New York Senators balk at WMD-CST closures
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 GSNMagazine.com.
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 GSNMagazine.com.
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.