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Message from the Director

For the past three years, it has been my privilege to lead the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security, and work alongside many tremendous citizens and leaders in Maryland.  After dedicating my entire career to public service, I have developed a sense of the true strength that defines our communities and businesses–especially those that have been impacted by an event that disrupts their way of life.  As we have experienced in the past twelve months alone, Maryland is susceptible to a wide range of threats and hazards that require us to be prepared for the unexpected. Hurricane force winds, cyber attacks, and active assailant attacks are all among the threats we are exposed to at any one time.  Yet it is the strength in the hearts of the people of those communities, who are united by a bond of hope and resilience.

It is in that spirit of resilience that the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security has tirelessly worked alongside the many stakeholders in Maryland to develop four cornerstones which will establish the foundation of our efforts to define and lead us in our homeland security efforts.  The Cornerstone concept is derived from the first stone set in the construction of a masonry foundation, important since all other stones will be set in reference to this stone, thus determining the position of the entire structure.  The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security has defined four cornerstones of Maryland’s homeland security foundation, and it begins with the people of Maryland.

At the very core of any function or value provided by the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security are the people of Maryland.  Expanding statewide, community, business, and individual preparedness & resilience efforts will empower them to take an active role in their own resiliency.  Working alongside Marylanders to understand their needs and looking at our mission through the lens of the people we serve is an absolutely crucial element toward designing solutions that are successful and ultimately sustainable.  It will be through user-centered community resiliency that Maryland is looked to by our peers as a leader in shaping how we prepare for, prevent, mitigate, respond to, and recover from any natural, man-made, or technological event that threatens our communities.

In the immediate aftermath of 9/11/2001, the United States’ resolve was clear: never again would it let shadowy networks carry out a catastrophic attack on American soil.  Today, the terrorist threat looks much different than it did right before 9/11. This office is committed to working with its partners across all levels of government to strengthen counter-terrorism measures in Maryland by building a coalition of public safety partners and facilitating enhanced collaboration and conversation between government, non-government and faith-based communities to counter violent extremism across Maryland, a critical component to the success of these measures.

Finally, the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security recognizes that one of the greatest challenges to governance today is the disparity between the pace of change in technology and our ability to develop systems, safety nets, government regulations, and unique partnerships that enable us to reap the benefits and cushion the new vulnerabilities they create.  Therefore, leveraging new technologies to enable improved communications and information sharing as well as improving our cybersecurity practices are paramount to keeping pace with the world around us.

Maryland businesses, nonprofits, higher education and government are working together to advance aspirations we all share: prosperity, innovation, and a great quality of life for our residents.  The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security continue to assess the constantly evolving homeland and hometown security landscape within Maryland.  We invite each of you to become partners in those efforts and work within your communities as well as your local as well as state government partners to leverage the resources we have available to us to drive progress and consistently improve our efforts. Your commitment to be an actively engaged Marylander will help our first responders and decision makers make efficient, timely choices while minimizing the impact to Maryland.

Walter F. “Pete” Landon