Security Unit To Meet In Area

February 17, 2008
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GRAND RAPIDS — The Michigan Homeland Security Consortium will meet in West Michigan this spring for a symposium on emerging technologies in the security-related industries, according to the president and co-founder of the consortium, Thomas Hines.

Hines said the symposium will be a "showcase" for the technological developments that are coming to the forefront in the security industry in Michigan, including both Michigan-based companies as well as businesses based outside the state. As many as 50 or more companies will be represented, he said.

He said the precise location and date have not been determined, but he noted that previous statewide meetings have been in the eastern or central part of the state, "so we are due."

Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm also announced in early February new support to grow high-tech businesses in Michigan, including those active in homeland security markets. The $1.4 million Emerging Technologies Fund will be administered by the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and the Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Center, and will match certain federal Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer research grants. The grants must advance at least one of the four technology areas targeted by the 21st Century Jobs Fund, including technology related to homeland security and national defense.

On the national level, President Bush has proposed raising the federal Homeland Security budget by 6.8 percent to $50.5 billion. The five-year-old department was created after the September 11 attacks to oversee domestic security and disaster response. There are now 22 agencies under its umbrella.

Spending by the states on their own security issues increases the total spent on security in the U.S. each year to about $100 billion or more, according to the Rand Corp.

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