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OPENING STATEMENT OF SENATOR CLELAND
Senator CLELAND. Yes, sir. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I thank our panelists, especially our dear former colleagues here.
A W.C. Fields' quote comes to mind that we have got to take the bull by the tail and face the situation. [Laughter.]
I think we have to face the situation that the whole counterterrorism, the homeland defense issue was very much on the back burner, uncoordinated, buried deep in the bowels of the Pentagon and the Justice Department until Tuesday. Now what do we do? Mr. Chairman, I look forward to our panelists as to how we move forward.
I do know that we need to coordinate these more than 40 different offices that deal with homeland defense better. I just wonder how our panelists feel about the President's decision last night, if they embrace that or not. So I am looking forward to our panelists, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman LIEBERMAN. Thank you, Senator Cleland.
Let us go now to Senator Rudman and Senator Hart. I would say, very briefly, that the two of you proved that there are ample opportunities for public service after one leaves the Senate, and the two of you have just done admirably in that regard.
I think I am just going to go without listing your credentials. You are both very respected spokespeople on matters of foreign affairs, defense, and intelligence and have been leaders for a long time. Senator Rudman, we are pleased to hear from you now.
TESTIMONY OF HON. WARREN B. RUDMAN, CO-CHAIR, U.S. COMMISSION ON NATIONAL SECURITY/21ST CENTURY Senator RUDMAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman and Senator Cleland. It is an honor to appear before this Committee which I served on for my entire service in the Senate, sitting in this room. Chairman LIEBERMAN. Welcome home.
Senator RUDMAN. There are many questions that you have, and I am going to try to brief and direct in my answers to summarize on behalf of our commission what we did, and Senator Hart, of course, will do that as well.
A little background. This commission came about after a conversation between former Speaker Newt Gingrich and President William Clinton, in which they commiserated about the fact that there had been no ongoing study of America's national security since 1947, which resulted in massive reorganizations of our entire government. Thus, our commission was established. There has been some misunderstanding, our commission, as opposed to the other commissions, did not start out to study terrorism per se.
This report, which you have seen, covers the entire panoply of the Federal Government security apparatus: State, Treasury, trade, education, intelligence, and law enforcement. The curious thing is that the 14 people-seven Democrats and seven Republicans who worked for over 3 years on this, at the conclusion, unanimously came to the consensus that the single most important issue facing America was how to deal with domestic terrorism. So that is why we are here today. It became Chapter 1 of our report
Our deliberations resulted in something rare in Washington: A consensus amongst 14 people of divergent political views and ideologies who came together on the 50 recommendations that are contained in the report, seven of which deal with what we are talking about here this morning.
We reached a consensus that an attack on the domestic homeland was not a question of if, but a question of when, and we reached the consensus that the Nation was, and is, largely unprepared to respond here at home to such an attack. More important, I believe, is that the commission also reached a consensus on the core elements of a road map to allow the Nation to move forward, and we were unanimous on that score as well.
We proposed and still believe that any solution to this problem must address issues of strategy. It must address issues of Federal, State, and local organization and cooperation, and it must address issues of capacity and cooperation. In general, we said that the United States must replace a fractured ad hoc approach to homeland security with a sustained focused approach, emphasize integration of existing agencies and departments, rather than wholesale invention, and recapitalize our existing assets and capabilities rather than try to create redundancy.
Is this plan ambitious? It is, without question. Is it going to take the patience of the American people? Certainly. Is it going to require a whole new way of thinking about our national security? Absolutely. We believe that given the evidence that we heard-all over the world we heard this evidence the history of our government and the resources available, the best way we could help would be to come up not with a philosophical approach, but with a series of specific recommendations for the Executive and Legislative Branches of government. After all, the charter of this commission, founded by the Congress in 1998, was to give the incoming administration in 2001 and the incoming Congress in 2001 a road map to America's national security. That is what we have tried to do.
The first step, and I will go through a number of steps, is for the President of the United States to declare unequivocally that homeland security is the primary responsibility of our national strategy, not a peripheral responsibility.
Mr. Chairman, I think that happened last night, and I want to just depart from the previous prepared remarks, just to give you a few thoughts on that, which I know you have mentioned, and Senator Cleland has mentioned you would be interested in.
The President has moved quickly to establish an office of homeland security. We do not know yet the details of the office, but would appear to be what is generally called the czar approach. We have had drug czars and others. Why we have ever picked that particular name, I am not sure, but that is the one we tend to use. It is a very good method to bring attention to a recognized problem. Moreover, it is a very good way in time of crisis to encourage improved coordination between disparate agencies which, in normal times, tend to pursue their own bureaucratic purposes.
We applaud the President's initiative and heartily endorse Governor Ridge, who is known to all of us. It is a great choice. For an
lem, we believe the President must move beyond this White House office and establish a major department with homeland security, with a seat at the cabinet table, as its singular mission.
We believe that without budget authority, command authority, accountability, and responsibility to the Congress and to the President, nothing in this government ever works very well, but we applaud this step, and we believe that the Congress and the President can build on it.
The President should propose, and the Congress should agree to create a new National Homeland Security Agency. The nucleus of this agency would be the current Federal Emergency Management Agency, the nucleus. While retaining its 10 regional offices, the new agency would have the responsibility for the nationwide planning and coordination and integration of the various government activities that now involve homeland security. I believe there are about 51 of those activities in various places, and we believe the Director should be a member of the cabinet and a statutory adviser to the National Security Council.
Third, the President should propose, and the Congress should agree, to transfer the Customs Service to the Border Patrol and the Coast Guard to this new agency. This transfer would be for common purpose coordination, not bureaucratic consolidation. Each of these entities would retain their own distinct identities, structures, and internal operating procedures. They would just be located in another cabinet department. If you look at the details of the report, you will see the logic of why those three agencies, in particular, with FEMA are to be in one place.
I want to stress that under our plan, each of these three entities would receive long overdue increases in resources. Let me just summarize that shortly. We were shocked to hear that the Customs Service currently has the capacity to inspect only 1 or 2 percent of all shipments received from overseas and our country. This has to change. We were shocked to learn that the cutter fleet of America's Coast Guard is older than 39 of the 41 world major naval fleets. That has to change.
We were somewhat disappointed to hear the continuing challenges, the horror stories facing the U.S. Border Patrol. Consider this: Each day 1.3 million people cross our borders; 340,000 vehicles cross our borders; and 58,000 containers arrive at America's seaports. These figures are expected to double by 2005.
Mr. Chairman, this is not a case of wanting to create a political carrot to entice people to sign on to a reform proposal. It is a matter of creating the political will to do what we should have done a very long time ago.
Fourth, the President should ensure that the National Intelligence Council include an analysis of homeland security and asymmetric threats, particularly those involving infrastructure and information technology. That portfolio should be assigned full time to a national intelligence officer and the national intelligence estimate, the so-called NIE, should be produced on these threats.
Fifth, the President should propose to Congress the establishment of an Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Security within the Office of Security of Defense and reporting directly to
Joint Forces Command and Joint Task Force for Civil Support be broadened and strengthened. For those who may not be familiar with those two organizations, these commands are DOD's current mechanisms for planning and dealing with homeland attacks.
Sixth, it is time to emphasize the "national" in National Guard. Specifically, the Secretary of Defense, at the President's direction, should make homeland security a primary mission of the National Guard, and the Guard should be organized, properly trained and fully equipped to undertake the mission. However, these requirements, we make clear, should be in addition to, not substitutes for, the current state of readiness for sustained combat overseas. Parenthetically, Mr. Chairman, to use the vernacular of the military, the National Guard is forward deployed in the homeland. It is where we would need it, in time of crisis.
Finally, we recommend, Mr. Chairman, and I say this with some hesitancy, but directness, that the Congress reevaluates its organizational approach to issues of homeland security, counterterrorism and protection of information security. Currently, the Congress has roughly two dozen committees addressing these issues in a very scattershot way. We think there ought to be two select committees, one in the House and one in the Senate, and we believe that the members of those committees ought to be carefully selected for their expertise in foreign policy, defense, intelligence, law enforcement, and appropriations.
Mr. Chairman, as I said, I wanted to keep these remarks brief. Let me just say that many of the commentators in recent days have tended to portray the types of changes that we talk about here this morning as a zero sum game. They argue that doing more here at home means that we will have to do less overseas, that homeland is a code for a retreat to unilateralism or that doing more on defense means less for weapons and missiles.
The commission did not and does not subscribe to that point of view. We firmly believe that an engaged, enlightened, and unilateral foreign policy, and defense policy is still America's first line of defense. America not only has interests in the rest of the world, it has obligations. As we said in the report, to shield America from the world out of fear of terrorism is, in large part, to do the terrorists' work for them, but to continue business as usual is irresponsible.
We think that, ultimately, our challenge is to balance the openness and generosity of the American spirit with the security and well-being of the American people. Essentially, we address the issues that are the hallmarks of homeland security. They are to prevent, to protect, and to respond.
As someone who has had the privilege to serve this country on both the field of battle and in the halls of this Capitol, I implore you to take action on the recommendations of these panels that sit before you today. You have an obligation and a duty to the American people to do no less.
Chairman LIEBERMAN. Thank you, Senator Rudman, for that excellent statement. I appreciate it very much.
TESTIMONY OF HON. GARY HART,1 CO-CHAIR, U.S. COMMISSION ON NATIONAL SECURITY/21ST CENTURY Senator HART. Mr. Chairman, thank you and Members of the Committee for holding these hearings and for the opportunity for us to appear here.
"Americans will become increasingly vulnerable to hostile attack on our homeland, and our military superiority will not entirely protect us. Americans will likely die on American soil, possibly in large numbers." This was our first conclusion of our commission after almost a year of investigation of what we called the "New World Coming," which we described in our first public report. That conclusion was delivered September 15, 1999, almost exactly 2 years to the day before our prediction came true.
“The United States is today very poorly organized to design and implement any comprehensive strategy to protect the homeland," our commission also concluded in its final public report on January 31, 2001. Eight months later, regrettably, that same assessment is true. In light of the dark, satanic events of last week, further delay in creating an effective national homeland defense capacity would be nothing less than a massive breach of the public trust and an act of national folly.
As Senator Rudman has pointed out, our commission was appointed to conduct the most comprehensive review of U.S. national security since 1947. The commissions of that era, post-World War II, pre-Cold War, ended in creating a statutory base for the conduct of the Cold War and created, among other things, the Department of Defense, the Central Intelligence Agency, the U.S. Air Force, and a massive overhaul of this Nation's defense structures.
Those of us on this commission represent almost 300-personyears of public service, almost all of that in the field of national security and foreign policy. As Senator Rudman has pointed out, although we debated issues such as the structure of a homeland defense agency at great length, in the final analysis we were all unanimous.
Senator Rudman has more than adequately summarized the seven conclusions that relate specifically to the creation of what President Bush fortuitously last night called a new Homeland Security Office. What we are really here now to discuss, that decision by the executive having been made, is what the nature of that office or agency should be.
As Senator Rudman has pointed out, we particularly called attention to the role of Congress in this effort and would do so again today. The events of the last 10 days-and the President's speech last night-have presented to the Congress both an opportunity and an obligation to help the President put form, structure, and content on what was essentially a two-line commitment.
We believe this should be a statutory agency. We believe this agency should have budget authority. We believe it should consolidate, under one authority, one civilian authority who has the accountability to the President and the American people for homeland security.