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gotten upwind of your stadium, an appropriate distance where he could do so, and is spraying a substance. No one quite knows what it is, but they know it is pretty unusual for a guy to be spraying on Saturday afternoon upstream, upwind from the football stadium.
What would your response have been, and what sort of things do you think any governor would need to respond to that?
Governor GILMORE. Congressman, you have put your finger directly upon the essence of the challenge that we face today as a nation, and that is that the attack by the enemy is limited only by their imagination in terms of planning and targeting, and then of course their implementation. The September 11 attacks were a carefully-thought-through, long-term planned military operation, secretly-done surprise attack.
In a sophisticated and a free society such as ours, it is impossible to predict everything. So you have to ask the question, what do we do then? That is really what you are asking: What would we do in a case of a stadium attack, something of that nature? And the answer is that we have to put these systems into place that create the best likelihood of anticipating what the enemy is doing, or picking up information as to what the enemy is doing. NSA, of course, has that capability. CIA can hear things overseas. Domestic intelligence organizations can hear things locally. They must be in a position to share this information with each other and then with the proper authorities.
What would happen on a football stadium on a Saturday afternoon? There will be no Federal law enforcement officers there, Congressman.
Mr. TAYLOR. I am aware of that, Governor. So walk me through what legal authority you as the Governor of Virginia would have had to say, quarantine that area, confine those people so that if, in the case of something that is contagious, that they don't return home to their hometowns and infect other people.
Walk me through what you could do under existing law and which you feel like you should be able to do under a more ideal situation.
Governor GILMORE. An excellent question. I don't know that Virginia is necessarily the perfect example. Before
Mr. TAYLOR. But you will admit, Virginia has got a number of high-value targets.
Governor GILMORE. Oh, yeah. And we have a statute in place that is incredibly broad for the authority of the Governor.
Prior to the attack, when I became involved under the auspices of this Committee, we certainly went to work trying to anticipate what might happen in our State. And it is only an example of what all 50 States would do. But the Governors go to work, I believe, to establish these types of procedures into place.
The direct answer to your question is, the Governor of Virginia has virtual plenary authority to do anything necessary under an emergency type of situation like that. Actually, I am not sure it is constitutional, but that is the law, and we could do virtually anything that we had to do under emergency power. The challenge that we face as a nation is to apply these rules and regulations in
such a way as to make sure that we don't go into a virtual martiallaw type of status at the first possible threat or difficulty.
The answer of course would be that you would utilize your law enforcement authorities together with your fire and rescue and emergency responders, hopefully with the appropriate equipment necessary to be able to evaluate the situation; to be in a position to get your hospitals ready for a surge of that kind of capacity: the ability to have plans and procedures in place in advance and understood by the community, so that you are not creating a panic situation; and to be in a position to respond to an attack like that.
But the challenge is less that. The challenge is that it could happen anywhere, at any time, under any scenario; and, therefore, systems must be set up into place. And, if an attack like that was going to occur, we sure want to know if either the Bureau has picked up some notice of it somewhere, or the CIA has picked up some notice of it somewhere; they should know from each other, and they should tell the Governor, and we should be in a position to tell all those local responders in that community.
Mr. TAYLOR. Mr. Chairman, thank you for indulging me.
And Governor, welcome. It is a pleasure to have my Governor, the past Governor from my State here today. And you and Roxanne are great people, and I appreciated having you as our Governor for four years.
Governor GILMORE. Thank you, Congresswoman.
Mrs. DAVIS OF VIRGINIA. I want to thank you for all your long and dedicated service not just to our State, but to our nation, especially on this Commission. I think you have done a wonderful job, and I am glad to see it continuing.
You have brought up a couple things that prompt me to ask you some questions. One, you talked a little bit about border security. Earlier this year, I had the Congressional Research Service tell me that it would take 10 divisions to of troops to effectively patrol our borders, and as you know, we only have 10 Army divisions; consequently, they are busy doing many other things.
What do you realistically think that we could do to protect our borders?
Governor GILMORE. Congresswoman, we have done several chapters on border types of issues, and we are very concerned about the open and long borders that we have. There will have to be an application of all resources at the Federal, State, and local level. If you just simply concentrate on Federal resources, as you correctly point out, the Federal Government will be overwhelmed very quickly, which means there has to be partnership between the Border Patrol, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), and also the trade organizations, and then of course port authorities and people working at the State level and the local level as well, in a unified approach on how you protect the homeland and these borders.
One of our focuses has been less on infiltration over the mountains or through the woods, if you would, although we have recommended sentry devices in order to protect against a threat like that, but our principal concern has been the amount of legal commerce that goes in and out of this country across these borders every day, particularly the ports. And I know that you represent a port area; and many other Congressmen and Congresswomen, of course, in this body represent people in the ports.
The ports could be very vulnerable. And if they are attacked, a reaction could close ports; and then, of course, that begins to directly affect the economy of this country. We think ports are actually a pressure point, a vulnerability point to the commerce and the well-being of this country; and that means that you have to put in place shippers' programs so that you begin to control some degree of the containers coming in in advance, as opposed to trying to manage it within the port itself, and to add all those personnel into the ports. You have to avoid that by trying to arrange some of this before it ever reaches our homeland. And, of course, there will be important new reforms that will be necessary by INS.
The trick is to get as much information as possible and then to legally exercise the procedures that are in place and add new procedures to add as much control as possible on these wide borders and commerce in the country.
Mrs. DAVIS OF VIRGINIA. Not having read your recommendations, I assume all of that is in the report.
Governor GILMORE. Yes, ma'am. Also, our prior reports discuss much of this, and I will make the border matters directly available to you and any other Members that are particularly concerned about this issue.
Mrs. DAVIS OF VIRGINIA. Thank you, Governor.
question. You mentioned NORTHCOM, and NORTHCOM has been a concern of mine since we have had hearings in this Committee as to its coordination. You know, we have Governor Ridge, who coordinates homeland security. Now we have a new Homeland Security Department, assuming the Senate passes it, and then we have NORTHCOM. And in the hearings they said NORTHCOM would also be responsible for homeland security.
Given the fact that in the past we have not demonstrated that any of our Federal agencies speak to one another, and we are hoping that that will change, and you alluded to it a little in your opening statement, how do you see
see the coordination with NORTHCOM and the Homeland Security Department? Are we going to be, in your opinion, at risk of NORTHCOM thinking someone else is taking care of something, Homeland Security Department thinking NORTHCOM is taking care of it?
Do you see a potential problem there? And, if so, how can we avoid it?
Governor GILMORE. That is a very alert question, and we have been focusing on this for years.
Our very early reports warned that the Department of Defense (DOD) ought never to be the lead Federal agency (LFA) for a response. Our philosophy remains and has remained that you engage a civil Federal organization first in partnership with the States in terms of a potential response and then bring in the Guard and then, finally, the regular military thereafter. This is the best way for a civil society to operate.
Now, we have NORTHCOM, and it is already stood up. It is in place. There is an absolutely essential need for all of the players here to understand what their appropriate roles and sequencing are. I think the danger is less that one group will think the other is taking care of it. I think the greater danger is that everybody will try to take care of it all at once, and then at that point no one will quite understand who is in charge. And we just cannot allow a chaotic situation to emerge where a civilian authority with guns is taking care of this and then a military authority with guns shows up and tries to take care of it and we end up with a very tense situation. The enemy would love to see that type of situation eventuality. So the responsibilities on us as policy leaders is to make sure we all understand everybody's role appropriately.
We actually focused a lot of attention on this with NORTHCOM. When you stand up a four-star general and make him a Combatant Commander, (CINC) and put him in charge of the homeland, you have to think that guy is going to want to respond quickly and effectively because he thinks that is his duty. Well, you have to define that. Otherwise, you run the risk the regular military force of the United States become the first responders. They are probably not trained to do it as well as emergency operations and fire and rescue, and there are inherent dangers within all of this that we think can be avoided.
We have absolute faith and trust in the regular military of this country. We know they are completely and utterly dedicated to the democracy and Republic. But it is our responsibility to make sure that everybody understands their proper roles so that the enemy doesn't stampede us into bad decisions in the middle of a crisis.
Mrs. DAVIS OF VIRGINIA. I hope you will keep pushing that.
Being the wife of a retired firefighter, first responders are pretty important to me. This may not be a question you can answer, but given the fact that I don't think that they have the equipment and the training that they necessarily will need in case of a crisis, do you have any recommendations of appropriate funding for our first responders?
Governor GILMORE. Yes, ma'am. The emphasis of our Commission from the beginning, and remains so today, is to get an organization in place that can provide guidance and leadership at the national level for a national strategy.
A national strategy has been developed. It will have to go through, in our judgment, more iterations of that so that it becomes more detailed. Priorities will need to be set as to what the reality of the threat is. In short, Madam Congresswoman, we need to answer the question: What is readiness for this country?
Total readiness, as we have illuminated in the discussion with Mr. Taylor, is probably not ever going to be something we can achieve, but we can get a reasonable level of readiness, and that has to be defined. It has to be defined by the new Department through rules and regulations, through compliance, and through funding, which then has to be carefully set out so that we are spending money on the right things all the way down to the local level.
Once that is done, I'm confident our police, fire, and rescue will be properly trained and equipped, under proper standards, which must be set at the national level. Once that is done, I believe we will achieve that level of readiness consistent with our civil liberties.
Mrs. DAVIS OF VIRGINIA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman; and thank you, Governor, for being here.
Governor GILMORE. Thank you.
Mr. RYUN (presiding]. Governor, first of all, let me just say thank you for being here today and for your work on this Commission.
I would like to refer back to some earlier Commission reports and some comments you have made today.
In a 1999 and 2000 report, the Commission recommended that Congress should consolidate its authority under one committee. Now I know my research indicates approximately 39 either full committees or subcommittees of jurisdiction. Congressman Weldon and I had a discussion yesterday indicating a greater number. But I think it all highlights the fact that we do not have one committee of authorization. There are those within the Congress that are concerned about that particular process.
I would like you, perhaps, to outline the benefit, if you would, to having one committee, one homeland security committee. The benefits of that.
Governor GILMORE. Yes, Congressman Ryun. I might point out, by the way, that while the Commission has made recommendations continuously on this, I don't want to suggest in this testimony today that our Commission has not been successfully listened to by this body and the administration. It has been. Over the years, we have made 79 recommendations; 64 have been implemented, either in whole or in major part, as was indicated in the formal testimony I presented to this body today. So we think we have made a difference, and we think that we are better off now than we were when we started in 1999 as a nation.
One of those recommendations has been that the Congress itself reform; and I think it is more important now, with a new Department having been established. Not simply a coordinating office, as we recommended, but an entire department. There will now be a lot of rulemaking that is going to be necessary, a lot of regulations, a lot of standards that are going to have to be set; and, ultimately, the priorities will be set for the preparedness of this Nation.
Once that is achieved, then the implementation of that policy, as we all know, requires funding and oversight. And if the authorities who are trying to achieve this task have to appear before, as I think you said, 39 committees, there is grave danger of contradiction, different priorities being set, disorganization, some oversight in one body and another oversight in another committee. And before it is over with, then we don't have the most effective either oversight or appropriations.
We have recommended and continue to recommend a joint committee, or at least a committee in each body of Congress, so that the authorities and the executive that are going to try to implement this will be able to work with one committee and to make sure that it is all properly organized.