Segment 2 Of 2 Previous Hearing Segment(1)
SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
Page 11 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 PREPAREDNESS AGAINST TERRORIST ATTACKS
Wednesday, June 9, 1999
House of Representatives
Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations and Emergency Management
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 2:08 p.m., in room 2253, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Tillie K. Fowler [chairwoman of the subcommittee] presiding.
Mrs. FOWLER. Would the meeting please come to order. I want to thank all of you for being here this afternoon and we are going to have an interesting hearing. Today, our subcommittee is going to examine the Federal Government's programs that are designed to assist State and local emergency officials in preparing for a terrorist attack involving nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons.
The efficiency and effectiveness of Federal preparedness programs are not abstract issues if you receive a call that your child's school is being evacuated and you count on firemen, police, and paramedics to save and protect your child before you can get there.
If you are confronted by the news of a huge explosion downtown, as one of our witnesses today has been, at your husband or wife's office, the last thing you need to worry about is whether the firemen or police are prepared to deal with that situation. We all automatically assume that they are prepared. Unfortunately, when you're faced with a weapon of mass destruction, not all first responders are ready today.
The Congress recognized this some years ago and has passed a number of laws and appropriated funds to bring Federal resources to bear on this problem. A large number of agencies have gotten involved in this effort and are experiencing dramatic increases in funding. For an example, this chart that's over hereand I don't know how well you can see it, but you might want to take a little look at it latershows how the budgets of just three agencies, the FBI, Health and Human Services, and the Office of Justice programs have increased. That's a pretty dramatic increase in funding levels.
Page 12 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 [Chart]
The President's fiscal year 2000 budget request of $10 billion for unclassified programs combating terrorism is a $3 billion increase over fiscal year 1999 and a 43 percent increase over what was spent in 1996. Most of this increase has gone to the Department of Defense.
We're about to hear witnesses testify that there are serious problems in these Federal programs. These are not problems of quality. Federal agencies should be commended for assembling world-class training programs and response personnel. The problem is that there are a multitude of fragmented and independent Federal programs that are confusing the very local emergency officials that they are intended to help.
Witnesses will tell us that training and response teams appear unnecessarily redundant and inefficient. As one local official rhetorically asked after participating in yet another Federal anti-terrorism program''how many ways can you bake the same chicken?'' These problems have been brewing out there for some time and thanks to the efforts of Representatives Chris Shays and Ike Skelton they are being brought to light.
The Administration is also aware of these problems and has created a new office in the Department of Justice to try and address some of them. We believe this is a step in the right direction. But I will tell you that I share the view of some of our witnesses that the ability of this new office to rein in diverse entrepreneurial Federal programs seems extremely limited. I have strong doubts that simply getting everyone in the same room to talk will make all these problems go away.
I also question why FEMA, who is the lead agency for Federal preparedness and response activities, is not assuming a stronger leadership role. Since this subcommittee has both oversight and legislative authority over Federal emergency management issues, we are uniquely situated to identify and legislate on these problems. We will be taking a closer look at these issues today and in the coming months.
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 State and local governments deserve the best support that we can give them. We need to make sure that these resources are translated into the best trained, best equipped and best supported fire, medical, and law enforcement officers in the world. And this should not be true in just Washington D.C. or Los Angeles or New York, but anywhere in the United States where we may face a weapon of mass destruction.
I look forward to hearing the testimony from all of our witnesses and working together on achieving this goal. I would like now to turn to my ranking member and good friend, Mr. Traficant, for his opening statement.
Mr. TRAFICANT. Thank you, Madam Chairwoman, and I congratulate you for calling this hearing on the state of the domestic preparedness against terrorist attack involving nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons. I'm going to deviate a little bit from my prepared text, Madam Chairwoman, because later today or tomorrow I will have an amendment on the House floor.
The amendment is very straightforward. It would allow the use of military personnel on our borders to ensure that we might be able to stop penetration of terrorist threats and narcotics.
Nearly all terrorists finance their nefarious activities with the lucrative narcotics trade. What amazes me is a recent report that came out, Madam Chairwoman, that only three of every 100 trucks crossing the Mexican border is even inspected. Experts are saying that nuclear weapons and devices could be smuggled across our border while we are debating a bill that will ship 7,000 American soldiers to guard borders in Europe. Our borders are wide open.
Now, that's not the purpose of our meeting here. But everybody here assembled is familiar with the tragedy of Oklahoma City.
In fact, Madam Chairwoman, I'm going to be asking for your support later in this session when our committee marks up the Traficant Bill H.R. 809 that will make long overdue changes in the Federal protective services. But to underscore the importance of your hearing here, at the time of the tragedy at Oklahoma City, there was only one contract security guard on duty covering three Federal buildings. This is a disgrace.
Page 14 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 I believe the Chairwoman is exactly correct when she said someone has to be the bottom line and the buck must stop there. And it's FEMA who has the preparedness responsibility and coordination. I don't see any coordination. Very few agencies really work together. In fact, Madam Chairwoman, there's a lot of competition for some reason among some agencies and not enough communication and camaraderie.
With that, I would ask that my total statement be incorporated into the record and I look forward to interacting with these panel members.
Mrs. FOWLER. Thank you, Mr. Traficant. I appreciate those comments.
Mr. Terry, do you want to make an opening statement?
Mr. TERRY. For the sake of saving time, I do have a statement that I will submit to you for the record; but I will make one quick comment. As an 8-year city council member in Omaha, Nebraska, which, by the way, was the runner-up city for McVeigh, in sitting down and talking to our firemen and our police, one of their major frustrations is lack of support and lack of training in case Omaha, Nebraska is a target for a terrorist attack.
And as McVeigh proved to the world, these are real threats, not only as you said, Madam Chairwoman, for New York and Los Angeles, but for the Oklahoma Citys and the Omahas of the world. So this is important.
Like I said, I have sat down and talked to our firemen, and they're frustrated that they aren't receiving the type of support and the training that they feel is necessary as first responders. What we all have to keep in mind is that whenever one of these attacks is pulled off in our country, the first people there are our local firemen and our local police officers. And those are the folks that need to be trained.
So the competition between agencies at the Federal level is just frustrating the ability to help folks in a real emergency at the local level.
Page 15 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 So I look forward to these hearings. And hopefully we can find a solution to this problem.
Mrs. FOWLER. Thank you, Mr. Terry. Mr. Isakson, do you have an opening comment you want to make?
Mr. ISAKSON. Thank you, Madam Chairperson. Only a couple of observations. One is that I don't think there's any question that the major threat to our people in the 21st century is from terrorism and from terrorism on our own soil. We have seen in the World Trade Center, we saw in Oklahoma City those two instances which were warnings. There is no question that it can and there is, unfortunately, no question that it will happen again.
In preparing to listen today to the testimony by studying what was provided to us a few days earlier, it is apparent that there does have to be a place where the buck stops. There does have to be a line of accountability. And wherever there is duplication it needs to be streamlined. Regardless of what we do in the Federal Government, the first line of defense in our home communities are the firemen and the law enforcement officers.
In fact, if we look back on the two terrorist attacks most prominent in America in recent years, it was a law enforcement officer who saw an expired license tag on Mr. McVeigh's car that actually arrested him. And the World Trade Center, it's only because they attempted to go back and get a refund from the U-Haul agency on the van they rented that we were able to secure those and prosecute those individuals.
Again, local law enforcement in both those cases played the primary role. We owe it to our citizens for them to have as much comfort as they can possibly have that we are prepared to respond quickly, and we're prepared at the Federal level to support those in the local level who ultimately will be the first line of defense and the first response in any terrorist attack.
Mrs. FOWLER. Thank you, Mr. Isakson. I believe that is all of our members here. I have a unanimous consent request to allow members who are not members of the subcommittee to sit in today and these are Representative Chris Shays who is Chairman of the Subcommittee on National Security, Veterans Affairs, and International Relations of the Committee on Government Reform; and Representative Ike Skelton who has been closely following this subject for a number of years. I ask unanimous consent to allow Mr. Shays and Mr. Skelton to participate in today's hearing. Any objection?
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Without objection it is so ordered.
Now, I would like towhen we had our first subcommittee hearingjust remind people that what we had decided in the subcommittee that we will adhere to the 5-minute rule today which will apply not only to witnesses but also to the Members.
And what we'll do, there aren't too many members, we can go back around, but at least make sure everybody gets a chance to ask some of their questions and we'll go around again for their other questions also.
I would also like to tell both of the first witnesses and all the witnesses that your testimony and that of all the other witnesses will be included in its entirety in the record. As you speak, if you could summarize your testimony that would be very helpful to us as we go through the hearing today.
Before we proceed with testimony, we will swear in the witnesses. This has been the practice of this Subcommittee going back to its earliest days. The Chair notes that this is not a hostile hearing. Nevertheless, copies of committee rules spelling out your rights and the limitations on the power of the subcommittee are available. The Chair also notes that you're entitled to be advised by counsel during your testimony if you so desire.
I would like now to introduce our first panel, Mr. Mark Gebicke who is director of national security and preparedness issues for the General Accounting Office. I believe you have two other members from the General Accounting Office with you today, Mr. Gebicke. If you would like to introduce them and then I'll swear all three of you in.
Mr. GEBICKE. To my left is Richard McGeary and to my right is Davi D'Agostino.
Mrs. FOWLER. If you would please rise and raise your right hand.
Page 17 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mrs. FOWLER. Thank you so much. You can be seated.
Mr. Gebicke, if you would proceed.
TESTIMONY OF MARK E. GEBICKE, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL SECURITY AND PREPAREDNESS ISSUES, NATIONAL SECURITY AND INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS DIVISION, U.S. GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE
Mr. GEBICKE. Thank you, Madam Chairwoman. We're pleased to be here to continue our dialogue with members of the Congress about this important issue. And what I'll do within my 5 minutes is to share some observations in just three key areas:
One, the threat of a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear incident taking place in the United States. Secondly, the rapid Federal growth of both training activities as well as response activities on the part of the Federal sector that you alluded to in your opening remarks. And finally, some of the steps that the executive branch has recently taken and most importantly some steps, some very important fundamental steps, that we think are still missing from the whole program.
Let's turn first to the threat of terrorism in the United States. Now, the U.S. intelligence agencies are continuously monitoring threats both from inside the country as well as from outside the country. And what they tell us is that terrorists are less likely to use chemical and biological and nuclear weapons than they are to use explosives and firearms for a couple reasons.
Number one, it's much more difficult to actually procure and produce and disseminate chemical weapons and biological weapons than it is the more conventional types of weapons. Also those weapons are much more unpredictable. You just don't know what's going to happen when you release them.
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Now, the intelligence community also tells us that over the next decade or so threats from these types of weaponschemical, biological and nuclearmight be increasing. So it's something we need to watch and something that is evolving.
Unfortunately, we find also that there are a lot of conflicting statements made in public forums, particularly with regard to chemical and biological weapons and with regard specifically to the ease or difficulty with which they can be delivered.
On the one hand, some people have suggested that it's relatively easy to produce effective chemical or biological weapons at home using recipes off the Internet. Others suggest that it's far more difficult than that.
In addition, there appears to be a disconnect between the intelligence agencies' judgments and the focus of at least one program that we're aware of. And we can get into that a little bit later.
My second pointand you alluded to it in the charts that you put up at the very beginning of the hearingsignificant increase in the budget requests$6.5 billion in 1998, $10 billion budgeted or proposed for the upcoming fiscal year. The Federal Government has created similar programs, both to provide training to the State and local responders as well as to actually provide a Federal response capability.
In our statement we've laid out some details of those programs and also the Federal responses that are involved. It goes without saying that the more players you have involved, the more difficult it becomes to coordinate and integrate the response.
The final point is to acknowledge and recognize some steps that the executive branch has taken. These are very positive steps and they shouldn't be minimized. In the last couple of years OMB put together all of the budgets for the Federal agencies in combating terrorism. That's the first time that had been done.
We now have that information. We know who the players are, and we know to some extent the resources from the taxpayer are going into this program. The attorney general has issued a classified 5-year interagency plan on counterterrorism and technology. The plan was very well done.
Page 19 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 And the Attorney General has also planned to establish a National Domestic Preparedness Office at the FBI, which will hopefully coordinate better the various activities that are taking place and make it easier for the State and local responders to understand what's available to them.
Now, having said that, and having talked about the positive nature of these steps, there are still three opportunities where we see that things can be improved. One is that we still don't have a government-wide strategy, and we don't have a defined end-state.
If we had an end-state I think we could answer some of these following questions, if not all of them. What's the end game for all of the nations' investment and programs? How are we going to get there? What's our road map? How are we going to know when we have achieved what it is we want to achieve? Is the desired end-state for every city and every local entity to have a full capability to respond to terrorist threat? Is that reasonable?
Secondly, I think we need to establish firm program requirements. And these have to be based on threat and risk assessments. They have to be. If we put these in place, these assessments and these inputs, we can make decisions then on programs, requirements, and investments. And we can make sure that those investments are geared towards the more likely threats.
Right now it appears as if we're trying to prepare for the most catastrophic threats, which may not necessarily be the most likely. And then finallyand I'll close in just a minutewe really need a comprehensive inventory of all the assets that are involved in combating terrorism at the Federal, State, and local levels. Only when we know what's out there and what the requirements are, can we figure out what we need to add.
Now, if we put these three program elementsvery fundamental elementsin place, I think we'll be in a better position to know whether or not we have established the right programs funded in the right relative amounts. And then I think we're on the right track.
Page 20 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 In closing, I would just say that we are not here to say that this is not a good investment for the Federal Government. It obviously is very criticalit is a good investment. What we are saying is we think we can make it a more effective investment through better focus and better direction. Thank you, Madam Chairman.
Mrs. FOWLER. Thank you, Mr. Gebicke.
The general accounting office always does such a good job. We always depend on you to help us wade through the myriad of details with these programs and help us come to some decisions. I think the questions you have raised are very good, valued ones. We share your concerns. We'll be looking at some of these today and in the coming months.
One point I would like to make from something you said in the beginningand this is maybe because I'm on the Armed Services CommitteeI have great respect for our intelligence committee, but they were way off base by about 8 years on the missile capabilities of some of the rogue countries around this world.
So if they're that off base on whether we're going to be facing terrorist attacks using any of these weapons of mass destruction, I think we better be getting ready now rather than waiting years down the road.
We have seen that with missile defense. I'm concerned with seeing what happened in Japan a couple years ago. It's very easy nowadays to acquire a weapon and use it if someone so chose. So I have a little dispute with our intelligence committee evaluation that you were quoting there.
As you pointed out in your testimony, there are about 40 different Federal agencies that are involved right now in combating terrorism. There's more and more money being spent each year on this and we all agree we need to spend the money to do it right.
In reading through your testimony, do you see who in the Federal bureaucracy is in charge of all this? Have you been able to identify any one entity that is in charge?
Page 21 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. GEBICKE. Well, probably the closest person we have to being in charge is at the National Security Council, the National Coordinator for terrorism. But obviously there are some inherent limitations in that particular function. The coordinator does not have the role to direct the agencies to do things. It is more of a coordinating role, as the name implies. It's an integrating role. It's a role of persuasion.
And also I guess from your perspective I would have some concerns as to whether or not that individual also would report to the Congress. So if that personI think a true coordinator or person in charge would be somebody who would come up and sit before you and discuss the issues. I guess for the reasons that I just laid out it's probably not truly somebody 'in charge.' But that's the closest thing that we see at this point in time.
Now, there is something that I will add that we are just embarking on right now. We are getting ready to do a review of how other countriesspecifically countries who have dealt with terrorism issues for a long period of timeare organized to address this issue in their countries. And right now in our scope we're thinking about going to Israel, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany. It will be awhile before we have the results, but we hope from that study to bring back some good practices, if you will, that can be considered and possibly determine if they might be applicable to our situation here in this country.
Mrs. FOWLER. That's interesting. I look forward to reviewing the results of that study. I know if you have been doing some of your work, you have been talking to State and local officials around this country. Do you get any specific feedback as to what Federal entity they think should be in charge of this or who they should be looking to be coordinating this?
Mr. GEBICKE. No, I don't think we have heard exactly who should be in charge. What we hear most often is there are too many of them. It's just too confusing and too hard to deal with.
Page 22 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mrs. FOWLER. I agree. Based on your research and people you had been meeting with, what do the people you have talked to think about FEMA's training programs? Is there any criticism regarding the way these training programs of FEMA's have been implemented?
Mr. GEBICKE. We really haven't looked at the FEMA training program in detail so I can't comment on that. We are in the process of starting two other assignments; and if you would like, I could go into those just briefly.
Mr. GEBICKE. We are looking at all the various training programs that the Federal Government is providing. So we're going to be doing a fairly comprehensive inventory trying to determine where there's overlap and where there are gaps in those training programs. In another assignment we're also going to be looking at the duplication and overlap, if it exists, in the Federal response assets. We're going to look at both.
Mrs. FOWLER. I think the members of the subcommittee will see, as we work our way through this today, there's a great need for those studies and the answer to those questions that we can take and move forward with.
If the Department of Defense had taken a different approach in their training programs than just going directly to the cities, could their programs have covered a greater proportion of the population than they're currently covering?
Mr. GEBICKE. Yes, ma'am. That's very possible. There are other approaches that we identified in our work that DOD could have considered. One could have been a county-wide approach and instead of covering 22 percent of the population by using a city approach, they could have doubled that and picked up 44 percent.
And in addition, if they had taken an approach directed at the metropolitan statistical areas, it's also possible that they could have picked up up to 64 percent of the total population. But more importantly than even expanding the message, what they told us at the State and local level is had the approach to the course been organized differently to recognize the mutual aid agreements that exist within each State and locality, it might have worked better.
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 To give you an example, if it had come to the Washington metropolitan area instead of to Washington, D.C., we could have included Fairfax, Arlington, the City of Alexandria, PG County, Montgomery County, as well as the District of Columbia. And that's basically the mutual aid agreement that exists in this particular sectionin our corner of the world.
Mrs. FOWLER. So as DOD went around the country implementing their training program they really just ignored those mutual aid agreements.
Mr. GEBICKE. They went to a city-by-city arrangement. But we understandand we haven't been able to verify thisthat they have tried to include some of the other entities in the more recent activities. So I think they've recognized it the problem.
Mrs. FOWLER. Good. Just one last question and comment. You referred to the Attorney General's 5-year plan on technology and counter terrorism. My question was does it solve the problems of coordination and focus that we are concerned with today? This is a secret report so you have to have secret clearance to read it. I sent a staffer over to read it since I didn't have the time to go see it and read it, and we couldn't get it for him.
I would like to hear your opinion, then I'll tell you what ours is.
Mr. GEBICKE. I hope we agree. My assessment would be that this plan gave us a lot of information that didn't exist. I don't want to minimize by any stretch of the imagination the preparation of the plan. Fifteen different agencies were involved. It was a very time-consuming, laborious effort. However, the plan doesn't link programs to assets or resources.
And it really doesn't solve the three major problems that I laid out for you in my opening remarks. It doesn't give us an overall strategy. It doesn't give us an end game. It doesn't figure out what the requirements are. We don't have an inventory.
So the short answer is no, ma'am, it's a step in the right direction; but it doesn't get us there.
Page 24 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mrs. FOWLER. We're in total agreement. I was most disappointed because it's sort of a plan to do a plan. Yet it was supposed to be laying out a 5-year plan for how we deal with this, but it doesn't. So we've still got a lot of work cut out for us as a result.
I want to recommend to the subcommittee they make sure they get the information in that too. I will turn to the ranking member, Mr. Traficant, for his questions.
Mr. TRAFICANT. Thank you, Madam Chairwoman. I ask that the answers be very brief, and I will submit most of my questions in writing and ask unanimous consent that they be answered in total and submitted for the record.
But I do have a couple points in line of what you talked about. You know, we learned about the collapse of the Soviet Union on CNN, the fall of the Berlin Wall on CNN; we learned about the invasion of Kuwait by Sadam on CNN. And I made a statement once, why do we fund the CIA? Why don't we hire CNN?
So I'm a little bit more skeptical on this terrorist issue. Madam Chairwoman did address the main question I had was who's in charge. I don't think we really know. But there are several concerns I have, one is sharing of information, dissemination of intelligence-gathering with mutual flow between entities who need such matters.
So you've done this review, and you've taken a snapshot look at itis it Gebicke or Gebicke?
Mr. GEBICKE. Gebicke.
Mr. TRAFICANT. Mark.
Mr. GEBICKE. Right.
Mr. TRAFICANT. And I'm one that you know has a lot of questions about a lot of government agencies. And this isn't to patronize you, and I think that GAO has been one of the more reliable agencies Congress has; and I learned to respect your judgment and, in fact, ask for it quite a bit.
Page 25 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 In your review, just briefly, does anybody do anything of any measurable performance evaluation? Yes or no.
Mr. GEBICKE. I would have to say yes, given the way you phrased the question.
Mr. TRAFICANT. Then let's
Mr. GEBICKE. Can I expand just 30 seconds?
Mr. TRAFICANT. Briefly. I only have 5 minutes. You know the bell.
Mr. GEBICKE. I'm thinking of the Government Performance and Results Act. We have seen some strides in the form of strategic plans, and we have seen some annual performance plans on the part of the agencies. I don't get personally involved in reviewing those, but I know we have seen some progress in that regard.
Mr. TRAFICANT. Are we getting our money's worth?
Mr. GEBICKE. Are we talking about in this particular area?
Mr. TRAFICANT. Yes.
Mr. GEBICKE. It's a difficult question. I don't think we know yet where all our money is going. I don't think we know what all of our capabilities are. And I think we have to leverage existing capabilities. It's not just a Federal problem. As you all mentioned the first people that respond are at the State and local level. So we've got to integrate our resources, and we've got to do what's in the best interest of the public.
Mr. TRAFICANT. We have the WMD, the NLD, the DOD, the WMD, the FEMA, NDPO, DDT. I don't mean to make light of it, but it seems we have so many people in this field and we just basically get news. So you have done a review, and I think GAO has been pretty reliable.
Before I get to one significant question, just, if you would, on your own, on a 1 to 10, gauge it. What is the risk to America on terrorist threats pursuant to what your review has uncovered on a 1 to 10, if you can do that. I know it's tough.
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. GEBICKE. Ten being the most catastrophic?
Mr. TRAFICANT. Yes.
Mr. GEBICKE. It really depends on a formal risk assessment. I mean, if you're talking about a risk of a massive conventional bomb, the risk is going to be much higher than what it would be to experience a catastrophic incident involving chemical or biological weapons. Nuclear would be really, really low.
So I would have to say for conventional and as the size goes up and the level of the catastrophe increases, the risk probably drops down because the more materials you would have to assemble to make it a catastrophic event. So I don't know what the scale would be, but I would have to put risk of experiencing conventional attacks higher than the chemical, then the biological and then the nuclear.
Mr. TRAFICANT. I guess this would be my last question: Is it that those who are assessing the riskis it because they're not sharing the information that causes us greater exposure? Or is it that they're sharing, but we're not appropriately gathering the information to pursue the right planning mechanisms? And that's in line with the Chairwoman's question which was my very first, who's in charge?
See, at some point you have all these different entities, and everybody thinks that somebody else is going to do it while anybody is supposed to have done it, but nobody gets it done. And we look at the Oklahoma City case. There were a lot of anomalies there: anniversary dates of Waco, certain other unusual elements that were there. It seemed that nobody really shared any of that technical data.
So, again, is it the sharing or is it we're not gathering it properly or that after we do it, everybody expects somebody else to carry it out and let the locals who are to be trained and coordinated basically carry the load?
Mr. GEBICKE. I can't give you a good answer on that because we really haven't looked at the intelligence community specifically and how they go about gathering their information and combining it. We do have a report that is going to come out later this summer that's going to take a look at how or if the intelligence agencies have pulled together their information in terms of what the threat is. And that might answer your question when we complete that work.
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. TRAFICANT. Is the money we're giving for this effort getting down to the fire departments and police departments in reasonable training? Just yes or no.
Mr. GEBICKE. In the case of the DOD program, we got very favorable responses at the State and local level as to the quality of the training courses. They thought the course was very good. There is also then $300,000 per city in equipment provided to each city. This enables them to buy protection gear, decontamination equipment, identification equipment, and also training aids.
We haven't looked at the others in any great detail at this point in time.
Mr. TRAFICANT. Thank you, Mark. My other four questions will be submitted for answer by writing.
Mrs. FOWLER. Thank you. I want to welcome our other colleague, Congressman Berkley, who has joined us.
Mr. TERRY. Thank you. Mark, first an editorial comment. This should not just be a Federal program that we have to leverage, at least in towns like Omaha. It's only a mere 600,000 folks.
We are the only source right now looking forward to the DOD-type programs. What we're looking for at the city level is the complementary-type programs. There's a feeling that Orange County and New York may have the capabilities as localities to have the level of training where, in fact, they may be able to come in and better train than some of the DOD folks. But that's rare.
You know that's inherent to those large communities, whereas the Omaha, Nebraskas, the Oklahoma Citys look outside of our boundaries for that level of training. But right now we look within ourselves for not only all of the funding for it, but the training, our hazmat training.
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 While I think we would be very good if a gasoline tanker turned over within the city limits, I'm not sure how they're trained to react if there was a biological issue. And that's where we look towards the Federal Government or the DOD that would have that level of expertise. So I think when we're doing 100 percent of the work right now, we're just looking for some help.
Mr. GEBICKE. Absolutely.
Mr. TERRY. I want to make that clear. If I'm still in my capacity as a city council, I'm not saying Federal Government take over something for us.
Mr. GEBICKE. 'Give us a hand; we can't do it all ourselves.'
Mr. TERRY. Give us a hand. While we're very confident in our own abilities, we may be dealing with something that we haven't dealt with before and need that extra training. We may need some extra help financially and with training with special type of equipment that's necessary for special types of problems, that aren't inherent in the day-to-day tasks of a firefighter, EMT or police or hazmat operation.
So I just want to go on record and make that statement. I don't want there to be any feeling that cities just want the Federal Government to take over these programs. That's not what we want or what they want.
Mr. GEBICKE. If I could comment. That is the comment we heard also at large cities. There's some nervousness among officials at the State and local governments that maybe if there is an incident that the Federal assets will come in right away. And they would like to deal with those problems to the extent they can. If they feel they're overwhelmed or they don't have the capability, then they will ask for assistance. It's a similar theme in the larger city as it is in maybe the smaller or midsize city.
Mr. TERRY. That's good to hear. Here's the one question, and it's certainly carrying on the themes that we heard from our opening statements and the two questions. The Department of Justice's requested for fiscal year 2000, 162 million for training and equipment to localities, the first responders in prior legislation passed by the 104th Congressfunds were allocated to the Department of Defense for this same purpose as well as the FBI, Department of Health and Human Services, and other departments, as Mr. Traficant pointed out.
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 National response teams, according to legislation, are to be established through HHS. So my confusion here is why so many are tasked with the same tasks? Why is the Department of Justice currently funding this program when part of the responsibility is with HHS? And this just boils down to the same frustrating question that's already been posed to you, who should be in charge of this?
Mr. GEBICKE. I don't know if I could answer it any better than my attempt earlier. You could probably make an argument at a number of different locations throughout the Federal Government to have one agency in charge. The closest thing we have right now is the Coordinator for terrorism, National Security Council.
Mr. TERRY. Very good.
Mrs. FOWLER. Thank you, Mr. Terry. Mr. Isakson.
Mr. ISAKSON. Mr. Gebicke, I was reading in your prepared testimony a statement that said on the surface it appears to us that there's potential for duplication and overlap among these programs. You were referring to training.
In the materials we were supplied with, there's a report from May which listed the number of training programs in the country other than those in DOD. I happened to count them up, and there were six agencies that had 85 different training programs. And interestingly enough, in three different cases there are programs with exactly the same title produced by two different agencies.
And so in light of your observation that it appears there may be duplication, it appears to me there probably is duplication. You made the statement we have a coordinator at the National Security Council. Is that right? Is there any coordination whatsoever, or are these departments operating independently on the development of these training programs?
Mr. GEBICKE. Well, in the case of DOD, when they developed their training program, they basically developed the program on their own. Programs were also being developed or in existence at the Department of Justice and FEMA at the time. Program material was offered to the DOD, but DOD opted to develop its own program, to give one example.
Page 30 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 But what we want to do on our current assignment is, as I mentioned earlier, isI agree with you on the surface they look like duplicationstake a closer look at the courses. We need to maybe sit through some of those courses, have some of my staff sit through those courses, make sure they're being targeted to the same audiences, that is, police, fire, hazmat; and then we'll be in a much better position to come back to you and really point out the exact duplication or overlap of the training programs.
My only hope and my only concern would be it wouldn't be too late at that point in time because they proliferated to such great extent.
Mr. ISAKSON. Well, first of all, I think your observation is correct. I think your recommendation is correct. You don't want to pass judgment and say it's obvious. But it's apparentthere's a chart here somewhere with regard to DOD and FEMA's training courses, which I have a copy of. I'll show you this chart, the staff evaluated the DOD courses and the FEMA courses by category, and it looks kind of like a fire drill of some type.
Mr. GEBICKE. I don't think you're going to be able to explain that in 5 minutes.
Mr. ISAKSON. I used to call it a Chinese fire drill, but I'm reluctant to do that now. If you look at the categories on the left and right under FEMA courses and then you see the lines, in each and every case the courses address the same subjects but may be under different title.
You just said that you did not believe that DOD had utilized the resources of any other department's studies or course of training programs. So it would seem to me to be extremely important that GAO do follow through and test these training programs and if there is duplication, find out some way to coordinate it so we're not recreating the wheel.
I would make one other comment if I could. Mr. Terry, Representative Terry, made an outstanding comment. I agree with you that the likelihood of a nuclear, biological, or chemical incident in this country is far less likely than a conventional incident.
Page 31 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 We need to be aware that we have already had in this country incidences with conventional weapons in the World Trade Center, and in the case of the use of common fertilizer in Oklahoma City. We must remember they used sarin gas in Tokyo in a subway. And I think, although the rating would not get a 10, I think your answer is honest.
I think it would be less than responsible Congress of we didn't recognize that it is more than likely that in the first decade of the 21st century, the potential for the next type of terrorist act to involve an attempt to use chemical weapons which are very difficult to deploy, or chemical acts. Nuclear, I disagree is probably more unlikely, but it is likely there will be an attempthopefully there wouldn't be an incidentand Mr. Terry's comments are so good. Our local law enforcement, fire, police, EPA, transportation people, I think are very, very good at chemical spills on highways.
I think they have. In Atlanta we had an unfortunate terrorist incident during the Olympics. The response was totally local, even though we had a significant amount of Federal assistance in the area. When it comes to the nuclear weapons, biological agents, and chemical agents, I think we must look to the Federal Government to be the first line of information, strategy, and attack. Because the resources to deal with those types of incidents which go far beyond a localized explosion are incredible.
If we have six agencies writing 85 reports to the Federal Government and we have 50 States and the District of Columbia writing training programs on chemical spills, we'll have a disaster on our hands because the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing.
So I appreciate your report very much. I think your observation is correct that there's too much duplication. I really think we need to do what Mr. Terry said. That is, focus on where we in the Federal Government can deliver the first and the most rapid response in the more unlikely but all-too-probable nuclear, chemical, or biological incident so our local people know they can count on us. So we're prepared to deploy.
Page 32 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. GEBICKE. Can I make one comment? And I think it's an obvious comment to all of us here in the room and that is we're not going to protect ourselves against everything. So we have really got to separate what's conceivable, because I think almost anything is conceivable, particularly if we're talking about maybe the first decade of the next century, from what is likely. And I think we need to protect ourselves against what is likely, because I don't think we can protect ourselves against everything that could happen.
Mr. ISAKSON. No, but we must remember the budget that we're considering right now is the budget of the first decade of the next century.
Mr. GEBICKE. Exactly.
Mrs. FOWLER. Thank you, Mr. Isakson.
Mrs. Berkley, did you have a statement or questions?
Ms. BERKLEY. Well, I did have a statement. About a hundred years ago, when I first graduated law school and went back to Las Vegas to practice law, I was appointed deputy director of the State commerce department. And in that capacity I was charged with researching what local entities and State entities would be available in case of a disaster, either natural or man made. And it was quite an eye-opening experience, one, because there were so many different local and State agencies involved, not to mention Federal agencies.
But the second thing is that nobody was prepared to do anything in spite of the tremendous number of agencies involved if, in fact, we had a serious life-threatening tragedy throughout the State of Nevada. So this is an issue that I dealt with about 25 years ago, and that's why I was very interested in coming here today and reading your testimony, which I will review, and then, if you don't mind, submit questions for more thorough answers to the questions that I have.
I do believe that this is a very dangerous world and there will be a time, I fear some time in the beginning of the 21st century, that we might have a catastrophic tragedy somewhere in our country. We need to be prepared for that eventuality. I am concerned about it, interested in it, and anxious to work together to come up with a meaningful way of dealing with this. Thank you.
Page 33 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. GEBICKE. We'll be glad to respond to your questions.
Mrs. FOWLER. Thank you.
Do any members of the subcommittee have any follow-up questions that they would like to address to GAO at this time?
I want to thank you, Mr. Gebicke, and your associates for your work. We look forward to these studies that you are in the process of beginning because this is information we need, as you say, sooner rather than later. As money is being spent and Agency's expenses climb, we have got to work out a better coordinated effort on this so that the money is being spent wisely and efficiently. We look forward to continuing to work with you. This is an issue that we are going to continue to follow in this subcommittee in the coming months. So we'll look forward to working with you on it again. Thank you.
Mr. GEBICKE. We look forward to working with you. Thank you very much.
Mrs. FOWLER. Thank you. I'd like now to call our next panel, if they could come forward.
We have Chief John Eversole and Councilwoman Ann Simank. If you don't mind, we will take a brief recess, so our members could go vote and come right back. We only have one vote. Then we will come back and reconvene the hearing. We are recessed for the time of this vote. Thank you so much. We will be right back.
Mrs. FOWLER. Would the subcommittee come to order, please. I would like to welcome before us our second panel, Ms. Ann Simank, who is a member of the city council in Oklahoma City. She's here today on behalf of the National League of Cities. I also welcome Chief John Eversole, who is a hazardous materials coordinator for the Chicago Fire Department. He's the chair of the hazardous materials committee of the International Association of Fire Chiefs.
Page 34 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 I want to welcome you both; and before we begin, I would like to ask if you heard me earlier, because our practice is to swear in our witnesses, if you could both stand and raise your right hand to take the oath.
Mrs. FOWLER. Thank you. Please be seated.
I think that we'll just go ahead. If you don't mind, we'll start with Councilwoman Simank and then go to Chief Eversole.
TESTIMONY OF ANN SIMANK, OKLAHOMA CITY COUNCIL MEMBER, ON BEHALF OF THE NATIONAL LEAGUE OF CITIES; AND CHIEF JOHN M. EVERSOLE, CHICAGO FIRE DEPARTMENT, AND CHAIR, HAZARDOUS MATERIALS COMMITTEE, INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FIRE CHIEFS
Ms. SIMANK. Thank you, honorable Chairwoman. Good afternoon. I am very pleased to be with you. Before sharing with you the positions of the National League of Cities on domestic terrorism and related issues, I would like to thank the subcommittee for providing this forum of discussion on the importance of domestic preparedness in the event of a terrorist attack.
I am Ann Simank, council member from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and I am testifying, as you heard, for the National League of Cities. I have been a member of the National League of Cities public safety and crime prevention policy committee for the past 3 years. This NLC policy committee has given considerable attention recently to the many issues that we've talked about here today.
On April the 19th, 1995, at 9:02 a.m., Oklahoma City, my hometown, was devastated by a horrendous terrorist attack, the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal building. That fateful morning 168 lives were lost, thousands were seriously injured, and over 30 children became orphans, and approximately 300 businesses were totally devastated and put out of business that minute. Many lives were literally in chaos in our city.
Page 35 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 This senseless act of terror shattered my city, all in a matter of just seconds. Were we prepared? I don't know if cities and towns in America can ever be fully prepared, but today, I want to share a little bit about my experience with you in Oklahoma City.
Our city had been selected for FEMA's integrated emergency management course in Emmitsburg, Maryland, shortly before the bombing. Approximately 1 year before and all of our department heads attended this training course, as well as two or three key people from each department, and many of our community leaders attended, chamber of commerce people attended, public utility workers attended, nonprofit organizations attended. The training was excellent, and we were fortunate that we were selected as a city to be able to have that training.
However, Oklahoma City faced difficult challenges on the morning of April 19th. This was the largest terroristic act ever seen in America, and to our knowledge no one had ever had to perform recovery and response at the same time while dealing with a crime scene.
Immediately after the bombing occurred, our mayor and our fire chief and our police chief got together with the local special agent of the FBI, and we just had a decision-making process in a room, and the decisions were made about how Oklahoma City would get out there and proceed. The Federal Government wasn't here yet from Washington.
We decided that the FBI would be in charge of the crime scene, of course, and that the Oklahoma City police would seal the perimeter to keep citizens and other people out of the area because it is a crime scene and that the local Oklahoma City would assist the FBI in the crime scene investigation, and we also decided that the fire department and the fire chief would be in charge of rescue and recovery.
Now, our incident command system was up and operating immediately when these local agreements were made, and it worked well. That morning and all that day we, the local people, were there all alone, and we had made these decisions. We saved lives all day long and into the early hours of the evening the last victim was saved. And we also collected evidence that day.
Page 36 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 It was about 15 hours later before the first FEMA team arrived, and so you're going to have cities that sit there 15 hours operating before someone gets there to help them. When the first FEMA team arrived, things changed. Other teams flew in, other agencies and people flew in, and I think because of FEMA's normal recovery process in dealing with hurricanes and earthquakes and so forth they had never dealt with a crime scene. So no one really knew how to deal with all of this. No one knew what the protocol would be. All of those questions came up, like who is in charge here. Turf battles started happening.
In the meantime, Chief Gary Marrs and the fire department continued to do rescue and recovery, thinking there might be someone alive. Fortunately, Oklahoma City had good training. Oklahoma City has always been a city that balances its budget and we had resources, fortunately. Not all cities do, and our incident command center was so strong and we were operating so well that all of the different Federal agencies, law enforcement agencies versus disaster recovery agencies and all of the bickering that was happening could not penetrate our incident command system. So we were able to go ahead and stay in charge of Oklahoma City's incident.
What did we learn? We learned that damage starts at the point of impact. The minute something happens your local responders are the ones that will be there. They are the ones that need to know how to take care of the damage, and they're going to be there alone for many, many hours. We learned that any resources that you, you here in Washington, can make available to us out there will be of very much of benefit to us. We need those resources. But we also want you to iron out those complications that surround the resources.
Training is essential since cities and towns are alone, and equipment is essential. Turf issues should not happen. When you're dealing with people's lives and in an incident of this magnitude, a clear line of command and protocol should be established, and the National League of Cities is very much in support of a national strategic plan.
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Money should be made available for training and equipment, and transportation needs to be made available. Transportation for the teams you have all of these teams in Washington that are trained to come help our cities, but many of our USAR teams had to wait long hours on the runway literally with their equipment packed before a military transport could get there to lift them off and take them to Oklahoma City.
Quite frankly, our city has no confidence in military transport to get your teams out to our cities unless something changes here in Washington to get those military transports operating quicker.
We have learned that whether chemical or biological agents are used, whether the next strike is one involving cyberterrorism or whatever method of terrorism, our cities must be prepared for a variety of threats. Large scale evacuations may have to happen, public health emergencies may be involved if it's chemical or bio. Information flow and management is very critical. We need good communication. We need people trained to know how to detect explosives and how to know when they are getting involved with different types of chemical or bio agents.
I know our time constraints today, and so I'd like to go ahead and summarize by letting you hear what the National League of Cities and the 135,000 city members of the National League have as key recommendations for this committee today. We would like to see the development of a national domestic terrorism strategy with clear policies and comprehensive plans to coordinate the roles, responsibilities, and resources of your Federal agencies, and we would like to see training and equipment and resources provided by the Federal Government, especially bringing it out to us regionally, and we do believe in regional training.
Oklahoma City has interlocal agreements, and we have central Oklahoma that should be trained together, and we should all be responding and helping each other.
A policy needs to be made for sharing certain classified information on threats or potential threats of terrorism with local lawful agencies on a need-to-know basis. The Federal Government should include local governments in the Federal planning process and operations relative to issues and their jurisdictions and target scarce Federal resources in localities that have high public profile or private targets.
Page 38 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Designation of a lead Federal agency, something you all have talked about here today, that actually serves as the central coordinator and information clearinghouse on all available Federal programs and resources is critical. Madam Chairperson, we are most appreciative of the Federal Government's attempts to quell this confusion and to set up an area in an agency, the National Domestic Preparedness Office, the NDPO, with the Department of Justice, and although the National League of Cities commends the work of the NDPO thus far, the problem with this latest Federal effort is twofold.
First and foremost, many departments within other government agencies that have been named, the DOD, the FEMA, DHHS, and Justice Department, still maintain that their agency has the lead in coordinating this effort, and this has fostered a Federal power struggle, and it's involving billions of dollars.
I will tell you my police chiefmy fire chief, Gary Marrs, told me last week if we could have those billions of dollars out at the local level in the United States we would be doing well.
Secondly, I ask you, what good are any of NDPO's efforts if it cannot receive the funding it needs to implement its objectives? We at the NLC are looking at the objectives of the NDPO, and we want know will they be met clearly and in reality. What message is being sent to State and local first responders when the Federal Government cannot even coordinate their own efforts?
In closing, the National League of Cities hopes that our recommendations will aid in establishing a clear line of authority and help create clear lines of communication between Federal, State and local governments.
Again, the National League of Cities would like to thank you and the subcommittee for holding this hearing to talk about this subject today, and we look forward to working with you in this effort. Thank you very much.
Page 39 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mrs. FOWLER. Thank you, Councilwoman Simank.
I'd like now to go to Chief Eversole, and then we will have the questions. Chief.
Mr. EVERSOLE. Madam Chairwoman and members of Congress, it's a pleasure and an honor to be here. You sit and you try to think how do you solve all of those problems in 5 minutes, and I certainly don't pretend to know how to do that, but I would like to make a few comments, and you have my written testimony, and I would like to just make some comments.
First of all, earlier I heard a question of who's in charge, and I always say of what? I don't want to direct traffic. That's someone else's job. Certainly everyone should have a place and everybody should know their place and everybody should be in place. The bottom line out there is that local emergency responders do it every day and they do it well.
Now, I would like to speak for just a minute about programs which support local responders. Certainly Nunn-Lugar was a good move, and the Antiterrorism Act was a good move, and the efforts that were made by the National Fire Academy were a good move, and OJP's funding and programs were a good move, and the consortium training was a good move; but it seems that we don't know how to put everything together, and we've heard that here earlier. Just about everybody has said that.
Now, the bottom line, again, is very simply this. You are Washington, and you are the ones that are supposed to put it together, and it just doesn't seem to happen. There is so much confusion and competition between Federal agencies that they are sometimes more interested in what they are doing than what's getting done on the general end of it.
When we look at Federal agency response, they have created the NDPO or at least semicreated it, or wherever. It sits in limbo, and we told Attorney General Janet Reno that we needed one-stop shopping.
Page 40 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 If you're confused and asking questions, how do you think we feel? I work for a boss who has one simple rule. He looks at me in the worst times and says, make this work; and it's very difficult to make it work when you're really not sure where to go. So they came up with this concept of NDPO, and I think that it's a good concept, but I certainly think that it needs to get going.
The Federal Government is way too slow for me. I work in a world that demands excellence. 3 to 5 minutes you expect me in front of your house, doing the job, not 6 months, 18 months, 2 years from now. That certainly wouldn't be acceptable to you if I told you I'm sorry, it's Wednesday, we don't do fires on Wednesday. We'll be there next week. Take two aspirins. We'll see you in the morning. None of those things work. You want excellence from us, and we have to deliver that.
We look at the RAID teams. Nobody asked us about the RAID teams. We were told, by the way, here's $50 million. We're going to spend this. Now, maybe that's going to work real well, and I am most willing to give that a try. I had an opportunity during the Democratic national convention to work with the Illinois National Guard, and they did an exceptionally fine job for us; and maybe it will work well, but now we're thinking about creating 44, or whatever that magic number is, light teams.
I'm the kind of guy that before I buy a car, I want to go out, kick the tires and drive it around the block; and we're buying things that we don't even know are going to work. Let's get it on the road and see if it works, and if it works, then we get more. That seems to me like a reasonable thing to do in management.
We have CBIRF, we have the FBI's emergency response team, we have all these people that are very confusing. I don't want somebody in there tugging and pulling on the device, saying, oh, it's my mine, it's yours, it's mine, it's yours. I need to get the job done.
Now, government it seems to keep inventing the wheel and they tell me it's round. I know the wheel is round. I don't want to hear that anymore. I want you to tell me how it can go faster and last longer, and apparently the government doesn't know how to do that for me. They fail me on the local level.
Page 41 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 I have got a lot of really good people, I mean people who really care and seem like they want to make this program work. Apparently, none of the telephones connect between Federal agencies. They must not be able to talk to each other on a computer or either never meet in a crowd or a tavern to have a beer and talk things over because they don't know what each other is doing. It's a secret. I went to one meeting, I was told about secret underwear, and I said, excuse me? Oh, yeah, we got secret chemical underwear. We can't tell you about it. OK.
We have a situation where today we have Federal agencies who made a decision about how they were going to certify chemical masks, and OSHA says if you're going to wear a mask in the civilian world, it has to be NIOSH certified, and NIOSH says we don't have a provision to certify for chemical or biological warfare.
So if the bell rings in my fire house and I send somebody out, I'm in violation of NIOSH regulations. Who figured that out in the government? And I don't want to hear it takes 18 months to straighten it out, because if you call me today you're going to be going out and looking for the BRT coming down the street, that's the big red truck; and you're going to look for that truck and you are not going to wait for 18 months. You're going to want 3 minutes. Where are these guys? And we need that equipment and we need those answers and we need them today, not tomorrow, not 6 months from now. We need them today.
We've had five NDC threats in our city. We have successfully handled all five hoaxes. We think we have a good system. We work closely with the local FBI. We work closely with the lab. We have a way to handle it. Understand this: We go out and do it every day, and we handle some relatively bad situations. What we need to do is to enhance what we already have and we know works well.
I have an army. I have 1.3 million firefighters all over this country. We need to make them better, better, not create new things. I don't want to hear about you making that round wheel, folks. Show me how to make my wheel go faster and better.
Page 42 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 That's how you talk aboutsir, you asked a question, Mr. Congressman, about are we getting our money's worth. No, I'm not getting my money's worth.
I want to see money coming to the people that are at the very tip of the arrow, and I want to see enough money come that you know that when you call they are going to show up with that big red truck and they are going to do the job, that our police officers can do the job, that our EMS people can do the job, that your local responders are going to do it in 3 to 5 minutes, they're going to be there doing it. If we have a chance to save our communities, it's going to be in that first few minutes, in that first hour.
And I applaud all the work that's been done by the DOD; I applaud all the work that's been done by government agencies. The bottom line is if I have to wait 3 or 4 hours, then send me a lot of body bags because that's what's going to be left.
I think that we need to emphasize about the enhancement of existing local forces. I have heard a lot of nice things here today about local responders. They need to be made better, more professional, more capable because if they don't handle it, it's truly going to be a disaster.
Thank you. I'm open for any questions.
Mrs. FOWLER. Thank you.
I want to thank both Chief Eversole and Councilwoman Simank. Both have presented very interesting testimonies, and raised questions that are the reason we are having these hearings. Hopefully, as a result of the hearing today and others we are going to be having, we can come up with some answers. Solutions that won't take 18 months to get the effect. Chief, I agree with you. I think the problem is now, not down the road, and we need to get you those resources.
I just have a couple of questions. This one is for both of you. As you look at all the different Federal agencies involved, and as we've said, right now there doesn't seem to be one that's really coordinating and in charge, designating one that's not getting the resources or authority it needs.
Page 43 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Which, in your opinion, of the different Federal agencies involved in antiterrorism activities is the best suited to organize and to rationalize and pull together all of these Federal preparedness programs? I mean, which one would you think from the dealings you have had, would be the one that we most need to pull this together? Do you want to address that, first, and then I will go to the councilwoman. Either one, who wants to answer first?
Mr. EVERSOLE. Go ahead.
Ms. SIMANK. Thank you, Chief, and by the way I need to know if he needs a job.
This is a tough question. If youI keep hearing you all ask for which agency, who should it be, tell us which agency. It's a hard question. I will tell you what I have learned in Oklahoma City. Number one, of course rescue and recovery is what we did, but you are dealing with a crime scene. This is a crime scene. Do not forget that. After everything that we went through in Oklahoma City was over, we are still facing trials. McVeigh is going to possibly be brought to the State of Oklahoma and tried by our district attorney in Oklahoma County. If we had not had good law enforcement collecting the evidence, we would not have had a conviction.
The lives that were lost in the bombing of Oklahoma City left over 3,000 relatives and family members. Those people demand justice after a terroristic attack. They want to see that people are caught, that they are held responsible by the laws of this great Nation for their acts and their deeds that they have done by harming innocent people and lives.
So I don't have your answer, but it seems to me that we are going to have to have some sort of combination of rescue and recovery and law enforcement working together. I have not one agency to give you, Madam Chairman.
Mrs. FOWLER. We know there's not an easy answer today, but I'm just questioning, as you've worked through this and you've given us some good points. Thank you.
Page 44 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Chief Eversole.
Mr. EVERSOLE. Again, you asked for a simple answer to a very difficult question. We asked for one-stop shopping, and I was one of the people who was rather blunt with Janet Reno about that. From that came the NDPO. It seems at that time, and it still seems, like a pretty good way for us to go. The design of that was to have Federal agency people there and also State and local people in that agency who can work together to find an answer for very complicated questions.
See, I really don't care who answers my questions, Madam Chairman. I want the right answer. How the Federal Government does that is your business as long as I get the answer.
But I think what's really important arethere are two things that are important. One, whoever you give that to, you better give them a big whip and a chair so they can crack that whip and make everybody jump in line because I find the competition between Federal agencies intolerable and certainly demeaning to the locals.
The second thing is that they need to have a strong oversight, and I know that they are planning on doing a State and local advisory group. I don't want to be told how to do my job. We know how to do it, and we prove it day after day after day after day. My fire department goes out the door 1,120 times a day. I handle 43 hazmat jobs a month in the city of Chicago. We do that all over this country. I happen to be one of the big funny animals, OK; but there are fire departments all over this country that every day provide that measure to their community, police provide it, EMS provides it.
What we need is a strong input. We want to be able to tell the Federal Government this is what we need. Under the Nunn-Lugar, which sounded very good because, yes, we got the $300,000 worth of equipment and we were given some stuff that, one, we have never used; two, I don't know how to use; three, I don't want to use it; and, four, I'd like to give it back. They sent us things that work well for the military. They are not functional in the city. They don't work right. We need input into what we need. We'll tell you what we need and just help us get that.
Page 45 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 We find that they design educational programs, and I would give a lot of credit to the people. I went to McClellan at some of the initial meetings, and the military and the civilian people, it was one step from physical violence.
When they started talking about acceptable losses, the civilian people went out of their minds, and they listened and they have changed their programs, but every one of those consortium programs should have an acid test. An acid test is what are they trained there that we can't get locally? Why is the National Fire Academy consistently and routinely overlooked, shot down, budgets cut, wage freezes, hiring freezes, to the point where they are inept, that they can't do their job? We have a system that we know how to turn on training in every State in this country overnight. Get us a program, get going, just fund us enough to get the instructors, and the government just says, no, we want to invent this; no, we want to invent that. You know, if I ask you what time it is, I don't want you to tell me how to build a clock. Just tell me what time it is. I'll know what to do after that. That's where we need the real help.
And apparently this interagency business is so strong and there are so many dollars involved that it justwe become secondary. The problem is a reason for some people's existence. If that is true, then get rid of those people and let me take those dollars and solve the problem that we have in the cities.
Mrs. FOWLER. Thank you. In the interest of time, I'm going to go on to questions by the ranking member. I do want to welcome Congressman Chris Shays. We introduced you in absentia earlier, Chris, as Chairman of your subcommittee, and commented on all the good work you are doing in this area, too. Would you like to make a statement?
Mr. SHAYS. No, thank you.
Mrs. FOWLER. Mr. Traficant.
Mr. TRAFICANT. Very interesting panel, very competent panel, good to hear from you. I have a couple of questions. I'm not going to start with the chief, but I just want to say, secret chemical underwear? I'll get to that. I'll get to that. But I like people who tell it like it is; and I think both of you from your respective professional disciplines, one is the public official elected, the other is a public servant certainly that performs a service. You've done that and I appreciate it.
Page 46 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 I'd like to start with the distinguished councilwoman.
Ms. SIMANK. Thank you.
Mr. TRAFICANT. Can you tell me, and if you cannot directly, can you get back to me and I ask unanimous consent that the record be left open for this answer whether or not Oklahoma City officials of any sort, including their police department or any other official, were notified prior to April 19th, 1995, of the following dynamics: That April 19th was an anniversary date of Waco, Texas, and the fiasco there; and in addition that one Richard Wayne Snell was on that date being executed in Arkansas for killing a state trooper, one Richard Wayne Snell, who had been arrested in the 80's for threatening to blow up the Alfred P. Murrah building? Do you know if there was any communication, any advance notice of the unusual circumstances surrounding the date, the 19th, and this information?
Ms. SIMANK. Honorable Congressman, to the best of my knowledge, my fire chief, my police chief, my city manager, my mayor and other distinguished council members that I serve with had no notification of what you have just talked of. I will, however, if you wish, go home and I will research this to see if I could in any way be incorrect, but my answer would be, no, we had no notice of these particular circumstances.
Mr. TRAFICANT. Thank you. As an old sheriff, there's no one better at the crime scene than local officials who understand the turf. The biggest problem that I have seen as a sheriff, the Federal agencies were usually investigating the fire chief and the sheriff and didn't communicate with us. I don't mean that in jest because as crazy as this sounds I think we need somebody in charge here, and I think when it comes to domestic terrorism, it should be the FBI, and I think we have to streamline it.
But in line with that, I have seen incidents where the ATF and FBI weren't talking; they didn't share information. Chief, just basically to the point, you are the head man in the country for your noble profession, and I could see why. You're a noble spokesman. Do you in Chicago, such a major, great American city, have regular communicative, coordinating meetings with Federal entities regarding any of the issues you've heard discussed here today?
Page 47 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. EVERSOLE. Yes, sir. I am very pleased to tell you that we have built what I would consider an excellent liaison between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and ourselves. Through their assistance, we have lined up awe're lucky enough in the city to have a level three surety lab which can test for us any known chemical or biological agent; and they have special agents assigned or 10 terrorist specialists in the city. We have cross-trained their people in the use of our chemical protective clothing and made that available to them. They have gone out of their way. I am very pleased with that relationship that has been built.
Mr. TRAFICANT. Having answered that now, in all candidness here, is that because of your efforts reaching outI guess in asking that, from what you see nationally in your position, is this a model that is happening everywhere or is this an abstract thing that's happening in your area because of maybe the more advanced programs, apparatus you put in place?
Mr. EVERSOLE. Sir, in any type of a true relationship it takes two to tango, and they have come our way and we have gone their way, and it is a working relationship. That's very important to us. I do not believe from my relationship with the International Fire Chiefs that that happens that well everywhere.
Obviously, they have an office in Chicago and we cooperate and participate very well together, more so than we ever have in the past. That's also true with our people working with ATF in the arson end of the business. I know that they work very closely there. I don't think that happens in a lot of little towns. Truthfully, I don't think a lot of citiesif you said how do you call the FBI, they'd probably say, well, I don't know, maybe get the yellow pages and we'll try to find a number or they call 411 and ask information.
Mr. TRAFICANT. You familiar with the Federal Protective Service?
Mr. EVERSOLE. Yes, sir, somewhat.
Page 48 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. TRAFICANT. Do you have communication with the Federal Protective Service?
Mr. EVERSOLE. Only on a very limited basis from my role.
Mr. TRAFICANT. Madam Councilwoman, are you familiar with the Federal Protective Service?
Ms. SIMANK. No, sir, I'm not.
Mr. TRAFICANT. That is the agency that is responsible for the protection and security of Federal buildings. I want you to know at the time of the disaster, the tragedy in Oklahoma City, there was one contract guard, not a full-time security, Federal Protective Service agent, responsible for the three Federal buildings in Oklahoma City.
Ms. SIMANK. I heard you say that earlier.
Mr. TRAFICANT. So having now said that and I'll conclude my questions. I'll have a couple for the record that I ask you to answer, but I want to ask you one last question. What advice do you have to other jurisdictions in America, just briefly, after having seen and witnessed the fiasco there? What advice do you have for us?
Ms. SIMANK. Help us get prepared. Take this money out of Washington, get it out to your cities and towns, to your local responders. Do not do not fall into their bickering and their turf wars and their divisions and departments that need to be budgeted, and I understand that. I understand that from my personal business that I'm in as well as my city council position with a city of approximately, you know, half a million people.
Do not do not let them bring that battle into Congress and battle for money when we're needing it out there. Get the training and equipment to us, and as the chief said, lettrust your cities and towns. They, if they're well trained, can handle disasters; and we need the Federal Governmentwe need you to assist us and assist means assist, not to come in and tell us how to do it.
Page 49 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 I will tell you quite literally we were doing well in Oklahoma City that morning and all day long. It was 15 hours later, but when they started flying in and when the regional office came in from the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, I hate to even say the words here I heard around the table, different Federal agencies and department heads cussing. We're trying to save lives out there on the street, and they're having their turf battles.
That needs to stop. We need to let our cities and towns be well trained and have those resources; and again, I'll just reiterate, my fire chief, Marrs, told me before I came up here, he said, Ann, if we could have all of that money out to the local cities and towns, we would do so much better than spreading all that around to the 42 or 45 agencies. Help us with that.
Mr. TRAFICANT. I really appreciate this panel. Thank you for your candidness.
Mr. EVERSOLE. Congressman, if I may make one short comment. Your statement is very interesting about the Federal Protection Services, and as they are looking at the buildings and hardening the defenses around these buildings, when we talk about the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing, I'm getting complaints from our people that in some cases they have hardened the defenses to the point where we can no longer get our ladder companies close enough to get to the building.
You've protected yourself right out of business with us, sir. So I would suggest ropes or, you know, very thick mattresses and I say that in jest but the truth of the matter is, again, the Federal Government is making decisions and not being cognizant of where the real world is, where people have to live and do business; and they need to find a way to get together and talk to each other so we could come up with reasonable answers to protect our facilities, to protect our entities and our citizens and still do it in a way where we can live.
I'm amazed at the ignorance of some people and their narrow thinking in fixing their problem, and it doesn't it just creates more problems.
Page 50 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. TRAFICANT. Let me say this: The reform we're talking about with the FPS would bring in the local entities and work closely with the Federal Government.
Thank you, Madam Chairwoman.
Mrs. FOWLER. Thank you, Mr. Traficant.
Mr. TERRY. Thank you.
Chief, you mentioned in your testimony, that was probably the liveliest I've heard in my 5 months on the Hill, that there's been four, I presume, Anthrax hoaxes in your city or biological.
Mr. EVERSOLE. It was only one Anthrax, sir. We had several different chemical warfare. We found a guy who was scared to keep robbing banks with guns because he thoughthe told the FBI that he thought somebody would want to be Superman and jump up and take the gun and beat the hell out of him and he'd be done.
So he had read in the newspaper all about this. So he decided he would make a bomb, chemical bomb, and he didn't know how to spell sarin. So he made a Serran bomb, but the matter was that people, as he toldas he told us later on, he said he had never felt so much power because when he said, you know, I'll kill y'all, I got this Serran bomb, and it's chemical, it'll kill everybody, and he said people were pushing into the plaster and marble walls trying to get back away from him; and of course, he got the money. He left the bomb, just keep everybody scared and he ran out, and we had to deal with that.
Mr. TERRY. Well, and that's the focus of my question. So I'll interrupt you on that point there.
You're the ones that have to deal with that. So my question, bringing in with the theme of both of your presentations here, to deal with those four incidents, and thank God they were all hoaxes, but if they were real, did you receive the training or your firefighters under your command receive the training because of the programs that the city of Chicago has set up or because of the assistance or potential assistance from the Federal Government in dealing with those type of situations? I want you to answer that in two parts, one as the chief in Chicago and the other one in your capacity as the head of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, which would assume that Omaha and those type of cities are part of it. Is it different between Chicago and Omaha or Oklahoma City?
Page 51 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. EVERSOLE. I can't answer for every city, but I think it probably is. We did a joint procedural program where, in our city, the fire department handles hazardous materials and the police handle bombs; and we're very pleased with that, and then some guy started making chemical bombs and messed up our procedures.
So we had to rewrite our procedures, and we now work very carefully between our bomb crews and our hazmat units, and the FBI fits right in there, and they have a certain thing that they do, and they have furnished us with, I believe, all the information. Anything we've ever asked for they have given us, and I don't haveI have not a complaint about the FBI and the way they have worked with us.
Mr. TERRY. So there is a role for the Federal Government in assisting you as the wheel, making it more efficient, speedier?
Mr. EVERSOLE. That's true, but the bottom line is we're putting our bomb techs and our hazmat techs are doing the job. The FBI comes in and pays for the lab and gets us anything cleared that we need to get cleared; but, you know, the troops, the troops are the local guys, and it's the troops that got to make the decisions and handle the chemicals and handle the bombs and do all those things.
Mr. TERRY. Part of our oversight needs to be to exactly define, what the Federal role is, so we don't get in your way?
Mr. EVERSOLE. That's very well said, sir. Thank you.
Mr. TERRY. Once in a while, a blind squirrel.
Mr. EVERSOLE. If you could just get the rest of the Federal Government to figure that out, you could run for higher office, sir.
Mr. TERRY. I'll conclude with that.
Mrs. FOWLER. Thank you.
Page 52 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. ISAKSON. Yes. Is it Simank?
Ms. SIMANK. Simank.
Mr. ISAKSON. I'm sorry. First of all, I wanted to tell you, in particular, firemen, law enforcement officials deserve tremendous praise. What happened in Oklahoma City was a tragedy, and all of us wished we'd never watched it; but as I acknowledged earlier, it was your State police that caught McVeigh, and I believe it was your local police that found the axle.
Ms. SIMANK. That's right.
Mr. ISAKSON. That they traced the truck to Missouri. The Federal Government role was in being able to identify a truck through its information bank but nothing in terms of finding it, which brings me to a question. In your National League of Cities' recommendations you commend the NDPO organization. You make reference that they are trying and I'm putting that in my quotes, not yours''to coordinate with local officials.''
In all I've heard, it would seem to me that with the exception of a Federal crime, which, as you mentioned, terrorism and a crime go hand in hand, they are inextricably tied. With the exception of DOJ's authority, if it was not in the violation of a Federal law, it seems like we should designate the local governing authority, in which such an incident takes place, as the person in charge and everybody else should be an assistance role. Would you agree with that or disagree with that?
Ms. SIMANK. Now, are you speaking of in charge of the criminal investigation?
Mr. ISAKSON. No, I'm speaking of in charge of handling the response to the tragedy.
Ms. SIMANK. Yes, absolutely.
Mr. ISAKSON. It would seem to me, from what I'm hearing, that's the case. Having thought about something I want to ask the chief in just a second, it's a pretty obvious example. If that is the case; and if the NDPOs would institutionalize their local advisory groups in each State, it would seem like then that it would be a very easy chain of command if the authority was vested in the local elected authority where the jurisdiction where the tragedy took place. Their request for assistance would go through the State advisory group to the NDPO, which may be the State emergency management office. The role of the Federal Government would be to provide those services that are needed for that tragedy, rather than come down and try and provide authority over something they probably know little about. They know a lot about the tragedy but not about the locals. Would that seem to you to work pretty well?
Page 53 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Ms. SIMANK. Well, sir, I don't know. You may open up another area when you put authority with the State, getting on out to the local, the city. For you see, Oklahoma City experienced problems. I'll just be quite frank with you. We experienced problems with our State emergency management people.
Mr. ISAKSON. Not to interrupt, I maybe misstated, but my thought process let's assume for a second the local elected jurispolitical, jurisdictional body is in charge. Their request for assistance goes through the advisory group that y'all commend in the National League of Cities to the NDPO, and the NDPO's job is to deliver, not question whether or not it's needed.
Ms. SIMANK. It sounds like that might work.
Mr. ISAKSON. OK. For the chief, I have to say I know you're aware of this ,but it gives me a chance to acknowledge again, in Atlanta about 2 months ago, we had a firefighter who reacted to, not a terrorist act, but to a crane operator suspended 250 feet in the air over a cotton mill that was a total inferno. He hung from, I think it was, about an 80-foot rope below a helicopter in a 30-mile wind and plucked him out and saved his life. I commend all firefighters and you and what you do for our citizens every day.
You're right, that guy was picked up, loves the big red truck, and I'm sure glad the Federal Government wasn't in charge of that operation. Nonetheless, going back to the question that I asked here, do you think or isn't it true that as far as your constituency in Chicago is concerned, the buck does stop with you in one of these tragedies? They don't want an explanation of how many Federal agencies may be involved or many people it took? Don't they look to you for the immediate response?
Mr. EVERSOLE. Sir, that question is very easily answered, and the simple thing is this. When the State goes back to Springfield, Illinois, and the Federal people go back to wherever Federal people go back to, the fire chief, police chief, the mayor, the emergency managers all stand out on a corner and for the rest of their lives, remember that's where we leave, they are standing there answering the questions, you know, did you do a good job, did he do a good job, how did it work out.
Page 54 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 You know, we have nowhere to escape to, and I would just tell you something that was interesting. That was the first time and he probably hopes it's the last timethat that firefighter ever has to hang from that helicopter the way he did, and those are things that we do every day in the fire service.
Every day we doI'm amazed sometimes at what my people do, and we handle chemicals. We have the University of Chicago where there's more Nobel prize winners than any facility in the world; and you know, when those doctors are running out of the building because something drastically has gone wrong, they're yelling, it's in there, Mr. Fireman, and we're going, yeah, OK, we'll get that, and we're running in the building where the expert of the world is running out, and we do that regularly, and those are the things that we have to handle.
What we're asking for is to take what we have, a system that really works, a proven system of 350 years of tradition in this country, and just make it slicker and faster, make my wheel go faster and make it last longer. That's what I need.
Mr. ISAKSON. Can I ask one other question?
Mrs. FOWLER. Yes.
Mr. ISAKSON. In your testimony, you did not discount but you certainly questioned whether or not putting more money in RAID teams made sense. In hearing your testimony, RAID, the first R in the word RAID, stands for ''rapid'' in that acronym; yet you're talking about 3-minute responses or less when you have disasters in Chicago. I know you probably answered this question: Has there been a demonstration yet to your knowledge of the timeliness of these RAID teams to react or the predictable timeliness of those RAID teams to react?
Mr. EVERSOLE. To the best of my knowledge, sir, there has been no demonstration of this. They're telling us they hope 4 hours they can respond anywhere in our area. We think they can get to Chicago faster than 4 hours.
I have some questions that have not been answered yet. I asked you, of 22 members on board, how many will you roll with? Oh, 22. Are you telling me that these people are going to work 7 days a week, 24 hours a day; that they will never have a day off, never be sick, never be on vacation, and there are still questions.
Page 55 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 This is a good concept, but there are many things to be worked out yet, and I'myou know, the proof is in the pudding, sir. Show me the job. Show me you can do the job. If you can't show me, take your garbage home.
Mr. ISAKSON. To that end, last follow-up. To that end, would you spend $7 million on more RAID teams before you'd seen a demonstration?
Mr. EVERSOLE. Would I?
Mr. ISAKSON. Yes.
Mr. EVERSOLE. Sir, I'm from a local government. Do you know what we can do with $7 million? I'll give you a RAID team that will look like Mr. Whiz's galaxy of such special items.
Mr. ISAKSON. Thanks, Chief.
Ms. SIMANK. Sir, if I might make a point on the RAID teams. I know they're promising cities and towns 4 hours. Maybe they can get to Chicago in 4 hours. I don't quite have much trust in all of that. I will tell you that we, our local fire, rescued most of the victims that survived the bombing, and that happened before 4 hours. We did find one or two alive later, but before the first team ever got to our city. By the time the first team got there, we never found another survivor.
Mr. ISAKSON. Well, I agree with you, within 4 hours y'all had had to deal with unbelievablein Atlanta, when we had the Olympic park bombing, 4 hours would have been too late
Ms. SIMANK. Four hours is too late.
Mr. ISAKSON. When you've got people laying and dying all over the city.
Ms. SIMANK. Four hours is too late.
Mrs. FOWLER. Thank you. I'd like now to turn to our distinguished colleague from the Government Reform Committee who really has been working so diligently in this area and paving the way. Mr. Shays, we appreciate your being here, and if you have any questions or statement, whatever, we'd
Page 56 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. SHAYS. Thank you. I would just first make an observation. When I walked in the door and, Chief, you were talking, I thought you were Congressman Traficant's brother; and my second question, when I got here was I was thinking you were responding to a question, we were in 10 minutes and you hadn't taken a breath.
So I'm really curious to know what the question was, but you were very effective in what you had to say, and I just would, first, before asking you a question, Chief, say that I think you know that our hearts went out to Oklahoma; and we were just very impressed with how the city dealt with this tragedy during and after, and it is nice to have you here.
Ms. SIMANK. Thank you, sir, and I do know that. Everyone in the United States of America I think felt that same way, and we appreciate that.
Mr. SHAYS. We felt like one family; we really did.
Chief, I'm interested to know if youwhat kind of protective gear you have, suits, masks, for chemical exposure to protect from chemical exposure, and if you do have this equipment, did the Federal Government help you buy it?
Mr. EVERSOLE. Sir, we're using the Chemrel level A chemical suit which, as far as we're concerned, is as good as you can buy. You know, when you think of all the factors, and we use Scott Air Paks. Scott Air Paks we had. We use about 11,000 cylinders a month just in our regular business, and every firefighter on duty has his own self-contained breathing apparatus.
I don't go out the door if mine's not in my trunk, and I tell people if I have to put that sucker on and use it, you know it really got bad because I'm supposed to be back at the command post, but the government did supply us with 135 chemical protective suits to our specification, and I applaud them for that. The only problem was, under the Nunn-Lugar Act, all of that was supposed to be for training and not for actual response.
Mr. SHAYS. Interesting, interesting.
Page 57 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. EVERSOLE. We're waiting still for the release. There's a significant appropriation that was supposed to be made, and the grant applications were supposed to be out several months ago for this year's funding. Sir, this is June, and we haven't seen them yet, and I need equipment, and now we're 8 months into this year's Federal budget; is that correct?
Mr. SHAYS. Just before turning back to the floor, just this one question: Does this chemical protective gear also protect you from heat and flames as well?
Mr. EVERSOLE. No, sir, absolutely not.
Mr. SHAYS. OK. Thank you. Thank you very much.
Mrs. FOWLER. Thank you, Congressman Shays. It's my understanding I think, Chief, that the NDPO is holding up these grants because they have had so many requests, but like you say, they need to get them on through their process and get it done; and that's another example of the problems we're having with this setup right now of how the organization is floating up and working very speedily.
I just have two last quick questions because I wanted to go to the other members. Just one to you, Chief. Are you more worried about the training and education level of our responders in a large city or in our remote towns? I know you're in a large city, but if you look at Illinois, there're a lot of small towns around there. Are you more concerned about their training and level of response, education, versus those in large cities?
Mr. EVERSOLE. I think that we need to look at something very intelligently, ma'am. When we had the bad incident in Waco, Texas, most people didn't even know where Waco, Texas, was. When they were up in Montana, who knew where that was? The Unabomber was born and raised less than 10 minutes from my home, but he was in a little cabin out in the middle of nowhere.
I'm sure that McVeigh did not build that bomb in Oklahoma City. He built it in some remote place, and it is the feeling of the International Association of Fire Chiefs that every emergency responder in this country should be adequately trained. Not everybody has to be a brain surgeon or a technician here, but everybody has to be trained to an appropriate level.
Page 58 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 We have a system in place that determines awareness, operations, technician, incident, command. We have requirements for that. We know where all that goes, and other people just sit there and say, well, we'll hire some more consultants and we'll buildthe program is there, ma'am. We can turn it on tomorrow, and it's just ignored by the Federal Government.
Mrs. FOWLER. Thank you. Are there any other questions from members of the subcommittee here? I want to thank both of you. I'm a former city council member in Florida myself so I understand you're on the front line and dealing with these every day. Again, as you know, our prayers were with everyone in Oklahoma City, and we are hoping through our efforts and those of others working on this that we can, one, avoid those types of instances in the future; and two, make sure we do the best we can to avoid what happened in your city when those groups came in 15 hours later, that we don't have repeats of that either.
And, Chief, thank you. You do an outstanding job, as every member of every fire department throughout this country does. We deeply appreciate it, and you have given us some great testimony today. You both have given us some good suggestions and good ideas, and just know we're going to persevere on this and try to get both of you the most help we can.
So thank you very much again for being with us today.
Mr. EVERSOLE. Thank you.
Mrs. FOWLER. We would like to call our next panel up. Thank you.
Mrs. FOWLER. I would like to welcome our next panel. We'll keep moving. I think we have an hour before the next set of votes. We have Ms. Catherine H. Light, director, Office of National Security Affairs for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. We have the Honorable Charles L. Cragin, who is the acting assistant secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs for the Department of Defense. And Mrs. Barbara Y. Martinez, who is the deputy director of the National Domestic Preparedness Office for the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Page 59 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 I think you were all here earlier, so you know we have a process of swearing in. So if you would all stand and raise your right hand.
Mrs. FOWLER. Thank you. Be seated.
TESTIMONY OF CATHERINE H. LIGHT, DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF NATIONAL SECURITY AFFAIRS, FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY; HONORABLE CHARLES L. CRAGIN, ACTING ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE (RESERVE AFFAIRS), U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; BARBARA Y. MARTINEZ, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, NATIONAL DOMESTIC PREPAREDNESS OFFICE, FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
Mrs. FOWLER. We'll start out with Ms. Light. If you could begin.
Ms. LIGHT. Thank you, Madam Chairwoman and members of the subcommittee. On behalf of Director James Lee Witt, thank you very much for this opportunity to discuss the status of FEMA's terrorism-related activities. As you know, we have provided a written statement; and I'll now summarize some key points from that statement.
First, I'll give an overview of FEMA's responsibilities in terrorism preparedness and response, then briefly describe FEMA's role in consequence management and discuss FEMA's programs and activities to better prepare States and local governments for dealing with terrorist incidents.
While FEMA is the Federal Government's lead agency for consequence management in response to domestic terrorist incidents involving WMD, the FBI is the lead agency for crisis management. Crisis management focuses mainly on law enforcement activities related to the causes of a threat or actual incident.
Consequence management focuses on the effects of an incident. It includes measures to protect public health and safety, support essential government services, and provide disaster and emergency assistance to an affected area.
Page 60 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 FEMA uses the Federal Response Plan, or the FRP, as the vehicle to coordinate Federal consequence management activities. Over the years, the FRP has been used in numerous presidentially declared disasters and emergencies. The plan brings together 27 departments and agencies to organize Federal disaster response and recovery efforts in support of State and local requirements.
Most importantly, the FRP provides a known and flexible framework under which local, State, and Federal officials can orchestrate their response and make the most effective use of the available resources.
In implementing its domestic terrorism preparedness activities, FEMA strives to ensure several things: first of all that State and local responders and emergency management personnel are the focus of the Federal programs; that needs of the balance of the Nation, not just the largest cities and metropolitan areas, are addressed; that initial training is reenforced and sustained with refresher information and updated instruction; and that existing plans, capabilities, and systems are utilized as the foundation for addressing the unique requirements of WMD.
FEMA Director Witt has been working very closely with the Attorney General to better coordinate Federal interagency efforts, including support for the National Domestic Preparedness Office. In addition to supporting that office, FEMA will continue its lead agency responsibilities for consequence management.
In FY '99, FEMA is making available over $12 million in grants to States and local jurisdictions. This includes a little over 8 million for use by State emergency management agencies for planning, training, and exercises and 4 million for use by the State fire training centers to support the delivery of terrorism training programs.
With respect to planning, FEMA applies experience gained in responding to natural disasters to the development of terrorism and consequence management plans and procedures. In 1997 we published the Terrorism Incident Annex to the FRP and continue to work with local, State, and Federal interagency community to refine our response.
Page 61 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 In the area of training, FEMA has developed and delivered a number of terrorism-related courses utilizing existing networks and facilities. In particular, we rely on our National Emergency Training Center, which includes the National Fire Academy, and the Emergency Management Institute as well as State fire and emergency management training systems to deliver terrorism related training to State and local responders.
Regarding exercises, FEMA is working closely with the National Domestic Preparedness Office and the FBI and the States to ensure the development of a comprehensive exercise program. With respect to equipment, we helped develop the standardized equipment list. FEMA is very committed to work with the Federal interagency community in coordinating our activities and programs as part of the overall Federal effort.
And we're committed to doing everything we can to better prepare the States and local jurisdictions for dealing with this immense challenge.
Thank you again for the opportunity to address this subcommittee.
Mrs. FOWLER. Thank you. Secretary Cragin.
Mr. CRAGIN. Thank you. Good afternoon, Chairman Fowler, Mr. Traficant, Chairman Shays. My pleasure to be with you this afternoon.
I would like to discuss the activities of the Department of Defense as a participant in the Federal Response Plan, which Ms. Light referred to in supporting State and local officials in response to incidents involving weapons of mass destruction.
Since President Clinton signed presidential decision directive 62 in May of 1998, significant progress has been made in our efforts to better support State and local authorities. PDD 62, also known as the Combating Terrorism Directive, highlighted the growing threat of unconventional attacks against the United States, and it detailed a new and more systematic method of fighting terrorism here at home by bringing a program management approach to our national counterterrorism efforts.
Page 62 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 The directive also established, as you are aware, within the National Security Council, the Office of the National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection and Counterterrorism to oversee these efforts.
Under that oversight aspect, as Ms. Light has mentioned, two Federal agencies have been designated as the lead Federal agencies, the agencies in charge to handle crisis management, the Department of Justice, FBI, and consequence management, the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Last year with respect to DOD activities, Congress authorized the creation of 10 National Guard Rapid Assessment and Initial Detection teams. Each RAID team will be composed of 22 full-time National Guard personnel.
These RAID teams are designed to be both State and Federal assets that can initially be deployed by governors. And each team will perform three vital tasks: first, they'll deploy rapidly to help local incident commanders identify and assess the nature and extent of a suspected radiological or biological or chemical event.
I might insert parenthetically in the Tokyo subway attack it was over 3 hours before the Tokyo officials were able to ascertain that they were in fact dealing with sarin gas.
Second, the teams will provide technical advice to civilian first responders regarding such matters as NBC symptoms or casualties, the appropriate decontamination procedures and risk management procedures.
As we look at this map that you have placed up there we see a lot of America that doesn't have the sophistication of an Orange County or a New York City or a Chicago when it comes to dealing with these issues. And where can we say that the next event will occur in America.
And third, these teams will facilitate requests for assistance by identifying needed follow-up by military support and coordinating with local, State, and Federal emergency managers for the utilization of these military support elements.
Page 63 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Another very important mission of the RAID teams once they are stood up, and they are still in training and will not be, in fact, ready to deploy until January of 2000, is that they will continuously work with the first-responder communities to develop and improve emergency response plans and procedures and train and exercise with the local incident commanders who will, in fact, be in charge in the event an incident occurs within their jurisdiction.
The personnel for these 10 teams have been hired. They're undergoing very rigorous training. In August, they'll begin training together as units. And, as I say, we expect to have them certified for deployment early in January ofof 2000.
The Department's FY 2000 budget includes funding to increase the number of RAID teams from the 10 currently authorized to 15. However, you may be aware that the Senate Armed Services Committee recently acted to authorize a total of 27 RAID teams, 17 more than the 10 currently authorized and 12 more than the Department of Defense requested.
The House Armed Services Committee is waiting for the Department's request for full-time positions, which was time staggered as a result of the Defense Authorization Act of last year, and we'll be filing that request the first of July when permitted.
So, really, for the year 2000 we really don't know exactly how many RAID teams are going to be authorized throughout the United States. And a decision on stationing of these new RAID teams will be made once Congress has determined the final number to be authorized in the fiscal year 00.
Those teams will be placed throughout the United States according to criteria such as response times, relative to population density, the proximity of other assets to respond to a WMD incident, and the accessibility of airlift transportation to transport RAID team members to incident sites.
And when we established the first 10 teams, one in each FEMA region, one of the criterion was to look to see that there was National Guard organic airlift capability available to provide that airlift. Because, obviously, if you have one in each of the 10 FEMA regions, you're not going to get to a lot of places in that region by getting in your van and heading to the scene immediately.
Page 64 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 We're also, as part of Secretary Cohen's program to support local and State officials and to support our civilian Federal agencies who, as I said, are in charge, we're going to be training and equipping 43 chem-bio reconnaissance elements and 127 decontamination elements that are resident in our Army Reserve, our Army National Guard, our Air Force Reserve, and our Air National Guard enabling them to more effectively respond to a WMD event.
In addition, and at the direction of Congress this past year, the Department is working to establish what we were directed to establish, what we call RAID light teams, that John Eversole referred to in his testimony in each of the States and territories where a RAID team has not been located to date.
Last October, Congress also directed that we utilize our existing training technologies to expand the training base available to civilian first responders. We're collaborating with other Federal agencies to adapt and convert WMD preparedness courses so that they may be used throughout our advanced distributed learning process.
Through this shared use concept, these and future courses will be available to both the Federal interagency community and the Nation's 2 million first responders. And as you're also awareand it's been alluded to a number of times this afternoonthe Department of Defense is administering the Domestic Preparedness Program, the so-called Nunn, Lugar and Domenici Act, which provides WMD preparedness training for 120 of America's largest cities.
The program focuses on providing initial awareness, protection, decontamination, and detection training. It is not the sort of ongoing sustainment training that you heard Ms. Light refer to with respect to FEMA's activities.
To date, we have trained 58 cities involving over 15,700 responders. And as part of this program, we have worked with other Federal agencies to compile a compendium of Federal weapons of mass destruction preparedness courses, the training courses that you mentioned earlier today, so that these courses can be available to State and local agencies.
Page 65 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 And a final version was published in July of last year and is available on the Internet. And in the past year, both the Department of Defense and the Department of Justice have conducted a number of forums with first responders. Chief Eversole has been an energetic participant in those forums. And you heard him say that one of the things we need is one-stop shopping.
And frankly, we heard Chief Eversole and his colleagues in the State and local capacities and that was one of the reasons that, one, the Department of Defense agreed with the Department of Justice to transition the Domestic Preparedness Program from the Department of Defense to Justice, so that they would have it in the same location with their equipment grant training programs, hence one-stop shopping.
And then the National Domestic Preparedness Office was established under the auspices of the FBIand Ms. Martinez will speak to you in detail about thatbut as a means to coordinate the provision of services from the Federal Government, not to be the provider of all services, but to ensure that there was a one-stop shop for dealing with State and local officials.
And we're frankly very pleased with the progress that's been made in the past year under PDD 62 and the interagency working groups. And I can tell you, in spite of some of the testimony that you've heard to date, these ladies here and I talk on a regular basis and we talk among our interagency colleagues; and, in fact, we do know each other's phone numbers and use them regularly. Thank you, Madam Chairman.
Mrs. FOWLER. Thank you, Secretary Cragin. Ms. Martinez.
Ms. MARTINEZ. Thank you, Mr. Cragin. Thank you, Madam Chairwoman. And thank you for the opportunity to speak before distinguished members of Congress, my colleagues, regarding the proposed role of the National Domestic Preparedness Office in combating terrorism within the United States.
Page 66 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 My intent is to highlight the importance of achieving coordination across the Federal Government of the various individual agency efforts that provide very valuable assistance to State and local communities in preparing them to face a challenge that terrorism presents.
As over 40 Federal agencies would have a role in the response to a terrorist event, so too are many of them in a logical position to provide valuable assistance to prepare our communities before such an event occurs. The mission of the proposed National Domestic Preparedness Office consistent with the recommendation made to the Attorney General by State and local authorities will be to serve as that central coordinating body for Federal programs that provide preparedness assistance to State and local communities regarding terrorist incidents, particularly those involving weapons of mass destruction.
As you know, in the past few years the President of the United States and Congress have taken significant steps to increase our national security and to promote interagency cooperation. Most recently, cooperative efforts against terrorism have been extended to include State and local agencies, professional and private sector associations as well.
For example, in the preparation of the administration's 5-year interagency counterterrorism and technology crime plan, the Attorney General directed the Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs to host a meeting of individuals like Chief Eversole who represent the various emergency response disciplines that would most likely be involved in the response to a terrorist incident.
More than 200 stakeholders representing local and State disciplines of fire services and hazmat personnel, law enforcement and public safety personnel, emergency medical and public health professionals, emergency management and other government officials, as well as various professional associations and organizations, all attended the 2-day sessions.
Collectively, they made recommendations to the Attorney General, James Lee Witt, director of FEMA, Dr. Hamre, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, and other Federal officials on ways to improve Federal assistance for State and local communities. These recommendations have been incorporated in that secret administration's 5-year plan that I mentioned.
Page 67 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 The most critical issue identified by stakeholders was the need for a central Federal point of coordination. Due to the size and the complexity of both the problem of terrorism and the Federal Government itself, it was no surprise that the many different avenues through which aid may be acquired by State and local officials and the potential inconsistency of those programs was deemed simply overwhelming.
In essence, the Federal Government, though well intentioned, was not operating in an optimal manner, nor was it effectively serving its constituents with regard to domestic preparedness programs and issues.
State and local emergency response officials made the strong recommendation to the Attorney General for the coordination and integration of all Federal assistance programs that reach State and local authorities for terrorism preparedness.
In heeding these recommendations, the Attorney General consulted with the National Security Council, the Department of Defense, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Department of Health and Human Services, the FBI, as well as other relevant agencies, regarding the establishment of the NDPO.
So if approved, this NDPO would provide that single coordination point within the Federal Government to better meet the needs of the Nation. It's intended that the NDPO will serve as that much-needed clearing house to provide information to local and State officials who must determine the preparedness strategy for their own communities.
In keeping with the stakeholders request, the NDPO will also provide a forum for the establishment of an agreed upon standards to guide the execution of Federal programs. Federal participants that will serve in a full-time capacity at the NDPO once approved will include FEMA and the Department of Defense as well as the National Guard Bureau, Department of Energy, Department of Health and Human Services, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Office of Justice Programs, and the FBI.
Page 68 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 We have also received commitments from other agencies including the U.S. Coast Guard, Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to provide personnel in the future.
Stakeholders also cited the need for formal representation of State and local officials along with those Federal agencies in the form of an advisor board to guide the development and delivery of more effective Federal programs.
Federal agencies agree that their participation is critical to the whole process of domestic preparedness; therefore, in addition to the advisory board, it is anticipated that when fully staffed, the NDPO will be comprised of approximately one-third State and local experts from various disciplines on a daily basis.
The stakeholders identified six broad-issue areas in need of coordination, planning, training, exercise, equipment research and development, information sharing, and public health and medical services.
If I have a moment, I would just like to speak on the highlights of some of these programs.
Mrs. FOWLER. Really highlight them because I'm afraid we're going to have votes before we get to our questions.
Ms. MARTINEZ. I understand that and appreciate that. In the area of planning, we'd facilitate distribution of guidance that would explain to State and local planners the logistics of how Federal assets would be included into their local response plans. We will continue the compendium that Mr. Cragin spoke of to catalog the existing Federal training programs.
With respect to the information sharing, we would implement a mechanism to facilitate access to personnel outside law enforcement to information that would be important for preparedness and consequence management including Web sites and other links.
Page 69 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 With respect to after-actions from exercises, we will maintain a data base that will allow after-actions from exercise as well as actual events, including Oklahoma City, to assist the efforts of other communities.
Under the guidance of public health service, the NDPO would help coordinate the efforts to support the metropolitan medical response systems and the wholesale integration of the public and mental health care community into the response plans.
In summary, then, over the past few years we have seen growing cooperation at all levels, growing interest at all levels of government to address the preparedness needs of the Nation. However, there is a tremendous amount of work that needs to be done.
We clearly recognize that the actions of the first people on the scene will make the difference between life and death. We also believe that the key is to work together to form a partnership among Federal, State, and local communities to better prepare for a coordinated response that saves lives and provides safety for all involved. So in the interest of time here, I thank you very much for your attention.
Mrs. FOWLER. Thank you. We have your whole statement. I have read it. I know the other members will too because I know we want to keep everyone here before we have votes.
I want to thank all three of you because you have all been working in your areas and many people, too, in these areas.
I have some questions that I would like to ask. And I would like to turn your attention to this poster board over here, because Secretary Craginthis is a map showing where the DOD training has been done, or is scheduled to be done, in those 10 cities. Can you explain why there appear to be dense clusters of training in certain areas and then there are big holes where no training at all is concerned? What I see is the yellow States, that's 11 States where there is absolutely zero training being done by DOD, but then if you look down in southern California, northern California
Page 70 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. CRAGIN. Florida.
Mrs. FOWLER. certain other areas, there will be clusters. Could you explain that to us.
Mr. CRAGIN. Well, take a look, for example, Chairman Fowler, at Florida. There are a number of cities in Florida that have training. And the reason why they do is because what the Department of Defense decided after meeting and conferring with the interagency was that they would go to the 120 largest cities based on the census data in 1990, and essentially that meant that any city that had population in excess of 144,000 would, in fact, receive the training. And it was on that basis that the decision was made.
Now, I should say, and as I think the observations were made by your representatives from the GAO, this has been a very evolving training program. And, in fact, Congress in its wisdom directed the Department on an annual basis to review its training activities and then to reassess the program. So now in many of these training cities there are many other agencies and jurisdictions that are involved and participate.
Mrs. FOWLER. Well, as you heard Chief Eversole mention, that he's very worried about the lack of training in rural areas. We look at the incidents that have been occurring over the past years, some of these very areas that are in yellow is where some of this originated or was occurring.
I'm deeply concerned about what lacks here. And, in fact, we have a chart here that shows a concentration of where our extremist groups are the highest. Here we go, right here. If you look at that chart, where they are the highest appears to be in some of the areas where we have no training. It concerns me, as we are looking at this list, Idaho has the highest concentration of extremist groups in the country; yet if you go back to the other map you see what is happening here. Montana has the second highest concentration of extremist groups, with no training being done by DOD.
Page 71 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 And you go on down the list, I'm not sure whatyou know, just looking at population rather than at risk and what groups are out there doing what, has caused us some concern as we started compiling our information and looking at where the holes were.
So does that trouble you that some of the most concentrated areas for extremist groups in this country are totally missed by the DOD training program?
Mr. CRAGIN. I guess it doesn't trouble me in the sense, Chairman Fowler, that when the Department of Defense had to make the decision as to how to implement this program, that it tried to take the existing resources available and maximize that utility.
As I said, as we have evolved and grown with this program, we have involved many other jurisdictions in the training aspects rather than just one city. But I think it's like every other judgment that we all have to make, you have to balance all of the competing interests. We chose to do that.
The equipment grant program, for example, is a loan program that consisted of a maximum of $300,000 per city for providing training equipment to those cities. Had we tried to expand the base and utilizeget to more of the population or different geographic areas, we would have been diminishing the focus of the program.
Mrs. FOWLER. Of course we heard from Chief Eversole about some of the efficacies of what they got under that program, but I'll leave them to argue that with you.
Mr. CRAGIN. We can all chat about that at a different time. We have a different perspective.
Mrs. FOWLER. You've led me into my next concern, which goes to FEMA because both FEMA and Department of Justice are coordinating and providing training in about 120 jurisdictions also.
And DOD, if you'll look at this next, DOD is currently providing its training program in 89 of these same jurisdictions. So we did a little chart here because now we've gotyou know, there's a huge amount of overlap in certain areas of the country where you have got all three of you doing training in areas and then other States where there is none being done or huge areas of States.
Page 72 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 You take my State of Florida, all of northwest Florida has nothing going on, period; and we have the capital there and nothing is happening in all of northwest Florida or in southwest Florida. I just look at my State; I look at Mr. Isakson's State. South Georgia has nothing.
So I'm very concerned and just wondering why there wasn't some coordination. We get right back to the same problem again between DOJ and FEMA, in which FEMA is already training; and then DOD comes in with theirs. There appears to be no coordination. FEMA is already doing it here so we'll go fill in the gaps. Instead, we have duplication occurring in a lot of areas.
Could either one of you address to why there wasn't more coordination, with right hand talking to the left or deciding to cover more of the country rather than less?
Ms. LIGHT. First of all, FEMA is involved in both of the programs. Under one act of legislation, we were tasked to work with DOJ on that program and under the other act of legislation we were asked to work with DOD; and we certainly did that. But the grant money that FEMA has goes out to States and localsand from our perspective the more money that can go out to States and locals the better off we are.
The money actually goes out through the States so that every State in the country, in fact, does receive some money for training. And it goes out through two different arenas, the State emergency management system and the fire training system which Chief Eversole alluded to just a little bit earlier.
Mrs. FOWLER. But have you some duplication occurring here if we could take the same amount of money that you all are spending together that 89 are getting. I quoted the local official earlier, how many different ways can you tell me to bake the chicken.
One area is going to three different programs or four different programs, whereas another area is getting none. And there didn't seem to be any looking at why are we duplicating versus addressing an area that's getting none in the country.
Page 73 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. CRAGIN. I think, Chairman Fowler, that is an issue that is being addressed. You're absolutely right, there has been duplication. You have only talked about a couple of different actions, but HHS is also engaged in providing medical training to emergency responders through their programs at the direction of their authorizing committees.
The office of Justice programs is part of the development of the memorandum of understanding, and in the transition of the domestic preparedness program to them, Justice has agreed that they will review and evaluate these pockets in the United States that are not receiving any training and try to see if they, as part of a broader program, can meet those needs.
Mrs. FOWLER. OK. But then I'm worried we're throwing good money after bad. You have done 58 cities out of your 120. What you're saying is DOD is not going to reevaluate the remaining cities that you haven't done of that 120. Instead of going in some of these where we're duplicating, maybe we should go in some of these States like Idaho and Montana where there's a great need and do that.
You're going to keep traveling down the road of those original 120 and later let DOJ say, oh, well now some other cities need training and we need to put more money in and more. Is that what I'm hearing?
Mr. CRAGIN. That's our intent.
Mrs. FOWLER. There is no evaluation that is going on?
Mr. CRAGIN. We have made what we believe is a commitment to those cities. They have become engaged in the planning process, anticipating that they will receive that training. And we think that the Federal Government has an obligation to live up to that commitment.
Mrs. FOWLER. I just have one other quick line of questioning for Ms. Martinez. All it takes is yes or no answers because this goes, again, to the problems with the NDPO as to whether it's got the resources authority, the capabilities to do what we hope it can do at some point in time. Does your office have the capability to determine where Federal response teams should be located to optimize the use of Federal resources? Today does it have that?
Page 74 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Ms. MARTINEZ. You're speaking on response teams. We're actually in the business of preparedness, so that wouldn't be us.
Mrs. FOWLER. You wouldn't be doing that. OK. So you cannot do that. You can't decide where the resources should go. Two, does your office have the authority to decide where to locate Federal training courses so we are getting the most bang for our buck and getting training more throughout the country?
Ms. MARTINEZ. If I could offer more than a yes or no to that.
Mrs. FOWLER. OK.
Ms. MARTINEZ. I would like to echo what some ofthe previous question. What the NDPO is offering right now without expense to the Federal Government is on the basis of what GAO asked us last year to do, and that which appears in the National Defense Authorization Act of this current year, asked the FBI to conduct a threat and risk assessment on the heels of which will be a capability and needs assessment.
We recognize exactly what you're saying, the duplication and the gross gaps that do exist. So we would like, at the present time, to say that we can move out very quickly with this assessment while this other training program is in the works, and using the time and resources of so many people, we can be doing a parallel effort to fill those gaps with the training that is needed by those people in those gaps.
So at the present time, the FBI is tapped to do a threat-and-risk assessment, and we are under way to do that. I would invite GAOwe have spoken with them
Mrs. FOWLER. Do you have a time frame when that is going to be completed?
Ms. MARTINEZ. We were expected to develop and test the methodology by September of this year.
Page 75 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mrs. FOWLER. That's just the methodology. So by the time you get your answers, it will be sometime in the middle of next year.
Ms. MARTINEZ. We expect implementation in February of the next year, yes, in the first and second quarters.
Mrs. FOWLER. So my concern is meantime you've got all these areas of the country not getting the training and all this duplication continuing and $10 billion being allocated for this next year, a lot of which could go to areas where there are going to still be holes and not covered until, as Chief Eversolethat's why they get frustrated at the local level, because we study it to death.
My staff didn't take long to put this together. It doesn't take rocket scientists to see where the holes are and where the duplication is. So I have some real concerns there.
Another question: Does your office have the authority to identify and get rid of duplicative training programs?
Ms. MARTINEZ. No, we won't get rid of duplicative.
Mrs. FOWLER. OK. Do you plan to evaluate the need and effectiveness of the new RAID teams?
Ms. MARTINEZ. No, not at all.
Mrs. FOWLER. So I think those answers give us some ideas of what authority the NDPO is going to have and some of the problems we're facing.
I would like now to turn to Mr. Traficant.
Mr. TRAFICANT. I would like a yes or no on this, not to be offensive. Ms. Light, you know what a Stinger missile is?
Ms. LIGHT. No.
Mr. TRAFICANT. Miss Martinez?
Page 76 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Ms. MARTINEZ. I do know what a Stinger missile is.
Mr. TRAFICANT. What is it?
Ms. MARTINEZ. It's a military operative missile, has heat-seeking capabilities for offensive
Mr. TRAFICANT. How is it deployed and how is it launched?
Ms. MARTINEZ. Normally with a LAWs rocket-type of effect, to my knowledge.
Mr. TRAFICANT. Can you tell us what a Stinger missile is?
Mr. CRAGIN. You're referring to a hand-held type missile? Can be launched off someone's shoulder.
Mr. TRAFICANT. Off someone's shoulder. See, in 1995 it was fertilizer because that's what they could get. Are we so naive to believenow I am talking about rocket science herethat we're going to continue to have 1950 culprits in a 2000 millennium age?
The reason I'm asking these questions is I've heard all of this discussion of all these agencies. And quite frankly I think people are falling over each other. I have yet to hear prevention of any significant context. I don't know what we're doing.
The fire chief is going to have to go in after there's a disaster. The police chief is going to have to investigate a crime scene. Now, the reason why I'm asking this, because I am really frosted over an issue. We are investigating and inspecting only three out of every 100 trucks on our border. And a report just come out, an intelligence report said they can literally smuggle a nuclear weapon across our border and we may not even detect it.
Now, when I look at defense and I look at our border, I'm not looking at a local fire chief on the border. I'm not looking at a sheriff from some Texas community on our border. That's a national security issue. And I don't see how in God's name we have any kind of an antiterrorist, terrorist prevention program in place at all without a concerted effort that secures our border, ensures that none of these types of devices can come across our border, let alone someone running across with a backpack full of TNT or a Stinger missile.
Page 77 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 So my question isand you don't even have to answer thisfor the military, I want to know why they're resisting helping on the border. Because I think the military understands the issue, and I think the military just wants money to do it, more money.
And second of all, I want to know from FEMA and from FBIbecause FBI I think should be in charge of this, domestic terrorism business, FEMA should come in to make sure everybody is made whole after its overI want to know what prevention programs you have. I want them specifically sent out here, what efforts you have on the border, how you interrelate intelligence between the Department of Defense on border activities and customs points and how you interrelate with customs and border patrol on reported incidents of both narcotics and any potential terrorist organizations doing business in those areas.
These terrorist organizations are very simple. They all finance their methodologies with narcotics. From that whole group, Turkey, the Iranians, they're involved in narcotics. And all of these things now are absolutely ripe on our borders.
And not one incident, Madam Chairwoman, in ever discussing terrorism has anybody significantly talked about our borders that are wide open. So I want you to answer that question.
In addition, I have a number of other questions that I would like to be submitted for the record. I would ask for them to be answered and submitted in writing. Thank you.
Mrs. FOWLER. Thank you.
Mr. ISAKSON. Secretary Cragin, I wanted toyour explanation of the RAID teams was interesting because in what you were describing. It appeared to me in your description that there were more teams to come because of a suspected, but not actual, event than came in after an actual terrorist event. Did I hear that wrong?
Page 78 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. CRAGIN. They could be utilized in both modalities, Mr. Isakson. Perhaps it would be useful to explain how the concept of the RAID teams came about. And we heard from a lot of first responders around the country in smaller communities that said we really don't have the resident expertise to be able to make some of the initial assessments that we have to make in order to utilize our local resources. And Secretary Cohen heard those comments.
We, the Department of Defense, is a supporting agency to civilian authorities. We provide support. We had a very natural vehicle, however, and that was the National Guard which, as you know, is a State asset unless it's Federalized.
And so what was recommended to the Secretary and what he endorsed was to develop this very limited number of individuals who had a great deal of expertise and who were dedicated to this mission on a full-time basis, place them in the National Guard with full-time National Guard personnel working there, and giving the governors the ability to deploy them immediately, rather than have to work through the Federal Stafford Act bureaucracy or any other bureaucracy to get a declaration.
So we developed the first 10 teams. As I mentioned, they're still in the training process. We haven't even deployed them yet. We were still learning as we moved. We did an analysis of the country after stationing one in each of the 10 FEMA regions and found that we had basic pockets where we knew there was no way, given the criterion, that we could deploy them effectively to certain pockets.
So we came in as part of the President's budget and requested authority for an additional fielding of five teams which would be, obviously, 11/2 behind those teams in training. But they can go to the scene at the request of State and local officials before an event occurs, or they can arrive after an event occurs but also have substantial reach-back capacity.
Page 79 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 You know, we have talked a lot about chemical today. We haven't said word one about biological, which is an entirely different situation. And I appreciated your threat-risk assessment on the continuum.
These folks are going to be trained to come in and make assessments as to what is the biologicyou know, was it Anthrax and boctulinum at B'nai Brith in downtown Washington? We didn't really know at that instant.
We need to be able to have this sort of expertise. We can't have it in every town in America. We just can't afford that resource. So we have to try to maximize what we have and then make it as mobile and responsive as we can.
Mr. ISAKSON. The teams are 22 men each; is that correct?
Mr. CRAGIN. Men and women, yes, sir.
Mr. ISAKSON. If you go to 15, you would be within 4 hours of any domestic location; is that correct?
Mr. CRAGIN. No, we would not. Twenty-seven teams would give about 95 percent coverage of the population of the United States including the non-CONUS States.
Mr. ISAKSON. Did I hear right, 4 hours? Is that the goal?
Mr. CRAGIN. That's the goal.
Mr. ISAKSON. And the 22-member men and women teams are full-time Guard employees.
Mr. CRAGIN. They are.
Mr. ISAKSON. Both civilian and
Mr. CRAGIN. No, they're all military.
Mr. ISAKSON. All military.
Mr. CRAGIN. Yes, sir.
Mr. ISAKSON. One other comment. I notice Marietta, Georgia, is one of the original 10. That is Dobbins, I take it.
Page 80 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. CRAGIN. That is correct.
Mr. ISAKSON. I would like if it's permissible to go out and visit, since I'm on this subcommittee, the benefit of just seeing where they are on that training and how that's going, if that's possible.
Mr. CRAGIN. I would be happy to make that arrangement for you.
Mr. ISAKSON. As I say, they're still in the training program individually. We're taking advantage of a lot of the interagency training from FEMA and the fire academy and other places. But they'll start collective training in August. And I'll work with your staff to make sure that we make that available to you.
Mr. ISAKSON. One last question, Madam Chairperson. I think I heard you saycorrect me if I'm wrongand I'm not trying to set you up, but the fire chief was animated and articulate in his
Mr. CRAGIN. He is that.
Mr. ISAKSON. belief that locals can do it better. I happen to share in that belief, not as a criticism of the Federal Government, but it's always easier for the guy closest to home because they have a lot of local knowledge.
However, it's also as he observed, it's resources of the Federal Government that make some of the advancements we have possible in many things, whether it's medicine, defense, what's going on in Yugoslavia, everything else.
I thought I heard you say thator at least in what you said that the agencythe RAID teams were at the disposal of the governor to serve in the State where an expectedor where a tragedy may be about to happen or one had happened. Is that correct?
Mr. CRAGIN. That's correct.
Mr. ISAKSON. Does that mean that they, those 22 men and women, are under the authority of the governor of that State to serve that local community?
Page 81 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. CRAGIN. It means
Mr. ISAKSON. When they're on the site.
Mr. CRAGIN. That's right. They are in a support role to the local incident commander who is the chief of police or the fire chief. And that's all they are there for. And in fact, Mr. Isakson, if we deployin the Atlanta Olympics, I happened to be a naval reserve officer who was part of the weapons of mass destruction task force that was down at Fort Gillem.
If we had stood up that entire task force, it would have been there to support the lead Federal agency which would be there to support the local incident commander.
In the final analysis we understand where the responsibility is in this Republic. It starts at the local community, it works its way up to the state level, and then at some point the Governor of the State says the resources of this State have been exhausted and we need assistance from the Federal system.
But also with the RAID teams, just keep in mind there's only 10 of them, and we have 48 contiguous States. We looked at mutual aid compacts to ensure that we could move a RAID team, from, say, Georgia into North Carolina if called upon through a mutual aid contract.
Mr. ISAKSON. Well, I appreciate the answers and I will visit. I would say that what Councilwomanis it Simanksaid, is pretty typical oftentimes of when Federal agencies do come into a local area. All of a sudden they get into arguments or they get into turf protection or it's not as cooperative as it ought to be.
And in a tragedy like an anticipated, but not yet happened, biological or nuclear or contemporary weapon event or the aftermath, I do think those points are well taken. You've got to be able to respond to the local people who know the community and the needs best on the ground. I think they were right.
Mr. CRAGIN. That's also what these RAID teams are going to be doing. They're going to be full-time people who will be training with the local responders, who will be exercising with the local responders, who will learn the incident command system from the get go and, in fact, live in the communities as National Guard personnel.
Page 82 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. ISAKSON. Thank you very much.
Mrs. FOWLER. I just have two final questions: one, you were just referring to the mutual aid compacts. My understandingI think there are only so far 33 States have those. In looking at this list of where your first 10 teams are, two of them are located in States that haven't signed them.
So my understanding is that the RAID team in Massachusetts, if there was an incident in Connecticut, couldn't go over to Connecticut to help. In California, you've got one in California that's not a part of any mutual aid pact.
So I'm a little concerned that we are putting them in areas that haven't signed mutual aid pacts. Particularly, when you get up in the northeast where you already got a lot of blank spots anyway, and then we have a RAID team in a State that's not part of the mutual aid compact that can't go help Maine or Connecticut or whatever when you're so close.
Mr. CRAGIN. We have an answer for that.
Mrs. FOWLER. Good. I'm glad.
Mr. CRAGIN. First answer is just because a State has not signed a mutual aid compact does not mean that a governor can't authorize a RAID team to go across State lines. They can do that. However, in the eventand I mean, you can consider the scenario and I'm from Maine so I'll use Maine and Massachusetts. We have a problem in Portland, Maine, and Governor King calls up Governor Cellucci and says, send me the RAID team. And Governor Cellucci says, well, wait a minute. If you have a problem in Portland, maybe we're going to have a problem in Boston. Well, at that point that team gets Federalized because that is the beauty of having National Guard personnel who wear a State hat and Federal hat. And the Federal Government sends them to Portland, Maine.
Mrs. FOWLER. So you can override whether they have compacts or not.
Page 83 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. CRAGIN. That's right.
Mrs. FOWLER. Interesting. Another question for FEMA. On paper when you look at all this, FEMA is the lead Federal agency, as you said, for consequence management in the event of a terrorist attack. But as we go through all of this, it appears that FEMA has been providing very little leadership.
It just seems FEMA is one of a number of agencies out there that have training programs and expertise but doesn't seem to exercise much leadership authority nor getting a very significant amount of resources through this.
Could you tell me why this is the case and what would it take for FEMA to assert the leadership it has on paper and make it a reality. Because if on paper you're supposed to be doing this but in reality it's not happening, what is it going to take to make it happen?
Ms. LIGHT. From a consequence management perspective, I believe that FEMA is exercising leadership with respect to that. As you know, the Federal Response Plan is the plan that we use to respond to all type of disasters. So from that perspective we get training opportunities, we get exercising opportunities, we developed a terrorism incident annex to the Federal response plan to focus specifically on terrorism and have provided that to States and to locals. And we are working very closely with the FBI to dovetail the lead agency responsibilities for crisis management and for consequence management.
And in the area of training, it's true we are in some capacities definitely supporting DOD in the Nunn-Lugar program and supporting DOJ in the DOJ FEMA program. But I think we are also taking the initiative to make good use of the money that we do have available. Of the money that we get, two-thirds of it actually goes out to the States.
And we are taking the opportunity to use that money to provide it to those States and localities who are not, in essence, receiving the training through the other programs.
Mrs. FOWLER. Well, I would just like to recommend that each of you read Councilwoman Simank's testimony if you didn't hear it. Because according to it, as well as her statement that she gave here, the problem got worse due to the Federal response plan; that they were doing much better before the Federal teams came in than after.
Page 84 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 I'm just saying read it, and, you know, I'm concerned. But I think we need to move on from there. I do want to thank all of you. Because you have really given very good testimony. I spent a lot of time on it. This is going to be an ongoing topic that we're going to be working on.
I think we know that from Oklahoma City, that we heard today, to New York City that we're all familiar with; we do have to prepare to confront domestic terrorisms.
What we have heard today from several of our witnesses is that the Federal Government's current complex organizational structure may be contributing to confusion and resulting in some unnecessary duplication and waste.
The executive branch has taken a number of steps to improve the overall development of this growing array of agencies' and offices' efforts to combat terrorism. But I'm not satisfied that the Nation has a comprehensive plan or clear priorities, and I think that's what we're hearing today from our other witnesses.
So for our support, for Federal support, to be effectiveand I don't mind however many dollars we need to spend because this is a critical problem facing our countrybut we have got to have a comprehensive national strategy that defines a concrete end-state and is based on some valid assessments of threat and risk of terrorist attacks and what our current capabilities are.
Because without it, we might not be targeting these resources properly. When one of the larger questions you kept hearing from us today is who is in charge, it doesn't appear that any one agency, even though on paper they're saying it's going to be yours, but does anyone have the authority? That's what it all comes down to in this town is who has the authority to control or eliminate waste and unnecessary duplication.
It's important that this cross-cutting delineation of authority be developedand I think these charts certainly showed itin order to direct some coordinated efforts. Each time we talk, when one of these tragic events occurs, we all assume our firemen, police, medics are ready. But we have heard today and we have seen this in large parts of our country they may not be ready because they're not getting the training and the resources that they need.
Page 85 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 And we've got to make sure that every Federal dollar counts so that the protection that we're taking for granted is actually there for everybody in this country. Since our subcommittee has oversight and legislative authority over Federal emergency management issues, and we're going to be continuing to take a closer look at these questions in the coming months. We look forward to continuing to work with you as we try to make sure that we do keep this country hopefully ahead of it and make sure that in the caseI agree with my ranking memberwe want to prevent these attacks. To make sure that every effort is being done to prevent them. If they happen to occur, make sure that every part of this country has people in the State and local level who are prepared. At the Federal level, when our people go in there to help, they help and not to hinder.
Thank you very much for what you have done. We can look forward to continuing to work with you. I thank Mr. Isakson who has stuck through this whole hearing today. I appreciate the work of the staff. They worked very hard in putting all this information together. And we will continue to be working on it throughout the summer. Thank you. The hearing is adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 5:12 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned.]