Rep. Grimm’s Language to Save Ft. Hamilton’s WMD Response Team Passes the House in the National Defense Authorization Act
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Rep. Michael G. Grimm (R,C-NY) voted in support of the FY 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, which passed the House 299-120, and includes his amendment to save Brooklyn’s 24th National Guard Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team (WMD-CST) from proposed cuts. The Defense Department recommended disestablishing two of the 57 CSTs in FY13, specifically in New York and Florida. Yesterday, Rep. Grimm’s amendment, introduced with Reps. Paul Tonko (D-NY), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), and Kathy Castor (D-FL), ensuring that all 57 CSTs remain authorized, was adopted unanimously by the House.
“At a time when New York City remains the number one terror target in the nation, it is completely nonsensical to cut such an essential asset to our safety and security. The 24th National Guard Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team (WMD-CST) located at Fort Hamilton is highly-trained to respond to high-risk situations and assist our NYPD, first responders, and other agencies in response efforts. Preserving this team is crucial to New York’s security. I thank my colleagues in the House for their unanimous support, and urge my colleagues in the Senate to preserve this language as they move this legislation forward,” said Rep. Michael Grimm.
The CST provides important assessment and guidance in the event of a WMD attack, emergency, or disaster. They work closely with NYC, the NYPD, the FDNY, and other agencies to keep New York safe.
The 24th CST was established in a 2007 in a defense appropriations bill. By 2008, the team was hired, equipped, and individual-level trained. In 2009, it started team-level training and became fully certified in 2010. The CST is charged with providing support to U.S. civil authorities in the event of a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or high-yield explosive incident. Since 2010, the 24th WMD-CST has executed over 175 missions in support of local, state, and federal first responders’ crisis response, contingency operations preparation, and training exercises.
The NDAA must now pass the Senate. Rep. Grimm will continue to work with his colleagues in the Senate to ensure that his amendment language remains in the bill.