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Virginia at the Pentagon-fire, police, rescue, emergency servicesand the need for them to be enabled to do that work.
A second then would be to follow with the National Guard, and basically a homeland organization of the people from the community that people are used to seeing, if in fact that becomes necessary to put in military people, together of course with specialty units from the regular military, but to bring in the regular military only as a last resort and at the end. We believe that this is the proper way to preserve the structure and feeling of the American people towards the potential response and not to overreact by too much of the use, or too quickly, the use of the military.
We will be focusing our attention on health and medical issues, a serious concern about the potential for a bioterrorism attack. We recommended the national pharmaceutical stockpile usage, we are recommending that it be exercised. We focused our attention on the potential for our national laboratories to be prepared for bioterrorist attack and vaccine strategy.
On critical infrastructure, there are lot of concerns about this that we will bring forward to the Congress on December 15th, particularly issues regarding Federal reimbursement for any types of costs that are incurred by States, localities, private sector, for improvements to infrastructure.
There is concern because there needs to be constant interoperability of communications, particularly telecommunications. I would point out the issues that are before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) right now and before the Committees of the Congress regarding spectrum and the ability to distribute that spectrum in such a way as to enhance inter operability_Federal, State, and local.
And, in addition to that, we are focusing a great deal of attention on the fact that most of the critical infrastructure is in private hands and that electrical companies, water companies—critical, focusing infrastructure if there is a major attack—will need to be able to interoperably communicate as well.
These are concerns that we are bringing forward, including agroterrorism and the need to be prepared to maintain the food supply chain in the case of a major attack.
Mr. Chairman, the second issue that I would bring forward today is the one that the Committee has asked us to specifically address, the types of equipment needed, and policies and procedures and interoperability of entities and common training requirements. It goes to the essential issue that we still have to answer, Mr. Chairman, as a nation, and that is, what is readiness? Until we define what that is and we understand the level of risk that inevitably we must run, only then can we begin to focus our attention on what is necessary to reduce that risk to a minimum while maintaining our civil liberties. That is the principal policy goal that the Congress and the administration will need to reach towards.
How do we best set our priorities? Mr. Chairman, it is not possible to buy everything that people want to sell to the government. Everybody is coming forward with systems; some work and some don't. But most do work and most do enhance sécurity, but it will be impossible to do everything. So we have to define what the pri
orities are and what we have to do by way of preparing and purchasing in homeland security.
The second point which you have addressed and which we believe needs to be addressed is the issue of national standards. There will be a need for the new Department working hand in hand with the two branches of government to set national standards on how to train, equip, and plan for and coordinate responses.
We have been in communication of course with the Office of Homeland Security. We are aware of the excellent work that they are doing. And my friend, Tom Ridge, from your home State is ably heading up the Office of Homeland Security. We would point out that in our previous report in 2000, we suggested that there needed to be a clear set of priorities for research and development and training. We believe that the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy should aid in setting these types of standards. We believe that local responders reported then and continue today to report that equipment that they purchased doesn't meet specifications that may be useful for interoperability in an overall national strategy; and without national direction on this and setting national standards, we still may end up with people showing up at the sites with very able equipment that can't work together or talk to each other. And that is the simple reality until these kinds of standards are set.
We have to continue to plan for interoperability and long-term research and training. National standards is a key in this matter. Nationwide compatibility, dual and multipurpose applications, all these things have to be taken into consideration.
In closing, Mr. Chairman, these functions that we recommend now are both two years old and still need to be performed and more urgently than ever, but we still have a long way to go to achieve any coherence in standards and testing, particularly for first responder equipment and communications capability. And Mr. Chairman, as you have led this topic over the years, you have pointed this out, the locals are going to be the responders, and that is the reality in a nation as large as this and as diverse as this. It is still the case that the standards that we are seeing today are only what the vendors say are the capabilities of their wares, and that is it. And this is a serious concern and will require congressional and administration leadership to do this.
We recognize the efforts of the Inter Agency Board (IAB) for Equipment Standardization and interoperability, and the National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory, which is in your home State, Mr. Chairman, and the Technical Support Working Group. These are good efforts that are under way, but they won't be enough at the level of current resources.
In short, Mr. Chairman, we strongly urge this leadership in preparation and prioritization of standards. And all of this can be done, Mr. Chairman. All of this can be done. We can make all these policies and do this organization, and we can set all this and we can do it consistent with the Commission's overarching concern on the impact of any legal policy or process changes that we see on our civil rights and civil liberties. These can exist side by side, and we are confident, with the leadership of this administration and this committee, that that will be achieved.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Gilmore can be found in the Appendix on page 33.]
Mr. WELDON. Thank you, Governor, for your excellent statement and your work. It is—sometimes in this city we do the right thing, and in this case, we did the right thing back in 1998 when we put language in to create this Commission with bipartisan support. And we were able to get the best of the country on the Commission, and you alluded to your friend and my friend, Ray Downey, who was one of the original commissioners. I was there with him in the 1993 attack on the Trade Center in New York. And, unfortunately, in spite of his national reputation for helping to sound the call of the recommendations you are making—he was the chief of all rescue operations for the New York City Fire Department on September 11th, as we all know, and he was the one that was directing the bulk of those 343 fire fighters that were killed.
But his contributions as a member of the Commission will be forever remembered and, I think, further indicate the seriousness of this issue. Because here was a guy on the Commission who was telling us before September 11, we are not doing things as aggressively as we should be.
Unfortunately, the country wasn't totally listening. We had been lulled unto a false sense of complacency that there were no threats to our security, everything was okay. And back when you issued your first two documents, even though this committee was paying attention and attempting to respond, the bulk of America was not, because we had been led to believe that we would not have this kind of attack.
And so I applaud you, because the work of you and your commissioners before September 11, was telling us what we should be looking for, what the appropriate threat assessment mechanism should be, and how we could best prepare; and you, being the governor, understanding how we needed to relate down to the State and local level, that it couldn't all be coming from Washington.
And your issue involving data fusion, I don't think there is anything more critical, as far as I am concerned, because if you can see the emerging threat before it arrives here, you can deal with it. And so, as the chairman of this subcommittee which oversees $100 billion of Federal spending. We can buy all the tanks and ships and planes we want, but I think a far better investment besides these platforms is to make sure that we understand that threat when it arises.
And I only say, before I yield to my colleagues for questions, what is so frustrating to me was, back in 1997 when I took a delegation of 11 of our colleagues to Vienna to negotiate with five Russian leaders a framework to end the Kosovo War, and I knew the Russians were bringing a guy who was very close to Milosevic-his name was Dragomir Karic. So I called the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), George Tenet, and I said, Can you give me some information about Karic? And he came back about two or three hours later and gave me a couple of sentences saying they thought he was tied in with the Russian Mafia.
Without telling anyone, I went to the Army's Information Dominance Center down in Fort Belvoir. At that time, this committee was plussing up funding for our Information Dominance Centers
for each of the services; and the Information Dominance Center for the Army was down at Fort Belvoir, and I was intrigued by them, because they were going one step beyond just doing information dominance, and they were looking at how to do the use of data mining to understand emerging threats.
And I asked them to give me a profile of Karic, and they gave me eight pages. They gave me eight pages of information about this guy. They told me that he and his brothers owned Milosevic, that they owned the banking system, that the banking system had tried to sell a missile from Russia to Yugoslavia, that the banking system had been involved in a $4 billion German bond scam, that the wives of the Karic brothers were best of friends with Milosevic's wife, that the Karic brothers actually owned the house that Milosevic lived in that we bombed.
And the sad case is that when I came back home, Mr. Governor and Chairman, I was contacted by both the FBI and the CIA separately, and they asked me to have a debrief with them. This is in 1997. I said, Sure, what's the topic? They said, What you know about Dragomir Karic and his ties to Milosevic. And I said, No problem.
On a Monday afternoon, I had four agents in my office, including a counterintelligence officer for the CIA. They brought with them four pages of questions and asked me as a Member of Congress. And I asked them, Why are you asking all this? And they said, Because we have been tasked by the State Department to brief our negotiator on how to end the Kosovo War.
And I told them everything I had learned, all eight pages of information that I had gotten about Karic. And when I got done, I said, Do you know where I got my information from? Oh, yeah, you got it from the Russians. I said, No. You got it from Karic. I said, No. Before I left, I called the Army's Information Dominance Center, and they gave me eight pages. And the CIA and the FBI said, What is the Army's Information Dominance Center?
Our Federal agencies weren't even aware of the capabilities our military had in understanding someone who could have helped us and did help us in the war in Kosovo. And that is why data fusion and data mining and the creation of a national operations center became so personal for me.
You picked up on this. You have been a tireless advocate, and I applaud you. My only frustration is that the recommendations of the Gilmore Commission have by far outshined any other commission in this city, long before September 11. You weren't Sunday morning quarterbacks; you were out front. And yet the national media has not paid, in my opinion, the appropriate attention to the reports that you have issued, and we want to help you do that. So, by being here today, I think we can properly applaud you for the work that you have done. We could ask you some tough questions about what additional things we should be doing, but most importantly, we should thank you. And we thank the RAND Corporation for the staff support they provided, and look forward to another year of your work in helping us stand up this new Department and, perhaps equally important, consolidate the authorization and oversight of the monies that go to homeland security.
With that, I will turn to one of our top advocates in this body on the issue of homeland security. He constantly has made the case that we have not focused our attention on the right threats, and he as much as any other Member was the leading advocate to make sure that every State in America has a proper response team in place which became a part of our defense bill.
He was the one who championed this, understanding that local
FROM MISSISSIPPI, RANKING MEMBER, MILITARY PRO-
Let me first apologize for the absence of my fellow Democrats. As you probably know, the leadership elections are occurring right now in the Democratic organizational meeting, so I apologize for their absence. But you might look on your side for some possible defectors, because a lot of your guys are missing also. I don't know where they are.
Mr. WELDON. The same place.
Governor Gilmore, one of the things that came to my attention quite by accident was the total lack of preparedness equipmentwise by many of our local communities. I had the fire chief of New Orleans come to see me on something dealing with Amtrak, and I had the opportunity to ask him how many chem-bio suits that large city of over a million had, and I think his answer was 18.
Since then, I have contacted most of the cities in my district and was absolutely shocked at how few suits there are available, how few suits are available at local hospitals. Has anyone got-and, again, has anyone got a comprehensive list of what is available through our communities and what would be available for resource sharing should there be a smallpox outbreak, which immediately comes to mind as something that would be very doable by a potential adversary?
Governor GILMORE. Mr. Taylor, that is a very managerial type of question, and I appreciate its being asked. That reflects a mind that believes that you need to go to work to actually inventory, to determine what exists and what is needed. From the point of view—and we applaud that.
From our Commission's point of view, what is essential is the establishment of a national strategy where we begin to develop a focus on what the more likely threats are and then what the best possible procedure and planning is that should be put into place to meet those potential threats.
So if, for example, we conclude that bioterrorism is a very serious, likely threat, then we believe that the new Department should in fact begin to develop the planning and to set the standards so that the suit that might be used—first of all, you have to decide whether suits are the best possible expenditure and how many you need, and then begin to do the planning for that and develop a funding mechanism in conjunction with the Federal, State, and local authorities to be in a position to purchase that.