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Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Romney on Homeland Security: Part One—The Claims and Resume

After studying Mitt Romney’s experience with Homeland Security (HS), I would argue that Romney’s Homeland Security experience and credentials exceed those of any other 2008 presidential hopeful—republican or democrat (rivaled only by the “wild-card” candidate, Rudy Giuliani). His experience is not limited to sitting on committees and being briefed on these issues. He is often the one called upon TO DO the briefing to key committees due to his “on the ground” experience with devising and implementing large-scale security plans. Much of this stems from his great success in leading Salt Lake to a safe and successful Olympic Games in the post-9/11 world as well as subsequent strong disaster management leadership as Gov. of Massachusetts.

Dr. James Carafano a senior research fellow for defense and homeland security at The Heritage Foundation, said in a piece called “Olympic Sized-Security” the following: “The 2002 Salt Lake City, Utah, Winter Olympics featured an unprecedented, integrated security and intelligence apparatus organized by Mitt Romney (now governor of Massachusetts). Salt Lake set the standard.”

Romney’s HS resume is strong and speaks for itself:

He sits on the federal Department Homeland Security’s Advisory Council (a branch of the Executive Branch Cabinet)

He Co-chairs the National Governor’s Association Homeland Security Committee. Two of the letters he co-authored in this role can be found here (to the U.S. House) and here (to the U.S. Senate).

He oversaw and implemented the complex HS plans of the Salt Lake Olympics, both before and after 9/11, carrying off the Games without any major security glitches or events. Details of this experience can be found in Romney's book, "Turnaround: Crisis, Leadership, and the Olympic Games" (two chapters: “Securing the Olympic Games” and “September 11”).

As Governor of Massachusetts:

1) His state recently became one of only 10 states nationwide to receive a the highest grade for disaster preparedness (See CBS story).

2) He proactively led Massachusetts through a recent (May 2006) “State of Emergency” due to their worst flooding in 70+ years. Romney’s leadership through what the Federal government designated a "Major Disaster Emergency" drew rave reviews both locally and nationally (whole separate blog entry to follow).

3) The Massachusetts Avian Flu disaster plan has been held up as a model that the CDC and other officials have praised.

Sentinel HS testimonies/speeches by Romney:

1) Testimony to U.S. Senate Governmental Affairs and Homeland Security Committee on May 13th, 2003 titled “Investing in Homeland Security: Challenges Facing State and Local Governments

2) Testimony to U.S. House Select Committee on Homeland Security given on June 17, 2003 titled “First Responders: How States, Localities, and the Federal Government Can Strengthen Their Partnership to Make America Safer.”

3) Lectured at The Heritage Foundation (conservative think tank group) on Oct 23rd, 2003 with a talk titled “Grading Progress on Homeland Security: Before and After 9/11

4) Testimony to U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation on May 4th, 2004 titled “ titled "Lessons Learned from Security at Past Olympic Games

5) Lectured and answered questions at The Heritage Foundation on September 14, 2005 titled “Homeland Security: Status of Federal, State and Local Efforts” (no text, but can listen to or watch his presentation.)

The above testimonies and speeches obviously contain much overlapping material. In blog entries to come I will distill them down into some of the more points and quotes.

Since today is Independence Day the thought came to my mind that many in our world seek to destroy our freedoms. Romney is the candidate who is most qualified to help prevent such attacks on our nation as well as lead us through any crisis that may occur. He is the man I would want as my President should crisis occur.

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