SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
Page 1 TOP OF DOC?????
[H.A.S.C. No. 10736]
CRISIS RESPONSE CAPABILITIES TO DOMESTIC ACTS OF TERRORISM RELATED TO WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION
MILITARY PROCUREMENT SUBCOMMITTEE
COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED SEVENTH CONGRESS
MARCH 5, 2002
Page 2 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
MILITARY PROCUREMENT SUBCOMMITTEE
CURT WELDON, Pennsylvania, Chairman
JAMES V. HANSEN, Utah
JOEL HEFLEY, Colorado
TERRY EVERETT, Alabama
HOWARD ''BUCK'' MCKEON, California
J.C. WATTS, JR., Oklahoma
MAC THORNBERRY, Texas
LINDSEY GRAHAM, South Carolina, Vice Chairman
JIM RYUN, Kansas
JIM GIBBONS, Nevada
HEATHER WILSON, New Mexico
ROB SIMMONS, Connecticut
MARK STEVEN KIRK, Illinois
JO ANN DAVIS, Virginia
EDWARD L. SCHROCK, Virginia
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
GENE TAYLOR, Mississippi, Ranking Member
IKE SKELTON, Missouri
JOHN M. SPRATT, JR., South Carolina
LANE EVANS, Illinois
ROD R. BLAGOJEVICH, Illinois
TOM ALLEN, Maine
JIM TURNER, Texas
ADAM SMITH, Washington
JAMES H. MALONEY, Connecticut
MIKE MCINTYRE, North Carolina
CYNTHIA A. MCKINNEY, Georgia
ELLEN O. TAUSCHER, California
ROBERT BRADY, Pennsylvania
Roger Smith, Professional Staff Member
Bill Natter, Professional Staff Member
Jesse Tolleson, Research Assistant
C O N T E N T S
CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF HEARINGS
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Tuesday, March 5, 2002, Crisis Response Capabilities to Domestic Acts of Terrorism Related to Weapons of Mass Destruction
Tuesday, March 5, 2002
TUESDAY, MARCH 5, 2002
CRISIS RESPONSE CAPABILITIES TO DOMESTIC ACTS OF TERRORISM RELATED TO WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION
STATEMENTS PRESENTED BY MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
Weldon, Hon. Curt, a Representative of Pennsylvania, Chairman, Military Procurement Subcommittee
Baughman, Bruce, Director of Domestic Preparedness, Federal Emergency Management Agency
Gilmore, James, Chairman of the Advisor Panel to Assess Domestic Response Capabilities for Terrorism Involving Weapons of Mass Destruction
Gorman, Peter, President, Uniformed Fire Officers Association of New York
Jenaway, Chief William, National Volunteer Fire Council, King of Prussia, PA
Judd, Mike, Department of Energy
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Lannom, Lt. Col. Dave, Department of Energy
Maniscalo, Paul, Former Chief Deputy Paramedic for New York City, Chairman of the Terrorism Task Force, National Association of Emergency Medical Techicians
McBroom, Maj. Gen. John, USAF (Ret.) Director, Office of Emergency Operations, Energy Department
Plaugher, Chief Ed, Arlington County Fire Department, International Association of Fire Chiefs
Ramsey, Chief Charles, Metropolitan Police Department, Washington, DC
Rees, Maj. Gen. Raymond, USANG, Vice Chief, National Guard Bureau
Verga, Peter, Special Assistant for Homeland Security
Jenaway, Chief William
Lannom, Lt. Col. Dave
McBroom, Maj. Gen. John
Plaugher, Chief Ed
Ramsey, Chief Charles
Rees, Maj. Gen. Raymond
Page 6 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCVerga, Peter
DOCUMENTS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[There were no Documents submitted for the record.]
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[There were no Questions and Answers submitted for the record.]
CRISIS RESPONSE CAPABILITIES TO DOMESTIC ACTS OF TERRORISM RELATED TO WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION
House of Representatives,
Committee on Armed Services,
Military Procurement Subcommittee,
Washington, DC, Tuesday, March 5, 2002.
The Subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 1:55 p.m., in room 2118, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Curt Weldon (Chairman of the Subcommittee) presiding.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. CURT WELDON, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM PENNSYLVANIA, CHAIRMAN, MILITARY PROCUREMENT SUBCOMMITTEE
Mr. WELDON. [Presiding.] Subcommittee will come to order.
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We are going to change a little bit of the posture of the subcommittee hearing today. We just finished a one-and-a-half hour brief with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and our Department of Energy (DOE) intelligence folks on technology associated with crisis response and detection.
We are going to shift some of the demonstrations of technology that were to have occurred in the classified session to the public session before we begin our actual witnesses, if that is okay for our two witnesses assembled here at the table. That should not take more than five or 10 minutes. And then we will proceed to our witnesses because we were going to do this in the classified session, but I wanted to have as much of the technology available for the public to see, realizing that there were some components that we cannot show now that were briefed to members of Congress in the previous session.
This afternoon the Military Procurement Subcommittee meets to receive testimony on a breadth of requirements for crisis response to domestic acts of terrorism related to weapons of mass destruction.
The events of September 11th changed our world. Despite all the warnings of the looming terrorist threat to our homeland, we were caught unprepared. We just did not get the message of the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.
ABC recently reported that as far back as 1994, after the first World Trade Center attack, the Pentagon commissioned Dr. Marvin Cetron, a terrorist analyst, to study the terrorist threat. When Dr. Cetron warned the Pentagon of U.S. vulnerability to terrorist attacks using aircraft, the information, allegedly, was deleted from his final report.
Page 8 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Also in the 1994 timeframe, the French thwarted a terrorist aerial attack against the Eiffel Tower using an Algerian airliner.
In 1998, because of our concerns over the terrorist threat, as the Chairman of the Research and Development Subcommittee, I initiated legislation that eventually led to formation of the Gilmore Commission. The Gilmore Commission and two subsequent Commissionsthe Hart-Rudman and Bremmer Commissionultimately called for a comprehensive national strategy to combat terrorism and urged the creation of an Office of Homeland Security. Today we will have testimony from the chairman of that Commission.
The Bremmer Commission also called for a more effective and proactive diplomatic effort aimed at those states harboring or supporting terrorist groups and activities abroad. Further, this Commission recommended the establishment of a unified command structure to better coordinate Department of Defense (DOD) support of domestic authorities in response to a terrorist incident. Now, after the fact, many of the Commission's recommendations are being instituted.
The Cetron report, the Hart-Rudman Commission and the Bremmer Commission all identified the inability of our intelligence agencies to process vast amounts of data collected by satellites and other high-tech means. Today, major challenges continue to exist for the intelligence community to effectively collect, analyze and disseminate actionable intelligence to federal and both state and local agencies to respond to and, optimally, preempt acts of domestic terrorism That was the major focus of our classified hearing prior to this hearing.
Page 9 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Further, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has the responsibility, within the intelligence community, to disseminate intelligence information to state and local agencies. However, it, along with the intelligence community, is still developing a plan and process to do so.
Just as with Pearl Harbor, we failed to adequately evaluate the peril we faced and we have paid dearly.
As our first responders made us all proud with their heroic actions on and subsequent to 911, so, too, our President and armed forces have similarly responded with courage and resolve. What we want to do today is to continue the discussion of how best to respond to continued terrorist threat.
There are some 43 federal agencies and offices involved in responding to acts of domestic terrorism. Additionally, eight of these federal agencies have 24 types of teams that can respond to a terrorist incident involving biological, chemical, radiological, nuclear agents or weapons, which can also assist state and local governments.
In addition to these federal teams, there are over two million Americans on the front lines at home as first responders, including over one million firefighters, of whom 750,000 are volunteers; nearly 620,000 local police and sheriffs and deputies; and over 155,000 nationally registered emergency medical technicians.
To enhance the response by firefighters to incidents of domestic terrorism involving weapons of mass destruction, $900 million per year, beginning in fiscal year 2002 through fiscal year 2004, was authorized in our fiscal year 2002 National Defense Authorization Act. Furthermore, the President's fiscal year 2003 budget request directs $37.7 billion to homeland security, up from $19.5 billion in fiscal year 2002, to focus on four major initiativessupporting first responders, defending against bioterrorism, securing America's borders and urging 21st Century technology to secure the homeland.
Page 10 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Included in this $37.7 billion, $3.5 billion is specifically allocated for America's first responderslocal police, firefighters and emergency medical professionalswhich will be provided through the Federal Emergency Management (FEMA) Agency under its newly designated role as the federal agency responsible for coordinating responses to incidents of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction within the U.S. These funds are to be used for planning, equipping, training and exercises for state and local governments to prepare for and respond to acts of terrorism.
In fact, each year we lose over 100 fire and Emergency Medical Service (EMS) personnel in the course of conducting their responsible acts in protecting our towns. Much of the technology that this Committee has bought to protect our military personnel has not aggressively been transferred to our domestic responders. And that is a major priority that this Subcommittee is going to undertake this yearthe transfer of that cutting edge technology.
The Administration has requested $7.8 billion for homeland security-related activities of the intelligence community and DOD, the largest portion of which$4.6 billionwill be dedicated to the physical security of DOD facilities and personnel within the U.S. There are also significant funds requested for research and development related to combating terrorism, as well as for several specialized response teams such as Army National Guard Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Teams (WMDCST).
Significant and credible new threats to public safety and security demand rapid implementation of technology developed by any source. Civilian first responders suffer from a lack of access to current government-developed technologies, such as global positioning satellite receivers.
Page 11 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Where is the device? Please hold it up.
One of the staff over here has a global positioning system satellite device. This device was developed by the military to use on a field of combat to locate exactly where our soldiers are in any time of combat. The question we are asking today is why doesn't every firefighter and paramedic in America have the same access to that technology? If we would have had that up in Boston, perhaps six firefighters that were trapped in that warehouse would not have lost their lives. If we would have had the capability Army has for locating people on multi-floor establishments, two firefighters in Philadelphia that were two floors above where the fire chief thought they were and lost their oxygen might be here today.
The point is that this technology is being paid for with taxpayers' dollars. We support that as the Procurement Subcommittee. We want it transferred immediately to our civilian emergency response personnel.
In addition, we have the thermal imaging technology, which was developed by the military. This is what it originally looked like. $15,000 a copyevery fire and EMS department in America wanted it. With the help of this committee, we now have technology that you can take that device and put on a helmet.
And if you could show that up, Dan.
This is the same technology that eventually will sell, helmet mounted, for a cost of close to $2,000 when it is mass produced.
Page 12 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
What we are saying is this hearing is about finding ways to get that technology in the hands of our domestic emergency responders in a more quick manner to also protect those lives.
Many Federal agencies, including DOD, Department of Transportation (DOT), DOE and FEMA, are historically slow to adopt emerging, commercially developed technologies and equally slow in making publicly funded technologies, exclusive of legitimately classified technologies, available to the private and commercial sectors.
The Gilmore commission has identified the need for an independently operated ''clearinghouse'' to ensure that promising new technologies are fully exploited for the public good, whether or not they are developed through public funding. As a result, I plan to propose in legislation in the Fiscal Year 2003 Defense Authorization Act, a provision that will establish such a facility. And I would like to hear from each of our witnesses today about what types of technologies would be useful to initially be reviewed, migrated between government agencies and made available to local first responders by this clearinghouse.
Before we hear from our panels and before we have our demonstration, I would ask my friend and our gentleman and leader from Mississippi who has been a tireless advocate on behalf of these domestic issues, especially the threats coming from South Americaespecially those threats that we need to be aware of in this CongressMr. Taylor, the ranking member of this subcommittee, for his opening statement.
Mr. TAYLOR. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I hope I live up to your glorious introduction.
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Governor, we thank you for being here today. I would hope that in the course of your remarks, Governor, that you could touch on theat least comment on what I feel is the need for a weapons of mass destruction civil support team in every state. Because you know, in the past few years, we have gone from seven to, I believe, 32. But having served in state government, as you have, we understand what could be the conflicting parochial needs if, as we have seen with the recent anthrax attacks, a number of coordinated incidences take place in adjoining states.
As we all know, the National Guard works for the governor of the home state until mobilized by the President. It is my belief if you have three or four states that are experiencing simultaneous attacks, if you had a team in Virginia while there was a circumstance taking place in Delaware or Maryland, your first responsibility would be to the people of Virginia. And I doubt you would let that team go, even to a neighboring state.
And I think for that reason and particularly since we have seen, since the 11th of September, that we have gone from ''what if'' to ''what is next?'' The person responsible for the anthrax letters has not been caught. I very deeply regret that.
Unfortunately, Osama bin Laden, despite the excellent efforts of the United States military in Afghanistan, is still out there. And the other members of his network are still out there. And I am sure they are not the only people who are out there who are intent on hurting Americans.
There is, as our Chairman pointed out, a heck of a lot of great technology out there. I am not so sure that there is enough money in the Federal Treasury to see to it that everyone who would like to have that technology can have it. So I would hope that you would help guide this Committee to see to it that at least in every state these resources are there, in some numbers, so that they can be shared within each state on a very prompt and timely basis.
Page 14 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. Chairman, you have been very generous to recognize, but I also understand that since the first hearing took a bit longer than any of us thought it would that General McBroom has been held over. He has some things, he would like to talk to us. And I would gladly yield my time to him so that he can get those things that he wants to say in public said. And then get on about his business.
Mr. WELDON. I thank my friend and colleague and the ranking member of this Subcommittee, Mr. Taylor, for his comments and for his introduction of our distinguished visitor, General McBroom, who is a key player in our efforts to protect this country.
He is here with Lieutenant Colonel Dave Lannom, who is going to demonstrate some technology that we have that we have developed with funds from the defense budget and from other sources and talk about the steps being taken with technology to protect the people of this countryrealizing that there were several technologies that were demonstrated to members in the closed session which we cannot talk about in the open session.
So, I will turn it over to you, Colonel.
And, General, you feel free to comment with whatever way you want during the presentation, as well.
Colonel, it is all yours.
Page 15 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSTATEMENT OF LIEUTENANT COLONEL DAVE LANNOM, DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY
Mr. LANNOM. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Just wanted to, briefly, show you some of our technology that we have in the Department of Energy that we have applied to first and second responders.
The first one we will talk about is this pager. You have seen it in the media recently. This has been provided to police, fire department, bomb technicians throughout the country. This one is out there. It was developed at DOEtech transferred over to a private company and it is being used widely.
Mr. WELDON. And that is for detecting gamma only.
Mr. LANNOM. This one is for detecting gamma. It is a gamma detector only.
Mr. WELDON. How many of those are out there now? Do you have any idea?
Mr. LANNOM. Customs has several thousands. The FBI distributed them to every accredited bomb squad, so they are throughout the country.
A step up from that is this devicealso manufactured by the same company that builds the pager and that is called an HRM. This one adds the neutron detection capability. A much better deviceit gives us much more indication of a much more serious problem. This one is out there right now, also. It is a little bit more expensive, but it is a better device.
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
These two are first respondersfire department and bomb technicianspolicewhomever else may get involved in that.
Mr. WELDON. What is the, approximately, cost of each?
Mr. LANNOM. The Pageress is about $1,200 right now. The HRMs are in the neighborhood of $3,000 or so.
The second responders, after the first responders got on the scene and got a hit from one of these devices, would use something like this. It is a commercially procured device. It is called an exploranimum. And it does a very basic isotopic identification. Where this would tell usgive you a number to say the degree of the seriousness of what you may be looking at, this may tell you exactly, to some degree, what type of an isotope you are dealing with.
Mr. WELDON. Cost?
Mr. LANNOM. Probably in the $5,000 range or so. Again, originally developed at a DOE labtech transferred out to private industry. It is commercially available.
We have done some examinations of thesedetermined how good they are and we shared that amongst the, you know, the interagencyCustoms, Secret Service, FBI and so on.
Page 17 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Along the lines of second responder is also this device. It is a sniffersniffs the high explosives. This one is still in, kind of, a prototype stage. It is developed primarily mirroring up existing equipment with other equipment that is available and equipment that the Department of Energy at Sandia National Labs is developing. And we are beginning to work and develop this type of equipment also.
I am going to turn it over right now to Mr. Mike Judd, also from the Department of Energy, and let him talk about his particular technology.
STATEMENT OF MIKE JUDD, DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY
Mr. JUDD. Thank you.
Mr. Chairman and ladies and gentlemen, the device that I would like to talk to you about is a recently commercialized product that can be used to detect the contents of a sealed container without actually opening it. It is extremely accurate.
And I have got a couple of examples here that I am prepared to shoot for those who would be interested in seeing that accomplished.
My company is Mehl, Griffin & Bartek. In conjunction with International Engineering and Manufacturing of Media, Pennsylvania, we were selected as a commercializing agent for the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. And through the wisdom and the foresight of the U.S. Customs Service, the funding for this commercialization effort was actually accomplished prior to the events of 911. So some folks were looking ahead very wisely for us.
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
The device is accurate, as I mentioned. You can read 65 different things in our database. When you take a reading, what you are doing is firing an ultrasonic pulse through the container wall to the opposite wall through the medium that is inside. And the reflection of that is timed so that you, then, can tell exactlybecause all media expressly exhibit the symptom and they are uniqueyou can then identify just exactly what is in there.
Not only can you identify the liquid contents by name, you can also do that to many solids. Of the 65 items, 33 are solids, 32 are liquids. And of the liquids, 11 are chemical warfare agents. We can actually identify sarin, mustard, and so forth with this device.
The device is very simple to operatethis is it. It is extremely portable. And through the application of a simple little strip of velcro, you can make it a one-handed operation. And all you do is goop up the end of this transducer head, which is very similar to the kind that our wives had used to take a look at the children inside, and simply put it up against a container wall, fire the trigger. You will get a wave form. And that wave form is unique for the properties of whatever is inside. And release the trigger and get a read out on the database if it is there.
But, regardless of whether you get a read out, you get a material velocity, which will be a useful thing for you in terms of categorizing the liquids that are inside into a safe or unsafe category. What I am saying there is that even though you cannot identify it by name, you can at least put it in a safe category.
This thing is designed to save lives. First responders, one of the first things they have to do in this day and age, with terrorism being what it is, is secure an area. And when you secure an area, of course, you are going to see many containers laying around in certain industrial settings and other things. It is not uncommon for a terrorist to plant things that are designed to go off after the first response team is there and do as much damage as possible.
Page 19 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
This device can, very rapidly, ascertain what is inside a container, like a 55-gallon drum. But it can also detect whether or not there is a package inside that fluid filled container by actually determining whether there is a void or a floater inside. You can actually pick up those readings.
You can also tell the fill layerfill level, I should say, of a container.
Would you like to see this in operation, sir?
Mr. WELDON. What is the cost?
Mr. JUDD. The cost is $17,495, retail price.
Mr. WELDON. And we are manufacturing them right now for the military?
Mr. JUDD. We are manufacturing them right now. The Air Force has bought the first two. U.S. Customs Service has made a decision. We are not aware of what it is, yet. But we are anticipating an order very soon from them.
I believe there are other elements of the government that are also looking at this with an eye toward providing it to their people on the front lines, too.
Page 20 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. WELDON. Was this paid for with public money? Or was the research done with private dollars?
Mr. JUDD. It was paid for with public money, sir. It was the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy working together clear back in the early 1990s. This technology was actually used by United Nations inspectors in Iraq to determine whether or not there were chemical warfare filled projectiles.
Mr. WELDON. Very good.
Any questions from our colleagues?
Mr. TAYLOR. Your name, again, sir?
Mr. JUDD. Mike JuddJ-U-D-D.
Mr. TAYLOR. Mr. Judd, I am curious to what extent can you increase the scale of that? Could you, for example, inspect the contents of a 20-foot container that is being taken off a ship or crossing the border from Mexico or Canada?
Mr. JUDD. Under certain circumstances, yes, sir.
I failed to mention the actual dimensions that this device targets are anything from eight inches to eight feet in diameter or linear dimension, let's put it that way. But there is no reason at all why the range could not be extended, provided the pulse has the sufficient power to make it to the far end of the container and back. And we actually provide, as part of the purchase, two separate transducer headsone of them designed to operate at a lower frequency, giving a greater pulse strength to go to the far end of a container.
Page 21 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
I have actually physically, personally, used this unit on fuel tanker trucks at the Maryland State Police truck stop up at West Friendship, outside of Baltimore. I have also done 55-gallon drums with it and various other sized containers.
Mr. TAYLOR. What happens if those cansor, say, one of 24 in a box and there are 1,000 boxes in a trailerwhat happens, then?
Mr. JUDD. In the past it would have been very difficult to inspect all of those, for obvious reasons. With this unit, though, you can take a can, put the unit up against the end of itsimilar to thislike thatand with a single squeeze of a trigger, determine the contents. You can then, on the first one, set an alarm so that the alarm will sound each and every time that you hit one exactly like that. Or you can set it so it will not alarm until you find one that is different.
It is an extremely utilitarian way of conducting inspections.
Mr. TAYLOR. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. WELDON. Thank you, Mr. Taylor.
Mrs. Davis, questions?
Mrs. JO ANN DAVIS OF VIRGINIA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Page 22 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Judd, you said it was good for first responders to secure an area. But if I just heard you correctly, none of our first responders have it. Is that correct?
Mr. JUDD. That is correct.
Mrs. JO ANN DAVIS OF VIRGINIA. Thank you.
Mr. WELDON. Thank you, Mrs. Davis.
Any other members have questions?
You said you could do a demonstration for usis that right?
Mr. JUDD. Yes, sirI can.
Mr. WELDON. Okay.
Mr. JUDD. Would you like to see that?
Mr. WELDON. Yes, sir.
Mr. JUDD. Okay.
Mr. WELDON. Does it tell whether the soup is good, as well?
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. JUDD. Well, it will tell you whether the juice is okay, sir, because I have got only juice cans here.
When you start this unit, it is a simple matter of turning on the device. It is a Compaq iPAC Pocket PC. That is all it is. It has got a specialized software program in it. When I start it, I boot up the software for the system that we are using. The only entry I currently have to make in the unit is to measure the distance of the shot that I am taking and enter that into the software. The software does all the rest of it.
So, in this particular case, these cans are 6.75 inches long. I already have that entered in here. So I do not have to do anything physical with it. All I do now is press the little acquire button and it is now ready to fire.
We are working on a dry coupling for this that will ease the way for people who are using this. But, for now, I have to goop it just like a doctor would for a transducer test on a wife.
And this is itI simply put it up against the container wall. And this could be a fuel truck or anything else. When I squeeze the trigger, I get a wave form. And I release as soon as I get that wave form. And I can get a reading on what the product is.
There it ispineapple juiceif anybody would like to see that.
I can similarly go to the other can and, if I have got sufficient juice on the end of this, I will get to do some reading for you. I am notI think I am going to have to goop that up a little.
Page 24 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. WELDON. So they pre-program the software for all the potential products you are looking for.
Mr. JUDD. The dry coupling that we are working with a manufacturer to provide will eliminate this particular step and make it a little bit cleaner and simpler production.
And there it istomato juice.
Mr. WELDON. So this is good for chemical biological agentsa broad spectrum of potential threats?
Mr. JUDD. Yes, sirparticularly chemical warfare agents. As I said, there are 11 of them that were proven into the database long ago by the Pacific Northwest National Lab.
Mr. WELDON. Any other questions from my colleagues?
Mr. GIBBONS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I had just one question, Mr. Judd. How does it distinguish between a chemical agent and a biological agent?
Page 25 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. JUDD. Biological agents it would not detect, sirit is chemical warfare.
Mr. GIBBONS. Chemical only?
Mr. JUDD. Yes, it is chemical.
Mr. GIBBONS. Thank you.
Mr. WELDON. Thank you.
Thank you for clarifying that.
Thank you for showing that.
General, is that it?
Colonel, anything else?
We thank you for being here. And I guess the whole purpose of this demonstration of technology is that the threats are now becoming more real to our country. And if the membersas I showed in the classified sessionlook to their right, we will show them exactly what we are talking about and that is a small nuclear device that was built to specs that the DOE, interestingly enough, had on its Web site of how to build a 155 millimeter gun-fueled nuclear atomic demolition munitiontechnology that you can acquire pretty much off the market, with the exception, obviously, of the nuclear fuel, which, in this case, would be uranium-235.
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
This is the same type of device that General Alexander Leban in 1997 said he could not find any of that were missing from the Russian arsenal and that our FBI and CIA continue to look for.
So that is why we are here today, because the threats are realtechnology is needed. And we need to learn from those actions taken by groups like the Gilmore Commission and by our federal agencies in allowing us to be properly prepared.
So, with that, we will turn to our first panel. We are extremely pleased to have both the honorable Jim Gilmore, former Governor of the State of Virginia, and Chairman of the Advisory Panel to Assess Domestic Response Capabilities for Terrorism Involving Weapons of Mass Destructionmore commonly known as the Gilmore Commissionand Mr. Bruce Baughman, the Director of Domestic Preparedness for the Office of Federal Emergency Management.
We are very pleased to have you both here.
Governor Gilmore, your statement will be entered in the recordas will yours, Mr. Baughmanbut you can make whatever comments you would like.
We will turn the floor over to you, Governor.
STATEMENT OF JAMES GILMORE, CHAIRMAN OF THE ADVISORY PANEL TO ASSESS DOMESTIC RESPONSE CAPABILITIES FOR TERRORISM INVOLVING WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. GILMORE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman, Mr. Ranking Member Taylor and members of the Subcommittee, I thank you for the opportunity to be here to speak to you, today. And I come before you as Chairman of the Advisory Panel to Assess Domestic Response Capabilities for Terrorism Involving Weapons of Mass Destruction. And I appreciate the opportunity to be here.
I, particularly, am pleased to join you, Mr. Chairman. It is your vision and your foresight that led to the legislation to cause this Commission to come into being. I think it is qualitatively different from any of the other commissions that have addressed these kinds of issues in topic and in content. That was your idea and your thinking about the way that this was supposed to come together. I think the work has been, I think, a credit to you and to the Committee. And I appreciate very much your leadership and your sense of urgency in this. The attacks, of course, have underscored that, as we have sadly seen.
As you said, Mr. Chairman, I have done a written submission that has been entered into the record for the members of the Committee. It is rather extensive and detailed, so I am going to try to be as extemporaneous as I can so that we can be quick today, in light of the time and the additional witnesses that are coming forward.
As I said a moment ago, there is a unique makeup to this panel. Two members of the panel are here today and will be testifying before you shortlyPaul Maniscalco, who is with emergency medical techniciansChief of Emergency Medical Technicians of the city of New Yorkand Bill Jenaway, leader in fire and rescue and King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
But the point is that this Committee has been largely made up of local responderspeople who actually have to go to the place where the accident or the injury or the damage or the attack is going to occur in order to deal with the response.
Now the Committee also has major general officers, representatives from the military, representatives from the intelligence community, as well. We have had very good guidance and advice from participants from the Department of Defense. But, particularly, weight has been given to fire, police, rescue, emergency servicesstrong representation in healthparticularly the health community when we were dealing with issues of bioterrorism.
I also want to recognize Mike Warmott, who is here today with me. He is from the RAND Corporation. The RAND Corporation has been staffing the Commission for these past three years and has done a superb job. Many of these commissions are staff driven. I want to assure you that our Commission is not. It is driven by the members of the panel. And the staff has given us all of the support that we could possibly want and has given us the ability to, in fact, do our jobs.
And George Forceman is with me, who is also on the panel. He has served as a special assistant for me, as well as being a member of the panel. And he is Deputy Director of Emergency Services for the State of Virginia.
The three reports that we have issued were issued in 1999in December; December of 2000; and December of 2001, although we accelerated the third report in light of the attacks on September the 11th, and then did a final report.
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
You have now renewed this panel, based on the reports that we have previously submitted and the work that we have done, for an additional two years.
The reports speak for themselves. I can go into them and usually do when I am speaking. But, today, in the interest of time, I just want to make several points and then I will be happy to respond to any questions that any of you may have or any discussion you would like to have.
First of all, let me speak for just a moment about the militarythe real subject of this Subcommittee and this panel.
The military has done great workis doing great work. We are very proud of them. They were certainly on the scene at the Pentagon in order to assist the local responders. And just has done just wonderful work. We expect them, in fact, to be in support of the first responders and the typical response groups that would be coming to any type of major terrorist catastrophe in this country.
But their major duty remains overseas. They are there to act on behalf of this country in overseas locations and carry out the foreign policy and the national policy and security of the United States. Therefore, we must focus our attention on preparing, training, equipping the local responders across the country. They will be the ones in the event of a catastrophe who are the first responders who are there. They will be the people who deal with them in hospitals. They will be the people who deal with them on the scenefire, rescue, police. And that is the reality.
Page 30 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
And, Mr. Chairman, it was the reality at the Pentagon, also. And that is the situation. Even though everybody thinks the Pentagon is in Washingtonis a major federal building, of course, which it is, it was the first responders from the community who showed up that day and saved people's lives and responded to that terrorist attack at the Pentagon in Northern Virginia.
Mr. Chairman, this is a national efforta national effort means not a federal effort. A national effort means a federal, state and local responder effort. And that is the national strategy.
We have recommended in our reports that the military specifically not be the first responder in any circumstance, although we believe that they should, in fact, be prepared and equipped and organized to come to the assistance of the states and the localities who, in fact, are the first responders, as necessary.
The second report that we issued, in December of 2000, proposed a officethe National Office of Terrorismdirectly accountable to the President of the United States. We believe that that has been, in fact, implemented with the Office of Homeland Security, with Tom Ridge, of course, being named to be the head of that.
We foresaw this office as being one that would focus, primarily, on budget, planning, strategy and preparing, in the large big picture sense, for the national strategy for the United States.
Page 31 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The national strategy, of course, would include federal, state, local military and we believe now that, very well, we have to begin to think seriously about the private community, as well, that has to be a part of the national strategy.
With respect to the locals and their equipment, we believe that there must be interoperability. There must be planning and procedure that includes them and recognizes their leadership position. There must be training. And we also believe that, in terms of a response, that a good system is already in place and that is the Emergency Operation Center for the States, in total partnership with FEMA. This system works time after time after time in natural disasters and circumstances where there needs to be a response in concentrating and focusing the resources necessary at the site. That is different from the planning and strategic, sort of, concept.
We also recognized that there needed to be changes in the intelligence sharing and gathering. That is an issue, I know, that is very interesting to this Committee. We are very concerned about the inability to get intelligence into the hands of the local responders and the state officials who will be the people who will have to respond.
In terms of procurement, we recommend to this Committee that you consider focusing on the capabilities that are going to be necessary in accordance with the national strategy. And national strategy must be developed. It places the burden and it recognizes and defines what capabilities will be necessary that any stateincluding all 50 statesand Mr. Taylor made a reference to this suggestion a few moments ago. Look and see what the national strategy is going to require in the 50 states and in the thousands of localities and then equip, purchase, procure and train in order to make sure that limited funds and limited capacities of the taxpayer are used in the most effective and strategic way.
Page 32 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
We recommend all threat capabilities because we do not know whether it is going to be a bio attack, a chemical attack, a nuclear attack or a conventional attack or a cyber-attack. So, therefore, all threat capabilities will help us prepare in the best way.
We must recognize the limitations of finance and the fact that you cannot be everywhere trying to do everything all of the time, so you have to develop a national strategy to recognize that. Richmond, for example, my home city, said that they needed $10 million in order to be prepared. And they listed what they thought they needed. A national strategy will say what we need, not just in Richmond, but in all the states and in all the cities. And then, financially, we can begin to see what we can afford.
A suggestion might be a regional approach where you place regional assets and regional clusters of stateswhere you place some strategic assets that would prepare you for bioterrorism in one state and, perhaps, radiological and nuclear in another state. But all togetherand if there is a collective strategy for the region or even for the nation, you would be in a position to respond.
And that, perhaps, addresses the issue that you spoke about, Mr. Taylor. It might be that that would be the best possible approach. Unless funding all 50 states is the best possible approach.
In terms of training, we believe it has to be delivered to the locals and the states. They cannot come to Washington or to any central location. It has to be consistent and we have to decide what it is they are going to be expected to do. Only then can we know how to train and how to equip.
Page 33 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
We strongly urge research and development. We believe it could be built on existing technology as well as new technology. And we strongly endorse the concept you raised, Mr. Chairman, of the independent clearinghouse to begin to address some of these capabilities.
Mr. Chairman, 911, obviously, changed the way that we think about things in the United States. I was, of course, Governor at the time. I responded and set into motion Virginia's response at the state level, while locals were already responding to the scene. And Ed Plaugher is here and I think is going to speak in a few momentsthe Fire Chief from Alexandria, who was the Site Chief at the Pentagon.
I lost a personal friend who was on the plane that crashed into the Pentagon. And, Mr. Chairman, one of the members of our Commission was the Deputy Fire Chief for the City of New York, Ray Downey. He served loyally with usworked with usresponded faithfully and loyally for all three years. And his imprint is, in a major way, on all three of these reports. This third report is dedicated to Ray Downey because Ray Downey, on the day of the attack on 911, was in New York and responded to the World Trade Center and was getting people out when the World Trade Center collapsed on him and 300 other firefighters and killed them. So we have lost Ray Downey as a result of this.
September 11th has made a difference in the way that we see things. It has changed our approach and philosophy with respect to security in this nation. There is no doubt about that. There is no doubt there has to be at least a three-prong strategy to prevent these kinds of attacks. To respond and circumscribe and be prepared to minimize and contain these types of attacks. And then to attack the enemies, themselves, that would do these things. And I think the President is doing that in an admirable and wonderful way. And we support his efforts overseas.
Page 34 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. Chairman, I close by saying that one of the key threads that runs through all of our reports is a concern for the civil liberties of the people of the country. The concern is that there is always a balance between security and liberty. The freer a country is, the more vulnerable it is. But, yet, we would be wrong to eliminate our vulnerabilities and go to complete the security by eliminating the civil liberties of the people of the United States. It is what makes us Americans. It is what the world aspires to. If they do not love us, they at least aspire to be what we are and to reach the achievement we have reached.
And so we should not cause the enemy to cause us to lose these civil liberties of the United States. If so, we lose what makes us Americans and then the enemy wins.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Gilmore can be found in the Appendix on page ?.]
Mr. WELDON. Thank you very much for your service.
STATEMENT OF BRUCE BAUGHMAN, DIRECTOR OF DOMESTIC PREPAREDNESS, FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY
Mr. BAUGHMAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Director Allbaugh sends his regrets that he could not be here today.
Page 35 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
I am Bruce Baughman. I am Director of the Office of National Preparedness within FEMA.
Mr. Chairman, as you know, in December of 2000, the Gilmore Commission issued its second report, stressing the importance of giving states and first responders a single point of contact for federal assistance in the area of training, exercise and equipment. Specifically, the report found that the organization of the federal government's programs for combating terrorism is fragmented and uncoordinated.
Their third report included recommendations to address the lack of coordination, including proposals to consolidate federal grant programs and application procedures for those programs. Second, to include first responder participation in federal preparedness programs. And these findings were echoed in other Commission reports, Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) reports and by the first responders themselves.
On May 8, President Bush tasked Director Allbaugh to create the Office of National Preparedness within FEMA. The mission of this office is to provide leadership and coordination and facilitation of all federal government efforts, to assist state and local responders in emergency management organizations with planning, equipment, training and exercises necessary to build and sustain a national capability.
In creating the Office of Homeland Security, the President took another important step to improve the nation's capabilities to respond and began to coordinate federal programs and activities aimed at combating terrorism. FEMA has been working closely with Governor Ridge and his staff and other agencies to identify and develop the most effective ways to quickly build and enhance the overall domestic response capability against terrorist attacks.
Page 36 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
In January, the President took another important step to assist the efforts of the first response community to prepare against terrorism events. He announced the First Responder Initiative to provide funding, training, exercises and planning and equipment. He designated FEMA as the program lead for this initiative.
The 2003 budget includes expenditures of $3.5 billion to enhance the capability of America's first responders to improve homeland security. In administrating this funding, FEMA has several objectives. Our goals are to establish of an effective and expeditious method for dispersing federal grant assistance to the states. Second, to ensure that the funds reach the first response community at the local level. Third is to encourage national mutual aid agreements. Fourth is design a process to evaluate our success at improving those response capabilities.
By building upon existing capabilities at the state and local level, the First Response Initiative will maximize their effective response capabilities and strengthen our preparedness as a nation.
FEMA has solid working relationships with state and local government, the various federal agencies and the first response community that allows it to successfully coordinate response to emergencies. Because of these relationships, FEMA, through the Office of National Preparedness, is the appropriate federal agency, we feel, to be the single point of contact to facilitate and oversee the President's First Responder Initiative and to implement the national goals and to build a preparedness capability.
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Our success is based upon our ability to coordinate federal agencies in support of state and local government, volunteer organizations and the private sector. Our experiences in responding to natural disasters have taught us who to bring to the table and what questions to ask so that we can better manage a wide range of emergencies.
In addition to the key presidential initiatives, FEMA and the Office of National Preparedness is currently implementing a number of other initiatives in support of homeland security. One is a training course review. We are doing this at the request of Congress.
We are preparing a Report to Congress on Terrorism and Emergency Preparedness Training that will include a complete accounting of all federal emergency and terrorism preparedness training activities to determine the effectiveness of the courses, unmet training needs and the applicability of private sector training methods in the delivery of these courses.
Second, mutual aid agreementsin conjunction with the First Responder Initiative, FEMA is working to foster mutual aid arrangements within the states and between states so that the entire local, state and federal and volunteer network can operate seamlessly together.
These agreements will address a number of issues, including team configuration, individual qualifications, equipment standards and communications interoperability. FEMA is working in close collaboration with the other federal agencies and the interagency board for the equipment standardization interoperability to develop standard equipment needs and to address the issue of interoperability.
Page 38 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
National exercise programwe are in the process of identifying national exercise objectives, putting together a multi-year exercise strategy. But most importantly, we are putting together a corrective action program so that we can share lessons learned and to specifically identify an agency that is responsible for remediation of lessons learned.
National assessment capabilitywe are in the process of assessing the terrorism needs. Many agencies are conducting their own independent assessments. One of our priorities is to consolidate these assessments into a single consolidated assessment process that will allow us to have a more coherent picture of the national capability to respond to both natural and manmade disasters.
These activities will provide insight and a solid foundation as we move forward to strengthening the nation's capability to respond to a terrorist incident.
Operationally, FEMA is prepared to respond to terrorist incidents. Just as we do with other natural disasters, following a terrorist event, FEMA aims to ensure that the federal government and its partners provide the needed support to disaster victims, first responders and local government. The federal response plan provides the heart of our management framework and lays out the process by which the interagency groups work together to respond as a cohesive team to all types of disasters. The federal response plan is successful because it builds upon existing professional disciplines, expertise, delivery systems and relationships among the participating agencies.
Page 39 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC This plan is successful. We have used it in Oklahoma City. We used it in the World Trade Center. We used it at the Pentagon.
We are now poised to move forward in a meaningful way. I look forward to working with each of you in helping our nation build and better prepare ourselves for the future. This is a critical matter and will require communication among all of us, working together to ensure its success.
At this time, I would be happy to entertain any questions, sir.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Baughman can be found in the Appendix on page ?.]
Mr. WELDON. Thank you, Mr. Baughman.
Thank you both for your statements and for your service.
Governor Gilmore, I think the Commission has done an outstanding job. It was important it was in place before 911. And you had already done two reports and made major recommendation to this country. If we had only listened to you and taken your suggestions more fully to heart prior to 911, I think we would have been in a much better position because you were right on the mark. I mean, the statements and the comments that your commission was makingthe input that was provided was telling America what we needed to hear. Unfortunately, the country was not focused on those kinds of concerns prior to September 11. But we appreciate the great job that you have done.
Page 40 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. Baughman, FEMA has had two outstanding directors back-to-backJames Lee Witt was a fantastic director of FEMA. Mr. Allbaugh, I think, is equally an outstanding director. Your agency is very responsive. I saw it in action at the World Trade Center. It was just totally responsive to the needs of the New York City fire department and the Office of Emergency Management and it is a credit to both you and the Director for the new challenge that you are undertaking with the emergency responders.
I have one question that I asked in the private session. I know all of my colleagues do not agree. I happen to think that governors, by their position, should automatically be given the same classification status that members of Congress have. Governors control the National Guard. Governors are the chief official.
So, Governor, do you think that we should have a process where our elected governors are given access at the same level that members of Congress have to classified systems, technology and operations?
Mr. GILMORE. Yes, Mr. Chairman, of course I do. But beyond that, I think that the focus ought to be on getting the information where it can do the most good in preparation and prevention. It would probably need to even go beyond the governorheads of the National Guard, perhapsthe head of the state police, certainlythe head of the Emergency Operations Center if, in fact, they are the partner with FEMA in responding to the disasters, probably.
But the key point is there is no reason why you cannot do this. You can clear people. You can train people. You can still have need-to-know obligations and requirements. You can still have clearances. You can still begin to lay down some rules.
Page 41 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
You see, if you give, today, ad hoc information beyond the intelligence community, they run a risk that the pressures placed on a person in public office will be so great that they will potentially misuse the information. If, on the other hand, you have a solid clearance chain of information where everybody knows what they are supposed to do and admonitions are there and penalties are there, if necessary, even to a governor, then it is going to be handled properly and handled correctly and those pressures, frankly, can be cast aside by the process that should be put into place.
Mr. WELDON. Thank you, Governor.
Mr. BAUGHMAN. Absolutely. The director certainly agrees with that. One of the things that we have got in our budget this year is six security clearances for each one of the state emergency management organizations and also a comsuite that would allow secure videoconferencing capabilities, secure telephones, secure fax and everything that goes with it. So that it is in our budget.
Mr. WELDON. I want to move on to my colleagues. I have one additional question and then I will go on.
I happen to think one of our top shortcomings has been, and still remains, the lack of a uniform integrated communication system, domestically. We had Chief Morris come in and testify before a subcommittee I chaired a couple of years ago and one year after the anniversary of the Murrah Building bombing. He said that his biggest challenge was in having a total disjointed communication capability. When he arrived on the scene, he could not communicate with other agencies because there were different frequenciesdifferent parts of the spectrum. They went to a cellular phone system and that became overtaxed. So that Chief of Oklahoma City had to resort to hand writing notesorders to go to different agencies.
Page 42 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Do you share the concernand I think the President and Director Allbaugh havebecause I think they have asked for, I think, over $1 billionfor the whole need for this country to have what our military already has and that is a unifying, coordinated emergency communication system for the territory of the U.S. Governor, and then Director Baughman.
Mr. GILMORE. Mr. Chairman, I do agree. I certainly would want to drop that into the policymaking process that we would create a national strategy. But, to be sure, when the decisions are made as to what best secures this country within the financial obligations that it has and capacities that it has, surely consistent communications would be one of the earliest priorities, I would think, within the national strategy.
I also might say, by the way, that you also probably need to focus on the issue of cyber security. We have an entire chapter and extensive discussion on the dangers of cyber attacks. Sometimes, potentially, in conjunction with a conventional or weapon of mass destruction attack, which would disable our capacity to respond.
And, in addition to that, different agencies, over the years, have acquired different types of computers and different types of information technology. And, in addition to that, the states and localities have all done the same, even within themselves in agencies.
And, in addition to that, all of the information technology that we see in the private sector where it is 80 percent of the information technology in this country is in the private sectorsometimes it is all different and cannot communicate.
Page 43 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
The Internet may provide some capacity to do that, but it remains to be seen. And security issues, of course, are very significant on the Internet as well.
So, all these communications issues, I think, you are right on target on, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. WELDON. Mr. Baughman?
Mr. BAUGHMAN. We certainly agree. That is the reason why I mentioned in my opening comments that communications interoperability is one of the priorities that our interagency board, which is made up of federal agencies, first responders and private industry reps, is taking on. I know it is a priority by the Office of Homeland Security also.
One of the things we found, though, a good Com Plan takes care of a large chunk of a lot of the communications interoperability problems.
Mr. WELDON. Thank you.
Mr. TAYLOR. Governor, one of the things that really stuck out in my mind on the 11th was, even though it was a very clever plan to hijack the four planes, the lack of a follow-up. In watching these buildings being evacuated and this mass of humanity going down the street this waysitting on this Committee and being aware of the large number of countries and entities that have chemical and biological agents, it hit me what a perfect time for someone to disburse a chemical or biological agent upwind from this mass of humanity just walking down the street as these buildings are evacuated.
Page 44 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
I am going to throw a scenario at you. I know that we are working on some things. But I am afraid in an effort to do everything, I am not so sure we have accomplished anything, just yet. So I am going to throw a scenario that might have happened three weeks ago.
As you know, down south Mardi Gras daythe day before Lentis a big deal. In the case of New Orleans, there were probably 500,000 people on Canal Street. In the case of Lafayette, Louisiana, there might have been 100,000 people on the main street. Mobile, Alabama, probably a quarter-of-a million peopleBiloxi, Mississippi, 100,000 people simultaneously out on the street.
So what if, for these four outside festivities in three different states in each instance a crop duster flies overhead and disburses something? People look up and, particularly, since the 11th, a little suspiciouswho checks? Who has the chem/bio suits so that the responders, themselves, do not die should there be a true attack of a chemical or biological nature?
Who do they report to?
If there is a need to quarantine because, particularly in the case of New Orleans, you have people probably coming from every state in the union and probably several other countries as well, who contains the crowd so, if it is a biological attack, that those people who have now become infected do not take that infection with them when they return home the next day?
Mr. GILMORE. Congressman, that is a very broad question.
Page 45 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. TAYLOR. If I may, Governor, it takes four crop dusters. We know someone within this country has anthrax.
So four crop dusters, teamed up with the guy who sent the letters, and you have got that scenario.
Mr. GILMORE. Yes, sir. And let me respond in several ways.
Mr. TAYLOR. And if I may, sir, in every one of those places I guarantee you, as the celebration is going on, someone is flying overhead with a banner that says drink this brand of rum or eat this brand of hamburger. So it would have been a piece of cake.
So what happens, given this very real scenario?
Mr. GILMORE. I will be thinking about this when I go to Mardi Gras next year.
First of all, obviously, there has to be extensive planning. It falls into the same kind of overarching proposals that we have done in terms of our reports about the need to coordinate federal, state and local people and have them prepared within planning and contingencies.
Page 46 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Who responds on bio? You would expect that to be people in the state environmentalthe local health peoplethe state health people. They would be there on the scene. They would be there first.
Mr. TAYLOR. Okay. If I may?
Mr. GILMORE. Yes, sir.
Mr. TAYLOR. What degree of confidence do you have that each of these states has the technology right now in hand to detect a biological attack?
Mr. GILMORE. Oh, I see. You mean in terms of a detection of a biological attack?
Mr. TAYLOR. Well, let's start with detection. All right?
Mr. GILMORE. Pardon me?
Mr. TAYLOR. We have to start with detection, do we not?
Mr. GILMORE. Detectionit very well may be that the first detection will be the response of individuals who are affected if there is no time to get to the circumstances in that situation. Let me say that our Commissionthe very first thing we did in the first year was we worked to assess the threat of that kind of attack.
Page 47 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. TAYLOR. Okay. Governor, if I maylet's try to be as specific as possible. Police Chief of Lafayette looks upChief of Police in New Orleans looks upChief of Police in Biloxi looks upChief of Police in Mobileall of whom are going to be out there that daythey look upwhat do they do? Who do they call? First, to see if that was just some diesel fuel being droppedsome water coming out of those tanks or a chemical or biological attack?
Mr. GILMORE. Well, you are going to know by the injury. And then the first people that are going to respond are going to be emergency rescue squad.
Mr. TAYLOR. Well, if I may, Governor, if it is biological isn't it going to take a little while to kick in?
Mr. GILMORE. The threat assessment that we did was that it is very difficult to weaponize many of these attacks. We looked at the some case studies and realized how very hard it is to do. It is hard to even weaponize and deliver effectively anthrax, as we saw while it was delivered, unfortunately, and disrupted the city and killed people. It was not a weapon of mass destruction because of the inability to deliver it in an effective way.
Mr. TAYLOR. Governor, if I may?
Mr. GILMORE. Yes, Congressman?
Mr. TAYLOR. Wasn't the anthrax that killed the postal worker just from the envelopes being sorted?
Page 48 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. GILMORE. It was, indeed.
Mr. TAYLOR. That was enough to spread it.
Mr. GILMORE. It was, indeed. But it is very difficult to get that kind of quantity to deliver out of an airplane. But, the point is you have to assess that risk and, in the event that something is dumped out of a duster like that or something of that nature, you are going to look at the symptoms of people who are going to be injured in one minute and then you are going to bring in exactly the rescue squad people. And local responders are going to have to look at the symptoms to determine what kind of attack occurred.
This is the reality of where we are. You are not going to be able to get somebody on the scene before it lands on the ground. But you are going to be able to detect what it is afterwards. Whether or not the technology is there at this point, I think that we believe that there has to be, in fact, an assessment of that technology across the country. But it could be something else, Congressman. That is sort of the point.
Perhaps it is not a crop duster. Perhaps it is some other thing that is only limited by the imagination of these evil people. And if the question is what is a reasonable national approach for the realistic threat involved to prepare as best you can? That is a high policy question and I am very glad that we have, now, systems set up to begin to address those kinds of issues.
In other words, I think you are reaching for, ''Gee, are there anthrax detectors in each of the states or in New Orleans?'' Well, perhaps not. But it might not be that kind of attack. It might be any of another million types of attacks.
Page 49 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
So what do you do?
You put the best possible planning in place. Procure the best and most reasonable equipment, based upon the assessment of the risk. And begin to build a national strategy on that foundation.
Mr. TAYLOR. Governor, with all due respect, your answer does not give me a high degree of confidence.
I do agree with you when you said we have to look at it on an individual basis. Mississippi does not look like Virginia. Over half of the cities in the State of Mississippi are 10,000 people or less. They all have extremely small, extremely limited budgets. I do not see them, on an individual basis, being capable of buying the chem/bio suits and the first responder kits. That is why I would certainly ask youand that is all I can do is ask you and encourage youto try to see to it that at least every state has someone they can call upon.
The second thing I would ask you to rememberI was in very small city government. You were in a large city government. You have incredible turnover in the police and fire departments of small cities because they do not pay much. And so, as someone gets trained, their tendency is to go to a larger city and take that training with them.
So, again, you are going to need a source of old hands who have done this for a long time that you can call uponeven if it is not in each city, but at least within each regionthat you can reach out and call upon for circumstances like that.
Page 50 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
And I think that the other thing is we absolutelyit is going to be ''what is next?'' And I have got to believe the next attack is going to be a heck of a lot more coordinated than the first attack. And I think we are going to see it simultaneously in a number of areas. Again, which leads to the part that I would hope we would have a number of teams or something that the small communitiesthe small mayorscan call upon, as well as the Philadelphias for when this happens because I haveI think we have barely scratched the surface for the kind of terror that people are capable of and, I am sorry to say, that I think you and I will see in our lifetime.
Mr. GILMORE. Mr. TaylorCongressman Taylor, I think that we have many points of agreement here. And the sense of our Commission is that we are going to have to call upon the knowledge and experience of the people of the local communityin your example, in New Orleansor in any small town or in any statewe will be calling up all that knowledge, I am confident, as we go forward to see what the needs are to deal with any locality or any metropolitan area as we begin to put together a comprehensive national strategy. And then begin to make decisions about what type of a procurement is necessary.
Clearly, there may be things that this Committee would recommend that would be very appropriate for New Orleans or Los Angeles or New York that might not be suitable for other communitiessmall or rural communitiesthat may have a different need. We would be calling upon that advice.
But, once again, there would need to be a comprehensive look so that there is a road map for this subcommittee to make the financial decisions that will be necessary.
Page 51 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. TAYLOR. Mr. Baughman, if you would like to respond.
Mr. BAUGHMAN. I think your question was ''Who does the police chief call?'' Obviously, the local health officer is who he is going to call.
One of the things that the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is doing this year is they have a very aggressive training program to get the training out to state health offices and, in turn, to local health offices so that they can recognize and detect this type of agent.
Right now, that is the reason that Dr. Henderson's organization within the Department of Health and Human Services was createdis to pull together the Office of Emergency Preparedness and some other desperate elements within DHHS so that, in fact, there is a comprehensive strategy to deal with detection at the state and local level.
They do have $1.1 billion' they are holding regional workshops to, in fact, pull the state health officers in there so that there is a process to get that training down to local government.
One of the things that we are doing in conjunction with the states is to put catastrophic plans in place so that they can, in fact, deal with it. However, the catastrophic plans are going to be dealing with the larger jurisdictions, not the Marion County, Mississippi or the Stone Counties. But it is going to be targeted at the New Orleans or some of the other larger cities to start off with.
Page 52 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. TAYLOR. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. WELDON. Thank you, Mr. Taylor.
Mr. GIBBONS. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
And I want to join with Chairman Weldon in my accommodations of your effortyour work and the reports that have gone outto both of you and the contributions you have made so far in this effort against terrorism.
Governor Gilmore, I have read your reports, read your second annual report as well. And I have just two basic questions that should be very easy.
First of all, knowing the requirements for handling classified informationthe security and the problems that can come from undisclosed leaks in that informationwe have seen in the pastwe have seen the effects of thatI know that there is the real need to get classified information down to first responders, especially in law enforcement who are in that detect and deter mode when it comes to terrorism.
Knowing that the information that we get is oftentimes not in a finished productit is very roughvery crudevery non-describable information, how do you imaginewhat level of information do you see as being appropriate to handle down to the lowest level?
Page 53 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
And then, what kind of mechanisms would you put in place to watch and guard for the security of that information? Because many times when information gets outoftentimes I have read aboutor one, for example, I will be in a Intelligence Committee hearing and receive a very classified, top-secret briefing. Only the next day, read about it in the New York Times or the Washington Post. And oftentimes I have read about it in the Post before I get the briefing in the Intelligence Committee.
Mr. GILMORE. That is bad.
Mr. GIBBONS. It is a terrible problem out there. We want to get the information out. It has to be timely and it has to be relevant. What mechanism do you envision, as a governor, who has just said ''I would like to have the ability to have access to that intelligence,'' to safeguard it and then to ensure that its dissemination on down to the ranks of those people who are going to have to react to it and deal with it inappropriately at the correct levelwhat kind of mechanism do you see putting in place for that?
Mr. GILMORE. Congressman Gibbons, I think that the standard approach of the handling of intelligence would be just as applicable to any persons that are in this new chain of dissemination as they would be internally, within the federal government or any agency of the federal government. You would still need to clear people. You would still need to have training. You would still need to have criminal and other penalties so that it is applicable to anyone who takes the responsibility of handling that kind of informationand, particularly, training and an understanding of need-to-know and what information would need to go down and out.
Page 54 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Well, I think that it is a case-by-case basis.
But the second point that I would make, I think, is the more important one. The first thing we have to do is decide that is a good idea. The first thing we have to do is to make a policy decision that more people in the United States will be saved by some knowledge and preparedness on the parts of the states and the locals, as well as others. Once that decision is made, then professionals and policymakers can begin to erect the type of safeguards that you believe are soand I believe, tooare so critical.
Mr. GIBBONS. Thank you.
I have a brief question, Mr. Chairman, if I may, that might go to Mr. Baughman and Governor Gilmore, there.
And I want you to help this Committee, which is the Armed Services Committee, deal with this question and deal with this issue.
In your report, you indicated that for mostwell, let me just, kind of, paraphrase itbut for most terrorist attacks on these United States that the President should always designate a federal civilian agency other than the Department of Defense, to be acting as the lead federal agency.
Help us understand why, in all casesand I presume this would include a nuclear suitcase attack, chemical biological attack, which the military is very familiar withwhy you recommend that a federal agency other than DOD take the lead role.
Page 55 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. GILMORE. Two reasons, at least. One is that the role of the military has to be focused on its national mission of projecting power beyond the United States. That has been its traditional role. It is enshrined, of course, in the Posse Comitatus law in large measure, although there are exceptions to that. And there is an understanding that the effectivenessthe resources have to be projected as the President is now projecting them, in the best interests of the United States. Instead, the better approach is to you to focus your attention on the local responders.
And then there is a second reason. And the second reason is a concern of the presence of United States regular soldiersmen and women in uniformon the streets of United States, largely dictated by the pressures and attacks placed on them by an enemy, begins to degrade the civil liberty of the country. It is a potential for thatthere is a feeling out there that you are being watched or that we are living in a different kind of state than we otherwise are used to living in.
I think there is a sense in the Commission that we would rather have uniformed policemen, either federal or local, especially, or even state doing law enforcement activities within the states. But once there is a need to call upon additional resources, the Commission does feel that the military has a major role play. And, in fact, should be organized, equipped and trained to play that role, either through the National Guard or even in an extreme case through the regular military. But it should not be the first call.
I might say, by the way, there was great debate about this in our Commission. And, in fact, there is a footnote that discusses that debate within the Commission. There was a feeling among a member of the Commission that, in a major catastrophe of nuclear or other kinds of consequences that we ought to just get realthat the fact of the matter is that the regular army would be called upon immediately and we may as well be ready for it and train for it.
Page 56 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
As a matter of policy, our Commission rejected that notion, although we do agree that they should be prepared to come in in support of a civilian federal agency. We happen to believe that that agency could be FEMA. And that is based upon experiencethe fact that FEMA and the states, through their emergency operations centers, have worked so successfully and effectively in partnership in the pastthat that is the better response. But in the case of the exhaustion of resources, in support of a civilian agency, the military might come in.
But then every American knows they are there not on their own, but in support of a federal supervising agency.
Mr. GIBBONS. Mr. Baughman, you have anything to add?
Mr. BAUGHMAN. Certainly. I agree with that. DOD's mission is defense of the country. That does not mean the DOD does not support our agency. Under our federal response plan, DOD provides support to every one of our emergency support functions. We exercise annually. As a matter of fact, next week we have a senior military seminar with the DOD principles as to how they interface their assets in support of our plans.
But I think the preference on the part of the civil government, and certainly the preference on the part of DOD, is that there be a lead civilian agency in charge.
Mr. GIBBONS. Gentlemen, let me say that I do agree. I just wanted you to enunciate and lay out that rationale for, not only our audience, but for the members of the Committee as well as. And I thank you for your contributions to that end.
Page 57 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. Chairman, thank you very much.
Mr. WELDON. Thank you, Mr. Gibbons.
The gentlelady from Virginia, Mrs. Davis?
Mrs. JO ANN DAVIS OF VIRGINIA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I do have one question. But may I say that I am now late for another meeting. So I would like to ask permission to submit questions for the record for panels two and three.
[The information referred to can be found in the Appendix.]
Mr. WELDON. Absolutely.
Mrs. JO ANN DAVIS OF VIRGINIA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you, Governor, for being hereand Mr. Baughman.
And I would like to say to the second and third panel that, being the wife of a firefighter in the City of Hampton who retired after almost 30 years of service, you will hear a lot of my questions refer to the first responders, because they are very near and dear to my heart.
Page 58 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
My question, Mr. Baughman, is to you. Has the FBI and FEMA conductedor do they plan to conductany joint exercises at the national level to test and evaluate the coordinator response?
Mr. BAUGHMAN. Absolutely. As a matter-of-fact, we have conducted, I think it is, six in the last four years. We did one in Norfolk, Virginia, several years ago. We had WestWind in Los Angeles. We had Top Off. And then there is Top Off two that is scheduled.
And then we have done a number of tabletop exercise, jointly with the FBI. So, yes, we have done that. Yes, ma'am.
Mrs. JO ANN DAVIS OF VIRGINIA. If the President were to declare a national emergency and FEMAif you become the lead agency, how would the FBI coordinate its role? Do they have any problem with that?
Mr. BAUGHMAN. No. Absolutely not. Again, there is a CONPLANa concept of operations plansigned by ourselves, FBI, DOE, HHS, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and DODthat lays out how we worked together on emergency. We set up a joint operations center at the incidentclose to the incident scene and we jointly worked out of the joint operations center.
Mrs. JO ANN DAVIS OF VIRGINIA. And you have found you have no problem with who wants to control?
Page 59 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. BAUGHMAN. No, ma'am. That is what we have that is what we have exercised in Top Off and in WestWind. We have done this on a number of occasions.
Mrs. JO ANN DAVIS OF VIRGINIA. Thank you, Mr. Baughman.
And, Governor Gilmore, I would like to tell you that I have read the reports and I am in agreement with just about everything you guys have said. And I really appreciate all the work you have done. Thanks.
Mr. GILMORE. Mr. Chairman, I want to acknowledge my colleague, the gentlelady from Virginia. We are very proud of her representation.
Mrs. JO ANN DAVIS OF VIRGINIA. Thank you, Governor.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. WELDON. We thank the gentlelady for her comments. And we are also proud of her. And we are also proud of her husband for serving as a firefighter and a fire chief.
Please relay our best wishes to him. And thanks for being here.
The gentleman from South Carolina, our newest member of the committee, Mr. Wilson?
Page 60 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. JEFF WILSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And, Governor, we appreciate your efforts and the report. And it is certainly more meaningful with the late Chief Ray Downey's participation. And it justhe is certainly one of the heroes of September the 11th.
And I was particularly happy to get the inference a moment ago in regard to your faith in the ability of the National Guard. And I had the opportunity to meet, last week, the Adjutant General of New York, Tom Maguire. And I was very impressed by his competence and enthusiasm. And he actually took office just days prior to September the 11th.
My interest, as a Guard member, myself, is what do you see as the role of the National Guard? And does there need to be a clarificationI understandin regard to possibly working with the FBI?
Are there any other problems that could occur? Or what would be the role and mission of the Guard, in addition to its traditional role of backup for civil disturbances and natural disasters?
Mr. GILMORE. Congressman, I think, of course, there have been books written on this topic. Senator Hart wrote a book on this topic, as a matter of fact. But I think that it is a decision the Congress and the national governmentthe executiveis going to have to decide as time goes on.
Page 61 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Look at where the guard is right now. The Guard is the primary state force responsive to their Commander-in-Chief, the governor of the 50 states, for any type of civil disturbances or disasters. They are frequently called out for that type of workand to floodshurricanesearthquakesall those kinds of catastrophes.
They are trained as soldiers. They are expected to be supplements to the regular military. The Virginia guard is, right now, on station in Bosnia, as a matter of fact. And the Guardthe way we are set up right now is that the Guard is playing a very active role in active dutyforeign efforts on behalf of the military.
Training is a very difficult issue if you begin to go at it now and begin to expand into this type of area. I know that the GuardsmenI went to see the Guardsmen as they were training in preparation for going into the airports, at the request of the President to the governors across the country. They trained for several days. They are doing a very good job.
But, on the other hand, that isI look forward to the day when thoroughly six-month or eight-month trained individuals in security forces replace them in those airports. But they are doing an excellent job right now. And there was an immediate need to show a force at the airports in the days following September the 11th.
I think these are critical issues. I do believe that there is a role for increased Guard activity in this area. But it will have to be carefully planned, thought through and financed in order to be able to have them play this additional role. And it may mean they cannot play one of the other roles. But I believe that thecertainly the first role is going to beand most typical threat is going to be the natural one that occurs within the states that the governor calls on the Guard to help perform.
Page 62 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. WILSON. And I want to let you know that our experience, of course, is hurricanes. And we gear up every year for what may occur.
What has most impressed me is the enthusiasm of the members of the Guardtheir ability to want to serve, regardless of the interruption of their personal livestheir businessestheir families. And I know the Guard members are very enthusiastic about desiring to participate.
Mr. GILMORE. Thank you, Congressman. And I would refer you in our third report to our page 52, where we have recommended that the Secretary of Defense direct specific visionaries for the use of the Guard for support to civil authorities on combating terrorism. And there is some extensive and detailed recommendations that we have made there.
Mr. JEFF WILSON. Thank you very much.
Mr. WELDON. I thank the gentleman for his questions.
We want to thank both of you for your expert testimony and your outstanding service to the country. And we appreciate your being with us today. Your statements are made a part of the record. And we will now thank you. And you are dismissed from the hearing. Thank you very much for being here.
Mr. GILMORE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Page 63 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. WELDON. Our second panel of witnesses, again, is a distinguished panel. It includes Mr. Peter Verga, the Special Assistant for Homeland Security in the Department of Defense; General Raymond Rees, U.S. Army National Guard, Vice Chief of the National Guard Bureau; General John McBroom, U.S. Air Force Retired, Director of Office of Emergency Operations at the Department of Energy; Chief Charles Ramsey of the Metropolitan Police Department of the City of Washington D.C.; and Chief Ed Plaugher of the Arlington County Fire Department and representing the International Association of Fire Chiefs and the Chief Officer in the response to the Pentagon attack.
Chief, it is good to have you here.
It is good to have all of you here. We appreciate you being here. Your statements will automatically be entered into the record. We would invite you to make whatever personal comments you would like to make to the Committee. And, again, we thank you for your service and for being here.
We will start with Mr. Verga.
Thank you, again, for being here.
STATEMENT OF PETER VERGA, SPECIAL ASSISTANT FOR HOMELAND SECURITY
Mr. VERGA. Mr. Chairman, Congressman Taylor and distinguished members of the Subcommittee, I appreciate the opportunity to appear before you in my capacity as Special Assistant in the Department of Defense for Homeland Security.
Page 64 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Homeland security, obviously, is a critical issue with many questions and concerns. None of us have all of the answers.
Mr. Chairman, I would also like to add my thanks to you for your leadership and foresight in this area as we worked towards the challenges that it presents.
The Department welcomes opportunities, such as this hearing, to discuss this important issue with you.
In the interest of time, I think I will dispense with the formal testimony and just say that within the Department of Defense, we view our biggest contribution to homeland security is winning the war on terrorism overseas. That is what we think we are doingour best bet to secure our country.
Everything in the Department that we do is, in fact, homeland security. The entire budget that we spendall of our efforts overseasare designed to secure the American homeland. The Department is dedicated and committed to making sure that we provide the best support possible in defending the American people.
And I will look forward to answering any questions that you might have.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Verga can be found in the Appendix on page ?.]
Page 65 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. WELDON. Mr. Verga, you get an A for that testimony. Great job.
STATEMENT OF MAJ. GEN. RAYMOND REES, USANG, VICE CHIEF, NATIONAL GUARD BUREAU
General REES. Mr. Chairman, Mr. Taylor and distinguished members of the Committee, I want to thank you for your support of the National Guard.
And I, too, will try to be brief herebut a couple of things that I would like to mentionI think that our experience with the National Guard throughout the country has been that our relationship with first responders is first rate. We have always felt that they are the ones that need to be supported. And we are always there to be there to aid them.
And whether it is managing the consequences of natural or man-made disasters and other support to civil authorities, we have shown that our wartime training and equipment provides the baseline to execute the missions that the state governors require.
Now in the relationship to equipment, I think there is no doubt that modernized equipment that is issued to the National Guard is significant in helping us get our job done in support of these first responders. Unfortunately because of tiered resourcing, we and up not being able to see that everyone of our units is appropriately filled out completely with their wartime equipment.
Page 66 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
We have a list of prioritized modernization shortfalls that we think that you might be interested in. These would have a direct bearing on homeland security. These include utility helicopters, generators, night vision devices, vehicles and other items that would be of use in state and local emergencies. It does not include personal protective gear, Nuclear, Biological and Chemical (NBC) equipment, et cetera, which is also affected by tiered resourcing.
We think that there are some issues related to how we identify what the equipment is that we use out there. Certainly, in the case of the war fight, there is wonderful processes that are established within the Department of Defense that identify how we will obtain that equipment. And it is very fine equipment that is proffered to us. But in a domestic situation, many times there is not a way to identify those types of equipments that might be needed within the homeland security arena.
We think that that needs to be looked at. And we need to look at a way to identify how that can be done and how to establish requirements.
We also want to thank the Committee, here, and the Congress for identifying equipment and other modern technologies that have helped us, over the years, with various types of apparatus. One specific area that I want to touch on here, very briefly, that has been mentioned several times in previous testimony is this business of communications.
Unified command suites that are found in our civil support teams are truly mind-boggling in their capabilities. They bring to us a suite of capabilities that allow us to actually multiplex and bring together disparate frequencies that are being used by first responders of various types that are at a particular incident and to fuse them together and to enable them to talk to one another.
Page 67 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
And I think that was an area that had been brought up here previously. It is a key area that we are pleased to have and we would not have it without the congressional support for those civil support teams.
Sir, I will make my comments very brief. I thank you for being able to be here with you today.
I will look forward to answering your questions.
[The prepared statement of General Rees can be found in the Appendix on page ?.]
Mr. WELDON. Thank you, General. You know you have a ton of support in this Committee for the Guard and Reserve. And, in fact, Gene wore his Sonny Montgomery jacket today. As you know, Sonny has been the herowas the hero of the Guard and Reserve when he served on this Committee. And all of us, in both parties, looked to his leadership. And Gene has actually taken up that mantle since he has come on the Committee, replacing Sonny.
General McBroom, it is your turn. Great to have you here. Thanks for the exhibition of technology.
STATEMENT OF MAJ. GEN. MCBROOM, USAF (RET.) DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF EMERGENCY OPERATIONS, ENERGY DEPARTMENT
Page 68 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
General MCBROOM. Yes, sir. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Taylor.
I am going to make my remarks very briefcover three points that I wanted to hit that have already been brought up. But with the terrorist, today, who is willing to blow himself up, we really have to move the capability as low as we can. We have to get a way that we can take the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the national laboratories and put them right on board for that first responder down there through communications.
And the communications are here. We just have to learn how to use it better. We need to learn how to reach back for our 20 pound brains and put them right next to the young firefighter that is out there with the package.
Second, you brought up a good point earlier about learning and training. And distance learning is going to be a must. And, you know, we are putting things on compact disks (CDs) right now. We have four scenarios coming out next week on chem/bionuclear. These kind of thingswe will be able to build a video library. So when you have a young man that moves from one fire department to another, there is a video librarywhen you are training a new person in, he can come in and learn about a lot of these things. That is kind of a must in the future. We need to put the things on videotape.
At the same time30 days ago we had a technology symposium. We brought the best technologies in from the national laboratories and we brought all the energy industries and associations in and allowed them to look at that technology. We are also going to put that on a CD. We are going to spend the CD out to the states and out to all the industries and say, ''Here is the technology of the national labs. Help us for a pattern for where the Research and Development (R&D) goes in the future. And also you might be able to use some of it now.''
Page 69 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Thank you, sir.
[The prepared statement of General McBroom can be found in the Appendix on page ?.]
Mr. WELDON. Thank you, General for your service and also for your very timely suggestions. And we look forward to a continuing relationship with you on things that we should be doing to move forward based on ideas and suggestions for developing technology.
And the General has offered to us that he will be coming back in the next month or so for an update on classified technology that he can share with us.
Our next two witnesses are down where the rubber meets the road. And they were there. They were on the spot on September 11. And they did a fantastic job. They delivered. And so, it is important to hear from those people who were on the scene on the first minute of the first response to the 9/11 attack. Chief Ramsey from the D.C. Department and Chief Plaugher from the Arlington County. And you both did a fantastic job. We are looking forward to your statements.
STATEMENT OF CHIEF CHARLES RAMSEY, METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON, DC
Chief RAMSEY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and members of the subcommittee, staff and guests.
Page 70 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
I appreciate the opportunity to present the testimony on the needs of our first respondersin particular, our police officersto incidents of domestic terrorism. And I do applaud the Subcommittee for its leadership on this issue. Thank you for reaching out to local officials, such as myself, to hear, directly, about our requirements and our perspective in this critical area.
While it seems that my testimony certainly applies to cities and communities throughout the country, I do want the Subcommittee to recognize that the District of Columbia faces truly unique challenges when it comes to domestic terrorism. As the nation's capital, our city is not only a primary potential target of those who would wage war against our nation, our city is also impacted any time there is a serious terrorism threat to Americans anywhere.
Our Mayor, Mayor Williams, recognizes the unique roles and responsibilities we have in protecting our nation's capital in this new and uncertain environment. And he continues to show strong leadership and support for our law enforcement and emergency preparedness efforts.
The Metropolitan Police Department is working very hard to meet our unique responsibilities in close cooperation with our federal partners. And we certainly appreciate the strong budgetary support we continue to receive from Congress and the Bush administration.
When it comes to first responders, the area of anti-terrorism equipment is of critical importance. In the event of a release of a weapon of mass destruction agent, it is the local police and fire department that would provide the initial response in almost every instance. Federal agencies would respond, as well. And depending upon the nature of the incident, may very well take over lead responsibility. But it would be local police officerslocal firefighters that would play key roles in managing the crime scene, coordinating any immediate evacuations and also rescue and recovery.
Page 71 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
The need for specialized equipment and training is critical to the safety of the public and our officers, whether it is a chemical attack, biological attackit does not matter. The need for the equipment and the proper training is essential for our police officers.
Other equipment needs, such as explosive mitigation devices, including bomb suits and containment vessels; chemical and biological threat detection equipment to accurately sample and monitor the environment; specialized vehicles for transporting personnel and equipment into and through contaminated areas are also areas that are very, very important to us. And, like most jurisdictions, our non-personnel services side of our budget cannot support the kinds of equipment that I am talking about when it is being purchased in such large numbers that we will need now, in this current environment.
We have become very good at determining what is best for us to use in the traditional law enforcement environmentthe kind of fire alarms and the less than lethal weaponry and the like. Yet, this is a new area for us. And we are looking, now, at different types of equipment. And we will be buying, as a country, literally millions of dollars worth of this kind of equipment in the coming months and year. We do need the federal government's assistance in setting standards and evaluating equipment in sharing information with local law enforcement because we are really, right now, in a situation where we find ourselves looking at equipment, but not really fully understanding what it is we are looking at and whether or not it is something that is going to be adequate to protect our officers in the event of a particular type of attack.
Training has been brought up earlier. Training is essential. This is new training for our officers. Many of our officers, including myself, became involved in law enforcement at a time when learning about weapons of mass destruction and the kinds of things that we are talking about nowterrorism threatswas something that was not part of the recruit curriculum. We have to have in-service training. We have to have constant drillsconstant reinforcement if we are going to be successful.
Page 72 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
It was mentioned earlier that the area of interoperability and coordination is very important. And I cannot emphasize that enough. We have had serious problems in that areabeing able to communicate regionally. Even being able to communicate within our own city agencies and the District of Columbia is a problem. It is going to be essential because, just like the Pentagon demonstrated, the response to that is it had to be regionalthe same with New York City.
So it is a need for us to cross traditional boundaries and be able to communicate with other public safety agencies in the event of a crisis.
One of the things that we have done, in fact, we began doing this prior to September 11, we built a joint operations command center. And it is housed at Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) headquarters. That actually started as a result of both the FBI and Secret Service coming to our agency, recognizing the fact that we work together quite often to handle large-scaled demonstrations and the like in Washington. And they felt there was the need for us to have a joint center where we could co-locate.
That center became operational on September 11, three weeks prior to when it was originally scheduled to become operational. But it was an opportunity for all the local law enforcement and federal law enforcement agencies, as well as the Department of Defense, State Department and others to co-locate in the same facility. That was vital during those initial moments when we were able to get information ineveryone hear the information at the same timebe able to determine what was factual versus what was false information and come up with action plans, as a result of that. Our operations command center has been used and has been in continuous operation, practically, the September 11, although, not to the same extent that had been during that period of time.
Page 73 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
But I think that it does demonstrate the need for local and federal agencies to be able to cooperate and share information in ways in which we had not done before.
I heard, in earlier testimony, comments around clearances and the sharing of information. We have been very fortunate in Washington D.C. Again, we have very good relationships with the federal law enforcement agencies in Washington. And it has not been difficult to get information. However, I happen to be a member of Major Cities Police Chiefs and I have heard other police chiefs express a great deal of concern about the amount of information that actually gets down to the local level. So that is definitely an area that needs an awful lot of attention if we are going to be successful.
I have shortened my comments, sir, for the sake of time. And I welcome any questions that you might have.
[The prepared statement of Chief Ramsey can be found in the Appendix on page ?.]
Mr. WELDON. Thank you very much, Chief.
And all of your statements will be in the record. We appreciate that.
And then, finally, Chief, it is great to have you here. Thank you.
STATEMENT OF CHIEF EDWARD PLAUGHER, ARLINGTON COUNTY FIRE DEPARTMENT, INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FIRE CHIEFS
Page 74 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Chief PLAUGHER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee.
I will attempt to brief. However, I have to be frank with you, I have a lot to say.
I would first like to begin by saying thank you for allowing me to be here today. And I am representing the International Association of Fire Chiefs.
Our Chiefs Association has engaged this issue seriously for the past five yearsthat is five years prior to the events of September. We have been continuously working on how to prepare our services and our communities for emergency response to acts of terrorism. The men and women of my fire department were joined by thousands of others from the Washington D.C. and New York metropolitan areas in demonstrating the needs and those roles on that day.
I believe we owe it to them and to our public's safety to move forward as quickly as possible and fashion the most rational and workable national terrorism preparedness policy as is possible. The public safety, and the memory of 343 fallen firefighters in New York, demand no less.
We, in the fire service, are pleased with the President's commitment to support firefighters, police officers and other first responders, as demonstrated in his $3.5 billion fiscal year 2003 budget request. Although the details of the Administration's plan is not yet complete, what we have seen so far is very encouraging.
Page 75 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
However, Mr. Chairman and Members, I want you to know there is a great deal of disappointment and confusion in the fire service when the Administration initially proposed eliminating, in fiscal year 2003, the FIRE Act grants that were created under your leadership not 18 months ago. The Assistance to Firefighting grant program at the Federal Emergency Management AgencyFEMAis regarded as an unqualified success in the fire service and should not be eliminated or folded into any new, untested program.
We are aware that the FEMA Director, Mr. Joe Allbaugh, recently testified before Congress on the 2003 budget request. And he stated that the FIRE grant program should continue. We agree with Director Allbaugh.
I also want you to know that Homeland Security Director Governor Tom Ridge met with the (IFCs) terrorism committee of the International Association of Fire Chiefs last week. He also told us that he felt that the FIRE Act grant program should remain and be funded as a program separate and apart from the proposed new terrorism preparedness block grant program that would be administered by FEMA. We also agree with Governor Ridge and we hope that you do, as well.
We are extremely pleased that Governor Ridge took the time to meet with our committee last week. We were thoroughly impressed with his commitment to the safety of this country and to our firefighters. We were also very impressed at the depth of his knowledge and that of his very competent staff on issues that are important to the fire service. We believe that Governor Ridge will undoubtedly serve this country well in his post as Director of Homeland Security.
Page 76 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I, and many of my colleagues, have testified before Congress repeatedly on issues related to terrorism preparedness. We have tried to illustrate the role and needs of first responders, particularly the firefighters, in mitigating these events.
What we have told you in the past is still relevant. While there are many worthwhile terrorism preparedness programs currently administered by a variety of federal agencieshowever, to date, we have lacked a comprehensive, national strategy that is necessary for our preparedness efforts. We believe that this strategy should be developed and adopted and includes a single point of contact for first responders, and, importantly, includes a measurable preparedness goal that all can work towards. It is extremely important in the fact that the administration is proposing a multi-billion dollar grant programwithout these clear goals, we risk undermining ourselves while wasting valuable resources.
Terrorist incidents, as we all are aware, are local events. The events of last September bear that out. The block grant program that the Administration has proposed must address that reality. Funding that is provided by Congress to help enhance the abilities of local agencies must reach those agencies and not get lost in anybody's bureaucracy. The ramification of an ill-prepared local community in the post-September world are too large. Every agency has a role to play in mitigating a terrorist incident. It is imperative that agencies within a given community or region work together, so as not to duplicate their capabilities while leaving some needs completely unaddressed.
We believe the grant funding made available should be contingent upon inter-jurisdictional planning and carefully consider preparedness goals that I just spoke of.
Page 77 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I also will attempt to be brief because I am also going to propose that the incident management system that is being taught at the National Emergency Training Center be a requirement to receive those funds. The adoption of that incident command system.
I also believe that it is extremely important that we get this equipmentthe equipment that you demonstrated here todayto our first responders. We absolutely need the tools necessary to be able to effectively mitigate a situation involving a chemical, biological or radiological agent, as well as the appropriate training, as has been addressed here, earlier today.
I also heard today the mention of interoperability. And I know, Mr. Chairman, that you are a co-sponsor of H.R. 3397 with Representative Jane Harman. And we believe that this effort is critical to allow us to have the necessary spectrum for us to be effective in interoperability.
Well, there are no short fixes to this. It is going to take that spectrum to do it and do it the way that is necessary. We have tried patching. We have tried all these other fixes. They are not what is needed in our response community. We absolutely deserve better.
Again, we have emphasized the need for training, as has been addressed earlier today on this panel. And we think that the training will, in fact, allow us to be better at what we do. And we think that it is part of the complete package.
We want to be prepared, Mr. Chairman. We want to be your first responders that are prepared, equipped and able to manage the incidents of terrorism in our community.
Page 78 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
I also heard you, today, ask a question about what technology do we need. Let me digress from my remarks here for just a second and answer that question. I think it is absolutely critical that we develop, as a nation, long-term breathing apparatus. I am talking about three to four hour breathing apparatus. We are currently using, as an industry, 40-year-old technology. We need a lightweight piece of equipmentnot the 35 pounds to 50 pounds that we are currently wearing, but 10 pounds. We need it to be multi-hazard. It needs to be rated for chemical, biological and nuclear, as well as structural firefighting.
It also has to be built with built-in pass devices for the safety of our firefighters and other first responders. It also needs to be built in with location finders, as was also demonstrated here earlier today.
It also needs to have wellness monitoring built in it, such as the ability to monitor the heart rate and the conditions of the firefighters at the incident scene.
It has got to be doable. With the best minds that we have in this nation and the national labs, I think we can do this if it becomes a priority. So I can ask youI am the chief of a department that has faced some severe consequences from the attack on the Pentagon because of our lack of long-term breathing apparatus. And so, I ask you to do that.
And I will be glad to answer any questions, Mr. Chair.
[The prepared statement of Chief Plaugher can be found in the Appendix on page ?.]
Page 79 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. WELDON. Thank you, Chief. And I will have questions after I turn to my good friend and colleague, Mr. Taylor, for his questions.
Mr. TAYLOR. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And, Chief, I will tell you what, if you do not mind, I am going to hang on to your page three of your testimony because itparticularly the first paragraph on that page, I think, says everything that needs to be said in a nutshell.
I am concerned that we are falling into the Washington trap of measuring our success by how much money we are spending and not what we have accomplished. And so, although it is great to hear the money we are spending, it is certainly a sign of effort, but unless we have a goal of where we want to be and an outline of how to get there, I think we are just going to make a lot of equipment manufacturers a little bit better off and not necessarily solve any problems.
General Rees, I am a bit concerned that, in his testimony, former Governor Gilmore said something to the effect that the military should not be the first responder. I disagree with him. Number one, we are talking about a weapon of mass destruction. And, again, we all come from different parts of the country. Being from a town of 10,000, I am going to look at this differently than my colleague from PittsburghI meanI am sorry, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which is a very large, urban area.
In my home state, I really see only two entities that are capable of crossing city and county lines and that have a clear line of authority going to a single person and that being the governorthat is the state police or the National Guard. Only one of those entities has access to helicopters and transport planes if, again, if you have mass casualties. And even in the rural counties, you will have as many people at a high school football game on Friday night as were killed at the Twin Towers. You will easily have crowds of six or 7,000 people in counties that only have 10,000 people living there. A county like that is only going to have a police force of 12 peoplea fire force of another dozen. What happens if there are suddenly 5,000 casualties?
Page 80 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
And I do recall that, unfortunately, very few people actually made it to the hospitals in New York City. But what if there had been an equal number of people injured as well as killed outright?
So, General, what I hope I am giving you is a soft pitch. The more Iand I very much understand the Governor's reluctance to have the military involved in local and civil affairs. Potentially, we are talking about a weapon and since we are talking about mass casualties and since we are trying to come up with something that will fit, to some extent, all of our communities and not just the rural communities, I do not see a better immediate response than by giving this mission to the National Guard.
And I will articulate a couple of reasons why. Number one, you have people in career paths who can learn to detect and respond, who have got a clear line of authority to the governor. You are not going to have much turnover. You do have access to a number of platforms. And I think the biggest thing is you are going toyou eliminate the turf battles of crossing city and county lines when something happens.
And for that reason, I am very much in favor of trying to get a team in every state until we can get to the goals that the Chief has outlined as far as equipment in every single location.
But I would like to hear your thoughts on this.
General REES. Yes, Mr. Taylor, some of this is semantics. I think that I should state that, as I did in my opening remarks here, that we have had a wonderful relationship in the National Guard with the first responders throughout the country. They are the people who, when things go downthat they are there to reactto take care of the needs of the populous. And, in many cases, they are the incident commanders when we arrive on the scene.
Page 81 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
We like to think of ourselves as the first military responder. And we think that it is important that we have capabilities related to our state emergency management agencies, planning capabilities to work and develop plans with the first responders, to develop exercises with the first responders, to identify what are those things that we can bring to bear that are going to help them out.
And, certainly, in the case of civil support teams I know this is in on your mind that you would like to discuss here todaythose civil support teams, when they do arrive, they help those first responders to assess what is the situation there and to provide them with advice.
The unified command suite that I mentioned to you has a great capability to integrate the communications at the scene. It has, also, the ability to reach back to national assets, similar to what General McBroom talked about in the relationship to the nuclear situation, we have the same capabilities in the chem/bio arena to reach back to appropriate authorities to help model what is going on out there. After we have collected data, we can transmit that data back to appropriate agencies that will help us to analyze what is going on.
Then we can turn around and we can advise these incident commanders at the scenethe true first respondersand help them prepare their own response and also to facilitate bringing in other assets that may come, say, from the Department of Defense or elsewheresay, through the auspices of FEMA.
It is a very, very good capabilityand, as I say, as a part of the first response of the military.
Page 82 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. TAYLOR. General do you see anyoneand, again, I am very much concerned that we are going to see an incident that involves loss of thousands of lives much sooner than later. And I am grateful that it has not happened since September. But almost, to a certain extent, surprised that it has not happened since September withbetween the Olympics, the Super Bowl, the World SeriesMardi Gras in New Orleans and any number of other things where large crowds have been brought together.
If we are trying to, in the very short amount of time, put together the resources so that every community in America has someone to call on for an immediate response, if not the weapons of mass destruction civil support teams, who else would you recommend? And I am asking this in the form of a question because other than the state police, I know of no other entity that every state has in common that you could point to and say, ''They have got the job.''
General REES. Well, Mr. Taylor, I am not qualified, I think, to answer a question about what are all of those assets that may be out there.
I am quite confident, though, that the assets that the National Guard is putting out there in the form of these teams are very qualifiedextremely well qualified. They have met national standards. Individually, they are receiving something on the order of 800 hours of training per person on that team. Many of these individuals, particularly the nuclear medicine and science officers, have advanced degrees. They are exceptionally fine organizations and they can accomplish the kinds of things that you are concerned about.
Mr. TAYLOR. But let's walk through this as far as the ability to set up field hospitalsas far as transportationair assetsground assetsas far as heavy equipmentI mean, I would think the National Guard would be in a position to do all of those things. And I cannot think of any other organization that, on a nationwide basis, could bring all of those assets to the table.
Page 83 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
And, again, I want to open it up to all of you gentlemen, because I do very much respect my local firefighters. And I do very much respect my local police and MEMA, which is Mississippi Emergency Management, and FEMA. But I just cannot think of any other organization that, in-house, has the ability to call on all of those resources.
Mr. VERGA. If I could, first, let me preface my remarks by first of all saying the brevity of my opening statement does not, in any way, indicate how serious we take this issue and the ability to work with first responders.
Those of us who live in the Pentagon areI should say work there, although it sometimes seems we live therewere the recipients of some wonderful, wonderful help from the local community when the Pentagon was attacked on September 11. And we will be eternally grateful, too, for that help.
I do not think anything that you are saying is inconsistent with what we look at as the view and the DOD role in responding to emergencies in this country.
Historically, we have always been there to support civil authorities when necessary. I think we have put in place, right now, a system which will help the local authorities call on the federal resources necessary to deal with the catastrophic types of events that you have described.
Page 84 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Except in the occasion where the event actually were to occur on a military installation or at the National Guard Armory where the Civil Support Team (CST) support team is, the first responder is, in fact, going to be somebody else other than the military. And what we need to bring, I think, to this process is the capability for those local first responders to rapidly assess what the problem is and call on the help that they need. And then the ability and the resources of the nation can be brought to bear on that problem.
You are absolutely righta catastrophic weapon of mass destruction attack on any community would immediately overwhelm the local resources and probably the regional resources. And then the federal resources would have to be brought in to play.
But the immediate ability to assess what the problem is and know that you need the help, I think, is the thing that we can do best for the first responders.
Mr. TAYLOR. Going back to Chief Plaugher's remarks, though, where he says we believe a strategy should be developed and adopted that includes a single point of contact for first responderswhat is that first point of contact now? Because his remarks led me to believe there is some uncertainty as to where that is.
And King of Prussia, if I am not mistaken, is a fairly large community. How many people, sir?
Mr. JENAWAY. I am sorry, I did not.
Mr. TAYLOR. I am sorry. Chief, Arlington is
Page 85 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Chief PLAUGHER. We have 200,000.
Mr. TAYLOR. 200,000 people. So, if, in his mind, there is some question, what about the town that is 8,000, 10,000, 20,000?
Mr. VERGA. I think if you are looking for what is the 911 number for calling the national assets in, I think that you have identified, potentially, a weakness in the system. The way it is set up right now, it essentially escalates from local to regional to state to federal resources. And thealthough I am not an expert on that system, I think the communications are probably in that orderthat is the local police chief calls on whatever mutual aid that, maybe, goes to the county. The county, then, if they find they do not have the resources, would go to the state and it would work its way up.
I do not think we are in a position right now to jump from the local police chief to a national level incident that I am aware of. I may be mistaken, though.
Chief PLAUGHER. Mr. Taylor?
Mr. TAYLOR. Yes, sir.
Chief PLAUGHER. I have been listening intensely to the conversation and I feel deeply for that fire chief in your town of 10,000and facing that Friday night incident at the football game where he has the catastrophic event facing him or her.
I think it is critical that every community do a great deal of preparedness and answer those questions based upon what resources they have available to them.
Page 86 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
In Northern Virginia, we have a fire mutual aid and response system that is, actually, based upon the population of almost a million and a half people. In other words, the fire services of Arlington County, Alexander City and Fairfax County are merged into a singleactually, entity, along with our partners from Washington, DC, and the Maryland suburbs. I have always saidand have said this publicly several timesI am a fire chief who can key my portable radio and get 500 to 1,000 firefighters in a matter of an hour to aid me in whatever I need, which is pretty remarkable response capability.
That fire chief in that town of 10,000 could not do that. But he or she needs to answer that question where would those resources come from? Where would the partnerships that they could reach out and establish prior to the incidenthow would they make those levers? How would they be able to pull those levers? How would they access those services?
And it is through partnershipping. And I think Governor Gilmore's said it fine today when he talked about states partnering with statescommunities partnering with communities. And then using the resources, such as your National Guards, and those types of things. But that single point of contact needs to be identified.
What I was talking about in my remarks was local responders need a single point of contact for making decisions for preparedness levels within the federal government. It is scattered all over the place now. We are getting just conflicting information from different agencies within the federal government. And that has got to stop. I mean, let's come up with a national preparedness strategy and then we, the first responders, will work diligently to achieve that.
Page 87 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Right now, I tell you whatand this guy has worked for us for the last six yearsit is extremely difficult to find a targetand I am talking about the target of preparedness level, I am not talking about a terrorism target.
So, I mean, it is absolutely vital that Governor Ridgethe staff work in concert with Congress and with the administrationwith President Bushand come up with a national strategy of preparedness levels to answer your question, Mr. Taylor.
Mr. TAYLOR. Mr. Weldon, thank you.
Mr. WELDON. Thank you, Mr. Taylor.
Let me just say, I come at this a little different perspective because I would not be in politics were it not for my involvement with the fire service. As you know, Chief, I was a volunteer fire chiefworked my way up in the community.
And I do not think we can equate this to the size of the town. The town that I grew up in was less than 5,000 people. Unfortunately, we were home to two of the largest oil refineries on the East Coast. And, in 1975, when I was a deputy fire chief, we had the largest fire in America.
Now, when the Edgar M. Queeny made a U-turn in the Delaware River and rammed the dock of Corinthos with 300,000 barrels of Algerian crude, I could not get the National Guard there in the first couple of hours.
Page 88 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Chief PLAUGHER. Right.
Mr. WELDON. It cannot happen. So what do I do, go back and sit on my thumbs?
Chief PLAUGHER. No.
Mr. WELDON. And risk the life of thousands of people? No. As you said, you have got to have an emergency response plan for your town. In that case, we brought in 80 fire departmentsall volunteers.
Chief PLAUGHER. Right.
Mr. WELDON. And they served around the clock for three days while we got the Coast Guard to come init took them 36 hours to get the Coast Guard on the scenewhile we brought in the reinforcementsthe extra support for our military. But the initial response, unless it is like you say, a catastrophic bomb drop, is always going to be handled by the local incident response team, which are your local police and fire.
So what we have got to do is give them the resources and the who to call and get the National Guard there as quick as possible so they can bring in the communications suiteso they can bring in the thermal imagers or whatever other type of equipment we do not have to make the process work.
Page 89 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Isn't that they way it has to work?
Chief PLAUGHER. Absolutely. There is not any other way that we could ever, as a nation, afford that type of preparedness level of anything other than that. I mean, that is what you use day in and day out. You use those partnerships day in and day out. And you practice them day in and day out so that when you need them, they work and work well.
But I think they have to grow. They have to be able to be escalated to manage the situation that you are dealing.
So I think you are absolutely right, Mr. Chair.
Mr. WELDON. Chief, on the grants, I can tell you I support you all the way. We will fight this battle. There are some low-level bureaucrats in Office of Management and Budget (OMB) that have been trying to deep-six this grant programJoe Allbaugh and I have talked about it. We are going to fight this. And we are going to win. We are going to win because the local fire and EMS departments do not need to have money taken away by other bureaucracies. That money needs to get down to help buy the equipment and the material that is necessary.
Chief, I have got a question for you in D.C. You have got an excellent department and you are a great hands-on chief.
What always frustrated me was to see us do this exotic training of how to use exotic detection systems and yet, your budget, in the past I have seenyou have not had enough money, in some cases, before you got in officeand I know the fire departmentthey could not even buy boots for their firefighters. They did not even have enough money to buy enough paramedic equipment. Shouldn't we also understand that it is not just enough to give them this exotic equipment unless we also understand you have got to have money to run your department. You have got to have enough money to buy your basic equipment for your department, right?
Page 90 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Chief RAMSEY. Mr. Chairman, you are absolutely right. And in addition to that, we need to be thinking about replacement cycles for a lot of this equipment that we are buying. It is going to have a shelf lifewhere better technology comes along.
I was listening to Chief Plaugher and when he was talking about the kind of breathing apparatus. Well, that sounds state of the art today, but three years from now, that will become obsolete and there could be something on the market that is even more effective than what he is talking about now. And where is that money going to come from? How do you store all the different types of equipment that may require special needs in terms of, you know, climate control and various things like that so that when you need to use it, it is ready for use.
So there are a lot of issues that need to be carefully thought through. And what I am afraid of, because there is a lot of money being tossed around now, and there is not going to be any shortage of people willing to sell you something. There is absolutely no question about that. But are we buying what we really need?
Mr. WELDON. Right.
Chief RAMSEY. Is the technology far enough along where we are not buying the first generation of something that is going to have all kinds of bugs and flaws and then two years from now they are going to say, ''Well, you know, that was just the first model. Now we have got the Cadillac.'' And how are you going to buy it?
I mean, so those are the kinds of thingsand for someone like me who does not understand a lot of the technical aspects of a lot of what I am looking atwe need to really have someone there that can look out for our best interests. And my fear is that that is not really happeningeverybody is just kind of out there trying to buy something because right now, for my officer in the scout car, if something were to happen today, there is no breathing equipment for him at all. And we need to have something to afford some level of basic protection for our people. And that is essential that we do that.
Page 91 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
And then we need to think in terms of what do we do over the long haul and how do we afford it? So I mean there are just tons of issues.
Mr. WELDON. Chief, your comments are right on. And I have traveled to most of our disasters over the last 15 years from the Northridge and Loma Prieta earthquakes to wildlands firesHurricane Andrew and HugoWorld Trade Center in 1993 and just recently. And what strikes me isI am a strong supporter of our military and the great technology they have developed for our soldiers. And the Army is doing a fantastic job in transformation and developing cutting edge technology.
We have got the best equipment money can buy. And we spend about $300 billion a year and if I have my way, we are going to increase that by at least another $10 billion this year because we have a shortfall.
But, as much as we want to protect the life of a soldier, the life of a soldier is not any more valuable than the life of a firefighter. Now, we lose, every year, 100 firefighters. I have been to Emmitsburg six times. And we go down there in October. You know, why do we not put that money into research for the same technology for the fire, law enforcement and paramedic?
And that is really at the crux of what I want to accomplish with this hearing. I want to continue to support that digitization of the soldier on the battlefield. I want to continue to give them an undergarment or a watch that can give them not only the location of where they are, but the health condition of how well they are doing. But why shouldn't that firefighter out there have that same capability?
Page 92 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
And, in my look at it today, we do not have that.
Mr. Verga, this is going to really depend on a person like yourself within DOD to help us create a process to transfer that technology that we are building for our military to make it available so that our law enforcement and paramedics and our fire officials can understand what is available to use when they have a disaster.
I was at the Loma Prieta earthquake walking the freeway that was sandwiched after it collapsed with the fire chiefs of Oakland and San Francisco. And they were looking for people that they thought were still alive that were sandwiched in vehicles in between the two freeways. And they were using dogs. And it was not working. So I said to the two of chiefs of our largest departments, ''Why do not you use the thermal imagers?'' And the two chiefs said, ''What are thermal imagers?''
They were not even aware that the Navy had developed this device for use on our ships that detects the heat being given off from bodies.
So, you are right about spending money. Oftentimes it is not having to go out and buy this, it is knowing that it is available and where to go get it. And a lot of times what we have seen is the military develop absolutely incredible technologyor National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in the area of long-term breathing apparatus.
Chief PLAUGHER. They have had it for a decade.
Page 93 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. WELDON. They have had it for decades.
Chief PLAUGHER. Yes, sir.
Mr. WELDON. So why cannot we get that technology to use it to save lives? Isn't that the critical need that we have right now?
Chief PLAUGHER. I think you are absolutely correct, Mr. Chairman. It is absolutely a vital need because there is no difference in the life of that soldier or that man or woman who is protecting our community as firefighters or police officers?
Chief do you agree?
Chief RAMSEY. I agree, sir. I think that we can no longer afford to think so narrowly at just what we need as an individual agency. We need to look to see whether or not that technology can be applied elsewhere. And if it needs a little tinkering here and there, which it probably does because big difference between an astronaut right now trying to fix Hubble, versus what a firefighter might need going into a burning building. But it does not mean that the fundamental principles that we use to design that one piece of equipment could not be transferred very easily into the fire service or police service.
Mr. WELDON. General, one final question for youGeneral Reeswe had General Jones in testifying from the Marine Corps a few weeks ago. And I asked him the question about the Chemical, Biological Incident Response Force (CBIRF) teams. They have one team now that responds for the whole country. And he suggested to, to my amazement, that, perhaps that is a role that the Guard should take up. What do you think about the Guard taking over the CBIRF operation and handling that as the incident response entity for America? I mean, it was the Commandant of the Marine Corps suggested it at a hearing in this Committee.
Page 94 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
General REES. Well, Mr. Chairman, we are interested in new missions. Certainly, it has a lot of attractiveness. We are, I think, particularly with this expertise we are developing with the civil support teams, it would go hand in glove with that.
Mr. WELDON. Great.
The gentleman from South Carolina, Mr. Wilson?
Mr. WILSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And, gentlemen, it is an honor to be here with you and I appreciate your dedication.
And, Chief Plaugher, it was particularly helpful to me that you referenced a problem which is just discussed forever and ever and a conclusion is never reached and that is communications interoperability.
And I want to congratulate our Chairman, here, for his billH.R. 3397. And I look forward to working with you on that because it just seems so frustrating that, as referenced in the last discussion about the advances in technology that we have that we still cannot communicate between departments, particularly where you are in a region, as we are right here.
And then, of course, I share the concern of Chief Ramsey that we may be buying the wrong equipment at the wrong time and then the technology change.
Page 95 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
And so the question I would like to ask would be what can we dolong-term would be to expand the bandwidthand, hopefully, that can be done as soon as possible. After September the 11th, let's really get on that.
And then, short term, what can be done?
Chief PLAUGHER. Well, I think it is absolutely critical that we enact that legislationthat we free up those television stations for the use of public safety. Because public safety will apply the resources once we have the spectrum.
That is our problem right now is we do not have the spectrum. It is difficult to argue to our local governments the need for radio equipment, particularly advanced technology radio equipment, when, in fact, you do not have a spectrum to use it on. So, you know, they keep telling usour local elected officials say, ''You have put the cart before the horse. You have got to get equipment,'' because we want the advanced technology in our community.
And, of course, the first responders, we say we need multi-channel capability for the complex incidents that we have to face. So, please sir.
Chief RAMSEY. And I would just like to add my support that the same problem exists in policing. The spectrum is the key. We do need to have ample bandwidth set aside for all of public safety to be able to truly have interoperability. That is the only way it is going to occur.
Page 96 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As far as equipment goes, someone needs to take the responsibility to set standards and test equipment and make recommendations on what is the best equipment to purchase.
It is just like if you go in to buy an electrical appliance or something. Someone has taken and certified it to a certain level so at least you know when you plug it in it is not going to blow up on you.
So, I mean, we just need to have someone who is looking out for our best interests so that we are buying things that are going to be useful to us for a period of time because this stream of money is not endless. And we have to use it very wisely or we are going to find ourselves in a few years in the same position we found ourselves before September 11.
Mr. WILSON. And I, again, we have got a unique circumstance today with people of all levels of governmentfrom federal to localand I just hope that together you would get back with those of us who can, hopefully, make a difference.
And I just look forward to working with the Chairman on this bill.
Mr. WELDON. I think the gentleman.
And I thank all of you for your testimony and for appearing today.
I am going to announceI am going to continue this hearing. I am going to just skipthis is a procedural vote on a non-controversial H-conres to honor Ronald and Nancy Reagan. It is not that I do not want to honor Ronald and Nancy Reagan. But I think I have kept you all here long so I am going to stay and continue the hearing right through this vote. That is the only vote we have.
Page 97 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Thank you all for being here.
And I will call our third panel nowokaywhich consists of three people who are on an ongoing basis where the rubber meets the roadChief Bill JenawayDr. Jenaway is Chief of the City of King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. He represents the National Volunteer Fire Council and he is also a member of the Gilmore Commission.
We have Captain Peter Gorman of the fire department of New York and President of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association of New York, representing not just the New York Fire Department, but the International Association of Firefighters.
And we have Paul Maniscalco who is a former Chief Deputy Paramedic of New York City representing the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians and also a member of the Gilmore Commission.
And so, we have three here. And Mr. Gorman, even though he was not a member of the Gilmore Commission, I know he represents here today his good friend, Ray Downey, who was a dedicated member of that Commission.
We thank you all for being here. Thank you for your service to your cities and your country and look forward to your testimony. Your written statements will be entered as a part of the record. And I invite you to give whatever personal comments you would like before we go to questions.
Page 98 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And I am going to stay during the vote, so I will not be making you sit here. So I will be here. And then I expect some members to come back.
Dr. Jenaway, it is to you, first.
STATEMENT OF CHIEF WILLIAM JENAWAY, NATIONAL VOLUNTEER FIRE COUNCIL, KING OF PRUSSIA, PA
Mr. JENAWAY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and the other Members of the Committee and, as you indicated, I am representing the National Volunteer Fire Council, who represents the interest of the nation's 800,000 volunteer firefighters that staff about 90 percent of the fire departments in America.
My community, King of Prussia, as you well know, Mr. Chairman, is outside the city of Philadelphia. We have one of the largest all volunteer fire departments and the country's only accredited all volunteer fire department.
Yet, unfortunately, I would have say that despite all of our accolades and all of the accomplishments we have had, we still lack in many of the things that we need to accomplish our job should there be an incident involving weapons of mass destruction or, I might add, in some cases, even the traditional domestic terrorism situation.
Let me give you a couple of examples that have happened where volunteer fire departments have had to respond. These did not happen in large cities, they happened in what might be called Ozzie and Harriet land or Pleasantville, because we typically do not think bad things happen there. But I would like to offer that you ask the fire department that arrived at an apartment building to find the spare bedroom full of explosives harbored by a closet individual terrorist-minded U.S. citizen. While not necessarily a weapon of mass destruction, in and of itself, had that building exploded, it would have taken out multiple apartment buildingspossibly hundreds of individuals.
Page 99 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Or how about the children who started to run for their lives when a classmate started shooting a gun in a rural community? How safe are the residents of a rural county where a pipe bomber has kept them at bay for over a year planting 20 bombs, some of which have exploded? Or maybe the people of a townhouse complex who were evacuated because a resident became distraught over the events of 911 and began shooting a rifle from the bedroom window?
All terrorist incidentsall involved American citizens and all require the response of volunteer fire and EMS personnel. So we need not kid ourselves, this happens every day and it happens throughout all areas of the United States.
There have been several items commented on that I would like to reinforce, very quickly. First of all, the grants program. We want to thank you for your undue diligence in making sure that this grant program is accomplished. We do recommend, very, very hopefully, that this grant program will not be consolidatedthat we leave them separate and that we allow the volunteer firefighters and the career departments, who so well received needed monies last yearthat we can keep these two grant separate.
We have to understand that the fire departments and EMS squads have to be prepared for all hazard events. And these all hazard events start with utilizing tools and equipment of their every day nature. We have to build on that every day capability and all hazards capability and I believe that is what the $3.5 billion should be used for, not to replace the millions that we have allocated for routine types of equipment.
The next item I would like to comment on really comes from the Gilmore Commission report. The panel recommended four items that I think we need to keep in mind. First, design and schedule federal programs so that local entities, particularly volunteer-based organizations, can participate.
Page 100 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Second, design related training and equipment programs as part of all hazard of preparedness.
And third, have federal agencies with local and state funding and grant programs coordinate these programs, not replace them, but coordinate them through the states.
And, fourth, have federal military response assets configured to support and reinforce existing state and local organizational structures and emergency response systems.
I think about my current role as a volunteer fire chief in a large suburban community. I cannot help but recall my childhood when my uncle was the head of the local civil defense, my dad was the volunteer fire chief officer and another uncle was a deputy sheriff. I remember going to meetings with my dad and marveling over the civil defense's new ambulance, the rescue truck, the fancy Geiger counters, protective equipment and hydraulic tools.
Little did I realize that I would be part of the next civil defense system of our country. This time one built of firefighters, medics and cops. After all, who ever thought fire department personnel would ever get so excited about a little bit of white powder? Yet, we did. And we had to deal with it.
Specific comments that you requested and I think need to be commented onwe need to transfer that cutting edge technology. Even my fire department in a large suburban community with relatively high assets cannot afford to go out and purchase the infrared technology that was demonstrated here. It is simply too expensive.
Page 101 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
We need the detection equipment that was demonstrated here for the chemical incidents, as well.
When asked about interoperable communications, I spent an extensive amount of time directing my command staff to work with the police department and to make sure that we had interoperability capability whenever there was any type of a potential incident after 911. We found ways to make systems work, but they will not be efficient. We did our planning activities, but I do not think that in a real incident that they would be overly successful.
So I encourage whatever we can do to build unified command capabilities through communication to make that happen.
I have to respond to the question that was asked by Congressman Taylor, as well, when he queried about what would happen if you called and needed some additional resources. I investigated this because I was concerned how long it was going to take a USAR team to get to mehow long I was going to have to wait for chem/bio equipment and how long I would
Mr. WELDON. USAR? People might not know what that is.
Mr. JENAWAY. Urban search and rescuesorry.
I was concerned about how long it would take if I needed these equipments, so I met with staff of our local 911 center and I asked them and they said if you call, we will attempt to get the resources at fast as we can get them for you. When I asked who they would call, they gave me a variety of names for various resources, some of which remained local at first and then went to state level. In all cases, it required some level of authorization above to get these resources releasedwhether it was FEMA, the governor or some other resource.
Page 102 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
This meant just one thing to me, I had to wait longer and I had to do with local resources.
Mr. Chairman, I thank you for the opportunity, today, to address these issues with you and the Committee and I am available for any questions or follow up.
Mr. WELDON. Dr. Jenaway, thank you for your comments.
[The prepared statement of Chief Jenaway can be found in the Appendix on page ?.]
Captain, if you could hold one second. I have got to run out here. And as soon as I come back, we will take your testimony. It will be about a 30-second quick break here.
Mr. WELDON. Captain, I am sorry. It is a pleasure to have you here representing the great department of New York as President of the Association and as an active Captain. So, welcome and we will hear the rest of your statement.
STATEMENT OF PETER GORMAN, PRESIDENT, UNIFORMED FIRE OFFICERS ASSOCIATION OF NEW YORK
Mr. GORMAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Page 103 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
My name is Peter Gorman. As you said, I am a Captain with the New York City Department and President of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association of New York. I am here today representing the International Association of Firefighters and our 245,000 full-time firefighters and emergency medical personnel.
I greatly appreciate this opportunity to appear before you today. And before I begin my statementit has been said before, but I would like to add it on the record, I would be remiss if I did not take a moment to express our gratitude to you, Mr. Chairman, for all you have done for America's fire service. Long before it was fashionable, you were fighting for recognition of the role firefighters play in defending our nation.
I have a statement to read. And in the interest of time I will cut it about in half. But I will justin the record I would just like to touch briefly on the events of September 11. And, like all New York City firefighters and all the nation's firefighters and first responders, the events of September 11 certainly changed my life forever.
I was up in the Bronx that day and I had arrived at ground zero about 20 minutes after the second building collapsed and was assigned to a team conducting search and recovery down at Liberty and West Street. And in front of me was the remains of the south tower. And as grotesque as that scene was, knowing exactly where those buildings were, I turned behind me, facing the Hudson River and before me was the staging area where they put police and fire and EMS apparatus. And the twisted and the grotesque remains of those apparatus, as a firefighter, is something you just cannot forget. Although I know the firefighters were not on them, it symbolized the sacrifices that were made that day.
Page 104 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Also, the normal procedure after a building collapses is to try to maintain some kind of silence to listen for the sounds of survivors. In the case of firefighters, we have personal protection alert devices. We certainly thought would maintain sounds and hear something. And it wasin my 28 year career, I never went to a fire or a collapse where there was no soundno diesel engines.
There were a few miracles that day. Ladder company six was one that was documented in the media. But for the most part, the rest of the day and the almost six months since then has been involved recovering the remains of our fallen brothers and sisters, including two nights ago recovered the remains of two firefighters.
I realized that night my children lost their age of innocence. But I later realized that the entire nation's firefighters, first responders and, indeed, the citizens of this country felt the loss of their freedom for the first time. And I think Vice President summed it up well when he said for the first time in American history service men and women were worried about their loved ones back home as they went overseas.
As you know well, Mr. Chairman, America's fire services talked about the need to prepare for acts of terrorism for many years now. Among the members of the Gilmore Commission, as you said, was my colleague, Ray Downey. Ray was our Chief of Special Operations and he testified, following the Oklahoma City Bombing, about the need for the fire service to be prepared to respond to acts of terrorism. Ray is among those heroes we lost on September 11. It would be a fitting tribute to Ray's memory to finally heed his call for a national response to local emergency preparedness. If we are to be successful in protecting Americans when the next act of terrorism occurs, fire departments must have adequate resources, as you have said.
Page 105 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Sadly, as of today, not all fire departments do. A few major issues that confront our nation's firefightersthe first and most important is personnel.
First and foremost, the need for fire service is adequate personnel. Across our nation, two-thirds of all fire departments, large and small, operate with inadequate staffing. Congress would never allow an Army to enter battle with two-thirds of its divisions understaffed, but, incredibly, this is exactly what we are asking our local fire departments to do in this current war on our home soil.
Second item is the need for equipment. The IAFF survey found that the majority of fire departments lacked even basic equipment. And I think you mentioned that when you spoke to the Chief of the Washington, D.C., police. The survey results were validated by the request for FIRE Act grants received last year. Of the 30,000 plus grants, fully, over 27,000 of those grants would have put up three categories of personnel protective equipment firefighting equipment in vehicles. And, as you said before, very basic firefighting needsnot hazardous materials, weapons of mass destruction preparedness or special operations.
And, sadly, less than five percent of these grants requested were awarded.
The creation of the assistance for firefighters program, more commonly known as the FIRE Act, was a significant step forward. We greatly appreciate the vital role you played, Mr. Chairman, in both the initial creation of this program and its reauthorization last year. And we strongly urge Congress, and as has been said before by other members of this panel, to retain the current structure of the program and to fully fund it in the current year.
Page 106 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Another positive development in meeting fire service equipment needs is the military technology transfer program that has also been touched on this afternoon, that you have long championed, Mr. Chairman. This program holds great promise. And we are optimistic that this program will have significant impact on improving the technology available to front-line firefighters.
Also, the need for the fire service trainingof training for Hazard Materials (HAZMAT) and weapons of mass destruction response and mitigation is especially crucial. Demands for this training have overwhelming existing programs and we urge Congress to provide additional resources for these programs. And, as Mr. Taylor said, it does not have to be New York City, but larger cities, smaller cities, volunteer departments, paid departments, sheriffs departmentswhat Mr. Taylor was talking about before when he talked about the crop dusters and some kind of an attack is not far fetched. We saw what happened in New York Citythree domestic aircraft were used as weapons of mass destruction and no one could ever imagine two aircraft toppling, not only the World Trade Center, but all seven buildings of the World Trade Center were toppledwere destroyed3,000 American livesfully 50 percent of the firefighters that responded that day were killed.
That, Mr. Chairman, was a carnageunprecedented in American history. Also, 37 brother and sister police officers from the Port Authority police and 23 New York City police officers, amongst the secret service agent and other federal agents were killed that day.
The threat is real to a small town and to a large city. And no matter what the municipal fire protection or police department is, first responders will always be your first round of defense when American citizens lives are in danger, police officers, firefighters, paidvolunteersheriffs departments, Emergency Medical Service (EMS) bureaus will respond with doctors and nurses.
Page 107 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
If we are not prepared, those first responders will become casualties. It has been confirmed in interagency drills in most major cities, including New York. Unfortunately, that became a reality in New York City on September 11.
In addition to assisting local communities to meet the needs of the fire service, the federal government also has a significant role to play in enhancing coordination and communication during crisis response. I remember vividly in 1993, even in New York City, we had a lack of communications between a police helicopter and the fire ground incident commander. Sadly, that same incident took place again with the lack of communication when the fire ground supervisors that could not adequately assess the volume and the intensity of the fire in the upper floors. That does need to be addressed.
My own department could not communicate with their own fire suppression in EMS bureaus six months after the two agencies merged.
Congress can enhance our effectiveness by ensuring adequate radio spectrum, providing better communications equipment and coordinating planning, interagency training exercises and interagency resource management.
The final area I wish to touch on is the need for additional information sharing between federal and local agencies in advance of a terrorist attack. Since September 11, there have been a number of public alerts issued by the federal government asking people to be especially vigilant. While it is perfectly understandable that the federal government is reluctant to publicly disclose certain information, it is unconscionable that no information about these threats is provided to local emergency response crews.
Page 108 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Should we have additional personnel ready to respond? Do we need additional paramedics and HAZMAT teams standing by? Do we need any particular equipment or protective gear?
Every time the federal government asked the citizens to go on a high alert, I am besieged by questions from my members. It is simply unacceptable to them, and to me, to have the answer, ''All I know is what I read in the paper.'' And that is exactly what I tell them on several threats specific to New York City in the last several months.
No one knows individual communities and their citizens and the infrastructure better than the local fire companies. It is imperative that critical information is given to the fire service.
For too long the fire service has been neglected when it comes to crisis response planning, yet, we are the first responders and the ones who, too often, make the ultimate sacrifice to protect our nation. And the events of September 11 bear that out.
Specialized military teams and USAR teams do play an important role. But they are often hours away from ground zero. Firefighters are on the scene within minutes. America has begun to recognize that the firefighters are the lynch pin to an effective and strong homeland security.
The members of the IAFF will be ready when the next alarm rings or when terrorists strikes again. But our ranks are thin and reinforcements are needed. We ask Congress to provide the resources to ensure that firefighters have adequate staffing, proper training, accurate information and the right equipment to do our job.
Page 109 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Thank you for this time to present this view of the International Association of Firefighters. And I am available to take questions.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Gorman can be found in the Appendix on page ?.]
Mr. WELDON. Thank you, Captain, for your outstanding statement and for your commitment and for representing your brother firefighters who paid the ultimate price at the World Trade Center disaster on 911. We really appreciate you being here.
Mr. GORMAN. Thank you.
Mr. WELDON. And our final witness is Paul Maniscalco former chief deputy paramedic of New York City, representing the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians and also a member of the Gilmore Commission.
Paul, thank you for being here.
STATEMENT OF PAUL MANISCALCO, FORMER CHIEF DEPUTY PARAMEDIC FOR NEW YORK CITY, CHAIRMAN OF THE TERRORISM TASK FORCE, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF EMERGENCY MEDICAL TECHNICIANS
Page 110 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MANISCALCO. Good afternoon. Mr. Chairman, Members of the Committee and distinguished guests, my name is Paul M. Maniscalco. I am testifying today on behalf of the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT). NAEMT represents the professional interests of more than 870,000 emergency medical service providers comprising Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), Paramedics and EMS first responders, currently serving our nation.
Along with our colleagues of the fire service, law enforcement and public health communities, it is these men and women who are at the tip of the spear that comprise the front line of defense for our nation in the event of emergencies, disasters and terrorist incidents.
I have served as a member of the Department of Defense, Defense Science Board, Transnational Threat Study in 1997. Recently, I have just completed my participation in the Homeland Defense Chemical Weapons Task Force for the Department of Defense.
As you mentioned, I am a member of the Gilmore Commission and I sit as the Chairman of the State and Local Response Panel.
So I bring a unique opportunity here to share not only the first response demands, but also an appreciation for what the military can bring to the table to share with us with the technology that myself and others, such as Chief Jenaway, are aware exists.
On behalf of the EMTs and Paramedics of this nation, I appreciate the opportunity to appear before you on this matter of critical importance to our national securitynamely the formulation of a sustainable national strategy to combat terrorism.
Page 111 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
In holding this hearing, under your tutelage, the subcommittee and, indeed, the Congress as a whole should be commended for its foresight in seizing this occasion to identify gaps and shortfalls in our current policies, practices and programs. It is only with such analysis that we as a nation and the emergency response community can discover and appreciate what has worked, what has not worked and what has not been adequately addressed so that we can go on to the next step of crafting an effective national counter-terrorism response strategy.
Mr. Chairman, the nation's emergency medical service community needs your assistance to enhance our capacity to respond to these high impact mass casualty terrorist acts. As members of Congress, you can and do make a difference by uniting with our nation's EMS professionals to protect the protectors. By providing them the resources and access to technology they need to defend our communities and citizens in this new era, you lend these dedicated and brave men and women the assistance they require to be effective and successful in this difficult and mammoth task they confront.
For almost a decade we as a nation have analyzed the effects of terrorism on our local, state and federal capacity to respond. While we have witnessed some movement forward in the realm of enhanced response capacity. The state of readiness for emergency responders, especially local emergency medical service organizations, leaves us with a long way to go.
Millions of dollars have been invested in the goal of readiness resulting in targeted programs for the 200 largest communities. The successes of this investment should now be expanded to embrace the nation as a whole. But we as a nation have yet to define what an acceptable and desirable level of local readiness is.
Page 112 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
All disasters and terrorist incidents are local. Local responders will be the first on the scene and the last to leave. While we are grateful for the assistance we will receive from the federal government and the agencies under the federal response plan, the bottom line is that these incidents impact the local community, tax their existing resources and mutual aid compacts and require a robust capacity to mount an effective and safe response in the initial phases of the event. Failure to employ this strategic capacity could result in the loss of additional lives that could have been saved.
Clearly, in these events, the level of service available will be markedly changed, perhaps even diminished. As a nation and as a professional community we need to come together and define what readiness is and then set our sights on attaining that agreed upon goal. Without defining and establishing readiness benchmarks, state and local responders are placed in a position attempting to determine this on their own. Subsequently this results in communities with readiness that spans the preparedness continuum.
While we acknowledge the varying needs of individual communities and the diverse threat levels each may or may not confront, we do not think it is unreasonable to establish a baseline of readiness that all communities should strive to attain while perhaps having enhanced levels of capacity in those communities where the threat may be greater or the potential to respond is elevated.
Until we achieve this definition of readiness, calls from the federal government for us to sustain the highest alert are confusing directives that result in the consumption of limited resources that the local community cannot simply afford anymore.
Page 113 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
There has been millions of dollars allocated for the training, equipping and exercising of response teams, however, little has been done to institutionalize these training programs to ensure knowledge preservation and continued access.
The terrorist attacks on September 11, have become a defining moment for the future of the United States and the rest of the civilized world. They have challenged us to define the future in managing the protection of our country. Our country has mobilized to deal with these situations.
While some ask why so late, others comment why not, and still others ask when will we know it is enough.
One question and your challenge is how to assure we are able to adequately respond outside of the major cities in the United States. You will recall these non-metropolitan areas where our water supplies reside, our basic industry and food production lie and where much of our electrical power and natural resources are.
Mr. Chairman, you were instrumental in convening the Gilmore Commission in 1999 to provide frank, unbiased analysis of readiness in the United States, as well as our capacity to respond to Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) incidents.
Through the three years of existence, we have provided pragmatic recommendations to the Congress and the President to aid in the development of a cohesive, comprehensive national strategy. Your leadership and vision in the early stages of this threat, before it became Washington chic, are to be commended and supported.
Page 114 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
So what can Congress do to help the front line personnel and organizations?
NAEMT, the National Association of EMTs suggests the following. Implement the recommendations from the Gilmore's third annual reportthe re-establishment of the Health and Human Services EMS office. Congress is responsible for birthing EMS. The professional EMS that we enjoy today is the result of a 1966 congressional white paper that was charged to the Institute of Medicine, which resulted in us becoming a profession. Unfortunately, when dollars were tight in the 1980s, the only office that provided single focus for research, operational support and professional development was done away with. We request that that office be re-established.
We also request that the unique status of the EMS and the training curriculumthat Congress use its position to require that the Secretary of Transportation require that these training modulesresponse to terrorism incidents, response to hazardous materials, operations in hazardous environments and disaster and multiple casualty incident responsebecome mandatory modules, creating boutique programs that require additional funding rather than leveraging existing training requirements, which will have every student go through, as well as re-licensing, re-visiting is a more prudent and fiscally efficient operation.
There are other recommendations that are in the written report. I ask that the Chair and the Committee review them. They basically pull down upon the Gilmore Commission reports and coincide with them. But I also request that we look at the issues of not creating new entities.
Page 115 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In closing, we strongly encourage that Congress pass House Resolution 2333, which has now been incorporated in House Resolution 3848the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Act. Within that Act, H.R. 2333 would provide protection to those responders that are activated under the Federal Response Plan and deployed either on USAR teams or on DEMAT teams. Presently, these employees who are state and local responders do not enjoy that protection.
And with that, Mr. Chair, I will return my time and point the members to the written comments submitted.
And I am available for questions, sir.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Manisculco can be found in the Appendix on page ?.]
Mr. WELDON. Thank you, Paul.
And thank each of you for your outstanding statements and for your servicenot just in your own departments, but in your broader role, nationally, representing your associations.
You really do represent what I think are the true American heroes in this country. You know, I have given a ton of speeches since 911 and whenever I go to a school, I say, ''Our real heroes are not in Hollywoodthey are not in our state and federal capital buildingsthey are not on a ball field. They are in our local fire, police, EMS and emergency service organizations.'' And that has finally been hit, I think, to the American people after 911.
Page 116 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
What, kind of, always has frustrated me, as a strong supporter of our military and a member of this committee for 16 years, we spend a ton of money each yearover $300 billion this yearon national defense to make sure that we do minimize the casualties of our soldiers, sailors, Marines and Corpsmen. It is a national disgrace when even one soldier is killed. And I was just talking to staff here about how many we lose each year. It is probably in the low hundreds. But every year since I have been here, we have lost at least 100 of your people.
And, if I am not mistaken, Chief Jenaway, aren't a large part of them volunteers?
Mr. JENAWAY. There is a substantial portionyes.
Mr. WELDON. And, Captain Gorman, in the loss of life in New Yorktake away 911, which was a single incident, but each year, you lose fire and EMS people in your department, is that not correct?
Mr. GORMAN. Yes. We had lost five in 2001, before September 11.
Mr. WELDON. And if we took some of the technology that we are using for our military and applied it directly, could it help us save some of those lives?
Mr. GORMAN. Without a doubt. Some of the things the Chief from Arlington was talking aboutlighter weight gear, you know, New York City firefighteror any firefighter, I should sayfully equipped with bumper gear and mask and hoseup to 90 pounds in gearthat is taxing when you are working three, four, five hours at a time. So just the lightness of the gear itself would make a significant improvement in firefighter overall safety.
Page 117 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. WELDON. And how about paramedicssame thing there, Paul?
Mr. MANISCALCO. Absolutely, Mr. Chair. I think that EMS is on the left side of the curve in terms of providing personal protection. And I think overall the technologies that we can borrow from the military to keep our members safe will help keep us ahead of the curve. Terrorists are creativethey are well financed. They are learning how to exploit our protective equipment. And if we take the lessons learned from the military and we start to look at next generation or fourth generation warfare matters and whether or not the equipment that we are deploying today will be able to sustain any type of infiltration of tomorrow, I have serious doubts.
So we need the assistance of the Department of Defensethe technologies that exist, as well as the research capacities of the National Labs in Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to keep our members safe.
Mr. WELDON. Now, I have a gut feeling that, perhaps, you do not share. And if you do not agree with it, you can tell me so. But, you know, as I have sat here for the past 10 years at least working on seeing increased funding for anti-terrorism activitiesand it has been in the billions of dollarsmy gut reaction is that what happened was that because we did not have a FEMA and a U.S. Fire administration that was as aggressive as, perhaps, it could have and should have been in fighting for a significant portion of those dollars that that money ended up going off to larger agencies, like DOD and the Department of Justice that saw that, basically, as a way to get increased funding.
Page 118 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
And, do you happen to share that view? I mean, Bill, do you share that viewMr. Jenaway?
Mr. JENAWAY. I would be happy that where there are numbers, there are strength. There are not a lot of opportunities for fire, EMS and law enforcement to leverage and to communicate and to lobby, in some cases, for those dollars. And when you have hundreds, if not thousands, if not more military personnel at your beck and call to answer those types of questions, to use an old phrase, the squeaky wheel gets more grease or the early bird gets the worm. I think it is all the same. The more opportunity you have to talk about your problems, concerns and leverage, the more you are going to get money.
Mr. WELDON. And I also felt that the U.S. Fire Administration just was a weak sister agency that really did not speak out for the needs. Do you all share that view? I mean, was that the feeling that the fire service had over the past 10 years or so?
Captain? Paul? What do you both think?
Mr. MANISCALCO. Well, as far as EMS is concerned, we are very happy with the new appointment of Dave Paulison. I think he brings a fresh new face to the office. He brings a full understanding of what the modern fire service and EMS organization of this century is going to look like. And we are pretty encouraged with that.
In the past, I believe, some of the problems with the USFA presented a lethargic organization that was, perhaps, not responsive to their constituents.
Page 119 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. GORMAN. We believe, too, that money that is allocated for first responders has to be gotten down to that police and fireEMS jurisdiction to get the money whether it is training or equipment. Recently New York Cityafter 911we re-instituted a one-day course for terrorism for probationary firefighters. And my department got money from the Department of Justice. That is the good news.
The bad news is the Department of Justice subcontracts to a company in Tennesseethey, in turn, called New York City said, ''Hey, we need some instructors to teach the course.'' If that money came right to the FDNY, that would be agency-specific money. And I think that kind of bureaucracy has to be done away with. And money that comes from the federal governmentif it goes to the states to allocate, and it could be earmarked non-specifically, we are afraid that can go into areas other than first responder money and training.
Mr. WELDON. I think you just hit the nail on the head. That is the perfect example of what has been occurring. Department of Justice gets the money. And because they are not totally in sync with the needs of the local fire and emergency response, they contract with an entity. You know, thousands of miles away from you. And then that entity calls you to get information as to what to do.
Mr. GORMAN. That is exactly whatyou know we have a lot of instructors that are certified HAZMAT instructors or first responder terrorist instructors. The IAFF secured a grant and developed a program that was agency specific. And I think the opposition as an international association has been first responder training for fire is specific for fire. It might be similar, but it is different for police. They both have to be agency specific. You cannot generalize some of these courses because police have a certain role. Fire and EMS have a different role. And it has to be agency specific.
Page 120 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
We have people in New York City that are in touch with this company in Tennessee because they want to give the training to fire department members. And if they have to be subcontracted by a company in Tennessee, so be it, but to me, it just adds another layer of bureaucracy and lack of control at the local level.
Mr. MANISCALCO. And, Mr. Chair, I think cutting to the quick of your original question here, while we are worrying about our budgets at home and figuring out where we are going to get the money for capital replacement or recovery of individuals that are trading out of the organizations, I think that there are other organizations within the Beltway that can position themselves to figure out where the next trough is going to be.
Mr. JENAWAY. Mr. Chairman, if I might add, after 911, I had staff seek out the training. No one came and offered the training to suburban and rural America. We had to go and find it.
Mr. MANISCALCO. Which is not a unique issue because if we look at the high impact events of September 11 and taking it outside the terrorists realm and just looking at standard disaster response, it is the mutual aid compacts that we have executed that keep our communities afloat. So this is not a unique threat to a high dense urban area, nor is it one to a rural area. We need to stop creating new entities and start to leverage and resource the existing way we do business.
Mr. WELDON. And Dr. Jenaway, doesn't your department protect one of the largest shopping malls in the country?
Page 121 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. JENAWAY. We also protect Valley Forge National Park and we have the largest privately owned convention center on the East Coastall protected by volunteer services.
Mr. WELDON. Amazing.
The gentleman from South Carolina, Mr. Wilson?
Mr. JEFF WILSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I would like to thank the three members of the panel for being here. I regret that, due to scheduling, other members of the Subcommittee could not be here. But, obviously, you may have detected that you have a very enthusiastic chairman of this Subcommittee. I certainly have detected that during my brief two months being here. And I look forward to working with him and he certainly is a person who can make a difference and I look forward to working with him based on the testimony that you have provided today that I know that he is going to get out to the other subcommittee members.
Thank you for being here.
And thank you, Mr. Chairman, for your leadership.
Mr. WELDON. Thank you, Mr. Wilson. Thanks for coming back after that vote.
Page 122 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
And let me just say to my friends out here your appearance here today is extremely important, especially for this Committee because you have a Congress that is listening. And your comments and statements that are in the record will be shared with our colleagues as we craft this year's defense authorization bill and as I oversee the procurement section of that bill, which is about $80 some billion. And as we look to do a supplemental, perhaps, we are going to be looking to providing support for all of you.
You have heard from the other witnesses we have a commitment to develop this technology transfer capability. We are going to make that happen this year. we are going to fight to support the continuation of the grants program.
The irony is that the whole grant program was started on a defense bill. Yet, we are not using DOD money. But we had to bypass the traditional committee structure of the Congress to get a grant program started by adding it onto last year's defense authorization billby asking the committees of jurisdiction to waive that jurisdiction to let us carry that legislation forward, which we have done now two years in a row.
So the message that you have all been sounding for years is now resonating with the Congress and the American people. It is a tragedy, Captain, that it took the loss of 343 of your brothers to have this happen. But we are going to take advantage of the new momentum on the Hill. And, in their honor and in honor of our good friendmutual good friend, Ray Downey, we are going to continue to fight until we have the same level of protection for our domestic defenders that we have for our international defenders.
Page 123 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Again, I want to thank you, each, for appearingfor your statements on the recordfor my colleagues for being here.
I want to thank those who all put this hearing together, in particular, Roger, you did a fantastic job as a staffhe organized this whole thingarranged for all the witnesses. And I want to thank you and Doug Roach for your outstanding work.
I want to thank my staffEthan for his cooperation, and Michael for your work. And an intern who is finishing up his masters, who has taken this issue to heart and has been kind of an unofficial ad hoc staffer to the Gilmore Commission, Dan Kenyeskee, thank you, Dan.
And I would now, as the Chairman, enter into the record the insertion of a document that you dida white paperon the need for a select committee on homeland security and terrorisman outstanding piece of research work. And hopefully, this will become a part of this full Committee on Armed Services. But thank you for the great work that you have done.
With that, let me also thank Jesse Tolleson, research assistant, for outstanding work and cooperation and for all of you who attended today, we will look forward to continuing to work on these issues throughout the rest of this year.
And with that, the subcommittee stands adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 6:45 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned.]
Page 124 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC