September 28, 2005

Wyden, Allen Call on DHS to Implement Communications, Tech 'National Guard' in Wake of Recent Hurricanes

Senators' NET Guard program to ensure experts are in place to repair communications failures following disasters, approved in 2002, has yet to be implemented by DHS

Washington, DC - In the wake of communications failures caused by the recent Gulf Coast hurricanes, U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and George Allen (R-Va.) today sent a letter urging Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Michael Chertoff to finally implement the National Emergency Technology Guard, or "NET Guard," authorized in the Homeland Security Act passed in 2002. "NET Guard," or a "technology equivalent of the National Guard," is to be comprised of teams of local volunteers with science and technology expertise to assist local communities in responding to attacks or failures involving communications and information networks. As Hurricanes Katrina and Rita have made clear, it is likely that the United States will be faced with future natural disasters; and as the nation continues to combat global terrorism, the possibility of another terrorist attack is real. Wyden and Allen today renewed their call for DHS to finally implement NET Guard to increase the effectiveness of communications and technology volunteers to respond quickly in the event of disasters. "Indeed, after both September 11th and Hurricane Katrina, individuals and companies with expertise did offer their services on an improved basis," wrote Wyden and Allen. "The implementation of NET Guard, however, could greatly increase the effectiveness of these volunteer experts." Click here for the letter to Secretary Chertoff