SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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[H.A.S.C. No. 1085]
NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT
FOR FISCAL YEAR 2004H.R. 1588
OVERSIGHT OF PREVIOUSLY AUTHORIZED PROGRAMS
COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED EIGHTH CONGRESS
TERRORISM, UNCONVENTIONAL THREATS AND CAPABILITIES SUBCOMMITTEE HEARINGS
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TITLE IIRESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT, TEST, AND EVALUATION
TITLE IIIOPERATION AND MAINTENANCE
MARCH 19, 2003
TERRORISM, UNCONVENTIONAL THREATS AND CAPABILITIES SUBCOMMITTEE
JIM SAXTON, New Jersey, Chairman
JOE WILSON, South Carolina
FRANK A. LoBIONDO, New Jersey
JOHN KLINE, Minnesota
JEFF MILLER, Florida
ROSCOE G. BARTLETT, Maryland
MAC THORNBERRY, Texas
JIM GIBBONS, Nevada
ROBIN HAYES, North Carolina
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCJO ANN DAVIS, Virginia
W. TODD AKIN, Missouri
JOEL HEFLEY, Colorado
MARTY MEEHAN, Massachusetts
JIM TURNER, Texas
ADAM SMITH, Washington
MIKE McINTYRE, North Carolina
CIRO D. RODRIGUEZ, Texas
BARON P. HILL, Indiana
SUSAN A. DAVIS, California
JAMES R. LANGEVIN, Rhode Island
RICK LARSEN, Washington
JIM COOPER, Tennessee
Thomas Hawley, Professional Staff Member
Jean Reed, Professional Staff Member
William Natter, Professional Staff Member
Curtis Flood, Staff Assistant
C O N T E N T S
CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF HEARINGS
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Wednesday, March 19, 2003, Fiscal Year 2004 National Defense Authorization ActDepartment of Defense Efforts to Address The Chemical and Biological Threat
Wednesday, March 19, 2003
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 19, 2003
FISCAL YEAR 2004 NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACTDEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE EFFORTS TO ADDRESS THE CHEMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL THREAT
STATEMENTS PRESENTED BY MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
Meehan, Hon. Martin T., a Representative from Massachusetts, Ranking Member, Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee
Saxton, Hon. Jim, a Representative from New Jersey, Chairman, Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Goldfein, Brig. Gen. Stephen, USAF, Director, Joint Requirements Office, Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense (J8), Joint Staff
Klein, Dr. Dale, Assistant to the Secretary of Defense, Nuclear and Chemical and Biological Defense
Reeves, Brig. Gen. Stephen, USA, Joint Program Executive Officer, Chemical and Biological Defense Program
Tether, Dr. Anthony, Director, Defense Advanced Research Project Agency
Younger, Dr. Stephen, Director, Defense Threat Reduction Agency
[The Prepared Statements can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Goldfein, Brig. Gen. Stephen
Klein, Dr. Dale
Meehan, Hon. Martin T.
Page 6 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCReeves, Brig. Gen. Stephen
Saxton, Hon. Jim
Tether, Dr. Anthony
Younger, Dr. Stephen
DOCUMENTS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[The Documents can be viewed in the hard copy.]
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[The Questions and Answers can be viewed in the hard copy.]
FISCAL YEAR 2004 NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACTDEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE EFFORTS TO ADDRESS THE CHEMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL THREAT
House of Representatives,
Committee on Armed Services,
Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee,
Washington, DC, Wednesday, March 19, 2003.
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The panel met, pursuant to call, at 2 p.m. in room 2118, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Jim Saxton (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. JIM SAXTON, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM NEW JERSEY, CHAIRMAN, TERRORISM, UNCONVENTIONAL THREATS AND CAPABILITIES SUBCOMMITTEE
Mr. SAXTON. The committee will come to order. Good afternoon.
Today, the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities meets to receive testimony on Department of Defense (DOD) policy and programs for countering the threat of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
This hearing cannot be more timely. War with Iraq is imminent, and our Armed Forces and those of our allies will fight under the threat of possible use of biological and chemicals weapons by our adversary. Terrorist groups have actively sought to obtain the capability for the use of chemical, biological, radiological or even nuclear weapons and would pose the use of such weapons to achieve their objectives.
Weapons of mass destructionnuclear, biological and chemicalin the possession of hostile states and terrorists represents one of the greatest security challenges facing the United States. In meeting this challenge, the Department of Defense plays major roles, both with respect to the capability of our Armed Forces and the support the Department provides to homeland defense.
Page 8 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The purpose of today's hearing is to gain an understanding of that role and the Department's organization, policy and programs for countering the potential threat of weapons of mass destruction and for ensuring the capabilities of our armed forces to fight on a battlefield under the threat of the use of such weapons.
To address these issues, we have our witnesses today:
The Honorable Dale Klein, Assistant to the Secretary of Defense, Nuclear and Chemical and Biological Programs; Dr. Stephen Younger, Director of DTRA, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency; Dr. Tony J. Tether, Director of DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency; Brigadier General Stephen Goldfein, United States Air Force Director of Joint Requirements for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense, the Joint Staff; and, finally, Brigadier General Stephen Reeves, United States Army, Joint Program Executive Officer, Chemical-Biological Defense Program.
Gentlemen, we welcome you and look forward to your testimony.
Before you proceed, I would like to recognize my friend and partner, Marty Meehan, for any statement that he might choose to make Marty, go ahead. The floors is yours.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Saxton can be viewed in the hard copy.]
STATEMENT OF HON. MARTY MEEHAN, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM MASSACHUSETTS, RANKING MEMBER, TERRORISM, UNCONVENTIONAL THREATS AND CAPABILITIES SUBCOMMITTEE
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Mr. MEEHAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman; and let me thank you as well for scheduling this hearing and let me join you in welcoming the members of this panel.
Gentlemen, thank you very much for being with us this afternoon.
Mr. Chairman, like you, I believe the issue before us today is of utmost importance. No other effort should receive more attention than that devoted to countering the threat of weapons of mass destruction. No less than 25 nations currently possess weapons of mass destruction, and the real threat exists for these instruments of destruction to fall into the hands of terrorists.
As we will hear today from our panelists, countering the weapons of mass destruction threat falls to more than just simple investments in technology and development. Indeed, countering the threat requires a comprehensive and all-encompassing approach, one involving both technology development and nonproliferation initiatives. Securing diplomatic agreements, arms control measures and other threat reduction efforts often hold as much if not more promise as a pursuit of technology development.
In truth, a coordinated approach tempers the technological challenge facing our Nation's scientists. It is the threat reduction part of DTRA.
Mr. Chairman, I thank you for scheduling this hearing; and I look forward to hearing and questioning our panelists.
Page 10 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [The prepared statement of Mr. Meehan can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. SAXTON. Thank the gentleman for his statement.
As I indicated before, our first witness is Dr. Dale Klein, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear and Chemical and Biological Programs.
Dr. Klein, the floor is yours, sir.
STATEMENT OF DR. DALE KLEIN, ASSISTANT TO THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE, NUCLEAR AND CHEMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL DEFENSE
Dr. KLEIN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, ranking member and distinguished members of the committee. It is a pleasure for us to be here today, for me to appear with my fellow panelists and describe our programs to protect the men and women in uniform as they carry out their tasks.
At the direct request of the committee, we have concentrated today on the chemical and biological defense programs. Each panelist is prepared to give a small, brief opening comment. We have submitted extended comments for the record for your staff to consider. With your permission, we will take just a moment to focus on some key issues, and then we will answer your questions. In the event that we are unable to answer your questions fully, either due to security concerns or other reasons, we will respond to your questions in detail promptly after this hearing.
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I would like to make two points before we begin. The first one is that we have no chemical weapons in the United States other than our obsolete stockpile for which we are dismantling. All of these weapons are in the United States. They are being dismantled by international inspection, and they follow the rules of the treaty and by law. All the chemical weapons, the old obsolete weapons that we have, are in the continental United States.
The other point is that we have no biological weapons. The Department of Defense ceased their offensive biological weapons program over 30 years ago.
Second point is that, as we are all aware, we have thousands of U.S. Troops and coalition forces poised to take action if called upon by the Commander-in-Chief. Each of the panel members before us have the thoughts and prayers for those individuals that will be likely called into action to accomplish a very difficult task.
Specifically, when you look at the panel members before us, Dr. Younger has over 100 members of his team, experts in the field, forward deployed to minimize the consequences of the Iraqi use of weapons of mass destruction.
Items that have been procured under the leadership of Dr. Reeves are either hanging on the belt or flowing in the veins of the warfighters that are forward deployed.
Under the leadership of Dr. Tether, we have the technology advances that will enable us to have an edge over our foes in this potential conflict or the next.
Page 12 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In addition, General Goldfein has a vital role in the Joint Staff in validating our operational military requirements in the area of nuclear, chemical, biological defense areas to ensure that the needs of the warfighter are met.
In Operation Desert Storm, my wife was deployed in southwestern Asia as a medical evacuation unit member along with other Air Force reservists. I have learned firsthand of the status of the chemical and biological defense programs at that point in time.
Since the last year and few months, I have learned of the programs that we have in the Department of Defense currently; and I can assure you that our warfighters are much better prepared to fight and win in a weapons of mass destruction environment than they were in 1991. If the leadership in Iraq miscalculates and uses weapons of mass destruction, our warfighters are prepared to continue on their mission and enforce the U.N. Resolutions and assure us that weapons of mass destruction will not be in Iraq under a future regime.
We have asked General Reeves to bring a few examples of some of the equipment that our troops are provided in the southwestern Asia region, and later on he will go through and give some examples and talk about those in a little bit more detail.
I should point out, even though General Reeves has on an Army uniform, he represents all of the services in all of the Department of Defense and, in addition, provides some technology and equipment to other agencies outside of the Department of Defense.
With your permission, I would ask that our written testimony be submitted for the record and that we then have brief opening comments by other panelists; and then we will respond to your questions.
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Mr. SAXTON. Dr. Klein, thank you; and without objection each opening statement will be placed in the record in its entirety.
[The prepared statement of Dr. Klein can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. SAXTON. We will turn now, I guess, to Dr. Younger.
STATEMENT OF DR. STEPHEN YOUNGER, DIRECTOR, DEFENSE THREAT REDUCTION AGENCY
Dr. YOUNGER. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, it is an honor for me to be here this afternoon to represent the work of the fine men and women of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. I would like to make a few comments to begin with.
Starting with the job of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, it is simple, and it is vital, and that is to make the world safer by reducing the threat of weapons of mass destruction. We employ a comprehensive approach involving five tools:
First of all, arms control. We go to other countries and verify that they are abiding by their conventional and nuclear weapons treaties.
Second, cooperative threat reduction. If we find something, we work with the other country to destroy it in an effective manner.
Page 14 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Third, technology development, also known as an uncooperative threat reduction program. That is, we develop new weapons to destroy WMD in place before they are used against our forces.
Fourth, chemical and biological defense. If something gets through, then protect our troops against it. We expect to assume new leadership duties in science and technology associated with chemical and biological defense.
And, fifth, combat support. We are a combat support agency. We exist to support the commands, the services and the National Guard. We help with planning. We do targeting. We keep track of our Nation's nuclear arsenal, and we perform vulnerability assessments in the United States and at installations around the world. We use the best technology from government, industry and universities to create new products of direct utility to the warfighter and to the Department of Homeland Security. In that sense, we are a can-do/go-to agency covering the entire spectrum of defense against weapons of mass destruction.
Some of our recent successes include three new classes of weapons for the warfighter. We delivered a thermobaric weapon in less than 30 days, we delivered a new class of agent defeat weapons in less than 6 months, we delivered thermobaric weapons on the Hellfire missile in 13 months, and I am pleased to say that they are in the operational theater at this time.
We have deployed a new system to protect bases against nuclear and radiological weapons. We have developed a test bed for advanced biodefense in American urban areas. I am pleased to say that a set of play books that we developed in response to weapons of mass destruction incidents in American cities is being used as the foundation of our national response plan for those catastrophic events.
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We have a 24/7 operations center to support Northern Command and other components of the Department of Defense; and, again, we provide vulnerability assessments for all of the buildings of the Capitol, many other buildings in Washington and military installations around the world.
Weapons of mass destruction do indeed represent one of the most serious national security threats to the United States, and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency is reducing that threat. Thank you.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you very much for a very nice, concise statement.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Younger can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. SAXTON. Dr. Tether.
STATEMENT OF DR. ANTHONY TETHER, DIRECTOR, DEFENSE ADVANCED RESEARCH PROJECT AGENCY
Dr. TETHER. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, for having me today. I would like to have my written testimony entered into the record.
We have what we feel is a good framework for looking at the problem in five stages of time: from before the attack, during the attack, minutes to hours after, hours to days after and then the clean-up phase. My written testimony goes through all of those stages and gives examples of programs that we have ongoing, and so I won't dwell on those.
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However, we really do feel that the greatest strengths of our fiscal year 2004 program is the fact that we do cover the span from trying to prevent the attack from occurring in the first place all the way to if we have to clean up after the attack. If you recall with the Hart building, that was a major chore in doing that.
When somebody says they have a strength, there is always a tempting question to say, well, if you have a strength, you must have a weakness someplace. If I were to say that we had a weaknessand I don't consider it necessarily a weakness that, especially in the drug part, the vaccine part that we work on, it is, how do we get it through the FDA process? That becomes a problem. How do we transition this out to industry to have industry and the pharmaceutical companies actually make the drugs?
With that in mind, the DARPA program has always been focused on how to overcome that shortcoming. For example, one of our major programs is our unconventional pathogen program, is trying to create one drug which would attack many bugs. We have been successful in that. Our reasoning behind it was to try to find something in each bug that was common that we could then create a drug which would attack it. Our hope was to have one of those bugs be a commercial bug, one that we all just get as a matter of course, in which case we could get the pharmaceutical companies to be interested in taking that drug through the process and at the end of the day not only have a drug for a commercial disease but also have a drug for the more exotic diseases that we all worry about.
The last thing is, as you know, DARPA is an unusual place; and we are sort of independent and different from every place else. One good question is, how do you coordinate with everybody else? How do you know that what you are doing is going to be transitioned into the forces?
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We do that a couple of ways. We have meetings. It is a contact sport for transitioning. It really becomes people knowing what other people are doing. Solike Steve and I have had meetings at his place. He has been to our place.
In the fiscal year 2004 budget, there is money set aside in the Army part of the budget for specifically transitioning technologies; and, in fact, money is there for specifically transitioning DARPA technologies, which is really a great help. That means, as we develop something, there is money already in place to be able to take our technologies and transition it; and that seems to be working out. The fiscal year 2004 amounts were higher than they were in years past. But they are adequate.
With that, I will just end my testimony. Thank you very much.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Dr. Tether can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. SAXTON. We will now move to Brigadier General Stephen Goldfein.
STATEMENT OF BRIG. GEN. STEPHEN GOLDFEIN, USAF, DIRECTOR, JOINT REQUIREMENTS OFFICE, CHEMICAL, BIOLOGICAL, RADIOLOGICAL AND NUCLEAR DEFENSE (J8),JOINT STAFF
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC General GOLDFEIN. Mr. Chairman, gentlemen, good afternoon.
Last year, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs directed that
Mr. SAXTON. I am sorry. Could you pull that microphone toward you a little bit?
General GOLDFEIN. Last year, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff directed the formation of a Joint Requirements Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense. The intent was to represent the warfighter, to develop concepts and ensuing architecture, to help to identify and prioritize capabilities for our defense. I am honored to be the representative as a director of this organization, and I look forward to the discussion.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you, sir.
[The prepared statement of General Goldfein can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. SAXTON. Brigadier General Stephen Reeves.
STATEMENT OF BRIG. GEN. STEPHEN REEVES, USA, JOINT PROGRAM EXECUTIVE OFFICER, CHEMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL DEFENSE PROGRAM
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General REEVES. Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, my name is Steve Reeves. I am the program executive director for chem/biodefense; and we are located in Falls church, Virginia.
Today, what I would like to do is show you the results of the work that the joint services have done collectively in identifying new requirements and the joint service acquisition community has done in providing the men and women that are in the Gulf today with the best equipment in the world.
I would like, with your permission, sir, to bring up and begin with the individual protective mask and allow the members to individually see that, if that is all right.
Mr. SAXTON. Sure.
General REEVES. This is the new protective mask. We did not have this protective mask during the Desert Storm period. It is a substantial improvement over the previous mask. As you can see, it has an external cannister. It protects against all known and suspected biological and chemical agents that are in the Gulf today. It has improved vision. It provides ballistic protection, in other words, protects against shrapnel and shards and other stray pieces of metal. It provides inherent to it an ability to hydrate. In other words, you can hook a hose up to a canteen to make sure you have plenty of water.
More importantly, the mask is fundamentally different in its design because it has an internalwhat we call a face blank. But it is a silicone seal that fits around the face. It provides a better seal. It is more comfortable. The air on the inside of the mask is specifically designed to recirculate over the lens so that you don't have any fog on the lens, and psychologically it makes you feel less claustrophobic.
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We ensure that each one of our warfighters have a proper fit with this mask using a system called the Protective Assessment System. Each mask is literally individually fitted to the warfighter, and we ensure that that seal is appropriate for that person's face.
Mr. SAXTON. General, the round cannister on the front of the mask, Jean Reed tells me, is a biofilter.
General REEVES. It is both a chem and biofilter.
Mr. SAXTON. How long does that last?
General REEVES. Once contaminated, we recommend that it be changed within 24 hours. Otherwise, it is good up to a year.
Mr. SAXTON. Would you demonstrate for the committee members how you change that cannister?
General REEVES. You bet.
The problem with the older mask was that the filters were embedded along the sides of the mask, very difficult to change; and you had to take the mask off to change it. With this mask, the filter simply unscrews; it self seals. There is a seal in here so you can change it in a contaminated environment, take a new filter out, and it simply screws back on.
Page 21 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SAXTON. There is a similar port on the other side of the mask, isn't there?
General REEVES. That is correct.
One of the things we designed this mask specifically for was the various missions of all of our services. If you are like me and you are left-handed and you are trying to fire a weapon, then you want to make sure the filter is on the opposite side of where you would normally have it so that you could get your weapon up.
Along with the mask, we have a new generation of protective overgarment called the JSLIST or Joint Service Lightweight Integrated Suit Technology. What the Commander is holding up right now is the JSLIST suit. It has an integrated hood that comes over the back of the head so when you put the mask on you have a completely encapsulated seal. The suit is lighter. It is more durable. It lasts 120 days out of the bag or 45 days while wearing. It can be laundered up to six times and provides protection, again, against all known or suspected biological or chemical agents.
Mr. Chairman, I have personally worn this suit and this mask in a live chemical agent environment in August in 90 degrees heat and 90 degrees humidity. And during the six hours that I wore that, was it uncomfortable? You bet. Was it survivable? Absolutely. There are 70,000 other soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who have been through that same training; and we have never had a single accident. So we are confident this equipment works in the appropriate environments.
Page 22 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SAXTON. This equipment is deployed with the forces that are currently preparing to go into Iraq?
General REEVES. That is correct. Our ground forces each have two of these suits available to them.
Along with that, there is also some individual equipment. This includes skin decontamination equipment which each of our warfighters carries. This equipment is actually a pad. It is used for hasty decontamination in the event you are contaminated. It consists of an activated powder. It has been approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) for use on the skin.
In the event of the worst-case situation where you actually are contaminated with a nerve agent, each of our warfighters carries three autoinjectors which are taken out. As you see it here, you literally stick it into your thigh and the needle comes out and injects with one of two things, either atrophine or 2PAM chloride. And you use one of each.
As the stocks of these are expiring, we are replacing them again with another FDA injector. This time we put both drugs in the same injector, so you have a single injector, again a product of the chem/biodefense program.
In supporting selected units and as the need arises, we have a lotion that goes with the suit. So if you are wearing your suit for an extended period of time, if you get chafing around the neck from wearing it or in other areas where you might have a rub, this is a lotion that provides barrier protection against biological agents, again FDA approved, and provides a seal on that suit. It is called SERPACWAand this, Mr. Chairman, is a name that only the DOD and FDA could come up together withSkin Exposure Reduction Paste Against Chemical Warfare Agents.
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The last piece of individual equipment I would like to talk about is the pocket Radiation, Detection, Indication and Computation (RADIAC) meter. This gives both instantaneous dose readingin other words, when you move into a contaminated area, what is the immediate dosage you are receiving, but it also keeps a collective dose. Of course, with radiationwe are concerned with exposure over time with radiation.
Finally, in terms of smaller equipment, we have what we refer to as a hand-held assay. These are assays that are used for detecting biological agents. It was a kit similar to this that detected the anthrax in Senator Daschle's office.
This looks and acts very much like a home pregnancy kit. You take a suspected biological sample and put it in a small well. One line tells you you have done the test correctly; and if you see the second line, then you know you have a problem.
These test kits are configured in packages of eight, and we specifically configure them based on whatever the biological threat is in the area that our forces are operating.
Mr. SAXTON. That is pretty good progress. Didn't we have to take a swatch of material back to the lab previously to have it tested?
General REEVES. During the Gulf War, we virtually had no biological detection capability whatsoever; and we have made huge progress in the biological detection areas.
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As we have also learned our lessons from that Gulf War, we have also improved our chemical detection. We have a new chemical detector called the Automatic Chemical Agent Detector Alarm. Again, we have procured over 20,000 of these and deployed them with our joint forces. This alarm was specifically and extensively tested as a result of our very unfortunate false alarm experiences with the old maximum allowance (MA) alarms. We tested it against over 80 potential battlefield interferences to ensure that when the alarm goes off we have a positive.
Now I won't kid you. There is still going to be a one to two percent false positive rate. That is just simply the nature between chemistry and physics. But this has substantially reduced the false positive rates we have had in the past.
We have also specifically designed it so that it would simultaneously detect both nerve and blister agents. We designed it to use a common battery instead of a unique battery. We designed it so that you can get either a visual or audible signal or both, because there may be situations where you simply don't want to have the audible signal.
Along with that, we have a second detector that is used for close-in detection, specifically to ensure you have decontaminated equipment on the ground, called the Improved Chemical Agent Monitor, same principles, same improvements in terms of interference.
Mr. SAXTON. I saw a television story that we have chickens and pigeons in the theater; is that right?
Page 25 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC General REEVES. I believe, frankly, Mr. Chairman, that all of the chickens have died. I am sure this is well intended, and I am sure that the thought at the time was that this would act something like the canary in the mine. The problem with the analogy is that the canary in the mine was trying to detect methane and the miners would wait until the canary stopped singing. If you waited until the canary was dead, you were probably going to be dead as well. We suggested the chickens probably aren't such a good idea. The pigeons pretty much fall in the same category because, at best, they have an equivalent sensitivity to the person; and obviously what you want is the earliest possible warning.
The automatic chemical agent detector is something like a thousand times more sensitive than a human to chemical agents in the air.
All of that said, let me suggest that that is a management answer. If you are a leader and that gives your soldiers or Marines more confidence, as long as they have got their other detectors with them, I would suggest that may not be all that bad.
Finally, Mr. Chairman, we do have a recently licensed FDA product in theater, although at the moment there appears to be no reason that we would have to issue it. It is called Pyridostigmine Bromide, frequently abbreviated PB. These are pills that you take specifically if you believe there is a threat of the nerve agent soman.
This is the first drug that has been licensed under what the FDA refers to as the animal rule. One of the improvements in our medical area over the last year has been that, by using animal surrogates, we can now license certain products that we couldn't license before because we couldn't ethically prove their effectiveness in humans; and now, by using animals, we can do that. This is a pretreatment.
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Again, there is no intention at this point to issue it, but it is there if needed.
Mr. SAXTON. Tell us again what that isI guess you would call it a prophylaxis.
General REEVES. This is a prophylaxis against soman.
Mr. SAXTON. Dr. Klein mentioned in his opening statement or somebody didI think it was Dr. Klein mentioned that our troops have preventive equipment in or materials in their veins or hung on their belts. Is what he was referring to?
General REEVES. These are the kinds of things in terms of the atrophine injectors, in terms of the nerve agents, the vaccines.
I am also responsible for medical products; and so the anthrax vaccine, smallpox vaccine, the two primary threats we see in the area were also provided to our warfighters.
Mr. Chairman, let me simply conclude by thanking the members of the committee and the Congress for their continued support of this program. That support has resulted in over 19 new systems to our ground forces and another 3 systems that are exclusive to our Naval forces and significantly improved our abilities since the Desert Storm period.
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC That concludes my testimony.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you very much, General.
[The prepared statement of General Reeves can be viewed in the hard copy]
Mr. SAXTON. The use of weapons of mass destruction is obviously a topic that causes everyone who is here and everyone who is at the table and in the chairs behind you a great deal of concern for all the obvious reasons. Each of the threats that we discussed is different. That is also fairly obvious. The threat aside from a nuclear device and aside from perhaps a dirty bomb device, so-called, the threat posed by biological weapons that would be used either on the battlefield or by terrorists has long caused me a great deal of concern; and I am wondering what iswhat do you see, Dr. Klein, as the best answer or the best way to combat that threat that we have available to us today?
Second, where do you see us going down the road? Are there some technologies that are showing promise or are we still where we were a couple of years ago?
Dr. KLEIN. Mr. Chairman, as you probably know, there have been tremendous advances in the molecular biology area. That is the good news. From the time that the scientists discover in the laboratory till the time that it is implemented and licensed sometimes takes some time. But for the warfighter in the field, what we have done for those individuals on the biological threats, we have vaccinated those individuals with what we think is most likely, that is anthrax and smallpox.
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC For what we are seeing in the future, the trend is to look at what happens at the cellular level so we can treat the toxins at the cell level so that we don't have to invent a vaccine and antibiotic for every situation. With the advances in DNA splicing, people can take something that is currently not a threat, make a slight modification, and then it can be a threat. Someone can alter an anthrax strain and cause our vaccine to be ineffective.
I think where we want to go long term is we would like to be able to treat at the cell level. We would like to have one-shot-does-all.
Obviously, we put a lot of money in cancer research, and we haven't gotten there, but we have a lot of bright people working on it. So I am optimistic in the future.
Mr. SAXTON. The notion of one-shot-does-all seems to me to be a critical kind of a notion inasmuch as there are so many strains of viruses and poisons, bugs, if you will, that can be usedthat can be weaponized. Would you agree with that?
Dr. KLEIN. Absolutely. That is why it makes it difficult to have one shot for all. If we were to do that, someone would make a modification; and it would probably be ineffective. We need to go down to the root cause and understand at the cell level.
Mr. SAXTON. May I just turn to Dr. Tether on the same question. You know of my interest in this subject because we have talked about it over the years, and we are both aware of a project that is ongoing at George Mason University kind of along these lines. Could you give us an update on that project and how you see that going?
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Dr. TETHER. You know, on the specific project, I don't think I can. But I will put that into the record for you.
[The information referred to can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Dr. TETHER. On the one drug meets all, we obviously are working very hard on that; and, basically, at the cell level or at the DNA level is really where we are at.
It turns out that on the bugs of interests, if you were to look at their DNA, you find they have a higher concentration of the A and T part of DNA than you would find in humans. What we are doing is finding a drug that will attack that part of the DNA. If we attack that part of the DNA, we destroy the bug and also, because it is not normally in humans, where we will have a drug that won't attack a human.
If they try to mutate the drugthis is the part of DNA that might be called inert or the part of the DNA that is not doing the harm but is needed to be there. If they try to mutate the bug, that part of the DNA will still have to exist in order for DNA to be viable. And they can mutate it all they want as long as we are still attacking it. That is what the research area is about.
Unfortunately, I don't know exactly what the George Mason current state of the art is.
Mr. SAXTON. We ought to look at that and maybe in a separate forum. Thank you very much.
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Mr. MEEHAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
General Reeves, the improvements that have obviously been made since the Gulf War seem to be significant. What is your assessment of the improvements and what else do we have on the drawing board in terms of improvements and what we give our ground troops? Is there anything else that is in the works that we could help facilitate?
General REEVES. Absolutely. We have structured the program in our budget request to recognize the needs to balance our program. When the Congress first recognized that we needed to focus our efforts in chem/biodefense after the Gulf War, we went after the high-priority issues. In my view, it is now time to bring balance to the program; and I believe our budget is doing that.
The budget has recognized the need to pursue greater advancements in biodetection technologies so we can get closer to detect war capability, to advance our standoff biodetection technology requirements. It has, second, recognized the need to address installation force protection; and we are doing that in our budget request. Finally, we need to address some areas that, frankly, were a lower priority initially but are certainly important to us; and that is the areas of decontamination and collective protection.
Mr. MEEHAN. Dr. Klein, the Joint Services Chemical and Biological Defense Program serves to ensure the protection of our forces; and we discussed some of the technologies to detect chemical and biological agents. How would the program potentially support our police and fire fighters and medical personnel if there was an attack in the United States, a chemical or biological attack; and what can we do to ensure that we get these technologies to our first responders? What do we need to be doing?
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Dr. KLEIN. That is an area we are all very active in and I am sure Congress has been active in looking at that as well in terms of how do we help the Department of Homeland Security as they stand up and carry out their task.
What we really want to see happen is we do not want to see the wheel reinvented. There are a lot of technologies that have been developed through the Department of Defense that does have what we call dual-use application in the civilian sector. We are working very hard to make sure that information gets passed to the right people.
For example, Dr. Younger, through DTRA, is helping train a lot of the civil support teams so we work and we get those individuals trained with the current technologies.
As you know, the Department of Defense has a new individual now, Paul McHale, the Assistant Secretary for Homeland Defense. We are all working very hard to bring the civil section up to the capabilities of what we know in the Department because it is a mutual benefit.
For example, we are charged, those of us here at the table, with defending our DOD facilities and people. But if there is an attack at a military installation, it is not likely to stop at the boundary. So we are working with a lot of communities on stand-off detection systems, Camp Lejeune being one. So we are working very hard on technology transfer.
Mr. MEEHAN. It seems to me that our ability to develop dual-use and also to get it to our first responders represents one of the biggest challenges that we have.
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It is just amazing to see the advancements in terms of equipment and suits that have been made over the last few years, but when I look at police and fire departments and their uniforms that were developed in the 1940's and 1950's, I worry about the preparedness of those who are in the front lines here in the United States.
Dr. KLEIN. We are working very hard to help homeland security meet their mission. I think a lot of people, as you are aware of that, are working hard to see that happen.
Mr. MEEHAN. I am impressed to see the application of that to police, fire and medical personnel.
Dr. Tether, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) biological warfare defense program focuses on technologies that provide new approaches to the defense of the human body against any disease; and you have talked about some of them. The DARPA programs include the ability to block the entry of a disease-producing agent and medical diagnostic senses and decontamination. What are some of the promising technologies being pursued by DARPA for fiscal 2004, and how does the budget impact our capabilities for defense against biological warfare and biological terrorism for homeland defense and the Department of Homeland Security?
Dr. TETHER. One of the major efforts we have is on a processan effort to basically try to take anthrax off the table. It is a program thatin fact, you all helped us along on getting the money for that; and that is moving along. It is roughly a 36-month program. We are getting close to about a third of the way through. What we are doing there is we are basically applying the same techniques that we had before on trying to find ways to look at anthrax and go to the fundamental part of the molecule and attack it.
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We have six efforts ongoing. They are all proceeding. Unfortunately, I wish I could say they were ready to be used right now, but so far all of them are very promising.
The results that are coming out are all good at this particular stage. The resources that we need to pursue the program are adequate. I don't see any current need.
Of course, there could always be a surprise. The issue with it is, after we do this, how do we go the next step to get it to be useful for humans? The animal control thing for the FDA is very helpful. We will get to the point where we will be able to prove in animals that anthrax can either be a vaccine for anthrax, a therapeutic for anthrax, and then it will be able to be used on humans. So progress is very good.
Mr. MEEHAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you.
The gentleman from Minnesota, Mr. Kline.
Mr. KLINE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman; and thank you very much, gentlemen, for being here today.
I can't tell you how excited I am to see the improvements. When last I had a chance to train some ten years ago, it wasn't nearly as good. So I applaud it. It is tremendous and long overdue.
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I gather from your testimony, General Reeves, that youI believe you stated absolutely and clearly that this gear, if worn by a warfighter over in the theater in and around Iraq, would prevent casualties from any known chemical or biological agent in that theater; is that correct?
General REEVES. That is absolutely correct.
Mr. KLINE. I am sure you have heard a great deal of speculation to the contrary, in fact, from some of my colleagues in the House, that equipment simply wasn't up to par; and I wanted to get it in the record that it absolutely was.
Following along the same lines, I believe you said that every warfighter in the theater has got two sets of these suits; and I want to see if I can make that clear to my old Marine Corps way of thinking. When you say warfighter, to me that means every man and woman who is on the ground in the theater, whether you are combat service or combat support or in a combat unit; is that correct?
General REEVES. That is absolutely correct. Just sosince you do have a Marine background, the Marines refer to their suits as Saratoga suits; and some of their packages are marked as Saratoga. So if you don't see Joint Service Leightweight Integrated Suit Technology (JSLIST) on the outside of it, it doesn't mean that it is different, it just means it has a different name.
Mr. KLINE. Outstanding. Thank you very much. And thanks for the great work.
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Shifting just a minute if I could to Dr. Tether, you are the latest in a long line of very, very happy folks who have had that position as director of DARPA; and I am sure you are pleased to be there. I never met a director of DARPA who wasn't just elated at the fabulous opportunities that are there and the marvelous breakthroughs that DARPA has been responsible for over the years.
In previous administrationsI am talking about the administration of the director of DARPA, not necessarily a Presidential administrationthere has been a focus of effort, for example, under Dr. Reese, perhaps it was simulation and modeling, what we now call the Internet and so forth. Can you give us some sense of the level of effort in this particular area that DARPA's got going nowhalf, third, most? By this area, I mean chem/biodefense.
Dr. TETHER. There is several parts to that chem/biodefense. One is the development of drugs to be able to either prevent you from having a disease or to carry if you have the disease. In that part of it, I would say it is on the order of five percent of the DARPA budget.
Now there is whole another part, and this is the part of detectors. One of the major problems that we havefirst of all, we would like to try to prevent the threat from getting to the United States in the first place; and we have efforts ongoing in that area. But one of the major issues is thatdetecting the threat when it occurs and detecting it with sensors that don't have a large false alarm rate or a large false positive rate. That is a problem if you deploy in this building or wherever. It wouldn't take too many false alarms for people to just ignore it.
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So we have another probably five percent of the DARPA budget working in the sensor technology, either developing smaller ultraviolet diodes, which could then be used to both detect the drugs and also to disinfect, and so forth and so on.
So I would say probably a total of ten percent of the DARPA budget is going to the general category of WMD, including both the drugs and also the detectors to detect that it happened so somebody would know to use the drug.
Mr. KLINE. I guess I am a little surprised that it is that low, frankly, considering the nature of the threat and certainly our heightened concerns about it today. And you are talking about percent of budget. Is that a pretty good measure level of effort?
Dr. TETHER. Not really. That is in the order of $300 million, which is a lot of money in this type of research. If I were to talk to you about satellites and what our space business was, I mean $300 million is barely an entry. For this area, $300 million a year and the type of research we are doing is a lot of effort. It is a lot of people.
What we are buying is trying to reach out and find bright people with ideas that are different than one might go to National Institute of Health (NIH) with, and most of the people that we fund are people who typically are not funded by NIH because they have an idea with no data. It is those people that we reach out for because we take those people with an idea and we basically try to get the data to prove whether or not their idea is worthwhile, and then other organizations do take it over from that point on.
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So $300 million a year, from a number of people working on the problem, is a large number.
Mr. KLINE. So quite a bit more level of effort than the ten percent of the budget?
Dr. TETHER. Absolutely right. I probablyten percent is reallyit is almost the number of people you have working on the problem. In this area, $300 million is probably equivalent to maybe two or three times that amount if I were building an airplane.
Mr. KLINE. I see my time has expired. Thank you very much. I yield back.
Mr. SAXTON. John, I had a retired Marine and an Air Force officer working for meactually, the Air Force officer was a fellow in the last term. We were at one of our eight o'clock briefings, and somebody grumbled that we were starting too early and some were coming in too slow. And the Air Force officer said, well, if this was the Air Force, sir, by now we would be eating lunch. And the Marine looked up and said, if it were the Marine Corps, we would be taking in the afternoon paper.
Who is next? Mr. LoBiondo.
Mr. LOBIONDO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Page 38 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC One of my other responsibilities is chairing the Subcommittee on Coast Guard in the full Transportation Committee. We have been struggling with the prospect of weapons of mass destruction somehow being delivered through our ports or our maritime facilities, and I am concerned about that.
We have talked a lot of what the Coast Guard is doing. For anyone on the panel, can you tell me if there are any interagency efforts that you are aware of participating to try to discourage this threat or deal with this threat or anything along these lines at all?
Dr. KLEIN. Mr. Congressman, let me talk a little bit about that in general on the nuclear side. We have a very active programand I will let Dr. Younger talk a little bit more on iton picking up radioactive materials. We have hadwe have four test sites. Two of them are related on water areas, both at Kings Bay and at Camp Lejeune. So we do have some programs working interagency in terms of getting radioactive material, and I will let Dr. Younger talk about those.
Mr. LOBIONDO. Are you working with any other agencies in deployment of that technology?
Dr. KLEIN. We are working with the Department of Energy, Department of Justice and others.
Dr. YOUNGER. We are working with the Coast Guard to train them on the use of nuclear detectors. We have exercised with them.
Page 39 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As Dr. Klein indicated, we are working with the Department of Energy, Department of Transportation; and, more importantly, we are prototyping advanced systems for detecting nuclear materials that may enter a port via waterways. We have several technology programs under development for chemical and biological weapons as well. Ultimately, we will plan a system that will integrate all threenuclear, chemical and biological.
Mr. LOBIONDO. Dr. Younger, I don't know how much of that may be classified, but I would like to explore with you separately whether we can do something with a Coast Guard hearing and if we need to be in closed session so we can integrate the Coast Guard Subcommittee on just what you are doing. Because this is an area that is a great deal of interest.
Dr. YOUNGER. We would be happy to help.
General GOLDFEIN. In our newly formed Joint Requirements Office, we have a member of the Coast Guard that is working with us day-to-day in the development of the requirements with the rest of the services from the Department of Defense, just for your awareness.
Mr. LOBIONDO. Okay. That is very helpful. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you, Mr. LoBiondo.
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Mr. HILL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I just have one quick question, and I thank you all for coming. It is a follow-up question to the gentleman from Minnesota.
There is some question as to the quality of some of this equipment. As you probably know, last year the General Accounting Office (GAO) did a study that indicated that a large percentage of this equipment was not ready for the soldiers for them to be protected. I raised this issue with General Myers over at the Pentagon one day, and he acknowledged that there were some problems and that he would work to resolve them and get back with me, which he did. He wrote me a letter about a month ago asserting that the problems that were there had been corrected.
Recently, several weeks ago, 60 MinutesI don't know if you saw the piece or notdid another investigation saying that it wasn't up to par, and I would like to get your comments about the GAO study and the piece that 60 Minutes did.
Dr. KLEIN. Let me make a comment first and then let General Reeves comment on specifics.
As you know, with the defense logistics agency handling a lot of equipment and a lot of suits, a lot of activities, it is not 100 percent accurate; and there will be cases where equipment didn't get where it should. We absolutely want to minimize that at all costs. We have a lot of our production lines running at a much higher capacity for the JSLIST suits, so we have taken a lot of proactive actions on that.
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A lot of times the programs and news media will pick up on old stories rather than current stories, and General Reeves can talk about specifics, but our troops are protected. The equipment is there. General Reeves can talk a little bit more on specifics.
General REEVES. Sir, there is an old saying in the armed forces, ''the command does well what the commander checks on.'' .
One of the things we did as a result of that report is change the status of the readiness reporting to include the chemical and biological defense items that previously commanders only had to report what they had on hand and not if they worked. So we changed that so they had to do both. That gave the command emphasis that was necessary to ensure that that equipment was properly maintained and brought up to standard.
It is up to standard. We set our standards very high, as we should. While you might want to quibble about some of the numbers that were in those GAO reports, the bottom line was we recognizes the problem, we have identified it, we fixed it, and that equipment is up to standard.
As far the 60 Minutes report, I believe the specific reference is to a previous generation of protective overgarments called the battle dress overgarment; and, frankly, 60 minutes was reporting old news. These were garments that were made more than a decade ago and made by a company called IsraTech. There was deliberate fraud on the part of that company, and both the President and CEO went to jail.
Page 42 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC While there are some numbers that have been reported about potential defective suits floating around the system, the two numbers I would ask you to remember are three and zero. We have checked our inventory three times top to bottom, and there are zero defective suits in our inventory. We do have some of the battle dress overgarments that we know are good that we keep in war reserve and in contingency stocks. We are absolutely certain they are good.
But what is being issued today is not those overgarments. What is being issued today is the Joint Service Lightweight Integrated Suit Technology or JSLIST and sometimes called the Saratoga in the Marine Corps. So we are confident that the equipment we have on hand meets readiness standards and that our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines are trained and ready to use it.
Dr. KLEIN. The other activity that has really helped is General Goldfein with his Joint Staff at the Joint Requirements Office looks to make sure that the requirements are met and that they are there. So I think we have added also another layer to make sure we are meeting the needs of the men and women in uniform.
Mr. SAXTON. Jean Reed tells me that the battle dress overgarment has been retired and been replaced and no longer in use.
General REEVES. That is correct. We do keep some in contingency stocks, but at the rate that we are buying new JSLIST suits we expect those contingency stocks will be totally replaced.
Mr. SAXTON. Is that true servicewide or is that specific to Central Command?
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General REEVES. That is true to Central Command right now. There are some units that still have the battle dress overgarment as their primary suit but not in the area of operations that we are concerned with today.
Mr. SAXTON. Mr. Langevin.
Mr. LANGEVIN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Actually, Mr. Hill had asked one of the questions that I wanted to inquire about; and I am particularly concerned about the effectiveness of the chem/bio suits since that is the major threat that potentially our soldiers could be facing in theater in Iraq right now. I am reassured by your confidence you have expressed today in the suits.
Beyond that, I would like to know if you have plans to outfit State and local first responders with some of the equipment that is being developed by DARPA or DTRA and to what extent are you working with the Department of Homeland Security toin assessing the domestic needs for weapons of mass destruction countermeasures?
Dr. KLEIN. On the area of providing equipment to the first responders, unfortunately, we have quite a bit of requirements that we need to meet with the Department of Defense. So it is not likely we will provide them with equipment, but we certainly have supplied them with the technology and what they should buy and how can they can operate.
In terms of getting the technology out from both DARPA and DTRA, all of us work hard to make sure we meet the needs for the Department of Homeland Security. We have joint meetings and I met recently with Dr. McCrery, who has been nominated for Under Secretary for Science and Technology, to make sure he is aware of what we have involved in the Department of Defense that protects individuals.
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We have also met with Paul McHale, also with the Department of Homeland Security. So we are very active in trying to let individuals know what the Department of Defense has so they can apply it to the civilian sector.
Dr. YOUNGER. We have a close working relationship with General Eberhardt at Northern Command with responsibility in this area as well.
Dr. TETHER. We are probably doing it the more straightforward way. Some of the people who are working at Homeland Security came from DARPA. They are ex-program managersrecently left DARPA, so they understand what we are doing, and there is a very close relationship.
Mr. LANGEVIN. Just if I could, on a follow-up on the chem/bio suits, are there things that you can talk about in an open session that you are concerned about where effectiveness would be compromised?
General REEVES. We do not have any concerns, and I believe I understand the reference to what you may be speaking about. We have tested the suit extensively against all known and suspected agents and even some that we don't believe have ever been fielded to assure ourselves that we have both a solid chemical and biological capability.
Mr. SAXTON. Jim, you have about another two minutes. We missed the clock up here. If you have another question, fine. If not, we will move on.
Page 45 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. LANGEVIN. I will submit questions later for the record.
Mr. SAXTON. Mr. Wilson.
Mr. WILSON. Thank you very much for being here today.
I was looking forward to this hearing, but I was also dreading this hearing because the summaries indicated, I think correctly, that the greatest uncertainty that U.S. Forces have is the potential of biological weapons, chemical weapons and their use in a widespread nature. And I really have been very concerned for our troops. But the information you provided today is so encouraging.
I have been to a number of departure programs and ceremonies and, seeing the Army and Air Guard troops departing, my major concern for all of them and for their families was the potential of chemical and biological attacks. But what you have said today is extraordinary, and I certainly hope this gets wide play.
Because my familiarity with this is wearing mock gear not ten years ago but two-and-a-half years ago at the National Training Center in the Mojave Desert, and the mock gear I had was antiquated compared to what you just showed. The lightweight nature of it, the gas masks themselves appear, again, much better than anything I have ever seen; and so I am very, very encouraged.
Then to find out that you have had 20,000 chemical detectors in theaterand that is just wonderfuland 19 new systems in place since the Persian Gulf War, I think this is so reassuring for families. In fact, I would like for you to maybe restate again for the families of service members, particularly General Reeves and if anybody else would like to chime in, what message would you like to give to families who have young people who are in harm's way today as to the capabilities that you have previously provided to us?
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Also, I want to make sure you indicated that all troops have this capability; and I want to make sure it includes guard and reserve units.
General REEVES. You would be correct. They have the new protective mask. They have the new protective suit.
What do you tell mom and dad at home? That is an important question. What you tell them is that the unknown is not a very comfortable place sometimes and can be a little bit scary and sometimes experience you get 10 minutes right after you need it. What we do from the very first moments that our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines enter basic is introduce them to how to use this mask. We then build that experience into their individual and advanced training.
As you mentioned, we take them places like the National Training Center that is in the Mojave Desert; and we give them more experience and comfort with this equipment. But, most importantly, we give them confidence that this equipment works. I have personally worn this equipment in a live chemical agent environment. So have 70,000 other soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines without a single incident. It works. I would trust my family's lives. I would trust my daughters wearing this equipment to protect them. The parents and brothers and sisters who all have loved ones in the area of operations should have every confidence that their soldiers, sailor, airmen and Marines are trained, they are ready and their equipment is world class.
Dr. KLEIN. One of the things that I have been very impressed at the Department of Defense is when you work in the Pentagon and you meet a lot of the young men and women in uniform you soon realize that you are not sending a mysterious individual there, you are sending a real person. All of us at the table take our job very seriously. We work extremely hard to make sure that the men and women that are forward deployed are the best protected that they possibly can be. Because just like people that vote for you, people that we work with within the Pentagon are people that we know are forward deployed, so we work very hard.
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I thinkas General Reeves said, I think we have the best trained and equipped chemical, biological and defense system anywhere in the world. Is it perfect? Probably not. But it is the best we can have available, and we have all put a lot of hours in to make sure that that happens.
Mr. WILSON. I want to thank you again on behalf of moms and dads and spouses, family members. This is just so reassuring.
It adds to the factI was in Kuwait and saw the units from the Czech Republic, and it is exciting to see their active involvement. I understand Romania has been providing personnel for chemical and biological efforts and working together.
This is so reassuring to families, and I appreciate what you have done and the vision that you have placed into this.
I yield the balance of my time.
Mr. SAXTON. Ms. Davis.
Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you all for being here and for your service.
Just a quick follow-up, are there any other priority requirements that we have for improving the capabilities of our servicemen and women in the Middle East? You mentioned sensors, the protective gear. Is there anything else that is essential and important to that?
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Dr. KLEIN. I believe that the forward-deployed troops are the best protected that they can be. Are there things that we wish we had that we didn't? Absolutely yes. We wish we had better send-off detectors. We wish we had better antibiotics. We wish we knew what was coming so that we could detect to prevent rather than detect to treat. Our forward-deployed troops are trained, equipped and ready to roll.
Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. Are there efforts in that realm of the more proactive response to the elements? Are we working on that? Where is that coming from? And how can we be supportive?
Dr. KLEIN. Probably on the detectors is one of the most active programs that I have seen. We all get calls periodically from people who have the best detector, better than sliced bread, that has come out. So there are a lot of people working on detectors, both in the Department of Defense and out. We have organized programs both within the chem/biodefense program through DARPA. Some of the Department of Energy (DOE) national labs are also working on detectors.
Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. If I may follow up quickly with the time constraints, I know that in San Diego we have a wonderful collection of industries and businesses that are part of the folks who are knocking at your door with these extraordinary new sensors, and what I know from some of their experiences is that it is very frustrating to get attention. How do you suggest we do that? We all probably have folks in our district who have somewhat may seem like an extraordinary contribution to make, and they are pretty frustrated.
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Dr. KLEIN. Not that I am looking for more mail. However, if someone has a detector that has the appearance of providing the Department of Defense beneficial applications, contact me. I will then send it to the right people. We will have it evaluated.
One of the difficulties that I think industry hasand I really saw this when I was teaching at the university. An individual will come up with an idea, and they think that is it. You know, once they come up with the idea, end of discussion. But that is when it begins. Because you have to make sure you have a prototype that has been tested, it is funded, and it can be manufactured.
I think part of the frustration on some of the companies are that the Department of Defense has a requirement to test. It is not acceptable for us to deploy men and women into potential hostile areas and not be assured that this equipment will work. So I understand part of their frustration, but we cannot always rely on the company's data for test performance. We have to verify and test so we can be assured that our men and women are protected. I understand the frustrations, but they have to understand what our responsibilities are.
Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. Is there a process so that they know there may be an opportunity to look at that, they might hear within a three-month period of time? I think that is partlywhat kind of feedback do they get that is part of the problem?
General REEVES. If I may, since it is kind of an opportunity for an advertisement, the 7th through the 9th of April we in fact are doing an advanced planning briefing for industry right in Hunt Valley. It is sponsored by the National Defense Industrial Association. It is on the web; and it is where we invite contractors to come and listen to what we are doing, everything from the science and technology base, the kinds of things that are being done in basic technologies, the whole way through, what our plans are over the next two to three years for procuring new equipment so that industries have the opportunity to see what is in the program and have the opportunity to make their business plans accordingly.
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The second thing we do is, once a year, we run something called a technology readiness evaluation; and this is a pretty good deal. It is an opportunity forbased on whatever the particular test is that we are runningcompanies in that particular sector to come and have their equipment independently tested normally at Dugway Proving Grounds. We frequently do it with live chemical agents or live biological agents, obviously in a very contained facility with appropriate safety precautions as well as out in an open range.
The quid pro quo is that we get to keep the data so that we can see how mature that technology is so that, when opportunities present themselves, we know that company exists, we know the maturity of that technology; and if we need it in a hurry, we can reach out and get it.
General GOLDFEIN. I might also add, since the formation of the Joint Requirements Office, since the short time we have been operating, I have a number of calls and had folks come in. One was a university group that came up with an idea about how you can do medical surveillance. What I mean by that, as doctors are seeing patients, perhaps at the early end of a situation, they are beginning to pick up certain symptoms. If you had a system that is tracking that, perhaps you begin to pick up the idea of what might be out there earlier than an individual doctor could.
So they take that idea and bring it in to us. I would speak with my colleague. We would talk with the Joint Forces Command and their experimentation role, and we begin to look for ways the team can come together. I have seen a couple of those. One happened to be a detection system from your part of the country as well.
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So I think we have had a number of different ways and angles that people have been able to introduce their thoughts, and we welcome them.
Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. Thank you. Appreciate it.
Mr. SAXTON. Mr. Turner.
Mr. TURNER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Dr. Younger, I was reading an article in the New York Times entitled, Teams of Experts to Hunt Iraq Arms. This article describes the mobile labs that have been assembled. I believe two are referred to in the article that can analyze chemical and biological samples in less than 24 hours with 90 percent confidence being sent recently to Kuwait. Your agency, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, is charged with carrying out this effort that is being made; and I noticed in the article that it stated that you had only been officially charged with the responsibility for carrying out this mission two weeks ago.
My question is, recognizing the importance of being able to identify and disable any unconventional weapons that we find in Iraq, why did your agency only get the official charge to carry out this mission just two weeks ago?
Dr. YOUNGER. Congressman, we have been working on this far longer than two weeks. Indeed, that is the reason DTRAfor the existence of this agency. We have had intense efforts on this for some time. We have been working very closely with Central Command in preparing plans related to WMD operations for potential operations in Iraq.
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The reference to an event of 2 weeks ago, I will be delighted to talk with you in another setting about. I am not free to share that at this time. But we have been actively engaged in that for some time.
Mr. TURNER. Dr. Tether, you certainly have an excellent reputation at DARPA for advancing the use of technology in the defense of the country, protection of our troops and other endeavors important to our national defense. I recently heard that the new Department of Homeland Security was contemplating the creation or has created a similar agency.
I would like to ask you to give us the benefit of your experience on an issue that has been quite troublesome to me. That is, we have seen a whole host of private-sector companies coming forward with various solutions that they want to offer up to the government to solve the problem of homeland defense. I had in my office the other day a company who says they are on the verge of the solution to anthrax, and I am sure you are familiar with their proposals. But I am looking for your suggestions on the best way to organize the government to ensure that we are able to have the private sector clearly know where they go first with their ideas and how should we be organized as a government to look at those ideas to review them, to determine whether they should be looked at closer, to then process that so that the best ideas that the private sector is offering can float to the top, be identified and then be deployed in the defense of our homeland.
Dr. TETHER. How should the government be organized? Thank you for asking the question.
Page 53 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. TURNER. Didn't want to give you a softball here.
Dr. TETHER. Yes, they are forming an organization in the Homeland Security model directly after DARPA. I think they call it SARPA, Homeland Security Advance Research Projects Agency. There are several ex-program DARPA managers who are involved with that organization, and deliberately so, to give it the flavor of DARPA.
DARPA was created roughly 44 years ago to basically reach out and find those people who had ideas that weren't in the common way of thinking, ideas that people that were counterculturethat were against current concepts or against current systems. We have been quite successful in doing that, and I believe the Homeland Security Department is going to try to emulate that as much as they can.
Now how to describe what we do. It is a small organization, and we have 150 program managers. They are only there for a very short time, four years, five years. There are no careers at DARPA. In fact, there are no jobs at DARPA. We hire people for their ideas, and they know they have a short period of time, and they go out and find the best people in the world to execute those ideas.
We also have the capability at DARPA to contract very quickly. All of these have actually been given to us by you all. You have given us a great deal of authority to contract very quickly. I think you have done the same thing to the Homeland Security people. We have given them the ability to have what is known as ''other transactions.'' .
People know that if they have an idea and they don't want to wait a year to try to get it funded, they want to get a fair hearing, they come to us. How do they learn to come to us? It has been 44 years.
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Now, hopefully, we are going to try to help the Homeland Security people in the same way in trying to help themmainly because I get a lot of people that come into my office with the same question, and I am trying to shift them overand they are very frustrated, and they don't know who to go to havebuy their equipment. If I were the same companies, I wouldn't know who to go to. Who do you go to have local and State first responders buy the equipment? I don't know the answer to that question, and I am hoping that the Homeland Security people will be the ones that will be able to do this.
It is not us, the Department of Defense. We know how to buy very well for our forces. But how to buy for a police Department that has maybe ten policemen, we really don't know how to do that. But we are trying to give them the methodology at DARPA.
I almost hate to say it, but DARPA is really an organization of mavericks. We believe that you read something and if it says you can't do it, then you can do it, as opposed to looking to see what it says you can do. That is just the nature of the organization. I always say that DARPA program managers have two jobs, one, to get the best ideas; and they should always be trying to get the DARPA director fired for something or another. Unfortunately, my guys seem to be doing a pretty good job of that at times.
I know that doesn't answer your question totally. I don't know the answer, but I know our process works and our environment, and we are trying to make it be the same thing for the Homeland Security people.
Dr. KLEIN. As you probably know, there is no single silver bullet that answers all of those questions, but some of the things that you have done in Congress has certainly helped.
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For example, in fiscal year 2003 you provided a $25 million chem/bio initiative. There is nothing like money to get the creative juices flowing for a lot of our scientists and researchers out there. So when you have an announcement that there is funding available for certain missions, that gets people's attention and lets you know to where to go for those tasks.
So Congress has also played a role in getting the word out in a variety of areas, and I am certain for the Department of Homeland Security they will have similar broad initiatives that will also get people's attention.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you very much.
Mr. Bartlett. Our inventor, Mr. Bartlett.
Mr. BARTLETT. Thank you very much.
I am sorry I missed the first part of the hearing, and maybe my concern has been addressed.
I understand that for about the last decade we have been waiving chemical hardening on essentially all of our weapons systems procurements. Has that been a consideration and a concern?
Dr. KLEIN. We haveon a lot of our equipment, we have radiation hardening on a lot of the equipment; and we certainly need to address that as we move more and more to buying things off the shelf. For equipment that is sensitive to radiation, we need to make sure we have radiation hardening.
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Mr. BARTLETT. We have also waived radiation or Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP) hardening, but it is my understanding that we have waived chemical hardening on this equipment. Do they tell you when you get the equipment in the field to what specs it has been built so that you know whether it is radiation hardened or chemically hardened?
Dr. KLEIN. I can tell you, and then I will let General Reeves add a little bit more. But in terms of using decontaminants, if a piece of equipment is contaminated, we do have procedures where we test the decontaminant solution and things of that nature; and I will let General Reeves add a little bit more on what happens in the field.
General REEVES. There is a two-part answer to your question.
First of all, we do have a resistant coating on our equipment in the field, the so-called CARC coating, or chemical agent resistant coating, which is a special paint that we put on all of our vehicles specifically designed to resist attracting or retaining chemical agents and to aid in the decontamination. So in terms of the exteriors of the vehicles, we have done nothing to relax that.
Now when it comes to things like sensitive equipment, electronics, absolutely. We have not made any attempts for pure economic reasons to harden all of those electronics against a chemical agent. Instead, we have proposed and the Congress has been kind enough to fund a program we call the Joint Service Sensitive Equipment Decontamination Program, where we are looking at decontamination solutions that allow us to decontaminate a variety of sensitive equipment so that we can get the best of both worlds, quite frankly. We can take the economic advantage of being able to buy commercial off the shelf and still have systems that we can decontaminate.
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Mr. BARTLETT. Do we have any ideas of the vulnerability of our equipment to chemicals that might be used, and do we have assessment of the vulnerability of our equipment to the decontamination procedure which are also chemical procedures?
General REEVES. I understand your concern. The corrosive decontaminants of old DS2, where we frequently had a successful operation but the patient died because it was so corrosive, is not what we are using today. We are using an environmentally benign yet effective decontaminant called DF200. It is a liquid. It allows us to decontaminate equipment without affecting it and provides a much better situation for the environment once you have neutralized what is on that equipment. So we are much more comfortable with the decontaminants we are using today than we were just even a few years ago.
Mr. BARTLETT. Do we have any assessment of how much of our equipment may not work after a chemical attack because it has not been chemically hardened in its manufacture?
General REEVES. To my knowledge, no. Because the equipment, frankly, from a nerve vapor may be contaminated, but it doesn't mean it won't work. The equipment simply needs to be decontaminated as quickly as possible. There is very little in the vapor that would cause anythingparticularly electronics and those kinds of thingsthat would cause the same particular issue.
Mr. BARTLETT. I am not certain what chemical hardening means. All I know is, for about a decade, we have waived it on essentially all of our weapon systems procurements; and this gives me a nagging concern that some of this equipment on which we rely might not be available to us after a chemical attack. It is not just that the equipment would be contaminated and, therefore, if you touched it, you would be contaminated, but my understanding is that you chemically harden the equipment so it will work in the face of a chemical attack, and it is my understanding that essentially none of our equipment for the last decade has been chemically hardened. Is that a correct assumption or do you know?
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General REEVES. I believe it is, because the survivability requirements that we have primarily refers to the nuclear hardening requirements. We recognize that we can decontaminate equipment and that the vapor itself in a hardening sense really is not an issue.
Mr. BARTLETT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would hope that for the future that there would be some prohibition against waiving hardening for weapons that might indeed be used against our people and their equipment. Thank you very much.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you, Mr. Bartlett.
Dr. Klein, the previous administration attempted to abolish your office, the Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Programs, a position called for by statute. Congress refused to accede to the request. However, the position was vacant for over 45 months and other officials were dual-headed to fulfill the statutory position. How does your confirmation and appointment as the Assistant Secretary of Defense for nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) help to address nuclear chemical and biological issues faced by the Department of Defense?
Dr. KLEIN. When I look at the hours I put in every day, it amazes me that the position went unfilled as long as it did.
It is a subject that obviously is very near and dear to Congress and certainly to the Department of Defense and weapons of mass destruction. I think in my position being filled, what I hope I have added is a focus and a vision.
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One of the difficulties we have is the people we have that work in the Pentagon are excellently trained. They really do a good job, but they are involved in so much day-to-day activity thatin doing their job that it really takes, I think, someone at the Presidential appointment level that should look at the focus and vision and where should we be in 10 years, 20 years and 30 years and then how should we get there.
The other advantage it has for having the position filled is that any time you have a newcomer come in they ask questions, is there a better way to do it? So I would hope that my position, having now been filled, has added value; and I can tell you from the hours that I put in I think there were things that were just not getting done in the past.
Mr. SAXTON. Some have proposed consolidating the chemical and medical and biological defense program under the DOD medical community. What are your views on the proposal of this consolidation?
Dr. KLEIN. Mr. Chairman, the first thing that I do is I follow the law. There is currently a law that says how the chemical and biological and defense program is organized, and we intend to follow that law. We have very close cooperation in keeping the medical community informed. We are reorganizing the chemical and biological defense program to make it more streamlined. More people are accountable.
DTRA will be tasked with organizing the science and technology part of that program. That includes medical and nonmedical. On the medical side, we will have a physician that leads that effort.
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So I believe, right now, with the way the program is organized, not only does it meet the law, it meets the intent of the law.
Mr. SAXTON. I understand that the statutoryI understand the statutory provisions. However, the proposal would be for us to consolidate through an authorization provision in the defense bill this year the chemical, biological, medical defense programwhether under the DOD medical programwould you favor that? Think it is a good idea? Or do you think that we are better off staying with the status quo?
Dr. KLEIN. I have not seen the official proposal, but I believe from my perspective I would like to see how our new streamlined chemical, biological and defense program works. Organizing and implementingthen I think we should come back and tell Congress where the weaknesses are.
Mr. SAXTON. Okay. We hear you.
Listen, thank you, Dr. Klein, for spending this time with us. We have been at this for about an hour and 40 minutes, and we appreciate your participation as well as the experts to your left and right. We have enjoyed listening today and last week and earlier this week as well to the gentlemen particularly to your left; and we appreciate the good work that all of you are doing.
The advances that have been made and the technology that has military application in many instances are astounding. Mr. Wilson was telling me as we were sitting here how pleased he is to see the chemical and biological protection that our forces have. We were absolutely astounded at Dr. Younger and Dr. Tether's presentation late last week and early this week. So thank you for the job you all are doing. We appreciate it, and I am sure the troops and the family of the troops that benefit from the technologies that you have collectively provided feel the same way.
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Thank you for being with us. We look forward to working with you in the future.
The hearing is adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 3:40 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned.]