Lieutenant Governor Doug Chin delivered opening remarks at the Hawaii Joint Counter-Terrorism Awareness Workshop Series. The JCTAWS, sponsored by the National Counter-Terrorism Center, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, is a nationwide initiative designed to improve the ability of local jurisdictions to prepare for, protect against, and respond to complex terrorist attacks. JCTAWS, held in cities across the U.S., bring together federal, state, and local participants representing law enforcement, fire, emergency medical services, communication centers, private sector communities, and non-governmental organizations to address this type of threat. The last time Hawaii held a JCTAWS was in November 2011, prior to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation or APEC summit that took place in Honolulu.
On behalf of Governor David Ige, Lt. Governor Chin thanked all the attendees and commended them for their critical participation in safeguarding our island state and nation. Here are Lt. Governor Chin’s opening remarks:
I want to thank the State Department of Defense – Office of Homeland Security, thank you for bringing this to the state, our Federal Partners: FEMA, FBI and NCTC; FEMA Region 9 Partners; and, of course, our local first-responders, hospital and medical community, and the local business community.
As you may know, the FBI is actively pursuing open ISIS-linked investigations in all 50 states. In June 2016, the House Homeland Security Committee reported 800 plus ISIS-linked investigations and 25 ISIS-linked plots on domestic targets in the preceding two years. Across the nation, regardless of the size of the community or amount of resources, there remains a gap in the coordination and integration of response efforts when facing a Paris/Brussels style attack.
Our communities are counting on us to overcome the challenges of politics and budgets. We need to work together to look forward and proactive. It’s imperative that we be more than reactive. We need to be prepared. You heard from our colleagues from Las Vegas, Nevada and Bernardino, California the horror and tragedy of active shooter and terrorist events. We are reminded today of all those brave men and women who responded and brought these horrific events to an end.
Today’s complex threat environment should remind us of the importance of strengthening the link between the Law Enforcement, Fire, Emergency Management, DOD, State, local, and private sector partners. It’s important that we continue to champion integrated whole of community approaches to resolving these gaps. Your participation, from all disciplines, shows we’re thinking smart and outside the box. We have a very diverse group because it’s part of our identity here in Hawaii. Our strength comes from our diversity. We must continue to work closely with all levels of government, non-government and private sector partners to help increase preparedness for active shooter, for mass casualty incidents.
Our FEMA colleague mentioned that Congress appropriated $40 million in additional funding to work with state, local, and tribal jurisdictions to better prepare communities for complex attacks. Hawaii was one of 29 jurisdictions that received funding. We have much to do. As one of the top tourist destinations in the world, and a gateway to the Mainland, we are, in many ways, the first line of defense of our nation. This workshop provides all of us an excellent opportunity to come together and address some of our most important and common challenges. We collectively need to improve information sharing at all levels and be transparent identifying gaps in operational capabilities, as well as identifying and sharing best practices and lessons learned, to better understand, prepare for and protect against terrorist threats to Hawaii and the Homeland. This training gives us a unique opportunity to discuss our collective capabilities for responding to a complex attack in a unified, coordinated, and mutually-supportive way.
I recognize, and I’m sure you all do as well, the critical importance of working with partners that represent all levels of government, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector to enhance our state’s preparedness for active shooter and mass casualty incidents. I want to commend you for doing great work and accomplishing a lot. I look forward to working with the Governor to bring resources to help address these important gaps because of your efforts here. By working together, we can apply our strengths and expertise to help improve the collective understanding of terrorist threats to Hawaii and the Homeland.