The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to House Resolution 437 and rule XXIII, the Chair declares the House in the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union for the consideration of the bill, H.R. 3259.
Accordingly the House resolved itself into the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union for the consideration of the bill (H.R. 3259) to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 1997 for intelligence and intelligence -related activities of the United States Government, the Community Management Account, and the Central Intelligence Agency Retirement and Disability System, and for other purposes, with Mr. Dickey in the chair.
The Clerk read the title of the bill.
The CHAIRMAN. Pursuant to the rule, the bill is considered as having been read the first time.
Under the rule, the gentleman from Texas [Mr. Combest] and the gentleman from Washington [Mr. Dicks] will each control 30 minutes.
The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Texas [Mr. Combest].
Mr. COMBEST. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Chairman, I am pleased to bring H.R. 3259, the Intelligence Authorization Act for fiscal year 1997, before my colleagues for consideration and, I trust, approval.
Before I turn to the contents of the bill, I would like to thank the staff of the committee for their hard work. We marked up two bills in 1 week and brought this bill to the floor in half the time that we have taken in the past. None of this would be possible without our staff's diligence and very long hours.
Five short months ago, I spoke on the floor about the conference report for the fiscal year 1996 authorization. I noted at that time that we had been disappointed in the President's budget submission on intelligence for fiscal year 1996 because it did not show the forward thinking and vision I think our intelligence policy needs. Instead of a blueprint, we got a snapshot of 1 year's needs. I also noted that another such submission would not be acceptable. I had been assured by both the Vice President and the Director of Central Intelligence that the fiscal year 1997 intelligence budget would show vision and foresight.
Unfortunately, this has not been the case. The budget we received was more of the same, another status quo budget. To say that we have been disappointed would be an understatement. That is why the committee has made more substantial changes in the intelligence budget than last year. The details of those changes are in the classified annex, which I hope Members have taken the time to read.
Our changes were made only after the most careful consideration. We held 6 full committee hearings, 15 member briefings, and more than 100 staff briefings. I might add that we expect to have further briefings between now and conference on issues that are still undergoing changes.
Overall, this bill increases the amount requested by the President by an additional 3.9 percent. It is money well spent. As always, our ability to talk in detail on this subject is limited, but as many of my colleagues know, U.S. intelligence continues to provide crucial support for sensitive negotiations and for U.S. forces deployed overseas, and in combating terrorism, narcotics, and proliferation.
I would like to spend a few moments highlighting some of the major aspects of this bill.
Our most important intelligence asset is the people who are the intelligence community. Downsizing, more drastic than we had first assumed, has taken its toll and yet we are still faced with the problem of the proper skills mix in each NFIP agency. There are also a number of quality of life issues that are of fundamental importance. I give DCI Deutch full credit for making personnel reform his highest priority issue. Unfortunately, he did not provide the committee with the kinds of detail we require in order for us to commit the sums of money he needs.
Section 403 of our bill denies authorization for the expenditure of funds for personnel reforms until the committee is briefed. Some may argue that we are taking the DCI to task with this provision. We are not. Our colleagues in the other body have no provisions at all in their bill that deal with personnel reform. Section 403 is a good-faith pledge on the part of our committee that we will address this important issue when we have a detailed proposal.
Some of our most important changes to the President's budget are in the National Reconnaissance Program. Last year we began to force the NRO to give more thought to alternative means of intelligence collection, with satellites that are smaller and cheaper, yet no less capable. Many attacked this vision. I am happy to report that it has been confirmed by experts and that we will continue to push the NRO along these lines. We are coming up to a crucial moment of generational change in our satellite systems. Unless we begin planning for that now, we will face a future when we will pay more to know less in a more complex world.
As we did last year, we are limiting the amount of money that can be spent on declassification under President Clinton's Executive Order 12958. We favor more open government. Some of the recent declassifications of such programs as CORONA and VENONA underscore the achievements and importance of intelligence . But we do take exception to having annual expenditures mandated by an Executive order for a program that has yet to prove it can declassify without revealing secrets.
H.R. 3237 helps put us on the path toward the intelligence community we will need in the 21st century. I despair that this President will ever give us the kind of intelligence budget that will move us in the right direction by bold and large steps, rather than hesitant ones. I look forward to the next President doing so, soon. Until then, I know that my colleagues will support this bill so that we can move the intelligence community in a positive direction.
Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. DICKS. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of the legislation now before the House.
I want to begin by commending Chairman Combest for the manner in which he has presided over the committee's activities this year. He has been solicitous of the views of the Democratic members and has sought to address our concerns when he felt it possible to do so. We do not agree on every issue, although we do agree on many, but I have always felt that he was willing to give us the opportunity to make our case, particularly on matters concerning the intelligence budget.
We are, of course, waiting to have a couple of additional hearings, Mr. Chairman, on some of the issues that we discussed in our markup.
At a time when most programs are feeling the effects of a constrained budget environment, H.R. 3259 provides a significant increase--nearly 5 percent over the amount authorized for the current fiscal year and about 6.5 percent over the amount appropriated for fiscal year 1996. While some of this increase is the result of the substantially higher defense budget approved by the House, a major portion reflects decisions by the committee that a number of intelligence systems need to be modernized to respond to future requirements. These improvements to highly complex systems are expensive, but they are necessary if the United States is to retain the world's preeminent intelligence capability--a capability that will be of increasing importance as a source of early warning to policymakers and military commanders in the years ahead. I urge the House not to adopt amendments which would make across-the-board reductions in the authorization level in this bill. While I understand the sincerity of the views which motivate those amendments, I believe they would substantially impair the ability of the intelligence community to make investments in several systems that will be of great value in the future.
In spite of the positive aspects of this bill, committee Democrats have, as we did last year, several fundamental disagreements with the majority over programs administered by the National Reconnaissance Office [NRO]. The bill would terminate or delay a number of programs designed either to address intelligence shortcomings noted in the Persian Gulf war or in other ways to improve the provision of timely support to intelligence customers, particularly the battlefield commander. Military operations, and the sophisticated weapons systems which are used in them, place an increasingly high premium on accurate intelligence .
On March 6 of this year, former Secretary of Defense Harold Brown and former Senator Warren Rudman appeared before the committee in open session to report on the work of a commission they led, and on which I served, to examine the roles and capabilities of U.S. intelligence . At the March 6 hearing, Secretary Brown noted that `if it were not for the existence of the Department of Defense, the intelligence budget would, in my judgment, be maybe 10 percent of what it is.' I agree with Secretary Brown about the priority of military requirements within those assigned to the intelligence community. I further believe that we should proceed very carefully when we decide to alter a satellite architecture which Defense Department officials, both civilian and uniformed, have indicated is essential to ensuring that future military operations can be conducted successfully without unnecessarily endangering American personnel.
Regrettably, the committee has embarked on a course, with respect to NRO programs, which will leave important military intelligence requirements unmet. That is not a good result in a bill which establishes authorization levels that in the aggregate can only be justified on national security grounds. Before we finally endorse decisions which may place at risk the ability of the Department of Defense to fulfill its mission, we need to clearly understand what capabilities we are being asked to forgo and the consequences of those actions. To his credit, Chairman Combest has promised that, before we get to conference on this legislation, hearings will be held on these matters. I hope those sessions will provide a firmer basis than we now have for making judgments in these critical areas.
Mr. Chairman, despite the reservations just expressed, I believe the bill before us is, in balance, a sound one and should be approved. I look forward to working with Mr. Combest to improve it in conference, but I urge its adoption today.
Mr. Chairman, I yield 6 minutes to the gentleman from New Mexico [Mr. Richardson], a distinguished member of our committee.
(Mr. RICHARDSON asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. RICHARDSON. Mr. Chairman, I thank the ranking member for yielding time to me.
Mr. Chairman, let me first express my most heartfelt appreciation to Chairman Combest for his support in allowing me to undertake several initiatives in the intelligence and foreign policy arena. Mr. Combest has been very accommodating since assuming the chairmanship of the Intelligence Committee and I want to commend him for his stewardship.
Second, I would like to congratulate the chairman for crafting a bill in a nonpartisan fashion that catapults our intelligence community into the future armed with the necessary tools to perform an ever changing and diverse mission. In past years, the focus of our intelligence operations and efforts were rightfully targeted predominately at the former Soviet Union. With the demise of the cold war and the splintering into several independent states of the Soviet Union, new and different requirements have been leveled on the intelligence community. No longer can we concentrate solely on issues concerning Soviet force strength and military concept of operations. Today's policy makers need accurate intelligence information on global issues such as proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, narcotics, terrorism and world economies. I am confident that the bill crafted by the chairman and ranking democratic member Norm Dicks, prepares the community to meet the challenges posed by their new missions and requirements.
When Director Deutch testified at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee he stated that his No. 1 priority was to replace an arcane and ancient personnel system with a system that responded to the dynamics of todays working men and women. I am concerned with the committees action in not fully supporting the Director in his personnel initiative and fear the action that the committee has taken is simply not in the best interests of the dedicated men and women of the Central Intelligence Agency. These individuals perform very difficult tasks and it is in large part because of the tireless work they do that Americans across our great Nation are able to sleep peacefully at night without fear of a foreign threat. In the coming weeks I hope that the committee will not lose sight that people are the CIA's most valuable asset and that the necessary funds should be authorized if we are to maintain an intelligence agency second to none in the world. The DCI has put a tremendous amount of thought and work into this effort and we should support the employees of CIA by throwing the weight of this committee and the Congress behind the personnel proposal.
Mr. Chairman, when I was first appointed to serve on this important committee I was struck by the dearth of minorities employed in the intelligence community. The percentages of minorities represented in the various intelligence agencies lagged so far behind the civilian labor force that it was quite frankly embarrassing. Since that time, significant progress has been achieved and I congratulate the directors of intelligence community agencies for their attention to this very important issue. Women and minorities have always been and shall continue to be significant contributors to our society. Their talent, commitment, and patriotism is as evident as anybody's and they should have the same opportunities as any American. I encourage the leaders of the intelligence community to continue to tap into the vast resources of our minority and female population. Additionally, I want to praise Chairman Combest for his commitment in continuing this committee's resolve to discharge our oversight responsibility in this critical area.
Mr. Chairman, throughout my tenure on the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence I have been a constant proponent of covert action. When used properly in support of foreign policy, covert action is an effective weapon in a diplomats arsenal. To ensure our capability to conduct successful covert action activities, an infrastructure must be maintained that will permit the CIA to undertake covert action activities on short notice yet with the necessary support base required for successful operations. I believe that the bill before us today satisfies my concern that such a capability be sustained at an appropriate level. While the need for engaging in covert activities may be minimal today, nobody can predict the future. Therefor, maintaining a prudent infrastructure acts as an insurance policy for our Nation and I am pleased to recognize that our bill provides our citizens with the necessary coverage.
In closing Mr. Chairman, I would like to express one final concern. While I support this bill I am somewhat troubled by the funding level. The measure before us today is 3.9 percent above the administration's request and 4.9 percent over last year's authorized level. In a period of Government downsizing every effort should be made to ensure that no agency is getting more money than it needs. In fact, we in Congress should do everything in our power to ensure that the Federal Government operates on an astute budget. I am fully aware of the importance intelligence plays in our Nation's security and of the argument that as our defense establishment downsizes the role of the intelligence community increases if for no other reason than for indications and warning purposes. However, we must not exempt intelligence agencies from sharing their fair burden in downsizing the Federal Government.
That being said, let me point out that I have full and complete confidence in the chairman and ranking Democratic members ability to formulate an intelligence budget that accurately reflects the needs of our country. I just wanted to raise this issue as a concern of mine because I don't want to send a signal that there is a bottomless reservoir of funds available for intelligence purposes. My concerns about funding levels and commitment to maintaining a lean yet sufficient intelligence budget is in no way reflective of the high regard in which I hold intelligence community personnel. I appreciate the fine work intelligence employees do, the Nation appreciates the duties they perform.
Mr. Chairman, at a later time in this amendment process I will be offering an amendment that I believe makes sense, that is supported by the Nation's journalists and media, that basically states, which is already a policy of the agency, that no intelligence assets will be used with journalists. I will be offering this amendment later. I urge support for this provision.
Again, my thanks to Chairman Combest for his support of my activities and for crafting a good bill, not a perfect bill, but still a bill that deserves our support.
Mr. COMBEST. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 2 minutes to say I appreciate the kind remarks of both the ranking member, Mr. Dicks, and the gentleman from New Mexico, Mr. Richardson. It is a pleasure working with all members of this committee. While we may have some philosophical differences, we, I think as well as any committee, have always tried to make certain that every member was heard.
Let me just make two quick comments, one on the issue of the comments by the gentleman from New Mexico on the overall amount of the budget. I would remind Members that in real numbers this budget is 14 percent below fiscal year 1990 in terms of expenditures.
The issue of personnel, I would just want to state for the record that this committee has always had, No. 1, a keen respect and admiration for the individuals who put their lives on the line and for the intelligence community. We initiated on this committee in the past major personnel reforms. I might add last year we did that, as well, and found both the administration and other committees of the Congress in objection to those, and subsequently those were removed from the bill.
As explained to the Members in the personnel hearing, we will be moving forward on the DCI's recommendations for personnel reform, only wanting to look at those in a much more detailed fashion than we have been able to do up to this point. I would be remiss if I did not indicate we do have great admiration for those people who are involved in the community.
In the area of overall funding, without getting into those areas that make it difficult to discuss, I am sure the gentleman from New Mexico is aware, following a discussion of the National Reconnaissance Organization's carry-forward account last year, which was discussed quite publicly, and even more so recently, there were substantial reductions taken in last year's level. When we compare our this year's bill to the last year's level, we are accommodating a request of the administration to replace some of those funds that were taken out last year, to the tune of several hundreds of millions of dollars and, consequently, that is reflected in the overall.
Mr. Chairman, I yield 5 minutes to the gentleman from Pennsylvania [Mr. Shuster], a very valued member who is in his second term or sentence on the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence , however one might put that, and at one time served as ranking member, who I had the fortune of sitting next to.
Mr. SHUSTER. Mr. Chairman, I thank Chairman Combest for yielding me the time. I certainly rise in strong support of this legislation. This act funds a wide range of extremely important intelligence activities which are vital to our national security.
One of the areas in which I paid particular attention when I did serve as the ranking member of the committee, and have continued to focus on, is the area of illegal drugs coming into this country. Indeed, in 1989 I was very supportive, along with others, in creating the counternarcotics center at the CIA.
Since the creation of that center and in large measure because of the creation of that center, extraordinary successes have been realized in bringing down key elements of the Colombian drug cartel. While the specific examples remain classified, one can say quite positively, forcefully, and enthusiastically that our country and our intelligence community has made very substantial contributions and great successes in weakening the Colombian drug cartel.
Sadly, however, in the last 3 years we have not seen the same robust effort with this administration that we witnessed during President Bush's tenure, when he really revitalized our counternarcotics intelligence programs and announced for the first time a national drug control strategy in August 1989.
Many people do not realize that in America, from 1980 to 1992, our country witnessed a steady decline in drug use. Let me emphasize that. From the beginning of the Reagan administration through the Bush administration, our Nation witnessed a steady decline in drug use. This was in large measure because both President Reagan and President Bush and their administrations were very serious about targeting the drug flow into the United States.
Sadly, since 1993 drugs have once again been on the upsurge. According to Donna Shalala, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, marijuana use in our most vulnerable youth, ages 12 through 17, doubled between 1992 and 1994, and virtually every hard-core user once started as a casual user. It usually starts with marijuana, amphetamines, or other so-called soft drugs that are attractive to our youth.
We indeed need to revitalize at the very top levels of this administration our counterdrug programs, and the dramatic rise in marijuana use is a wake-up call to all of us.
Now, as Chairman Combest and the committee considered what can be done about this problem this year, an important opportunity presented itself, which was the transfer of the National Drug Intelligence Center to the National Foreign Intelligence Program. This drug intelligence center, which was first chartered in 1991, provides strategic intelligence for all sources, including the national foreign intelligence community, collates it and provides information to law enforcement entities to assist their activities in the United States.
They are able to provide critical intelligence to chosen links to foreign narcotics organizations and indeed their arms in the United States. This enables law enforcement here, both DIA, FBI and others, to reach out and strike against narcotics traffickers in the United States as well as those abroad. The Drug Intelligence Center can draw on a pool of highly talented and motivated professionals.
Congressman Jack Murtha deserves tremendous credit for really being the father of this program, and I am very pleased to continue the support of that effort. Moreover, I pledge as a member of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence to ensure that the national foreign intelligence community provides all the support it can to the Drug Intelligence Center consistent with existing law.
For all those reasons, Mr. Chairman, I strongly urge the passage of this legislation.
Mr. DICKS. Mr. Chairman, I yield 5 minutes to the distinguished gentleman from Colorado [Mr. Skaggs], a very valued member of our committee.
Mr. SKAGGS. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding me the time.
Mr. Chairman, first of all, I also want to thank our chairman, who has been very responsive and accommodating, as well as our ranking member, the gentleman from Washington, and the terrific staff that this select committee is privileged to rely on.
I want to support this bill because I believe on balance it does meet vital national security needs. However, I do have some serious concerns about it.
It is obviously essential to support the activities of the intelligence community as we seek to understand and confront a whole range of post-cold-war challenges, whether terrorism or weapons of mass destruction, environmental degradation, many other things. This bill provides budget authority for these important responsibilities. And we should also be under no illusion that, just because the cold war is over, that this country faces no traditional threats to our national security, at which intelligence capabilities need to be directed.
I do have concern about the overall authorization level, as has already been pointed out. It exceeds substantially the amount requested by the President, the amount authorized and the amount appropriated for this fiscal year. In a time of tight budgets, when we are cutting environmental enforcement, education or any number of things, I would have preferred an authorization closer to the President's request. But authorizing more doesn't automatically translate into appropriations.
Mr. Chairman, I have a couple of serious concerns that I would like to address, involving continued support for the declassification of documents, and funding for what is known as the Environmental Intelligence and Applications Program.
The first of these relates to the President's Executive order establishing a uniform system for declassification, safeguarding and handling national security information and the implementation of that order. There are some statements in the committee's report on this bill that criticize the approach being taken under that order and the way reviewing agencies are handling document declassification.
The statements suggest that the majority may be proposing the adoption of an extremely restrictive and, I fear, an extremely slow and expensive, risk elimination approach, rather than a risk management approach, to the handling of declassification. It remains a fact that there are documents that should be declassified, documents that remain classified for no other reason than inertia. Declassifying them should proceed, and I am convinced that this task can be managed at acceptable cost and without compromising sensitive information.
The current risk management approach does not lead to any abdication of agency responsibility to protect sources and methods; it simply is a sensible acknowledgement that resources should be focused in areas of greatest risk. If Congress mandates a system of reviewing documents that is so cumbersome that there is virtually no chance of anything getting declassified, we will be right back where we started before this reform effort got underway.
Mr. Chairman, the second area I would like to speak to has to do with the Environmental Intelligence Applications Program. The bill before the House right now would authorize only $6 million here, significantly below the President's request. I think this is a shortsighted cut and one that I hope can be addressed, either through Mr. Weldon's proposed amendment today or later in conference. Six million dollars is simply not sufficient to carry out the goals of the program.
It would limit the use of intelligence products for environmental research and could jeopardize very important environmental information exchanges with Russia. This program is clearly responsive to the needs of national policymakers. It brings unique information to our understanding of global environmental challenges, and it has provided striking benefits to the intelligence community in improved technical capabilities of their collections systems. It is a low-cost, high-yield effort which is well supported among intelligence consumers, both in and out of intelligence agencies, and it should not be singled out for reduction from among all the analytic efforts of the intelligence community.
I think Congress should continue to support the President's bold initiative to implement a safe and cost-effective means of declassifying documents, and I am also hopeful that we will be able to work in conference, or through the adoption of Mr. Weldon's amendment, to authorize adequate funding for the Environmental Intelligence and Applications Program.
With those points in mind, Mr. Chairman, I urge the passage of the bill.
Mr. Chairman, I support this intelligence authorization bill because I believe that on balance it meets vital national security needs. However, I do have several serious concerns.
It is essential to support the activities of the intelligence community as we seek to understand and confront such post-cold-war challenges as ethnic conflict, terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and global environmental degradation. This bill provides authority for these important functions. We should also be under no illusion that we face no traditional threats to our national security, at which intelligence capabilities need to be directed.
I do have a concern about the overall authorization level. This bill authorizes an intelligence funding 3.9 percent above the amounts requested by the President, 4.9 percent above the amounts authorized last year, and 6.9 percent above the amounts appropriated last year. In a time of tight budgets, when funding for education and the environment is being slashed, I would have preferred an authorization level closer to the President's request. But authorizing more does not automatically mean we will appropriate all that's authorized.
I also have serious concerns about two specific matters: continued support for declassification of documents; and funding for the Environmental Intelligence and Applications Program [EIAP].
My first of these relates to implementation of President Clinton's Executive order that establishes a uniform system to classify, safeguard, and declassify national security information. There are some statements in the committee report on this bill that criticize the risk management approach that Government agencies have adopted in reviewing documents to be declassified under that Executive order. These statements suggest that the majority may be proposing the adoption of an extremely restrictive, and extremely slow and expensive, risk-elimination approach to handle the review of classified documents.
It remains a fact that there are documents that should be declassified, documents that have remained classified for no reason other than inertia. Declassifying them should proceed, and I'm convinced that this task can be managed, at acceptable costs and without compromising sensitive information.
The current risk management philosophy does not lead to an abdication of the agencies' responsibility to protect sources and methods; it is simply a sensible acknowledgement that resources should be focused on areas of greatest risk. If Congress mandates a system of reviewing documents that is so cumbersome that there is virtually no chance of anything getting declassified, we will be right back where we started before efforts began to rationalize the system.
In a democratic and free society, the people are entitled to be informed about the activities of their government. State secrets are a necessary exception to that general principle, but an exception that should be limited.
When I joined the Intelligence Committee in 1993, I was astonished to learn that agency heads couldn't say even roughly how much of their budget was spent on document classification and security. Millions of documents that posed no real threat to national security were nonetheless being held under lock and key at tremendous cost to U.S. taxpayers. Some of the most astonishing examples included documents about U.S. troop movements in Europe during the First World War, and documents concerning POW/MIA's in the Korean war. Despite sweeping changes in the international arena, the classification bureaucracy was still stuck on autopilot, stamping `secret' on nearly 7 million new documents each year and marking 95 percent of these papers for indefinite restrictions.
I decided to do something about this. The result was the first ever accounting of the costs and number of personnel involved in classifying and maintaining Government secrets. These reports revealed that keeping millions and millions of accumulated documents secret was keeping 32,400 workers employed and consuming $2.28 billion worth of agency budgets.
The next year, I took the reform effort one step further, by requiring agencies to come up with suggestions about how to cut spending on classification and secrecy. This initiative led to a government-wide program of cost accounting and expenditure reduction efforts involving all the agencies that make up the intelligence community.
The President consolidated the reform effort with the issuance of Executive Order 12958 on April 17, 1995. Section 3.4 of the order requires that, unless grounds for an exemption exist, classified information contained in records over 25 years old and of permanent historical value, shall automatically be declassified within 5 years. Information is exempt from declassification if, among other reasons, its release likely would: reveal the identity of human sources; impair U.S. cryptological systems or activities; undermine ongoing diplomatic activities; or, assist in the development of weapons of mass destruction.
Congress should work with the administration so that the agencies can continue to implement classification reform in a cost-effective manner. Let's not cripple agency efforts to reform just as we're beginning to turn the tide on the costly sea of secret paper.
My second specific area of concern is the reduction contained in this bill for the Environmental Intelligence and Applications Program [EIAP].
The bill would authorize only $6 million for the program, significantly below the President's request. I think this is a shortsighted cut, and one that I hope can be addressed either through Mr. Weldon's proposed amendment today or later in conference. Six million dollars is not sufficient to carry out the goals of the program in fiscal year 1997. It would limit the use of intelligence products for environmental research and could jeopardize environmental information exchanges with Russia.
The EIAP is clearly responsive to the needs of national policymakers. It brings unique information to our understanding of global environmental challenges. And it has provided striking benefits to the intelligence community in improved technical capabilities of collection systems. This is a low-cost, high-yield effort which is well supported among intelligence consumers, both in and out of intelligence agencies. It should not be singled out for reduction from among all the analytical efforts of the intelligence community.
One of the main purposes of the EIAP is to ensure that a select group of the Nation's leading scientists in hydrology, geology, oceanography, and other earth sciences, are fully briefed on the capabilities and information resources of the U.S. intelligence agencies. These scientists, through what is known as the MEDEA Program, in turn bring their insights and expertise to bear on environmental questions--both in the civil and national security arenas.
For example, the MEDEA scientists found that imagery from the Corona, Argon, and Lanyard systems would have particular value to the environmental sciences, and this contributed to the President's decision to declassify these images.
The scientists also have worked on experiments to understand how our intelligence systems can be useful in addressing environmental questions. With the many billions that have been invested in these systems, it makes good common sense to use them for additional purposes that won't detract from their intelligence missions.
In addition, this program has been of particular benefit to the Navy. The MEDEA group has worked with the Navy's operational and research oceanographers to address problems in Naval oceanography.
The program also was the catalyst for a cooperative arrangement with a similar group of scientists from the civil and military sector established in Russia. The Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission Environmental Working Group led to the Navy's reaching an agreement with its Russian counterpart to conduct a survey in the Sea of Okhotsk, an area closer to continental Russia than has ever before been surveyed by the Navy. It will lead to the collection of twice the data that could have been collected unilaterally.
We cannot develop national policies to deal with national and international environmental threats like decertification, the destruction of rain forests, global climate degradation, and unsafe dumping of environmental and nuclear waste, unless our policymakers and scientists have access to data that identifies where threats are coming from. The best technology for obtaining this data is already available. We just need to put it to use.
I think Congress should continue to support the President's bold initiative to implement a safe and cost effective means of declassifying documents. And I'm hopeful that we will be able to work in conference to authorize adequate funding for the Environmental Intelligence and Applications Program.
I urge passage of the bill.
Mr. COMBEST. Mr. Chairman, I would inquire of the Chair of the time remaining in general debate.
The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Texas [Mr. Combest] has 18 1/2 minutes remaining, and the gentleman from Washington [Mr. Dicks] has 16 minutes remaining.
Mr. COMBEST. Mr. Chairman, I yield 5 minutes to the gentleman from Pennsylvania [Mr. Weldon].
(Mr. WELDON of Pennsylvania asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. WELDON of Pennsylvania. Mr. Chairman, I thank my distinguished chairman and friend for yielding me the time, and I want to commend both the gentleman from Texas [Mr. Combest] and the gentleman from Washington [Mr. Dicks] for their outstanding leadership on intelligence matters.
Mr. Chairman, I rise as the chairman of the Committee on National Security's Subcommittee on Military Research and Development. My subcommittee has joint jurisdiction over at least $9 billion of funding in this intelligence effort, and so I have a real and genuine interest in the fine work that is being carried forth by this committee. I applaud both Members for their bipartisan efforts to support and enhance the intelligence operations that are so vital to decisions that we make in the defense community, especially as they relate to missile to missile technology and those new R&D initiatives that are so important to allow America to maintain its leadership role.
Mr. Chairman, I will be, however, offering an amendment under title I today dealing with a shortfall in terms of the funding amount in the bill for the Environmental Intelligence and Applications Program, formerly known as the Environmental Task Force.
This funding has been cut to about one-third to only $6 million. Several of our colleagues have spoken to the issue. I had been intimately involved in a firsthand way with this program and think it would be an absolute travesty if we were to allow this program to be cut to this level.
In December of last year, Mr. Chairman, my subcommittee held a hearing, where I had as one of my witnesses Alexei Yablakov. Mr. Yablakov is a member of the Yeltsin National Security Council for Environmental Issues. He is a recognized world expert on the 30-year historical track record of the Soviet Union illegally dumping its nuclear waste in the Bering Sea, the Sea of Japan, and the Arctic Ocean. Only because of Yablakov's openness and his advocacy have we in the West been able to deal with this environmental tragedy.
When Mr. Yablakov came before my subcommittee last December, he in great detail outlined the specifics of what occurred. Much of the efforts of Mr. Yablakov and numerous other scientists of the same caliber is directly attributable to this program, established under the guise of the Environmental Task Force.
This program has been supported by the administration, specifically by Vice President Al Gore, who sees it as a top priority, and a cut of this magnitude in this bill would be devastating.
This program also allows us to pursue an initiative known as MEDEA, the Measurement of Earth Data for Environmental Assessment, an extremely important program. In fact, Mr. Chairman, I would like to enter into the Record pages 41 and 42 of the document dealing with the scientific utility of naval environmental data, which goes into great detail with the kinds of initiatives and projects currently funded through the MEDEA Program. It has the highest support of Navy and in fact helped lay the foundation for a major new initiative we were able to place in this year's Defense Authorization Act which passed last week, a $30 million initiative calling for new partnerships and oceanographic efforts with the Navy in the lead role. This partnership effort will also allow us to share technology where available with other nations, and in particular Russia.
Mr. Chairman, this an important amendment. I would hope that our colleagues would in fact support the amendment to restore the funding.
Mr. Chairman, one important point of this amendment is that it pays for itself. In fact, we cut another account, and that is the $25 million for declassifying documents, we cut that by 50 percent. I know there will be some objections to that cut, Mr. Chairman, but I stand before this body offering to pay for the increase that in fact I think is so important and the administration thinks is so important.
I also in the end will have to oppose an effort to not have the decrease in the declassification program, because if we do not have a bill payer, that means another $12.5 million will have to come someplace out of my overall R&D budget, which passed on the House floor last week. I have no idea where that money would come from. I have not been given any indications as to where those who oppose the decrease in the declassification accounts would take that money. Therefore, I have to oppose that as the chairman of the R&D subcommittee.
Even though that is not my main fight, it is critically important that we not establish this increase which has bipartisan support for the environmental initiative that is so vitally important, at the same time decreasing or not having a bill payer, a way to pay for that. My amendment will have a bill payer, it will have a method for paying for this initiative, and I would hope that our colleagues will in fact support the amendment and also would support the bill paying mechanism that I have identified with the committee staff as an appropriate way to pay for this initiative.
Mr. Chairman, I thank both my distinguished chairman and ranking member, and include for the Record the data referred to earlier.
Current accessibility: Entirely classified; no public access.
Current accessibility: Ship data are classified; no public access; aircraft data are unclassified.
Classified largely because of association with specific ship tracks and ship track densities.
Describes sea ice conditions and extent over the Arctic Outer Continental Shelf. Contains information describing ice drift and movement and includes ice edge boundary data in hand-drawn charts. Data would be of considerable use to climatologists; to scientists studying the near-shore transfer of pollutants; and to individuals studying near-coastal sea ice dynamics. Data set would also be of particular use to a variety of U.S. companies who are currently faced with difficult offshore design problems for sites in the marine Arctic region.
Current accessibility: Classified; no public access.
Includes a synthesis of classified and unclassified data.
Consists of a collection of ocean basin wide sediment thickness and sediment type. Is the first (only) global seafloor sediment thickness database for geological studies. Having these data available digitally is a starting point for additional studies. Availability of an existing global estimate of sediment thickness and approximate sediment types would provide a background against which the quality of future data could be assessed and upgraded.
Current accessibility: Many of these data are unclassified.
Sediment type and sediment thickness is largely unavailable.
Some sediments data are restricted because of bilateral international agreements.
GOODS contains a wide variety of ocean measurements collected from drifting buoys, moorings, ships, and aircraft. These data are assimilated into a near realtime view of the oceans GOODS contains approximately four months of global temperature and salinity fields Ship observations could be adapted based on the state of the ocean, greatly increasing the efficiency of costly civilian sampling resources. Would allow testing of satellite algorithms for either sensor calibration or validation. As in weather forecasting, ocean models could incorporate GOODS data into the nowcast system. Techniques could migrate into civil systems to support commercial and regulatory needs.
Current accessibility: Most data incorporated into GOODS are unclassified.
A small fraction are classified data because of locations of platforms providing the data, rendering the entire database inaccessible.
Contains a variety of ocean measurements from drifting buoys, moorings, ships, and aircraft Data include salinity and temperature profiles MOODS is the Navy archive location for GOODS. Public domain transfer capability already in place (NAVOCEANO to NODC). Can ensure timely progression of data. Availability to ocean science community would increase ocean data explorations.
Current accessibility: Majority of MOODS data are unclassified and eventually enter NODC.
The classified fraction, primarily in the Arctic region, classified because of platform locations.
Contains ocean clarity in specific measurement locations Bioluminescence data more prevalent at selected measurement sites Observations include both underway and on-station measurements. Next-generation satellite ocean color sensors will provide much better measurements in complex coastal waters. Access to both civilian and operational databases of in situ observations would significantly improve the quality of these satellite retrievals. Could enhance the usage of less capable sensors (less expensive) in greater densities or in areas where loss of sensors is likely.
Current accessibility: Many of these date are classified.
Mr. COMBEST. Mr. Chairman, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from California [Mr. Dornan], a member of the committee.
Mr. DORNAN. Mr. Chairman, much of what I intended to say in my remarks has already been stated. Some of it might be well restated.
First of all, I want to pass out some compliments that I did not tell anybody I was going to do. But the prior speaker, the gentleman from Pennsylvania [Mr. Weldon] has developed into a national treasure. I am talking about you, Mr. Weldon, a national treasure on the way he tracks the Soviet Union. He is the only Member I know that has been over there more than the 10 or 11 trips I have made. He leaves me in the dust. When he speaks on the House floor on problems with all the nations that were prior Soviet Union nations, Americans had better listen.
I also wanted to thank my chairman, the gentleman from Texas [Mr. Combest]. I just do not know a chairman that has taken the helm of a full committee and has steered it on such a straight and critically important course as my colleague from the great State of Texas.
I do not have time to mention all the staff, but our senior chief of staff of the professional staff, Mark Lowenthal, is also a national treasure when it comes to intelligence .
I watched the `60 Minutes' show Sunday night. In the open world of intelligence , the story on Russia was absolutely stunning. It just took your breath away. We claim to have won the cold war, but that country is melting down from 2 or 3 abortions to every live birth, to pollution that waters your eyes from afar; it puts our pollution problems into a totally different universe.
The country is just coming apart at the seams, but that does not mean we should not have a strong intelligence budget, because China, as I have said many times on this House floor, is still a Communist dictatorship. It is five times larger than the United States in population, it is a 6,000-year-old culture, captured by the raw evil of communism, and they have a mercantile heritage that makes anything the Soviet Union did look like child's play. They are going to own the next century, for good or for evil, and our intelligence budget should be larger than it is.
What the gentleman from Texas [Mr. Combest] has done is amazing. This year's request was in fact only slightly higher than last year's request. I think it should have been a lot higher. Some people have spoken on the floor on the other side of the aisle that they thought we added too much.
Actually, the request in tactical intelligence -related activities, joint military intelligence programs, my area as a subcommittee chairman, there is still too much of a decline in that area. The request had a large decline, we plussed it up about 10 percent, and all of these intelligence support activities around the world that support our men and women, it should be a much larger increase. We did the best we could to keep the bill bipartisan.
Just one other thing I would like to mention in my prepared remarks, I wanted to talk about the Bosnian crisis, where I went over with Mike Meermans last August, evaluated secret programs. On manned systems, we have added one more J-STARS aircraft, EP-3 Aries 2, and U-2, keeping that great legendary program alive, RC-135 rivet joint, where Mr. Meermans has actually active duty experience in the Air Force, all the less glamorous things. We worked hard on this bill.
Mr. Chairman, I submit 3 pages of proper pride in this excellent bill. I hope we get a unanimous vote out of this.
Mr. Chairman, in preparation for this bill: we held six full committee hearings, I chaired a Technical and Tactical Subcommittee hearing specifically on airborne reconnaissance issues; we received 15 member briefings and our staff received over 200 staff briefings.
This is a bipartisan bill that provides critical intelligence collection, analysis and reporting support to national and military decision makers. I would like to point out that this bill provides specific emphasis in support to military operations: by increasing funding for airborne reconnaissance development and operations; by increasing funding for unmanned aerial vehicles to augment current and future operations; and providing unique, not duplicative, information.
Trend had been a 2-3 percent yearly reduction in intelligence spending over the 4 years prior to the 1996 authorization. The House bill reversed that downward trend by increasing the funding over the President's request by a mere 1.3 percent.
This year's request was, in fact, only slightly higher than last year's request.
However this request had a large decline, over 5 percent in the intelligence support activities that directly support our men and women serving around the world in the U.S. Armed Forces--the intelligence support provided by the tactical intelligence and related activities and joint military intelligence programs.
This bill adds funding for many underfunded tactical intelligence programs critical to keeping our Armed Forces--young men and women--supplied with the best information this country can supply. In this intelligence bill, and in concert with the House National Security Committee's bill which this body approved last week, we have added over $800M for these purposes.
Bill re-looks the Nations' intelligence needs in the post cold war era. It has a long term vision to take us well into the 21st century: Focuses on `right sizing,' not `down sizing,' the intelligence collection and analysis capabilities; realizes that the world is not necessarily a safe place. U.S. interests around the world are changing, but not decreasing; and the world-wide threat environment is changing. As is evidenced by our troops being deployed in many areas around the world: Intelligence operations in continuous use around the globe. For example: Bosnian crisis; Iraq aggression; and Korean Peninsula.
Focuses on the elimination of expensive one of a kind systems for more cost effective commercial off-the-shelf systems where possible, and provides significant funding for improving our manned airborne reconnaissance platforms, some of which have not realized technical upgrades in this fast-paced highly technical world since 1992.
On manned systems: RC-135 Rivet Joint, U-2, EP-3 Aries 2; and J-STARS one extra.
Provides a emphasis on unmanned platforms to decrease the necessity to put U.S. forces into harms way.
Provides additional funding for the less glamorous and often overlooked intelligence support systems critical to supporting soldiers at the individual platoon or squad level: balances collection, processing operations; emphasizes dissemination of critical information at the right time, to the right place, in the right quantity, and in the right form for decision makers.
For basic themes to the bill:
First, evaluate each budgetary line item in the President's request solely on the program's merits, not a given funding level;
Second, the committee did not work to a specific budget number. That is, the committee did not specifically fund some programs and then make offsetting cuts in other programs in order to meet an arbitrary total dollar figure.
The committee believes the Congress will accept an intelligence authorization consisting of properly funded programs--even if that amount is an increase to the intelligence budget.
Third, focused on the production, exploitation and dissemination functions of intelligence stated above.
Fourth, avoided short-term thinking about intelligence priorities, needs and capabilities and to look longer range at these issues into the 21st century.
The numbers in this bill are right sized. This bill provides the Nation a strong, but not bloated, intelligence community. It makes some fundamental decisions necessary to take us into the next century. I urge my colleagues to pass this bill.
Mr. DICKS. Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. COMBEST. Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.