New Jersey has a new homeland security boss.

Laurie Doran, who has taken over as the acting director of the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, said COVID rumor control remains a top priority.

“COVID-19 has certainly changed the landscape operationally on everything related to domestic and international violent extremists, the disinformation part of it,” she said.

Doran pointed out domestic as well as international violent extremists still view the pandemic as an opportunity for expansion and revival.

“They continue to try and increase their online recruitment,” she said. “And they’re trying to spread disinformation and conspiracy theories and modified strategies for attack.”

She pointed out these efforts are not limited to lone wolf trouble makers and fringe groups.

“Nation-states also have been trying what we would call non-kinetic warfare strategies that includes disinformation, cyber-attacks, economic espionage against the federal, state and local governments to gain strategic and economic advantages over the U.S.,” she said.

She added many groups continue to take advantage of the spread of the Delta variant to spread misinformation and her office is committed to stopping these attempts by posting frequent updates on their website.

Doran noted there is concern about public complacency because the Garden State has not had a traditional homeland security attack in quite some time.

She stressed the public is the first line of defense and it’s important for people to be aware of what’s going on and report any suspicious activity.

“The whole see something, say something — I know we’ve been hearing about for years, that campaign, but it is really truly important,” she said.

She said in addition to stopping COVID rumors and disinformation, NJOHSP remains focused on counter-terrorism, cyber-security and emergency preparedness.

“We’re committed to keeping New Jersey as safe as possible,” she said.

Doran previously headed the NJOHSP Intelligence and Operations Division after serving as a senior operations manager with the Central Intelligence Agency for decades.

Jared Maples, the former director of NJOHSP, left in June to become the executive vice president and chief security officer for the National Hockey League.

You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com

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