United States Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has instituted an "all hazards" approach to public safety since joining the Obama Administration.
Homeland Security grew from the ashes of September 11, 2001 in response to the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. Yet, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano won’t single out terrorism as the biggest threat to the security of the nation.
"There are always a number of threats to our security," Napolitano said during a news conference at the State Emergency Management Agency in Jefferson City. "They can be international, they can be terrorist, they can be domestic and domestically raised. So, it’s hard to say what is the single largest."
Napolitano spoke with reporters after Governor Nixon gave her a tour of SEMA headquarters. Nixon invited Napolitano to visit Jefferson City prior to traveling to Kansas City to speak at the third annual National Fusion Center Conference. Nixon has known Napolitano for some time. Both are Democrats and both served as the Attorney General of their respective states before being elected governor. Napolitano was in her second term as governor of Arizona when President Obama chose her to run the Department of Homeland Security.
Nixon escorted Napolitano through the Missouri Information Analysis Center and the State Emergency Agency’s Emergency Operations Center. They also toured the State Highway Patrol’s Mobile Command and Communication Vehicle, purchased in September of last year.
Napolitano advocates an "all hazards" approach to public safety, ranging from terrorist strikes to natural disasters.
"We have to prepare for all," Napolitano said. "We have to understand that there are many ways in which our homeland can be the subject of attack; from manmade attack and then, of course, Mother Nature has her say as well."
Napolitano acknowledged that that phrase "all hazards" is very, very broad. But she says the nation must be prepared for anything; and then prepare for response and recovery.
Some critics insist that the Department of Homeland Security has invaded the personal privacy of Americans in the name of national security. When asked about such criticism, Napolitano stated there is no need to invade personal privacy to secure public safety. She noted that she has appointed a Chief Privacy Officer to her staff to ensure the privacy rights of citizens.