Eni meets with local Homeland Security director

Washington, D.C. — Faleomavaega, on Thursday, March 13, 2014, met with the Director of American Samoa’s Department of Homeland Security, Utuali’i Iuniasolua Savusa, to discuss homeland security issues affecting the Territory. The meeting took place while Director Utuali’i was attending meetings in Washington, D.C. with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (USDHS).

 

Congressman Faleomavaega and Director Utuali‘i discussed implementation of some of the federal USDHS programs in American Samoa, ranging from cyber security to emergency preparedness. Specifically, Faleomavaega addressed the recent enactment of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2014, which includes a provision for a Department of Defense (DOD) feasibility study on establishing a National Guard unit in American Samoa.

 

“I am proud that retired Command Sergeant Major Savusa has come home to serve in Governor Lolo’s administration as Director of Homeland Security for American Samoa,” Faleomavaega said. “Given his years of service and leadership in the U.S. Army and knowledge of the Pacific region as Retired Command Sergeant Major for the U.S. Pacific Command, I greatly appreciate his decision to serve our people and the expertise he brings to our local Department of Homeland Security. His expertise and experience is of significant benefit to our people, and I am pleased that we had an opportunity to discuss some of the serious issues facing the Territory when it comes to securing our land and waters.”

 

“I was also pleased to discuss with Director Utuali’i the enactment of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2014 which was recently signed into law by President Obama. This legislation provides an important first step in seeking a National Guard unit for American Samoa. As I stated in my testimony before the House Committee on Armed Services last May, a National Guard unit in American Samoa would be in the national interest of the United States. State and Territorial governors are authorized to activate and deploy National Guard forces in response to natural disasters and other potential threats to safety and security.”

 

“I shared with Director Utuali’i my most recent letter to Governor Lolo, the Lieutenant Governor and our Fono members about the National Guard feasibility study now underway. In view of significant defense cuts, I believe our best opportunity for the establishment of a National Guard unit in American Samoa would be for us to come under the auspices of the Hawaii National Guard, much like our Reserve unit is part of the 9th Regional Support Command.”

 

“I look forward to further discussions about this, as the establishment of a National Guard unit in the Territory is one of my highest priorities, and this is why I chose to meet with Director Utuali’i even though the timing conflicted with a hearing about the Foreign Affairs budget for FY2015.”

 

“My immediate focus is American Samoa and will remain such as I resume limited office hours while continuing to rehab. As we press forward, it is my sincere hope that in the years to come American Samoa’s National Guard unit will offer assistance to our local Department of Homeland Security in its mission to enhance security and the overall state of readiness in the Territory.”

 

“Once again, I thank Director Utuali’i for his service and insights, and I look forward to working closely with Governor Lolo and Director Utuali’i as we focus all efforts on addressing the unique security needs of our Territory,” Faleomavaega concluded.

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