Jim Gilmore on Homeland Security

Senate challenger 2008; previously Republican Governor (VA)

Fighting terrorism too important for partisan politics

I call today for a national movement, led and empowered by our first response community, to make ready for any attack or catastrophe that might occur. My opportunity to lead in Homeland Security started about 6 years ago, when I was asked to chair the Gilmore Commission on anti-terrorism.

I felt that this task was a sacred trust, and I was determined to handle it not in a bi-partisan manner, but in a non-partisan manner. No politics. Zero. I’m sure you agree with me that Homeland Security is too important to be subject to partisan politics!

The best aspect of the commission was its membership. These weren’t policy wonks from Washington. They were police and fire chiefs, public health experts, intelligence experts, and retired military. These were the ones who would respond to the 911 call. They weren’t concerned with theories; they were concerned with what would work. We never forgot for a moment those first responders who are willing to risk their lives each day for their fellow citizens.

Source: Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government Forum “Ready America” Mar 31, 2006

Was Governor of Virginia during 9/11 Pentagon attack

At the time of the 9/11 attack, I was Governor of Virginia. That morning, I watched, and like you, I knew we were under attack. I took immediate action by picking up the phone and activating Virginia’s Emergency Operations Center. I gave orders that any incident of gunfire anywhere in Virginia was to be reported to the operations center. I placed the National Guard on alert. I then went immediately to my office in the Capitol and soon learned that the second state attacked was Virginia. Not a lot of people think of it that way, but the Pentagon is in Virginia. Who responded? Police, fire, rescue, and emergency services from Virginia, and later surrounding states. I held press conferences several times that day, and addressed the people of Virginia that night, to reassure them of what was being done. I visited the Pentagon, and visited those injured in the hospitals of Northern Virginia. Such are the duties of State and local officials who shoulder the responsibility of safety in the communities.
Source: Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government Forum “Ready America” Mar 31, 2006

Chaired commission on Terrorism Involving WMD

The Gilmore Commission is chaired by former Virginia Gov. James S. Gilmore III. The formal title of the federally chartered Gilmore Commission, created in 1999, is the Advisory Panel to Assess Domestic Response Capabilities for Terrorism Involving Weapons of Mass Destruction. The 17-member Gilmore Commission will disband in early 2004 now that its final report is complete. Since it began, the panel has made 144 recommendations, with 125 being adopted by the Congress & various government agencies.
Source: Press release from Gilmore Commission Dec 15, 2003

There will never be a 100% guarantee of security

The US needs an improved homeland security strategy to strengthen security in communities facing the greatest risk, improve the use of intelligence, increase the role of local officials, and sharpen disaster response capabilities, the Gilmore Commission said today. DHS has resulted in improved planning and readiness, but, the report concludes, the overall national homeland security strategy should be directed by a White House-level bipartisan oversight board that “must have some clear authority over the homeland security budgets and programs throughout the federal government.“

A ”new normalcy“ acknowledges the threat of terrorism will not disappear, but still preserves and strengthens civil liberties. ”There will never be a 100% guarantee of security for our people, the economy, and our society,“ Gilmore writes in the report’s cover letter. ”We must resist the urge to seek total security-it is not achievable and drains our attention from those things that can be accomplished.“

Source: Press release from Gilmore Commission Dec 15, 2003

Get homeland security money into hands of local governments

Q: Let’s talk about concerns that the war in Iraq will motivate militant elements to stage small-scale attacks in the US. The FBI recently said that such events are all but certain. How did the government take this into account, and how should national, state and local governments continue to deal with this threat?

A: We’ve come a long way since the September 11th attack, but we have a lot farther to go to prepare our homeland defense. Our police, fire, and rescue organizations are aware of the threat and there is more communication than ever before between law enforcement and national security agencies. The frontline of national security will be provided by local law enforcement organizations. As a nation we now need to decide on a national homeland security strategy, determine what needs to be purchased, and get the money into the hands of state and local governments.

Source: Washington Post interview, “Confronting Iraq” Mar 24, 2003

Other candidates on Homeland Security: Jim Gilmore on other issues:
GOP: Sen.John McCain
GOP V.P.: Gov.Sarah Palin
Democrat: Sen.Barack Obama
Dem.V.P.: Sen.Joe Biden

Third Parties:
Constitution: Chuck Baldwin
Libertarian: Rep.Bob Barr
Constitution: Amb.Alan Keyes
Liberation: Gloria La Riva
Green: Rep.Cynthia McKinney
Socialist: Brian Moore
Independent: Ralph Nader
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Page last updated: Feb 08, 2010