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time for the creation of an office in the White House, very similar but not exactly like the
Office of Homeland Security (OHS) headed by my friend Tom Ridge. We called it the
National Office for Combating Terrorism, rather than “Homeland Security.” We would
have placed some very specific responsibilities in that Office and in other entities for the
development of national standards and for processes for research, development, test, and
evaluation (RDT&E) to further the implementation of those standards. Those
recommendations are worth repeating. (To avoid any confusion, the references to the
“National Office” and “Assistant Director” are to the specific construct that we
recommended in 2000, not to anything that currently exists in OHS). We said in 2000:
"Improve Plans for Research, Development, Test and Evaluation for Combating Terrorism
"The national strategy developed by the National Office for Combating Terrorism must contain a clear set of priorities for RDT&E. The program and budget authority of that office must be exerted to ensure effective application of Federal funds devoted to this purpose.
"The White House Office of Science & Technology Policy should play a major role in the effort. We recommend that the Assistant Director for RDT&E and National Standards of the National Office for Combating Terrorism either enter into a formal relationship with OSTP or have appropriate members of the OSTP staff detailed to the National Office for Combating Terrorism on a rotational basis.
"Wide varieties of equipment that have potential application for combating terrorism are available from commercial vendors. Nevertheless, many local responders have told us that some equipment they purchased does not meet the specifications described by the vendor. At present, no viable program is in place for testing and evaluating the effectiveness of equipment for combating terrorism. We recommend that the Assistant Director for RDT&E and National Standards develop equipment testing protocols and continue to explore the prospect of financial support from vendors for equipment live agent test and evaluation, leading to Federal certification.
“We recommend that the Assistant Director for RDT&E and National Standards develop, as part of the national strategy, a comprehensive plan for longrange research for combating terrorism; this should include better coordination among