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Congressman James A.Traficant, Jr.
Ranking Democratic Member

Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations and Emergency


Hearing on Preparedness Against Terrorist Attacks
June 9, 1999

I would like to begin by thanking Chairwoman Fowler for calling this very important and timely hearing on the state of domestic preparedness against terrorist attacks involving nuclear, chemical or biological weapons. Today, we shall hear from witnesses who will address federal programs that train and support State and local emergency response officials.

Many of you are familiar with my interest in improving the security of federal buildings. The bombings of the World Trade Center in 1993 and the Murrah Federal Building in 1995 certainly raised serious concerns about domestic vulnerability to terrorist attacks. What many people do not know is that there was only one contract security guard on duty, who was responsible for three federal buildings the day of the bombing in Oklahoma city. My bill, H.R. 809 will make long-overdue changes to the Federal Protective Service, the agency responsible for securing more than 8,300 federal buildings across the country.

To address concerns about the increase in the availability of
weapons of mass destruction (WMD), Congress passed the
Defense Against Weapons of Mass Destruction Act of 1996
(Nunn-Lugar-Domenici or NLD Act). The bill instructed the
Department of Defense (DOD) to enhance domestic preparedness
for responding to terrorist use of WMD. The NDL Act mandates
that DOD provide training and expert advice to emergency
response personnel and lend equipment to State and locals. This
program is called the Domestic Preparedness Program (DPP)
began in 1998 and is approximately half completed.

Six months after the NLD Act was enacted Congress passed the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996. It directed the Attorney General in consultation with the Director of FEMA, to make grants to provide specialized training and equipment to enhance metropolitan fire and emergency service capabilities. FEMA is the lead federal agency in dealing with the consequences of a terrorist attack.

Unfortunately, with what appears to be a limited amount of

consultation and coordination between these federal agencies, the



Department of Defense initiated its DPP program by setting-up training and related programs all over the country. Also, during the same time period, FEMA and the several other Federal agencies set-up similar training and WMD programs nationwide.

Initially, some of these federal WMD preparedness programs were fragmented and mostly independent of one another. Some have felt that this lead to the duplication of training, duplication of response teams, and confusion among State and local officials.

Clearly, adding to the confusion was not the goal of any of these programs. As a response to the criticism by State and local officials that the federal training programs and other assistance were not well coordinated, the U.S. Attorney General is establishing within the FBI a new office called the National Domestic Preparedness Office (NDPO).

The NDPO is set-up to be a "one-stop-shop" in an effort to alleviate and reduce confusion while providing assistance to State and local officials. The NDPO will be the single point of contact for State and local officials requesting terrorist related information

and assistance while providing a forum for federal interagency coordination.

Although the NDPO is a valuable asset, the office may not have the adequate authority to rationalize the various independent programs. Additionally, it does not have the authority to eliminate duplicative programs. This hearing may provide us with the opportunity to explore the possibility of providing the NDPO with the authority it needs to truly eliminate confusion while providing quality assistance to State and local officials.

Madame Chairwoman, we must ensure that Federal, State and local officials are well prepared to combat terrorism and that we provide the NDPO with the necessary tools to ensure that we are prepared to effectively respond to terrorist use of weapons of mass destruction. If we do not, we may increase our risk of not being adequately prepared for a terrorist attack and that is not acceptable.

I welcome the witnesses and look forward to hearing their testimony.


106-1 Hearing: Preparediness Against T

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