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Mayor Vincent C. Gray to Swear-in Homeland Security Commission Members

Friday, February 22, 2013

Contact: Robyn Johnson (202) 481-3010

(Washington, DC) Today, Mayor Vincent C. Gray will swear-in appointees to the District of Columbia Homeland Security Commission (HSC), established by the Homeland Security, Risk Reduction, and Preparedness Amendment Act of 2006. The core function of the HSC is to make recommendations for improvements in security and preparedness in the District of Columbia. Specifically, the Commission is tasked with gathering and evaluating information on the status of homeland security in the District, measuring progress and gaps in homeland security preparedness, recommending security improvements priorities in consultation with major public and private entities, and advising the District government on the homeland security program. Commission members are experts in the areas of security, transportation, communication, risk assessment, and terrorism.

"As the nation’s capital, we should strive to have a premier homeland security program that keeps District residents and visitors safe," said Mayor Gray. "I believe that the Homeland Security Commission can provide thoughtful perspective and expertise to enhance our homeland security efforts to keep our great city safe."

Members of the HSC were jointly vetted by the District Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (DC HSEMA) and the Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice. They were subsequently confirmed by the District of Columbia Council on December 18, 2012 and will convene their first HSC meeting in February. Their service to the District and contributions are essential to the future homeland security landscape in the District and the National Capitol Region.

DC HSEMA Director Chris Geldart said, "I am honored to have such a distinguished group of individuals assisting the District in its homeland security mission. There deep expertise and diversity will ensure that the District has a well rounded Homeland Security Program."

Homeland Security Council (HSC) Members

J. Michael Barrett: Mr. Barrett is a seasoned professional in both counterterrorism and risk assessment. Mr. Barrett is the CEO of Diligent Innovations, Inc., a consulting firm that advises clients on policy development, strategy, and business plan execution in the areas of defense and national security. He has served on the White House Security Council as the Senior Analyst for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and as a US Navy Intelligence Officer for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense.

Barbara Childs-Pair: Ms. Childs-Pair is an expert on security and transportation and has over three decades of experience in emergency management and homeland security, including as Director of HSEMA's predecessor agency, the District of Columbia Emergency Management Agency. She currently serves in the Office of Emergency Management for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

John Contestabile: Mr. Contestabile's expertise includes over thirty years of experience in transportation and communications. Mr. Contestabile worked for the Maryland State Highway Administration for over 15 years in various senior-level positions. Mr. Contestabile now works at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab where he is working to develop a regional interoperable video-sharing program among transportation agencies, emergency operations centers, and fusion centers, and oversees several grant projects dealing with emergency management and improvements to critical infrastructure.

Andrew Cutts: Mr. Cutts serves as the Vice President for Critical Infrastructure Protection Programs for the Norwich University Applied Research Institutes. He is an expert in cyber-security and is working to create a risk management tool that will allow financial institutions to determine their risk in various cyber disruption scenarios. Mr. Cutts also works to ensure that all homeland security planning includes seamless continuity of operations for technology systems.

Darrell Darnell: Mr. Darnell's expertise is risk assessment. Mr. Darnell served as Director of HSEMA from 2007-2009. Currently, Mr. Darnell is Senior Associate Vice President for Safety and Security at the George Washington University, where he directs the University's Police Department, Emergency Management personnel, and the Office of Health and Security. Mr. Darnell's extensive experience and knowledge of various aspects of homeland security will make him a valuable asset to the Commission, particularly his institutional knowledge of the agency.

Glenn Gerstell: Mr. Gerstell is an expert in counterterrorism and in water system infrastructure. Currently, Mr. Gerstell is the managing partner of the Washington, D.C. office of Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP, an international law firm headquartered in New York. Mr. Gerstell also serves as a member of the National Infrastructure Advisory Council (NIAC), which is comprised of 30 presidential appointees and advises the President and U.S. Department of Homeland Security on the strengths and weaknesses of the nation's infrastructure and its ability to withstand a terrorist attack or other national security threat. Previously Mr. Gerstell served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority.

Daniel Kaniewski: Mr. Kaniewski brings valuable experience in the areas of security and terrorism. Currently, Mr. Kaniewski is the Mission Area Director for Homeland Security Studies and Analysis Institute at Analytics Services Inc. Previously, Mr. Kaniewski was the Assistant Vice President for Homeland Security and Deputy Director of the Homeland Security Policy Institute (HSPI) at the George Washington University, and also spent three years on the White House staff as the Special Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Senior Director for Response Policy.

The Mission of the District of Columbia Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency is to support and coordinate homeland security and emergency management efforts, ensuring that the District of Columbia's all-hazards emergency operations are prepared to protect against, plan for, respond to, and recover from natural and man-made hazards.