Homeland Security Support Program
Post 24 Program Overview: At its 27 Aug 2014 meeting, the Executive Committee established the Homeland Security Support Program for the purpose of promoting membership awareness of, and participation in, existing homeland security support initiatives. Mike Mixon was appointed as the program chairman and is tasked to liaise with local homeland security affiliated organizations, and communicate to Post members the associated training and service opportunities. This program will provide very important ways for members to support their community, state and nation!
Background: After 11 Sep 2001, homeland security became a higher priority on the national scene; and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was established on 25 Nov 2002 with several missions: preventing terrorism, enhancing security and ensuring disaster resilience among others. DHS also supports similar initiatives at state and local levels. In 2005, a Statement of Affiliation between DHS and The American Legion was jointly signed by the DHS Secretary and The American Legion Commander. In this Statement, both organizations agreed to collaborate in several ways. The first two ways are to:
- Raise public awareness about appropriate actions to take regarding emergency preparedness, disaster response, and volunteer service.
- Promote the formation or development of local Citizen Corps Councils through the participation of the nearly 15,000 American Legion Posts, and to assist these Councils in implementing the programs and practices associated with Citizen Corps.
What practical ways can Post 24 members support homeland security support initiatives?
- Members can support the Alexandria Citizen Corps Council by volunteering in one of their programs:
- Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT)
- Medical Reserve Corps (MRC)
- Neighborhood Watch Program
- Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS)
- Members who possess an appropriate FCC license can join The American Legion Amateur Radio Club (TALARC), a recently formed program at National HQ, which serves to increase emergency communication capacity.
- Members can volunteer as SKYWARN storm spotters to assist in providing advance warnings on severe weather (training provided by the National Weather Service).
- Members can enhance their emergency management knowledge by completing free online education and training courses offered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) —many of these courses provide Continuing Education Units (CEUs) that can be converted into college credits.
Websites to learn more about homeland security support:
- DHS -- Citizens Corps
- DHS -- Ready; Citizens Corps Affiliates
- Virginia Department of Emergency Management -- Citizens Corps
- City of Alexandria – Citizens Corps
- The American Legion – Disaster Preparedness and Response
- The American Legion Amateur Radio Club
- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Emergency Management Institute Independent Study Program
- National Weather Service SKYWARN Storm Spotter Program
Questions, comments and suggestions are welcome:
Contact Mike Mixon, Homeland Security Support Program Chairman, at Post24HSSP@gmail.com.