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“Board for Equipment Standardization and InterOperability should be subordinated to the National Office for Combating Terrorism.

“The Federal co-lead agencies should develop certification standards in coordination with appropriate Federal agencies and with advice from State and local response entities, professional organizations that represent response disciplines, and private and quasipublic certifying entities."

Mr. Chairman, those functions that we recommend now almost two years ago

still need to be performed, now obviously more urgently that before. Unfortunately, we

are still a long way from achieving any coherence in standards and testing, especially for

"first responder” equipment and communications capability. It is still the case that the

only “standards” available are what vendors say are the capabilities of their wares. We

continue to need something like an “underwriters laboratory” for a wide variety of

protective equipment and communications. We have before and will again recognize the

efforts of the Interagency Board for Equipment Standardization and InterOperability,

National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (in the Chairman's home state of

Pennsylvania) and the Technical Support Working Group. Those efforts will not,

however, be nearly enough, at least not at the level of current resources.

For training, the panel is encouraged that the majority of Federal training

programs, at least those currently in FEMA and DOJ, will apparently be combined in the

new DHS. Nevertheless, other Federal agencies—EPA, DOE, DOD, DHHS as

examples—will continue to conduct training that will need to conform to a set of national

training standards. That effort has not yet been undertaken, but it should be required on

an urgent basis.


The Advisory Panel will continue to be relentless in pursuing appropriate

solutions to these difficult issues, even if our recommendations are controversial and

cross some “turf' boundaries. We will always—always—consider as an overarching

concern the impact of any legal, policy, or process changes on our civil rights and

liberties. Our Constitution, our laws, our judicial system, our culture, our history all

combine to make our way of life unique in all the world.

Thank you again for this opportunity.


NOVEMBER 14, 2002

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