« PreviousContinue »
teams was developed. We also reviewed pertinent legislation and funding for the RAID teams. We interviewed officials and reviewed documents from DOD's Consequence Management Program Integration Office, the Army National Guard, Pennsylvania, and the Pennsylvania National Guard to determine design, implementation, and planned use of the RAID teams. We also discussed the RAID team concept and the implementation of that concept with all of the officials listed above.
We conducted our work from July 1998 through March 1999 in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards.
Unless you publicly announce its contents earlier, we plan no further distribution of this report until 30 days from its issue date. At that time, we will send copies of this report to appropriate congressional committees; the Honorable William Cohen, Secretary of Defense; the Honorable Janet Reno, Attorney General; the Honorable Rodney Slater, Secretary of Transportation; the Honorable James Lee Witt, Director, Federal Emergency Management Agency; and the Honorable Carol Browner, Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency. We will make copies available to other interested parties upon request.
If you have any questions about this report, please contact me at (202) 512-5140. Robert Pelletier and Ann Borseth were major contributors to this report.
Mark E. Gebicke
Mark E Zelike
Director, National Security
See comment 1.
While some of the findings and recommendations are useful as we establish RAID teams, many are not because they are based on data, opinions and analysis that preceded the October 17, 1998 congressional direction to create 10 RAID teams. Further, on October 21, 1998, Congress directed the Department to establish 44 RAID (Light) teams, so that all 54 states and territories will have some capability to mitigate the aftereffects of a domestic incident resulting from the use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). As of this writing, personnel for the 10 RAID teams have been hired and are being trained, although the RAID teams will not be operational until certified as ready by the Secretary of Defense.
The GAO's draft report and the views expressed therein are based on the Department's original plans, not on its implementation of the RAID team concept. Moreover, GAO inquiries with individuals from other Federal agencies, the states, and local responder organizations about the role and utility of RAID teams yielded mixed opinions and erroneous perceptions. Individuals interviewed had limited knowledge of DoD plans and of its coordination with representatives from their organizations. The report's statement that the Commonwealth of Virginia sees no need for a RAID team is particularly disconcerting. Virginia Governor James Gilmore is the chairman of the recently established advisory pan on domestic WMD emergency preparedness. He and Senator Warner have written to the Secretary of Defense requesting that a RAID team be established in Virginia. As you know, Senator Warner chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, has been briefed extensively on the Department's role in the national WMD response plan, and is well positioned to know both the value of RAID teams and what is good for Virginia. It is disturbing that GAO's report contains assertions that are so clearly at odds with the facts.