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Preparing to meet the threat of a terrorist attack here at home, local public safety and health care officials today face a confusing array of federal programs and agencies offering expertise, training and equipment.
In 1995, the president designated the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as the lead federal agency for consequence management, the measures needed to protect life, restore essential services and provide emergency relief, after a terrorism event involving conventional, biological or chemical weapons of mass destruction. At the same time, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), part of the Department of Justice (DOJ), was directed to lead crisis management, the measures needed to prevent or punish acts of terrorism.
In 1996, Congress directed the Department of Defense (DoD) to provide consequence management training and equipment to cities through what is now known as the Domestic Preparedness Program, while also authorizing FEMA and DOJ to enhance the response capabilities of local police and fire departments.
So the proposed transfer of the Domestic Preparedness Program from the Department of Defense to the Department of Justice offers the promise of "one stop shopping" for state and local first responders, but raises key questions that should be addressed before an act of terrorism puts that promise to the test.
Statement of Rep. Christopher Shays
The central question: Does the consolidation of domestic preparedness programs in DoJ ignore the clear, necessary distinction between crisis management and consequence management reflected in the president's original lead agency designations? Will FEMA be able to assert a primary role in consequence management once the bulk of federal training and equipment funds are coming from Justice? How will DoJ resolve inevitable conflicts between the law enforcement imperative to maintain the integrity of a crime scene, and the equally compelling need to mitigate consequences by evacuating and decontaminating the same area, when they are responsible for both?
These are not abstract policy questions. When. not if, terrorists strike within our borders again, federal support will be indispensable to an effective local response. Unless that federal effort is properly structured and targeted, local planning may be inadequate, local preparations may be haphazard, and critical assets may be misallocated. More than 40 national departments and agencies have responsibilities in the fight against domestic terrorism. Unless their roles are thoughtfully sorted out now, uncoordinated federal assistance could, like the Keystone Cops of silent films, only serve to confuse and confound local response operations.
Our witnesses today represent the key departments and agencies involved in the proposed consolidation and transfer of domestic preparedness activities: DoJ, DoD and FEMA. We appreciate their testimony today, and look forward to their continued cooperation in the Subcommittee's oversight of federal anti- and counter-terrorism programs.
Mr. SHAYS. At this time I would call our witnesses, the Honorable Charles L. Cragin, Acting Assistant Secretary for Reserve Affairs, Department of Defense; Mr. Andy Mitchell, Deputy Director, Office for State and Local Domestic Preparedness Support, Office of Justice Programs, Department of Justice; Mrs. Barbara Ý. Martinez, Deputy Director, National Domestic Preparedness Office, Federal Emergency Management Agency; Ms. Catherine Light, Director, Office of National Security Affairs, Federal Emergency Management Agency. In place of Mr. Lacy Smith, we have Bruce P. Baughman, who is the Director of Operations and Plans, Federal Emergency Management Agency.
What I'm going to do, as you know we swear in all of our witnesses. If there is anyone that is going to accompany you, Mr. Cragin, Mr. Mitchell, Mrs. Martinez, or Ms. Light, if you think you would call on to actually say something, I would ask them to stand, and we will swear them in as well in case they would be called upon to speak.
If you would rise, and if there is anyone that you would suggest that might, if you would raise your right hands, please.
Mr. SHAYS. Note for the record all five have responded in the affirmative, and it's very nice to have all of you here. Mr. Cragin, it's nice to have you here, and I would ask you to open up this hearing. Thank you.
STATEMENT OF CHARLES L. CRAGIN, ACTING ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR RESERVE AFFAIRS, DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Mr. CRAGIN. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate the opportunity to speak with you today about this very, very important issue.
Let me briefly summarize the history and status of the DOD Domestic Preparedness Program as well as our plans for transitioning leadership responsibility for the program to the Department of Justice.
The Domestic Preparedness Program, as you observed, was established to implement the provisions of the Defense Against Weapons of Mass Destruction Act of 1996. DOD was designated as the interagency lead to carry out a program to provide civilian personnel in Federal, State and local agencies with the training and expert advice regarding responses to a use or threatened use of a weapon of mass destruction.
In 1997, DOD began providing training and expert assistance for the Nation's 120 largest cities. A listing of those cities and the status of their training is included as an attachment to my statement for the record. To date 58 cities have participated in the training, and more than 15,700 first responder trainers have been trained. My Federal interagency counterparts participated in the initial development of the training approach for this program, and they continue to participate in the program's execution today. The training approach for this program involves initial visits to selected cities to plan and customize the training; a week of "train the trainer" training for local first responder, HAZMAT, firefighter and law enforcement and emergency medical service personnel; tabletop and functional hands-on exercises using chemical and biological sce
narios to further reinforce this training; and a training equipment package which is loaned to each city for their subsequent training
Although I have oversight responsibility for this program, the U.S. Army's Soldier and Biological Chemical Command and the Director of Military Support serve as DOD's principal agents for executing this training program. The program is accomplished largely through contracts with certified professional instructors and subject matter experts in the areas of nuclear, radiological, chemical and biological medicine; public health; law enforcement; and emergency response.
The enabling legislation for this program requires DOD to plan and coordinate an annual Federal, State and local exercise to improve the integration of Federal, State and local response assets during a WMD response. The fiscal year 1999 exercise will be held in New York City in September and involves a biological scenario. Other components of the Domestic Preparedness Program provide direct support and assistance to the first responder community. These include the Improved Response Program and the Expert Assistance Program.
The law requires that the Department annually use the lessons learned from program execution to revise or update the program to ensure the training is effective, that it is technically up-to-date and is responsive to user requirements. While the Improved Response Program helps to prevent technical obsolescence, responder feedback from the execution of training and exercises associated with this program has profoundly influenced the training focus.
Without exception, the No. 1 request of first responders has been to identify a single Federal agency to lead the training and equipping of first responders. As you observed in your opening statement and in their words, they seek the ease, convenience and predictability of one-stop shopping at the Federal level.
Last summer, in an effort to respond to President Clinton's direction to work more collaboratively and aggressively to combat terrorism, Deputy Secretary of Defense Hamre, Attorney General Reno, FEMA Director Witt, FBI Deputy Director Bryant and Director Clarke from the NSC met to discuss the feasibility of accomplishing that objective. The result was an agreement in principal that the Department of Justice would assume lead Federal agency responsibility for the WMD Domestic Preparedness Program.
Since that time the Department of Defense and Department of Justice have been formulating and negotiating the terms of an interagency agreement to transfer lead responsibility for the WMD Domestic Preparedness Program from DOD to DOJ beginning in October of the year 2000. Although our negotiations are not yet concluded, we are moving toward finalizing that agreement. DOD will retain responsibility for the city training and equipping program until the end of fiscal year 2000, at which time DOJ will honor the commitment to train the remainder of the originally designated 120 cities. Beginning in fiscal year 2000, DOJ will coordinate with DOD during city training planning visits and will provide training equipment grants to cities trained by DOD in fiscal year 2000.
The transition will occur in stages to accommodating existing budgets and program plans. Checks and balances are built into the staged approach to the transition. DOJ will coordinate with DOD throughout fiscal year 2000 and will participate in joint planning as articulated in the finalized Memorandum of Understanding which we hope to complete in early summer.
DOD's focus beginning in fiscal year 2001 will be to continue to enhance the readiness of its WMD response units as well as installation responders. DOJ will focus on the domestic preparedness of State and local responders. As a result both Departments will contribute funding to benefit from the lessons learned from the Improved Response Program beginning in fiscal year 2001. Joint planning will be conducted through a multiagency task force to coordinate improvements needed not only for State and local response, but also for DOD's military WMD response elements.
Beginning in fiscal year 2001, the Department of Justice will assume full responsibility for managing and funding the first responder hotline, the helpline, and the Internet Web site. DOD will continue to fund and maintain the data base of WMD-related chemical-biological information and the equipment testing program as these program elements are integral to satisfying the DOD mission. DOJ will coordinate with DOD in joint planning efforts so that the State and local responder communities will continue to benefit from these Expert Assistance Programs.
DOD will also continue to maintain at least one domestic terrorism rapid response team capable of aiding Federal, State, and local officials in the detection, neutralization, containment, dismantlement and disposal of WMD chem-bio materials as was required by the Nunn-Lugar-Domenici law. In fiscal year 1999 a chemical-biological rapid response team as well as 10 rapid assessment and initial detection teams were established to meet that requirement. In fiscal year 2000, DOD has requested the funding to support the establishment of an additional five RAID teams.
The Department of Defense will continue to support the Department of Justice both during the transition and following its completion. The continued partnership for WMD preparation among local, State and Federal authorities is mandatory for our success. The recently enacted fiscal year 1999 Emergency Supplemental Appropriation Act has made that point very clear. Title III of the act acknowledges the new leadership role of the Department of Justice in combating terrorism and the need to actively engage the 54 States and territories in the development of a national WMD preparedness strategy.
The act requires that a fully coordinated final NDPO, that is the National Domestic Preparedness Office, blueprint outlining the specific roles and involvement of all Federal, State and local NDPO participants be submitted to Congress within the next few weeks. The NDPO must develop a plan for consulting with the States and developing and implementing a national strategy for domestic preparedness that builds on the existing all-hazard emergency management capabilities.
Among other things, Mr. Chairman, the act requires the Attorney General to request that each State Governor designate a lead State agency or other entity to develop a comprehensive State-level