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agency whose role is essentially just to look at domestic terrorism. You cannot do it. You cannot cut it that way any more. And as our report pointed out, it is very important to get a seamless connection between intelligence collected by various agencies overseas and intelligence collected in the United States.

A second point I would make is we look very hard at the necessary attributes for the office, whatever the office is, whether it is the one that the distinguished gentleman on Rudman-Hart proposed or one we did or what the President came up with.

First of all, I agree with you, Mr. Chairman. I think it should be established by statute. I think it is important for two reasons. It is important for the political reason that the Congress should embrace whatever the new reorganization is going to be. Second, it is important because of the overriding importance that both of our panels stressed on budget.

We looked at the attributes of what a new office should have, and in my view came up with four. The new office should have political accountability; that is to say, the person in charge should be appointed and given the advice and consent of the Senate. He should be responsible to the American people through the Senate. We said that should also be at the cabinet level, which is the second attribute. The person in charge of this office should have access and visibility.

Third, that office must have budgetary authority, as both of our panels have stressed. In our view, it is important for this office to have an ability to design a national strategy and then to certify whether various departments of the U.S. Government programs are consistent with the President's strategy, and when they are not, to decertify those budget requests as, indeed, has been the case with the Office of National Drug Control for the last decade.

Finally, it is important, we thought, for that office to have a certain degree of autonomy and neutrality, not to be seen as an active member of the bureaucratic fights which are so familiar to all of us here inside the Beltway. These fights are almost a necessary part of life in Washington, but in this particular case we thought you need to rise above it.

The final point I would make, Senator, is a political point, even though I am not a politician. I have followed this subject now, on and off, for almost 30 years. It is the case that over those 30 years attention to terrorism has been very episodic. In the wake of a terrorist attack, as we are now, there is a lot of attention. There are congressional hearings. There is a lot of stuff on television. There are interviews and articles. After a couple of months in the past, that attention span has gone away. The spotlight moves on to some other subject.

One of the problems this country has had in coming up with a coherent counter-terrorist policy is precisely that we do not get sustained attention in a balanced way to this problem. I would urge this Committee and your colleagues in both Houses of Congress to work now with the administration and all of us in trying to keep a sustained attention. It does not mean we need hysteria. We do not need hysteria. As the President said last night, we need to get back to work. We need to show again the great, wonderful resil

tion to this problem that is going to outlive the immediate emotions of this week.

Thank you.

Chairman LIEBERMAN. Thanks, Ambassador Bremer. That was very helpful testimony.

I think the last point you made is a critically important one about the attention to terrorism having been episodic over recent decades. When we talk now about a war on terrorism and talk as the President so eloquently did last night about this being a long, sustained struggle, that is what we are talking about.

Part of the problem is the elusive nature of the enemy here. It is not as if we can say at any point, well, we have won one battle, but the enemy is still occupying Country A, and the war is not over until it ends. They blend into the darkness, the shadows. But if we are not persistent and do not break the episodic response, we will lower our guard again and once again be victims of attack. So I think your last point is a very important one, and it is part of why a permanent agency, however we decide to shape it, is critically important.

Mr. BREMER. People ask how do you define victory? What is our goal? It seems to me our goal is to delegitimize terrorism. We will not, as you point out, ever capture all of the terrorists, but we can delegitimize the practice, and that is our goal.

Chairman LIEBERMAN. Thanks very much.

Our final witness today is David Walker, Comptroller General of the United States, head of the General Accounting Office. He and his extraordinary staff are a constant source of good counsel for this Committee and Congress, generally, in making the government more efficient.

Welcome, again, Mr. Walker. Thanks for your testimony.


Mr. WALKER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate the opportunity to be here today to discuss a framework for possibly addressing the need to enhance homeland security.

As Senator Thompson said, GAO's past and present strategic plan includesa number of key themes, one of which has been the changing nature of the security threats that this Nation faces in a post-Cold War environment.

We have issued over 65 reports dealing with homeland securityrelated issues during the past 6 years, and we have issued three in the last 3 days, including this report, which is entitled combatting terrorism, selected challenges, and related recommendations. I might also add, for the record, that of the reports that we recently issued, we let the administration know about them at least 6 weeks ago and had an opportunity to be able to relook at them to consider classification and other factors before we released them this week, and we will continue to do that.

According to a variety of U.S. intelligence assessments, the United States now confronts a range of increasingly diffuse threats that puts greater destructive power in the hands of small States,

groups, and individuals, and threatens our values and way of life. GAO's work indicates that we face a range of challenges in this area that will have to involve many Federal agencies, as well as State and local governments, the private sector, and even private citizens. The Federal Government must address three fundamental needs.

First, the government needs clearly defined and effective leadership with clear vision to develop and implement a homeland security strategy in coordination with all relevant partners, both foreign and domestic, and the ability to marshal the necessary resources to get the job done;

Second, a national homeland security strategy should be developed based upon a comprehensive assessment of national threats and risks; and,

Third, a large number of organizations will need to be involved in addressing homeland security. They need to have clearly articulated roles, responsibilities, and accountability mechanisms in order to get the job done.

Crafting a strategy for homeland security involves reducing the risk, where possible; assessing the Nation's vulnerabilities; and identifying the critical infrastructure most in need of protection. To be comprehensive, the strategy should include steps to use intelligence assets and other means to identify attackers and prevent attacks before they occur, harden potential targets to minimize the damage from an attack, and effectively manage the consequences of the incident.

In addition, the strategy should focus resources on the areas of greatest need and measure performance against specified goals and objectives. Because the plan will need to be executed nationally, the Federal Government can assign roles to Federal agencies once the strategy is developed, but also will need to develop coordinated partnerships with State and local governments, as well as with private and not-for-profit entities.

Effective homeland security will require forming international partnerships to identify attackers, prevent attacks and retaliate if there are attacks. It will also require efforts by both the Executive and Legislative Branches of the Federal Government.

As I mentioned, Mr. Chairman, just yesterday we issued this report which discusses challenges confronting policy makers on the war on terrorism and offers a series of recommendations. One of these recommendations is that the government needs a more clearly defined and effective leadership to develop a strategy for combatting terrorism and assuring the security of our homeland, to oversee development of a new national threat and risk assessment, and to coordinate implementation among Federal agencies.

Similar leadership is also needed for the broader issue of homeland security. President Bush, as has been noted, announced the creation of a new cabinet-level office of homeland security and the nomination of Governor Tom Ridge to head that office. Important details have not been provided. It is important to understand what the nature and extent of this office will be, what control it will have over resources, what responsibilities it will have with regard to the determination and the implementation of the strategy,

will be a term appointment, and there are a variety of questions that we believe are important that the Congress needs to ask in order to make sure that, in substance, this can be an effective approach.

I think the fact of the matter is that whether we end up having a particular vertical silo or a department agency deal with this or whether you take a horizontal approach because we believe this is a horizontal issue, you will never be able to combine all of the different entities that are going to have to address this issue. In fact, as has been mentioned, there has not been a recommendation to combine the military elements, the law-enforcement elements, the intelligence elements, and certain other elements.

Therefore you need to consider whether or not there should be some combination, but in any event, there is going to have to be coordination across a number of boundaries, across a number of silos, both foreign and domestic, not just at the Federal Government level, but also State and local, the not-for-profit and the private sector because, after all, the private sector owns a lot of the critical infrastructure that is exposed.

The United States does not currently have a national threat and risk-assessment mechanism to guide Federal programs for homeland security. Given the tragic events of Tuesday, September 11, a comprehensive national threat and risk assessment that addresses all threats has become an urgent need.

In addition, as this report notes, neither the Executive Branch nor the Congress is well-organized to address this issue.

In my statement, Mr. Chairman, I summarize a number of areas where GAO has done work relating to these issues, combatting terrorism, aviation security, cyber security, international crime control, public health, a variety of areas.

Finally, let me note that we believe that there are four key questions that need to be addressed in connection with this issue, as noted on this chart:1 (1) What are our vision and our national objectives to make the homeland more secure? (2) What essential elements should comprise the government's strategy for homelansecurity? (3) How should the executive branch and the Congress be organized to address homeland security issues? and (4) How should we assess the effectiveness of any homeland security strategy implementation to address the spectrum of threats?

As you might imagine, Mr. Chairman, homeland security issues are now at the top of the national agenda as a result of last week's tragic events. Obviously, our work has not been able to be updated to reflect all of the actions that the administration has taken in the last 2 weeks. We expect that at some point in time we will be asked to do so. We stand ready to continue to assist this Committee and the Congress in addressing homeland security and a range of other issues.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Chairman LIEBERMAN. Thank you, Mr. Walker. Thank you all for your very direct and relevant testimony.

Again, I want to express my regrets that the other Members of the Committee are not here, and I know it is because both parties

have chosen to hold caucuses this morning, so hopefully as they end, they will be here. But for better or worse, I have a lot of questions that I want to ask all of you, and I am sure my colleagues will review the record.

Let me begin, before we get to the discussion about which is the appropriate response structure for the Congress to choose, to ask you to talk just a bit more about what we mean by "homeland defense." And I am just going to throw something out and ask you all to put some more leaves on the tree here.

I take it that what we mean is taking efforts to prevent or secure potential targets of terrorist or other enemy attack on the homeland, and then if they, God forbid, occur, to be certain that we are prepared to react quickly and comprehensively in a way that diminishes human suffering. But I wonder if you could just go through this a little bit in terms of what you saw, what you learned and the considerable work you did, to help build a record, but also help inform the public as to what we are actually talking about here when we say "homeland defense."

Senator Rudman, you want to begin?

Senator RUDMAN. I will be pleased to. I think probably all of us would agree on this at this panel. We have all determined that there are major threats out there. We define the threats as weapons of mass destruction, and we specifically referred to weapons of mass disruption, which is what we saw on September 11.

We must look at the three things with which the government has to organize itself in order to deal with that. One is to prevent, if possible. The second is to protect. And the third is to respond. And that is a Federal, State, local responsibility, particularly the response. Obviously, the most important one, in terms if you could make it work, would be the prevention.

But I can tell you, having served, as you know, for many years on the Senate Intelligence Committee, having chaired the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board for a long time, I have to tell you, Senator Lieberman, and I wish more people would be saying it, we should not let the American people think that intelligence, no matter how good, is ever going to be good enough to prevent all of these things from happening.

Historically, intelligence agencies throughout the world, going back to the late 1800's, are very good at assessing capabilities and threats. They have been very poor at figuring out people's intentions. If they were good at figuring out intentions, even though they knew what the threat was, we would not have had Pearl Harbor, we would not have had the Battle of the Bulge, and Saddam Hussein would not have got into Kuwait, because we had the basic intelligence. We did not know what the intentions were.

So we talk about prevention, we talk about intelligence, and Ambassador Bremer is quite right, we leave most of those activities where they are now. They should not be transferred. When we talk about prevention, a lot of that is intelligence, but a lot of it has to do with the kind of physical security that we have seen here in Washington over the last few years, and which unfortunately, we will probably be seeing more of around the country. That will be an inconvenience, but I do not think a loss of freedom. It will be

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