Security (S&B/CBRNE) Magazine

WIN 2016-2017

Security & Border Protection and CST & CBRNE Source Book, published jointly, concentrate on WMD response, NGB training, counterterrorism, and border security

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HILL PERSPECTIVE Security & Border Protection had the recent pleasure of speaking with Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), member of the Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee in the 114th Congress, regarding her efforts to ensure that those tasked with maintaining vigilance over American societal protections from threats both domestic and foreign have the best means with which to do so. Interview conducted by S&BP Editor Kevin Hunter SUPPORTING THOSE WHO PROTECT Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee in the 114th Congress S&BP: Please discuss your position as a member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, and the issues you care most about. Sen. Ernst: As a United States Senator and a member of the Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC), I believe that protecting Americans from threats – both foreign and domestic – should be our top priority. As we learned from the tragic events of September 11, 2001, and continue to be reminded of by ISIS-led or inspired terrorist attacks around the world today, we must remain vigilant in defending our citizens and their freedoms. Accordingly, it is vital that we provide our military and law enforce- ment officials with the tools they need to protect Americans from potential threats. I believe we must also secure our borders in order to ensure that anyone entering our country is doing so in accordance with the law. In addition to illegal immigration, the law enforcement personnel stationed on our borders must confront drug smuggling, human trafficking, and the threat of terrorism on a day-to-day basis. More must be done to fully secure our borders and ensure the integrity of our immigration system, prevent the exploitation of children, protect our nation against terrorism, and stop criminal drug rings. S&BP: What legislation have you passed or are you currently working on to ensure first responders are adequately provided with the tools they need? Sen. Ernst: Our nation's first responders accept and perform their duties heroically and without second thought to their own personal safety in order to protect others in danger. Regardless of the situation they are responding to, first responders deserve our full support to ensure they can perform their duties. In the midst of tragedy, we continue to see the best of the American people in our first responders. To that end, earlier this year I was pleased to support the Compre- hensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), which became law in July 2016. Importantly, CARA promotes education and prevention of opioid abuse in our communities. It also offers opportunities to train first responders in using drugs designed to reverse an opioid overdose. Fur- thermore, I was proud to cosponsor the Railroad Emergency Services Preparedness, Operational Needs, and Safety Evaluation (RESPONSE) Act. This bill would establish a council to evaluate the current train- ing methods, response plans and overall strategies used by our first responders when they are faced with railroad hazardous materials incidents. The findings and recommendations would then be reported to Congress so we can act. We must make sure our first responders have the best training and equipment possible to better protect them as well as our communities. Additionally, I am a supporter of the 21st Century Cures Act which, among other things, would assist in equipping law enforcement with needed training and resources to respond to mental health crises. S&BP: Where do you see the biggest areas for improvement on our borders? Sen. Ernst: I believe it is vitally important that the government enforce the laws in place that are designed to protect our borders and prevent the illegal entry of persons, drugs, and weapons into our country. The sheer size of our northern and southern borders makes this a difficult task, but hundreds of miles of fencing, thousands of border security agents, and sophisticated technology all contribute to making our borders more safe and secure. As a member of HSGAC, I have participated in several hearings on both the northern and southern borders and engaged frequently with administration officials on the issue of border security. Though I appreciate the service and dedication of our Border Patrol agents, we can and should do more to ensure our borders are secure. www.tacticaldefensemedia.com 20 | S&BP AND CST & CBRNE | Winter 2016/2017

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