Former Gov. Mitch Daniels' Newsroom

Contact: Jane Jankowski
Phone: 317/232-1622

For Immediate Release: Mar 11, 2005
Governor names new Homeland Security executive director

WEST LAFAYETTE, INDIANA (March 11, 2005) - A Purdue University homeland security project leader who recently retired from the U.S. Army after a 22-year career will be the first executive director of the state's Department of Homeland Security.

Governor Mitch Daniels announced today that J. Eric Dietz, Ph.D., a Michigan City native who is the associate director of the e-Enterprise Center at Purdue's Discovery Park, will lead the department, which combines the state's emergency management and homeland security efforts. The governor announced the formation of the department on Feb. 4. The existing public safety structure would be reorganized into four divisions within the department and be centralized according to homeland security priorities.

"We're out to increase safety for Hoosiers and use our tax dollars more wisely through these reforms," said Daniels. "Eric's military background and his ties to Purdue make him an ideal leader for this new team. I want to draw more on the brain power of our academic institutions to become participants in creating better government."

Legislation to create the department was introduced by Senator Tom Wyss, R-Fort Wayne. SB56 was approved by the Senate and referred to the House earlier this month. The House sponsor is Representative William J. Ruppel, R-North Manchester.

The four divisions within the Department of Homeland Security would be the Division of Planning and Assessment, responsible for federal grants; the Division of Preparedness and Training, which includes the Public Safety Training Institute; the Division of Emergency Response and Recovery, which would incorporate the existing State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA); and the Division of Fire and Building Safety, which would include the newly combined role of state fire marshal and the state building commissioner.

"This position gives me opportunity to expand relationships between the university and the state as I work with Governor Daniels to develop the new department," said Dietz. "As we organize staff and pursue federal funding, we will take care to ensure the continued safety of Hoosiers."

Dietz served as managing director of the Purdue Homeland Security Institute from May 2004 to February and was involved in the establishment of a cooperative research and development agreement with the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Crane, Indiana University, the Counter-Terrorism and Security Council and Purdue to develop technology, tactics and training for military and first responders. He also developed a weapons of mass destruction exercise proposal that will be conducted at Purdue later this year.

While in the military, he oversaw a number of technology-oriented projects, including development of detection programs for weapons of mass destruction, military power sources, chemical demilitarization and decision-making software. Dietz earned undergraduate degrees from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and his doctorate from Purdue.

Among other responsibilities, Dietz will be responsible for developing a single strategic plan for responding to homeland security emergencies, overseeing the application and disbursement of federal homeland security funds, acting as the single emergency operations coordinator during a terrorist or homeland security attack and serving as the director of the Counter Terrorism and Security Council, which will continue to be chaired by Lieutenant Governor Becky Skillman.


Media contact: Jane Jankowski, 317/232-1622,