The Metro Boston Homeland Security Region (MBHSR) is designated by DHS/FEMA to be one of the 10 highest risk urban areas (Tier 1) in the United States. As such, MBHSR is eligible to receive special Homeland Security Grant Funds intended to assist in developing integrated regional systems. The Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) program was introduced by the Department of Homeland Security, Office for Domestic Preparedness to “address the unique planning, equipment, training, and exercise needs of high threat, high-density urban areas, and to assist in building an enhanced and sustainable capacity to prevent, respond to, and recover from threats of terrorism.”
The MBHSR Plan outlines the region’s homeland security goals, objectives, projects and tasks for the nine communities that comprise it, including the cities of:
MBHSR Mission Statement
To build and sustain region-wide enhanced capabilities in order to reduce the loss of life and property and protect the Metro Boston Homeland Security Region from all hazards, including natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other manmade disasters.
Geography of the MBHSR
The MBHSR is approximately 95 square miles and has a resident population of 1,051,809 (according to 2000 U.S. Census data), but the daytime combined population estimates for Boston and Cambridge alone raise the total estimated regional population as high as 2,560,000 persons. The Region contains a number of critical infrastructures, high-profile targets, and potential threat elements, including universities, hospitals, malls, biotechnology, finance, and sport stadiums. Several high-profile, annual events, such as the Boston Marathon, Head of the Charles, and July Fourth celebrations, draw more than a million spectators and participants into the Region. Major transportation networks exist within the Region, including Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) and Amtrak hubs. Logan International Airport, a $7 billion per year critical infrastructure and New England’s largest transportation center, is located in East Boston. It is the closest airport to a major city’s downtown area in the United States. In addition, weekly liquefied natural gas delivery ships transit the Port of Boston and unload their cargo in Everett.
About the MBHSR
In response to the attacks of September 11, 2001, the MBHSR began a reassessment of its independent and collective vulnerabilities to enhance and build on the projects and initiatives already taking place throughout the Region to prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from an emergency incident, whether natural or man-made. The creation of the MBHSR, as part of the Boston Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI), integrates and unites the homeland security activities of the cities of Boston, Cambridge, Chelsea, Everett, Quincy, Revere, and Somerville, and the towns of Brookline and Winthrop, across the 10 first responder disciplines: fire service, law enforcement, emergency management, emergency medical services, hazardous materials, public works, public health, public safety communications, governmental administrative. Established by Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, the Mayor’s Office of Emergency Preparedness (MOEP) is charged with coordinating the collaboration, and integration of all homeland security activities across the Region.
Jurisdictional Points of Contact (JPOCs)
The executive committee of the MBHSR is the voting body that provides overall approval of spending plans and decides policy issues. This Urban Area Working Group, referred to as the JPOCs, includes one representative from each of the MBHSR’s nine jurisdictions. The Chief Municipal Officer of each jurisdiction selects the representative for that jurisdiction. The JPOCs meet monthly and are facilitated by the MOEP, which is the fiduciary agent of the UASI grant funding. The JPOCs set high-level goals for the Region and oversee the subcommittees that develop and implement specific objectives to fulfill the goals.
MBHSR Strategic Goals
Goal 1: Implement the National Incident Management System and National Response Framework
Goal 2: Strengthen Infrastructure Protection
Goal 3: Strengthen Information Sharing and Collaboration
Goal 4: Strengthen Interoperable Communications Capabilities
Goal 5: Strengthen Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive Detection, Response and Decontamination Capabilities
Goal 6: Strengthen Medical Surge and Mass Prophylaxis Capabilities
Goal 7: Strengthen Planning and Community Preparedness Capabilities