Israelis and Americans discuss homeland security

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12835955_sEight officers from the Israeli Defense Force learned how the New York National Guard did operated during Hurricane Sandy from Guard leaders who oversaw the month-long response operation.

The Israeli Defense Force,( IDF), delegation met with New York National Guard Brig. Gen. Raymond Shields, the Director of the Joint Staff for the New York National Guard, and Lt. Col. Robert Mitchell, deputy director for New York National Guard domestic operations, Jan. 31.

The meeting with the Guard leaders and officials from the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, New York City’s Office of Emergency Management and the Fire Department of New York City was the culmination of a three-day visit by the IDF officers.

The Israeli delegation, including members of Israel’s National Police Force and the IDF’s Home Front Command — the Israeli equivalent to the National Guard — were in New York to learn about interagency disaster response and the integration of military and civilian responders.

“The Israeli [Home Front Command] and the National Guard have a longstanding relationship that includes the exchange of best practices and lessons learned from both real-world events and training,” said IDF Lt. Col. Chezy Deutsch, the Home Front Command liaison officer with the National Guard Bureau.

“While the threats that each country prepares for and deals with may be different, the challenges of a military operating in the civilian arena and working in conjunction with numerous civilian agencies in support of the civilian population are very similar,” he said.

The IDF’s Home Front Command was established in 1992 following the Gulf War to better respond with military forces tailored to homeland defense. The Israelis posed questions related to the National Guard’s interaction and interoperability with civil authorities, the challenges of command and control, support to civilian residents and healthcare challenges during disasters.

A common theme through all topics discussed with Home Front Command was the need for communication left and right, up and down, using liaisons officers with the multitude of agency partners.