Statement of David Boyd

Director of the National Institute of Justice's Office of Science and Technology

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee:

Good afternoon. I am David Boyd, the Director of the National Institute of Justice’s (NIJ’s) Office of Science and Technology (OS&T). NIJ is the Department of Justice’s (DOJ’s) research and evaluation arm, established within the Office of Justice Programs (OJP). On behalf of the Attorney General, the Assistant Attorney General for OJP Laurie Robinson, and the Director of NIJ Jeremy Travis, it is my pleasure to be here with you today to discuss the NIJ Counterterrorism Technology (CT) Program. While it is aimed at providing the state and local law enforcement community better tools to address the entire spectrum of possible terrorist acts, my remarks will focus on one element of this program—our efforts to address the threat posed by weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in the hands of terrorists. I will also address the steps that we have taken to ensure that these efforts are coordinated with those of the other agencies involved in combating that threat.

We are now in the second year of our program, which was initiated pursuant to the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996. Among the new technologies our program has already produced are an innovative way to neutralize large explosive devices and improved means to detect weapons concealed on an individual’s person. Development of better technologies to deal with incidents involving WMD is one of the five technology thrust areas we are pursuing.

From its inception, the NIJ counterterrorism program has actively sought to ensure that our efforts are coordinated with other agencies involved in the national effort. We have used two principal means to achieve this coordination. First, we have made formation of technology partnerships an integral part of our R&D strategy. We have in place a number of bilateral interagency agreements, including one with the Office of the Director, Defense Research and Engineering (DDR&E), to support development of technologies to combat terrorism. NIJ will work with the proposed National Domestic Preparedness Office (NDPO) and is a member of the Technical Support Working Group (TSWG), the two most relevant forums on this issue.

The NDPO will provide an umbrella for coordination of training, planning exercises and distributing equipment and information to first responders. Virtually all the Federal agencies involved in developing technology to combat terrorism participate in the TSWG. Our role in both these forums ensures that the particular technology needs of the state and local communities are met. To that end, NIJ also sits on the National Security Council (NSC)-chaired Weapons of Mass Destruction Preparedness Group and is the Executive Agent for the Attorney General’s Technology Policy Council, the forum for coordination of Federal law enforcement R&D activities.

NIJ’s involvement in development of technology to combat terrorism arises from its statutory authority, unique within the Federal government, to develop technologies for State and local agencies with which to combat crime, including terrorist crimes. Because they already deal routinely with explosive devices and see nuclear devices as principally a Federal concern, the immediate concerns of state and local agencies are chemical and biological devices.

Because Congress recognized that state and local agencies will almost always be the first on the scene to deal with terrorist acts and their consequences, the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 required NIJ to:

Section 821 (1) "develop technologies that can be used to combat terrorism, . . . "

Section 821 (2) "develop standards to ensure the adequacy of products produced and compatibility with relevant national systems"

Section 821 (3) "identify and assess requirements for technologies to assist State and local law enforcement in the national program to combat terrorism."

NIJ has, accordingly, implemented a comprehensive program based on input from the field to provide law enforcement with tools to better address the whole spectrum of possible terrorist acts including, but not limited to, those involving WMD. While such acts are the most deadly, they are also the least likely.

The input used to structure the NIJ counterterrorism program was derived from a nationwide inventory of state and local technology needs to combat terrorism. Conducted in 1997 and implemented through NIJ’s four regional Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Centers, this survey involved 195 participants selected for their expertise in dealing with terrorism and representing 138 agencies from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

A major component of NIJ’s counterterrorism program is being implemented through the DOD - DOJ Joint Program Steering Group (JPSG), which was established in 1994 with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) pursuant to a Memorandum of Understanding between the Departments of Defense and Justice on Operations Other than War and Law Enforcement. The JPSG’s charter is to pursue development of technology of interest to both Departments, and is a major component of NIJ efforts to encourage other R&D resources. Combating terrorism is clearly an area of mutual interest. The JPSG provides NIJ ready access to the Defense Science and Technology infrastructure. One relevant example of the benefit of having the JPSG manage this program is collaboration between the NIJ CT Program and the DARPA Biological Warfare Defense Program.

The NIJ counterterrorism technology development program focuses on five thrust areas:

Providing better security for vital infrastructure, such as public facilities and transportation nodes by providing law enforcement with better means to detect weapons and explosives;

Developing information technologies that will better enable law enforcement agencies to securely share data between disparate information systems and help them anticipate, prevent, and recover from terrorist attacks;

Providing law enforcement agencies technologies to deal with hostage-taking situations, focusing on technologies capable of providing clearer pictures of hostage situations, such as the location of hostages, terrorists, weapons and potential obstacles that might be encountered in a rescue attempt;

Providing law enforcement agencies cost-effective technologies to more safely disable explosive devices, particularly those that qualify as WMD; and

Providing technologies that will help more quickly identify an unanticipated attack with chemical or biological WMD, survive that attack, and continue protecting and defending the public.

Significant progress has been made over the past two years by NIJ and its technology partners, many of which are DOD agencies, to enhance the capacity of state and local law enforcement to combat terrorism, including:

Demonstration of a prototype advanced electromagnetic portal for detection of concealed weapons. This device, which is both more sensitive and has a lower false positive rate than the portals currently found in airports and courthouses, was developed by Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory, and has been in operation in the Bannock County Idaho Courthouse since January 1998.

Demonstration of a prototype interagency information sharing system for law enforcement. This system, based on DARPA sponsored technology, was developed in particularly with the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center, Charleston and has been in operation in the Monroe County Florida Sheriff's Department since August 1998.

Demonstration of a prototype hand-held, acoustic device for detection of concealed weapons. This device, developed by JAYCOR, was demonstrated for the California Border Alliance Group in July 1998.

Development of a computer-based training tool for bomb technicians. This tool was developed by the Indian Head Division of the Naval Surface Warfare Center in collaboration with the FBI.

Demonstration of a concrete-penetrating, portable radar for through-the-wall surveillance with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the Albuquerque Police Department under simulated operational conditions.

Demonstration of an innovative way of safely disabling large explosive devices (such as 50-gallon fuel-fertilizer bombs). The device, called the "flying plate" disrupter, was also developed by the Indian Head Division of the Naval Surface Warfare Center. The device can, with proper instruction, be fabricated locally from a small explosive charge, a plastic container (shell) for the charge, a detonator and a metal plate. The device disrupts large bombs, such as ANFO devices in 50 gallon drums, so they will not detonate. We plan to conduct a demonstration of this device at the NIJ-sponsored "graduate school for bomb technicians," Operation Albuquerque, which is supported by Sandia National Laboratories.


Because technology development is very expensive, NIJ has crafted an R&D strategy that concentrates on leveraging the technology efforts of other agencies and, where appropriate, adapting existing technologies to meet law enforcement needs. This is particularly so in efforts to provide first responders the tools they need to respond to weapons of mass destruction. As a consequence, NIJ’s first concerns are technology development efforts that are important to the state and local agencies, but where there is either no or limited investment by other agencies. These efforts include, for example, weapons detection and through-the-wall surveillance.

NIJ also actively seeks to identify applications for use by activities other than law enforcement for the technologies it is developing in order to identify potential cost-sharing partners. It is working closely with OJP’s Office for State and Local Domestic Preparedness Support (OSLDPS), another participant in the proposed NDPO, to identify technology being developed by NIJ for law enforcement that may be applicable to the needs of a wider range of first responders.

To maximize our ability to support state and local agencies, NIJ has established relationships with other agencies involved in developing technology to combat terrorism. A number of NIJ’s efforts to develop better equipment for dealing with WMD are being undertaken through the TSWG, and all NIJ projects are shared with other Federal organizations. This allows us to ensure that our technology efforts complement, rather than duplicate those of the other agencies involved and to pool our resources with those agencies, where appropriate. For example, we are working with TSWG and the U.S. Marine Corps on a DOD- initiated project to develop a wearable device to measure an individual’s exposure to chemical and biological agents. Our goal in this effort is to modify this device so it can be used as a personal alarm to alert first responders to unanticipated exposure to chemical and biological agents. This was identified as one of the 15 highest priority needs in the inventory of state and local law enforcement technology needs to combat terrorism conducted by NIJ in 1997. I would like to emphasize that this was not originally a DOD requirement, which highlights that technology needs unique to state and local law enforcement are centered in the NIJ Program.

Other efforts include a study with TSWG to determine which chemical and biological agents terrorists are most likely to use and development of a compendium of available equipment for distribution to the first responder community. This last project is being undertaken in support of the OJP Office for State and Local Domestic Preparedness Support (OSLDPS). We are also sharing data with TSWG from a project that demonstrated and assesses the utility of chemical agent detection systems in subways.

We have long had a close working relationship with FBI efforts to provide to state and local agencies tools to deal with explosive devices. We have, for example, a collaborative effort with the FBI Bomb Data Center and TSWG to conduct a nationwide demonstration and assessment of a portable, computer-based, x-ray diagnostic system for explosive devices. We are also supporting the FBI in a demonstration of the "flying plate" disrupter alluded to previously, an effort initiated through a bilateral agreement between NIJ and the Indian Head Division of the Naval Surface Warfare Center.

Pursuant to Section 821 (2) of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, the NIJ program is also equipped to develop or upgrade existing standards and to ensure that the technologies under development are compatible with national systems so that we do not create "islands" of incompatible technology. This work is led by the Office of Law Enforcement Standards (OLES), which NIJ established and funds at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) so we can leverage NIJ’s laboratory infrastructure.

Among the efforts undertaken to date are: development of law enforcement communications standards; a standard for concealed weapons detectors (especially those NIJ is developing) which operate on different physical principles from those in use today; conducting an imaging standards and guidelines study; and completing development of a standard for digital communications intercept systems. OLES is also working to ensure that state and local needs are met for first responder equipment standards and certification. The U.S. Army Soldier Biological and Chemical Command (SBCCOM), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) have agreed to work with OLES to jointly develop standards, test methods, evaluation, and purchase agreements for individual protection, collective protection, detection, identification, and decontamination equipment for first responders. This agreement evolved out of a meeting convened by NIJ at NIST on December 17, 1998, which included representatives from NIJ, the DOD Consequence Management Program Integration Office, the proposed NDPO and TSWG/OST staff.

This effort will support the development of a national standardized equipment list (SEL) for use by first responders. Finally, state and local agencies will obtain most of their equipment through purchase from private vendors. Thus, unless the new technologies are affordable and available through the commercial market, they will not be available to these agencies. For that reason, NIJ created the Office of Law Enforcement Technology Commercialization (OLETC) to bridge the gap from the laboratory to the market. That office is now actively serving NIJ, TSWG, and other agencies, in moving technologies into the field.

In summary, pursuant to its statutory authority NIJ is an active partner in the national effort to deal with the threat of WMD in the hands of terrorists. It has been aggressive in its efforts to ensure that its Program is well coordinated with those of the other agencies involved in addressing this threat. We believe that we have been largely successful in our efforts in this regard. With our technology partners, NIJ will ensure that the technology needs of State and local law enforcement and of the other members of the first responder community are met.

In closing, I wish to thank you Mr. Chairman, and the members of the subcommittee for the opportunity to be here today, and I will be happy to answer any questions you may have.