Even in Arizona, difficulty following the state's security plan

As Napolitano prepares for Senate confirmation as DHS secretary, questions arise on Arizona security plan

Phoenix and other metro areas are covered, but not rural parts of the state, said Chris Cummiskey, a Napolitano appointee who heads the state Government Information Technology Agency.

"We're making headway," Cummiskey said.

Arizona has a 211 system that is scaled back from what it had planned. It includes a Web site as well as a phone center that can be activated to distribute terror warnings and recommendations, along with information about social services and non-terrorism emergencies.

But a network of regional call centers never got off the ground. Local governments balked at paying $5 million annually to operate regional offices around Arizona, and $3 million that the state set aside for the program instead went to help prevent it from falling into debt.

Arizona's director for homeland security, Leesa Morrison, said the state is almost finished updating its emergency plan and plans a comprehensive study to assess potential terrorism targets to help shape spending priorities.

"My vision is that we will become one of the first states in the nation to complete a target capability assessment of this magnitude," Morrison said.


On the Net:

Securing Arizona: http://www.azdohs.gov/documents/News/2007/Securing_Arizona.pdf

Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center: http://cid.dps.state.az.us/

Arizona Department of Homeland Security: http://www.azdohs.gov/

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