Leaders of the Secure Community Network met Wednesday in Washington with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. SCN, which coordinates security for North American Jewish institutions, has been working with DHS for a while on security training and assessments, but this was the first meeting with Napolitano since she took office earlier this year.
Representatives of the Conference of Presidents and the United Jewish Communities, the two organizations which created SCN, as well as leaders of some other Jewish umbrella groups were part of the session. They discussed the "concerns the community has over the spike in incidents" directed at the Jewish community in recent months, said SCN national director Paul Goldenberg. "The last six months have been extraordinary months for the Jewish community."
Among the incidents Goldenberg is referring to are the plot to bomb a Riverdale synagogue, the killing of a Wesleyan University student allegedly by a killer carrying anti-Semitic literature, the killing of a security guard at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and a suspect in the shooting at a Little Rock military recruiting center also planning to target Jewish sites.
"We talked about continued cooperation," said Goldenberg. The department "has been working side-by-side with SCN to share intelligence information."
Here’s SCN’s press release on the meeting, after the jump:[[READMORE]]
Secure Community Network Discusses Security & Preparedness with DHS Secretary Napolitano
WASHINGTON D.C.-Leaders of the Secure Community Network (SCN), under the auspices of the Conference of Presidents, representing 52 national Jewish organizations and United Jewish Communities, representing 157 Jewish Federations, met with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on Wednesday to discuss general security concerns as well as those more specific to the Jewish community and pledged continued support of DHS’s renewed focus on engaging the private sector in working towards a safer and more secure nation.
Last week, during a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations, Secretary Napolitano outlined DHS’ commitment to engaging the private sector and creating a "culture of preparedness."
"SCN’s primary mission since its founding nearly five years ago has been to instill a ‘culture of security awareness and preparedness’ among our member organizations and the American Jewish community at large," said Alan Solow, Chairman of the Conference of Presidents.
In recent months, the Jewish community has been impacted by several incidents stemming from a wide range of extremist ideologies. In May, a plot by domestic terrorists to bomb synagogues in the Riverdale section of the Bronx was thwarted by a joint task force of NYC and federal law enforcement agencies. In early June, law enforcement officials reported that the suspect arrested for a shooting attack at a Little Rock military recruiting center had also conducted research on Jewish institutions in several U.S. cities as targets for a possible attack. And most recently, a gunman with ties to white supremacist groups opened fire at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. killing one security guard. All of this followed on the heels of the tragic murder of a bright, young Jewish Wesleyan University student, gunned down by another anti-Semitic killer, one who thought it was "okay to kill Jews."
"The Jewish community has long recognized the ongoing threat and security concerns that affect our community," remarked SCN co-chairs Stephen Hoffman and Malcolm Hoenlein, who were two of the architects of SCN. "DHS has been a long-standing partner of SCN and the Jewish community and together we have established a coordinated, community based effort and approach to security and preparedness."
Earlier this year, the DHS Office of Bombing Prevention partnered with SCN and delivered a series of security awareness training & surveillance detection web seminars to hundreds of Jewish institutions nationwide. In response to incidents on the ground in Chicago and Connecticut, DHS dispatched security specialists and trainers to deliver security programs to provide important awareness and response training to assist organizations with enhancing their security posture and staff preparedness in the aftermath of security related incidents.
SCN presented Secretary Napolitano with a special plaque, recognizing her leadership in building and supporting public-private homeland security partnerships. Several other DHS staff members, including Bill Flynn, Director of the Protective Security Coordination Division, were also recognized for their commitment and support of security and training programs SCN and DHS have developed and presented to communities across the country.
"Bill has been a real champion of partnering with organizations such as SCN to ensure that DHS programs and training reach communities at the local level where they are needed most," reported Paul Goldenberg, SCN National Director, who has worked with Flynn and his staff for several years."The unfortunate reality is that the Jewish community remains a primary target of domestic terrorism and extremism and we as a community must confront this reality through a coordinated, cooperative approach to security."
SCN was created in 2004 by the Conference of Presidents and UJC as a central address to liaison with DHS and other federal law enforcement agencies and advise Jewish organizations on matters of communal safety and security.
About Secure Community Network
The Secure Community Network is a non-profit homeland security initiative of the Jewish Federations of North American and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. For more information please contact email@example.com or visit www.scnus.org