, relating to homeland security.)

Honolulu- Governor Neil Abercrombie signed into law today a measure aimed at strengthening homeland security in the State of Hawaii. Senate Bill 680 enacts a homeland security law to establish a State Homeland Security Office within the Department of Defense and authorize the establishment of county organizations for homeland security.

“Hawaii’s geographic location makes us vulnerable to homeland security threats,” said Senator Will Espero, who introduced the bill and chairs the Senate Committee on Public Safety, Intergovernmental and Military Affairs.  “By establishing a Homeland Security Office within the State, this measure demonstrates Hawaii’s commitment to ensure the continued safety of our citizens and visitors. The recent incident in Boston shows the need for local jurisdictions to be very attentive and take the initiative on security issues. ”

“Currently, the main focus of the State Department of Defense is mostly civil defense or emergency preparedness and the National Guard,” Espero explained. “The new office will complement the Federal Department of Homeland Security, providing a comprehensive program to help protect Hawaii’s residents, infrastructure and government from terrorism and other attacks.”

Under the law, the adjutant general will serve as the director of the State Homeland Security Office.   The office is tasked to prepare comprehensive plans and programs for homeland security and homeland defense, conduct studies and surveys of the vulnerabilities of critical infrastructure and other tasks.