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Daily News on Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Weapons, Terrorism and Related Issues

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House Backs Amendment on Maintaining WMD Response Teams

The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday approved without dissent an amendment to its fiscal 2013 defense authorization bill aimed at preventing the elimination of two National Guard Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Teams, one lawmaker announced (see GSN, May 15).

The full House passed the defense bill on Friday.

The Defense Department suggested dissolving two separate teams in New York and Florida in the budget year that begins on Oct. 1. Both states presently have two of the National Guard units assigned to support civilian authorities during a WMD incident or other major crisis.

The amendment sponsored by Representative Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.)  and three colleagues from Florida and New York calls for maintaining all 57 existing WMD response teams.

“At a time when New York City remains the No. 1 terror target in the nation, it is completely nonsensical to cut such an essential asset to our safety and security," Grimm said in a press release. "The 24th National Guard Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team (WMD-CST) located at Fort Hamilton [in Brooklyn] is highly trained to respond to high-risk situations and assist the NYPD, first responders, and other agencies in response efforts. Preserving this team is crucial to New York’s security, and I thank my colleagues for lending their support to the passage of my amendment."

Separately, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) submitted a bill on protecting the 24th WMD Civil Support Team in the upper chamber's version of the authorization legislation (see GSN, May 17; U.S. Representative Michael Grimm release, May 17).

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