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of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict, Depart-
Dalich, Michael J., Chief of Staff, Office of Justice Programs, Department
Hastert, Hon. Dennis J., a Representative in Congress from the State
Johnson, Larry C., Berg Associates, former Deputy Director, Office of
AND STATUS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF DEDOMESTIC PREPAREDNESS PRO
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 2, 1998
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL SECURITY, INTERNATIONAL
AFFAIRS, AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE,
COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT REFORM AND OVERSIGHT,
The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:07 a.m., in room 2154, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Mark E. Souder (acting chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Present: Representatives Hastert, Souder, and Barrett.
Staff present: Robert B. Charles, staff director/chief counsel; Michele Lang, special counsel; Andrew Richardson, professional staff member; Amy Davenport, clerk; and Michael Yaeger and David Rapallo, minority counsels.
Mr. SOUDER. Good morning. The subcommittee on National Security, International Affairs, and Criminal Justice will come to order. In light of the perceived increase in the probability of a terrorist attack on American soil involving weapons of mass destruction, today the subcommittee will examine several aspects of the Department of Defense Domestic Preparedness Program. Commonly referred to as the Nunn-Lugar-Domenici plan, it is designed to prepare local government authorities, such as police, fire, and emergency services personnel for a terrorist incident involving a chemical, biological, or nuclear weapon.
Although the program is run primarily through the Defense Department, many other departments, notably Justice and Health and Human Services, have important roles to play in preparing our Nation for the consequences of a terrorist incident.
The Domestic Preparedness Program has matured to the point where we can fairly evaluate its performance, and we have many concerns regarding the manor in which this program is being implemented. Issues such as the criteria for choosing cities which are to receive Federal aid, the apparent duplication in training and equipment loans, the sustaining of equipment once delivered, and the lack of a valid threat and risk assessment demand closer scrutiny.
Regarding this last point, the subcommittee took corrective action this year. The subcommittee maintains that implementation of
this program should be closely linked to a valid threat and risk assessments.
We worked with the House National Security Committee on this year's defense authorization bill to include language required in the Department of Justice to perform such assessments. This requirement is now in title XIV of the Defense Conference Report which has passed both the House and the Senate. As we continue our examination of this program, we may decide that further legislative action is necessary to correct other deficiencies.
I now yield to Mr. Hastert, the subcommittee chairman for a statement.
[The prepared statement of Hon. Dennis J. Hastert follows:]
BENJAMIN A GILMAN, NEW YORK
J. DENIS MASTERT ILLINOIS
- CONSTANCE A MORELLA. MARYLAND
"HRISTOPHER SHAYS CONNECTICUT
STEVEN C. LATOURETTE. OHIO
MARSHALL MARK SANFORD, SOUTH CAROLINA
JOHN E. SUNUNU. NEW HAMPSHIRE
PETE SESSIONS. TEXAS
MICHAEL PAPPAS. NEW JERSEY
VINCE SNOWBARGER. KANSAS
BOB BARR. GEORGIA
DAN MILLER FLORIDA
RON LEWIS. KENTUCKY
Good morning. I want to thank the Vice Chairman for chairing this hearing. We are here today to examine another aspect of U.S. efforts to combat terrorism. Our focus today is on the domestic response to terrorism, which I believe is very timely given the events that have occurred during the last few months.
To say that this issue "hits home" would be an understatement. Experts disagree on the severity of the terrorist threat in the U.S., and some believe it is remote. However, it has been the opinion of Congress that a terrorist attack involving a weapon of mass destruction has the potential to be so devastating that we must be fully prepared to respond. As Members of the oversight committee, we have the important responsibility of determining whether or not the Domestic Preparedness Program will adequately prepare local fire, police, and emergency service personnel for such a terrible scenario.
This examination of the Domestic Preparedness Program is part of a Subcommittee review of all Federal government terrorism-related programs. As part of this investigation, we requested extensive information from the executive branch regarding these programs. I would like to thank those departments and agencies that have been timely with their submissions, which are currently under review by Subcommittee staff.
Thank you Mr. Souder.