Governor Cuomo Announces Leading Counterterrorism Experts To Advise On Strengthening Defenses Against Terrorism Threats

Initial High-Level Security Recommendations Will Inform Policy and Decision-Making Leading up to State of the State and Budget Addresses.

Print Email

Photo by: skeeze

Albany, NY - December 5, 2017 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the launch of a counterterrorism advisory panel, chaired by Kenneth L. Wainstein, partner at Davis Polk & Wardwell, and former Homeland Security Advisor to President George W. Bush. The advisory panel will also include Raymond W. Kelly, the former New York City Police Commissioner under both Mayors David Dinkins and Michael Bloomberg, and Lisa O. Monaco, the former Homeland Security Advisor to President Barack Obama. After agreeing to chair the panel, Mr. Wainstein immediately started an in-depth evaluation of the state's counterterrorism assets, authorities, and overall effectiveness, which will result in recommendations for enhanced coordination among the state's counterterrorism authorities and strengthened security at airports, bridges, tunnels and other major assets throughout the state. Those recommendations will be formulated in conjunction with Mr. Kelly and Ms. Monaco, and delivered to the Governor in time to inform his 2018 State of the State and Budget addresses. After delivery of its initial recommendations, the panel will continue its important work, developing execution plans for their initial recommendations, further studying the state's readiness to meet today's terrorist threat, and developing other possible proposals that will enhance the effectiveness of our counterterrorism program.   
"New York is an internationally known symbol of freedom and equality, and with this rich heritage comes the reality that we are also a target for those who oppose these values," Governor Cuomo said. "We are fortunate to have three of the world's leading counterterrorism experts assist us in our efforts to remain vigilant as we work to adapt our security measures to the evolving tactics of those who seek to do us harm. I thank Mr. Wainstein, Mr. Kelly and Ms. Monaco for all of their efforts, both past and future, to help keep New Yorkers safe, and I look forward to receiving their recommendations."
Relevant state agencies and authorities have made reports available for review by the advisory panel. The panel will work closely with agency leadership, including:
  • Roger Parrino, Commissioner, New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services
  • George Beach II, Superintendent, New York State Police
  • Major General Anthony German, Adjutant General of New York, New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs
  • Rick Cotton, Executive Director, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
  • Joseph Lhota, Chairman, Metropolitan Transportation Authority
  • Paul Karas, Commissioner, New York State Department of Transportation
  • Matthew Driscoll, Executive Director, New York State Thruway Authority
The panel will also consult with other local, state and federal officials as well as outside homeland security experts, and will have full access to existing security assessments and the other policies and materials that underlie the state's homeland security operations.
Counterterrorism Advisory Panel
Mr. Wainstein served the public for 20 years in key national security roles including as Homeland Security Advisor to President George W. Bush. He began his career in 1989 as a federal prosecutor in the Southern District of New York and the District of Columbia before serving as General Counsel of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and then as Chief of Staff to Director Robert Mueller, where he was involved in myriad sensitive national security and criminal enforcement matters. Following his tenure at the FBI, he was twice nominated and confirmed for leadership positions in the Justice Department: first as the United States Attorney in Washington, DC, and then as the first Assistant Attorney General for National Security. In that role, he oversaw the establishment of the Justice Department's National Security Division, the consolidation of its law enforcement and intelligence national security personnel and assets, and operational coordination with the agencies of the Intelligence Community. In 2008, Mr. Wainstein was named Homeland Security Advisor by President George W. Bush. During Mr. Wainstein's tenure, he coordinated the nation's counterterrorism, homeland security, infrastructure protection, and disaster response and recovery efforts. He is now a partner in Davis Polk's Litigation Department. Mr. Wainstein's full bio is available here.
With fifty years in public service, including fourteen years as police commissioner of the City of New York, Mr. Kelly is one of the world's most well-known and highly esteemed leaders in law enforcement. Mr. Kelly was appointed police commissioner in January 2002 by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, making Commissioner Kelly the longest serving police commissioner in the city's history, as well as the first to hold the post for a second, separate tenure. He also served as police commissioner under Mayor David N. Dinkins from 1992 to 1994. A Vietnam Veteran and retired U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Colonel with 30 years of service, he is also the former Senior Managing Director of Global Corporate Security at Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc. and before that, served as Commissioner of the U.S. Customs Service. From 1996 to 1998, Commissioner Kelly was Under Secretary for Enforcement at the U.S. Treasury Department. In addition, Mr. Kelly served on the executive committee and was elected Vice President for the Americas of Interpol, the international police organization, from 1996 to 2000. In 1994, he was appointed to serve as Director of the International Police Monitors in Haiti. He is a 43-year veteran of the NYPD. Commissioner Kelly holds a BBA from Manhattan College, a JD from St. John's University School of Law, an LLM from New York University Graduate School of Law, and an MPA from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and received the Legion de Honoraire from the President of France. Mr. Kelly is now president of the Guardian Group, a company that advises clients on risk management issues and corporate security. Mr. Kelly's full bio is available here.
Ms. Monaco has served in national security positions at the highest levels of the Justice Department, the FBI and the White House.  A career federal prosecutor, Ms. Monaco served as chief of staff to then-FBI Director Robert S. Mueller, III, and later received bipartisan confirmation by the United States Senate to be Assistant Attorney General for National Security, responsible for leading nationwide terrorism investigations and prosecutions. As the White House Homeland Security Advisor from 2013-2017, Ms. Monaco was responsible for the coordination of all homeland security and counterterrorism policy and for managing crisis response for a range of risks ranging from terrorist attacks, to mass shootings, to pandemic disease and cybersecurity incidents. She currently serves as Distinguished Senior Fellow at New York University Law School and Senior Fellow at Harvard's Belfer Center on Science and International Affairs. Ms. Monaco's full bio is available here.
In November, the Governor announced that the State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services' Office of Counter Terrorism conducted more than 900 Operation Safeguard exercises in 2017 at businesses and organizations across the state, to test suspicious activity reporting programs and counterterrorism plans. This represents a 31 percent increase in the number of locations tested in 2016 and operations are now being conducted in every county statewide.
Earlier this year, the Governor also announced more than $220 million in federal grants that will support counterterrorism and emergency preparedness activities at the county level, as well as another $39 million to strengthen counterterrorism protections at ports and on transportation systems. The State's Citizen Preparedness Corps program, which trains the public on how to react during disasters or emergency situations, also hit a milestone earlier this year, with more than 190,000 New Yorkers having been trained.
These types of efforts, that continue to strengthen security and preparedness, have become more critical as terrorists have not only increased the frequency of attacks, but have found new ways to harm the innocent. In 2017 alone, hundreds of lives were lost in a number of different cowardly acts - individuals were run down by vehicles in New York City, Barcelona, London and Stockholm; bombs were detonated in London, Manchester and St. Petersburg; and mass shootings took lives in Las Vegas, Texas and Paris.