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Hawaii Congressional Delegation Hearing for Missile Alert

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Daniel Ho, News Writer

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On April 5th, the members of the Hawaii Congressional Delegation questioned representatives from the Federal Communications Commission, U.S. Pacific Command, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Hawaii Emergency Management Agency and Hawaii Association of Broadcasters, regarding the false missile alert that panicked the state in January.  This hearing was led by Senator Brian Schatz to analyze what exactly happened and to formulate what will happen next.

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Representatives from the Federal Communications Commission, U.S. Pacific Command, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Hawaii Emergency Management Agency and Hawaii Association of Broadcasters, all gave their testimony for what happened on the 13th of January.  This gave the members of the Hawaii Congressional Delegation a better understanding on how exactly the emergency alert system failed and how it could be improved to avoid similar situations in the future.

“The federal government is in a position to know for sure whether a missile is on its way, and therefore when they make that determination, there should not be a middleman,” – Brian Schatz

Senator Brian Schatz has previously urged the responsibility of the federal government to issue missile alerts. Schatz argued that because of the federal government’s ability to detect incoming missiles, there should be no intermediary as to who actually issues the warning, in this case, a state employee. A month after the false warning, Schatz introduced the “ALERT Act” (Authenticating Local Emergencies and Real Threats Act), which would prevent state and local governments from alerting citizens of such threats. The ALERT Act would put the responsibility of threat alerts into the hands of the federal government.

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