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November 15, 2002

James S. Gimore, Ill

L. Paul Bremer

To Our Readers:

George Foresman

Michael Freeman

William Garrison

Ellen M. Gordon

We are now past the first anniversary of the tragic attacks of September 11, 2001, and the subsequent anthrax attacks in the fall of last year. In those intervening months, we have seen some important changes in law dealing with terrorism, most notably at the Federal level the USA PATRIOT Act of 2002. With the publication in July of the first National Strategy for Homeland Security, we now have an initial, focused approach for dealing with terrorism inside the United States.

James Greenleaf

William Jenaway

Wiliam Dallas Jones

Paul M Maniscalco

John O. Marsh, Jr.

Kathleen O Brien

Federal, State and local agencies, as well as key segments of the private sector, have improved planning and enhanced response capabilities for terrorist attacks. Yet, much remains to be done. Congress has, for example, not completed action on legislation to create a new Department of Homeland Security. It will apparently take up that issue as a matter of priority during the “lame duck" session that began this week.

M. Patricia Quinlisk

Patrick Ralston

Wiliam Reno

Joseph Samuels, Jr.

Kenneth Shine

Alan D. Vickery

With that in mind, I am pleased to provide, on behalf of the Advisory Panel, certain advance recommendations that will be contained in the Fourth Annual Report of the Advisory Panel to Assess Domestic Response Capabilities for Terrorism Involving Weapons of Mass Destruction, entitled IV. Implementing the National Strategy. We are releasing these recommendations in advance in the hope that they will assist in informing the current Congressional and public debate.

Hubert Williams

John Hathaway
U.S. Department of
Defense Representative

Michael Wermuth
RAND Executive
Project Director

The Fourth Annual Report will include more detailed information on the Panels findings as well as background information and explanations that inform the recommendations in this document. It will also contain major policy recommendations in each of the following areas:

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In addition, that report will contain an update of the comprehensive threat assessment contained in the Panel's First Annual Report, as well as a set of recommendations on the nature and sources of the resources necessary to fund the national efforts to combat terrorism.

That Fourth Annual Report will be delivered to the President and the Congress by 15 December 2002.

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In its enabling legislation, the Congress required the Advisory Panel to Assess Domestic Response Capabilities for Terrorism Involving Weapons of Mass Destruction to submit five separate reports to the President and the Congress-on December 15 in each of the years 1999 through 2003.

At its regular quarterly meeting held on September 12 and 13, and at a special meeting held on September 30, 2002, the Advisory Panel adopted certain recommendations for its Fourth Annual Report to the President and the Congress. The recommendations set forth in this document are the principal recommendations that will be included in that report in a chapter entitled “Strategy and Structure.” A “lame duck” session of the current session of Congress will apparently resume consideration of Senate and House bills to create a new Department of Homeland Security. The panel decided to publish this interim document to assist in informing the current Congressional and public debate, specifically on those issues that are reflected in this document.

Full copies of the Advisory Panel's Annual Reports, as well as copies of minutes of all Advisory Panel meetings, its enabling legislation, its current membership, and related information are available online at http://www.rand.org/nsrd/terrpanel, or in hard copy by written request to:

1200 South Hayes Street
Arlington, Virginia 22202-5050


Intelligence Collection, Analysis, and Dissemination

Dealing with the Terrorists Among Us

It is now clear, from contemporaneous reports and recent arrests, that potential terrorists are inside the United States. Many of them may have received training in foreign camps. They may seek to carry out attacks against U.S. citizens and property. This new aspect of the terrorist threat requires a new approach in two key areas:

• The need for a focused and comprehensive analysis of threats of potential

attacks inside the United States; and
• The need to address the gaps in collecting intelligence on foreign

terrorists threats inside this country

The U.S. government's organization reflects an artificial distinction between “foreign" and "domestic” terrorist threats. The new threat environment, where those distinctions are increasingly blurred, requires a more robust and focused approach to all aspects of intelligence - collection, analysis and dissemination - whether it is collected at home or abroad. And this must be done in a way that respects American civil rights and liberties.

The CIA, FBI, other members of the Intelligence Community, and the proposed Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will all have roles for intelligence-related functions. DHS will have responsibility only for vulnerability assessments for critical infrastructure protection, as well as for providing nationwide alerts. As things now stand, the FBI and CIA will each continue to have its own domain for terrorism intelligence with only marginal direct coordination between those entities, and no direct, formal relationship with the proposed DHS. Yet, large, multi-mission agencies like the FBI and the CIA are incapable of changing direction quickly enough, and should not be tasked further, to respond to current dangers. There is a risk of duplication, overlap, and bureaucratic "stovepiping” in this vital area. So a consolidation of certain activities is required.

Recommendation: That the President direct the establishment of a National
Counter Terrorism Center (NCTC)

That entity should be a “stand-alone" organization outside of the FBI, CIA, or the proposed DHS. The objective is to consolidate in one entity the analysis of foreigncollected and domestically-collected intelligence and information on international terrorists and terrorist organizations threatening attacks against the United States. This would be accomplished by permanently transferring (not “detailing”) analysts currently performing those functions within the CIA (i.e., the core analytic capability within the CIA's Counter Terrorism Center), the FBI (the newly-expanded analytical section), other appropriate

members of the Intelligence Community, representation from DHS (when formed), and supplementing with new hires as necessary.

The NCTC should be an Independent Agency of the Federal Executive Branch, similar to the standing of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, NASA, or the General Services Administration. The new entity should be a full member of the U.S. Intelligence Community. The agency head should be appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the U.S. Senate.

Advantages and Disadvantages of an Independent Agency

The members of the Advisory Panel discussed at length whether the NCTC should be placed within an existing department or agency or within the proposed Department of Homeland Security.

The panel discounted its placement in the Central Intelligence Agency for legal, policy, perception, and cultural reasons. The panel discussed and rejected the notion that this entity could be part of the FBI or an agency within the Department of Justice. Panel members felt that such placement would cause the entity to have too much law enforcement focus-building cases for prosecution-rather than detection and prevention.

The panel considered the prospect of placing the entity in the proposed Department of Homeland Security (DHS). While many panel members agree that such placement is a viable option, that alternative was eventually rejected for several reasons. First and most important, DHS will not be the only "customer" of the products of the NCTC. Other key Federal entities--notably the Department of Justice and its agencies, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Defense, the Department of State, and the Department of Agriculture will all require significant intelligence products from the NCTC. States, localities, and elements of the private sector will all be considerable consumers of NCTC products. Moreover, it would be viewed by other Federal agencies as being more responsive to DHS activities and priorities at the expense of other agencies' requirements. As a DHS entity, the NCTC would have to compete for resources with other DHS functions.

The panel concluded that a stand-alone entity, with its own funding, would be more likely to set priorities for its activities more objectively-an "honest broker" for competing requirements—and would not be viewed as tied to any single agency's mission.

The disadvantage to a stand-alone agency is that may simply create more bureaucracy. That argument will be neither more nor less valid than the suggestion that DHS will create new bureaucracy. Moving existing resources and responsibilities from the FBI and from other entities in the Intelligence Community will minimize any real growth of government. The advantages gained in this structure outweigh any such impact, in the panel's view.

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