New York Senators balk at WMD-CST closures

A group of New York Congressmen recently pushed the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. National Guard to keep terror response teams active in their state and in Florida.

Senators Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) joined with Representative Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) to write a letter informing U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta that two Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Teams in New York and one in Florida were being axed in an attempt to cut costs, according to

The two New York WMD-CSTs, one based in Brooklyn and the other in Scotia, are staffed by nearly 25 guardsmen each. Schumer said that the units work together to aid in the detection of chemical, biological, nuclear and other explosive devices. In addition, they can assist local law enforcement agencies and first responders during emergencies and in the event of terrorist attack.

The guard set up WMD-CSTs at various locations around the country. Because New York and Florida are considered top terrorist targets, they each have two teams, according to

Schumer, Gillibrand and Grimm told Panetta that closing down the facility at Fort Hamilton, Brooklyn, could put New York City at risk. In Florida, they pointed out that two teams were needed to successfully protect three combatant commands, 14 deepwater seaports, three nuclear power plants and many of the nation's largest tourism venues.

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