In Case of Emergency, Read This Blog

In Case Of Emergency, Read Blog

A Citizen’s Eye View of Public Preparedness

Leading Homeland Security Public Communications Expert Appointed Executive Director Of WMD Commission

April 17th, 2009 · No Comments

Randy Larsen, a good friend of this blog and the national security advisor to the Center for Biosecurity of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, has just been appointed Executive Director of the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism (WMD Commission). It’s a terrific choice for the Commission as well as for the effort to increase citizen preparedness and engagement. As co-host of the weekly public radio show “Homeland Security: Inside & Out” and author of Our Own Worst Enemy: Asking the Right Questions About Security for You, Your Family, and America (Grand Central, 2007), Randy has been a leader in communicating homeland security issues to the American public.

The bi-partisan WMD Commission, led by former senators Bob Graham (D-FL) and  Jim Talent (R-MO), was established by Congress in response to the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that the nation address the grave threat posed by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The WMD Commission’s conclusions were published in December 2008 in the report, World At Risk. The Commission was recently given a one year extension for its work in large part to help facilitate the implementation of many of its recommendations.

As I have written before, the Report gave a refreshingly significant amount of attention on the role of the citizen. (In fact, “Role of the Citizen” is the title of its concluding chapter.) And, Commission co-chair Graham recently told me that informing Americans on WMD’s should be an “urgent” priority of the Obama Administration. Yet, Graham also realizes there is a need to determine what and how to educate and engage the public. One challenge is differentiating between the impact of and response to various threats. I look forward to working with Randy on these important issues. 

I will always be indebted to Randy as he was the first participant in this blog’s “What Should We Tell The Public?” video series. In his segment (below), he recommends everyone consider keeping a N-95 dust mask and a small head lamp (or other kind of mini-flashlight) with them at all times.

Randy Larsen  

According to Larsen, the WMD Commission will work to improve nuclear and biological security by “working with Congress and the Obama administration to get the Commission’s recommendations implemented; providing briefings to senior leaders in both the public and private sectors on biological and nuclear security issues; and, communicating these critical national security issues to the American public.

Dr. Thomas Inglesby, Deputy Director of the Center for Biosecurity of UPMC, said of the appointment: “We are very pleased that Colonel Larsen has accepted this important new position with the WMD Commission. We have strongly commended the Commission for its recommendation that the country act more decisively and urgently to deal with nuclear and biological threats. Randy Larsen has the experience, leadership, and skill to help the Commission carry out the next critical phase of its work.” 

Prior to joining the Center for Biosecurity, Randy served as the founding Director of the Institute for Homeland Security, as the Chairman of the Department of Military Strategy and Operations at the National War College, and as a Research Fellow at the Matthew B. Ridgway Center for International Security Studies, University of Pittsburgh. Randy served for a total of 32 years in the Army and Air Force. His flying career began as a 19 year old Cobra pilot in the 101st Airborne Division. He flew 400 combat missions in Vietnam. He also served as military attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok, the chief of legislative affairs at the U.S. Transportation Command, and was the commander of America’s fleet of VIP aircraft at Andrews AFB MD. His decorations include the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star, 17 awards of the Air Medal (3 with “V” Device for Valor), and the South Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry.

These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • Technorati

Tags: Preparedness Groups

0 responses so far ↓

  • There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below.

Leave a Comment