Page images

Mr. SHAYS. I want to correct the record. Mr. Mitchell, you are next. Mrs. Martinez, you are not from FEMA, you are from the Department of Justice.

Mrs. MARTINEZ. Yes, I am.

Mr. SHAYS. Thank you for your restraint.

Mrs. MARTINEZ. We have a great partnership.

Mr. SHAYS. Anyway, great to have you from the Department of Justice. I was wondering who would represent the Department of Justice here. OK. You are on, Mr. Mitchell.


Mr. MITCHELL. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Congressman Tierney. On behalf of Attorney General Janet Reno, Assistant Attorney General Laurie Robinson, I am pleased to be here today to discuss OJP's programs to enhance the capabilities of State and local first responders to deal with domestic terrorism involving weapons of mass destruction.

Mr. SHAYS. Mr. Mitchell, let me just have you suspend for 1 second to recognize that Mr. Tierney is here. I apologize. I would ask unanimous consent that all members of the subcommittee be permitted to place any opening statement in the record and that the record remain open for 3 days for that purpose. Without objection, so ordered. I ask further unanimous consent that all Members be permitted to include their written statement, too, in the record, and without objection, so ordered. Thank you. I am sorry, Mr. Mitchell. Mr. MITCHELL. No problem. Thank you. In 1998, the Attorney General delegated authority for key facets of DOJ's Domestic Preparedness Program to the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs, who in turn proposed the creation of the Office for State and Local Domestic Preparedness Support to develop and administer critically needed financial and technical support to the Nation's first responders.

Building on experience developed through 30 years of providing public safety and law enforcement support for training and technical assistance to State and local governments, OJP is focusing on five interrelated areas. First, we are conducting a national needs assessment to better help allocate resources and direct our design of training and exercise programs to meet the needs of the first responders as they define those needs.

Second, our office is providing financial assistance to enable State and local jurisdictions to buy much needed equipment. This fiscal year OJP will award $85.5 million to over 200 cities and the 50 States. We just finalized our agreements with appropriation staff yesterday, and we will have information for the committee on how those funds will be distributed early next week.

Third, OJP offers a broad spectrum of training to ensure that State and local emergency response personnel, fire, law enforcement, HAZMAT, EMS, and public officials have the knowledge, skills and abilities to respond safely and effectively to a terrorist incident.

Fourth, OJP will support local-level tabletop and functional exercises for State and local agencies to help identify strengths and weaknesses within their current response plans.

And fifth, we offer a wide range of technical assistance to help transfer knowledge and assist State and local agencies to make critical decisions the domestic preparedness issue requires.

In delivering training and equipment to emergency personnel, OJP will closely coordinate and cooperate with the Department of Justice's National and Domestic Preparedness Office INDPO], as Mr. Cragin has already discussed, which was proposed to coordinate Federal domestic preparedness initiatives and to serve as a single point of contact for first responders for information on Federal preparedness programs. In working with the NDPO, OJP participates in an intergovernmental coordination process that helps all Federal agencies to better focus and coordinate program policy across the Federal Government.

In formulating our plans, OJP in concert with NDPO has made every effort to coordinate existing and planned domestic preparedness programs with those sponsored by other Federal agencies. This coordinated approach helps ensure that our programs are integrated with those efforts and that program funding is maximized to deliver the best training in the most effective manner.

In particular, the intergovernmental coordination has been very significant and effective as the Departments of Defense and Justice are planning to transfer the Nunn-Lugar Domestic Preparedness Program. The Department of Justice is committed to completing the training in the 120 jurisdictions originally identified by DOD. Our two departments are working extremely well with excellent coordination between the agencies, particularly from the staff of the Reserve Affairs Office headed by Mr. Cragin.

I am confident that the program transition will result in a much more robust and comprehensive Federal training program for the Nation's first responders, enabling OJP to integrate our existing training and other domestic preparedness assets with the Domestic Preparedness Program implementation.

The integration will also address legitimate concerns regarding the two programs having different target groups with different mechanisms. As Charlie said, the memorandum of agreement is undergoing final review, and we should hope to have that finalized by this summer.

The training equipment component of Nunn-Lugar is a critical element. OJP will provide grants for this purpose for the 20 cities beginning the training in fiscal year 2000 under DOD's leadership and in subsequent years. This will eliminate confusion and the difficulties inherent with the current equipment loan program. This is another area where OJP's grantmaking authorities and capabilities can enhance the program implementation.

A major element of our program in OJP is the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium. Funding for all five members was provided for the first time in fiscal year 1999 to develop and implement specialized training for first responders. Each of the consortium members, Louisiana State University, Texas A&M University, the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, the Department of Energy's Nevada test site and OJP's Center for Domestic

Preparedness at Fort McClellan, AL, has unique capabilities and expertise that will contribute to more diverse, well-rounded training opportunities for the Nation's first response community and will add significantly to the training opportunities for these responders.

Throughout the development of OJP's programs and under the umbrella of the NDPO and our Federal partners, we have made every effort to keep in close touch with those that we are here to serve, the Nation's first responders. We will work closely with, for example, the National Emergency Management Association, the National Association of Fire Chiefs, and the National Sheriffs Association and other key stakeholder groups. With their help and constant feedback, we will continue to develop and improve our programs so that we can enhance the Nation's ability to deal with events that we all hope will never occur. Thank you, and I will be happy to answer any questions that you may have.

Mr. SHAYS. Thank you, Mr. Mitchell.

[The prepared statement of Mr. Mitchell follows:]

[blocks in formation]

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee. My name is Andy Mitchell and I am the Deputy Director of the Office for State and Local Domestic Preparedness Support (OSLDPS), Office of Justice Programs (OJP). On behalf of the Attorney General Reno and Assistant Attorney General Laurie Robinson, I am pleased to be with you today to discuss our programs that are dedicated to enhancing the capabilities of state and local first responders to deal with the threat of domestic terrorism involving weapons of mass destruction (WMD).


The catastrophic potential from terrorist use of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) is great and the threat is real. The Oklahoma City and World Trade Center Bombings, as well as the Tokyo subway attacks, are vivid reminders that we are all at risk in a changing world. Since the beginning of this year, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has logged approximately one WMD threat a day. The federal government has responded with a number of initiatives, reflecting the sense of the Administration and Congress that America's civilian population is at risk and that communities must have adequately trained and equipped first responders.

The Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs is responsible for the administration of a key facet of the Justice Department's domestic preparedness programs, under a delegation of authority signed by the Attorney General on April 30, 1998. The Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs has proposed creating the Office for State and Local Domestic Preparedness Support (OSLDPS) to deliver financial and technical support to first responder communities across the nation.

Under this initiative, OJP/OSLDPS is pursuing five interrelated areas:

First, OJP/OSLDPS is conducting needs assessments on a national, state, and local level to help

« PreviousContinue »