As the administration of Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley prepares for its second term in office, School of Law professor Michael Greenberger, JD, and the University of Maryland Center for Health and Homeland Security (CHHS) are playing a key role in shaping the administration's public safety and security strategies.
Greenberger and several CHHS staff members attended the governor's transition forum on security Jan. 13 in Annapolis. The forum, one of five that O'Malley has hosted between his election in November and his inauguration this month, was designed to help the administration meet its goals in the areas of skills, sustainability, security, and health. Greenberger, founder and director of CHHS, co-hosted a session on emergency management, and later led a larger session on homeland security.
Participants at the forum included leaders of county, state, and federal emergency response agencies, private sector security companies, and non-governmental advocacy groups. Greenberger sought ideas on ways to improve training, planning, communications, intelligence sharing, and transportation security, among other topics.
Repeatedly, regardless of the particular topic being addressed, Greenberger heard of the need for funding, communication, cooperation, and access. And in his report to the governor, Greenberger stressed the eagerness of private-sector interests to play a role in emergency management, from planning to response.
Hospitals, he noted, are among those private agencies that want to be able to share data. Some 85 percent of the state's critical infrastructure is in private hands. And retailers have shown interest in providing relief supplies in the event of an emergency, he added.
During a two-hour discussion of the recommendations, O'Malley took notes and called on his own staff members to address questions that were raised. On several occasions, people with concerns were able to find others - some in government, others in private industry - who seemed to have potential solutions.