TOPEKA, Kan. - A reorganization within the Adjutant General's Department will now allow the agency to put a stronger emphasis on homeland security and at the same time strengthen the agency's emergency management operations.
Maj. Gen. Tod Bunting, Kansas Adjutant General, announced the changes Wednesday.
Bill Chornyak, currently deputy director of the Kansas Division of Emergency Management (KDEM), will become deputy director of Homeland Security, a reorganized division within the Adjutant General's Department. He will oversee Homeland Security planning, programs and exercises and work extensively with the department's partners in the private sector, as well as at the county and state level and at the federal level with the Department of Homeland Security.
Angee Morgan, currently senior plans officer with KDEM, will become the new deputy director of KDEM. She will oversee all aspects of the division, including response and recovery operations of disasters, emergency management planning and hazard mitigation, and work closely with our non governmental agencies, county and state partners and at the federal level. Morgan will work extensively with FEMA.
Chornyak will advise the adjutant general on overall strategic planning for Kansas Homeland Security and operational issues with an emphasis on critical infrastructure programs, anti-terrorism training and the healthy and prepared schools initiative.
He will be the liaison with all levels of law enforcement and will coordinate business and community partnerships, as well as collaborate on training and exercises at Crisis City, educational initiatives at the Eisenhower Center for Homeland Security Studies, and collaborate with the Kansas Fusion Center. New federal grant requirements for the state will also require the division to address counter improvised explosive device (IED) training in Kansas.
"We live in a challenging time in which homeland security must always be in the forefront of our operations and this reorganization will help us more strategically focus our efforts there," said Bunting. "At the same time, with these changes we'll strengthen our emergency management system in which we are currently working on 11 federal disaster declarations."
"Bill has an extensive background in law enforcement and security in both the public and private sectors, including the FBI and the U.S. State Department,"
Bunting said. "Angee is well known across the nation for her expertise in all facets of emergency management. When other states need help, they've been known to ask for Angee by name."
Morgan will advise the adjutant general on the four primary focus areas of emergency management: Preparedness, Response, Recovery and Mitigation. She will oversee statewide training and exercise programs, serve as the primary point of contact for all county emergency managers, and advise and assist the Kansas Commission on Emergency Planning and Response (CEPR).
The CEPR is currently chaired by Jack Taylor, Fire Chief of Emporia and comprised of 26 representatives of government agencies, public and private entities.
Chornyak's position is the only new position in the reorganization and is funded through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Three current KDEM staff, whose roles have focused primarily on homeland security initiatives since 2005, will comprise the staff of the new division. Homeland Security funding remained at nearly the same level for FY08 from FY07, but in the three previous years federal funds had been reduced 50% each year.
Overall Homeland Security staffing in Kansas was reduced by three people last year due to budget restrictions and focus on new programs.
The state's seven Homeland Security Regional Coordinators, who serve as liaisons to counties in their respective regions, focus primarily on disaster planning and response, were retitled as Emergency Management Regional Coordinators earlier this year to reflect their primary emphasis on emergency management issues.
"This restructuring of our department allows us to continue to move two critical areas of the agency from tactical and operational levels to more strategic levels putting us in a better position to respond to homeland security threats and emergency management needs in the future," Bunting said.
"Bill and Angee will work closely on overall department programs but they will now be able to primarily focus on their respective division."
Bunting said the changes will take effect Nov. 1.