BILOXI, Miss. Every agency dedicated to protecting the state and the nation is represented at this remarkable summit, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant said of the very first International Homeland Defense & Security Summit (IHDSS), held this week in Biloxi, Mississippi.
Gov. Bryant noted that he was “honored to have experts that are the best in the world” at the event discussing growing homeland defense and security challenges as well as the latest technologies, including equipment used by military, law enforcement, homeland security, border protection, first response, and public safety professionals across the state, nation, and world.
The governor stressed the value of public/private and business-to-business partnerships, within the state, the country, and across the globe. Partnerships are important: not only the government and industry working together, but also reaching out to and partnering with and learning from global partners – all stand to benefit, he explained. High-level government and defense officials from Israel, India, South Korea, and Taiwan attended and participated in the Summit.
“This event is another step to increase cooperation,” explained Brig. Gen. (res.) Michel Ben-Baruch, head of SIBAT – the International Defense Cooperation Agency of the Israeli Ministry of Defense (MoD). “Sixteen defense and security companies [headquartered in Israel] are waiting to partner with organizations in Mississippi. Partnership is a solid platform on which to build,” he added. “The sky is the limit.”
Governors everywhere are learning from unfortunate, real-world events across the world, Gov. Bryant affirmed. “Every governor is having more discussion about homeland defense and security,” including how to develop innovative technologies and work together.
Recognizing threats is the first line of defense, whether the threat is natural or manmade, Gov. Bryant explained. Examples include: students are being radicalized, explosive materials are being made, it’s alarming what is crossing the border, he said. “The threat is real. It is our responsibility to act, to defend,” to develop business-to-business relationships, which present learning opportunities and economic opportunities.
“Diplomacy is about building bridges,” an official added. “This event is one of the most solid bridges, connecting industries and nations. This is just the beginning; relationships and agreements are being made that will bear fruit.”
“Peace depends upon it,” Gov. Bryant concludes, “and on relationships around the world.”