Cochran, Wicker, Thompson Announce $6 Million For Hurricane Response Research

Jackson State University Center of Excellence to Conduct Study for Department of Homeland Security

May 28, 2008

WASHINGTON – Federal funding totaling more than $6 million will be awarded to Jackson State University’s Homeland Security Center of Excellence, U.S. Senators Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker and Representative Bennie Thompson announced today.  The award, administered by the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate, will be awarded on May 30, 2008 for the study of natural disaster impact, mitigation and response.

On February 26, 2008, the Department of Homeland Security chose Jackson State and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as co-leads for its Center of Excellence for Natural Disasters, Coast Infrastructure and Emergency Management.  According to the Department, the center will be responsible for “conducting research and enhance the nation's ability to safeguard populations, properties, and economies as it relates to the consequences of catastrophic natural disasters, including hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, droughts, and wildfires.”

“Our state understands too well the catastrophic impact natural disasters can have on our lives, infrastructure, and economies,” Cochran said.  “The Department of Homeland Security has recognized our state’s unique experience and academic expertise by entrusting Jackson State with these funds.  I am hopeful that the research these funds produce will provide the Department with valuable insight into how we can better prepare for, mitigate, and respond to disasters.”

Sen. Wicker said:  “While this funding is welcome news for the academic community at Jackson State, it also reflects the federal government’s recognition of Mississippi’s ability to prepare for and respond to natural disasters.  I am glad Jackson State has been chosen to help lead this much-needed national research effort.”

“This award is a testament to the excellence in research and education that Jackson State has achieved,” said Congressman Thompson.  “After a very competitive process, Jackson State will serve as a lead institution within the Department’s Center of Excellence program.  I am pleased that the Department is positioning itself to fully utilize the diverse array of research and educational tools our state has to offer.”

The funds awarded to the JSU-UNC Center of Excellence will be used to conduct research a variety of topics including protecting infrastructure and populations, enhancing post-disaster recovery, improving disaster-related communication, and enhancing critical supply chain resiliency.  The Center is one of four set to receive funding on May 30.  Other centers receiving funding will conduct research in the areas of explosives, border security, and extreme environment security.

“Investments in long-term, basic research are vital for the future of homeland security,” said Jay M. Cohen, Under Secretary for Science and Technology.  “These colleges and universities are leaders in their fields of study.  They will provide scientific expertise, high-quality resources, and independent thought—all valuable to securing America.”

Cochran is the top Republican on the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee in the Senate.  Thompson is the Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee in the House of Representatives.