Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Homeland Security: Ground Zero At Bethpage

From Lunar Lander To Terrorist Control Center

Long Island Forum for Technology and Department of Homeland Security Initiative Gets New Space on Lunar Site

Dedication ceremony with public luminaries FDNY Commissioner Salvatore Cassano, Senator Dean Skelos and Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano honor the spirit of New York innovation

BETHPAGE, N.Y., March 1 /PRNewswire/ -- The Long Island Forum for Technology (LIFT), a non-profit economic development organization for technology-driven growth, today announced the unveiling of The Morrelly Homeland Security Center, a first of its kind public-private partnership project that will provide local government and first responders with a state-of-the-art facility to accelerate local innovation and act as a control center in the event of a regional crisis. Research partners in the center will fulfill the need for complex information sharing, standards and processes across the local government agencies that will be in residence. A formal dedication ceremony, with a keynote from  esteemed New York City Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano and public luminaries such as Senator Dean Skelos, will take place on-site, Friday, March 5, in Bethpage, N.Y.

So, Nassau County is about to get a command center, the very essence of Long Island Homeland Security, at the old Grumman Site in Bethpage. [Did you know that New York already has a Preparedness Training Center upstate, or that Long Island University has a Homeland Security Management Institute on its Riverhead Campus? We feel safer already!]

What? No one squawking, NOT IN MY BACKYARD? No call to transform Bethpage into the new -- and improved -- Nassau Hub? And do you mean to tell us that, in the 9 years since 9/11, the New York metropolitan area has been without a Homeland Security control center? Good God. Where have all of those billions of Homeland Security dollars gone, anyway? Peter King, where are you? [Frankly, we like the idea of a Peter Kingdome over Long Island. Nothing like a bubble to protect us.]

And speaking of dollars, if not sense, where is the money coming from to finance this project? The State? The feds? Nassau County? Presumably, there is public grant money involved. That's tax dollars, people. Last we heard, New York was running low on those!

Also asked, but not answered:

Will this "state-of-the-art facility to accelerate local innovation" create jobs on Long Island? Does this now increase the probability of Nassau County becoming a target of terrorists? And in the event of a "regional crisis," would such a center truly serve to "fulfill the need for complex information sharing, standards and processes across the local government agencies that will be in residence," any more that those posted Coastal Evacution Route signs would enable residents to evacuate Long Island in the event of an actual emergency?

Bottom line, folks. What is the cost -- let alone the cost versus benefit -- and where is the money to move forward with this ambitious project coming from? [The soda tax, perhaps...]

We're all for a secure homeland here at The Community Alliance, but not a false sense of security built upon the shaky premise that this new facility will somehow "ensure readiness in the event of any natural or man-made crisis."

Somehow, mere reference to the concept of "readiness", as a construct of capability either in Nassau or NYS, is not reassuring. [More likely, the progenitors of terror will be stopped in their tracks by the potholes in our streets rather than by a state-of-the-art research facility.]

Anyway, on a more positive note, we are amazed at just how fast a project that virtually no one had ever heard of until today could have moved with such deliberate speed from plan of action to dedication. [If only they could move half as fast in rebuilding the World Trade Center.]

This Morrelly Homeland Security Center sounds like an amazing place. Kind of a combination of the Long Island Children's Museum, with its "simulation lab...digital theater...(and) ultra high-tech, flexible touch tables," and Adventureland (the "Cyber Security" ride is rad). Hey, they even have "broadband satellite connections to the continental United States" (gee, we thought LI was a part of the continental United States). Wonder if they get News12 (never on telephone....).

Ahhhh. Billions for homeland security. Not one cent for tribute.

Now, about that Lighthouse...
- - -
Who: Commissioner Cassano, Senator Skelos, Congressman Israel, County Executive Mangano

What: Dedication Ceremony for The Morrelly Homeland Security Center Building

Where: Bethpage, N.Y

When: March 5 at 10:00 a.m. EST

Why: To showcase New York's new state-of-the-art applied science and homeland security center that will ensure readiness in the event of any natural or man-made crisis, and to recognize the spirit of innovation that made The Morrelly Homeland Security Center possible.

The 90,000 square foot Command, Control, Communications, Computer and Intelligence (C4I) systems structure has its own history of innovation having been the former Grumman Plant 5 and situated in the historic Lunar Module Campus. The Morrelly Homeland Security Center is the first of its kind with a public-private partnership that will work collaboratively to develop innovative and integrated homeland security and defense technological solutions with some of the top names in the industry as residents: Northrop Grumman, Siemens Enterprise Communications, Globecomm Systems, AFCO Systems, Applied Visions, Retlif Testing Laboratories, Balfour Technologies, Power Management Concepts, Strategic Planning Partners, LLC and with the Polytechnic Institute of New York University playing a key role as the leading academic partner.

The center boasts state-of-the-art technology, including data, unified communications and infrastructure solutions from Siemens Enterprise Communications that allow the center to double as a "command and control" hub with a common operating picture for the state of New York and East Coast region.

In addition, The Morrelly Homeland Security Center has broadband satellite connections to the continental United States, a simulation lab and a digital theater with ultra high-tech, flexible touch tables for an agile command center. It also includes an auditorium with broadband video capabilities for virtual centers, visualization labs for cyber security concepts, as well as product testing and evaluation facilities for new system engineering and certification programs.

"This center is the culmination of Phil Teel, former Long Island head of Northrop Grumman and the late Ken Morrelly's vision who both knew New York could assemble its best and brightest to act as a beacon of emergency management and homeland security technological innovation," said Ray Donnelly, director of LIFT. "Our resident research partners are working together to establish best practices and develop technologies that will support our public servants and key private sector segments and ensure that they have the most innovative tools to quickly adapt to and effectively manage any situation that may come our way."

About LIFT

LIFT is a non-for-profit economic development organization working with the New York State Foundation for Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP). LIFT serves as NYSTARR's designated Regional Technology Development Center for Long Island and one of nearly 350 MEP locations across the country.

LIFT has an industry-driven initiative structure, providing Long Island businesses with networking opportunities, access to enabling technologies, hands-on assistance and a wide range of programs directed at creating an environment for innovation, lowering the cost of operations and increasing growth, focused on creating Long Island's future.

LIFT supports the defense and aerospace, medical device and healthcare, homeland security, energy, information technology and manufacturing clusters of the Long Island economy. We partner with local companies, organizations, Universities and the National Laboratory Systems.

1 comment:

  1. This is the kind of thing that actually could be worthwhile if it became a magnet for research, investment and yes, job creation. If we actually had a strategic approach to economic development, homeland security, together with a number of other future growth areas, would certainly be a worthwhile direction to take. Instead, I fear and expect that this will end up being little more than a photo-op for local politicos. I hope I'm wrong. As for the remarkable Mr. King, the best advice is not to expect much. The welfare of his constituents seems to be of much less concern to him than say, getting more coverage on Fox, or offering gratuitous comments concerning dead rock stars.