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SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL SECURITY, VETERANS AFFAIRS, AND INTERNATIONAL

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GOVERNMENTWIDE SPENDING TO COMBAT TERRORISM: GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE VIEWS ON THE PRESIDENT'S ANNUAL REPORT

THURSDAY, MARCH 11, 1999

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,

SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL SECURITY, VETERANS
AFFAIRS, AND INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS,

COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT REFORM,

Washington, DC.

The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 1 pm., in room 2247, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Christopher Shays, (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.

Present: Representatives Shays, Blagojevich and Mica.

Also present: Lawrence J. Halloran, staff director and counsel; Michele Lang, professional staff member; Jonathan Wharton, clerk; Earley Green, minority staff assistant; and David Rapallo, minority counsel.

Mr. SHAYS. I'd like to call this hearing to order.

Events like the World Trade Center bombing and the release of poison gas in a Tokyo subway crystalize our fears and galvanize our determination to confront terrorism. In response to a threat that approaches our shores from many directions in many forms against many potential targets, more than 40 Federal departments, agencies and programs will spend $9.2 billion this year to combat terrorism.

Today we examine those governmentwide efforts to detect, deter, prevent and respond to terrorist attacks, continuing work begun by this subcommittee's previous chairman, Speaker Hastert. We ask how a sprawling and growing anti-terrorism and counter-terrorism program is being coordinated across the notoriously previously bureaucratic barriers.

We ask how priorities are set, how risks are measured and how responses are designed to augment, not duplicate or replace existing local, State and Federal capabilities.

These are not easy questions. By its very nature terrorism is unpredictable, even irrational, and may confound standard methods of risk analysis. For example, current threat assessments conclude conventional weapons, guns and bombs, remain the terrorists most likely choice, but the most unlikely threat, the use of biological or chemical weapons to inflict mass casualties would have the most devastating consequences.

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