Index


Combating Terrorism: Observations on the Nunn-Lugar-Domenici Domestic
Preparedness Program (Testimony, 10/02/98, GAO/T-NSIAD-99-16).

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed its work and
observations on the Nunn-Lugar-Domenici Domestic Preparedness Program
and related issues, focusing on: (1) program objectives and costs; (2)
the training the Department of Defense (DOD) is providing to local
emergency response personnel; (3) issues GAO identified on the way the
program is structured and designed; (4) the equipment segment of DOD's
program; and (5) interagency coordination of this and other related
programs.

GAO noted that: (1) the Domestic Preparedness Program is aimed at
enhancing domestic preparedness to respond and manage the consequences
of potential terrorist weapons of mass destruction (WMD) incidents; (2)
the authorizing legislation designated DOD as lead agency, and
participating agencies include the Federal Emergency Management Agency
(FEMA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Public Health Service,
the Department of Energy, and the Environmental Protection Agency; (3)
DOD received $36 million in fiscal year (FY) 1997 to implement its part
of the program, and the Public Health Service received an additional
$6.6 million; (4) DOD's FY 1998 and 1999 budgets estimate that $43
million and $50 million will be needed to continue the program; (5)
Domestic Preparedness Program training gives first responders a greater
awareness of how to deal with WMD terrorist incidents; (6) by December
31, 1998, DOD expects to have trained about one-third of the 120 cities
it selected for the program; (7) all training is to be complete in 2001;
(8) DOD decided to select cities based on core city population, and it
did not take into account a city's level of preparedness or financial
need; (9) in implementing the Domestic Preparedness Program, DOD could
leverage state emergency management structures, mutual aid agreements
among local jurisdictions, or other collaborative arrangements for
emergency response; (10) the legislation authorizes DOD to lend rather
than give or grant training equipment to each city; (11) some cities GAO
visited viewed the acceptance of the equipment as tantamount to an
unfunded federal mandate because DOD is providing no funds to sustain
the equipment; (12) in developing the program, some member agency
officials stated that DOD did not always take advantage of the
experience of agencies that were more accustomed to dealing with state
and local officials and more knowledgeable of domestic emergency
response structures; (13) the many and increasing number of
participants, programs, and activities in the counterterrorism area
across the federal departments, agencies, and offices pose a difficult
management and coordination challenge to avoid program duplication,
fragmentation, and gaps; and (14) GAO believes that the National
Security Council's National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure
Protection and Counter-Terrorism, established in May 1998 by
Presidential Decision Directive 62, should review and guide the growing
federal training, equipment, and response programs and activities.

--------------------------- Indexing Terms -----------------------------

 REPORTNUM:  T-NSIAD-99-16
     TITLE:  Combating Terrorism: Observations on the 
             Nunn-Lugar-Domenici Domestic Preparedness Program
      DATE:  10/02/98
   SUBJECT:  Terrorism
             Government owned equipment
             Interagency relations
             Emergency preparedness
             Mobilization
             Training utilization
             Technical assistance
IDENTIFIER:  Nunn-Lugar-Domenici Domestic Preparedness Program
             
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Cover
================================================================ COVER


Before the Subcommittee on National Security, International Affairs
and Criminal Justice, Committee on Government Reform and Oversight,
House of Representatives

For Release on Delivery
Expected at
10:00 a.m., EDT
Friday,
October 2, 1998

COMBATING TERRORISM - OBSERVATIONS
ON THE NUNN-LUGAR-DOMENICI
DOMESTIC PREPAREDNESS PROGRAM

Statement of Richard Davis, Director, National Security Analysis,
National Security and International Affairs Division

GAO/T-NSIAD-99-16

GAO/NSIAD-99-16T


(701150)


Abbreviations
=============================================================== ABBREV

  DOD - x
  FBI - X
  FEMA - x
  WMD - x

============================================================ Chapter 0

Mr.  Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee: 

We are pleased to be here today to discuss our work and observations
on the Nunn-Lugar-Domenici Domestic Preparedness Program and related
issues.  This interagency program, led by the Department of Defense
(DOD) provides training and equipment intended to better prepare
selected cities to manage the consequences of a possible attack by
terrorists using weapons of mass destruction (WMD).\1 We expect to
issue a report on these matters within the next few weeks.  It is
worth noting that very recently, under a National Security Council
initiative, DOD, Department of Justice, and other agency officials
have been considering transferring lead responsibility for the
Nunn-Lugar-Domenici Domestic Preparedness Program from DOD to the
Department of Justice. 

Today, we will discuss program objectives and costs, the training DOD
is providing to local emergency response personnel, issues we
identified on the way the program is structured and designed, the
equipment segment of DOD's program, and interagency coordination of
this and other related programs.  As requested, we also have some
observations about the congressional committee structure for
oversight of counterterrorism and other crosscutting issues. 


--------------------
\1 The program was authorized in the National Defense Authorization
Act for Fiscal Year 1997.  For purposes of this statement, WMD refers
to chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear devices. 


   OBJECTIVES AND COSTS OF THE
   DOMESTIC PREPAREDNESS PROGRAM
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:1

The Domestic Preparedness Program is aimed at enhancing domestic
preparedness to respond to and manage the consequences of potential
terrorist WMD incidents.  The authorizing legislation designated DOD
as lead agency, and participating agencies include FEMA, the Federal
Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Health and Human Services' Public
Health Service, the Department of Energy, and the Environmental
Protection Agency.  The Army's Chemical and Biological Defense
Command designed a "train-the-trainer" program to build on the
existing knowledge and capabilities of local first responders--fire,
law enforcement, and medical personnel and hazardous materials
technicians--who would deal with a WMD incident during the first
hours.  The legislation also designated funds for the Public Health
Service to establish Metropolitan Medical Strike Teams to help
improve cities' medical response to a WMD incident.  Other aspects of
the program included systems to provide information and advice to
state and local officials and a chemical/biological rapid response
team. 

DOD received $36 million in fiscal year 1997 to implement its part of
the program, and the Public Health Service received an additional
$6.6 million.  DOD's fiscal year 1998 and 1999 budgets estimate that
$43 million and $50 million, respectively, will be needed to continue
the program.  DOD expects the last 2 years of the 5-year program to
cost about $14 million to $15 million each year, and continuing an
exercise program for 2 more years could add another $10 million. 
Thus, the total projected program cost for the DOD segment could
exceed $167 million.  This does not include the costs of the Public
Health Service, which hopes to establish and equip (an average of
$350,000 of equipment and pharmaceuticals per city) Metropolitan
Medical Strike Teams in all 120 program cities.  In addition to the
$6.6 million that the Public Health Service initially received, it
spent $3.6 million in fiscal year 1997 to expand the number of strike
teams.  The Public Health Service received no additional funding in
fiscal year 1998, but it estimates program requirements at $85
million for the remaining 93 cities. 


   TRAINING PROGRAM IS BENEFICIAL
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:2

Domestic Preparedness Program training gives first responders a
greater awareness of how to deal with WMD terrorist incidents.  Local
officials in the seven cities we visited praised the training program
content, instructors, and materials as well as DOD's willingness to
modify it based on suggestions from local officials.  They also
credited the program with bringing local, state, and federal regional
emergency response agencies together into a closer working
relationship.  By December 31, 1998, DOD expects to have trained
about one-third of the 120 cities it selected for the program.  All
training is to be complete in 2001.  The first responders trained are
expected to train other emergency responders through follow-on
courses.  The cities we visited were planning to institutionalize
various adaptations of the WMD training, primarily in their fire and
law enforcement training academies.  A related field exercise program
to allow cities to test their response capabilities also has begun. 


   CITIES WERE SELECTED BASED ON
   POPULATION SIZE
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:3

DOD decided to select cities based on core city population.  It also
decided to select 120 cities, which equates to all U.S.  cities with
a population of over 144,000 according to the 1990 census.\2 The 120
cities represent about 22 percent of the U.S.  population and cover
at least 1 city in 38 states and the District of Columbia.  Twelve
states\3 and the U.S.  territories have no cities in the program, and
25 percent of the cities are in California and Texas. 

DOD took a city approach because it wanted to deal with a single
governmental entity that could select the most appropriate personnel
for training and receive equipment.  In selecting the cities DOD did
not take into account a city's level of preparedness or financial
need.  There was also no analysis to evaluate the extent to which the
cities selected for the program were at risk of a terrorist attack
warranting an increased level of preparedness, or whether a smaller
city with high risk factors might have been excluded from the program
due to its lower population.  In fact, in none of the seven cities we
visited did the FBI determine there was a credible threat of a WMD
attack, which would be one factor considered in a threat and risk
assessment. 

In our April 1998 report, we cited several public and private sector
entities that use or recommend threat and risk assessment processes
to establish requirements and target investments for reducing risk.\4
Although we recognize there are challenges to doing threat and risk
assessments of program cities, we believe that difficulties can be
overcome through federal-city collaboration and that these
assessments would provide a tool for making decisions about a prudent
level of investment to reduce risks. 


--------------------
\2 Three locations on DOD's list of 120 cities are not technically
cities. 

\3 Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, North
Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia, and
Wyoming. 

\4 Combating Terrorism:  Threat and Risk Assessments Can Help
Prioritize and Target Program Investments (GAO/NSIAD-98-74, Apr.  9,
1998).  In that report, we recommended that federal-city
collaborative threat and risk assessments, facilitated by the FBI, be
included as part of the assistance provided in the
Nunn-Lugar-Domenici program.  The pending national defense
authorization legislation for fiscal year 1999 requires the Attorney
General, in consultation with the FBI and others, to develop and test
methodologies for conducting such assessments. 


   LINKING FUTURE TRAINING TO
   EXISTING STRUCTURES COULD BE
   MORE EFFICIENT AND ECONOMICAL
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:4

In implementing the Domestic Preparedness Program, DOD could leverage
state emergency management structures, mutual aid agreements among
local jurisdictions, or other collaborative arrangements for
emergency response.  By delivering the program to cities based on
population size, DOD is replicating training in nearby cities that
might be part of the same response system or mutual aid area. 
Because of such mutual aid agreements and response districts or
regions--as well as traditional state roles in both training and the
established federal response system--a more consolidated approach
could have resulted in fewer training iterations.  Training in fewer
locations while taking advantage of existing emergency response
structures could hasten the accomplishment of program goals and
reinforce local response integration.  Such an approach also could
cover a greater percentage of the population and make effective use
of existing emergency management training venues.  Under this
approach, WMD training would be delivered over the long term through
existing state training systems. 

As shown in appendix I, DOD's city approach resulted in clusters of
nearby cities, each of which is to receive training and equipment. 
Our analysis shows that 14 clusters of 44 different cities, or 37
percent of the total number of the cities selected for the program,
are within 30 miles of at least one other program city.  Southern
California is a key example of the clustering effect where training
efficiencies could be gained.  Appendix II shows California's mutual
aid regions.  Consistent with the statewide standardized emergency
management system involving countywide operational areas within 6
mutual aid regions, the Los Angeles County sheriff is in charge of
the consolidated interagency response to an incident occurring in any
of the county's 88 local jurisdictions and 136 unincorporated areas. 
These include Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Glendale, all of which are
treated separately in the program.  Further, the nearby cities of
Anaheim, Huntington Beach, Santa Ana, San Bernardino, and Riverside
are within 30 miles of at least one other program city and also are
treated separately.  Through mutual aid and under California's
statewide system, Los Angeles county conceivably could assist or be
assisted by these other neighboring program cities or any other
jurisdictions in the state in the event of a major incident. 

Similarly, as shown in appendix III, Virginia has 13 regional
hazardous materials teams to respond to a WMD incident.  Through
these regional teams operating under state control, four adjacent
program cities--Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Newport News, and
Chesapeake--would assist one another along with Portsmouth and
Hampton, which are not program cities. 

Texas has four program cities less than 30 miles from each other: 
Dallas, Fort Worth, Irving, and Arlington.  In yet another example,
the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area established a Metropolitan
Medical Strike Team with a council-of-governments approach involving
six jurisdictions in Virginia, Maryland, and the District of
Columbia--these jurisdictions would support each other in the event
of a WMD incident.  DOD treats Washington, D.C., and Arlington,
Virginia, separately for the training and equipment segments of the
program.  Similar strike teams in other cities are designed to be
integrated into the local emergency response and medical systems for
that particular area. 

In response to comments by state and local officials, DOD began
holding regional meetings to introduce the program.  Nevertheless,
each program city still receives its own training and equipment
package.  Cities may invite representatives from neighboring
jurisdictions and state agencies, but classroom space is limited, and
if the neighboring city is a program city, it will eventually receive
its own on-site training. 

DOD could have used state structures to deliver its training.  Some
states have academies and institutes to train first responders and
emergency managers.  For example, California's Specialized Training
Institute provides emergency management training to first responders
statewide.  In Texas, the Division of Emergency Management conducts
training for local first responders, and fire protection training is
provided through the Texas Engineering Extension Service.  Under
current circumstances, the individual cities whose personnel were
trained as trainers are to ensure that the appropriate courses are
delivered to rank-and-file emergency response personnel.  Cities we
visited were adapting the DOD courses differently and using different
venues to deliver the training.  Cities planned to deliver portions
of the courses both directly and through their local academies.  One
delivery method that DOD could consider to reach large numbers of
first responders while minimizing travel costs is distance learning. 
The U.S.  Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, for
example, has used distance learning techniques through
satellite-to-television links. 


   TERMS OF DOD EQUIPMENT
   AGREEMENT CONCERN CITIES
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:5

The legislation authorizes DOD to lend rather than give or grant
training equipment to each city.  The loan agreement between DOD and
the cities specifies that the loan is for 5 years and that the cities
are to repair, maintain, and replace the equipment.  The loan
agreement terms have caused frustration and confusion among local
officials.  Some cities we visited viewed the acceptance of the
equipment as tantamount to an unfunded federal mandate because DOD is
providing no funds to sustain the equipment.  At least two cities
were reluctant to accept the equipment unless DOD would provide
assurances that they could use it operationally and would not be
asked to return it.  Although such assurances conflict with the loan
agreement terms, DOD officials acknowledged that cities could keep
the equipment and use it operationally if necessary.  DOD officials
also pointed out that much of the equipment has no more than a 5-year
useful life and is largely incompatible with standard
military-specification equipment. 

Further, expectations have been raised among some local officials
that the federal government may eventually provide funds to sustain
the program and to provide even more equipment to meet cities'
perceived operational requirements.  DOD officials said that the
equipment was intended only to support cities' training needs.  Also,
DOD wanted to encourage cities to share the burden of preparing for
WMD terrorism by funding additional equipment needs themselves. 
However, no assessments have been undertaken as part of the Domestic
Preparedness Program to help define equipment requirements for WMD
over and above what is needed for an industrial hazardous materials
incident response.  Although the FBI and the intelligence community
see growing interest in WMD by groups and individuals of concern, the
intelligence community concluded that conventional weapons will
continue to be the most likely form of terrorist attack over the next
decade.  Such threat information would be a factor in a threat or
risk assessment process that could be used as a tool for determining
equipment requirements. 


   NUNN-LUGAR-DOMENICI INTERAGENCY
   COORDINATION HAS BEEN LIMITED
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:6

The Congress intended the Domestic Preparedness Program to be an
interagency effort with DOD as lead agency.  Under FEMA leadership,
the Senior Interagency Coordination Group provided a forum for DOD
and the other involved agencies to share information.  However, in
developing the program, some member agency officials stated that DOD
did not always take advantage of the experience of agencies that were
more accustomed to dealing with state and local officials and more
knowledgeable of domestic emergency response structures.  For
example, some agency representatives said that they offered
suggestions such as taking a metropolitan area approach and
coordinating with state emergency management agencies instead of
dealing directly and only with cities.  DOD officials noted that
because the group often did not react to DOD proposals or could not
achieve consensus on issues, DOD moved forward with the program
without consensus when necessary. 

According to participants, the group did influence two decisions. 
DOD initially planned to cover 20 cities in the first phase of the
program, but the group raised the number to 27 so that 7 cities would
be trained sooner than their population would otherwise warrant.  The
seven cities were raised in priority to account for geographical
balance, special events, and distance from the continental United
States.  Also, concerned about DOD's methodology and cities' presumed
negative perceptions, the group recommended that DOD abandon its plan
to have cities conduct a formal self-assessment of their capabilities
and needs.  But the group did not press for an alternative assessment
methodology, which resulted in the lack of any analytical basis for
cities to determine their requirements for a prudent and affordable
level of preparedness for WMD (a desired end state) or to guide DOD
or the cities in defining individual cities' requirements or needs. 

The Senior Interagency Coordination Group did not resolve the issue
of similar or potentially overlapping terrorism-related courses.  A
joint Department of Justice and FEMA 2-day basic concepts course on
emergency response to terrorism was being developed at about the same
time as the Domestic Preparedness Program, and FEMA teaches subjects
applicable to WMD and terrorism in its Emergency Management Institute
and the National Fire Academy.  The Department of Justice and FEMA
courses and the DOD courses were developed separately. 


   STRATEGY NEEDED TO COORDINATE
   AND FOCUS MULTIPLE TRAINING,
   EQUIPMENT, AND RESPONSE
   ELEMENTS
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:7

Some local officials viewed the growing number of WMD consequence
management training programs, including the Domestic Preparedness
Program, the Department of Justice and FEMA courses, FEMA Emergency
Management Institute courses, National Fire Academy courses, and the
National Guard's National Interagency Counterdrug Institute course,
as evidence of a fragmented and possibly wasteful federal approach
toward combating terrorism.  Similarly, multiple programs with
equipment segments--such as the separate DOD and Public Health
Service programs and the new Department of Justice equipment grant
program are causing frustration and confusion at the local level and
are resulting in further complaints that the federal government is
unfocused and has no coordinated plan or defined end state for
domestic preparedness. 

Both equipment portions of the program, which were designed and
implemented separately, cover personal protection, decontamination,
and detection equipment.  The separation of the $300,000 worth of DOD
equipment and the average $350,000 Public Health Service equipment
and pharmaceuticals required local officials to deal with two federal
agencies' requirements and procedures.  It also required local
officials to develop separate equipment lists and to ensure
compatibility and interoperability of the equipment, optimize the
available federal funding, and avoid unnecessary duplication.  A
truly joint, coordinated equipment program could have alleviated the
administrative burden on city officials and lowered the level of
confusion and frustration.  Although the Public Health Service
circulated cities' proposed equipment lists among the Domestic
Preparedness interagency partners for comments, this coordination at
the federal level did little to simplify the process for the cities. 

State and local officials and some national fire fighter
organizations also raised concerns about the growing number of
response elements being formed, including the new initiative to train
and equip National Guard units.  These officials did not believe
specialized National Guard units would be of use because they could
not be on site in the initial hours of an incident and because
numerous support units within the military and other federal agencies
already can provide backup assistance to local authorities as
requested.  Examples of existing support capabilities include the
Army's Technical Escort Unit, the Marine Corps' Chemical Biological
Incident Response Force, and the Public Health Services' National
Medical Response Teams.\5 State and local officials were more
supportive of the traditional National Guard role to provide
requested disaster support through the state governor.  We are
currently reviewing the proposed role of the National Guard and
reserves in WMD consequence management. 

As noted in our December 1997 report\6 and in our April 1998
testimony,\7 the many and increasing number of participants,
programs, and activities in the counterterrorism area across the
federal departments, agencies, and offices pose a difficult
management and coordination challenge to avoid program duplication,
fragmentation, and gaps.  We believe that the National Security
Council's National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure
Protection, and Counter-Terrorism, established in May 1998 by
Presidential Decision Directive 62, should review and guide the
growing federal training, equipment, and response programs and
activities. 

Just as the broadening scope of efforts to combat terrorism poses a
serious challenge for the executive branch, it also can be a
coordination and oversight challenge for the Congress.  The current
committee structure is aligned with an agency and functional focus
for authorization, appropriations, and oversight, and multiagency
crosscutting issues, such as combating terrorism, proliferation, and
others, fall within the jurisdiction of many authorizing committees
and appropriations subcommittees. 


--------------------
\5 For a more comprehensive overview of federal support capabilities,
see Combating Terrorism:  Federal Agencies' Efforts to Implement
National Policy and Strategy (GAO/NSIAD-97-254, Sept.  26, 1997). 

\6 Combating Terrorism:  Spending on Government-wide Programs
Requires Better Management and Coordination (GAO/NSIAD-98-39, Dec. 
1997). 

\7 Combating Terrorism:  Observations on Crosscutting Issues
(GAO/T-NSIAD-98-164, Apr.  1998). 


-------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:7.1

Mr.  Chairman, that concludes our prepared statement.  We will
continue to finalize our report, receive agency comments, and develop
recommendations on program focus, and will be issuing that report in
the next few weeks.  We would be happy to answer any questions at
this time. 


LOCATION OF NUNN-LUGAR-DOMENICI
CITIES
=========================================================== Appendix I



   (See figure in printed
   edition.)



   (See figure in printed
   edition.)

   Source:  Department of Defense.

   (See figure in printed
   edition.)


CALIFORNIA'S MUTUAL AID REGIONS
========================================================== Appendix II



   (See figure in printed
   edition.)

   Source:  California State
   Emergency Management System
   Guidelines.

   (See figure in printed
   edition.)


VIRGINIA'S REGIONAL HAZARDOUS
MATERIALS RESPONSE TEAMS
========================================================= Appendix III



   (See figure in printed
   edition.)

   Source:  Virginia Department of
   Emergency Services.

   (See figure in printed
   edition.)


*** End of document. ***