Page images






Oberstar, Hon. James L., of Minnesota
Terry, Hon. Lee, of Nebraska
Traficant, Hon. James A., Jr., of Ohio




Chart, Spending on Preparing for and Responding to Terrorist Acts
Cragin, Charles L., Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense (Reserve Affairs),

U.S. Department of Defense, responses to questions
Light, Catherine H., Director, Office of National Security Affairs, Federal

Emergency Management Agency, responses to questions
Martinez, Barbara Y., Deputy Director, National Domestic Preparedness Of-

fice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Department of Justice, responses
to questions





Wednesday, June 9, 1999


EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure WASHINGTON, D.C. The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 2:08 p.m., in room 2253, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Tillie K. Fowler (chairwoman of the subcommittee) presiding.

Mrs. FOWLER. Would the meeting please come to order. I want to thank all of you for being here this afternoon and we are going to have an interesting hearing. Today, our subcommittee is going to examine the Federal Government's programs that are designed to assist State and local emergency officials in preparing for a terrorist attack involving nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons.

The efficiency and effectiveness of Federal preparedness programs are not abstract issues if you receive a call that your child's school is being evacuated and you count on firemen, police, and paramedics to save and protect your child before you can get there.

If you are confronted by the news of a huge explosion downtown, as one of our witnesses today has been, at your husband or wife's office, the last thing you need to worry about is whether the firemen or police are prepared to deal with that situation. We all automatically assume that they are prepared. Unfortunately, when you're faced with a weapon of mass destruction, not all first responders are ready today.

The Congress recognized this some years ago and has passed a number of laws and appropriated funds to bring Federal resources to bear on this problem. A large number of agencies have gotten involved in this effort and are experiencing dramatic increases in funding. For an example, this chart that's over here—and I don't know how well you can see it, but you might want to take a little look at it later-shows how the budgets of just three agencies, the FBI, Health and Human Services, and the Office of Justice programs have increased. That's a pretty dramatic increase in funding levels.


[blocks in formation]

The President's fiscal year 2000 budget request of $10 billion for unclassified programs combating terrorism is a $3 billion increase over fiscal year 1999 and a 43 percent increase over what was spent in 1996. Most of this increase has gone to the Department of Defense.

We're about to hear witnesses testify that there are serious problems in these Federal programs. These are not problems of quality. Federal agencies should be commended for assembling world-class training programs and response personnel. The problem is that there are a multitude of fragmented and independent Federal programs that are confusing the very local emergency officials that they are intended to help.

Witnesses will tell us that training and response teams appear unnecessarily redundant and inefficient. As one local official rhetorically asked after participating in yet another Federal anti-terrorism program"how many ways can you bake the same chicken?" These problems have been brewing out there for some time and thanks to the efforts of Representatives Chris Shays and Ike Skelton they are being brought to light.

The Administration is also aware of these problems and has created a new office in the Department of Justice to try and address some of them. We believe this is a step in the right direction. But I will tell you that I share the view of some of our witnesses that the ability of this new office to rein in diverse entrepreneurial Federal programs seems extremely limited. I have strong doubts that simply getting everyone in the same room to talk will make all these problems go away.

I also question why FEMA, who is the lead agency for Federal preparedness and response activities, is not assuming a stronger leadership role. Since this subcommittee has both oversight and legislative authority over Federal emergency management issues, we are uniquely situated to identify and legislate on these problems. We will be taking a closer look at these issues today and in the coming months.

State and local governments deserve the best support that we can give them. We need to make sure that these resources are translated into the best trained, best equipped and best supported fire, medical, and law enforcement officers in the world. And this should not be true in just Washington D.C. or Los Angeles or New York, but anywhere in the United States where we may face a weapon of mass destruction.

I look forward to hearing the testimony from all of our witnesses and working together on achieving this goal. I would like now to turn to my ranking member and good friend, Mr. Traficant, for his opening statement.

Mr. TRAFICANT. Thank you, Madam Chairwoman, and I congratulate you for calling this hearing on the state of the domestic preparedness against terrorist attack involving nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons. I'm going to deviate a little bit from my prepared text, Madam Chairwoman, because later today or tomorrow I will have an amendment on the House floor.

The amendment is very straightforward. It would allow the use of military personnel on our borders to ensure that we might be able to stop penetration of terrorist threats and narcotics.

« PreviousContinue »