Homeland Security

The U.S.'s borders with Canada and Mexico are the subject of frequent and sometimes heated debates regarding trade, security and immigration. America's frontiers across the Caribbean basin and along the Arctic, however, have received little attention, but are just as vital for the future of commerce and public safety. This session featured discussions of the economic opportunities and security challenges along these forgotten borders and the impact that developments in these regions will have on states.

The U.S. is an arctic nation. It’s also a Caribbean nation.

While Alaska and Puerto Rico put the U.S. into those categories of nations, the interests of those states don’t typically make it to the top tier of American concerns. These forgotten borders were the topic of the International Committee meeting discussion Friday morning.

The U.S.'s borders with Canada and Mexico are the subject of frequent and sometimes heated debates regarding trade, security and immigration. America's frontiers across the Caribbean basin and along the Arctic, however, have received little attention, but are just as vital for the future of commerce and public safety. This session featured discussions of the economic opportunities and security challenges along these forgotten borders and the impact that developments in these regions will have on states.

The American Institute of Architects' Design Assistance Program, which aids communities in rebuilding after natural disasters, seems destined to be in high demand again this year after tornadoes and severe thunderstorms tore across Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky in early March. AIA’s Design Assistance Program brings together a team of experts from a variety of disciplines to evaluate how best to rebuild communities hit by natural disasters. The goal is to help communities rebuild to be safer, healthier and more attractive to residents and businesses.

The November/December 2011 edition of Capitol Ideas lists immigration as one of the top 15 issues facing the states. Listed below are several recent examples of how states are addressing immigration, as considered by CSG’s Suggested State Legislation Committee (SSL). 

The transportation systems of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico are tied together in myriad ways and support hundreds of billions of dollars in commerce. Each nation faces its own unique challenges in the years ahead to ensure those systems continue to allow them to remain competitive in the global economy. This session examined how each country is addressing those challenges and what innovative ideas to improve transportation are worth examining elsewhere in North America.

The tsunami that followed a devastating earthquake in Japan in March threatened to impact the U.S. Pacific Coast, causing emergency management officials to issue tsunami warnings, make evacuation decisions and implement emergency operations plans.  While states were able to handle the event, a larger tsunami could have required international mutual aid assistance. The Pacific Northwest and Canada already have an agreement in place to provide resources and assistance. This session explored lessons learned from the tragedy in Japan and ways the U.S. might respond to such a catastrophic disaster. 

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments supports the establishment of a voluntary agreement to provide for the possibility of mutual assistance among the Central and Prairie Regions of the United States and Canada in managing any emergency or disaster when the affected jurisdiction or jurisdictions ask for assistance, whether arising from natural disaster, technological hazard, man-made disaster or civil emergency aspects of resource shortages. 

The earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in March killed 16,000 people. It could have been worse.

About 73 percent of the land in Japan is uninhabitable, John Madden, director Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, said Friday morning. That means about 127 million are concentrated on about 27 percent of the country’s land mass—much of it along the coasts.

The tsunami that followed a devastating earthquake in Japan in March threatened to impact the U.S. Pacific Coast, causing emergency management officials to issue tsunami warnings, make evacuation decisions and implement emergency operations plans.  While states were able to handle the event, a larger tsunami could have required international mutual aid assistance. The Pacific Northwest and Canada already have an agreement in place to provide resources and assistance. This session explored lessons learned from the tragedy in Japan and ways the U.S. might respond to such a catastrophic disaster. 

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