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National Guard Supports New Year's Security

Special to American Forces Press Service

LATHAM, N.Y, Dec. 31, 2009 –  As New Yorkers and visitors gear up for New Year’s Eve celebrations, National Guard soldiers and airmen will remain on duty in support of homeland security missions across the state.

New York State Gov. David Paterson directed that members of the state’s Army and Air National Guard stand ready to respond to local civil authorities if an emergency occurs.

Throughout New York City, National Guard Soldiers and Airmen will conduct security operations at Penn Station, the PATH terminal, and LaGuardia and JFK airports in coordination with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Paterson earlier ordered added security at regional airports as the result of the failed terrorist bombing on Christmas Day of a commercial airliner in Detroit.

“Our actions should not raise the alarm, but rather demonstrate that we are working at the local, state and federal levels to keep travelers safe,” Paterson said in a statement issued Dec. 28.

The National Guard’s 2nd Civil Support Team, a full-time rapid response element that detects chemical, biological or radiological hazards, will provide assistance in Manhattan to support the New York Police Department.

The 22-man civil support team detachment, based at the Scotia Air National Guard Base near Schenectady, N.Y., has partnered with the NYPD for counter-terrorism support operations since the unit’s formation in 2000.

It is estimated that a million people will celebrate the arrival of 2010 in New York City’s Times Square. The NYPD will control all access points to Times Square as part of the evening’s security plans. No bags or backpacks will be permitted. Emergency-service squads, drug- and bomb-sniffing canine units and other counter-terrorism personnel will be present in Times Square on New Year’s Eve.

At New York National Guard headquarters in Latham, N.Y., staff representatives will man the National Guard’s Joint Operations Center. This command and control node provides liaison and linkage to the State Emergency Management Office and the New York State Department of Homeland Security.

The New York National Guard also will provide liaison officers to the New York City Police Department in preparation for the New Year’s celebration.

(Compiled from a New York State National Guard news release.)

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