The Northeast Homeland Security Regional Advisory Council (NERAC) is one of several "homeland security planning regions," established in 2004 by the the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS) to receive funding from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The Metropolitan Area Planning Council manages DHS grants for Homeland Security Advisory Councils set up for four of these regional advisory councils: North East Homeland Security Advisory Council (NERAC); Central Region Homeland Security Council (CRHSAC); Western Region Homeland Security Advisory Council (WRHSAC); and Southeast Regional Homeland Security Advisory Council (SRAC). Like other "Homeland Security" initiatives, under cover of "counterterrorism" and "disaster preparedness" these councils seek to further integrate local, state, and federal police forces and to militarize these forces for the suppression of popular uprisings and for urban warfare. (See separate entry on Department of Homeland Security.)
Meeting minutes of the advisory councils show consistent spending on equipment and training for "Law Enforcement Councils" (LECs) in the corresponding regions. LECs are officially private professional organizations that link regional police forces to share equipment, train together in military style exercises, and form SWAT teams. LECs have attempted to use their status as private corporations to deny public records requests about their activities.
According to the NERAC website, the Homeland Security Advisory Councils are "multi-disciplinary and multi-jurisdictional advisory councils" tasked with "the development of regional homeland security plans and oversight of grant program expenditures." While public facing websites emphasize NERAC's focus on disaster preparedness, documents obtained through a suit filed by the ACLU about the activities of NEMLEC show lists of NERAC funded military equipment for police SWAT teams, including bearcats and other armored vehicles. Allocations to NEMLEC for Lenco armored vehicles and other equipment for SWAT teams can also be found in NERAC meeting minutes.
In 2022, Chief Jason Gilliland of the Marblehead Fire Department was the chair of NERAC. Other council members included Chief John Fisher (Carlisle Police Department), Chief Neal Hovey (Topsfield Police Department), Cheif John LeLacheur (Beverly Police Department), and Sheriff Kevin Coppinger (Essex County Sheriff).