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Homeland Security Commission

The District of Columbia Homeland Security Commission (HSC) was established by the Homeland Security, Risk Reduction and Preparedness Amendment Act of 2006. The HSC makes recommendations for improvements in security and preparedness in the District. Specifically, the Commission gathers and evaluates information on the status of homeland security in the District, measuring progress and gaps in homeland security preparedness, recommending security improvement priorities in consultation with major public and private entities and advising the District government on the homeland security program. Each year, the HSC provides an annual report to the Mayor and District of Columbia Council. 

Homeland Security Commission Members

Commission members are experts in the areas of security, transportation, communication, risk assessment, public health, and terrorism. Each member’s background and expertise is listed below

Brad Belzak (Chair): Mr. Brad Belzak is a national security expert with 18-years of US Federal, state and local government and international business experience in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Currently, Mr. Belzak works for a global consulting firm focusing on strategy & operations support to Fortune 30 executives. Previously, he served as a Political appointee at the US Department of Homeland Security and a Senior Advisor, within the Office of Intelligence and Analysis. Prior to that, he worked as a consultant supplying Fortune 100 companies and allied governments in the Middle East and Asia with homeland security and emergency management capacity building. While at Deloitte, he advised senior leaders in the Middle East on homeland security best practices. Prior to his time in the private sector, Mr. Belzak spent eight years working for the US Government in both the Executive and Legislative branches. He was then at DHS as a Senior Policy Adviser to leadership, Deputy Chief of Staff and First Responder during Hurricane Katrina recovery operations and an Intelligence Analyst on detail to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Mr. Belzak has a Masters of Science in Security and Resiliency from Northeastern University and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and International Relations from Elon University. 

Brian Baker: Brian Baker is an expert in preparedness, response, disaster recovery, and homeland security. With close to two decades of public service and public safety leadership, he has served in a variety of senior level management positions for public, private, and non-governmental organizations. Brian currently serves as the Vice President of Hagerty Consulting, where he acts as one of Hagerty's public facing leaders and plays a leading role in Hagerty's business development and growth efforts. Prior to joining Hagerty, Brian served as the Interim Director of the District of Columbia Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (DC HSEMA). In this role, he led a team of over 100 full time employees, managed over $500 million in local and federal grant funds, served on prominent policy groups, oversaw the DC fusion center, and served as the Consequence Management Chair for more than 25 National Special Security Events (NSSEs), including four presidential inaugurations and two papal visits. Before becoming Interim Director, Brian served as the Deputy Director, Homeland Security Advisor, Chief of Staff, State Coordinating Officer (SCO) over saw the State Administrative Office for grants and federal funding. Overall, he was responsible for emergency planning, preparedness, response, and recovery for the City, including operations for a 24-hour emergency operations center and the Washington Regional Threat Analysis Center. A Ward 6 resident, Mr. Baker received his undergraduate degree at Johnson and Wales University and his graduate education at the George Washington University School of Public Health. He is also a graduate of the Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security's Homeland Security Executive Leaders Program. 

Philip McNamara: Mr. McNamara is an accomplished Government Affairs, Advocacy and Political Executive. He has over eight years of experience with the Department of Homeland Security as a part of the senior leadership team. He served a major leadership role during the incident responses from the H1N1 pandemic, to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, to Hurricanes Irene, Sandy and Matthew, to the Boston Marathon Bombing, and many others. As a team oriented manager Mr. McNamara coordinates with senior level officials to make timely decisions on complex issues. He specializes in relationship building and working with individuals of diverse perspectives to reach common ground.  Phil is currently the director of government relations at The Pew Charitable Trusts. In this role, he oversees the work of government relations to assist in designing and executing strategies to fulfill the policy goals of many of Pew's projects. Phil and the staff he manages work closely with program and operations units to build and sustain effective relationships with elected officials and policymakers at all levels of government that advance Pew's advocacy goals. 

Edward Pearson: Edward Pearson retired from the District of Columbia Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department in December 2017 after thirty years of dedicated service to the citizens and visitors of our nation's capital. His career began in 1987 as a firefighter and he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in 1995. Edward held the rank of Lieutenant and Captain before his promotion to Battalion Fire Chief in November of 2005. He was then promoted to the rank of Deputy Fire Chief on January 3, 2011. He is the only Deputy Fire Chief in the Department's history to serve as Firefighting/Operations Deputy on Platoon #1, #2, #3, and #4. Edward is certified as a National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1021- Fire Officer IV. He also served as an adjunct professor for the University of the District of Columbia from 2003 -2011 teaching the core courses of the fire science degree curriculum and is certified as an instructor for the Department of Homeland Security's National Incident Management System (NIMS) curriculum with expertise in instructing Incident Command System (ICS). A native Washingtonian and Ward 7 resident, Mr. Pearson received his Master of Arts in Security Studies from Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, a Master of Public Administration in Public Management (2002) and a Bachelor of Science (BS) from the University of the District of Columbia (2000).

Joanna Turner: Joanna Turner currently serves as Director of Government Relations at The Hershey Company, where she advises the business on federal, state and local policy and legislative matters. Prior to her position at The Hershey Company, Joanna was the Executive Director of the National Association of Regional Councils (NARC) and served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs at the US Department of Transportation, a position she held from 2009 to 2014. Before her federal service, Joanna was the lead advocate and negotiator on federal transportation policies on behalf of the National Governors Association and the nation's 55 state and territorial governors. She also spent eight years at the National League of Cities, where she developed and advanced an advocacy platform to support the national transportation, environmental, and energy-related goals of the nation's 18,000 municipal governments. A Ward 6 Resident, Joanna received her Bachelors of Arts degree in Geography from George Washington University. 

Are you interested in serving on the Homeland Security Commission? Application information is available through the Mayor's Office of Talent and Appointments.

HSC Quarterly Meetings

The most recent quarterly meeting of the HSC took place on April 20, 2021. To view notices for quarterly meetings that took place prior to 2019, please visit the Homeland Security Commission Archive Page.

Additional Fact Finding Meetings 

To view an archive of fact finding meetings that took place prior to 2019, please visit the Homeland Security Commission Archive Page.

Meeting Minutes

To view minutes from quarterly meetings that took place prior to 2019, please visit the Homeland Security Commission Archive Page.