NEW YORK (Army News Service, Dec. 30, 2008) -- As New Yorkers and visitors gear up for New Year's Eve celebrations, state officials said the Citizen-Soldiers and Airmen of the New York National Guard are ready to support homeland security missions across the state.

At the direction of New York Gov. David Paterson, members of the New York Army and Air National Guard will conduct additional security missions and stand ready to respond to local civil authorities if an emergency occurs.

In New York City, National Guard Soldiers and Airmen will conduct increased 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.

The National Guard's 2nd Civil Support Team, a full-time rapid response element that detects chemical, biological or radiological hazards will also provide a detachment in Manhattan to support the New York Police Department. The 22-man detachment, based at the Scotia Air National Guard Base near Schenectady, N.Y., has been partnered with the NYPD for counter-terrorism support operations since the unit's formation in 2000.

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

The New York National Guard will also provide liaison officers to the NYS Emergency Management Office and the New York City Police Department.

(Eric Durr serves with the New York State Division of Military & Naval Affairs.)