SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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[H.A.S.C. No. 10651]
CHEMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL DEFENSE FOR U.S. FORCES
MILITARY PROCUREMENT SUBCOMMITTEE
MEETING JOINTLY WITH
MILITARY RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT SUBCOMMITTEE
COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED SIXTH CONGRESS
Page 2 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCHEARING HELD
OCTOBER 20, 1999
MILITARY PROCUREMENT SUBCOMMITTEE
DUNCAN HUNTER, California, Chairman
FLOYD D. SPENCE, South Carolina
BOB STUMP, Arizona
JAMES V. HANSEN, Utah
JIM SAXTON, New Jersey
JAMES TALENT, Missouri
TERRY EVERETT, Alabama
J.C. WATTS, Jr., Oklahoma
MAC THORNBERRY, Texas
LINDSEY GRAHAM, South Carolina
JIM RYUN, Kansas
JIM GIBBONS, Nevada
MARY BONO, California
JOSEPH PITTS, Pennsylvania
ROBIN HAYES, North Carolina
NORMAN SISISKY, Virginia
IKE SKELTON, Missouri
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCJOHN 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
Stephen Thompson, Professional Staff Member
Roger Smith, Professional Staff Member
John Sullivan, Professional Staff Member
Doug Necessary, Professional Staff Member
Noah Simon, Staff Assistant
MILITARY RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT SUBCOMMITTEE
CURT WELDON, Pennsylvania, Chairman
ROSCOE G. BARTLETT, Maryland
STEVEN KUYKENDALL, California
DONALD SHERWOOD, Pennsylvania
JOHN R. KASICH, Ohio
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCHERBERT H. BATEMAN, Virginia
JOEL HEFLEY, Colorado
JOHN M. McHUGH, New York
HOWARD ''BUCK'' McKEON, California
JOHN N. HOSTETTLER, Indiana
SAXBY CHAMBLISS, Georgia
VAN HILLEARY, Tennessee
JOE SCARBOROUGH, Florida
WALTER B. JONES, Jr., North Carolina
BOB RILEY, Alabama
OWEN PICKETT, Virginia
GENE TAYLOR, Mississippi
MARTIN T. MEEHAN, Massachusetts
PATRICK J. KENNEDY, Rhode Island
SILVESTRE REYES, Texas
TOM ALLEN, Maine
VIC SNYDER, Arkansas
JIM TURNER, Texas
LORETTA SANCHEZ, California
CIRO D. RODRIGUEZ, Texas
ROBERT E. ANDREWS, New Jersey
BARON P. HILL, Indiana
JOHN B. LARSON, Connecticut
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCStephen Ansley, Professional Staff Member
Robert Lautrup, Professional Staff Member
Jean Reed, Professional Staff Member
William Natter, Professional Staff Member
Erica Striebel, Staff Assistant
C O N T E N T S
Wednesday, October 20, 1999, Chemical and Biological Defense for U.S. Forces
Wednesday, October 20, 1999
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 20, 1999
CHEMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL DEFENSE FOR U.S. FORCES
STATEMENTS PRESENTED BY MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
Hunter, Hon. Duncan, a Representative from California, Chairman, Military Procurement Subcommittee
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Alibek, Dr. Kenneth, Chief Scientist at Hadron, Inc.
Rabkin, Norman L., Director, National Security Preparedness Issues, General Accounting Office; Maj. Gen. John Doesburg, U.S. Army, Commander, U.S. Army Soldiers and Biological Chemical Command; RAdm. James D. McArthur, Jr., U.S. Navy, Deputy Director, Stragegy and Policy, J5, Joint Staff; and RAdm. Richard A. Mayo, U.S. Navy, Deputy Director, Medical Readiness, J4, Joint Staff
Mark, Dr. Hans, Director, Defense Research and Engineering, Department of Defense; accompanied by Dr. Anna Johnson-Winegar, Deputy Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Chemical and Biological Defense; Dr. Jane Alexander, Deputy Director, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency; Carmen Spencer, Director, Chemical and Biological Defense, Defense Threat Reduction Agency; Mike Parker, Deputy Director, Soldier Biological and Chemical Command; and Brig. Gen. Eddie Cain, Program Manager, Joint Biological Defense Program
Alibek, Dr. Kenneth
Doesburg, Maj. Gen. John
Hunter, Hon. Duncan
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Mayo, RAdm. Richard A.
McArthur, RAdm. James D., Jr.
Rabkin, Norman L.
Weldon, Hon. Curt, a Representative from Pennsylvania, Chairman, Military Research and Development Subcommittee
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.]
CHEMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL DEFENSE FOR U.S. FORCES
House of Representatives, Committee on Armed Services, Military Procurement Subcommittee, Meeting Jointly with Military Research and Development Subcommmittee, Washington, DC, Wednesday, October 20, 1999.
The subcommittees met, pursuant to notice, at 10:40 a.m. in room 2118, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Duncan Hunter (chairman of the Military Procurement Subcommittee) presiding.
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OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. DUNCAN HUNTER, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM CALIFORNIA, CHAIRMAN, MILITARY PROCUREMENT SUBCOMMITTEE
Mr. HUNTER. Today the Subcommittees on Military Procurement and on Military Research and Development meet jointly to gain an understanding of the threat to U.S. military forces posed by the proliferation of chemical and biological weapons, their preparedness to fight on a battlefield under the threat of use of chemical or biological weapons, and the Department of Defense (DOD's) program for improving the chem-bio defenses of U.S. forces.
The subcommittees have just received a classified briefing from the intelligence community that provided an update on foreign chemical and biological weapons programs and the potential threat posed to U.S. forces by the proliferation of chem-bio weapons technology.
In open session today we are going to hear from Dr. Ken Alibek, a former Deputy Director of Biopreparat, the civilian arm of the Soviet Union's biological weapons programs. He is going to discuss the scope of the Soviet Union's biological weapons program, the potential for proliferation of bio weapons technology, and the implications of such proliferation to the U.S. biological defense program.
In meeting the changing and evolving chemical and biological weapons threat, the House Armed Services Committee has repeatedly stated that a strong chem-bio defense program is an essential part of our national strategy, both for ensuring the capability of U.S. military forces to fight on some future battlefield and as a major element of the U.S. counterproliferation program.
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To address the threat, the Congress in the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 1994, Public Law 103160, enacted a number of measures to strengthen the conduct of the chem-bio defense program within the Department of Defense. In response to this mandate, the Department of Defense has taken a number of management, research, development, acquisition and training initiatives which, over time and with proper emphasis and funding support, would be expected to yield significant improvement in the chemical and biological defense preparedness of U.S. armed forces. The results of these initiatives and the increased priority assigned by the Department to the chem-bio defense program and the preparedness of our forces in the field to fight in a chem-bio environment will be discussed by our witnesses today.
Following Dr. Alibek as our first witness, we will hear from Mr. Norman Rabkin of the General Accounting Office, who will discuss the principal direction and findings of the GAO's chem and bio defense reviews, as well as the nature of the work currently underway for the Readiness Subcommittee that will be completed next year.
Rear Admiral Richard D. Mayo, Vice Director for Medical Readiness, J4, and Rear Admiral James D. McArthur, Deputy Director, Strategy and Policy, J5, The Joint Staff, will discuss the preparedness of our forces in the field today. They are going to be supported by Major General John Doesburg, Commander, Soldier and Biological Chemical Command in his role as Army member of the Joint Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Defense Board.
In our final panel, Dr. Hans Mark, Director, Defense Research and Engineering, will testify on the direction, process, and management of the DOD chemical-biological defense program, progress in the program since Operation Desert Storm, and the future of the program and the contribution it is making and will contribute to our forces' capabilities. He will be supported during the question-and-answer period by Dr. Ann Johnson-Winegar, Deputy Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Chem and Bio Defense; Dr. Jane Alexander, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency; Mr. Carmen Spencer, Defense Threat Reduction Agency; Mr. Michael Parker, Soldier and Biological Chemical Command; and Brigadier Eddie Cain, Joint Biological Defense Program.
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Before our witnesses begin, I want to say I am deeply concerned about the chem-bio threat to the forces that are in the field today and I think that this classified briefing that we have just listened to has reemphasized that challenge and threat. And to paraphrase the report of the 1997 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), the threat or use of chemical and biological weapons is a likely condition of future warfare. Our young men and women on the battlefield are likely to meet this threat and unless we are prepared, we can expect to take significant casualties as a result of it.
To meet this challenge, our people have to be properly trained and equipped to operate effectively and decisively in the face of attacks by an enemy equipped with chemical and biological weapons. The U.S. armed forces must improve their chemical and biological weapons defense capabilities. Enhancements in technical capabilities alone are not enough, however. Equally important will be adapting U.S. doctrine, operational concepts, training and exercises to take full account of the threat posed by this type of warfare. That is the challenge we face today.
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome. We look forward to your testimony. And before proceeding, I want to yield to Mr. Curt Weldon, my good friend who is chair of the Research and Development Subcommittee, for any comments he would like to make and then also to the distinguished gentlemen from Virginia, Mr. Sisisky, the ranking member of the Procurement Subcommittee, and Mr. Pickett, the ranking member of the Research and Development Subcommittee.
Mr. Weldon has really been working this issue thoroughly and I want to commend him for the work he and his subcommittee have undertaken and yield to the gentleman from Pennsylvania at this time.
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Mr. WELDON. I thank my colleague for yielding. I am pleased that the R&D Subcommittee is jointly sponsoring this hearing today. I would ask unanimous consent to enter my full statement in the record and I would like to make some personal comments.
Mr. HUNTER. Without objection.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Weldon can be found in the Appendix.]
Mr. WELDON. The R&D Subcommittee, working in concert with Procurement and other subcommittees, has held a number of hearings on the issue of our ability to respond to and deal with the use of weapons of mass destruction. This hearing is a follow-on to that.
But let me say at the outset, we consider the use of weapons of mass destruction to be one of our three biggest threats in the next century, the other two being missile proliferation and cyberterrorism.
In the era of weapons of mass destruction involving chemical or biological agents, however, it is extremely important that we fully understand the threat. That was the purpose of our classified briefing before this public meeting and that is the purpose of Dr. Alibek being here.
And I might add for the public's consumption if you have not read Dr. Alibek's bookhe is a good friend of mineBiohazard, you need to get a copy of it because from the eyes of someone who was on the scene basically overseeing the program for the former Soviet Union, you cannot get a better assessment of the kinds of objectives and priorities that the Soviets had during the Cold War, and which I think Dr. Alibek is going to say today, may even be continuing to this very day, in spite of the reforms that have occurred since 1991.
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I would also add, for the interest of the people in the room and the media, that next week we will have another provocative hearing where we will bring over Dr. Christopher Andrew, who is the Cambridge scholar who just published ''The Mitrokin Files,'' the archives of the Russian KGB for 30 years that have now become public information. Along with him will be Oleg Gordievsky, the highest ranking ever, KGB defector, and they will go into great detail about the activities that occurred under the KGB and we will discuss the implications as to whether or not some of the KGB types in Russia may, in fact, be continuing that same type of process, in spite of the reforms that have taken place in Russia over the past eight years.
These efforts are a part of the continuing program where we are trying to understand fully the threat, understand what is continuing to occur from Russian proliferation to other rogue states and terrorist groups because you cannot make an assessment as to the potential threat to the American people unless you understand the status of those weapons of mass destruction and related technology.
I look forward to the hearing today and I also would say, in terms of consequence management, it has been my personal goal to drive the Administration into not just properly preparing our troops. And I might add that under Floyd Spence and Ike Skelton, this committee has plussed-up funding for response to weapons of mass destruction each year for the past six years in terms of budget requests. We have put more money in for the military to have in terms of detection, in consequence management, than what the administration has asked for. So we are committed to this.
But let me add my concern. We are going to hear testimony from those individuals who are doing the very capable job of preparing our military, but I am still convinced, and this was just reconfirmed by a Rand study that basically came out and said that of all the resources we are putting into preparation to deal with incidents involving weapons of mass destruction, only 8 percent of those dollars are getting down to the first responder.
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If we do not understand and fully respond to the need to prepare those first-in people, who are never going to be the Marine Corps Seaberth team, are never going to be the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) bureaucrats, that are never going to be the military but rather, the men and women who serve in our fire, EMS and police departments around the country, who are going to be overwhelmed by the kind of situation that could occur in this country, and we had better heed the message that the first responder community needs have to be addressed.
We need to focus on the military and this committee is doing that but beyond that, we need to do more with the first responder community in terms of training, integrated communication systems and preparation to deal with the consequence management that will initially concern the first few minutes of any incident that might occur in America.
I thank my good friend and colleague for yielding. I look forward to the hearing today.
Mr. HUNTER. I thank the gentleman.
The gentleman from Virginia.
Mr. SISISKY. I thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I join my colleagues in welcoming our witnesses to the hearing today and because of the vote that is on and because of the lateness in starting, I would ask unanimous consent to put my entire statement in the record.
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Mr. HUNTER. Without objection.
The other gentleman from Virginia, Mr. Pickett.
Mr. PICKETT. Noting that a vote has been called and being interested in moving directly to the testimony of our witnesses, I want to offer my statement for the record rather than deliver it at this time.
Mr. HUNTER. I thank my friend. Let's go take this vote. We will try to be back in about five minutes and get kicked off. I would urge all Members to return as quickly as you can.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Hunter can be found in the Appendix.]
Mr. HUNTER. The subcommittees will resume and Dr. Alibek, the floor is yours. Thank you for being with us today.
STATEMENT OF DR. KENNNETH ALIBEK, CHIEF SCIENTIST, HADRON, INC.
Dr. ALIBEK. Thank you. Mr. Chairman and Members of the committee, thank you for inviting me to testify before your committee. I think today's topic is very important and I am very thankful for this.
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I think in many cases when we discuss biological weapons themselves and when we discuss what is the real capability of biological weapons, what biological weapons are, how they work, of course in some cases we make some mistakes and maybe today's testimony will clarify somehow the real capability of biological weapons and what we need to expect in case of applying biological weapons by let me say, some terrorist organizations or some countries.
I would say this. Biological weapons are weapons of mass destruction and probably it would be better to say biological weapons are weapons of mass casualty, mass casualty weapons, because biological weapons do not destroy nonliving entities. Biological weapons just take lives, infect people and kill people.
And the Soviet Union was developing biological weapons for many, many years. This program started in 1928, more than 70 years ago. By the late 1980s, this program became the most powerful and sophisticated program of biological weapons in the world.
This country was developing incapacitating biological weapons and lethal biological weapons. That country had several main directorates involving in developing, manufacturing and researching biological weapons. Specifically, that country was interested in all biological agents that could be applied in developing and manufacturing biological weapons.
That country studied smallpox, plague, anthrax, Ebola infection, Marburg infection, and many other infections to apply in biological weapons. The Soviet Union was able to establish a huge production capability to manufacture biological weapons. Specifically, it had and still has several production capabilities to manufacture biological weapons.
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One of these, for example, one of these facilities, located in the city of Kurgan, has the capability to manufacture 1,000 tons of anthrax a year. Another production capability, located in the city of Penza, has the capability to manufacture 500 tons of anthrax a year. Another facility, located in the city of Omutninsk in Kirov region has the capability of 100 tons of plague, 100 tons of tularemia, 100 tons of Glanders or brucellosis. These facilities are not just facilities that are able to manufacture biological weapons. These facilities had specific mobilization plans and were fully prepared for manufacturing biological weapons.
In addition to this, that country, under the Minister of Defense leadership, had four major facilities to manufacture biological weapons. These facilities were working in so-called hot mode. Specifically, in the city of Sergevpasat there was a facility and there is a facility to manufacture viral biological weapons, specifically smallpox, specifically Lassa infection, Ebola, Marburg and some incapacitating viral biological weapons.
Another facility located in the city of Yecaterinburg in the Ural Mountains with the capability to manufacture hundreds of tons of anthrax biological weapons and that facility stockpiled anthrax biological weapons; it had more than 100 tons of anthrax biological weapons stockpiled.
Another facility located in the city of Kirov had the capability to manufacture tons and tons of plague biological weapons and stockpiled these weapons for a very long period of time. In addition to manufacturing capability, that country was developing delivery systems for the application of biological weapons.
Page 17 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And according to the Soviet Union's military doctrine, biological weapons were divided into two separate groups: so-called strategic biological weapons and operational biological weapons. And there was an intermediate group, so-called strategic operational biological weapons. Smallpox and plague were considered strategic biological weapons. Anthrax, Kur fever and later on, Marburg infection, were considered strategic operational biological weapons and a large group of so-called operational biological weapons with the capability to infect and disable troops and population.
And, in addition to this, large number of facilities have been involved in researching and developing new biological weapons. That country for many years studied some new agents to apply in biological weapons; specifically, genetically altered biological weapons based on anthrax, plague, tularemia, Glanders. In addition to this, it had a large program to develop some toxin biological weapons but it was stopped to develop biological weapons based on toxins somewhere in the 1970s.
There was another program with the name of Bonfire. This program was developed just to study the possibility to use some peptides, mood-altering peptides and peptides that could be used for assassination. It was a separate program under KGBlet me say KGB leadership. But these examples show what is the reality of biological weapons and how they work.
According to the Soviet Union's military doctrine, biological weapons could be used using several different delivery systems; specifically, for operational biological weapons, medium-range bombers with spray tanks, medium-range bombers with cluster bombs, and operational missiles. For strategic application, strategic bombers and ballistic missiles with single-warhead and multi-warhead ballistic missiles.
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And according to the Soviet Union's military doctrine, biological weapons would be used in massive amounts and would cause significant disruption of any activity, military and vital activity, during a war.
The Soviet Union did not have, at least as far as I know, did not have a desire to use biological weapons at peacetime but what is clear, and I mentioned this in some of my publications, that the Soviet Union used biological weapons. And my analysis showed that during World War II, the Soviet Union used biological weapons in 1942 against German troops.
Another example is 1982. The Soviet Union used biological weapons in Afghanistan. And you know I was insisting and I was suggesting all the time we need to study these cases just to determine the real capability of biological weapons. And when some people say that biological weapons are not effective, of course these people are wrong because just a simple example. 1979, the city of Sverdlovsk, there was a very small outbreak of anthrax. A small amount of anthrax biological weapon was released over the city of Sverdlovsk, a very small amount. And just this small release, grams of this weapon, killed about 100 people. We still do not know how many people were killed but we know that biological weaponsunfortunately I am forced to say thisworked perfectly.
And, you know, when we start analyzing what would be the real capability of biological weapons when they are applied in large amounts, of course, these numbers would be very, very high.
Now the problem is this. Unfortunately, when the United States terminated its own offensive program, we started losing this knowledge. I am not saying we need to restore this program. Of course, it is impossible from many standpoints. But we need to increase our research and development work to understand the real effectiveness of biological weapons and whether or not we are really prepared for this threat.
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Specifically, when we analyze what is going on in the world, just a couple of countriesRussiawe still do not know what is going on in Russia. Unfortunately, we cannot accuse Russia because we have no definite knowledge in what is going on. We know that Russia downsized its offensive facilities. The main directorate, Biopreparat, decreased some activity in this area. But we know that the Ministry of Defense is still retaining some expertise and some facilities previously involved in biological weapons research, development and manufacturing work.
Specifically, we know that Russia has four top secret biological weapon facilities. I mentioned some of them and one more facility established in the late 1980s in the city of Sterjey; and we still do not know what is going on behind the closed doors of this facility. But what we do know, Russia does not have a desire to open these facilities at all.
And another situation, proliferation of the knowledge and expertise, Russian expertise and knowledge. We know that Russia continues publishing a lot of research and development work conducted in the 1980s and 1990s. And if you analyze what has been published throughout the last five to seven years, you would be amazed because you can find a lot of publications, some kinds of instructions, how to manufacture one or another biological weapon.
They do not say anything about what was the main purpose of one another research but believe me, if you read how to develop using very simple techniques, how to develop, how to manufacture large amounts of Marburg virus, of course, it is absolutely clear what was the purpose of this work.
Page 20 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And now, of course, for some so-called rogue countries, we can get this information not just after researching and developing in this area. You can get this information for the cost of a translator.
Another situation with proliferation of biological weapons, now we know that after the Soviet Union collapsed, a lot of scientists have been able to leave Russia. Now we know that some of them now are in the United States, some of them in the West, but we have no idea how many of them are in Iraq, Iran and some other countries. But what we do know is that some of them, it is absolutely clear some of them are in Iran and we have this information and we even knew specific names of the people who are working in Iran now. And, of course, it cannot be ruled out that some of them in Iraq are doing some research and development work in this area.
Another way of proliferation. Recently, maybe two or three years ago, I found a flier published by one of the Russian companies, by technological companies. They were offering some new techniques called genetically altered biological agents and they were saying that the techniques were not known outside Russia. These techniques were how to genetically alter tularemia bacteria, just to increase virulence of this bacterial agent. It was absolutely clear without sayingthey did not say anything in that flier but I was absolutely clear that this technique could be perfectly applied for researching and developing new biological agents.
And we continue, let me say, an enumeration of possible proliferation techniques, but what I do know, I am convinced that this knowledge, this expertise is proliferating and we need to be sure that this knowledge is getting to, let me say is known now for many countries, many so-called terrorist organizations.
Page 21 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC About our preparedness, let me give you just one example. In the Soviet Union, I mentioned that the Soviet Union had four major facilities to develop anthrax biological weapons. The number of scientists, technicians and other workers, engineers involved in developing offensive and defensive issues in the area of anthrax biological weapons was about 2,000 quite knowledgeable people.
When we analyze how many scientists are working in the area of medical defense against anthrax biological weapons here in the United States, working in some areas of applied research and people who are responsible for developing specific protective issues, to develop medical defenses against biological weapons, you would be amazed that this number is less than a dozen, maybe half a dozen of scientists directly involved in this work. Of course we have some scientists working to study some basic areas, some fundamental areas, but you know we have a very limited number of people working to develop specific techniques and regimens for treating anthrax.
In my opinion, when we use significant funding to vaccinate our troops against anthrax, probably what we need to do, we need to start doing some research work in order to replace our vaccination approaches in the future. I am not saying it is possible to do now but in the future, instead of vaccination, to have some very well developed techniques for pretreatment or treatment of soldiers and populations. But it would not take a lot of time. It would not take a lot of funding.
Specifically, I would say this problem is, let me say, very wide and very deep, but what we need to pay attention to. The problem is when we are talking about defense against biological weapons, we need to remember our major objective, our ultimate objective, is to save people's lives. And you know, proceeding from this, we need to remember we need to pay attention, more attention to medical defense against biological weapons. We need to pay more attention to physical defense against biological weapons. And when we know that there is just one organization involved in developing medical defense, Usomerit, it works intensively in this area but you know, it is not enough.
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But when we develop medical defense, it is my strong opinion we are not wasting taxpayers' money because when we study medical defense against biological weapons, at the same time we are improving our knowledge of infectious diseases. This knowledge, this expertise obtained from this area would allow us to treat infectious diseases, to treat cancers in some civilian areas of medicine.
And the main area for research, in my opinion, two or three main areas for research and development we need to remember, first, medical defense against biological weapons, development of treatment and pretreatment techniques, development of new detection systems because now if we continue using today's approaches in developing detection systems, of course we will be chasing this problem but unfortunately, probably we will never be able to solve this problem completely.
One more area for strong intensive research is consequence management, how to prepare our first responders, what kind of decontamination techniques we need to develop because if we know this, of course it will help us to solve this problem, we need to work in these three areas. It will help us to improve our knowledge and to solve this problem in the near future. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Dr. Alibek can be found in the Appendix.]
Mr. HUNTER. Thank you, Dr. Alibek. Let me just ask you one lead-off question here, and that is this. Our adversaries around the world, and you have mentioned the Russian development program quite extensively, are developing this array of diseases that can damage and destroy quite quickly. Obviously we are learning, as these become apparent to our intelligence community, we are learning what they are, we are identifying them, and hopefully we are developing responses; that is, antidotes, treatment.
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Are you familiar with the response mechanism that we have for developing antidotes and treatments as these new diseases come on line?
Dr. ALIBEK. Generally, yes.
Mr. HUNTER. If you were to rate them, to give them a grade on how the U.S. is doing in terms of responding, what kind of grade would you give us?
Dr. ALIBEK. The problem is in the area of medical defense. We usually use three different directions for research and development work. One direction is immunoprophylaxis. This direction is to develop vaccines and specific immunoglobulins.
Another direction is so-called pretreatment, when we develop techniques and regimens and means to prevent against preexposure and after exposure, application of antiviral and antibacterial drugs.
One more direction is treatment. When we use antiviral and antibacterial drugs and some other regimens for treating diseases when the set of symptoms appears.
The problem is we are spending now a lot of funding to develop just the first directionimmunoprophylaxis. It is important, I believe, but the problem is when we start analyzing from a tactical standpoint how we are going to apply vaccines in case of a real situation, of course, in many cases it will be late.
Page 24 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Just imagine a situation where we are developing vaccines. What is the real situation when we give an order to apply, to vaccinate troops or populations against one another infection? What we need to remember, we have about 70 different agents to apply biological weapons. Even by developing a dozen or a dozen and a half new vaccines, of course we are not solving this problem.
There is another problemhow to apply this vaccine. We know what is going on now with vaccination against anthrax, of course, and I support this program. But just imagine we need to vaccinate against smallpox, against plague, against some other infections. In many cases we have no vaccines.
But if we are dealing not with armed forces, if we are talking about the United States population, how are we going to vaccinate the entire population against all these infections? What part of the population do we vaccinate? And so on and so forth.
In this case, what I need to say, in addition to what we do in the area of vaccine development, we need to increase our efforts in developing new pretreatment and treatment techniques and specifically in developing treatment techniques based on so-called broad spectrum medical defense against biological weapons.
Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Sisisky.
Mr. SISISKY. Just one question, Mr. Chairman.
Where are most of the scientists going in Russia that dealt with biological and chemical weapons? We have a program, I know, in the Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR), of nonproliferation but I do not know if that takes care of everyone.
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Dr. ALIBEK. I fully support this program. I think it is a good program. But what I would like to say, a number of scientists previously involved in one or another form of research and development and manufacturing biological weapons is about from 50 to 70,000. I am not talking just about the scientists involved in this work at Biopreparat facilities. There was a main directorate of the Ministry of Defense, the main directorate of the Ministry of Agriculture, two main directorates of the Ministry of Health, and some institutes of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
And you know, in this case, of course, because of the Soviet Union collapse, of course, we have seen a situation when some scientists were losing their jobs. A lot of Russian scientists are now underpaid or they have no pay.
And in this case, of course, it is quite unfortunate that it is quite attractive for some of them, if they have a good offer, to start working for somebody else. And if we propose something, let me say this. Some of them now in the United States, I know at least 30 scientists who are working with some private companies in the United States.
Mr. SISISKY. How many?
Dr. ALIBEK. About 30. But you know, of course, they are working in absolutely benign areas, some of them in the West, for example, in Germany, in Great Britain, but how many of them are now in Iraq? How many of them are in Iran, North Korea? Of course, we cannot answer this question because nobody is advertising these numbers.
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I talked to some of them and, of course, they would prefer to work using Western money just to do research work but what we need to remember, of course we cannot fund so-called dual-purpose research work. In many cases, in my opinion, we are making some mistakes when we fund some projects proposed by Russian scientists. In some cases this research and development work could be considered dual-purpose work. In this case we need to reverse the situation. We need to develop our program and we need to give these offers to Russian scientists and we need to get benefits from this program.
Mr. SISISKY. Thank you.
Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Weldon.
Mr. WELDON. Dr. Alibek, thanks for being here and thanks for your availability that you have made of yourself to Members of Congress. You have attended a number of private meetings and briefings with many of us and we appreciate that and appreciate your good work. You are a fine example of someone that has worked to do the right thing in helping us prepare for what hopefully never will occur but which all of us must be aware of. And understanding the threat is probably the most important thing that we have to deal with, besides the consequence management issue.
Dr. Alibek, you were trained as a physician; is that not correct, in Russia?
Dr. ALIBEK. That is right.
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. WELDON. So you understand the medical implications. You were not just a military officer. You were a physician first.
Dr. ALIBEK. Yes, I have an M.D.
Mr. WELDON. In your book you mention a number of things and I want to ask you some specific questions for the record to understand the mindset of what was occurring in the Soviet era.
Dr. Alibek, were there assassinations of political leaders or others in the Soviet Union using biological agents?
Dr. ALIBEK. Yes, that is right. The Soviet Union was developing biological weapons and biological devices for assassination. Specifically you probably remember a case of 1979 using Riesin to kill some Bulgarian dissidents. This weapon was developed by some KGB labs for assassination.
In addition to that, I would say even in the late 1980s and early 1990s, KGB was still interested in developing such weapons. Specifically in 1989 or 1990, I received request to consult whether or not it is possible to use Ebola virus in a dry form to assassinate one of the Georgian leaders, specifically Gamsakurdia. It never happened.
Mr. WELDON. Well, Gamsakurdia was assassinated. Was he
Dr. ALIBEK. We believe he was assassinated but they used a simple weapon. They did not use biological agents. But there was this program, a sophisticated and effective program to develop weapons for assassination.
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Mr. WELDON. So that was the purpose of the KGB. I mean that is one of the purposes they saw for these agents, to use them and they did use them. It was not a case for planning for the use; they actually did use them, as you have documented in your book.
One of my other concerns is not just the intent of some within the Soviet intelligence community to use these agents but whether or not we really have an understanding of how extensive the development of biological agents was in Russia.
For instance, in the area of chemical weapons, I know that is not your expertise but it is a common rule of thumb that the Russians have underestimated their storage of chemical weapons by as much as 100 percent. They officially declare 40,000 metric tons but most people have publicly said it is more like 80,000 to 100,000 metric tons. Yet our arms control treaties are only dealing with the 40,000 ton level which they have declared, which means that the other tonnage we are not even dealing with.
Is that the same case in biological weapons? Do we really not have a full handle on the extent of Russian development? In particular, in your book you mention, I think, that you were aware of 52 different types of biological agents that were being developed by Russia. So do we really have a full understanding or do you think we still maybe not be fully coming to grips with what Russia's capabilities were and are today?
Dr. ALIBEK. You are absolutely right. We have absolutely the same situation in the area of biological weapons; I would say even more. For example, in the area of chemical weapons, as far as I know, in 1990 after finishing developing anthrax biological weapons, I was proposed just to get a state award for developing anthrax biological weapon industrial process. It was the most powerful anthrax biological weapon ever created.
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At the same time, Lieutenant General Kuntzevich was obtaining the Lenin Prize for developing a new chemical weapon. This program was Navichok and according to the information we obtained from the Ministry of Chemical Industry, it was a binary chemical weapon and Russia never admitted that it was involved in developing binary chemical weapons.
In the area of biological weapons, Russia has not come clean in this area. Russia even now is not admitting that this program was unbelievably huge, a lot of facilities, a lot of production capability. Russia has studied practically all biological agents that could be used in biological weapons.
Let me give this example. In the early 1980s, after getting information about possible application of HIV virus in biological weapons, Russia started studying HIV for possible use in biological weapons. The problem just was a long incubation period because Russia, our program was a so-called military program and not KGB program. We did not use HIV virus for possible application in biological weaponsI mean military biological weapons.
But this program was huge. This program involved several main directorates and specifically the Ministry of Health. It sounds strange but the Ministry of Health was involved in developing biological substances and biological weapons for possible assassination, for mood-altering. That ministry studied specific peptideswe called them neuropeptidespeptides produced by the human body for possible use in biological weapons.
You know, all agents, biological agents, with one or an other capability to kill or incapacitate people have been studied and would be used as possible biological weapons.
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Mr. WELDON. Dr. Alibek, we in this country gain our confidence in controlling weapons of mass destruction partly through arms control agreements that we assume both parties or all parties will adhere to. Let me read to you four instances that have been reported to me by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) that have occurred in the past eight years that would be violations of international arms control agreements and let me ask you if you think each of these, in fact, occurred from the standpoint of having been involved on the Russian side.
In the early 1990s we have information that Russia sold drawings of a seran plant, manufacturing procedures and toxic agents to a Japanese terrorist group. Is that something that you think could have occurred, based upon your position?
Dr. ALIBEK. It is highly probable. I have no knowledge regarding this specific case but what I know for sure, Arshin Roka wanted just to contact some prominent scientists involved in developing biological weapons. I know a specific name. This person's name is General Vorobiov, Andrei Vorobiov, who was scientific leader of this program and I replaced him in 1988. And they tried to approach him to get some help in developing biological weapons.
Mr. WELDON. Now Dr. Alibek, in August of 1995 we had an incident occur that has been documented publicly on the record that Russia provided assistance to Iran to develop biological weapons. In November of 1995 a Russian citizen transferred to an unnamed country the ability to make chemical weapons and in November of 1996 Israel reported that Russia had assisted Syria in building a chemical weapons plant.
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In your opinion, one, do you have any personal knowledge of any of these incidents? And do you think, in fact, that they probably, in fact, did occur? Is this something that under the Soviet era continuing into the era of the Russian reforms that have taken place, that this kind of activity still could have occurred?
Dr. ALIBEK. I can give you another example. In 1995 Iraq and Russia conducted negotiations to sell some equipment and some technological processes to build so-called production line, a facility to manufacture single cell protein. But you know, when I analyzed these papers and these materials, of course, it was absolutely clear that Russia did know that this equipment would be used for manufacturing biological weapons.
And specifically in charge of these negotiations from the Russian side was former Colonel Vilen Matveev. Vilen Matveev is a person who has a tremendous knowledge in building biological weapons facilities. And for a long period of time he was in charge of this program at Biopreparat.
Mr. WELDON. Now Dr. Alibek, let me make it clear for the record that I am not saying or making the point that all of Russia's leadership was aware of these activities. In fact, to the contrary, I think the bulk of the Russian people are good and decent people that we have to work with.
My point is simply that we have evidence of at least four violations of arms control agreements by Russian entities involving weapons of mass destruction in the last eight years and we did not impose the required sanctions one time. So it does not come as any surprise to me that this kind of activity still continues.
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Let me ask you this question, and this will be my final question in this round, although I hope to get a second round.
Dr. Alibek, when you first came over or after the reforms, I guess, took place in Russia in 1992, my understanding is that you worked with the Central Intelligance Agency (CIA) and that you actually prepared a briefing for the CIA on the extent of what you knew and the implications and your own feelings about the continuation of these efforts, even though Russia had publicly reformed itself, that there were still people, unscrupulous people perhaps in the remnants of the KGB or in the Russian government, in the military, that still wanted to continue this weapons program.
Did you prepare such a report for the CIA? And approximately what year was that? Because what we want to be able to do is to get a copy of that so that we can read the assessments that you made for our government six, seven years ago.
Dr. ALIBEK. In 1992 and in 1993 there was a series of debriefings and I talked to people from CIA, from Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), from some other agencies and departments. Not all information I knew but let me say the vast majority of my knowledge was given to these organizations.
But I would say even more, in 1995, 1996, 1997, I prepared a series of classified reports for the United States government to read, with an explanation and description of the Soviet Union's offensive biological program and my concerns about what was going on in Russia even in these days. I did this work.
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Mr. WELDON. Do you think that we are adequately prepared and we are taking this issue seriously enough? And I am not talking about the military but do you think our country really is taking the threat that is posed by continued Russian involvement seriously enough?
Dr. ALIBEK. I think we have a problem here. The problem is this. We want Russia to survive now but the problem is, because of a chaotic situation in Russia, I believe some Russian military groups are continuing this research and development work. We are not able, but we have been trying just to reach some Russian official levels to convince them just to come clean, to open some facilities, and we have not been able to do this.
Now we have a problem. We are not able to force Russian officials to open the major offensive biological facilities and we have no idea what is going on in Russia now.
Specifically, even more, Russia was interested in late 1980s, beginning of 1990s, Russia was interested in developing mobile production facilities for manufacturing biological weapons. Russia was interested in developing cruise missile application of biological weapons. It is a very effective technique. And we still do not know what is going on and what has been done.
Mr. WELDON. Dr. Alibek, there were reportsI think it may have been in your book; I cannot quite remember but I read reports that the Soviet Union even developed warhead capability with chemical and biological agents in the warhead. Do you have any knowledge of that?
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And the second point is that next week, as you know, Christopher Andrew and Oleg Gurievsky will be here testifying before this committee on Tuesday. And in the Mitrokin archives that Christopher Andrew has just released a month ago in his book, he makes mention of the fact that the Soviet Union prepositioned equipment in Europe and in North America, military equipment, including transmitters, communication technology and possibly even detonation and explosive capabilities. In fact, one of the sites in Belgium has been uncovered even though it was booby-trapped, and the remnants of that site have now been photographed and are in Mr. Andrew's book.
There are sites referred to in North America and in the U.S. and we are going to explore that in great detail next week.
In your own best judgment, having worked in the Soviet era, would it have been possible that perhaps the basics of a chemical or a biological agent or the components necessary for that could have been prepositioned at one of these sites outlined by Mitrokin in the KGB archives?
Dr. ALIBEK. In my opinion it is highly probable.
Mr. WELDON. Thank you very much for that answer.
Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Pickett.
Mr. PICKETT. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
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Dr. Alibek, you were involved for some period of time with the Soviet biological weapons program?
Dr. ALIBEK. Yes.
Mr. PICKETT. Can you give us some idea of the strategic objectives that were underlying that program? Was it something that was intended for battlefield use? Was it going to be used on civilian populations? Was it a last-ditch plan to protect the homeland? Was it strictly an offensive weapon or defensive? How was it perceived to be used?
Dr. ALIBEK. According to the Soviet Union's military doctrine, there were three different types of military preparations and military targetsstrategic, operational and tactical. Biological weapons never would be used to strike tactical targets. Biological weapons were intended to be used as operational weapons and as strategic weapons. Strategic weaponssmallpox and plaguethey have been developed, all techniques, for some period of time. They were stockpiled and they would be used within three to five days after reloading from intermediate tankage to specific delivery systems.
Delivery systems for applications are multi-warhead ballistic missile, single warhead ballistic missiles, bombers, strategic bombers with cluster bombs. And these strategic weapons would be used to strike remote theaters like the theater of the United States, Great Britain and some distant countries.
Operational biological weapons would be used in aviation bombs, cluster bombs, 500-kilo cluster bombs with biological bomblets and in using special bombers, like Eluchian-28, equipped with two spray tanks, two-ton capacity each. And these weapons, for example, one plane has the capability to cover more than 1,000 square kilometers of territory.
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And if you remember, amounts of biological weapons could be produced by these facilities. We can realize that that country had so-called strategy to apply biological weapons in massive, massive amounts.
The real capability of one or another biological weapons is this. When we say that one small bag is enough to destroy Washington, D.C., I would not say this. Real capability of biological weapons, depending on terrain condition, depending on meteorological condition and some other conditionsconcentration, formulationwould be somewhere between several hundred grams, for example, for Marburg, between 200 grams to 800 grams per square kilometer and, for example, for anthrax plague, somewhere between three to five kilos per square kilometer. This is the real capability of biological weapons.
If we calculate this capability and calculate how much could be produced by each facility, we can realize what territory could be covered by each biological weapon.
Mr. PICKETT. Were any of these weapons actually deployed?
Dr. ALIBEK. In 1982, the Soviet Union used Glanders biological weapons in Afghanistan, in some remote locations of Afghanistan. It is absolutely clear. This information was given to me at one of the discussions at the Ministry of Defense of the Soviet Union.
And biological weapons were heavily tested and there was a facility for testing bacterial biological weapons and the Soviet Union had several testing facilities with special explosive chambers, static chambers, dynamic chambers for testing biological weapons.
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In the 1930s and 1940s the Soviet Union used humans for testing biological weapons but in the 1970s and 1980s we used just primates. We had special scientifically proven techniques to calculate the effects of biological weapons from animals to humans. And we knew at least what would be the real effectiveness of each biological weapon.
In addition to this, in the 1970s the Soviet Union started developing genetically altered biological weapons with the capability to overcome existing antibiotic treatments, with an ability to overcome vaccinations. Unfortunately, in many areas, this country succeeded.
And you know sometimes people say that not a lot of important work has been done and that is absolutely wrong. If you read Russian scientific journals you would realize how much has been done in this area.
For example, you can find an article that explains what kind of Glanders agent, drug-resistant Glanders agent was developed in Russia. You can find some information what kind of plague antibiotic-resistant agent was developed in Russia, what kind of anthrax antibiotic- and vaccine-resistant strains have been developed in Russia.
And, you know, I am using Russia as an example, just what we need to realize. Of course now we are in a completely new situation. Now we have in many countries the capability, in addition to natural strains, biological weapons based on natural strains of biological agents, we have the capability and ability to develop completely new biological weapons based on genetically altered strains. It's a completely new situation and we live in this world.
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Mr. PICKETT. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HUNTER. I thank the gentleman.
Mr. BARTLETT. Thank you very much.
We hear persistent rumors that the Russians still continue development of biological weapons. In your judgment, what percent of the Cold War R&D capability activity is now going on in Russia? Is it 10 percent, 20 percent, 40 percent? How large is the Russian effort now compared to what it was during the Cold War?
Dr. ALIBEK. You are right; this program downsized. It is very difficult to calculate but I would say about 10 to 20 percent of previous Soviet Union capability is left now. But believe me, it is enough to develop sophisticated biological weapons.
Mr. BARTLETT. The stockpiles are still maintained?
Dr. ALIBEK. I do not believe so because what I knew in the late 1980s, according to order given by the highest level of the Soviet Union government, the stockpiles have been destroyed, but I have no idea what was going on in Russia from 1992 to 1999. What I do know, it is a very strong change in Russian position in the area of biological weapons because it was a strange time and year. 1994, what I realize, Russia was quite open from 1992 to 1994 after President Yeltsin declared that Russia would never be involved in developing biological weapons, but this situation suddenly changed in 1994. Now what I am repeating all the time, we have no ability just to force Russia to open these facilities and to tell us what was going on and what is going on now in Russia.
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Mr. BARTLETT. We also hear rumors that during the Cold War the Soviets were developing biological weapons from mutants for which we would have no antidote and no vaccine. Was that true? And in your judgment, is that kind of development still being pursued?
Dr. ALIBEK. I will give you just this example. There was a program with the name of MetolMetol-1, Metol-2, Metol-3, Metol-5, Metol-6 and further. Metol-1, development of genetically altered antibiotic-resistant tularemia biological weapon. Metol-2, development of immune-overcoming tularemia biological weapon. Metol-3, development of antibiotic-resistant plague biological weapon. Metol-4, development of Glanders, antibiotic- and drug resistant. Metol-5, development of antibiotic-resistant anthrax biological weapon.
And now we can read some articles, specifically, for example, as a good example, in 1997 a British scientific journal Vaccine published some results of research done by Russian scientists where they describe a new strain of bacillus entriasis with an ability to overcome vaccination caused by Russian vaccine but we have no idea whether or not the American vaccine is working against this new strain.
We have some data that Russia has now at least two different strains of plague with an ability to overcome existing vaccinesI mean plague vaccines. And in this case I would say this research is continuing and not just in the area of developing, researching and developing genetically altered bacterial agents, as well as in the area of developing genetically altered viral agents.
Mr. BARTLETT. One last question. Are they exploiting naturally occurring mutants or are they genetically altering the organisms to produce mutants that are immune to vaccines and not responsive to antidotes?
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Dr. ALIBEK. In the Soviet Union there were three main directorates involved in this work. The second main directorate was the Ministry of Health, the main directorate Biopreparat and the other is the main directorate of the Ministry of Defense.
They were involved in developing and selecting some natural agents with some ability to overcome existing treatments and it was work mostly done by the Ministry of Health. There was another group of scientists and labs at the Ministry of Defense and Biopreparat mostly involved in developing genetically altered agents using genetic alteration techniques.
Mr. BARTLETT. They were using both approaches then?
Dr. ALIBEK. Yes, all approaches possible for creating genetically altered strains, mutant strains.
Mr. BARTLETT. And the Ministry of Health is figuring out how to kill people?
Dr. ALIBEK. It is the Russian way.
Mr. BARTLETT. Thank you, sir.
Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Kuykendall.
Mr. KUYKENDALL. Thank you.
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There is one other area that you briefly listed in your testimony that we have not touched on. Theoretically you said it was possible for us to develop weapons that could be used to damage equipment, damage fuel, damage plastics. Do you have any evidence of those being developed in Russia? What is your likelihood of those being available now? That could have a relatively devastating effect, as well, even though it is not maybe as emotional as dealing with people.
Dr. ALIBEK. There was a research program to study the possibility of using biological agents to destroy equipment, to destroy fuel, but by the time I left Russia, nothing important, usable for practical application, had been developed. But this direction existed.
Mr. KUYKENDALL. There have recently been two very spectacular occurrences on a world basis. One was when England was experiencing mad cow disease and another one was recently when Hong Kong had trouble with chickensI think it was chickens, had to wipe out millions of them because they were diseased.
Based on your background, could either of these have been things that were attributed to a biological weapon?
Dr. ALIBEK. You know, it is very difficult to say without having all information, what was going on there. But I would not say that mad cow disease was some kind of a deliberate manmade outbreak.
Page 42 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But, you know, the situation with foot and mouth disease, it is a very strange outbreak. It appeared simultaneously at two different locations. And the Taiwanese government was forced to kill about 4 million cattle and they lost about $78 billion. Of course I was told that a strain of this virus was endemic to China mainland. Of course in this case at least what I know, that some people, some officials in Taiwan believe that it was a deliberate outbreak.
But, you know, we have not studied this case but, in my opinion, we need to do this because you can just imagine the scope of the problem because when we are talking about biological weapons, it is not just a matter of killing people. In many cases biological weapons could be used as weapons of mass disruption, let me say, not destruction, not just to cause economic problems. They could be used to destroy livestock.
For example, the Soviet Union was developing in the past African swine fever, classical swine fever, foot and mouth disease biological weapons. It was developing biological weapons which would destroy wheat, rye, corn, rice, rust and blast spores that could be used for posing economic troubles.
In this case, when we are talking about just the recent case in New York City, we know it was an outbreak of encephalitis. Nobody can say now whether or not it was deliberate or natural. We have no evidence. But, at the same time, we have no evidence that it was a manmade outbreak because it is a very strange situation, in my opinion. I cannot say it was a manmade outbreak but, you know, we need to study this case very thoroughly because even now, we have no signs, what I would call the signs of investigative epidemiology or forensic epidemiology to study epidemic developments because natural epidemics and manmade epidemics in many cases have differences. But unfortunately, even now we cannot distinguish in many cases because, for example, mosquitos vectors are a perfect delivery system for some biological weapons.
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In this case, of course, I cannot say but what we know, of course, it was a time of some kind of vital disruption in New York. But just using this case, even a natural case, we need to decide what kind of new science subject we need to establish just to study differences between naturally occurring and manmade outbreaks of infectious diseases.
Mr. KUYKENDALL. This is not for you so much as for the next panel. A couple of you have areas like national security preparedness and you might want to think about this issue in your comments. I would like to hear some of your thoughts about things that are not necessarily driven directly at whether we kill a lot of humans but can we cause enough disruption through agricultural attacks or something like that to be substantial damage to us and maybe have a longer-term effect on either our economy or on our civilian population but in a secondary or tertiary fashion because the weapon is used in an area we are not thinking about necessarily? Thank you.
Mr. WELDON [presiding]. Thank you, Mr. Kuykendall.
Mr. SAXTON. Dr. Alibek, thank you for being here today and thank you for the service that you are providing for the world in helping us to understand this very difficult and serious set of circumstances.
I have read your book. I found it interesting, to say the least. I found it terribly frightening and I hope that all of the members of the panel will take it as seriously, as I sure they will.
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Just to recap some of the main facts that I found in your book to be frightening, you indicate in your book that during the time that you were working in the Soviet Union on these projects, there were between 50,000 and 70,000 people working in the industry; is that correct?
Dr. ALIBEK. Yes, generally speaking, yes, because of course it is very difficult to calculate the real amount but it is an approximate amount of people involved in one another form in this activity.
Mr. SAXTON. The magnitude of the commitment that the Soviet Union made in regard to this industry was quite substantial, is I think the point that needs to be made.
Dr. ALIBEK. Yes, that is absolutely right.
Mr. SAXTON. And you also indicated that there were as many as 70 strains of diseases that could be weaponized or that had been weaponized?
Dr. ALIBEK. Let me say this. We have calculated a number of biological agents that could be used in biological weapons. This number is very high. Just the agents that can have specific effect, incapacitating or little effect, this number is about 70. But if we add genetically altered strains, antibiotic-resistant, of course, this number would exceed 100.
Page 45 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SAXTON. One hundred strains that could be weaponized.
Dr. ALIBEK. Yes, that is right.
Mr. SAXTON. So just as a postscript, we are justifiably concerned about anthrax but we should be justifiably concerned about as many as 99 other strains?
Dr. ALIBEK. The problem is what we have now, we are trying to chase this problem. I did not want to say this but probably I must. The problem is in the area of developing protection against biological weapons, we are trying to chase this problem. We are using our knowledge obtained somewhere in the 1960s and 1970s and we use this knowledge to develop protection against biological weapons.
I would say now we have a gap, a very significant gap between our knowledge in the area of biodefense and what could be done in offensive areas. This gap is quite wide, about 25 or 30 years. Now we are developing protection against biological weapons developed in the 1970s and we are not doing the work to develop protection against contemporary weapons.
You know, the problem is, in my opinion, we need to change the situation. We need to put this problem just in front of this problem. We need to start analyzing some completely new nontraditional ways how to develop protection against biological weapons. If we continue our efforts to develop vaccines, of course, we will be always in the situation to develop new vaccines without realizing how to use these vaccines because the great majority of these vaccines would be put on shelves.
Page 46 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I am not saying now we need to stop this work but what we need to do, we need to reconsider our efforts in developing in fundamental, basic research because now, with our knowledge in the area of immunology, in the area of microbiology, infectious diseases, we are able to establish a new program, a program of developing medical protection against biological weapons based on broad spectrum defense against biological weapons.
Mr. SAXTON. Dr. Alibek, you have said today that the Soviets developed and presumably there exists in other parts of the world today two categories, or at least this is the way the Soviets looked at itweapons that were developed for strategic use and weapons that were developed for operational use. The weapons that were developed for strategic use could be used against us, the United States, in terms of a strategic attack at some point or could have been and still could be?
Dr. ALIBEK. I would not say this now because I do not believe that Russia is posing a significant threat to the United States now because of many reasons, but that is today's situation. We have no idea what is going to happen to Russia in a year, in 2000, in five years. And in this case, our preparedness, of course, we cannot say, even now, we do not believe that Russia is a threat for the United States, we need to work with Russia to reduce a possible threat from this country.
I believe after I left Russia, of course, the Russian military tried to reconsider this program. I would not believe that Russia now has a program that is the size we had in the late 1980s and the early 1990s. Russia, at least in the late 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s, started reconsidering its efforts in the area of biological weapons. Specifically, Russia started studying genetically altered biological weapons. Russia started developing genetically altered biological weapons. Russia started studying the possibility of developing new production techniques, very short production techniques to manufacture biological weapons. Russia started studying mobile equipment for manufacturing biological weapons.
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Of course, Russia wanted to get rid of large production facilities. I have no idea whether or not this work has been done but, you know, this work started at least in the late 1980s.
And Russia started studying the possibility to use cruise missilesa completely new technique. The cruise missiles would be used with a special container type of application of biological weapons. It is a completely new step in the area of biological weapons development because these weapons would be precise, highly precise biological weapons.
In this case I would say Russia still poses some threat from a technological standpoint, from the standpoint of expertise and knowledge.
Mr. SAXTON. Dr. Alibek, I recently met with a lady from the Center for Civilian Biodefense at Johns Hopkins University. It's Dr. Terra O'Toole. Do you know Dr. O'Toole?
Dr. ALIBEK. I know her, I respect her, and I am having lunch with her today.
Mr. WELDON. You know so. You could be here forever.
Mr. SAXTON. She provided a pamphlet at the conclusion of the meeting and in the pamphlet was a white paper which outlined a potential threat against United States citizens. It happened to be an anthrax attack. During the course of reading this paper, it was disclosed that perhaps as many as 20,000 people died as a result of this attack on a stadium full of people and that for several miles downwind people breathed the anthrax. And the city involved, which was unnamedit was a hypothetical casethere were as many as 20,000 people died and many more affected. And the capability of dealing with the situationwe simply were not ready for it.
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Is that a possible scenario?
Dr. ALIBEK. Unfortunately, I would say it is not a plausible scenario because what we need to remember, when we are talking about stadiums, stadiums have specific microclimates over each stadium. Warm air is going up. Of course, if you tried to disperse biological agents over a stadium, of course this agent would not go down.
Mr. SAXTON. Okay. So climatic conditions were not
Dr. ALIBEK. Meteorological conditions are not favorable for applying biological weapons in a stadium.
Mr. SAXTON. What about an attack in a subway system?
Dr. ALIBEK. Subway systems, commercial buildings, administrative buildings, shopping malls, tunnels are the most vulnerable targets for biological weapons.
Mr. SAXTON. Should we worry about an attack by terrorists in the Washington Metro or the New York Subway? And if we need to worry about it, what are the possible effects?
Dr. ALIBEK. The problem is I could tell what kind of consequences, what kind of weapon could be used but believe me, I do not want to be an instructor, saying that this agent and this weapon is the best weapon to apply in the Washington Metro system.
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But I will say this. There are very simple techniques to manufacture some viruses. There are very simple techniques to prepare biological weapons using these viruses, highly lethal virusesno prophylaxis, no treatment. And if you disperse using quite simple techniques.
You know, in many cases people say it is very difficult to apply because we need to know how to disperse these agents. We have natural dispersion or spreading systems inside metro systems, moving trainsventilation systems. And if you have a powdered material, of course, within two or three hours this material would be dispersed throughout the metro system. Unfortunately, depending on the type of biological agent, biological weapon, you would see from dozens to hundreds of thousands infected people.
Mr. SAXTON. From dozens to hundreds of thousands infected?
Dr. ALIBEK. Yes, depending on the type of agent, depending on the type of biological weapon, depending on the place of application and the amount and concentration of the weapon used.
Mr. SAXTON. Mr. Chairman, I just have one final question.
Dr. Alibek, a few minutes ago you were talking about the biodefense research program in the United States and you, I think, alluded to the fact that we need to do things differently than perhaps we have historically done them. I gather that is because of the many strains of biological weapons, weaponized materials that can be used, that it would be somewhat difficult to vaccinate against them and there are no antidotes or ineffective antidotes.
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Can you discuss what new approach?
Dr. ALIBEK. Yes, it is possible. The problem is, as I said before, now if we take into consideration the number of biological agents that could be used in biological weapons is enormous and if you continue today's approaches in developing defenses against biological weapons, we will be always in a quite awkward situation because we are developing defenses using our understanding of this problem.
Let me give you an example. When we are talking about detection, now we know that our armed forces have some equipment to detect biological weapons and we have some equipment to detect anthrax, botulinum toxin, smallpox, plague and staphylococcal enterotoxin-B but believe me, nobody in the world was developing staphylococcal enterotoxin-B biological weapon. It means we will be tasting and detecting our understanding of biological weapons, not real biological weapons.
And in this case when we are talking about detection, what we need to do, in my opinion, we need to reconsider our effort in detection systems because we are trying to develop equipment for identification of biological weapons. It would be very heavy but very precise equipment. But in addition to this, we need to develop a new program, develop systems for nonspecific detection, portable systems, just to let allfor example, enough just to have in each platoon for detection. Then we can identify what kind of agent has been used. That is the area of detection.
In the area of treatment, what we need to do, we need to continue our efforts in developing vaccines, but what we need to do, we need to start developing treatment techniques. And you know, not just treatment techniques because it is impossible to develop 90 different treatment techniques to treat specific diseases.
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The problem is this, and this is just my personal opinion; now I know many scientists are supporting this idea. The problem is we have our own protection system; it is called our immune system. It has two different partsnonspecific immunity and specific immunity. When we are developing vaccines we activate the specific part of our immune system, but we can enhance our nonspecific immune response. It is a possible way to go. I believe it is quite a long shot. I am not saying decades but maybe years just to develop this approach, but we need to go this way. In this case I believe in three, five, seven years we will be able to say that biological weapons are not a threat anymore.
Mr. SAXTON. Mr. Chairman, thank you. And thank you for indulging me on the additional time.
Thank you, Dr. Alibek.
Mr. WELDON. Thank you, Mr. Saxton.
Mr. Bateman, we will try to get your questions in before we go vote. We have two votes coming up, Mr. Bateman.
Mr. BATEMAN. Mr. Chairman, I am in my listening mode today, so I will yield my time to you if you would like it.
Mr. WELDON. I will let other Members ask their questions first. I appreciate that yielding but I want to give everyone a chance.
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So Mr. Reyes, you are next.
Mr. REYES. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have just a couple of questions dealing, more than anything else, with the ability in Russia of responding to, for instance, nuclear accidents and/or unintended accidents with biological or chemical warfare weapons or devices.
Is there such a program in place, to your knowledge? And do they have regular exercises along those lines?
Dr. ALIBEK. Unfortunately, I cannot say they have something important because, you know, this is a good example. In 1975 there was an accident in the city of Sverdlovsk. It occurred in late night on Friday and for at least five, six days, nobody knew what had happened. The problem is when people started dying, and they were dying at local hospitals, after several deaths they realized that something happened. And when they diagnosed it as anthrax, of course, they just started analyzing what happened.
No, it was a period of significant chaos. Even after they determined that it was an accident, they did not inform people. They did not organize a normal procedure how to contain the situation. But finally, of course, it took them about a month, a month and a half just to contain this epidemic. And you know, you cannot even imagine an amount of outlays, money spent just to contain the situation and to do all maintenance work.
Mr. REYES. But even with that kind of an experience, have there been any attempts to do periodic responses along those lines? Those are some of the things that we insist take place. In fact, in my district in El Paso, such an exercise is taking place tomorrow, just to make sure that first responders get an opportunity to rehearse what would happen.
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Dr. ALIBEK. They have something but even now, we cannot say that they have something very well developed because when we are talking about our first responders, in many cases what we need to do, we need to reanalyze what kind of handbooks, what kind of manuals, what kind of documentation we have just for our first responders.
Unfortunately, in some cases we are making mistakes and our manuals have some errors and in many cases we need to develop them just to be better prepared for this challenge.
Mr. REYES. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. WELDON. Thank you, Mr. Reyes.
Mr. Taylor, would you like to go now or wait till we come back?
Mr. TAYLOR. Mr. Alibek, I think I read your statement to say that you would prefer to see our emphasis on responding to an attack rather than mass immunizations. Is that
Dr. ALIBEK. That is right.
Mr. TAYLOR. But I guess a question that is more immediate before this committee is the question that has been posed about whether or not we should require troops to be immunized for anthrax, knowing that it is, as you have said, fairly easy to produce and obviously in the hands of a lot of people.
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If you had a son in the United States military or a daughter, would you encourage them to take the shot, or the series of shots, to be more appropriate?
Dr. ALIBEK. For citizens or for the armed forces?
Mr. TAYLOR. For the armed forces.
Dr. ALIBEK. You know, it is a very difficult question.
Mr. TAYLOR. If you are not an expert, who is?
Dr. ALIBEK. I have my personal experience in getting this vaccination. I was vaccinated about 17 times and some vaccinations were against anthrax. And when I developed a severe allergy response, of course after that, I cannot say I have a desire just to get vaccinated again.
But you know, what was a difference, I was vaccinated by Russian live vaccine. It is a different vaccine. What I know, American vaccine is a different vaccine. It is based on fragment of protective antigen. It is a quite purified vaccine.
No, I do not believe this vaccine would cause very significant after-effects and significant health consequences in each case. But when we are talking about massive vaccinations, if we start thinking about additional vaccinations, for example, smallpox in addition to anthrax, plague in addition to smallpox and anthrax, then we vaccinate our armed forces against five, six or even 12 infections, then we could have problems.
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Mr. TAYLOR. But sir, if I may get back to that specific point because it is a question before this committee and we do hear from the mothers and fathers of the young people in uniform, if you had a son or a daughter in the United States armed forces, time for them to be subject to that vaccination was coming up, would you encourage them to take that vaccination for anthrax or not?
Dr. ALIBEK. I am a soldier. I would take this vaccine myself but I would not encourage my children to do this.
Mr. TAYLOR. If they were serving in the armed forces is my question.
Dr. ALIBEK. I would do this for myself but I would not do this for my children.
Mr. TAYLOR. Thank you, sir.
Mr. WELDON. Thank you, Mr. Taylor.
Just a couple of quick questions because you want to have a lunch and you have spent a lot of time here. I think your testimony has been very eloquent in terms of giving us an assessment of one, what the Soviet Union was doing and what may, in fact, still be continuing to this day. I also think your candid observations of maybe our own shortcomings and concernsI will address with the next panel many of the points you have raised in your book, including some specific incidents that you have alluded to in your book.
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I do want to ask your professional medical opinion on one. I have been approached by a medical research professional who actually helped develop the oral vaccine for polio 50 years ago and he is currently working at the Jefferson Medical Center in Philadelphia. He is convincedin fact, there are some trials under way in Poland right now involving an antidote for hepatitis and he is convinced that we, in fact, can produce a vaccine material both against anthrax and possibly antibodies for the Ebola virus that can be plant-based.
So instead of having to inoculate people with shots, there is the capability to do, similar to what we did with the oral vaccine for polio, and that is to develop strains of antibodies that could be put into lettuce and broccoli and other plant and leafy materials and have them ingested in that way to protect broad-based populations.
Now he is a very renowned scientist. In fact, as I said, he developed the oral vaccine for polio. Do you think that is something that we should be pursuing?
Dr. ALIBEK. It is plausible but what I would like to say, in science, to develop new vaccine and prophylaxis against infectious disease, we have several different directions. This direction could be plausible, as well.
But I would say again when we are talking about vaccines, probably we need to research new possibilities to develop vaccines against Ebola and some other viruses, but the problem is again when we study Ebola infection, some viruses and infections, what we know, there was a very interesting publication in 1999 published by a French scientist. What they found out, our body, our immune system responds differently to Ebola infection. People who are responding by cellular immunity and high levels of Interferon usually die. People who are responding by humeral immunity and lower levels of Interferon usually survive.
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And you know, this is just a good example that there is one more direction. We can develop treatment techniques based on regulation of our immune response. And in this case, for example, it would not be necessary just to spend a lot of time and money to develop vaccine against Ebola and put this vaccine on the shelf.
Mr. WELDON. Thank you, Dr. Alibek. You have been an outstanding witness; you are an outstanding patriot. We appreciate the good work you are doing. We hope people buy your book. And more importantly, we thank you for your offer to work with us and with our military and our government on protecting the American people.
With that, the committee will stand in recess. Our second panel can feel free to be seated. As soon as these two votes are over, we will return.
Mr. HUNTER [presiding]. Folks, let's fire up again here. Mr. Norman Rabkin of the General Accounting Office (GAO) is going to discuss the work that GAO has done over the past years and their findings on the preparedness of our forces.
STATEMENTS OF NORMAN L. RABKIN, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL SECURITY PREPAREDNESS ISSUES, GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE; MG JOHN DOESBURG, USA, COMMANDER, U.S. ARMY SOLDIERS AND BIOLOGICAL CHEMICAL COMMAND; RADM JAMES D. McARTHUR, JR., USN, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, STRATEGY AND POLICY, J5, JOINT STAFF; AND RADM RICHARD A. MAYO, USN, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, MEDICAL READINESS, J4, JOINT STAFF
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Mr. RABKIN. Mr. Chairman and Members of the subcommittee, I am pleased to be here to talk with you about the problems that our military forces might face if they would have to operate in an environment contaminated by chemical or biological weapons.
My written statement covers work General Accounting Office (GAO) has done and is doing related to this subject. It begins with our 1996 report on how Department of Defense (DOD) had responded to the lessons learned during the Gulf War. It also refers to work we have done recently on DOD's anthrax vaccine immunization program.
For the next few moments, however, I would like to focus on that 1996 report. Although it is somewhat dated, I think it can serve to set the stage for other information you will hear about how ready the troops are today to operate in a contaminated environment.
The Gulf War taught us that U.S. troops were not fully prepared to defend against Iraqi use of chemical or biological weapons. Units and individuals often arrived in theater without needed equipment, such as protective clothing and adequate detectors. Active and reserve components' forces required extensive training before and after arrival in Southwest Asia. Medical readiness problems also included inadequate equipment and training. Complacency and the absence of command emphasis prior to deployment were among the root causes of this lack of preparedness.
About four years later we reviewed the progress that DOD had made in overcoming these problems. We found that although DOD had made some improvements, many of the same problems persisted. Here are a few examples.
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First, we found that early-deploying units still lacked required equipment. 1993 U.S. Foreces Command (FORCECOM) issued new requirements regarding the amount of chemical and biological defense equipment early-deploying and reserve units had to have on hand when they deployed. However, by 1996, neither the Army's Crisis Response Force, about five active divisions, or any of the early-deploying Army Reserve units that we reviewed complied with the requirements.
Second, progress in researching and developing effective mobile detection systems, decontaminant solutions and suitable protective clothing was slower than planned. DOD established two groups to prioritize research efforts and develop Research and Development (R&D) plans but by March 1996, they had not made as much progress as had been planned.
Third, Army and Marine forces were still not adequately trained for effective chemical and biological defense at the individual, unit and commander levels. By 1996, forces continued to experience serious training-related weaknesses in their proficiency. These weaknesses ranged from an individual's inability to properly don a protective mask to a unit's improper response to a chemical attack.
Fourth, joint exercises included little chemical biological defense training. In October 1993 the Joint Staff gave regional commanders a list of 23 joint tasks to be performed. However, only 10 percent of the joint exercises conducted in 1995 and 15 percent of those planned for 1996 included any chemical or biological defense training.
Fifth, biological agent vaccine stocks and immunization plans were inadequate. By 1996, DOD had established policy responsibility and procedures for stockpiling vaccines and had determined which personnel should be immunized and when the vaccine should be administered. However, the Joint Chiefs and other high-ranking DOD officials had not yet approved implementation of that policy.
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Sixth, Army medical units often lacked chemical and biological defense equipment. Units that we reviewed during 1995 had on hand only about 50 to 60 percent of their authorized patient treatment and decontamination kits. Some of those on hand were missing critical components and the shelf life of other stock on hand had expired.
We concluded that the underlying cause of the lack of significant progress from 1991 to 1996 in improving the readiness of the chemical and biological defense posture was that DOD did not give the issue enough emphasis. We cited four reasons for reaching this conclusion: funding, understaffing of these activities, the Commander in Chiefs (CINCs) in the field assigning a lower priority to this than other threats, and the lack of monitoring by field commanders in major commands.
We made 10 specific recommendations to improve the effectiveness of DOD's chemical and biological defense activities. We have followed up that effort with several other evaluations that resulted in classified reports on efforts to protect rear area facilities and the status of chem-bio defenses in South Korea. We have also reported on DOD's strategy for protecting troops from low-level exposures to chemical agents, its coordination of R&D efforts to develop related nonmedical technology, and the implementation of the anthrax immunization program.
Since we issued our 1996 report, Congress has provided DOD increased funding, which should result in more and better equipment and capabilities for U.S. troops. We are now engaged in an assessment of the progress that DOD has made since 1996 in preparing troops to operate in a contaminated environment. We are looking at the status of improvements in doctrine and policy, chemical and biological defense readiness of troops, and critical command and logistics facilities in Korea and the Persian Gulf, the readiness of units based in the United States but designated for early deployment to these areas, and the ability of medical units and logistics systems to support operations in a contaminated environment. We have finished about half of that work and expect to provide preliminary results to Congress in time for next year's budget hearings and will follow that up with a written report.
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Mr. Chairman, this completes my statement and I would be glad to answer your questions.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Rabkin can be found in the Appendix.]
Mr. HUNTER. Why don't we follow with Rear Admiral Richard Mayo and then Rear Admiral James McArthur from the Joint Staff and then we will take questions.
Admiral MAYO. Mr. Chairman and distinguished Members of the committee, I am honored to appear before you discuss an issue of vital importance to our war-fighterschemical and biological defense.
I am Richard A. Mayo, Medical Coordinator, United States Navy, and I am currently the Deputy Director of Logistics for Medical Readiness on The Joint Staff. The Joint Staff monitors the readiness of our unified commands through systematic reporting mechanisms. We look at such things as the medical doctrine and equipment issues most important to our theater commanders. And I assure you that issues related to chemical and biological defense rate high in their priorities.
In this regard, we have made steady progress toward improving medical readiness across the commands, with the anthrax vaccine immunization program being an excellent example.
There is still progress to be made but our ongoing efforts to identify and mitigate shortfalls on a joint basis provide us with a viable roadmap for the future.
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Thank you for the invitation to appear before the committee. I look forward to joining my fellow panel members in addressing the questions.
[The prepared statement of Admiral Mayo can be found in the Appendix.]
Mr. HUNTER. Thank you for that abbreviated statement. That is the kind we like around here.
Admiral MCARTHUR. Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman. Another brief one to go, sir. Thank you for the opportunity for being here.
The Chairman, the unified commanders, the service chiefs, Joint Task Force (JTF) commanders feel like we have made tremendous strides in the last couple of years in terms of accommodating chemical and biological warfare. We are planning on engaging in those arenas. I think you will see, when General Doesburg demonstrates some of the equipment that we have now available and will have in the next couple of years, you will agree that we have, in fact, made tremendous strides.
We are grateful for the support that you have given us in that respect. We are proud of what we have accomplished but we also realize that we have much more to do in terms of fielding equipment and training and doctrine. Thank you, sir.
Page 63 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [The prepared statement of Admiral McArthur can be found in the Appendix.]
Mr. HUNTER. General Doesburg.
General DOESBURG. Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman. I use afternoon because I think we have probably past the bewitching hour here and we are now in the afternoon.
I want to take a couple of minutes just to address and show you some of the equipment that, in fact, has been fielded since the Gulf War. I felt it was important for you to have that opportunity to see some of that equipment. Obviously we did not bring large pieces of equipment like our Fox reconnaissance vehicle and the upgrades that have occurred to it, but we have brought some of the smaller items and I will quickly point them out to you.
Directly to your front, to my rear, is a mannequin that is dressed in what is called the Joint Service Lightweight Integrated Suit Technolocy (JSLIST).
Mr. HUNTER. May the record show that the staff pointed out the mannequin to the chairman. [Laughter.]
General DOESBURG. Yes, sir. To my left and your right we have on display, starting at the very top, protective masks that are currently in the field. The M40 protective mask came out after the Gulf War. What you also see is the M43 and the M48 and I believe we have an M42 there, also. There we go.
Mr. SAXTON. General, would you be kind enough to point out, as you show those to us, the types of material they are intended to protect against?
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General DOESBURG. Sure. Those protective masks, based on the filter technology that is inherent in those masks, will, in fact, protect against chemical and biological agents. They are meant most specifically to protect against nerve agents, blister agents and the full array of biological warfare agents. Again it is involved in the filter technology.
The hoods that you see are there for liquid contamination, so each one of the masks comes with an integrated hood or a hood that is associated with it.
The JSLIST technology, again which is directly to your front, comes with an integrated hood in the suit which, in fact, will be an improvement over what we have.
The last mask on the end is something called a joint service general purpose mask. It, in fact, is not fielded yet but it is intended to be a joint mask that will, in fact, go out to all of the services and will, in fact, provide the next level of protection for our young war-fighters.
In particular, it has a much easier breathing capability and it has a new material that we are attempting to develop so that, in fact, it is a longer-lasting mask and has a longer shelf life. That particular mask comes also with, as you can see, a different head harness, which allows us to be able to fit some of those folks that have odd sizes.
Mr. Chairman, on the next row down we have a number of other smaller items, one that is actually a product improvement from the Gulf War, something called the ICAM for Improved Chemical Agent Monitor. The chemical agent monitor is a post-attack monitor. It allows us to go out and look for areas that are contaminated or a vehicle to ensure we have done complete decontamination.
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Located next to it is Multi Purpose Integrated Chemical Agent Alarm (MICAD), our capability of being able to take signals from each one of our individual detectors or point detectors and now transmit that information, put it into appropriate reports and putting it into the digitized battlefield that we now have.
Located next to it, the device that looks like something out of Star Wars is, in fact, a lightweight stand-off chemical agent detector. It is a joint detector and currently under development. It replaces an Army detector that is located on the Fox but will also be available to all of the services to give them all the capability to do stand-off chemical agent detection.
Located below is the Automatic Chemical Agent Detector/Alarm (ACADA). It is our chemical agent detector. It is out in all of our services now. And next to it is the M41, which allows us to test all of those protective masks that you see, to check the fit of those masks on our individuals.
The last piece that I have left is probably the most important and it is the wave of the future as we, in fact, take this information from our detectors and from our battlefield and now translate that information and put it across the battlefield regardless of service, which is our Joint Warning and Reporting Networkthe capability now to take that information, determine exactly what is happening across the battlefield and transmit that to all of the services, and that will be critical to us in the future. Joint Warning and Reporting Network (JWARN) is currently in prototype and will be fielded shortly.
Page 66 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Chairman, that concludes a very short and brief look at some of the new equipment. Biological defense equipment will be covered by General Cain on the next panel.
Mr. HUNTER. Okay, thank you.
Let's get right to work here. The balloon just went up on another Gulf war and our troops have been deployed to the Middle East. How much of that equipment that you just went over, General Doesburg, will be available? We deployed how many divisions into the Gulf War? Something like six?
General DOESBURG. It was around six, sir.
Mr. HUNTER. How many of those pieces of equipment will you have available for those six divisions? Let's say we have intelligence that tells us that Saddam Hussein is definitely going to use chem-bio against us and that he has means of dispersal.
General DOESBURG. From a standing start, all but four of those items would be with the fighting force. Within very short order, two of those items would be with the fighting force, which would leave two others that would not be.
Mr. HUNTER. Well, I am not asking about those single items. How many of the personnel of those six divisions will have those?
General DOESBURG. Yes, sir. Those will be out there. The M40 protective masks, the 42, 48
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Mr. HUNTER. And would you hold that one up? That is the M40 protective mask?
General DOESBURG. The M40.
Mr. HUNTER. You did not have that? That was not available during the Gulf War?
General DOESBURG. No, sir. It was just starting to come out at the beginning of the Gulf War.
Mr. HUNTER. Okay. But today you have that for every single person in those six deployed divisions?
General DOESBURG. Yes, sir. We are finishing up the last of our fielding in the National Guard as we speak.
Mr. HUNTER. Okay. Go through the other items that you had and tell me how many of those you will have for the six divisions.
General DOESBURG. Sir, the tanker's mask and the aviator's mask, which are the next two, are also fielded throughout the fighting force.
Mr. HUNTER. Okay.
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General DOESBURG. Joint service general purpose mask is still under development. The ICAM
Mr. HUNTER. Wait. Which one is still under development?
General DOESBURG. That is the one on the end, sir. You can look at anything on that end as being still under development.
Mr. HUNTER. Okay. That one is still under development.
General DOESBURG. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUNTER. But the first three there are fielded?
General DOESBURG. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUNTER. And they are fielded in numbers that would allow a six-division force to be well equipped?
General DOESBURG. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUNTER. Okay.
General DOESBURG. Within the Air Force in particular but also within the Navy is something called the MCU2P protective mask, which is a version that had been fielded to some degree but not completely during the Gulf War but now is throughout the Navy and the Air Force.
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Mr. HUNTER. Okay. Now those masks, I presume they have attendant suits?
General DOESBURG. Yes, sir. Currently in most organizations you will find the battle dress overgarment. That is the suit that was worn during the Gulf War.
JSLIST, the suit that you see to your front, to my rear, is currently being produced and bought and put into the stockpile for all of our services. They would be available in large numbers but not complete numbers if we were to deploy right today.
Mr. HUNTER. What is the advantage of that suit over the system that we have now?
General DOESBURG. Two major advantages, sir. First, it is lighter and it is more breathable. And second, it uses a different technology than our past suits. Most specifically, that technology is what causes it to be lighter and to breathe better. It is not the perfect solution yet but it is a considerable improvement over what we had during the Gulf War.
Mr. HUNTER. A soldier in General Schwartzkopf's Army is out there loading artillery shells in an environment in which he can expect to have some chem-bio exposure. It is 7:00 in the morning. It is going to get up to about 105 degrees by noon. How long can he expect to do what I would call moderately rigorous work in any of those three outfits?
Page 70 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC General DOESBURG. Sir, in any of those three he would have to work what is called a work-rest cycle, again because of the heat build-up that is associated with the gear that we have. Under current estimates his work rate schedule early in the morning would range from an hour or longer to when you get up to the 120, 130 degree time frame, where you are talking about a much shorter time frame of being able to work and then rest. Key to all of that is water intake.
Mr. HUNTER. Can you take water in conveniently with those suits?
General DOESBURG. Yes, sir. Each one of the masks has a drinking tube which you can hook up your canteen to to, in fact, take on water.
Mr. HUNTER. How about steaming up those goggles?
General DOESBURG. Sir, those particular protective masks use a technology that allows the air to blow over those. So as you breathe in and breathe out, it clears the lenses on the inside.
Mr. HUNTER. The defroster is working?
General DOESBURG. Yes, sir. I have worn them on Johnston Island, the M40, not to presuppose where you are headed to, which runs temperatures in the 90s to 110s and I have worn the M40 protective mask for up to about two and a half hours, which I should not have, but it worked for about that long and it worked beautifully. It was a champ. I was unfortunately in a live chemical agent environment because we were working on a munition that was leaking.
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Mr. HUNTER. So this young 20-year-old spec-4 works for an hour, he would rest for 15 minutes or so and he can go back to work?
General DOESBURG. Sir, actually it depends onagain it is part of his training that they have been involved in. That hour could be longer than an hour, depending on the training of the organization. And when I say rest, I mean just rest, not actually get out of the overgarment.
Mr. HUNTER. I understand.
General DOESBURG. We would love to be able to do that, but rest periods in most cases early on are a short period, 15 minutes to 30 minutes. As you go longer in the day and it gets warmer, your rest period is going to increase.
Mr. HUNTER. But the heat is not going to be debilitating, even if it is 100 degree out?
General DOESBURG. The heat will be debilitating at some point because you are going to reach a point where you are not taking on enough waterhuman mechanismtaking on enough water during that process or eating during that process. You are going to have to take a break at some time and get out of the gear.
Mr. HUNTER. Okay. What will the unit have that this guy can go to to get out of the gear?
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General DOESBURG. Sir, there are collective protection devices that have been built for the services. One of them is called the M20; there are others under development. The M20 is simple is enough that what it looks like is a large baggie. You put it inside a tent. It is inflated inside the tent and provides collective pressure. You have an entrance that goes into it. They can go inside, before they go inside, remove their gear in a contained entryway, then go into the tent, rest and recuperate, pick up new gear, come back out.
Mr. HUNTER. Okay, have we got those for those six divisions that we are going to need?
General DOESBURG. Sir, I would have to take that for the record and go back. I am not sure. I know we have a lot of them in the field but I do not know if we have that many in the field.
Mr. HUNTER. But we should have enough of those obviously to accommodate the fighting force, right?
General DOESBURG. Yes, sir, that would be our intent.
Mr. HUNTER. South Korea. You have a lot of gas on SCUDS and artillery at bases, U.S. bases upon which our tactical aircraft is going to depend in South Korea.
Have we got the wherewithal, the capability of cleaning those bases or providing protection for the folks that will be operating the tactical aircraft?
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Admiral MCARTHUR. Sir, just to help with that one, yes, sir, that is forthcoming. There is decontamination gear available now. The modular decontamination system will be fielded this year. That is as a result of the plus-up we got in 1998, so we anticipate rapid improvement in that area, sir.
Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Sisisky.
Mr. SISISKY. Thank you.
Mr. Rabkin, I think you mentioned that DOD agreed with you in nine of the ten recommendations you made in 1996. Have they taken action to implement all of them, at least the nine?
Mr. RABKIN. Actually, they have taken action on all 10 to a certain degree. Many of the steps that DOD agreed to take, they are still in the process of doing, and those are some of the areas that we plan to look at as we follow up on this work in Korea, the Persian Gulf, and deploying units here in the U.S.
The tenth recommendation had to do with the readiness reporting system and although at the time of the report, DOD did not agree to include this kind of reporting on the readiness for chem-bio warfare in that system, they have since agreed and are working some reporting mechanisms into place for the SORTS system.
Mr. SISISKY. Have they increased the emphasis on biological and chemical since that report?
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Mr. RABKIN. I think it is fair to say that they have. Certainly the funding has increased. From what we hear in discussing this with DOD officials and the commanders we have talked to, they are giving it a higher priority, so I think that the emphasis certainly has improved.
Mr. SISISKY. And you are doing a report now. What are your specific issues?
Mr. RABKIN. Well, we are doing the field work now. We are looking at changes, improvements in doctrine and policy. We are looking at the readiness of the troops that are in the forward areas in Korea and the Persian Gulf. We are going to be looking at the readiness of the units that are going to be deployed from the United States, the early-deploying units, and we are also looking at the medical training.
Mr. SISISKY. I understand you are also going to issue a report on the anthrax vaccine immunization program. What are the issues involved there?
Mr. RABKIN. The anthrax report, which should be out either at the end of this week or the first part of next week, is going to deal with issues related to the ability to develop and maintain an adequate supply of the vaccine, the system for recording and tracking the vaccinations that have been given to the service members, the efforts that DOD has undertaken to monitor adverse reactions or the after-effects of receiving the vaccine, and finally, looking at the educational efforts that DOD has had under way to educate the service members about what the vaccine is all about.
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Mr. SISISKY. But you will be monitoring any reactions?
Mr. RABKIN. Well, we will not be doing that but DOD is going to do that and DOD is also planning for some more research studies on the long-term effects of the vaccine.
Mr. SISISKY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Saxton, the distinguished chairman of the Terrorism Task Force, who has worked on this issue a lot.
Mr. SAXTON. General Doesburg, let me ask you specifically about detection systems for biological threats. Of the number of detection systems that are outlined in the material you gave us, I guess, and the systems that are demonstrated here on the table, how many of those are capable of detecting some biological threat?
General DOESBURG. Yes, sir. Sir, actually Brigadier General Cain, who is going to be on the next panel, is the joint program manager for biological defense and he can give you an in-depth answer.
Of those that I showed you, those are all chemical agent detectors that I laid out on the table. To your front, to my rear, he has some story boards laid out that talk about biological agent detection and where we have come since the Gulf War, but more importantly, where he is going to go to in the near future.
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I think it is important to note at this point, specifically after the classified presentation we had and then Dr. Alibek, is that the emphasis in this area, especially from a research and technology standpoint but more importantly from an operational standpoint, has caused us to look at turning over technology very rapidly, which means in about a three-year time frame versus the five to seven that you have seen in the past.
As a consequence, chemical agent detection and the ability to detect lower has moved very quickly, and the same in the bio defense arena. Where we had our first agent detectors that would only detect four, today the capability exists to do 10. And when you look at the fielding of those units, the first unit was 1996; the next unit was this year; the next follow-on will be in 2001. We are literally turning over technology very quickly to meet the threat.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you. And I will be happy to wait for the next panel to delve into that further.
Mr. Rabkin, the issue of the anthrax immunization has come up several times. One of the things that you and I heard Dr. Alibek say this morning was that they, meaning the Russians and, most assuredly by this time, others, have access to many biological agents other than anthrax.
I do not pretend to be an expert or even be very knowledgeable about the science of vaccinating or immunizing against anthrax. That is a subject for others. But from a common sense point of view, it seems to me that if the plethora of agents that are available, if we vaccinate against anthrax and spend our assets doing that, it just seems to me from a common sense point of view that an adversary would simply pick another agent. Is that not true?
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Mr. RABKIN. I cannot speak for what the adversaries will do but I think it does suggest that if they are trying to cause harm to our troops and our troops are vaccinated against that agent, that they would have to seek another weapon. Then hopefully our research capability would develop vaccines or other methods for us to protect our troops.
But at this point in time anthrax is the primary threat and there is a vaccine and the policy decision has been made to vaccinate the troops.
Mr. SAXTON. Is this your area, the anthrax vaccine? Is this what you do? Is this a big part of your job?
Mr. RABKIN. I would not say it is a big part of our job. We have a couple of groups in GAO that have looked at both the research effort, as well as the operational effort. The report I was discussing earlier with Mr. Sisisky is the results of work we did on the operational effort.
Mr. SAXTON. Dr. Alibek, I think I heard him say this morning, and I must admit that I did not get everything that he said completely but I thought I heard him say that the anthrax vaccine that we are using was developed for a strain of anthrax that existed in the early 1960s and that other strains of anthrax had been developed by the Soviet Union since then.
And I guess my question then would be is the anthrax vaccine that we are using that which was developed against the earlier strain or was it developed for the later strains?
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Mr. RABKIN. My recollection is that it was developed for the earlier strain but there was some testing done against later strains. I would have to check into that and let you know.
Mr. SAXTON. I thank you for that. My concern is twofold: (A) whether we are getting the protection that we think we are getting, and I am not scientifically inclined enough to know that, and (B) whether we somehow have a perception that we are protecting our troops against a broad spectrum of threats when, in fact, we may not be and we ought to be spending our time and effort developing something that, in fact, is significant against other strains.
Mr. RABKIN. I think the military has been very clear about the limitations of the vaccine, that it is not a vaccine against all biological threats, and that the military and the research community in general has been looking at coming up with vaccines for other biological threats.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Taylor.
Mr. TAYLOR. I am going to go back to my question to the previous panel. I just found it absolutely mind-boggling that someone who said that he thought it was a good idea for himself would not recommend if he had children in the Department of Defense that they take the shot. I kicked myself all the way to the Capitol on my way to vote because I did not ask him why.
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Would any of you have any idea why he might say that?
Admiral MCARTHUR. Sir, we share your surprise on that. We believe in it. We are confident in the abilities and capabilities that the anthrax vaccine offers. It is protection against the most likely threat. It is prudent for us to prepare our troops to be able to accommodate that and many of us have had those shotsAdmiral Mayo, myself. We believe in it and we would recommend to our sons and daughters to do the same, unlike Dr. Alibek.
Mr. TAYLOR. The point that he was making and, of course, there is certainly some validity to it, was that with the availability of genetically altering or splicing different diseases, that you could definitely have an entire cafeteria of options out there coming at you.
What do you think of his recommendation that we sit back and wait for something to happen and then immunize people for that event, as opposed to trying to immunize people ahead of time and hope that those who seek to do us harm respond with that threat and not a different threat?
Admiral MAYO. I think there are a couple of parts to that. For one thing, I believe in this case with the anthrax vaccination what we are talking about is twofold. It is protecting our troops, as you suggested, and two, it does serve as a deterrence. Since it has been stated that it is the most common and easiest to make, then we should protect our troops, our personnel against this. At the same time, it does serve as a deterrence.
Page 80 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Now most of our adversaries, we have to look at what capabilities they have to manufacture other weapons of mass destruction, and it gets into the whole arena of the intelligence capability in determining what is or what is not.
So when you ask the question, does this deter them from using this, it may deter them from using anthrax. Would it push them to some other way? That may very well be true. On the other hand, do they have the capability or the capacity to produce something else? I cannot answer that question but it would go in that direction.
General DOESBURG. Sir, from an operational standpoint, I take even a little bit different approach. The biggest enemy that you have, and in particular with anthrax, is the enemy of time. We have to be able to detect it and we have to be able to detect it early enough so that we can take some sort of posttreatment because critical to those who may, in fact, be exposed to anthrax, the biological warfare agent, is the onset of symptoms. And as has been mentioned before, when you have reached the onset of symptoms, the chances of recovery are extremely small.
With time being the issue, in particular the battlefields of the future that may, in fact, have unknowns in them, which could include the use of biological warfare agents, in that scenario that was painted by Dr. Alibek, we would wait until we saw those first signs or symptoms. At that point we know that we are going to have young soldiers, civilians who may be part of the population in that area that are, in fact, going to die from that exposure to that anthrax. I think our soldiers' lives are important enough to us that we should, in fact, take all means available and if that includes immunization in advance, then that is what we need to do.
Page 81 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I have taken seven of the shots, will soon take my eighth. I have a 22-year-old who, if tomorrow he decided to join the military service, I would not hesitate to tell him to take the shot.
Mr. TAYLOR. The book that was recommended to me by Lt. General Wesley Clark, Joint Staff was ''The Cobra Event,'' and in it the terrorist was able to genetically spliced anthrax to something like the common cold. One of the statements I have heard at a previous hearing is that it only happens once; it only occurs once; it does not get transferred from person to person.
Is something like that attainable in the next five years? Obviously gene-splicing is already an existing technology. Could something like that occur?
And I guess my follow-up question is how do you respond to something like that? Is it almost a cat-and-mouse game where one side keeps responding to the new threat?
General DOESBURG. Sir, I recommend we bring that question up for the third panel. I think we might have a little bit more expertise there. Although I used to be the joint program manager for biodefense, I am a chemist by trade and you are about to exceed my understanding of that particular science.
Mr. TAYLOR. That is fair. Anyone else?
Admiral MCARTHUR. No, sir.
Page 82 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. TAYLOR. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Reyes.
Mr. REYES. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I apologize for not being in attendance any longer but we have a number of issues dealing with education that we are in debate on.
I understand that this hearing is concerning the preparedness for our troops but one of the concerns that a number of us have long had is the threat that chemical and biological weapons might be used against this country, within its borders.
In April of this year GAO published a report on terrorism and drug-trafficking and I was wanting to get a comment from Mr. Rabkin on the testing status and in particular your views on the operational viability of pulse fast neutron analysis technology, or PFN as it is known.
I have gone to the lab where it has been tested and as you know, Mr. Chairman, because I discussed it both with you and with Mr. Weldon, the only thing that had been lacking was a field test, and I am happy to report that in MarchApril we are going to begin a field test in El Paso dealing with PFN technology.
I would like to have, in particular, GAO follow closely the results of that field test because in terms of the viability of detection for weapons of mass destructionchemical, biological, even narcotics and all of these other things that this particular technology can detectI think this may be something that will give us a tool that not only will serve on the border area as we deal with the passage of commerce and commercial cargo, but it also would be feasible to have it and test this kind of threat against our country. So I would ask you to closely follow that field test.
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In addition, I would recommend, Mr. Chairman, that both you and Chairman Weldon maybe get briefed on the specifics of the technology and also perhaps we could do a hearing on this particular technology because I think from everything that I have seen, it is far superior to anything else that is out there and can be used both by the federal agencies that have responsibility for the border, as well as airports and those kinds of environments.
So I do not know if you have any comments on that, Mr. Rabkin, but I would appreciate number one, you following the field test and number two, sharing with us any comments you might have on that PFN technology.
Mr. RABKIN. Mr. Reyes, we are intending to follow that development. The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee that handles the Treasury Department, the Customs Service, has asked us to follow up, to monitor that. As you know, we have issued that one report and we are working with the Customs Service and other agencies that are sponsoring that test, including the Defense Department, as well as the National Academy of Sciences, which is overseeing the development of the test protocol. So we will stay in touch on that and we will be glad to keep you posted.
Mr. REYES. Is there anything in particular, based on the initial report that you issued on it, that you would like to comment on here?
Mr. RABKIN. Well, the concerns, as you mentioned, it was originally being developed for detecting drugs coming through the ports and some of the concerns were the cost and the size and the through-put, how much cargo could you get through that, how effective is it, et cetera. And those are some of the issues that are being tested in the field test.
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When I was looking at it back then from the law enforcement perspective, I was not thinking of it for military use or for other uses for detecting chemical or biological weapons, but it is an interesting issue and we will look into that.
Mr. REYES. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HUNTER. I want to thank the gentleman. I also want to comment on his expertise. He is probably the most respected border patrol chief in our history and a guy who understands that right now we have thousands of trucks coming across at this checkpoints and at least in San Diego, we have a lone German shepherd that runs up and down and if he does not bark, everything is fine; everything is waved through. And having something a little more thorough than that would be really important. So let's pursue that technology and I will be happy to work with the gentleman.
Mr. REYES. And if I may comment further on that, Mr. Chairman, there is a great amount of interest being expressed by the business community, who are willing to partner up with the government. You mentioned cost as one of the factors, but their interest is in being able to expedite their cargo.
As a result of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), we are having a great increase in terms of truck traffic across our ports of entry and, of course, the concern for drug-trafficking organizations taking advantage of it, but the business community is interested in participating on a stakeholder basis with the government on that.
Page 85 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So it is something to keep in mind. And I think that once the field test results are in, I think everyone will be very impressed with that kind of technology. I was, and I was somewhat skeptical when I went to look at it in the lab, but it certainly is something that we can really take advantage of into the 21st century. Thank you.
Mr. HUNTER. I thank the gentleman. You know, having that technology might also be important at a number of our military installations around the world where you do not want to have some bad stuff come in. So let's work on that. I will try to work with you, Silvestre, on getting out there when you are doing your field test.
Let me ask, gentlemen, you highlighted those three protective masks on the left that we did not have at Desert Storm and we do have now. What do those cost approximately?
General DOESBURG. Sir, the M40 protective mask costs right at $100 apiece.
Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Saxton and I were discussing the activated charcoal operation of these filters that seem to be so effective and sportsmen now are using those to be able to stalk wild game. You have your camouflaged sportsman's outfits with activated charcoal liners to reduce scent.
My thoughts were simply this. There are two aspects to this obviously, the military aspect and the civilian population protection aspect. In terms of civil defense, that is not an outrageous sum. I mean 100 bucks, that is the mask. The attendant suit is how much?
Page 86 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC General DOESBURG. $200.
Mr. HUNTER. So you are talking about $300, you can protect a person. If we can get those costs down some, I know one thing that communities are going to be looking at is the availability of being able to get some of that equipment, at least to get it on our first-line protectors, firemen and policemen?
Mr. SISISKY. Would you yield, Mr. Chairman?
Mr. HUNTER. I would be happy to yield.
Mr. SISISKY. Are these under government specifications or did you just buy them from somebody? That could make the difference.
General DOESBURG. Sir, I will not quite call it government specification but yes, it is a government specification, in that terminology.
Mr. SISISKY. Well, that is what is wrong.
General DOESBURG. That is where one of our issues is with that current protective mask. That protective mask is made for military use, which means that Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) do not approve that particular mask for civilian use.
The joint service general purpose mask that we have, one of our firm intents is to approach that issue of what is referred to as the negative pressure mask, to see whether or not we can, in fact, work that particular issue so that it has a wider application than it currently does.
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Mr. SISISKY. Under the new acquisition laws, of course, you can buy off the shelf if it meets all the specifications and I am really surprised that somebodyI should not say I am surprised, but are there manufacturers that are developing these things and showing them to you?
General DOESBURG. Yes, sir. It is open competition and we are currently, in fact, under solicitation for the new protective mask and we do have active solicitation and folks who are looking at it.
Mr. SISISKY. Great.
General DOESBURG. But again there is work that we would have to do to have a civilian application for that particular mask.
The reason it is so critical is when you think about it, your first responders, firemen in particular, are wearing self-contained breathing apparatus, which is a positive air feature, which means the air is being forced into the system and then exiting out. Those protective masks draw the air in through a filter element and there is a difference between positive and negative pressure in how you operate a mask.
Therefore it is important that you take very good of that particular protective mask and that you have devices that check your fit on that protective mask so that you know that it is operating to full specification. When you think about our firemen, do they, in fact, have that time and opportunity and that luxury?
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So the key is to build the mask to such specification that, in fact, it can meet all of the parameters so that it may, in fact, be available for other uses.
Mr. SISISKY. If the gentleman will still yield, I notice in Desert StormI did not notice; I saw that Israel had given out masks to all of its people. I am sure they were not paying $100. What kind of price are we talking about? And did it meet the criteria that we would want?
General DOESBURG. There are better experts on the second panel. In fact, here comes one right now. Mr. Parker is my deputy and can address it.
The Israeli mask costs about $35. I needed to make sure that I checked to find the cost. So it was not that inexpensive.
The Israeli perspective obviously is one that we need to be aware of. Their perspective is not just defense of the homeland but defense of the people in the homeland and they consider themselves ground zero as a target any time something happens in the Middle East. So cost at that particular point is a little bit different.
They actually used some different technologies in their disposable masks, much more so than the masks that you see to your right. We have looked at that technology and, in fact, have considered that technology potentially for U.S. citizens that may, in fact, be overseas in an area of concern and not associated with the military, and that is being investigated and looked at.
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Mr. SISISKY. Thank you.
Mr. HUNTER. Any other questions?
Nobody else has any questions. I want to thank you gentlemen for your time and for your testimony and we are going to go to the third panel here. We are going to welcome Dr. Hans Mark, Director of Defense Research and Engineering, and he is going to talk about the department's chem-bio defense research development acquisition program.
Dr. Mark, if you could introduce the members of the panel who are going to be prepared to comment on specific areas during the question and answer period, we would appreciate it.
Dr. Mark, thank you for being with us, sir. We appreciate it. You may want to go right ahead. Your written statement will be accepted for the record without objection and any time you want to refer to one of your associates there for an answer or response or comment, go right ahead.
STATEMENT OF DR. HANS MARK, DIRECTOR, DEFENSE RESEARCH AND ENGINEERING, DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; ACCOMPANIED BY DR. ANNA JOHNSON-WINEGAR, DEPUTY ASSISTANT TO THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE FOR CHEMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL DEFENSE; DR. JANE ALEXANDER, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, DEFENSE ADVANCED RESEARCH PROJECTS AGENCY; CARMEN SPENCER, DIRECTOR, CHEMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL DEFENSE, DEFENSE THREAT REDUCTION AGENCY; MIKE PARKER, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, SOLDIER BIOLOGICAL AND CHEMICAL COMMAND; AND BRIG. GEN. EDDIE CAIN, PROGRAM MANAGER, JOINT BIOLOGICAL DEFENSE PROGRAM
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Dr. MARK. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am Hans Mark. I am the director of Defense Research and Engineering. It is a great pleasure and honor to be here. As you know, I know your brother and I have worked with him on the nuclear business, so this is familiar ground for me.
I think that I will start by introducing
Mr. HUNTER. I had the 1.7 grade average, so I got into politics. [Laughter.]
Dr. MARK. I would say you probably did not work very hard in school, right? I think you could be 4.0 myself.
Let me introduce the panel, if I may. To my right is Mr. Mike Parker, who is the Deputy Commander of the Soldier Biological and Chemical Command. And sitting next to him is Retired Army Colonel Carmen Spencer, who works for the Defense Threat Reduction Agency and directs the chemical and biological defense program in that agency.
To my left is Dr. Anna Johnson-Winegar, whom we have just persuaded to come back and work with us. She is my deputy for all matters concerning the oversight of the chemical and biological defense programs. To her left is General Eddie Cain, who is the joint program manager of the biological warfare program. And finally, Dr. Jane Alexander, who is the deputy director of DARPA but also the director of DARPA's biological warfare program.
Page 91 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I will be very brief, Mr. Chairman, and I will spread out some of the comments, as your colleagues have requested.
First let me say that the purpose here is to talk about the future. You have heard about the present and we are going to talk about the future.
Our Joint Research Development and Acquisition program first and foremost is one that is driven by a threat. It is driven by the threat that you have heard about. The point here is that we are, as you know, constrained by law and by treaty to respond to threats rather than to develop our own weapons.
From the point of view of science and technology, it is the same thing because in order to respond, you have to know the same things. You have to even know more than the other guy. So from the point of view of our program, it does not make much difference. But I want to emphasize that we are very, very cognizant of threats. I have read Dr. Alibek's book and we get our briefings from the intelligence community quite regularly on this matter.
Let me also thank you and Chairman Weldon for the support you have given us because we would not be in the position that we are today if it were not for the leadership that you have provided in this area. I will talk about money in a minute and you will see for yourself what has happened but what is much more important is the output, and you have seen that in the material that is in back of me here.
Finally, let me assure you that I have a strong personal commitment to this. I have here a newspaper story that appeared a few months ago in Defense News and the headline says ''Vast Biological Research Tops the Pentagon List of Urgencies.'' This came from an interview that I provided. So I am very, very much concerned about the threat we have here and doing the right thing so that in the future, we will be able to defend our troops against that threat.
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Let me talk about the program for just a minute and let me start with some good news. The United States is very, very good at biotechnology. I spent eight years running a large university system with four medical schools and I have looked at this in detail. We lead the world in the areas of molecular biology, genetic engineering.
Just to give you some numbers, more than one-third, 36 percent of all biotechnological research, pharmacological research is done in the United States, in laboratories in this country. In the 20 years from 1979 to 1999, we have produced 45 percent of all pharmaceuticals and drugs in the world.
That is quantity, but look at quality. Two weeks ago the Nobel Prize in medicine was awarded to Professor Gunter Blobel, a 40-year member of the faculty at Rockefeller University in New York for work in genetic engineering, for unraveling the cause of cystic fibrosis, which is a genetic disease.
So I really want to emphasize that our job is to mobilize this huge capacity we have to work in this area, and that is what we are about. That is what our management is here to do and I will describe that in a minute.
Let me talk about one piece of equipment because the current piece of equipment was shown over there. I was at Lincoln Lab about three weeks ago. Lincoln Lab is part of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and at MIT we have one of the foremost research institutes in biotechnology in the world, the Wytet Institute.
Page 93 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Lincoln Lab is a foremost institution in systems engineering and electronics. What they are doing is to miniaturize the detectors that you see here. What you have to do in order to do that is to make in what I would like to call a microchemical laboratoryI will leave this with you but you can see this is the heart of this device. It looks a little bit like one of these transistor chips.
What we are about there is to make a device that is very much like the old radiation detectors we had when we were doing our nuclear defense. It has to be small. It has to be sensitive to things, agents, long before they affect you, and it has to react right away. That is what the objective is. In my written statement I have a picture that you can look at that shows you this.
Let me go to the program priorities. First priority very clearly is detection, and most of the stuff that you see in back of me here has to do with the detection program. You have to know that you are under attack and you have to know what you have to do to respond to that. I have already talked about what we are doing there.
Second priority is protection, protection against the agents. Sixty years ago I was in London. I was 10 years old. The Germans were starting to bomb the city and all of us were fitted with gas masks. Now I remember the gas mask that they fitted me with. It had a big can on the end and it was rather disturbing for a 10-year-old's normal activities to look at this thing and to think about having to wear it.
We have come a very, very long way since then. You have seen some of the things here. I think that on the horizon, as you will see, there are further things that will make it possible for us to have the kind of protective gear that will minimize the interference with normal activities.
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Finally, there is the matter of immunization. We have been immunizing people for 150 years. We know that it works. There are side effects; they can be dealt with. Most of the people on this panel have, in fact, been immunized against the anthrax vaccine spore which is, in fact, the most likely weapon to be used. But I think the point I am making is that this works.
And finally, the research program that we have is, as I have already said, oriented around the modern areas of molecular biology and genetic engineering.
I think this may be a good point for me to stop and to ask General Cain to answer the question that Mr. Taylor or Mr. Saxton asked about the future of the biological detection business and what we are doing there.
General CAIN. I am very proud to tell you some good news here, too, with regard to where we are going in the future with biodetection.
There are two systems, one system, the Joint Biological Point Detection System, which is going to be a joint service system coming on line within the next two years. This will be the first system that all services will be using the same technology to detect biological agents on the battlefield.
It will be, and I will tell you it will be a detect-to-treat system. Because of the lack of technology right now, that basically means that within 20 or 25 minutes is the best we can tell the war-fighters on the battlefield that there is a possibility that there is something on the battlefield.
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Following that will be JBREWS system. This will be a system that will be a connected network system that will be a detect-to-warn system, which will be the first system where we can alert war-fighters on the battlefield that there is possibly something out there so then they can don additional protective gear to protect them.
The other system I want to talk to you about, which I am very proud of, to tell you that portal shield, which is an interim system, but we were able to go from cold start in about two years to put this system in the hands of the war-fighters. It is currently deployed in Korea and Southwest Asia. We want to put more systems, and this is a fixed site system, to give the base commanders and the port commanders a warning that there is something in the area.
This system again was done by academia, scientists, my people in the joint program office all worked together collectively to put this system in the field within two years and that is a phenomenal accomplishment by the biodetection arena.
Dr. MARK. If I may, Mr. Chairman, I would like to call on Colonel Spencer now to talk a little bit about where we are in the area of protective gear. I want to mention, of course, that the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) is involved in this through its mission of threat reduction and they do researchbasic, appliedand they also have a procurement arm, as does General Cain's organization.
Mr. SPENCER. Good afternoon. As General Doesburg pointed out, there is a multitude of existing both chemical and biological detection capability. As Dr. Mark pointed out, contamination avoidance or the ability to detect and identify and provide early warning is our highest priority. This is where we are putting the majority of our investment at this time. Failing to do contamination avoidance, individual protection and collective protection, followed by contamination are next.
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In the area of contamination avoidance, there are a number of programs ongoing that provide early warning capability for both chemical and biological detection. These consist of stand-off-capable systems. We are not only counting upon the Department of Defense infrastructure and research and development establishment but we also have a responsibility to our armed forces to look out across the Department of Energy, we work side by side with Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and Dr. Alexander, as well as looking out all activities available to us in academia, as well as within industry.
We have a comprehensive program that does that for us. It includes the international community, because I know that is a concern among others. There are many other nations out there that are looking at this problem, as well, and we are trying to leverage all of those programs. We have 50 data exchange agreements with over 15 countries at this time.
In the area of individual protection, we are looking to state-of-the-art activities that are being developed around the world. We have short-term programs, as well as long-term programs. There are a number of advanced concept technology demonstrations that are ongoing right now to provide short-term improvements to the ability of our armed forces to survive, fight and win on the battlefield of the future.
Dr. MARK. Thank you.
Dr. Parker, do you want to talk a little bit?
Mr. PARKER. Thank you, Dr. Mark.
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Mr. Chairman and committee members, I just wanted to touch on a point that came out of Dr. Alibek's presentation, and that is the Russians and the Soviet Union predecessors were and still are an excellent research community. Their ability to transition into technology and technology into systems is at a much different level than I think you would find in the U.S. The U.S. is absolutely premier at moving from science to technology and technology to systems. DARPA, the national labs and the academic community in the U.S. developed the fundamental science. The DOD labs and national labs and our contractor base take that science through technology and technology to systems.
One simple example, the stand-off detector that is on the floor, the passive detection device, is a second generation system that will shortly be fielded. The Russians have something akin to that that is a laboratory curiosity that takes a five-ton truck and a huge generator to operate. So much of what we face in the chem-bio arena, the U.S. is particularly well positioned from a materiel standpoint to drive technology and provide that solution on the battlefield to protect our forces and as that relates back into other applications on the domestic front.
Dr. MARK. Mr. Chairman, let me turn to the management of our program, because I know you are interested in learning about that. The management follows the mandate by the Congress in Public Law 103160, which was passed in 1994. We have set up the management structure to respond to the things that you had in mind at the time; namely, that everybody is involved, that it be joint, and so on and so forth.
The program is intricate and inclusive. It includes everybody and it is intricate in the sense that it has a management that sees to it that the scattered forces around the country are mobilized to get the results that we want.
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I have put a chart in the hand-out and let me start at the bottom of the chart because that indicates where the performers are, the performers of the research, the performers of the development and the people who build the equipment that you see around, namely, the industry. Basically what it says is that everybody is involved.
At the executive levelthat is, at the level of the execution of the programthere are two people because the program has two tracks. One is the chemical biological defense program, and that is managed through the Pentagon, and the other is the DARPA program, which is a long-term basic research program. We have here the two individuals that manage these programs. Dr. Alexander manages the DARPA program and Colonel Spencer manages the part that is funded through the military, through the joint committee that makes up the budgets. So that is what you have.
At the next level they have a coordination panel to see to it that the work is done in such a way that you have collaboration and no unnecessary duplication.
The management level is next up on the chart which I have called out here and that is the level at which the budgets are prepared. There are two places. In the DARPA case it is fairly simple. The director of DARPA prepares the program objective memorandum, the POM. And on the management side in the military part, there is a Joint Nuclear, Biological, Chemical (NBC) Defense Board and that board is chaired by the Assistant Secretary of the Army for R&D and by the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, which reflects your charge to make the Army the executive agent of the program. That appears in your public law.
Page 99 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The committee has representatives from the four military services and each service has a vote. General Cain is an ex officio member of this committee. And perhaps most important of all, there is a subgroup of this committee whose function it is to get the input from the commanders-in-chief around the world. There have been some questions about what goes on around the world and the mechanism for getting that is in this label here, JSIG, which is the Joint Staff Integration Group.
This committee, I go to their meetings. They make up the program objective memorandum for the military part of the program and this is very much a going concern.
Finally, there is the oversight level and the oversight level consists of a Defense Steering Committee for Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Warfare. I am the senior member of that committee. And it is, of course, at the oversight level that the thing comes together in one person because the director of DARPA also works for me. So I am the person who oversees both sides of this program.
My immediate deputy is Dr. Anna Winegar-Johnson, who does all the work. The other members of the committee are the director of the DTRA, Dr. Jay Davis, and Colonel Spencer.
You do all the work, don't you?
Ms. JOHNSON-WINEGAR. Yes.
Dr. MARK. Just checking.
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Finally, we all work for the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology. So he has the leadership function of the whole program.
Just let me wind up by going to the last chart in your hand-out. This is the budget. I have already mentioned that all of us are grateful for your leadership in this area because if you look at what happened since 1996, 1996 to 1999, we have doubled the budget. I know that normally when I appear before legislative committees I always complain about not being recognized. I think we have an unusual situation here where you have led and prodded us to do the right thing, so all of us are grateful to you for that.
Why don't we stop our formal statements now and respond to questions? Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
[The prepared statement of Dr. Mark can be found in the Appendix.]
Mr. HUNTER. Dr. Mark, thanks to you and thanks to all the participants on the panel. We have a vote on the Commerce, State and Justice Appropriations conference report so why don't we break for that vote? We will be back here in a few minutes and we will commence with questioning.
Mr. HUNTER. Okay, folks, we will fire up again.
Page 101 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Dr. Mark, let me ask you the same question we have asked some other folks in the classified panels and the panel that preceded you here. You have this array of diseases, substances that are being developed by potential adversaries on a fairly regular basis. Our intelligence community becomes apprised of these through various methods and at that point I would presume that they hand that off very quickly to folks who try to come up with an analysis as to how deadly the stuff is and come up with a response and antidote, a way to deal with it. We do that across the board?
Dr. MARK. Yes. Let me answer from my point of view very quickly and then turn it over to Dr. Alexander for the far-term future.
In terms of anthrax, for instance, which is the agent of choice because, in fact, it is very lethal and it is not contagious, which means that you control its effects more carefully. I think that from my point of view we are doing exactly the right thing to start with that one because you want to discourage the other guy from using it. If he knows that you are protected against it, then
Mr. HUNTER. I understand. Obviously we have the anthrax vaccine, which is much publicized. My question is we had the intelligence briefing and we had a broad array of stuff that is being developed and the first thing that comes to mind is as that stuff comes in, is it taken down immediately to a laboratory, analyzed, and if it looks like it has some consequence, do we have a systematic approach to developing something that can deal with it?
Dr. MARK. Let me ask three people to talk about that. First Dr. Parker, then Colonel Spencer and then Dr. Alexander. What I want her to wind up with is the notion that you might make substancesvaccines, whatever you want to call themthat would be effective against a number of different things on a selective basis, because that is really the goal, so that you do not have to know what hits you in the beginning.
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Mr. HUNTER. I understand that but I want to also have the answer to the question, are we taking each substance as it comes up and either categorizing it in a group in which one antidote can handle a number of them or if it needs specific attention, do we have a systematic method of analyzing this stuff and developing a protection against it?
And incidentally, if I have to leave during part of these answers, do not hold it against me because I have to go do another thing here in the next 10 minutes or so and hopefully the chairman of the full committee or Mr. Saxton or Mr. Thornberry will take over here and run this thing.
Mr. PARKER. Mr. Chairman, we have a very structured approach. We work very closely and continuously with the intelligence community, not only the U.S. intel community but the international community, as well, especially with the Canadians and the British. In fact, we have a memorandum of understanding on chem-bio defense, which is a very effective tool to bring an international understanding and another view.
So we take an identified potential threat agent, we subject it to a medical scientific look from the standpoint of the virulence of the material. Then we look at it from an engineering standpoint. Is it producible? Is it producible in quantity? How difficult is it to weaponize? The dissemination characteristics. How much do you lose when you disseminate it on a battlefield weapon? What is the viability of the material when it in the atmosphere? How long does it live? How does it transport? What are its contamination characteristics?
Then we look at our detection schemes, our protection schemes, and bring any operation elements, as well as the scientific and engineering elements, to determine what are the battlefield implications of a material?
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We go through that whole process, very structured, in order to make a determination of what the military threat is, how to prioritize it. As I said, we bring the operators in who then, if it turns out in the collective judgment to be a real threat, we immediately start the requirements process, which then drives our solution in training doctrine, materiel, leader development and so on. So it is a very structured process.
Mr. HUNTER. But your biotech operation is obviously the heart of this thing, coming up with something that will be an antidote to it; i.e., the shot or the immunity, right?
Mr. PARKER. Very much so, because of the length of time it takes to field a vaccine or an antidote that meets all the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) criteria.
Mr. HUNTER. But do you get this biotech team on the problem very quickly?
Mr. PARKER. Absolutely, at the very, very beginning. The medical community at Fort Deitrich comes in and brings much help from the academic community, as well.
Mr. HUNTER. Okay.
Mr. SPENCER. One additional short comment is we lookas Dr. Alibek mentioned this morning, he used the figure of 52 potential biological agents; then there were 70 and then as many as 100. Although that may be technologically feasible, we also look at the ability to mass-produce and the ability to weaponize. And based upon that, we have developed, through the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a validated threat list.
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We have something called the Joint Vaccine Acquisition Program that we have been fortunate enough that it has been fully funded, to look at developing vaccines to apply to those highest threats that have been validated.
Mr. HUNTER. Excuse me, folks. I have to take off.
Dr. Mark, my brother sends his best regards.
Dr. MARK. Thank you.
Mr. HUNTER. Thanks for putting him in your book. Appreciate it.
Mr. SAXTON [presiding]. Mr. Spencer, had you concluded your thought?
Mr. SPENCER. Yes, sir, I had.
Dr. MARK. Dr. Alexander, please.
Ms. ALEXANDER. The DARPA programwell, finishing up with what Carmen was saying, his program is primarily, 80 percent, by law, is aimed at the validated threat list. The DARPA program is aimed at how do you go against what you have never seen before? And by doing that, we also hope to go after the things that are on the validated threat list.
Page 105 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC There are several things that we are doing. We are looking at, from the therapeutic point of view, we are looking at the ability to find things that are common across many different diseases so that a single therapeutic could go after a lot of different biological warfare agents and it would make it extremely difficult to make an antibiotic-resistant version of those bugs.
In addition, we are looking at how to modulate the human response to the disease, upping the good response that helps the body fight the disease, and looking at the deleterious effects. Some of these biological warfare agents actually kill by causing the body to do negative things. So we are looking at the ability to turn down the bad effects, turn up the good effects in the body so the body fights well.
The final thing we are looking at is extremely rapid production of vaccine candidates. You still have the very long process of going through the human clinical trials to get an FDA-licensed vaccine but in a situation where we would face an epidemic that was a disease we had never seen before, it would be the possibility of coming up with candidates in a matter of hours rather than a matter of months.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you.
Mr. Chairman, do you have any questions that you would like to ask?
The CHAIRMAN. No.
Mr. SAXTON. Let me just take this next few minutes to ask a couple of questions.
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Dr. Mark, I believe it was youone of the previous speakers and I believe it was you said words to this effect: ''You need to know more than the other guy.'' Was that you? I think it was.
Dr. MARK. Well, General Cain also, I think, shares that opinion.
Mr. SAXTON. I think we all do.
In 1992 Russia's director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that their Biological Weapons (BW) program had begun in 1946. There is also evidence that perhaps it began as early as sometime in the 1920s. And as Dr. Alibek testified this morning, it is fairly obvious that they have made some substantial gains in terms of their offensive or maybe more properly put, destructive capabilities, which scare the living daylights out of me.
I came across recently a statement by the Honorable John D. Holcomb, director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, which he made a little bit less than three years ago, and I would like to read it because I think it puts a context around this thing that is fairly important.
He said, and bear with me; this is several paragraphs long, ''In recent years,'' he said, ''the international community has made major strides against the threats of nuclear and chemical weapons but we have yet to exploit new opportunities to address more effectively in a legally binding way the threat of biological weapons. It is time the gap was closed.''
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Now he is talking about international politics. He is not talking about the scientific things that you folks do, but he still makes a very important point.
''Biological weapons are immensely destructive. In the right environment they can multiply and so self-perpetuate. And they can naturally mutate, frustrating protective measures. Chemical weapons, for all their horrors, became less lethal as they were dispersed and diluted, but even the tiniest quantities of disease organisms can be lethal. For example, botulism toxin can be described as 3 million times more potent than chemical nerve agent seran.''
Now I am not a scientist and I do not know this stuff but it sounds pretty serious to me.
''And these are truly loathsome instruments of war and of terror. Anthrax, for instance, takes three excruciating days to destroy the membranes of the lungs and intestines. Botulism toxin annihilates by slow asphyxiation as the cells of the victim's breathing muscles die from within. Small wonder that the international community,'' he continued, ''has placed such organisms out of bounds even in combat.''
Now those are the things that get my attention about this issue and I agree with you that we need to know more than the other guy, but I am not sure that we do.
Would you speak to that? The Russians have been involved with 50,000 to 70,000 people, according to Dr. Alibek, since 1946 at their own admission, but others think it may have been 1920, have developed some large number of strains of destructive organisms that can be weaponized, at least some large number of them. Are we really ahead of the curve?
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Dr. MARK. Mr. Chairman, I made a general statement about the capability of the United States to stay ahead of the curve and to apply what we know, and I think several of our panel members said the same thing.
Let me turn to my colleague Dr. Johnson-Winegar to answer the question specifically with regard to the biological situation.
Ms. JOHNSON-WINEGAR. Thank you, Dr. Mark.
Yes, I would agree with many of the statements that you just read in that the diversity of problems that we face with biological weapons is much greater than that with chemical weapons, not only on the specific lethality of some of thosethe botulism toxin that you mentioned, which is orders of magnitude more deadly than the chemical agentsbut also the diversity, and as was mentioned earlier, the possibility of naturally occurring mutants, as well as those that are manmade. That clearly increases the scope of the problem. That does not necessarily make it an insurmountable problem.
I think that what we have to do is to continue to leverage the knowledge base that exists in the United States, as Dr. Mark pointed out, which is far and away the best in the world, and to bring to bear those resources to help us face this problem.
I certainly think it is a well known fact that the research and development that has been conducted within the scope of the DOD program has been small in comparison to many of the other programs. I think that that is beginning to change as more and more public interest is focussed on biological warfare defense and certainly the increased attention within the department itself has brought us to a point where I believe that we are making substantial progress in this area.
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I think we have to take it one step at a time. While we are developing specific vaccines for some of the known agents, I would agree with Dr. Alexander's comment that we are also engaged in research to look at more generic, nonspecific types of things so that closely related organisms may lead us to a multivalent vaccine that can protect against more than one, once we can identify a common epitope or a common antigen, across a family of related organisms.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you.
We are going to try to conclude because we have another hearing following this one, but just let me ask a couple of final questions.
There have been a number of diseases, biological organisms that have been mentioned here today. I am just interested to know if we have protection, any kind of vaccine or any kind of protection against some of these. How about plague? Can we protect ourselves against plague?
Ms. JOHNSON-WINEGAR. Yes, we have a vaccine that is available against plague.
Mr. SAXTON. Is it used by the military?
Ms. JOHNSON-WINEGAR. It is a licensed vaccine. It is not routinely used.
Page 110 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SAXTON. How about Marburg?
Ms. JOHNSON-WINEGAR. No, we have no vaccine for Marburg.
Mr. SAXTON. Glanders?
Ms. JOHNSON-WINEGAR. No.
Mr. SAXTON. Tuberculosis?
Ms. JOHNSON-WINEGAR. No.
Mr. SAXTON. Ebola?
Ms. JOHNSON-WINEGAR. No.
Mr. SAXTON. Quite a ways to go, haven't we?
Ms. JOHNSON-WINEGAR. Yes.
Mr. SAXTON. Final question. I share your enthusiasm for your work, all of you, Dr. Mark. We are really gladwe are very grateful that you are doing what you are doing.
What can we do to be helpful? I assume that additional resources would be helpful.
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Dr. MARK. Mr. Chairman, that always is helpful and I would like to, if I may, take this opportunity to make another statement, to thank this committee because we have a joint program here where everybody in the Defense Department is involved. I think this is truly an example where a bipartisan large majority of this committee is with us and I just want to extend my thanks to all of you for listening to us, for helping us. And that goes across the boardMr. Sisisky, Mr. Skelton.
Mr. SAXTON. We are very appreciative of the work that you do. We know of Dr. Alexander's work and I know we are all appreciative of that.
One thing that you could do to help us is when the Administration submits its budget to us, a request would be very helpful in terms of what you really need. We sometimes get the feeling that perhaps your request is tempered by some forces coming from somewhere.
This is a very serious issue, as I know you know and as I hope you hope we know, and we want to be helpful and we find it much easier to be helpful if, when the budget requests come in for your research and for your work, if the numbers are what you really think you can use to do the best possible job.
Dr. MARK. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. SAXTON. I think we are going to pass on other questions. I think we have agreement on that. So thank you all for coming and we are going to adjourn this hearing and begin the next one. The hearing is adjourned.
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[Whereupon, at 2:32 p.m., the subcommittees were adjourned.]
A P P E N D I X
October 20, 1999
[The Appendix is pending.]