Homeland Security to look for chemical defense project hosts

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security Chemical Defense Program recently invited state, local and tribal governments to volunteer their jurisdictions to be sites for chemical defense demonstration projects.

The demo projects are to be used to explore ways to assess a community's vulnerability to a chemical attack and its capacity to defend against one. The program is being led by DHS's Office of Health Affairs, according to GSNMagazine.com.

OHA has already started a similar project with the Maryland Transit Administration and Baltimore's city government. DHS originally expected the initiatives to be funded from its FY 2013 budget. It now plans to competitively select the locations and solicit expressions of interest from jurisdictions that want to participate.

"OHA launched a partnership with the Maryland Transit Administration and the City of Baltimore to develop chemical defense techniques for subway mass transit," Dr. Alan Garza, the chief medical officer at DHS, said, GSNMagazine.com reports. "OHA is looking to expand this program to additional jurisdictions and is developing criteria to allow jurisdictions to submit proposals for demonstration projects."

Members of the public have been invited to comment on the proposed information gathering initiative by sending an email to DHS OHA by the beginning of April.