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DC Homeland Security Commission


The District of Columbia Homeland Security Commission (HSC) was established by the Homeland Security, Risk Reduction, and Preparedness Amendment Act of 2006. The core function of the HSC is to make recommendations for improvements in security and preparedness in the District of Columbia. Specifically, the Commission is tasked by the Mayor with gathering and evaluating information on the status of homeland security in the District, measuring progress and gaps in homeland security preparedness, recommending security improvements priorities in consultation with major public and private entities, and advising the District government on the homeland security program.   With such a broad statutory agenda confronting it, the Commission decided that it could most effectively make a contribution by concentrating in greater depth on one topic, rather than undertaking a cursory overview of the many subjects within its purview.  It decided to focus this year’s report on pandemic planning and response and it has been engaging in an investigation process by interviewing certain District agencies who can assist with this effort. The information from this data gathering process will provide the basis of the Annual report to the Mayor and District of Columbia Council.  

Homeland Security Commission Members

Members of the HSC were jointly vetted by the District Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (DC HSEMA) and the Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice.

Commission members are experts in the areas of security, transportation, communication, risk assessment, and terrorism. Each member’s background and expertise is listed below.

J. Michael Barrett: Mr. Barrett is a seasoned professional in both counterterrorism and risk assessment. Mr. Barrett is the CEO of Diligent Innovations, Inc., a consulting firm that advises clients on policy development, strategy, and business plan execution in the areas of defense and national security. He has served on the White House Security Council as the Senior Analyst for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and as a US Navy Intelligence Officer for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense.

Barbara Childs-Pair: Ms. Childs-Pair is an expert on security and transportation and has over three decades of experience in emergency management and homeland security, including as Director of HSEMA's predecessor agency, the District of Columbia Emergency Management Agency. She currently serves in the Office of Emergency Management for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

John Contestabile:  Mr. Contestabile's expertise includes over thirty years of experience in the transportation sector addressing such areas as homeland security/emergency management, COOP, critical infrastructure protection and interoperable communications. Mr. Contestabile worked for the Maryland Department of Transportation in various senior-level positions coordinating with all the modal agencies in the Department [highway, transit, airport, maritime/port]. Mr. Contestabile now works at the Johns Hopkins University/Applied Physics Lab where he is working on projects with the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate as well as the National Capital Region [NCR].  His NCR work is grant funded and is focused on developing a regional interoperable video-sharing program among transportation agencies, emergency operations centers, and fusion centers.

Darrell Darnell: Mr. Darnell's expertise is risk assessment. Currently, Mr. Darnell is Senior Associate Vice President for Safety and Security at the George Washington University, where he directs the University's Police Department, Emergency Management personnel, and the Office of Health and Security. A retired Master Sergeant with the United States Air Force, Mr. Darnell has nearly a decade of experience at the US Departments of Homeland Security and Justice. Before moving to the White House, he served as director of the DC Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, the city agency responsible for all-hazards emergency planning, preparation, response, and recovery.

Daniel Kaniewski: Mr. Kaniewski brings valuable experience in the areas of security and terrorism. Currently, Mr. Kaniewski is the Mission Area Director for Homeland Security Studies and Analysis Institute at Analytics Services Inc. Previously, Mr. Kaniewski was the Assistant Vice President for Homeland Security and Deputy Director of the Homeland Security Policy Institute (HSPI) at the George Washington University, and also spent three years on the White House staff as the Special Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Senior Director for Response Policy.

Rebecca Katz: Dr. Rebecca Katz is an Associate Professor at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services in the Department of Health Policy.  Her research is focused on public health preparedness, the intersection of infectious diseases and national security, and health diplomacy.  Since 2007, the primary focus of her research has been domestic and global implementation of the International Health Regulations.  She previously worked on Biological Warfare counter proliferation at the Defense Intelligence Agency, was an Intelligence Research Fellow at the Center for Strategic Intelligence Research in the Joint Military Intelligence College, and spent several years as a public health consultant for the Lewin Group.  Since 2004, Dr. Katz has been a consultant to the Department of State, working on issues related to the Biological Weapons Convention, Avian and Pandemic Influenza, and disease surveillance.  She is the co-editor of the Encyclopedia of Bioterrorism Defense, 2nd edition, and author of a textbook on Public Health Preparedness. Dr. Katz received her undergraduate degree in Political Science and Economics from Swarthmore College, an MPH in International Health from Yale University, and a PhD in Public Affairs from Princeton University.

2015 Meetings

The information provided below outlines the meeting details regarding previous meetings and future meetings held by the HSC in 2015. All meetings were/are closed to the public pursuant to DC Code § 2-575(b), DC Code § 7-2271.04 and DC Code § 7-2271.05.  

At each meeting, the HSC will continue its discussion of pandemic planning and response and preparation of its Annual Report to the Mayor and the District of Columbia Council.

April 29, 2015
Location: International Square, 1850 K Street, NW, 11th floor, Washington DC 20006
Time:  3 pm to 5 pm

August 11, 2015
 George Washington University, Rice Hall, 2121 Eye Street, NW, Suite 701, Washington DC 20052
Time:  3 pm to 5 pm

October 28, 2015
Location: George Washington University, Rice Hall, 2121 Eye Street, NW, Suite 701, Washington DC 20052
Time:  3 pm to 5 pm

December 2, 2015
Location: George Washington University, Rice Hall, 2121 Eye Street, NW, Suite 701, Washington DC 20052
Time:  3 pm to 5 pm