A spokesman at Oak Ridge said the lab has a running agreement with the Army Corps facility in Vicksburg to cooperate on a broad range of technical issues and has collaborated with local colleges as well. But he said the lab had no specific information about Thompsons earmark request. An Army Corps spokesman had no information about the earmark, and the public affairs office at Jackson State did not return a message requesting comment.
Tougaloos national training center is a year-old project stemming from the 2007 legislation that Thompson shepherded through Congress to implement the recommendations of the 9/11 commission. The bill required the Department of Homeland Security to establish the transportation security center of excellence with Tougaloo and five other institutions, including more established programs at San Jose State University and Rutgers University.
Armstrong said the center has thus far conducted two training exercises one in Jackson and one at the Port Authority terminal in New York for transit employees to increase their awareness of suspicious behaviors.
But Tougaloo did not run those programs, Armstrong said. We went outside and hired a vendor who is approved by Homeland Security who carried out these trainings.
Thompson has also requested an additional $3 million for the Tougaloo training center to establish a new state and local cyber security training program.
In March, Thompson also hosted a committee event at Tougaloo to help contractors learn how to do business with the DHS.
The agenda for the event included presentations by DHS Centers of Excellence, but only Tougaloo, Jackson State and one other historically black college were listed as presenters at that session.
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., takes a selfie with his cut-out head during the Hoops for Youth 16th annual charity basketball game held at George Washington University's Smith Center, September 8, 2014. The members of Congress team beat the lobbyist team 46-40. Buy photo here.