1996 Congress and Special Weapons
Nuclear, Chemical, Biological and Missile

Committee Report - House Rpt. 104-724 - NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION



Cooperative threat reduction (CTR) program, domestic emergency assistance programs and programs for the defense against weapons of mass destruction (secs. 1401-1505)

The House bill contained provisions (sec. 1101-1105) that would: authorize $302.9 million for the Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) program, a $25.0 million reduction to the budget request; would specify CTR programs; allocate fiscal year 1997 funding for the various CTR programs and activities; prohibit the use of CTR funds for specific purposes; prohibit the obligation of CTR funds until various reports are submitted to Congress; and make fiscal year 1997 CTR funds available for three fiscal years. Additionally, the House report (H. Rept. 104-563) encouraged the Secretary of Defense to report to the Congress by September 30, 1996, an assessment of the advisability of the Department of Defense's establishing a program for enhancing the capability of the Department to assist law enforcement agencies in responding to terrorism or natural disasters involving chemical or biological agents and recommended an increase of $12.0 million in PE 65160D to preserve the option of initiating such a program in fiscal year 1997.

The Senate amendment would fully fund the budget request for CTR at $327.9 million. In addition, the Senate amendment contained provisions (secs. 1301-1356) that would increase the overall budget request for defense operation and maintenance by $150.0 million, and add $85.0 million to the budget request for the Department of Energy to establish a comprehensive program to improve U.S. capabilities to deal with the use, or threatened use, of weapons of mass destruction. In that regard, the amendment would expand the scope of the DOD CTR program and the DOE arms control and materials, protection, control and accountability programs to include additional activities, especially assistance to the independent states of the former Soviet Union. Of the $235.0 million budget increase for DOD and DOE, $80.0 million would be authorized for the establishment of a DOD and DOE domestic emergency assistance program; $59.0 would be authorized for domestic and international border security assistance DOD CTR and DOE materials, protection, control and accountability activities would be increased by $94.0 million; and $2.0 million would be authorized for research activities of the proliferation coordinator.

Additionally, the provision would provide the President with more specific authorities than exist under current law by authorizing the limited use of U.S. military forces to assist the Department of Justice in domestic emergency situations involving the terrorist use of WMD and by amending the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.

The House recedes with an amendment to the Senate provisions.

The Senate recedes with an amendment to the House provisions.

Since the end of the Cold War, materials and technologies related to weapons of mass destruction--nuclear, radiological, chemical, and biological weapons--have become increasingly more available to rogue states, terrorist groups, and unstable individuals. Controls over nuclear materials in the former Soviet Union continue to require significant improvement. Easy access to dual-use materials and technologies to fabricate chemical and biological weapons make the proliferation of these weapons arguably the most urgent and serious threat the United States faces today.

The United States government must improve and make comprehensive the way it addresses this threat. To this end, the conferees agree to a series of provisions that address all aspects of the threat of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The conferees agree to recommend an additional $201.0 million to the budget to address this issue. These increased funds would: increase the budget request for the Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) program by $37.0 million; authorize a $10.0 million increase to the budget request for the counterproliferation support program; authorize $30.0 million for U.S. and international border security activities; add $65.0 million for the establishment of a domestic emergency response program; and add $57.0 for DOE materials, protection, control and accountability.

Domestic Preparedness

Enhancing the nation's ability to prevent, and, if necessary, to respond to a terrorist incident involving nuclear, radiological, chemical, or biological weapons or materials is the cornerstone of this program. The conferees note that an interagency group, composed of the Federal Response Plan signatory agencies led by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) completed and forwarded to the President on July 1, 1996, a report titled `Consequences Management for Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical (NBC) Terrorism.' The report documents the inadequacy of the Federal Response Plan to deal with NBC terrorist incidents and makes specific recommendations regarding capability enhancements. The conferees agree to a provision (sec. 1411) that would require the President to take immediate action to enhance the capability of the Federal Government to respond to such incidents and to provide enhanced support to improve the capabilities of State and local emergency response and law enforcement agencies to respond to such incidents. The provision would further require the President to provide to the Congress by January 31, 1997, a report containing an assessment of such capabilities, improvements required, and measures that should be taken to achieve such improvements, including additional resources and legislative authority that might be necessary.

The conferees agree to recommend $50.0 million for the establishment of a domestic emergency assistance program for the Department of Defense to immediately begin sharing its unique expertise, experience, and equipment in dealing with chemical and biological weapons and materials with local emergency first respondents (firemen, policemen, and medical workers).

The conferees expect that the Secretary of Defense will work expeditiously with the Secretary of Health and Human Services in providing DOD resources and expertise to the Office of Emergency Preparedness for the formation of emergency medical teams that are trained and equipped to handle incidents involving weapons of mass destruction.

The conferees agree to provide $15.0 million for DOD to conduct interagency exercises that will focus on testing and improving the U.S. Government's ability to respond to incidents involving weapons of mass destruction.

The conferees have agreed to an additional provision (sec. 1414) that would require DOD to establish at least one Chemical-Biological Emergency Response Team for rapid response to domestic terrorism. The conferees expect that such teams would be similar in concept to the Nuclear Emergency Search Team and Accident Response Groups that are maintained by DOE for response to a nuclear incident. The conferees note in the joint DOD/DOE report to the Congress, `Preparedness and Response to a Nuclear, Radiological, Biological, or Chemical Terrorist Attack,' dated June 13, 1996, that the DOD is attempting to establish such a capability. The conferees note that many of the capabilities sought for such teams are already present in the Army's Technical Escort Unit, Edgewood Research, Development, and Engineering Center, and Chemical Defense and Infectious Disease Medical Research Institutes. The conferees also note the Counterproliferation Program Review Committee's `Report on Activities and Programs for Countering Proliferation', dated May 1996, which states that U.S. Marine Forces, Atlantic was scheduled to activate a Department of the Navy/Marine Corps Chemical/Biological Incident Response Force on June 1, 1996, to respond to chemical and biological incidents (terrorist or otherwise) occurring on Naval installations and Department of State legations worldwide. The conferees understand that the unit has been activated and is now in training.

In section 1416, the conferees agree to provide authority, very narrowly defined and carefully constructed, for the President and the Attorney General to request military support to local authorities in incidents involving chemical and biological weapons. This authority is in addition to the authorities otherwise provided in Chapter 18 of title 10, U.S. Code. The conferees agree that the use of the military in any emergency situation involving biological or chemical weapons or materials should be limited both in time and scope to dealing with the specific chemical or biological weapons-related incident.

Finally, the conferees have included a provision (sec. 1417) that would require Federal Response Plan agencies to develop and maintain an inventory of equipment and other assets that could be made available to aid State and local officials in search and rescue and other disaster management and mitigation efforts associated with an emergency involving weapons of mass destruction, and would require FEMA to maintain a comprehensive master list of the inventory. The provision would also require FEMA to establish a data base on chemical and biological agent and munitions characteristics and safety precautions and to develop a system to provide federal, State, and local officials access to the data base and to the master inventory.

Interdiction of weapons of mass destruction and related materials

This section focuses attention on enhancing our efforts at interdicting and detecting nuclear, radiological, chemical, and biological weapons and related materials, the next step of protecting the United States against the threat posed by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The conferees agree to recommend $15.0 million for the DOD to assist the U.S. Customs Service in interdicting these materials before they enter the United States.

As mentioned above, the conferees also agree to an increase of $10.0 million to the DOD counterproliferation support program and an increase of $17.0 million to the DOE nonproliferation and verification research and development program to conduct research and development of technical means for detecting the presence, transportation, production, and use of weapons of mass destruction and related materials and technologies.

Additionally, the conferees agree to provisions that would amend the International Emergency Economic Powers Act to provide penalties to cover attempts to import or export weapons of mass destruction and related materials, and would express the sense of the Congress that criminal penalties for proliferation-related activities should be increased.

Finally, the conferees agree to recommend $15.0 million for DOD training and assistance to customs services and border guards in the former Soviet Union, the Baltic states, and Eastern Europe in detecting and interdicting the smuggling of weapons of mass destruction and related materials. This program is intended to be separate and distinct from the existing DOD/FBI counterproliferation assistance program, which focuses largely on training law enforcement officials in the interdiction of these materials. The conferees believe that law enforcement and Customs agents, and border guards, must be familiar with proliferation issues if any counterproliferation effort is to be viable. While there may be some beneficial overlap between the DOD/FBI effort and the DOD/Customs program envisioned in this legislation, it is the view of the conferees that the most effective way to reach and establish productive relations is through expanding relations between analogous counterparts. The conferees expect the Secretary of Defense to make DOD equipment and related materials and technologies available to the Commissioner of Customs for use in detecting and interdicting the movement of weapons of mass destruction into the United States to the extent authorized under existing law. The Secretary of Defense and the U.S. Customs Commissioner shall provide to Congress a joint report on the scope and impact of this program and an inventory of items provided under this authority. This report should also include the extent to which it will interface with the DoD/FBI effort.

Control and disposition of weapons of mass destruction and related materials threatening the United States

With regard to the DOD budget request for the CTR program and the DOE budget request for materials, protection, control and accountability, the conferees agree to recommend authority for a variety of programs that focus on assisting the states of the former Soviet Union to better control and/or eliminate their stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction and related materials. Programs include: $15.0 million for DOE MPC&A activity; $10.0 million for DOD MPC&A activity; $10.0 million for a DOE program to develop technologies associated with improving the verification of nuclear warhead dismantlement; $15.0 million for DOD activities related to the dismantlement of chemical and biological weapons-related facilities; $9.0 million for DOE's Lab-to-Lab program; and $6.0 million for DOE to work with the Russian government in enhancing the security of fissile material used for the propulsion of Russian military and civilian ships.

It is the view of the conferees that both DOE and DOD should seek to expand these activities in the former Soviet Union beyond nuclear activities in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Belarus. While programs to date have appropriately focused on the most pressing strategic concerns, critical work remains to be done in combating the threat of proliferation at a variety of sites in the other states of the former Soviet Union where nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons-related materials and technologies continue to be vulnerable to proliferation.

The conferees agree to transfer $10.0 million in DOD funds to DOE for activities related to the conversion of several Russian nuclear core reactors so they no longer produce weapons-grade plutonium. It is the view of the conferees that the Secretary of Defense should transfer these funds to the Secretary of Energy expeditiously so that the Department of Energy can continue to move forward on this program.

Coordination of policy and countermeasures against proliferation of weapons of mass destruction

The conferees agree that the nation's overall coordination of policy, efforts, and activities addressing the threat posed by the increasing availability of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, materials, and technology must be improved. The conferees agree to a provision that would direct the appointment by the President of a national coordinator on proliferation within the Executive Office of the President, to advise the President on nonproliferation and related issues regarding terrorism and international organized crime. The provision would establish a committee on nonproliferation, to be chaired by the coordinator, and composed of members of the Executive Branch who have responsibilities for crisis and consequence management, nonproliferation, and related issues. This committee will review and coordinate programs, policies, and directives related to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the threat they pose to our national security. The conference agreement also requires the President, through the committee on nonproliferation, to submit a comprehensive report for carrying out this amendment.