SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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H.R. 525, THE PREPAREDNESS AGAINST DOMESTIC TERRORISM ACT
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, PUBLIC BUILDINGS AND EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT
TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE
Page 2 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCHOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED SEVENTH CONGRESS
MAY 9, 2001
Printed for the use of the
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE
DON YOUNG, Alaska, Chairman
THOMAS E. PETRI, Wisconsin, Vice-Chair
SHERWOOD L. BOEHLERT, New York
HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina
JOHN J. DUNCAN, Jr., Tennessee
WAYNE T. GILCHREST, Maryland
STEPHEN HORN, California
JOHN L. MICA, Florida
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCJACK QUINN, New York
VERNON J. EHLERS, Michigan
SPENCER BACHUS, Alabama
STEVEN C. LaTOURETTE, Ohio
SUE W. KELLY, New York
RICHARD H. BAKER, Louisiana
ROBERT W. NEY, Ohio
JOHN COOKSEY, Louisiana
JOHN R. THUNE, South Dakota
FRANK A. LoBIONDO, New Jersey
JERRY MORAN, Kansas
RICHARD W. POMBO, California
JIM DeMINT, South Carolina
DOUG BEREUTER, Nebraska
MICHAEL K. SIMPSON, Idaho
JOHNNY ISAKSON, Georgia
ROBIN HAYES, North Carolina
ROB SIMMONS, Connecticut
MIKE ROGERS, Michigan
SHELLEY MOORE CAPITO, West Virginia
MARK STEVEN KIRK, Illinois
HENRY E. BROWN, Jr., South Carolina
TIMOTHY V. JOHNSON, Illinois
BRIAN D. KERNS, Indiana
DENNIS R. REHBERG, Montana
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCTODD RUSSELL PLATTS, Pennsylvania
MIKE FERGUSON, New Jersey
SAM GRAVES, Missouri
C.L. (BUTCH) OTTER, Idaho
MARK R. KENNEDY, Minnesota
JOHN ABNEY CULBERSON, Texas
BILL SHUSTER, Pennsylvania
JOHN BOOZMAN, Arkansas
JAMES L. OBERSTAR, Minnesota
NICK J. RAHALL II, West Virginia
ROBERT A. BORSKI, Pennsylvania
WILLIAM O. LIPINSKI, Illinois
PETER A. DeFAZIO, Oregon
BOB CLEMENT, Tennessee
JERRY F. COSTELLO, Illinois
ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON, District of Columbia
JERROLD NADLER, New York
ROBERT MENENDEZ, New Jersey
CORRINE BROWN, Florida
JAMES A. BARCIA, Michigan
BOB FILNER, California
EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON, Texas
FRANK MASCARA, Pennsylvania
GENE TAYLOR, Mississippi
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCJUANITA MILLENDER-MCDONALD, California
ELIJAH E. CUMMINGS, Maryland
EARL BLUMENAUER, Oregon
MAX SANDLIN, Texas
ELLEN O. TAUSCHER, California
BILL PASCRELL, Jr., New Jersey
LEONARD L. BOSWELL, Iowa
JAMES P. McGOVERN, Massachusetts
TIM HOLDEN, Pennsylvania
NICK LAMPSON, Texas
JOHN ELIAS BALDACCI, Maine
MARION BERRY, Arkansas
BRIAN BAIRD, Washington
SHELLEY BERKLEY, Nevada
BRAD CARSON, Oklahoma
JIM MATHESON, Utah
MICHAEL M. HONDA, California
RICK LARSEN, Washington
Page 6 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSubcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management
STEVEN C. LaTOURETTE, Ohio, Chairman
ROBERT W. NEY, Ohio
JOHN COOKSEY, Louisiana
MIKE ROGERS, Michigan
SHELLEY MOORE CAPITO, West Virginia, Vice-Chair
DON YOUNG, Alaska
JERRY F. COSTELLO, Illinois
MARION BERRY, Arkansas
ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON, District of Columbia
JAMES A. BARCIA, Michigan
JAMES L. OBERSTAR, Minnesota
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Text of H.R. 525, to amend the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act to provide for improved Federal efforts to prepare for and respond to terrorist attacks, and for other purposes
Allbaugh, Joe M., Director, Federal Emergency Manangement Agency, accompanied by John Magaw, Acting Deputy Director, Federal Emergency Management Agency
Blumenauer, Hon. Earl, a Representative in Congress from Oregon
Cragin, Charles L., Acting Assistant to Secretary of Defense for Civil Support, U.S. Department of Defense
Decker, Raymond J., Director, Defense Capabilities and Management
Gilchrest, Hon. Wayne, a Representative in Congress from Maryland
Leary, Mary-Lou, Acting Assistant Attorney General, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice
McConnell, Gary, on behalf of the Georgia Emergency Management Agency
Plaugher, Chief Edward, International Association of Fire Chiefs
Simank, Ann, Councilmember, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, on behalf of the National League of Cities
PREPARED STATEMENTS SUBMITTED BY MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
Blumenauer, Hon. Earl, of Oregon
Page 8 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Gilchrest, Hon. Wayne T., of Maryland
Oberstar, Hon. James L., Minnesota
PREPARED STATEMENTS SUBMITTED BY WITNESSES
Allbaugh, Joe M
Cragin, Charles L
Decker, Raymond J
McConnell, Gary W.
Plaugher, Chief Edward
SUBMISSIONS FOR THE RECORD
Allbaugh, Joe M., Director, Federal Emergency Manangement Agency, responses to questions
Cragin, Charles L., Acting Assistant to Secretary of Defense for Civil Support, U.S. Department of Defense, responses to questions
Leary, Mary-Lou, Acting Assistant Attorney General, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice, responses to questions
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McConnell, Gary, on behalf of the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, responses to questions
Plaugher, Chief Edward, International Association of Fire Chiefs, responses to questions
Simank, Ann, Councilmember, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, on behalf of the National League of Cities, responses to questions
ADDITIONS TO THE RECORD
Beyond the Blue Canaries, by Sydney J. Freedberg, Jr., National Journal, article, March 10, 2001
Guide for All-Hazard Emergency Operations Planning, report, chapter 6, Terrorism, Federal Emergency Management Agency, April 2001
Emergency Preparedness for Transit Terrorism, report, by Annabelle Boyd and John P. Sullivan, Boyd, Maier & Associates, Barboursville, Virginia, sponsored by the Federal Transit Administration
Emergency Preparedness for Transit Terrorism, report, by Annabelle Boyd and John P. Sullivan, Boyd, Maier & Associates, Barboursville, Virginia, article
Shays, Hon. Christopher, a Representative in Congress from Connecticut, statement
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States' Regional Terrorism Policy Forums, report, sponsored by the National Governors' Association Center for Best Practices and the National Emergency Management Association
Weapons of Mass Confusion, by Joshua Green, The Washington Monthly, article, May 2001
H.R. 525, THE PREPAREDNESS AGAINST DOMESTIC TERRORISM ACT OF 2001
Wednesday, May 9, 2001
House of Representatives, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management, Washington, D.C.
The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 2:15 p.m. in room 2253, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Steven LaTourette [chairman of the subcommittee] presiding.
Mr. LATOURETTE. The subcommittee will come to order.
Yesterday, the President announced his intention to create a Vice Presidential Task Force to set policies and priorities for organizing the Federal Domestic Terrorism Preparedness Effort. This Task Force will be supported by a new office within the Federal Emergency Management Agency called the Office of National Preparedness.
FEMA's new office will extend its already established all hazards approach for disaster response to oversee the Federal programs for domestic terrorist attack preparedness.
Arguably, this is where the Federal response to terrorism should have been coordinated from the beginning. FEMA was created for emergency management. It has existing relationships with the response community, and should leverage those relationships to coordinate this response effort.
Page 11 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC It is my understanding that this proposal is supported by the President's Cabinet officials. I also understand that it will not result in relocating any existing programs. Each agency will continue to administer its programs. The difference will be that policy will begin where it belongs in the White House, and not in any single agency.
Two years ago, this committee began an examination of the Federal programs designed to assist state and local emergency personnel to prepare for and respond to terrorist attacks. That investigation led to a series of hearings, illustrating the glaring lack of coordination and rampant duplication among programs of the 40-odd agencies involved in this effort.
Throughout our review, the question we continue to ask is, who is in charge? The answer is that there is not a single entity leading this effort. Nearly 100 training programs and as many response teams have been created by the Federal agencies, but there is no single entity to be called before this committee or any other committee in the Congress to tell us the status of all of these programs.
There is no single person to call, to ask how all of these programs work together to accomplish a unified goal. In fact, there has been no unified goal.
The Federal Government will spend more than $11 billion during fiscal year 2001 on counter-terrorism, but there is no coordinated national strategy to guide this effort.
The Department of Justice has made significant progress, but their efforts simply do not meet the requirements of a national strategy. No steps have been identified that would lead to a specified end state, or lay out goals to be achieved by our preparedness programs.
Unfortunately, the efforts of a single agency cannot replace the participation and guidance of the Executive Office of the President.
These problems led the committee to draft and facilitate the unanimous House passage of a bill that would facilitate coordination within the Federal effort. I would like to thank Congressman Wayne Gilchrest for re-introducing this bill with minor changes early in the 107th Congress.
Page 12 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The bill and its underlying principles will be the topic of today's hearing. We will also ask each of our agency officials how their agency will support the President's initiative to ensure its success.
I recently read an article in the May, 2001 issue of the Washington monthly called ''Weapons of Mass Confusion'' of how pork trumps preparedness in the fight against terrorism.
As the title indicates, the article focused on problems that exist within the structure of our Federal terrorism preparedness effort. I was not surprised to find that the article echoed the concerns of many witnesses who have testified before this subcommittee.
Hopefully, the next time we meet on this issue, we can discuss the progress we have made, instead of the problems that we have uncovered.
I now want to recognize our distinguished Ranking Member, Mr. Costello of Illinois.
Mr. COSTELLO. Mr. Chairman, I thank you for calling this important hearing today on H.R. 525, The Preparedness Against Domestic Terrorism Act of 2001. I look forward to hearing the testimony on this bill, as well as the proposal offered by President Bush and his Administration.
During the last Congress, we had a difficult time getting the most critical agencies involved in terrorism to get in the same room, just to talk to each other. There were turf battles within the Administration and its agencies, among the various committees with jurisdictions over these issues. We have, indeed, come a long way.
Over the last several years, this committee has heard from experts, state and local governments, and other stakeholders, that if we want to be prepared for a possible terrorist attack, we must have a meaningful national strategy, with measurable objectives and priorities, based on threat, risk, and capability assessment.
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The strategy must designate specific roles and responsibilities for Federal, state, and local entities, and provide minimum standards for preparedness. These are not difficult concepts.
At our last hearing on this subject, we heard from some of the authors of other terrorism preparedness proposals, and many experts in the field. Although these proposals contain different ways to achieve the goal, the consensus was overwhelming. We all agree that we need to make some major improvements to the Federal response to terrorism, and we need to address the situation now.
I believe that H.R. 525, which will amend the Robert T. Stafford Act to update Title VI of the Act, and to provide coordination for Federal efforts with regard to preparedness against terrorist attacked in the United States, will help us achieve this goal.
I am pleased to be a co-sponsor of this legislation. However, I recognize that the most important thing for us now is to move forward with the most comprehensive proposal. We owe it to our constituents and to our Nation.
The Congress and the Administration must work together to provide the citizens of this country with a national plan and a comprehensive strategy to achieve preparedness against terrorism, before it is too late.
I look forward to working with you, Mr. Chairman, as well as Congressman Gilchrest, the Ranking Democrat, Mr. Oberstar, and others, on enhancing H.R. 525 to reinforce some of the key principles that we all agree are critical to improving our ability to be ready for a terrorist incident. We want to continue to provide the proper oversight to ensure that we will move forward toward that goal.
Mr. Chairman, I thank you again for calling this hearing, and yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. LATOURETTE. I thank the gentleman.
Page 14 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC At our last hearing, we were joined by members of the National Security, Veterans Affairs, and International Relations Subcommittee of the Government Reform and Oversight Committee.
Today, we have again been joined by Chris Shays of Connecticut. I would ask unanimous consent that the gentleman from Connecticut, Mr. Shays, be permitted to participate in and ask questions during today's hearing.
Mr. COSTELLO. Without objection.
Mr. LATOURETTE. It is so ordered.
Mr. Shays, are there comments that you would like to make at the beginning of the hearing?
Mr. SHAYS. Mr. Chairman, I am happy to wait for the other members who may have a statement, but I do have a statement.
Mr. LATOURETTE. All right, Ms. Holmes Norton?
Ms. NORTON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I would like to thank you, Mr. LaTourette, for giving the matter of domestic terrorism and the Domestic Terrorism Act of 2001 your priority attention. I am also pleased to see that the President has given the matter priority by forming the Task Force.
I appreciate the bill that Mr. Gilchrest has put in. He lives in this region, and perhaps has a greater sense of the vulnerability of the city and the region to the terrorism for which our country is ill-prepared.
We have, indeed, been indescribably fortunate. There has been domestic terrorism in this country. A man is about to be executed because of terrorism in a city far away from this one. New York has experienced horrible terrorism.
Yet, we are only beginning, as a Congress, to think seriously about penetrating to a new level, a new level that the terrorists have already gotten to.
Page 15 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In my view, the only reason that there has not been the kind of terrorist act in the District of Columbia and in the region has nothing to do with anybody here, either in the Congress or those who protect the city.
It probably, in my judgment, has more to do with counter-intelligence at our borders, which I must say I am grateful to, because so many who might have entered this country clearly have been kept out.
I have followed closely this matter, because the District of Columbia is the bull's eye for terrorism, domestic and foreign. Not only are the Federal buildings a bull's eye, but the 600,000 people that I represent, not to mention the three million people who live in this region would be the first to fall vulnerable.
I am shocked at the primitive nature of the Federal response, and at the failure to marshall the best thinking in the society, which is found neither in the Congress nor in Washington, D.C.; but among a much broader array of people who, it seems to me, ought to be looking at the question of how does one maintain an open society in a world in which there is now a very serious threat of terrorism, both foreign and domestic.
To give you an example, if there were terrorists acts in this city, the front line is nobody in the Federal work force. The front line is the D.C. police and D.C. members of the fire department.
I would hate to tell you how little the Federal Government has done to coordinate and prepare the front line city agencies, where almost all the personnel would be drawn from, and where almost all the expertise would come from.
There is very little coordination within our Federal ranks, very little coordination with the District of Columbia, which would be on the front line, or with the region that would also be called upon to help.
Yet, just willy-nilly, the funding for counter-terrorism has doubled in the last four years. They just keep pouring the money in. This is not a Congress that would keep pouring money in on anything else, without looking to see whether it was being coordinated, without looking to see whether or not your money was, for example, going to redundant administrative overhead.
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC One of the great problems with just pouring money in without coordination is the inevitable redundancy, from the administration, alone. There is obviously redundancy in the core mission. But the redundancy just from funding the same people to do the same thing at the overhead level is something that we would not have considered doing for many other domestic matters.
It is really time, and we have got to put money in this, and more money in this. But I do not think we ought to be putting money into redundancy. We ought to be putting money into the core mission. It is not rocket science to figure out how to do the coordination of this very serious matter. The Task Force will obviously be some help.
Finally, let me say the broader approach that I spoke of earlier is what I believe we must eventually get to. We are working, essentially, on a straight line. We are doing the same things we were always doing, only we are saying, do more of it.
This is geometric. This is calculous. This is not about ordinary algebra. This is about how do you maintain two things. Terrorism goes up and changes and morphs its face on an annual basis. We keep doing the same thing, but we do a little more of what we were doing; meanwhile, throwing money at the problem.
How do you maintain an open society in a world in which there is extraordinary threat from terrorism? If all we do is to pump money into the security side of it, we will close this city and this society down.
I can tell you exactly how to keep terrorism from occurring; simply close off to society. Close down Pennsylvania Avenue. When you get through with that, close down Independence Avenue. Next, you should try Constitution Avenue.
Then I have got some other avenues in the middle of the town to make it really safe for the Federal sector. That is the 19th Century approach to counter-terrorism that we see in the capital of the United States, and it is now spreading to other parts of the United States.
Page 17 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I am looking forward in this hearing, and we have had another hearing in another committee, to moving us from a straight line approach to the multi-faceted way that we must look at this problem, so that we are doing everything we can to protect the Federal presence and the people who live in the city and this region, while at the same time, assuring that at the end of 10 years, when we are satisfied that somehow we have protected ourselves, we will regret the selves we have become.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. LATOURETTE. I thank the gentlelady.
Mr. Rogers, do you have any opening remarks at this time?
Mr. ROGERS. No.
Mr. LATOURETTE. Mr. Shays?
Mr. SHAYS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I thank the Ranking Member, as well, and members of the committee for allowing me to participate in this very important hearing.
The United States is the strongest economic and military power on earth, but we have a serious security vulnerability and that is terrorism. Our vulnerability to terrorism takes many forms, and comes from a variety of threats, domestic and abroad.
Presently, America still has no comprehensive national security strategy to address this threat to our nation and citizens. The bill before you today, H.R. 525, the Preparedness Against Domestic Terrorism Act of 2001, addresses important organizational weaknesses in the current Federal effort against terrorism, and can serve as the foundation for developing a comprehensive national strategy. But to fulfill the stated purpose to strengthen Federal inter-agency emergency planning, the bill should be clarified, in my judgment, to be sure it provides the sharp focus and comprehensive scope required to unite the disjointed efforts against terrorism.
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC First, the definition of terrorism should be clear. Differentiating between terrorism, crime, and civil unrest can be tricky. The growth threat of cyber attacks challenges traditional concepts that all terrorists acts involve violence.
A functional government-wide definition of terrorism should include any pre-meditated malicious and destructive act, directed against official or unofficial targets for ideological purposes, whether or not conventional, a conventional weapon, or a weapon of mass destruction is involved.
Using this definition attacks against the Murrah Federal Building, the World Trade Center, the U.S.S. Coal, the Uni-bombings, and the embassy bombings in Africa would certainly terrorist acts, because they meet the criteria.
Conversely, the Columbine School shootings, Ted Bundy's serial murders, or the Los Angeles riots would not fall within this definition of terrorism, primarily because these incidents lack a clear ideological component.
The Executive Branch Council, chartered by H.R. 525 should have a mandate broad enough to address terrorism on a comprehensive national scale. That mandate should include three core components, in my judgment: real budget authority over all Federal agencies and departments having a role in anti-terrorism, real time access to a national intelligence assessment of threats, articulation of a national anti-terrorism strategy, based on principles of risk management.
As was urged by witnesses at our joint hearing on this and other bills dealing with this issue, the entity charged with implementing a comprehensive anti-terrorism plan must be given the authority, accountability, and the resources to do the job.
A comprehensive terrorism strategy should approach the problem multi-dimensionally, and an effective plan must employ a strategy of prevention and response. Prevention involves the efficient communication and coordination of intelligence, implementing effective anti-terrorism programs worldwide, institutionalizing sound physical and personal security programs domestically and abroad, all backed by a consistent diplomatic policy of deterrents.
Page 19 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Response includes competent crisis management by first responders, seamless consequent management by Federal agencies responsible for infrastructure and recovery, supported by effective counter-terrorist measures, and investigative follow-up by law enforcement.
I believe the concepts and mechanism for a national strategy in H.R. 525 could be expanded beyond domestic boundaries to include the international aspects of terrorism. Terrorism is not just a domestic problem. It is an international problem, requiring domestic and international solutions.
The CIA should be a voting member of the Executive Council. The State Department should be a voting member of the Executive Council, as well, because diplomacy is our first line of defense, and border security begins with the issuance of visas by our embassies.
I believe Congress has an opportunity with H.R. 525 to have a meaningful impact on our nation's ability to combat terrorism. I look forward to working with this subcommittee and our colleagues supporting other proposals.
Our nation needs a comprehensive national anti-terrorism strategy. Congress and the Administration have an obligation and an opportunity to work together against terrorism. We should do so with a proper sense of urgency, because one thing is certain, our terrorist adversaries will not wait for us to act on this very important issue.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. LATOURETTE. Thank you, Mr. Shays.
Mr. Berry, are there any comments that you would like to make?
Mr. BERRY. I have no comments at this time, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. LATOURETTE. I thank all the members for their opening statements.
If there are no further statements, I would now like to call up today's first panel. Due to a conflict with the Director's schedule, we are going to hear first from the Director of FEMA, Mr. Allbaugh.
Page 20 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I welcome you, Director Allbaugh, to testify. I know that you are accompanied by Mr. Magaw, who I knew in his previous incarnation as the head of the ATF, and the excellent work that he did there.
In listening to your opening remarks, I think I am struck by the warmth in the room. So I am going to take my jacket off, and if anyone in the audience wants to similarly disrobe, it will not be a sign of disrespect to any of the proceedings, and I encourage you to do that.
With that, Mr. Director, we would like to hear from you.
STATEMENT OF JOE M. ALLBAUGH, DIRECTOR, FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY, ACCOMPANIED BY JOHN MAGAW, ACTING DEPUTY DIRECTOR, FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY
Mr. ALLBAUGH. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am Joe Allbaugh, Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. First, I would like to thank the committee for accommodating my schedule. I am trying to get back this afternoon to handle disaster requests in two states: Illinois and Wisconsin.
As you know, we have flooding on the Upper Mississippi, and it is paramount that I try to expedite those requests and get them to the President as quickly as possible. I appreciate the courtesy you have shown me this afternoon.
As the Chairman noted, I am joined by John Magaw, Acting Deputy Director of FEMA. Mr. Magaw is well known on Capitol Hill for his expertise and long service to our country, and I am honored that he is by my side today. For the panel, Mr. Magaw, should the members request, will remain after I depart.
I really want to thank the members of the committee for this opportunity to discuss enhancing the coordination of terrorism preparedness programs and activities. I applaud the efforts of this committee and its members for focusing on this important national issue.
Page 21 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I know you have been working closely with FEMA and other agencies over the last several years to understand the complexities of the problems, and to identify ways to implement programs more effectively and more efficiently.
In working with President Bush over the past several months, I am very much aware of his vision for peace and stability in our world. However, we know only too well that there are others here at home and abroad, who do not share these ideals.
As the President's Director for Emergency Management, I am also aware of the expectation of our citizens that their Government protect their lives and property when an emergency or disaster occurs, whether it be a hurricane, earthquake, flood, tornado, or act of terrorism.
Government's most fundamental responsibility is to protect the physical safety of its population. In today's world, this obligation includes protection against the use of weapons of mass destruction involving nuclear, biological, or chemical agents and materials.
Sadly, we have already experienced the use of destructive agents, as has been noted, in Oklahoma City and New York City. Members should know that I am originally from Oklahoma. As I sidebar, I lost many friends in that disaster, and even some high school classmates. It was a disaster that touched many hearts, all across this country.
Mr. LATOURETTE. It sure did.
Mr. ALLBAUGH. The threat of terrorist use of weapons of mass destruction is real, although we pray that an incident will never occur again.
Prudence dictates that we take measures to defend our nation under any circumstances. Therefore, the United States must be fully prepared to deal effectively with the potential threat and possible use of such weapons.
In response to the need expressed by Members of Congress, Governors, and state and local officials to better focus our domestic preparedness, this administration is working to address these critical matters.
Page 22 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As has been noted by the Chairman and others, President Bush has asked Vice President Cheney to oversee the national effort dealing with the weapons of mass destruction.
We are aware of your desire, the committee's desire, for focused leadership from the White House in this area, and of your desire for a national strategy with measurable objectives to help guide the effort, and I support this need, as well.
The President is very aware of your desire for better coordination among the involved agencies, so that together, we can develop and deliver a viable domestic preparedness program that supports the requirements of local, state, and Federal responders.
The President has directed me to establish at FEMA the Office of National Preparedness at FEMA, which will serve as the focal point for the coordination and implementation of preparedness and consequence management programs for dealing with the threat of weapons of mass destruction.
This office will work with other agencies and departments to coordinate Federal programs and assistance in support of an integrated local, state, and Federal preparedness and consequence management response capability.
This office will also work closely with the states and local governments to ensure their input in those programs and activities as the office seeks to improve the quality of Federal support for state and local emergency management personnel and our first responders.
I am committed to working closely with Attorney General John Ashcroft to ensure that the Department of Justice's lead Federal role for crisis management programs and FEMA's lead Federal role for consequence management efforts are seamless and thoroughly integrated.
This action by President Bush yesterday will better focus our current policies and ensure that programs and activities are fully coordinated and integrated in support of building the needed preparedness and response capabilities.
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We are now poised to move forward in a meaningful way, and I look forward to working with the committee on this important undertaking. This is a critical matter, and it will require the commitment of all of us working together to ensure its success.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members.
Mr. LATOURETTE. I thank you, Director Allbaugh, for your fine statement.
Before questions, I note behind you was Fran McCarthy from your organization. I just want to compliment you on the work that he is doing with others, relative to the awarding of fire grants throughout the country.
He came to northeastern Ohio, and my rather hard-hearted fire chiefs were just won over instantly by his charm, and others in your organization.
A little later, we are going to hear from the main author of H.R. 525, Congressman Gilchrest, to whom we owe a debt of gratitude for carrying the ball in this Congress.
As you know from reviewing that legislation, it was drafted, and it continues to be refined to address five major principles. That is the lack of a national strategy; the fact that there is no defined end state for preparedness; a lack of coordination and duplication among agencies; no single entity in charge; and authority over all of the agencies involved.
We had the chance to chat a little bit yesterday, and I think you understand some of the concerns that we expressed, relative to those five principles.
My question to you would be, how do you think that the President's Executive Order and his proposal that I know is a work in progress is going to address those issues?
Mr. ALLBAUGH. Well, I believe that, first and foremost, the Vice President's efforts will define a matrix and understand the world with regards to terrorism preparedness, among all the agencies, and exactly what they are doing in preparation.
Page 24 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I asked for that list not too long ago, and nobody can provide that. I think that is the beginning place for the Vice President's effort. We will be supporting that role for the Vice President.
I am not sure what stage an Executive order is in. There is not currently an Executive Order. I know that the Vice President is very concerned about this issue.
I think that the Vice President and the President ought to be deciding what the timetable should be for responding properly to all the agencies and responding to Congress. But FEMA is going to be there at the front, leading the charge, helping in any way we can, doing the things that we do best, which is facilitating and coordination.
We see that day in and day out when disasters hit, through our utilizing the Federal Response Plan. So that is probably the greatest asset we bring to the table, doing what we do best.
Mr. LATOURETTE. I think Congress, in 1997, passed legislation, in trying to get the list that you are now seeking in 2001. I would simply ask, as a courtesy, if you ever lay hands on one, if you would be kind enough to share it.
Mr. ALLBAUGH. I promise you, I will share that with everybody.
Mr. LATOURETTE. We would appreciate that very much.
I, for one, was delighted to hear the President's proposal and have FEMA be the ''lead dog'' if you will in this effort. I thought that that is where it should be.
We also felt strongly that there needed to be a presence, as I indicated in my opening remarks, in the Office of the Vice President and the Office of the President. The President seems to be accomplishing that.
But one of the things that is tough around here, that you will find out, being from Texas through Oklahoma and all other points, is that there are a lot of turf fights that go on here. People are reluctant, once they get a program or a bailiwick, to give it up.
Page 25 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I was interested in your opening remarks about the fact that the Secretaries of Defense and State, I thought I had understood you to say, and also the Attorney General, seem to be on board.
I would just ask you to comment on that, as to how you think those agencies, which have important responsibilities in this effort, are going to respond; and then sort of give up some of the things that perhaps they have been engaged in, in the past.
Mr. ALLBAUGH. Well, I know that the President, the Vice President, the National Security Advisor, and myself have spoken with all the members of the Cabinet. They are all on board with having a central integrated national plan, which we do not have right now.
That is the goal. That is what everyone wants to achieve, and I cannot think of a person who does not want to help in that effort. I do not see that as a problem.
FEMA is a bottom-up driven organization, as opposed to some other organizations that are top-down driven. We want to be in a position of educating those first responders, the local emergency managers, the fire, the police. Each member of the Cabinet shares in that goal.
So to that end, I do not see that there is going to be a problem in coordinating and facilitating all these efforts among the various agencies, regardless of who has the ultimate responsibility, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. LATOURETTE. I appreciate that, and since you mentioned first responders, I want to commend you, because I know that you had a lot to do with the fact that we are even talking about $100 million now, going out to the fire services across the country. We very much appreciate that.
You mentioned it to me yesterday, but for the purposes of this record, how much money, in terms of dollars, have you received in requests for that $100 million from around the country?
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. ALLBAUGH. I think we are somewhere around 19,000 or 20,000 requests, and it totals about $7 billion or $8 billion. That is among five categories.
We were not able to implement all the categories that Congress was so gracious in approving, but that just demonstrates the need and the desire among the fire service community.
Mr. LATOURETTE. I think everyone on this panel would agree that the need is great. I think the only thing that we can encourage you, as we get through the appropriations and the budget process is, the Congress authorized $300 million, as you know. If we can scrape it up, we would like you to spend it, I think, for the folks in the fire service.
With that, I would like to yield to the Ranking Member, Mr. Costello.
Mr. COSTELLO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Director, welcome.
Mr. ALLBAUGH. Thank you.
Mr. COSTELLO. We want to keep you on your schedule, since you are going back to, hopefully, bring some relief to my home state of Illinois. I want to ask you a couple of quick questions. One is, what is the timetable for this project getting under way?
Mr. ALLBAUGH. Well, again, I do not want to craft a timetable for the President or the Vice President. I will let them set the timetable. But I know their agenda calls for results sooner, rather than later.
This program and a variety of programs have been in place since 1995 and 1996. We still do not have a national coordinated effort. That is our focus, to bring clarity to this issue.
I know that in the draft Executive Order language--that had been shopped around a little bit--there was a date of October 1. I would hate to hold anyone's feet to the fire on that; but obviously, sooner rather than later.
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. COSTELLO. As I said in my opening statement, we have come a long way, and I commend the President for taking this action.
You talked about a close working relationship with state and local government. Can you elaborate on that a little bit? In other words, how do you see the role of state and local government involved in this project?
Mr. ALLBAUGH. Well, as I stated yesterday, across the Hill, nine times out of ten, that first phone call is going to come in through a 911 phone call. The individuals who are going to be responding to that will be local emergency managers, principally fire and police.
I do not have a fire department. I do not have a police department. It is those folks where the incident takes place who are going to be there on the job.
We have over 42 programs at FEMA at the National Emergency Training Center, up in Emmitsburg, that are either resident programs or field programs that we try to push down to those local responders, the folks who put their lives on the line, day in and day out. We try to provide the best education that we can bring forward so that they will know exactly what to do.
I might point out that we produce a book, as well, to deal with a multitude of issues; not only fire and police actions, but in the area of terrorism, all types of terrorism. We produced over 57,000 copies of this booklet, and that is really in every fire truck in America, at every fire station, every police station. I mean, this is a manual, and it is a wonderful tool.
We could not do anything without those local responders. They protect our national infrastructure more than anybody else. We could never say thank you enough to those folks in the fire and police service. I am happy to do all that I can with the firegrant program to make it successful.
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. COSTELLO. Of course, we all realize that the first to respond are the folks on the scene at the local level. But how do you envision, or do you have any recommendations that you intend to make to the Vice President, as to how local government will be involved on the front end, as opposed to the latter stages?
Mr. ALLBAUGH. Yes, sir, I do.
Mr. COSTELLO. Would that be an advisory committee or will there be people involved from either the Governor's office in various states or at the local level?
Mr. ALLBAUGH. It would be my recommendation to the President and the Vice President that with these programs, none are going to be successful unless we include those individuals at the state, local, and county level. They have to be a part of the program. They have to be a part of crafting the program.
I would insist, as we do with other programs at FEMA, on their participation; because without them, we have absolutely nothing.
Mr. LATOURETTE. Did you want to add to that, Mr. Magaw?
Mr. MAGAW. If I could just add for a moment, what we are saying here is that no program can be successful if it does not involve the first responders. In the Office of National Preparedness, we expect that there will be representatives from state and local governments who will be detailed and selected by their own chiefs, mayors, governors, and emergency management personnel.
We would hope to be able to pay their per diem and their cost of living. Generally, the supporting city or county would pay their wages. So when decisions are made, there will always be state and local at the table. If that does not happen, you will not have success.
Mr. COSTELLO. We, I think, recognize that the Vice President is a very capable person. But it seems to me that he has a pretty full plate right now. What will the Vice President's role be on this project?
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. ALLBAUGH. He will oversee the entire effort of looking at this area, utilizing the Office of National Preparedness as the backbone entity to support his efforts.
I expect that he will be taking this issue up, as soon as he possibly can. I know that we are going to move forward with the creation of the office here in the next several days, quite frankly, so we can be ahead of the power curve. Once he is finished with some other duties, the Energy Task Force and some other things, he will be focused on this.
Mr. COSTELLO. I would just conclude, Mr. Chairman, by encouraging the Director, and I know you do not need encouragement to do this, but you realize the importance?
Mr. ALLBAUGH. I do.
Mr. COSTELLO. When the Chairman speaks of turf battles in the various agencies of the Federal Government, we also have turf battles right here on Capitol Hill, on this side and the other side. So I would just encourage you and the Vice President, as the project gets under way, to work very closely with the various committees in Congress.
Mr. ALLBAUGH. We will do that.
Mr. COSTELLO. I thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. LATOURETTE. I thank the gentleman.
Mr. ROGERS. Thank you very much, sir.
I was kind of shocked when I got to Congress. About 10 years ago, we were working some cases involving terrorism in Chicago, as a young FBI agent. We decided that we needed some experts, anyone who had training in chemical and biological response. We found that there was nobody that we could talk to, that could get us that information.
I checked after I got here, and I thought, well, by 10 years, they must have straightened out that mess. I find out that there is really no one that can tell you, in any given community, who is even qualified to show up, if we had a chemical or biological attack. It is a little disconcerting to me.
Page 30 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We know they are out there, and we know that the task that you have is great. My one concern is, Ron Brown, a few years ago, was asked to coordinate various trade organizations, a very small number in the Federal Government, to talk about trade issues. He came back and said, this is an impossible task to get these people on the same sheet of paper.
We are talking about 200 regulators in insurance and banking and securities, trying to talk to each other. We found out, without action in the Congress, this just is not going to happen. So when you said ''coordination'' I got a little bit nervous.
Maybe I am not understanding your vision of how this is going to look. My fear is, if we do not have a very strong civilian department head, who has authority over that, I do not know if you want to call it a domestic security counsel, but we are not going to get anywhere in a real hurry on this particular issue. Help me get there, if you can, and I want to be as helpful as I can.
Mr. ALLBAUGH. Well, the only way I can help you get there is to let you know and assure you that this is front and center on the President's mind. He wants to bring clarity to this issue. He does not see the need, with his involvement and with Vice President Cheney's involvement, for the creation of another agency or entity.
In my personal conversations with both of those gentlemen, it is front and center on their minds. We do need to bring clarity to this issue. We have some 40 agencies, 46 agencies, 49 agencies. I am not sure, but we all seem to be bumping into one another. Still, after I do not know how many billions of dollars that have been spent, we do not have a national plan, and that is what we need.
Mr. ROGERS. But when you say ''plan'' is there somebody that is going to have authority to pull in 49 agencies and say, look, this is exactly what is going to happen?
Mr. ALLBAUGH. I would say, the President of the United States and the Vice President of the United States. That is who I respond to.
Page 31 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. ROGERS. Well, I am sure they are pretty busy.
I guess my concern is, Mr. Chairman, and I do not want to belabor the point, but I hope we can work with you on this.
Mr. ALLBAUGH. Absolutely.
Mr. ROGERS. I think it is important to have, I do not know if it is a department head or somebody, who has the ability to put those 49 players at the same table and say, this is the way we will coordinate the effort.
Otherwise, again, 10 years from now, we will be saying, gee, can we find the guy in Pataka, Michigan, who knows how to respond to chemical warfare? Then we will scratch our head and say, no, but we spent a lot of money training him.
Mr. ALLBAUGH. Or what happened to that guy with the flat top; that is what you will be asking.
Mr. ROGERS. That is right; but by then, you will have more hair.
Mr. ALLBAUGH. I doubt it.
Mr. ROGERS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. LATOURETTE. Thank you.
I would tell the gentleman that in a meeting with the Director yesterday, he has indicated a willingness to take any and all ideas that members of the committee might have back to the Administration, for potential incorporation, as they work through their policy. I am sure he would welcome your thoughts.
Mr. Director, I do not think anybody noticed your hair, until you made that comment.
Page 32 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. LATOURETTE. Ms. Norton?
Ms. NORTON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Actually, I am pleased that this is being coordinated at the Presidential and Vice Presidential level.
I served in the Carter Administration. I can think of no agency that would command the respect and attention, no single agency, that could get all of the agencies involved to somehow believe that since they had been designated the lead agency, they were supposed to do what they said to do; either the FBI, the Justice Department or all the rest of them, particularly given the different levels of expertise that each of these agencies have.
I really think there is only one place to coordinate it, and that is at the Presidential and Vice Presidential level. So I commend the President for taking this on. I am sure Mr. Cheney cannot do everything. But this one thing that I sure hope he does do.
I am concerned about what we do, while the Federal Government is getting coordinated, because I have experienced just how uncoordinated it is. Just a few summers ago here, one of the leading national Jewish organizations in town had something left and a phone call made that there was some kind of biological agent left.
Of course, just as your testimony says, and I read from it, because I think you show an important awareness of just what has to be done. You say, in your own testimony, Mr. Allbaugh, you say, ''Local respondents will be the first to arrive at an incident, and may be forced to manage operations at the scene on their own for hours.''
When there is domestic terrorism, minutes can be everything. Hours can mean whatever could be done with good coordination will be all over.
So what we have to assume is that the local respondents have to be able to take care of it, pure and simple. We hope that others will have time to get in, but the safest assumption to make is that the local respondents will act.
Page 33 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Now I think we would have been particularly informed if we had asked the police chief of the District of Columbia to come to this hearing today, or the fire chief, because we would have had some sense of what at least one local respondent on the front line is faced with.
My concern is that the District police, who probably even then had better training than most folks, and they live cheek by jowl with the Federal Government, did everything wrong.
You know, they put on the wrong clothes, put people in the wrong thing. It was a disaster to behold. They came and they were alert to do what they knew how to do, and they knew how to do very little.
So I am really concerned that we have not only a plan to coordinate people and get everybody on board, but that we have interim plans, so that people are prepared, even if it is jerry-built, to know what to do, while we are getting to the point where they are truly up to skill.
I was very impressed that are any number of things that FEMA has already done; all kinds of courses and the rest that are available, self-study, and many courses that have been prepared.
I would like to ask you, what is there? Let us face it, who the first respondents will be. If you are a terrorist, you are not going to go to Podunk. You are going to go to some big city or some part around the big city. You are going to go to Oklahoma City. You are going to go to Washington, D.C. You are going to go to Philadelphia.
These are the police departments and the fire departments who are under the greatest pressure from their own internal pressures.
I would like to know what there is that would make a big city police chief or fire chief want to now take time from the complicated first priority task of managing crime and fire protection in his jurisdiction, and put his men and women into learning what do as first responders.
Page 34 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Are there grants; are their instructions of any kind? I mean, I can get these self-study courses, but what incentive is there if you are in what ever big city is in, a high crime area, a very vulnerable area, to even look at what you want them to do? How can you get their attention, in other words?
Mr. ALLBAUGH. Well, first and foremost, we spend about $30 million a year in training and grants that we offer up to many communities.
I would tell you, the members of the police service and the fire service, this is an issue that is front and center on their mind. I do not think we have to encourage them to take time away from their regular duties. They know that this could happen in their community, at any given moment.
Having those training courses and those grants available just further encourages their participation. With Mr. Magaw's life-long service in the law enforcement community, I would ask him to follow up on this.
Mr. MAGAW. One of the things, Congresswoman, that has really worked well, and it worked really for the first time in Oklahoma City, just a few weeks before the bombing in Oklahoma City, the city officials participated in a training course focusing on working together with all the involved elements-the fire, police and local officials. We have more requests for that type of training than we can handle.
But anyway, the mayor comes in, the city council, the police chief, the fire chief, and they come in to Emmittsburg for one week, and they are talked through emergency situations, many different ones. They find out that, well, we are going to have to change this if this is going to work.
It is difficult to get them together, but the cities that have committed are now the biggest sales persons to do that. Once they get together and talk about, you know, how the fire department and the police are going to interact, those are the people that are going to respond. All of terrorism is going to come through 911. So that is the group that we have to get first.
Page 35 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC That program has worked very, very well. We just continue to offer those programs with as much money as we have. It has worked very well for these cities to help them start.
Then in the regions, our regional areas out there identify what training they want, and try to find out which one of these 27 agencies that support FEMA does so in this area, to see who has the best program for them. So that is one of that ways that we are proceeding.
Ms. NORTON. I wish you would provide for the record the cities that have gone through this, and that would be very helpful.
Mr. ALLBAUGH. We will do that.
Ms. NORTON. I would also like to caution that I do believe that police departments and fire departments understand that this is the worst thing that could happen to their city, and they had better give it some attention.
I also know that is a very real sense, if you are a police chief, the worst thing that can happen in your city is, you do not bring down crime, and you do not look like you are doing fire protection.
Mr. ALLBAUGH. Yes.
Ms. NORTON. So I caution you about believing that people understand how disastrous this would be. It is still a very remote notion to most people and, I believe, most security experts in their own cities, because of the humongous pressures that face them every day on which their jobs depend, if they do not attend to those pressures.
Mr. MAGAW. Your emergency manager, Peter LaPorte, is in contact with FEMA and the other agencies almost daily, and is really doing a good job of bringing in the training that he can.
Ms. NORTON. Thank you, and that is precisely because we are in the Nation's capital.
Page 36 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. LATOURETTE. Could I add one additional thing, to reinforce the importance, so you will know, that the President places on this? He reached out and tapped an individual to be the new Administrator of the Fire Administration, John Hansen, who was in Oklahoma City.
He lived through Oklahoma City when the bombing took place. He is in the audience today. I hope that each and every one of you have a chance to get to meet John. He brings 26 years worth of fire service training and experience, and he knows firsthand what is on the minds of the fire community.
Mr. LATOURETTE. I thank the gentlelady.
Mr. SHAYS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Allbaugh, it is nice to have you here, and it is nice to know that you have this appointment, in part because of your competence, and also in part because of your relationship with the President, because this is such an important position.
In this legislation, there is budget authority, and there is a national strategy, but there is not a risk assessment component. I am on the bill. I mean, I think it is a step forward, but there is not a risk assessment.
Does it not strike you that if you have to respond to a terrorist attack, that you need to have assessment continually about where an attack likely may happen and what kind of attack it would be, and so on?
Mr. MAGAW. I can take that one. That really is the first thing you have to do, in a lot of the different studies that have gone on, and a lot of people that have testified about the risk, and what is the risk of your particular area, and what is the risk of the particular part of the country that you live in.
A ''bio'' is one of the ones that is the most difficult to prepare for, and the one that we have done the least in preparing for. But how viable is it? Where does it rank, in comparison to explosives or chemical or radiological?
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So an assessment clearly has to be done. It not only has to be done at a national level, but it has to be done at a community level. Then your program is built from that. Your training is built from that. Your staffing is built from that. So that is one of the things that the Vice President clearly is going to do.
Mr. SHAYS. How will we be able to do that unless we allow the CIA and others to be participants in that process? Because the terrorist threat assessment, in large measure, will be obvious. So would they not have to play a role?
Mr. MAGAW. The new intelligence unit that was put together a few months ago, chaired by the Director of the FBI, brings all of those elements together. Part of this plan, as we move forward, is to be able to share that intelligence.
Mr. SHAYS. Are you prepared to talk about this legislation, or do you all feel you need to get your feet wet a little longer, before you start making assessments of this legislation?
Mr. MAGAW. Of H.R. 525?
Mr. SHAYS. Yes.
Mr. ALLBAUGH. Well, Mr. Magaw is better prepared with 525, having been here the last couple of sessions. I am really not.
Mr. SHAYS. I just wondered if the Administration was prepared. In other words, one of the questions I would want to know, whether you are prepared to answer it now or later is the type of changes you would recommend, to make sure that we have a risk assessment.
Mr. MAGAW. Well, to one who is independently trying to look at terrorism and preparing the kind of things you have been talking about, they would lose their credibility immediately if they found very much wrong with 525. There is not very much wrong with 525.
Page 38 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SHAYS. Then why do you not just tell me exactly where I find the risk assessment component in that?
Mr. MAGAW. We already answered that. I thought we were beyond that.
Mr. SHAYS. But the point is, you want to see a risk assessment component.
Mr. MAGAW. That is right.
Mr. SHAYS. Where in the legislation do we find that?
Mr. MAGAW. It is not in 525, but I had already addressed that.
Mr. SHAYS. Okay, you said it was perfect.
Mr. MAGAW. No, no, I said you cannot find very much wrong with it.
Mr. SHAYS. But that would be one area where I was just trying to reconcile this.
Mr. MAGAW. Much of the rough draft Executive Order that we have been able to see really addresses most every area that you are dealing with here.
Mr. SHAYS. Let me share this. We have 40-plus agencies. Presently, we have a person in the NSC, Mr. Clark, who is trying to assess terrorism. But there is a strong view that we need a strong coordinator with budgetary authority and so on, and line authority, as well.
Then you have Mr. Rudman. His group that has been looking at this has actually suggested a home security department, that would basically include FEMA and the National Guard and so on.
I think the reason why we think this way is, as Ms. Norton points out, we are the target. It is great when our allies say that we do not need a national missile defense system, but they are not the targets. Obviously, a national missile defense does not help us with terrorism. But is another way and we are a target, and we have got to deal with it.
Page 39 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I guess I am not sure how we address this problem. I do not look for an answer, but I just want to share it with you, Mr. Allbaugh. That is, the biological or chemical attack in Atlantic City or, say, the Atlanta Airport in the next three hours, with the infection going to 50 airports. I do not even think that we come close to coming to grips with how we address that. I hope the dialogue that you get involved in will start to look at those issues.
Mr. MAGAW. I think we have started to really realize what you are saying, because the Top-Off exercise, the part that took place in Denver showed exactly what you are talking about: that it took place within a very short period of time, seven or eight days for the incubation period, for it to be discovered and identified.
By then, people were in Europe, they were in Asia. The hospitals, as soon as the employees found out about it, they did not come back to work. All kinds of things occurred in that exercise. So it is exactly what you have addressed.
Mr. SHAYS. Mr. Chairman, thank you very much.
Thank you, gentlemen.
Mr. LATOURETTE. I thank you, Mr. Shays.
Mr. Director, before we let you go, Mr. Blumenauer, who is a member of our full committee, has asked if he can make a quick point. I would ask unanimous consent that the gentleman from Oregon be permitted to participate, and it is so ordered.
Mr. BLUMENAUER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Director, I apologize for missing some of the commentary. We had a markup downstairs.
But in the course of your consideration, I hope that your notion of engaging law enforcement personnel would include the transit security and police.
Internationally, 42 percent of the terrorist activity has been directed towards transportation and transportation infrastructure. It has doubled since 1995. I will be addressing the subcommittee in the next panel about this.
Page 40 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But I hope as you put together the task force and as you are looking at this, that there is a way to engage the people who are working with this problem, where we have millions of Americans, and hundreds of thousands of employees, who are on the line, every day, and where we are seeing an increase of terrorist activity.
We have got some for air security, but all of the rest of the transportation system is deeply troubling to me. I hope that it will be a part of the Task Force, and we will be able to work with you to give it the attention that it deserves.
Mr. ALLBAUGH. That is a very good point. I will make sure that we include that.
Mr. BLUMENAUER. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. LATOURETTE. I thank you for your contribution.
Gentlemen, we thank you very much for appearing before us today. We will keep you on the schedule. We look forward to working with you in the future.
Mr. ALLBAUGH. Mr. Chairman and members, we appreciate the opportunity to be here.
Mr. LATOURETTE. Now I want to take the opportunity to call up today's second panel. This panel consists of two of our distinguished colleagues from the full Transportation Committee.
First, we have with us Congressman Wayne Gilchrest of Maryland. As has been alluded to before, he is the primary mover and shaker behind H.R. 525. So Congressman Gilchrest, I would say that we would not be where we are today, although we have come a long way, but we would not be where we are today with the Administration's proposal, if it had not been for you picking up this effort in the 107th Congress.
We are also fortunate enough to have Congressman Earl Blumenauer of Oregon with us today. The subcommittee wants to extend its thanks to you for your help and participation, as we move through H.R. 525.
Page 41 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We are delighted that you are here. We are prepared to listen to your remarks. I would invite you to begin, Mr. Gilchrest.
STATEMENT OF HONORABLE WAYNE GILCHREST, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE MARYLAND, AND HON. EARL BLUMENAUER, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM OREGON
Mr. GILCHREST. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I thank you for holding another hearing on this issue. I think we are beginning to understand, certainly the people in the Administration and first responders in the various departments and agencies have understood for a long time, that this is quite a serious issue. So our attention needs to be focused on the best way to create a fluid structure, so that the U.S. is prepared to react to the consequences of terrorism.
One of the examples I would like to use for putting this in the Executive Office of the President, Mr. Chairman, is that even though the room is very warm, and you recommended that people take their coats off, and you, yourself, the Chairman of the committee, took your coat off, very few people in the hearing room took their coats off.
But I think if Mr. Bush was here and took his coat off, showing the power of the Presidency, I think just about everybody in the room, if not everyone, would have taken their coats off. So that is sort of a simple example of why we should put this in the Executive Office, and have the President oversee these various agencies.
Mr. LATOURETTE. I think you are sort of ''dissing'' me, quite frankly.
Mr. GILCHREST. That is a whole other question.
Mr. GILCHREST. At any rate, I have just one other observation, Mr. Chairman, before I start my formal testimony, and I would ask for unanimous consent that my complete statement be put into the record.
Page 42 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. LATOURETTE. Without objection.
Mr. GILCHREST. Mr. Allbaugh in the other questions and responses that were discussed from the first panel, emphasized the need to have a quick response from the top to the bottom; from the top of FEMA, or Department of Defense, or FBI, or whatever, right down to the individual making the 911 call, some place in an urban or rural area of the country.
So I would hope that when we begin to do this, and if the bill passes and the President signs it into law, that on a big screen in this seminar or conference room, where people are beginning to discuss, how do we make this coordination of effort, they put up a spider web.
When you touch that first strand of the spider web, and we all know that a spider web is quite strong, but when you touch the first strand, the center of the spider web immediately vibrates. So the center of the spider web knows that something touched the outer edge.
The outer edges of this bill, as I see it, are the people in the communities that will be first affected by this crisis. The center of this web of life is the President. If we can create some system that will do that, and have that as a frame of reference, I think the coordination will be what we want it to be.
Let me begin my testimony by describing what I see is the present situation right now. First, there is an absence, in my judgment, of an organized Federal effort. Federal Agencies have created massive, expensive, mostly uncoordinated and often duplicative programs, many of which do not address the needs of the state and local responders.
Second, the entity created to coordinate these programs, the FBI's National Domestic Preparedness Office, we have seen, and also it has been said from a number of sources, has not met the expectations of the response communities.
Page 43 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mostly, I think, this is because the FBI does not have the ability of oversight over all of the other different Federal agencies. We also know that in the last four years, we have doubled the budget for terrorist programs, but we have not gotten a bang for our buck.
The situation that we are in is not from a lack of commitment from the various agencies involved in the anti-domestic terrorism effort.
On the contrary, the men and woman who have dedicated their lives and careers to addressing the issue have done amazing things with their particular agencies, commissions, groups, committees, and organizations. Their work is sound in their heart, and their minds have definitely been in the right place.
The problems arise when the efforts are made independent of each other, where billions of dollars are spent on programs that overlap and do not incorporate the input of those who will be first on the scene.
That is why we introduced H.R. 525. At this point, I want to make sure we thank the staff, the staff of the committee, my personal staff, and certainly the agencies, former Congresswoman Tillie K. Fowler from last year, and all the people that have gone into fine tuning this legislation.
But we have introduced H.R. 525 because there is no national strategy for preparedness against terrorist attacks. Two, despite the multitude of existing Federal preparedness programs, there is no defined end state to determine what point communities are prepared for a terrorist attack, involving weapons of mass destruction.
Three, Federal efforts, as much as we try, are not coordinated, resulting often in fragmented and overly expensive overlapping programs. Number four, emergency responders insist there must be a single entity in charge of coordinating Federal efforts.
Number five, who is going to coordinate the Federal efforts. Who will have the power to do that and the influence to make sure these various diverse Federal agencies respond quickly. A number of people said here today, and we agree with it, that it has to be the President.
Page 44 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC There have been a number of public and private organizations that have made certain comments about this present situation, and this is what we base 525 on, and what we think 525 does. We think it offers a structural organization from which to coordinate our efforts, and requires that we have a plan for where we need to be.
When I say we create a structural organization to coordinate our efforts, if you could always sort of keep in mind what we might call that web of life, or that spider web example.
With the draft Executive Order that Mr. Allbaugh talked about today, we think that is extraordinarily good news. We think this legislation can fit quite nicely into that.
I want to respond to Mr. Shays' question about risk assessment. Certainly, that can, I think, to some extent, be incorporated into this legislation. But for the most part, this legislation is to respond, in as effortless a way as possible, to first responders during a crisis.
Inherent in this is, we assume that certainly the CIA, NSA, and other Federal agencies will continue to try to prevent these things from happening.
H.R. 525 is not the last word on domestic preparedness, nor is the President's Executive Order, as it is initiated and implemented. The Preparedness Against Domestic Terrorism Bill is intended to prompt action, to get people thinking about this process, and to set up a structure in which those thoughts and ideas can be made reality.
Mr. Chairman, I thank you for the time you have given us here this afternoon. We look forward to working with you in hopes of getting a piece of legislation that can be signed by the President.
Mr. LATOURETTE. I thank you very much.
Page 45 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. BLUMENAUER. Mr. Chairman, I do begin by associating myself with Mr. Gilchrest's comments, except his reference to the Chair's leadership.
Mr. BLUMENAUER. I have appreciated the evolution of this legislation, with Congressman Gilchrest stepping in, working on it in the last session, and making sure that the hard work of our former colleague, Tillie Fowler, was moving forward.
I appreciate the committee's attention, and I would hope that there is no reason to test the steps that we see in H.R. 525. But sadly, the threat to our country from terrorism remains very real.
As reference to my brief comment a moment ago to Director Allbaugh, I would like to direct my comments on the risk of terrorist attacks against transportation, energy, and other infrastructure facilities.
Providing safe and accessible transportation choices is a part of community livability, where families are safe, healthy, and economically secure.
As I referenced, according to the Department of Transportation's Office of Intelligence and Security, in 1998, attacks against transportation and transportation infrastructure accounted for 42 percent of all international terrorist attacks reported by the United States State Department.
In that year, there were over 1,000 violent incidents worldwide, representing nearly a 20 percent increase over 1997, and a 107 increase since 1995.
Transportation targets by terrorists are not new. Assessments from the intelligence community indicate that the threat of terrorism against airplanes, subways, buses, pipelines and railroads has, in fact, increased in recent years.
Mass transit system and infrastructure in the United States have figured prominently in numerous attacks of terrorism and extreme violence: the Long Island Railroad shootings, a tragedy that touched one of our colleagues here, Congresswoman McCarthy; the World Trade Center bombing; sabotaged-induced derailments of Amtrak; Sunset Limited in Arizona; and the Fulton Street fire bombings.
Page 46 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Just last week in Los Angeles, a city bus was hijacked by a gunman, crashed during a police chase through downtown, killing one person and injuring seven others.
The evolution of terrorism impacts all sectors of our society. Perhaps no single sector is more susceptible than public transportation. According to the 1997 Transportation Research Board Report, since 1991, public transportation has been the target of 20 to 35 percent of all worldwide terrorist attacks.
Buses and rail remain the targets of choice for terrorists. We, as members of Congress, spend a lot of time going through the airport system. But 34 percent of all violent acts against transportation is rail and buses, the great number of casualties.
This should come as no surprise, given the relatively easy access to transportation targets and the challenge in developing effective measures for security for our transportation systems.
Many systems have no security measures or response plans in place for dealing with this threat. After all, transit agencies rightly believe they are in the business of moving people, not fighting terrorism. It does not require a bomb to destroy the lives of 100 bus passengers; merely one angry person with a gun, threatening the lives of the driver or passengers, to put all of the lives and safety of the entire group at risk
For over 14 million people who ride transit to work each day, and over one-third of a million men and women who work in transit, I think we, in Congress, need to do better.
I appreciate the support of this committee and my colleague from Maryland in an attempt to incorporate some modest provisions.
The first proposal is to at least include the Department of Transportation as a voting member of the President's Counsel on Domestic Terrorism, that this legislation would create.
Page 47 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Given the already high percentage of terrorist events involving transportation infrastructure facilities, it would seem to me, having the Secretary of Transportation as an important player is an absolute minimum. This puts them in the best position to understand the potential budgetary impacts and requirements necessary in improving the preparedness for the Nation's airlines, pipelines, roads, railways, buses, and subways.
The second provision would broaden the definition of terrorist attacks specifically as it relates to attacks against transportation, energy, and other infrastructure facilities.
For purposes of this subsection, the definition should be changed to include terrorists and quasi-terrorists attacks, defined as the use of force or violence, or the threat or violence by one or more persons to achieve a clear criminal, ideological, political, social, or religious agenda.
This broader definition is critical to our ability as a Nation to successfully address the scope of potential terrorist threats to the entire transportation sector. Too often, these people working in the transportation industry face risks from criminal acts beyond those traditionally defined as terrorism.
We need to do more, both at the state and Federal level, to ensure protection and prosecution of the many kinds of assault that threaten operators and passengers.
I appreciate the subcommittee's consideration of these two issues, specifically related to transportation and infrastructure, and look forward to working with you in ways in the future that we may be able to better address this significant need.
I appreciate your courtesy.
Mr. LATOURETTE. I thank you both. The subcommittee is very appreciative of the work that both of you are doing in cooperation and in conjunction with others.
Mr. Gilchrest, it is a pleasure to have you back before the subcommittee. We appreciated your comments the last time. As a result, I do not have any questions. I would yield to Mr. Costello, if he has any.
Page 48 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. COSTELLO. Mr. Chairman, I would just associate myself with your remarks. I compliment both of our colleagues for not only being here today, but Congressman Gilchrest for your leadership on this issue.
I have two quick questions for you, Congressman Gilchrest. One, you indicate in your testimony that passage of H.R. 525 would give the force of law to the President's Executive Order.
I wonder about two issues. One, our colleague, Mr. Blumenauer, has suggested that the Department of Transportation ought to be involved in any project that is set up. Would you agree with that?
Mr. GILCHREST. I think that is a fascinating suggestion. I would like to work with Earl on that to further understand that. Off the top of my head, I would agree with Earl that the Department of Transportation, under the situation that he just described, would be an important addition to this program. So I would like to work with him on that, certainly.
Mr. COSTELLO. I do not know if you were in the room to hear all of the testimony of the Director of FEMA, but I believe he indicated that he thought it was a good idea, as well.
The second question that I have is, in your legislation, 525, do you believe currently there is a provision in that legislation which would give this subcommittee an oversight role?
Mr. GILCHREST. That is an interesting question. I would assume, based on the development of this legislation and the implelmentation of this legislation, especially the connection with transportation, that I would recommend to the Speaker of the House that this subcommittee be given unique jurisdiction over the oversight of this new Executive Council.
Page 49 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. COSTELLO. I would suggest, if we can, with both the Chairman of the full committee and the Ranking Member, that we work together to try and make certain that that oversight role is, in fact, in the legislation, if you are open to working with us on that.
Mr. GILCHREST. I assume that the Transportation Committee and this subcommittee would have oversight over this, but we certainly can work with the subcommittee and the Parliamentarian to ensure that that is the case.
Mr. COSTELLO. I thank you.
Mr. Blumenauer, I have just one question for you, quickly. In your testimony, you say a recent survey of transit agencies found that over 90 percent had experiences with bomb threats, over 50 percent with hate crimes, and almost 30 percent with hijacking and multiple victim shootings.
In responding to terrorist events, almost 60 percent of transit agencies surveyed felt that they were not well prepared to deal with these kinds of activities.
If 60 percent felt that they were not prepared to deal with these kinds of activities, are there any transit agencies out there that believe that they are fully prepared to deal with these types of incidents?
Mr. BLUMENAUER. In the work that we have been doing on this, I have not encountered anybody who feels like they are fully prepared. I think this is part of the broader context that adds urgency to the subcommittee's work, and to Mr. Gilchrest's legislation. But as it relates to this, I think there is a gaping hole, and it is acknowledged by everybody that I have worked with.
Mr. COSTELLO. Well, I thank both of you for your testimony and, in particular, in pointing out the issue of transportation, and how vulnerable public transportation is to terrorist attacks. We look forward to working to working with you on this legislation.
Page 50 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BLUMENAUER. Thank you.
Mr. LATOURETTE. I thank the gentleman, and we thank both of you.
Before calling up the third panel, I want to ask unanimous consent that the following documents be entered into the record: one, the Washington Monthly article entitled, Weapons of Mass Confusion; two, a National Journal article called, Beyond the Blue Canaries; three, a letter from the National Governor's Association, stating their domestic terrorism preparedness policy; four, just referenced by Congressman Blumenauer, the article entitled, Emergency Preparedness for Transit Terrorism, and the report of the Federal Transit Administration; and then lastly, a statement generated by our colleague, Mr. Shays; without objection.
Mr. COSTELLO. Mr. Chairman, without objection, I would like to make a unanimous consent request that the Ranking Member of the full committee, Mr. Oberstar, his statement be entered into the record.
Mr. LATOURETTE. Without objection, so ordered.
I now want to call today's third panel of witnseses. We are very pleased to have representatives from the President's Administration with us.
First, we have return visit from John Magaw, who is FEMA's Acting Deputy Director, in place of Director Allbaugh. Next, we have Ms. Mary-Lou Leary, who is the Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs, with the Department of Justice, and Mr. Charles Cragin, Acting Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Civil Support for the Department of Defense.
I understand Mr. Magaw that you may not have an opening set of remarks, but to our other witnesses, if you would be kind enough to summarize your observations, and without any objection, your full statements will appear and be made part of the record.
Page 51 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. Leary, let us begin with you.
STATEMENT OF MARYLOU LEARY, ACTING ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR THE OFFICE OF JUSTICE PROGRAMS, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE; AND CHARLES L. CRAGIN, ACTING ASSISTANT TO SECRETARY OF DEFENSE FOR CIVIL SUPPORT, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
Ms. LEARY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee. I am MaryLou Leary. I am the Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) at the Department of Justice. On behalf of the Department, I want to thank you for this opportunity to discuss this issue of better preparing our nation to respond to incidents of domestic terrorism, including incidents involving weapons of mass destruction.
Addressing the issue of terrorism, including domestic terrorism and homeland defense, is a principle priority of the President and the Attorney General. They both believe firmly that the nation's most fundamental responsibility is to protect its citizens, at home and abroad, from terrorist attacks.
To do that, both are committed to ensuring that the Federal Government has a comprehensive, coordinated, and unified strategy to counter and respond to those threats, and to make sure that adequate resources are available to support those efforts.
Equally important is their commitment to state and local jurisdicitons, to the state and local emergency response agencies, and to the men and the women who serve in them. The Federal Government will work with them as partners to protect lives and public safety.
Included in that partnership is the Federal Government's commitment to assist state and local jurisdictions prepare for such incidents; and if such an incident should occur, to help ensure that there is an effective response.
If such an incident should occur in an American community, as has been noted several times already today,it is obvious to all of us that that particular community's emergency response agencies, public officials and first responders will be the ones who will be called upon to respond, manage, and mitigate the incident during the crucial initial hours.
Page 52 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC During the last decade, Mr. Chairman, the Department of Justice has focused an increasingly greater amount of resources on responding to both domestic and overseas terrorism. Many of these efforts have been devoted to planning and coordinating activities with other Federal agencies. We are also working increasingly more closely with state and local jurisdictions.
As you know, much of the Federal coordination is done through the National Security Council, including its various sub-groups, such as the Policy Coordinating Committee, and the like. Since 1998, the Department of Justice has been the lead agency for developing and annually updating the Five Year Inter Agency Counter-Terrorism and Technology Plan.
Also, since 1998, the Office of Justice Programs has played an increasingly greater role in the Department's domestic preparedness efforts, based on the need to work more closely with state and local jurisdictions and the emergency response community.
As you know, the Office of Justice Programs is the component of DOJ responsible for working directly with state and local jurisdictions, agencies, public officials, and various public service disciplines, working on areas like preparation and response to incidents of domestic terrorism.
When we carry out that mission, we are dedicated to working as a partner with states, counties, cities, and other municipalities. Our goal has always been, and it remains, capacity building. We basically judge our success by the success of those with whom we work at the state and local level.
Currently, we have several offices and a number of specific activities that are assisting American communities to better prepare for and respond to any act of domestic terrorism that might occur.
This includes providing, through our Office of State and Local Domestic Preparedness Support, equipment, hands-on training, support for real life situational exercises, and technical assistance to state and local emergency response agencies and public officials.
Page 53 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In addition, the Office of Justice Programs' National Institute of Justice, and its Office for Science and Technology, support research and development activities to provide emergency response communities with improved technologies and equipment.
In addition, our Office for Victims of Crime has worked with state and local communities on planning for the human consequences of terrorist incidents. That is dealing with the victims and the survivors of such events. We learned a lot about that from Oklahoma City, in working with the consequences to first responders, as well, who are in many ways victimized themselves.
Let me give you a few specifics. Since its inception in fiscal year 1998, OJP's Office for State and Local Domestic Preparedness Support has made significant progress, including the establishment of a national scope training development and delivery program for emergency response personnel, public officials, and the like.
As part of this, we have established six national training centers, under the National Domestic Preparedness Contortium. This includes the establishment of our first responder training center in Anniston, Alabama, the Center for Domestic Preparedness, where we do live chemical agent training.
Also, as part of this training effort, we provide for training to be delivered on site in local communities across the country, and we have various distant learning mechanisms available, as well.
In total, we have trained over 60,000 individuals since 1998 in these various disciplines. We have provided equipment grants to all 50 states, territories, and the District of Columbia; and during fiscal years 1998 and 1999, we also provided grants directly to the Nation's 157 largest jurisdictions.
We implemented a nationwide assessment of the WMD threat, risk, response needs, and capabilities to provide a means to better target resources. We did that in coordination with other agencies. As a result of that effort, each state, territory, and D.C. is currently completing an assessment and developing an individual plan to address how each of them will improve its ability to respond to terrorist incidents.
Page 54 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We have developed a program to ensure that state and local agencies, together with Federal agencies, are able to test their resources out through actual exercises. At the national level, this includes the TOPOFF exercise, which DOJ co-chaired with FEMA.
I am sure you are all familiar with the TOPOFF exercise. It was spoken of earlier today. OJP's exercise program also includes localized exercises at various places throughout the country.
But in every instance, whether it is a national exercise or an exercise at the local community level, we always coordinate with other Federal agencies in order to avoid duplicating our efforts, and also to maximize the value of the exercise to that community, and to all the agencies involved.
We are in the process of completing the Nunn-Lugar-Domenici Domestic Preparedness Program. As you may know, the responsibility for that particular program was transferred from DOD to Justice in fiscal year 2000.
Our National Institute of Justice (NIJ), and specifically, our Office of Science and Technology has made an interesting and valuable contribution to this arena.
Since 1998, pursuant to the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, NIJ has worked with a number of Federal agencies and private sector groups to supply the emergency response community with improved technologies.
We were discussing the problems on public transportation earlier on in the hearing. One of the projects that NIJ is involved in is the development of Project Protect, which is a chemical detection device, specifically for use in subways and other public transportation. So there are a lot of things going on in that realm.
We work on our technology development with the Department of Energy, Department of Defense, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and others.
In cooperation with the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology, we are working in the area of developing safety and performance standards for equipment that is used by emergency reponders. Much of this is focused on protective clothing worn by responders.
Page 55 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Office for Victims of Crime for much of the past decade has worked with the families of the victims of the Pan Am Flight 103 attack, and families and survivors of the Oklahoma City bombing, to make sure that the victims of those attacks get the care and assistance that they require.
These are just a few of the highlights, Mr. Chairman, of OJP's activities. But they are representative of our broad approach to assisting state and local communities in this area.
I think OJP does this task well, effectively, and we are building on our relationships with other Federal agencies and, in particular, building on our 30-year history of strong experience and relationships, working directly with state and local jurisdictions.
In coordinating with other Federal agencies, we are very careful to be sure that our efforts support and complement those of others to make sure that the Federal message, particularly in the area of training, is a consistent one, and that it is built on the synergy of Federal agencies working together.
Just as an example, when we developed our first responder training, we coordinated with FEMA, FBI, HHS, and others, in deciding what courses ought to be developed, reviewing the curriculum, getting feedback, tweaking the program based on the kind of feedback that we got, and so on.
We coordinate very closely with FEMA to assist FEMA in providing emergency response training at their National Fire Academy, so that we have a unified selection of courses, and we are better informing the emergency response community of available Federal resources. Finally, we did co-chair the TOPOFF exercise, from which we learned so much with FEMA.
So in conclusion, I just want to re-state the Attorney General's absolute commitment to addressing these issues relating to both overseas and domestic terrorism, to using our Federal resources in an effective manner, and to be sure that state and local jurisdictions have the resources, the training, and the equipment that they need to protect the lives of our Nation's people.
Page 56 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Thank you very much.
Mr. LATOURETTE. I thank you very much.
Mr. CRAGIN. Thank you. Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Costello. Thank you very much for inviting me to testify today on the Department of Defense's continuing efforts to support national preparedness to respond to acts of terrorism, directed at the United States, it territories, and possessions.
The Department of Defense's role in supporting national domestic combating terrorism preparedness is to be prepared to provide, when requested available military forces and capabilities to support domestic requirements, specified by the Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency or the Attorney General of the United States.
Combating terrorism preparedness has been and continues to be one of the Nation's top priorities. It is a fact that no one single agency or department is responsible for combating terrorism in America; rather, there are policy, technical, operational, law enforcement, research and development, and intelligence elements, among others, that must be coordinated and integrated.
In the event of a terrorist attack, those closest to the problem are going to be the first to respond. We know that. They always have been, and they always will be.
However, we presume that the if the attack results in catastrophic consequences, state and local capabilities are likely to be quickly overwhelmed. If a civilian authority requests Federal support, the lead Federal Agency, FEMA or the FBI, is likely to request support from other Federal agencies, including the Department of Defense.
The department stands ready to support President Bush's plan to establish a comprehensive, seamlessly integrated and harmonized Federal Government effort to assist state and local governments in managing the consequences of a WMD attack on the America's citizens.
Page 57 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As you are now aware, yesterday, President Bush announced that Vice President Cheney would oversee the development of a coordinated national effort to achieve that goal, and that an Office of National Preparedness would be established within FEMA to implement the weapons of mass destruction consequence management aspects of the Vice President's effort.
The President stated that FEMA will establish an Office of National Preparedness to coordinate all Federal programs dealing with WMD consequence management within the many Federal departments and agencies, and would work closely with state and local governments to ensure their WMD consequence management planning, training, and equipment needs are addressed.
The Department of Defense will work with the Office of National Preparedness and the Vice President to support efforts to develop a preparedness strategy for Federal, state and local governments to do the best possible job of preparing for and defending against weapons of mass destruction.
In recognition of the likelihood of the terrorist event, a number of steps have been undertaken by the Department of Defense to address this critical area. First, we sought to define more clearly what the department's role should and should not be. We do not view our support to combating terrorism activities in the United States as homeland defense, but rather, as civil support.
This reflects the fundamental principles that Department of Defense does not have the lead, but rather supports the lead Federal agency in the event of a domestic contingency.
Four principles have been established to guide DOD's response in the event of a domestic WMD contingency. First, there will always be an unequivocal change of civilian accountability and authority for all military support to civil authorities.
Second, DOD's role is always to provide support to the lead civilian Federal Agency.
Page 58 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Third, although our capabilities are primarily war fighting capabilities, the expertise that we have gained as a result of the threats that we have faced overseas can be applied in the domestic arena, as well. We also bring communications, logistics, transportation, and medical assets among others that can be used for civil support.
Fourth, our response will necessarily be grounded in the National Guard and Reserves, as our forward-deployed forces for domestic support operations.
This week Secretary Rumsfeld announced two key decisions that demonstrate the priority and commitment of the department and its senior civilian leadership, regarding the department's role in combating domestic terrorism.
First, he has made it clear that any deployment of military forces in support of domestic combating terrorism activities will require his or the Deputy's direct authority. Secondly, consistent with Section 901 of the Floyd D. Spence National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2001, the Secretary announced his decision to consolidate civilian oversight responsibility for the department's combating terrorism activities in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict.
This action establishes one senior civilian official to advise the Secretary and Deputy Secretary on all DOD combating terrorism policies, programs, and activities, and ensures that every policy issue and operational activity relating to combating terrorism receives the personal attention of the most senior leaders in the department.
Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee, I spell out in more detail my prepared testimony that details of Secretary Rumsfeld's decisions, and also the manner in which the department is prepared to support the lead Federal agencies with respect to both consequence management and crisis management.
Again, let me thank you for inviting us to participate in this series of hearings.
Page 59 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Cragin, we thank you very much, and we thank all of you for appearing today and giving us your insight.
Ms. Leary, you will have to excuse my ignorance, but during your observations, you indicated that DOJ has made grants to all 50 states. How large a program on an annualized basis is that? How much money are you talking about?
Ms. LEARY. We have an equipment grant. I will be happy to provide you with the numbers for each one of the areas in which we work.
We work in provision of equipment for states. We also provide technical assistance. We work with them to develop actual exercises to help them carry them out. We do technical assistance on a host of issues. The total budget for 2002 is $220.5 million, I think.
So I will be happy to give you a breakdown of that, and you can see how much has gone to equipment, how much to training, and so on.
Mr. LATOURETTE. I would appreciate that. The other observation that you made is that DOJ coordinates with all of the other Agencies that may have responsibility for anti-terrorism and domestic terrorism responsibilities.
One of the difficulties that this subcommittee and others is that we cannot figure out where all of the programs are and who has what.
I am wondering what that cooperation and coordination looks like. Who is it that you reach out to and coordinate with to make sure that there is not a duplication of activities and efforts?
I would assume that DOD wold be one. Are there others that would be readily come to mind?
Ms. LEARY. Yes, certainly, we do an awful lot of coordination with FEMA, with CDC, the Department of Energy, and we work with a broad range of programs in HHS and the Department of Transportation.
Page 60 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC What we do is help state and local communities get prepared to respond, and that is where out focus is. Obviously, the functions of all the Federal agencies are impacted by how prepared the state and local governments are.
So we are working on developing a total curriculum. We bring in the other agencies who also do training or who can identify training needs that they know of.
Mr. LATOURETTE. Mr. Cragin, at our last hearing, one of my colleagues who is on Mr. Shay's subcommittee, but not on this subcommittee, on the Transportation Committee, Congressman Kucinich from Ohio, expressed a lot of questions and concerns that whatever we created, or whatever the Presidency created, did not become sort of an intelligence gathering operation on United States citizens. He had a lot of questions about the freedom to assemble and civil rights and things of that nature. I think that if he were here today, he would be nervus about the thought of military personnel assisting what he would consider to be a civilian exercise.
I would just ask you one question. Have you experienced in your experience any of those things that caused him sleepless nights; and does he have any reason to worry based upon the DOD's involvement?
Then, two, I assume the Secretary has indicated a willingness to participate with the President's and the Vice President's program to put this together under FEMA's leadership. I am wondering what that will look like.
Mr. CRAGIN. I am sorry, what were the last two words of your question?
Mr. LATOURETTE. What would that look like from DOD's perspective?
Mr. CRAGIN. I think I can answer both of the questions because in a sense, Mr. Chairman, they are inexorably intertwined. What it will look like is, it will look like the Department of Defense bringing its resources to bear at the request of a lead civilian Federal agency.
Page 61 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I think that goes to your colleagues inquiry of last year and his concern. It is the concern of the Secretary, and that is why I made the point that this is not homeland defense. This is civil support, and that is what the men and women of America's military stand ready to do.
Obviously, the National Guard, which is part of our total force is dual-hatted, as State employees; first, a response forcer of the Governors and then as Federal response. But we want to make sure that whenever military forces are deployed to support a civil authority, that it has been carefully reviewed and that the decision has been made by the Secretary or the Deputy, and as I indicated, the Secretary made in his decision this week.
Mr. LATOURETTE. Thank you.
Mr. COSTELLO. Ms. Leary, you mentioned in your testimony that there were six training centers, and the department has trained over 60,000 individuals since 1998, I believe. One. at the training centers, is the training conducted by DOJ employees, or is this contracted out.
Ms. LEARY. No, it is contracted out. We work with various universities or other groups within the consortium, and they have specialized expertise. For instance, at Texas A&M, they have specialized expertise in fire training and other things like urban rescue response.
Mr. COSTELLO. Are these awarded on a competitive bid basis, or the department selects them because of the expertise they bring to the table?
Ms. LEARY. They do bring a lot of expertise to the table. This is not a competitive program.
Mr. COSTELLO. The six training centers, where are they located?
Ms. LEARY. In Anniston, Alabama, the Center for Domestic Preparedness, where we do the live agent training. I encourage you to go down and see that sometime. It is quite interesting.
Page 62 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. COSTELLO. Watch out for the examples though.
Ms. LEARY. I survived it. I participated and survived it. Also, there is the Louisiana State University, the Nevada Test Site, Texas A&M University, and the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology.
Mr. COSTELLO. Thank you very much Mr. Chairman. I have no further questions.
Mr. LATOURETTE. I thank the gentleman.
Mr. SHAYS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Cragin and Ms. Leary, how does the President's Executive Order affect each of your departments?
Mr. CRAGIN. Mr. Shays, I am not aware that the President has yet issued an Executive Order. I believe that the President, yesterday, issued a statement.
Mr. SHAYS. How would his statement, if it was incorporated in an Executive Order, affect your program?
Mr. CRAGIN. Essentially, what the President is saying is that there needs to be a coordinated and directed national strategy for combating terrorism; and that Vice President Cheney is going to conduct a review and development of the matrix necessary to ensure that national strategy.
At the same time, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is going to establish an Office of National Preparedness to serve as the coordinator within the inter-agency for consequence management, and also to be the linkage with state and local responders.
The Department of Defense will support that office. We will obviously be working within the inter-agency to develop that coordinated national strategy.
Page 63 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. LATOURETTE. Ms. Leary, I believe that the FBI would have the role of preventing and investigating a terrorist act. How does it impact the Justice Department?
Ms. LEARY. The Justice Department's work in crisis management, the prevention, investigation, and law enforcement aspects of terrorism will continue to operate in the same way. The Department will continue to be in charge of that.
I believe that what has been established in the last couple of days makes FEMA responsible, or the lead federal agency, for coordinating all the consequence management. We, at the Office of Justice Programs, work primarily in preparing state and local jurisdictions for consequence management.
So we would continue to operate our programs, but we would look forward to continuing to coordinate and work with the other Federal Agencies on the overall picture for that effort.
Mr. SHAYS. If you did put this in your testimony, then I just want you to tell me that, and I will not go any further. Did you critique the legislation before us?
Ms. LEARY. No, I did not.
Mr. SHAYS. Do you care to do that?
Ms. LEARY. Not at this time because it is still under review by the Administration.
Mr. SHAYS. Mr. Cragin?
Mr. CRAGIN. I would have the same answer to your question, Mr. Shays.
Mr. SHAYS. Thank you.
Mr. LATOURETTE. Thank you very much, and we thank you all for being here today. We found your comments to be illuminating as we move through the markup process, and we appreciate the Administration's involvement in this process. I now want to call our last panel of the day. We will have a representative from the U.S. General Accounting Office, and individuals who are very familiar with state and local emergency response. Our first witness on this panel will be Mr. Gary McConnell, who will be introduced by one of our colleagues, Mr. Chambliss of Georgia in just a second.
Page 64 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Next, we have Ms. Ann Simank, the Chairman of the Public Safety and Crime Prevention Committee of the National League of Cities. We have Mr. Edward Plaugher, the Fire Chief of Arlington County Virginia, who is representing the International Association of Fire Chiefs.
Lastly, we have a return visit by Mr. Ray Decker, Director for Diffuse Threat Issues with the Defense and Capabilities Management team of the US General Accounting Office.
As we have asked the other three panels sometimes unsuccessfully, we would ask to you summarize your remarks without objection of the other members of the committee. Your full statements will be made part of the record, and we look forward to hearing form each of you.
To begin, it is our pleasure to welcome to the Subcommittee Saxby Chambliss, a classmate of mine and a distinguished champion of the State of Georgia and peanut farmers everywhere, to introduce Mr. McConnell. We have gone from FEMA now to GEMA.
Mr. CHAMBLISS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It is indeed a pleasure for me to become before this committee. I thank you for giving me the opportunity to introduce my good friend, Gary McConnell, who I think is going to bring some very interesting and insightful testimony to you on this very critical issue.
As you know and Chris knows, we have been working very closely together on with our working group on International Terrorism and Homeland Security within the Intelligence Committee. I have had a chance to go down and visit Gary and his folks. Gary is going to being probably more experience to the table on this issue and any other statement for the record for GEMA for Emergency Management or any other Agency around the country. Because in addition to having a number of emergency situations from a pure weather perspective, we have had some situations in Georgia, some of which occurred as late as yesterday.
Page 65 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Gary, we have not had a chance to talk about that. But I know that you are going to mention the nuclear material coming through Georgia.
But with the 1996 Olympics, Gary took some time off from his position as Director of Georgia Emergency Management Agency to head up all of the law enforcement agencies in Georgia. He supervised about 5,000 people during the 1996 Olympics.
From a preparedness standpoint, for what we need to do to be prepared to respond to a terrorist incident, Gary brings a real insight that I think nobody else can bring to the table.
I want to come over to thank you, Mr. Chairman, for conducting this hearing and bringing this kind of group together, and also to introduce my friend Gary to you and to members of this panel. Thank you for letting me come be with you.
Mr. LATOURETTE. Thank you very much, Congressman Chambliss. We appreciate it.
With that stirring introduction, Mr. McConnell, we will begin with you, and we welcome your remarks.
STATEMENT OF GARY MCCONNELL, ON BEHALF OF THE GEORGIA EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY; ANN SIMANK, COUNCILMEMBER, OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA, ON BEHALF OF THE NATIONAL LEAGUE OF CITIES; CHIEF EDWARD PLAUGHER, INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FIRE CHIEFS; AND RAYMOND J. DECKER, DIRECTOR, DEFENSE CAPABILITIES AND MANAGEMENT
Mr. MCCONNELL. Thank you Mr. Chairman. I will certainly try not to disappoint my Congressman from Georgia. [Laughter.]
Mr. LATOURETTE. At least until he leaves the room.
Mr. MCCONNELL. You have some prepared testimony in front of you, but I would like to talk to you for a minute to try to answer some questions.
Page 66 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Not only did I have the opportunity to do the security for State of Georgia, for the 96 games, but we have had 16 Presidential disasters in Georgia. Prior to that, I was elected County Sheriff for 22 years, at that time being the youngest Sheriff in Georgia. So I have been there for quite a while.
Mr. LATOURETTE. You talk like you are from Georgia.
Mr. MCCONNELL. Yes, sir, there's no question about it. It would be hard for me to say that I was from Connecticut or somewhere and pull it off.
But talking about weapon of mass destruction and terrorism, I certainly commend President Bush for taking the lead yesterday in putting not only somebody in charge; but also everybody wants to be in charge, but somebody has to be responsible. There is a big difference.
I would also encourage you to look at not only traditional public safety such as fire and EMS and law enforcement, but as we learned in 1996, it entails public health, the Department of Agriculture, and a wide variety of folks that we normally to not think about when we are dealing with law enforcement-type issues.
Also, I would like to encourage you to look at, I believe as I was reading the Atlanta paper flying up here this afternoon, I believe, the FEMA's 43 agencies. I know that in the State of Georgia we dealt with 29 just for the Olympics, not counting local agencies.
We should not only look at the response, the training, and the exercise, but also the cross missions and the cross use of Federal and state dollars.
Now most of the states around the country have appointed a single point of contact to be the coordinating agency for weapons of mass destruction and terrorism. We have done that in Georgia, and I happened to be that person. Most other states, have also done that. We are glad to see that the Federal Government doing that.
Page 67 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But I encourage you not only to appoint someone in that position, but to look at the broad range of things such as CDC does, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and a wide variety of agencies you normally do not think about, that have a vital role in weapons of mass destruction and terrorism.
Also, please do not just get focused on world, and that CNN is going to leave Atlanta and come cover it for you. Let us think about the other stuff that's every day, that is terrorism in the eyes of Americans and in the eyes of Georgians, in particular.
Whether it is a teenager in school with and AK-47 or a stick of dynamite or whatever that might be, that is also terrorism to the parents of those kids, who send their kids to school. It has a tremendous effect.
I know in 1996, when Centennial Park exploded at 1:20 on a Friday morning, injuring 128 folks, what did not make the news were the 17 days of the summer games in Georgia.
We responded to over 640 suspicious packages, with the local fire and EMS. That is an average of one every 10 minutes for 17 days. So there is a tremendous demand and it is honestly past time. Folks, we need to get on with it.
I had the privilege of being in Anniston, Alabama testifying a couple of years ago for Senator Shelby over there at one of the centers down there. There has been a tremendous mount of progress made in the last few years. But we certainly do not need, in my opinion, to study it to death. We do not need to reinvent the wheel.
There is a lot of protocol in Georgia, for example. We have a working protocol now with the FBI and some other Federal Agencies, and all of our state and local law enforcement on who is doing what, once they arrive there. In reality, folks, there is going to be about three levels of responders.
It is going to be city and county folks first. It is going to be the state people after that, and depending on the magnitude of the situation, it is going to be the Federal agencies.
Page 68 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC That is not saying anything with disrespect to the Federal Agencies, but the reality is that they are going to be about the last ones there. They are going to have the most resources and be the best trained.
As you look at weapons in mass destruction, according to the news article, there is going to be a study group looking at how the Federal Government is going to respond to weapons of mass destruction.
Please do not plan for us. Plan with us. Because in our respective states across the country, not only are the Senators and Congressman responsible, but also the local and state elected officials.
If this turns into a planning process inside the Beltway, and somebody comes to Atlanta and tells us how it going to work, it is going to be a lot longer making it work than it would be if you had asked us a little bit before time. I think that is going to be about that way everywhere.
There is a tremendous amount of resources. But somebody needs to get their hands around where they are at and how they are being used. For example, when CDC gives money to the State Department of Human Resources for laboratory work, in our particular state, we already had the resources to do that, just nobody asked us.
So we could better use some of those funds on equipment for fire, EMS, law enforcement, and 911 centers to respond and look after the citizens.
Folks, I could ramble all afternoon, but I would much rather be quiet and let you ask me any questions you might have and with that I will certainly entertain any questions that you might have, sir.
Mr. LATOURETTE. I thank you very much, Mr. McConnell.
Page 69 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. SIMANK. Thank you very much Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee, The National League of Cities is pleased to have this opportunity to share its views on H.R. 525.
I am Ann Simank. I am a council member from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. I also serve as Chair of the National League of Cities Public Safety and Crime Prevention Policy Committee. I won my election and I was sworn into office eight days prior to the bombing of my city.
So I learned through hard work and dedication and a lot service, right along side my first responders, from day one of the bombing until we imploded that building.
I am here on behalf of the National League of Cities, today. I am here on behalf of their membership and their President, Dennis Archer, the Mayor of Detroit, Michigan, as well as my home town, Oklahoma City.
I want to express my gratitude to Representative Wayne Gilchrest and other sponsors for introducing this legislation.
NLC has expressed its support of a comprehensive national domestic preparedness plan for more than three years, and I hope that we will be successful in securing the enactment of such legislation this year.
As you know, Oklahoma City was certainly devastated by the bombing in 1995 of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. This act of terrorism shattered the lives of many of citizens and public servants, destroying their families, as well as their health and economic well being.
Another severe consequence of the bombing is that many of our first responders are still devastated by the horror that was caused by such a massive terrorist incident. In fact, our counseling Project Heartland reported that we are still receiving, after all this time, over a 1,000 phone calls a day for psychological crisis intervention today.
Page 70 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. LATOURETTE. Did you say 1,000 a day?
Ms. SIMANK. It is a thousand a month of phone calls, of people that are calling in, needing to talk with crisis intervention.
First, had it not been for the integrated emergency management training that Oklahoma City did receive from FEMA, we would not have been able to mitigate such a catastrophic act of terrorism.
It was July of 1994, that the Mayor, the council members, and other community leaders attended this training in Emmittsburg, Maryland. Secondly, the lessons we learned from the tragic bombing indicate a need for better coordination among all levels of Government.
This act would help us accomplish this objective by setting a precedent for domestic preparedness at the Federal level, and hopefully improving inter-agency planning and coordination.
The National League of Cities applauds the Federal Government's efforts in establishing training, programs, and grants to help improve local and domestic preparedness.
However, in noting these resources, I must reiterate the need for better coordination and direct assistance to local governments. This will enable states and local governments to improve their own capabilities against the use of weapons of mass destruction.
NLC believes that H.R. 525 will address this urgent need, authorizing a lead agency to oversee the coordination of all Federal resources for domestic preparedness.
I would like to share the National League of Cities' position on specific provisions of this Preparedness Act, denoting current constraints in geographic limitations, equipment and training, emergency communications systems, and information sharing.
In reviewing H.R. 525, we have found that the designation of one Federal entity as a primary point of contract for local governments is most feasible, for notification of potential threats and requests for Federal resources and information.
Page 71 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Also, the implementation of a biannual review of state and local disaster response plans and capabilities is a good idea. This review will help all levels of Government.
With regard to regional needs, I urge that the coordinating agency take special note of the needs of smaller jurisdictions that are just as vulnerable to weapons of mass destruction as larger cities.
We heard testimony today about larger cities facing this. Who would have thought that Oklahoma City would have had a bombing? This can happen anywhere.
NLC also recognizes the legislation's requirement to set voluntary minimum standards for state and local domestic preparedness programs.
We understand that these standards are to be used as guidelines. NLC is concerned however, that many cities may not receive not needed resources, because they cannot financially or physically meet these mandates or guidelines.
Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee, there must be some assurance that local governments will have direct and flexible access to these vital funds and resources. The constraints local governments face in acquiring sufficient emergency communications systems presents strong evidence for such direct funding.
First responders in Oklahoma City had to resort to runners who relayed information between agencies, as well as cell phones, because of the lack of inter-operability among emergency communications systems used by Federal, state, and local authorities.
This function is crucial to any comprehensive preparedness plan. Notices to local authorities on pertinence intelligence affecting their regions will help the cities and towns become more aware of potential threats, and could even help prevent acts of terrorism.
Mr. Chairman, before I conclude my remarks, I would like to note that when NLC's Public Safety Committee began studying this issue, we found that at least 43 separate agencies, Federal agencies, were involved domestic terrorism and you have heard that today.
Page 72 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We feel that H.R. 525 can address this issue effectively. The National League of Cities looks forward to working with you as this crucial piece of legislation moves forward toward final passage.
We will certainly underscore the need for sufficient funding for this legislation during the appropriations process. Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, I appreciate your leadership on this issue. I would be happy to answer any questions that the appropriate time.
Mr. LATOURETTE. We thank you very much for your very fine statement.
Chief Plaugher, we would now like to hear form you, sir.
Mr. PLAUGHER. Mr. Chairman, thank you for the privilege to be here this afternoon, as your committee is obviously taking this issues extremely serious, and from a local Fire Chief, thank you very much.
Also, I would like to thank you very much for your remarks about the Fire Act, and the impact that the Fire Act will have on your local fire departments. I think that is one of the things that we bring to the table. We are talking about your local first responders.
Also, thank you very much for accepting my statement. I will not go through that statement. But I will bring to your attention a couple of key points are within that statement. First of all, the local public safety personnel, particularly fire fighters, will be first on the scene of any terrorist incident. They will perform all life safety, environmental, and property damage mitigation.
Arlington County, the department that I am with, as well as the surrounding jurisdictions in the Washington Metropolitan area, have participated in the many programs that you have heard about today that are in this testimony, that have been designed to assist us in our in our preparedness efforts.
Page 73 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We have made progress. We, in Arlington County, created the Nation's very first Metropolitan Medical Strike Team. I am very proud to say that it has now also been converted to National Medical Response Team, supported by the Department of Health and Human Services.
However, what I am here today to say is that we need focus. We need focus on this effort. We need steps to be taken by Congress and the Administration to designate a single point of contact at the Federal level, with the authority to direct efforts at the agency levels. We have got to stop the confusion.
We need to develop a single national strategy that will allow a more orderly approach to our preparedness efforts. Such a strategy would include the development of performance. What I am talking about now are capability objectives that define our preparedness goals.
We must have goals that are definable and allow us to not only measure our progress, but define when we have reached adequate preparedness.
Those of us within the local first responder community must have input into the development of these strategic goals. You heard that earlier today by the panel. Inter-agency planning that includes local, state and Federal Agencies with the responsibility for emergency response needs and, in my opinion, requires a National strategy.
We are excited about what we hear about this proposal by the Administration and about the effort of this legislation. We support this effort. We also are encouraged by what we heard today about some of the very salient questions about risk assessments and those types things, and particularly the part on transportation.
In Arlington County, we put this on our shelf or radar screen to work on. In 1995, after the Saran gas attack, in the subway system in Tokyo; why, because we, in Arlington County, have identical subway system that serves your Nation's Capitol.
Page 74 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We have been working diligently to prepare in this effort since that time. I will tell you this. As I try and have repeatedly tried to work within the Federal family, it is not only confusing, but it is often times contradictory.
That does not allow us to make the progress that we should be making to prepare our Nation for first response to terrorist activities.
Thank you Mr. Chairman and thank you, members of the committee.
Mr. LATOURETTE. I thank you very much.
Mr. DECKER. Mr. Chairman and Mr. Costello, I am pleased to here this afternoon to provide GAO's observations on H.R. 525 and a proposed draft Executive Order addressing domestic preparedness in response to terrorism.
Since our Government will spend over $11 billion this fiscal year to combat terrorism, which is about $1 billion more than the entire National Defense Budget of Canada, we view this hearing and recent announcements by senior Administration officials as positive signs towards improving the overall management of this complex and cross-cutting issue.
My testimony is based upon extensive evaluations of Federal programs to combat terrorism; over 30 reports, during the last four years, many at the request of this subcommittee, Chairman Shays' committee, and others in the House and Senate.
Two weeks ago, during your joint hearing with Chairman Shays' Subcommittee on National Security, Veterans Affairs, and International Relations, I highlighted the key actions that we believe are essential for the effective management of Federal efforts to combat terrorism.
I commented on the three bills being proposed using these key actions as a template. Sir as you recall, the five key actions focus on leadership, threaten risk assessment, National strategy development, program and budget linkage, and coordination among Federal state and local entities.
Page 75 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I will use this approach to contrast the provisions of H.R. 525 and those in the draft Executive Order currently under review within the Executive Branch. Mr. Chairman, I must stress that some of my comments relate to this unreleased draft Executive Order, although the President and Vice President and the Director of FEMA today have recently provided official statements on important aspects in this area.
While H.R. 525, in the Draft Executive Order provide positive options associated with the five key areas that we identify, there are significant differences in three areas.
First, H.R. 525, proposes the formation of a President's Council on Domestic Terrorism Preparedness in the Executive Office of the President, as the focal point to lead and manage Federal efforts in this area.
Although the President serves as the Chairman, he may designate an Executive Chairman, who would be confirmed by the Senate. The Draft Executive Order would create the Office of National Preparedness, which you have heard announced yesterday and confirmed today by the Director of FEMA.
It would create this office within FEMA to lead and manage Federal and domestic preparedness, and consequence management efforts for weapon of mass destruction related terrorist threats. The Director of FEMA would appoint an Associate Director to head this office, not subject to Senate confirmation.
Second, H.R. 525 requires a threat and risk assessment to support the domestic terrorism preparedness plan and the annual implementation strategy. While the draft Executive Order stipulates that an annual update of the National plan for Consequence Management Preparedness would include an assessment of National readiness, there is no mention of a threat and risk assessment.
Finally, H.R. 525 requires that the President's Council on Domestic Terrorism Preparedness publish a domestic terrorism plan with objective priorities, roles, and performance measurements no later than 180 days after the Counsel's first meeting.
Page 76 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Draft Executive Order in a White House announcement yesterday focused on a creation of a Task Force, chaired by the Vice President, to develop a framework for a National preparedness strategy to be presented to the President later this year, and we have heard October. A National plan would follow within the next six months. The Office of National Preparedness and FEMA would support the Task Force activities.
In closing, H.R. 525 and the recent initiatives by the White House offer optimism that actions to improve the focus and the management of Federal efforts to combat terrorism are imminent.
Mr. Chairman, this concludes my testimony, and I will glad to answer any questions.
Mr. LATOURETTE. I thank you, and I thank all of you for your excellent statements. I want to begin with a series of questions. Mr. McConnell, we will start with you and invite the Chief and others to jump in.
I used to be a country prosecutor before I got this job. So I am wondering what level is the right level to organize? Let me tell that I have heard you say that you would like the Federal Government to participate, but not plan for you.
I can more than understand that. I was interested to hear you say that you had so many packages down at the Olympics in Atlanta.
I have 89 different communities in my Congressional District, and each one of them has a fire service. Some are volunteers and some are full-time.
Just as an example, and your package example brought it up, one town gets a bomb squad. The guy next door decided that he needs bomb squad, and maybe we have one bomb every 10 years where I live, thank God. It goes to other cities as well.
The new rage is that police department wants an armored car. I can not figure out why. I think they saw Die Hard III again on TNT or something. So they decided that we needed an armored car.
Page 77 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So clearly, I am concerned if all of the planning is done at the local level, is it the county, or is it the state, to make sure while those with the most experience, those being those in charge of the first responders, the fire service, the police service the HAZMAT units, certainly have the ability to plan what is best for their local, that rather have a Federal duplication, we just hand over stuff and then we have local duplication.
I would like your thoughts about that.
Mr. MCCONNELL. Mr. Chairman, I certainly understand that, coming from a state with 159 counties and over 600 cites.
What we are proposing in Georgia, and what we are doing in Georgia at this time is looking at a mutual aid concept. We have divided the state up into 11 regions, with basically an anchor facility or an anchor community in each one of those, to work with that fire department, law enforcement, EMS, or whatever you want to use for an example, with mutual aid agreements between the adjacent counties and cities, with the understanding that they can respond within a given period of time; and to train the first responders in the smaller communities, at least to be able to preliminarily identify the agent, or whatever the devise might be, and then to back off and wait on the mutual aid assistance to get there.
There is not enough money to train and equip and keep fresh, in my opinion, all the local responders across the this country.
If we can tie it to a geographical area, a service area, or whatever you want to use, Congressional districts or whatever, to have mutual aid agreements, we can let those folks train together and let them exercise together. We can let them come up with the necessary recommendations for the equipment in their particular areas of the state.
For example, in Georgia, planning for the city of Atlanta and planning for the rural southwest Georgia is entirely two different things.
Mr. LATOURETTE. I think that the answer to my question is that perhaps on a state wide basis, is the best way to begin figuring out Georgia is going to be divvied up and how Ohio is going to be divvied up; and Illinois going to be divvied up, and then we go from there.
Page 78 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In whatever regions that you identify, somebody gets the bomb squads, somebody gets the HAZMAT Unit, and somebody gets the extra hook and ladder, that type of thing.
Mr. MCCONNELL. That is what we are going in cooperation with the local fire and law enforcement, and the variety of agencies that are involved with setting those districts and setting their priorities, in trying to see that there is a uniformity when they are training in exercises.
Mr. LATOURETTE. Mr. Plaugher?
Mr. PLAUGHER. Yes, we have been pretty much accustomed to using teams made up of members from various agencies.
I know in our particular case, when we made up our response team, we actually brought fire, police, and merged medical technicians together as a team from all of the Washington Metropolitan Area and the suburban jurisdictions to create one team, so that we did not, in fact, create six or eight teams in D.C.
So I think that there is some sound foundation to say that is a very critical approach, so that we do not have enough to go around, so that we can have the size and resources necessary.
I also think that you are absolutely right. This is not something that we do every day. We fight fire every day, but we do not go to terrorist incidents everyday, thank God, every day.
Mr. LATOURETTE. Right.
Mr. PLAUGHER. But to answer to your question about why they all want armored cars, the school situation in Colorado pointed out the fact that in every community and every high school, you have a need for some sort of armored car, because they actually used the fire department fire pumper to allow a barrier for protection for their law enforcement to make access back to that school.
Page 79 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. LATOURETTE. Right.
Mr. PLAUGHER. I know that deeply upsets the Fire Chiefs in the United States. That is not a custom that we want police departments to get into. Again, back to your original question, I think that it is critical that we make the most of our resources, and look forward to a National strategy, of which critical components of the National strategy would be the approaches on how not to duplicate efforts.
Mr. LATOURETTE. Right.
Ms. SIMANK. Mr. Chairman?
Mr. LATOURETTE. Yes, Ms. Simank.
Ms. SIMANK. Might I address that?
In Oklahoma City, we do have mutual aid agreements in place. I think that many large cities do. But also, from the National League of Cities perspective, and my National Public Safety and Crime Prevention Policy Committee, which is made up of a little over 30 mayor and council members from all over this Nation, from large cities, to small cities, we have discussed this issue. We support regional training and planning in efforts to not duplicate.
Mr. LATOURETTE. I would say that the model that Mr. Costello and I are probably most familiar with, based upon our transportation background, is the MPO, the Metropolitan Planning Organization, that takes a regional approach to transportation. It takes a regional approach to most things. That seems to make sense to me.
Mr. Decker is there anything that you want to add to that question?
Mr. DECKER. I have no comment, sir.
Mr. LATOURETTE. Thank you very much.
Mr. COSTELLO. Mr. Chairman, I really have no further questions. I think in the testimony of the witnesses, they have answered some of the questions that I had.
Page 80 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I do want to say that from my background coming from local government, as the chairman of the County Board of the largest county in my district for eight years before I came to Congress, I realize the importance of making certain that local governments involved in whatever plan that we put together.
We obviously have made progress. The President's announcement in the last few days is a step in the right direction.
I would only ask that you, as experts in your field, would convey both to our Subcommittee and to the Vice President's office the following.
Number one, I would ask if you have not had an opportunity to thoroughly go through H.R. 525 to do so, and get your recommendations to us as, to how believe that we can improve on that legislation.
Number two, to make the points that you have made here today and any additional points in writing to the Vice President, so when in fact this group is put together to implement policy, that makes certain that not only local Government is not involved, but that all of your concerns are considered by the Administration.
I thank you for being here today.
Mr. LATOURETTE. If I could, before you go, Mr. Decker, I just wanted to ask you one question that was on my mind.
We talked to the other panels a little bit about this. Based upon your experience with inter-agency dealings and how agencies sort of work together and not work together, your understanding of the proposal, and we understand that the President has not issued his Executive Order, yet, but certainly the frame work is out there.
I would just be interested if you could, for the record, indicate to us your thoughts on this National Office of Preparedness that they are proposing to place within FEMA; how successful do you think that we are going to be in dovetailing all this into one place?
Page 81 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The second part of that question would be, how important would it be that the Vice President's office be sort of heading it up?
Mr. DECKER. Sir, I would be glad to address two parts of your question.
First, on the location of this focal point within the Government. I think H.R. 525 has got a good recommendation, where the President's Counsel within the Executive Office of the President looks across all the departments and agencies in a way that perhaps the Office of National Preparedness that will be in FEMA may not have that ability.
The proximity to the President and to the Vice President for key decisions is essential when you talk about inter-agency issues that deal with plans, implementation, and budget issues and so on. It is very important for the Vice President to lead the effort to craft a national preparedness strategy. This indicates the seriousness placed on this issue by the White House.
I think if I were to comment on the success of your proposal, H.R. 525, as well as the one that may come out of the White House, I would put more money on the President's Counsel and the Executive Office.
Mr. COSTELLO. Mr. Chairman, I have one question, if I may.
Mr. LATOURETTE. Sure.
Mr. COSTELLO. You mentioned, Mr. Decker, and I detected that it maybe troubled or bothered you that in this draft Executive Order, that apparently the Director of FEMA can, in fact, appoint an associate, without confirmation by the Senate to be involved. Did I understand you correctly?
Mr. DECKER. Yes, sir, our understanding, as I indicated the draft proposal, which has not been released, does not stipulate Senate confirmation.
We believe that accountability is not just to the Executive Branch, but to the Congress, as well, which is essential when you put an individual in such a critical position.
Page 82 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. COSTELLO. I made a point earlier to our colleagues who are here, and in particular Mr. Gilchrest, the primary sponsor of the legislation. I asked him if he felt that our Subcommittee should have oversight and if, in fact, H.R. 525 clearly spelled that out.
I assume at this point that it does not clearly lay the oversight of this subcommittee out or give us responsibility. I was not talking about jurisdiction, but I was talking about having the Administration accountable to a committee of the Congress. I assume that you would agree with that.
Mr. DECKER. Sir, we have not looked closely at that provision.
Mr. COSTELLO. But you would agree that the Administration should not be accountable to the Administration, but they should be accountable to the peoples' elected representative.
Mr. DECKER. I believe that there are two types of accountability. Clearly, one is much more independent than the other.
Mr. COSTELLO. Thank you.
Mr. LATOURETTE. I thank you all for your excellent testimony here today.
The last piece of business is, Mr. Costello, I want to ask anonymous consent, on behalf of Mr. McConnell and Mr. Chambliss, to submit for the purposes of the record the Guide for all Hazard Emergency Operations Planning from FEMA.
Mr. COSTELLO. Without objection.
Mr. LATOURETTE. Thank you, so ordered.
Thank you all for coming. This hearing is adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 4:15 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned, to reconvene at the call of the Chair.]
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