[H.N.S.C. No. 105–37]
FEDERAL RESPONSE TO DOMESTIC TERRORISM INVOLVING WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION-TRAINING FOR FIRST RESPONDERS
MILITARY RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT SUBCOMMITTEE
COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL SECURITY
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED FIFTH CONGRESS
MARCH 21, 1998
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MILITARY RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT SUBCOMMITTEE
CURT WELDON, Pennsylvania, Chairman
ROSCOE G. BARTLETT, Maryland
JOHN R. KASICH, Ohio
HERBERT H. BATEMAN, Virginia
JOEL HEFLEY, Colorado
JOHN M. McHUGH, New York
JOHN N. HOSTETTLER, Indiana
SAXBY CHAMBLISS, Georgia
VAN HILLEARY, Tennessee
JOE SCARBOROUGH, Florida
WALTER B. JONES, Jr., North Carolina
MICHAEL PAPPAS, New Jersey
BOB RILEY, Alabama
BILL REDMOND, New Mexico
KAY GRANGER , Texas
OWEN PICKETT, Virginia
NEIL ABERCROMBIE, Hawaii
MARTIN T. MEEHAN, Massachusetts
JANE HARMAN, California
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2PAUL McHALE, Pennsylvania
Stephen Ansley, Professional Staff Member
Brian Green, Professional Staff Member
Robert Lautrup, Professional Staff Member
Jean Reed, Professional Staff Member
Tracy A. Walter, Staff Assistant
C O N T E N T S
Saturday, March 21, 1998, Federal Response to Domestic Terrorism Involving Weapons of Mass Destruction-Training for First Responders
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2Saturday, March 21, 1998
SATURDAY, MARCH 21, 1998
STATEMENTS PRESENTED BY MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
Weldon, Hon. Curt, a Representative from Pennsylvania, Chairman, Military Research and Development Subcommittee
Cragin, Charles L., Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs
Curl, Larry, Chief Wayne Township Volunteer Fire Department
Eversole, John M., Chief Coordinator of Hazardous Materials Chicago Fire Department
Friel, Maj. Gen. George, Commander, United States Army Chemical and Biological Defense Command
Hairston, Harold B., Commissioner Philadelphia Fire Department
Jarboe, Ted, Deputy Chief Department of Fire and Rescue Services, Montgomery County, Md.
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2Marinucci, Richard A., Chief of the Farmington Hills Fire Department in Michigan
Onieal, Denis, Superintendent of FEMA's National Fire Academy
Schultz, Brig. Gen. Roger, Deputy Director of Military Support Department of Defense
Sharro, Steve, Acting Director of FEMA's Terrorism Coordination Unit
Smith, Keith, Chief Indianapolis Fire Department
Trevino, Mario H., Fire Chief City of Las Vegas Department of Fire Services
Cragin, Charles L.
Eversole, John M.
Page 6 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2Friel, George
Hairston, Harold B.
Marinucci, Richard A.
Trevino, Mario H.
FEDERAL RESPONSE TO DOMESTIC TERRORISM INVOLVING WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION-TRAINING FOR FIRST RESPONDERS
House of Representatives,
Committee on National Security,
Military Research and Development Subcommittee,
Washington, DC, Saturday, March 21, 1998.
The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 2:22 p.m., in the Sagamore room, Indiana Convention Center, Indianapolis, IN, Hon. Curt Weldon (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. CURT WELDON, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM PENNSYLVANIA, CHAIRMAN, MILITARY RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT SUBCOMMITTEE
Mr. WELDON. The subcommittee will come to
order. Thank you all for coming today. I am Congressman Curt Weldon and
I chair the House National Security Military Research and Development Subcommittee
which has significant oversight over the authorization of funds being used
by the military and by other Federal agencies in terms of researching,
dealing with, and responding to, consequence management of chemical and
Page 8 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2We are here today to have a congressional hearing and the results of this hearing will be taken back to the full National Security Committee and the entire Congress. This is the opportunity for both the Federal agencies to tell the fire service of America what in fact is happening and to have the fire service handle an appropriate—to give their appropriate response.
I apologize for the delay in the hearing. It took Chief Hairston from Philadelphia and I 6 hours to get here from Philadelphia. We were on the plane at 7:40 a.m., but because of mechanical problems did not arrive in Indianapolis until approximately 20 minutes ago. So I apologize for that.
I want to especially thank those folks with the Fire Department Instructors Conference [FDIC] and Bill Manning. I have a longstanding relationship with FDIC. I was mentioning on the way out in the car from the airport, my first visit to FDIC was in Nashville and in that capacity I was there as a member of the fire service speaking at the opening conference on what was that year the largest fire and disaster in America, the collision of two tankers at the port in my hometown where I eventually became the mayor, Marcus Hook, and so it was my first opportunity to interact with those who are involved at FDIC. And then subsequently with the move of FDIC to Cincinnati and then to Indianapolis, I have had the chance of being at this event on perhaps five or six occasions. It is a pleasure to be back again this year.
I want to especially thank my good friend and colleague, Congressman Silvestre Reyes for joining us. Silver is from Texas. You might recognize his handsome face, his claim to fame before coming to Congress was that he was Chief of the Border Patrol along the border of Texas and established a national reputation for getting the Federal Government to respond aggressively on the problem of illegal immigrants; and long before it was a hot political topic in Washington, Silver was solving the problem for the State of Texas and set an example for our entire Border Patrol to look to as a model. He also I think will mention that he has many ties to fire service, 16 of his relatives are firefighters. So that gives him tremendous credibility to be here today. And he is a member of the National Security Committee and a key supporter of both the armed services of our country as well as the fire and EMS community.
Page 9 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2We meet here today to receive testimony on our Nation's capacity to respond to the threat of domestic terrorism involving weapons of mass destruction. This is the fifth hearing that my subcommittee has convened since March 1996 to address the threat posed the United States and U.S. citizens from the terrorists' use of nuclear, chemical, or biological materials, and the need for improvements in the capabilities of emergency first responders and the overall capability of Federal, State, and local emergency response agencies to respond to and mitigate the effects of such incidents.
As many of you know, in addition to serving in my capacity as chair of this subcommittee, I serve as a cochair of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus. It is hard to believe that this caucus is now 10 years old. It has continued to be the largest caucus in the Congress and currently is cochaired by Democrat Rob Andrews from New Jersey. In fact, in late April, we will have our 10th national meeting in Washington to pay tribute to the Nation's 1.2 million fire and emergency service responders.
Because of the caucus and our interest in the emergency response position, we decided to bring a formal field hearing of the Congress to the FDIC. We thought this would be the best location to assemble the world's leaders in both the Federal Government agencies and the fire and EMS community nationwide, to talk about where we are and where we need to go, what improvements and what changes are in order.
When all is said and done, our first responders will always be the first on the scene at any suspected terrorist incidents involving weapons of mass destruction. This is a hard notion for some of our colleagues to understand. It is also a hard notion for some in the Federal bureaucracy to understand, that when there is an incident, as there is every day in America across this country, it will not be a bureaucrat from some civil defense agency responding, it will not be the Seabrook team from the Marine Corps responding, it will not be the National Guard responding. In the first few minutes, across this country, as it has been for the past 240-some years the first responder to every incident involving the potential threat of loss of life and injury in this Nation to our people and our communities will be the fire and emergency service network; 32,000 organized agencies, many of them volunteer, in fact 85 percent of them volunteer, day in and day out responding to disasters—hurricanes, flood, tornadoes, but now facing the threat of terrorist incidents like the World Trade Center bombing in New York, the Atlanta bombing in the Olympics, the Murrah Building bombing in Oklahoma City, and events that occur on a regular basis throughout this country that are not necessarily instigated by terrorists.
Page 10 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2Just last month, the Las Vegas Fire Department was faced with what we all thought was a terrorist attack involving anthrax. As we know, that turned out not to be the case, but I can tell you I am still anxious and my colleagues are very anxious to hear from Chief Mario Trevino from Las Vegas regarding his firsthand experience with a possible weapon of mass destruction [WMD] incident.
It is clear that our Nation is now ill-prepared to deal with terrorist attacks involving nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. Whether it is the Las Vegas incident or a similar scenario such as the one which played out in Washington, DC, last year involving what was a suspected biological attack on the B'nai B'rith Foundation, we need to prepare our first responders to deal with the very real scenario of a WMD threat.
On any given week, I meet with a number of fire service organizations from across the country. I have received a wide range of conflicting opinions. Some have portrayed the current efforts within the Department of Defense and other Federal agencies to train first responders for WMD as a total success, others have just the opposite view. The same holds true for plans to utilize the National Guard and Reserve components in responding to a WMD threat.
That is why I think it is timely that we hold this
hearing in Indianapolis. We are joined by nearly 17,000 first responders
who are attending FDIC. This is the perfect opportunity for both the Federal
Government to provide our first responders with an overview of Federal
efforts to better train and equip them to respond to incidents involving
weapons of mass destruction, but also to let the Federal Government hear
from first responders.
Page 11 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2Let me just mention a personal anecdote in this situation. As the fire service knows, as I have traveled around the country visiting all 50 States over the past 10 years speaking to them, you never know where an incident will occur and while we are aggressively training the larger cities, large incidents can occur in the smallest towns and communities. I grew up in a small town, less than 5,000 people. Got involved in the fire service, like many of you, because my family was involved. From my earliest years, I spent time with my father and my six brothers in the fire station, eventually became president and chief of our local fire department.
I can recall one night back in the late 1970's, at the time I was teaching school during the day and I was doing report cards at 12:30 a.m., a large explosion rocked the community. I looked out the back window of the apartment we were living in at the time and off in a distance I saw a massive amount of fire, a fireball lifting up in the air. Responded with our two local volunteer fire companies, one of which I was at that time the assistant chief of, and faced for the next 3 days nonstop, 24 hours a day, the largest fire in the United States. A chemical-carrying tanker loaded with very devastating monomers and other materials that could have wiped out an entire community had just rammed broadside, as it made a U-turn in the Delaware River, a docked Greek oil tanker, the Corinthos, which had about 300,000 barrels of Algerian crude on it. The ship immediately exploded, killing the 29 crew members who were on the ship, and as we arrived on the scene, some of them who had been severely injured were now coming ashore, having lost parts of their bodies. It was like a war zone.
That fire burned out of control for 3 days. We did not see any external support to deal with the threats posed by that incident for 4 hours. For the first 4 hours, that entire incident was handled by the local volunteer emergency response network. In fact, I wrote a book about that called the ''Corinthos Disaster'' and actually testified before a congressional committee back in 1978.
Page 12 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2But the point is one that I want to make here today—we do not know where an incident will occur. It could be in one of our large cities, it is probably most likely to occur there, but it could be in one of our smallest towns. And for us to somehow make a value judgment and say that we are only going to focus on the big cities or special concentrations of expertise is not going to solve the problems that those 1.2 million men and women face every day.
The Japanese did not know where that sarin gas attack would occur or when it would occur, and the point is we need to understand that this response has to be coordinated with those men and women who every day are called upon to answer incidents.
The second point I want to make is that the fire service has a unique capability in dealing with incidents of this type. I would say perhaps even in some cases more than some of our Federal agencies. The reason is that every day in this country fire and EMS leaders respond to chemical tank cars that in fact are involved in collisions, rail trains, and derailments where you might have an incident involving some toxic material, an incident involving a chemical manufacturing site, a petrochemical site where you are dealing with all kinds of toxic materials that you just have no idea what you are facing. And this is not training exercise, this is not some practice where you are in a controlled situation. This occurs every day across the country in many of our smallest as well as our largest communities.
We need to make sure that those men and women who have been handling these incidents for 200 years are allowed to be given the proper role in designing the response, the training and the resources to deal with this newest threat, the threat of terrorist incidents. That is really what this hearing is all about, to see how it is going, to see what changes need to be made, to see whether or not we are providing enough resources or we need more, and to ultimately make sure that the coordination is occurring between what we allocate in Washington and what is needed at the local level where the rubber meets the road.
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2Our first panel today will focus on the policy issues involved in the coordination and planning for Federal response to domestic terrorism. The panel includes Charles Cragin, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs; Maj. Gen. George Friel, Commander of the U.S. Army Chemical-Biological Defense Command; Brig. Gen. Roger Schultz, Deputy Director, Operational Readiness and Mobilization, Headquarters, Department of the Army; Dr. Denis Onieal, Superintendent, National Fire Academy, Federal Emergency Management Agency; and Robert Blitzer, Chief, Domestic Terrorism Planning Section, Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Our second panel will focus on first responder assessment of the Federal domestic preparedness. We are joined by a unique cross section of first responders who each have their own story to tell. The panel includes Chief Richard Marinucci, president, International Association of Fire
I look forward to an informative and successful hearing, and again, I welcome everyone here. Before I bring up our witnesses, I would like to ask my good friend, Silvestre Reyes, to make whatever opening comments he would like to make.
Mr. REYES. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I too join you in welcoming all our distinguished witnesses this afternoon. It is a pleasure for me to be here. As the chairman already stated, I have 16 members of my family that are in firefighting, both in career and in volunteer. And so it is very important for our community—the city that I represent is El Paso, TX—that we provide them every venue of support possible.
As such, I am not only concerned about safety and safety to the American public, but I also have a personal interest, as I stated, because of my family.
Page 14 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2I think that it is vitally important in this day and age when we are looking at the specter of potential terrorist attacks against this country on the horizon and weapons of mass destruction, that we do everything possible to be able to give first responders the opportunity to testify before this subcommittee and get on the record their concerns, their observations and benefit from the value of their expertise. I think it is about time that we provide this forum to hear directly from those in the field and help improve the capability of Federal, State, and local emergency response agencies. Their role, in the final analysis, is to prevent and if necessary to respond to any potential act of terrorism. We cannot afford to be passive and unprepared.
I believe this hearing will be instructive in that and we will receive direct feedback on the training initiative prescribed and funded by our Congress. The very nature of domestic terrorist attacks requires cooperation among many Federal agencies and departments as well as State and local authorities.
I am pleased to see that today we have with us representatives from most of those organizations that would be responsible for supporting State and local response providers if such an incident were to occur. I look forward to hearing from our witnesses whether the training is appropriate and effective and whether the Federal, State, and local agencies involved have developed the appropriate linkages to allow them to receive intelligence concerning terrorist threats in a timely fashion.
Again, I want to welcome everybody here and it is my pleasure to be here this afternoon. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Page 15 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2Mr. WELDON. Thank you, Congressman Reyes.
And let me just say for those who have not attended a congressional hearing before, this is a full congressional hearing, we have a stenographer taking down every word that is said and the statements will be entered as a part of the congressional record. This will become a part of the official proceedings of the National Security Committee and the House of Representatives, it will be available and will be referred to in future actions that we take. So this is a very important part of the process of accessing information from the witnesses today.
Joining us on the podium is Jean Reed, who is staff from our committee and Dudley Tademy, who is also from the committee representing both the majority and the minority parties staff-wise on the National Security Subcommittee. I want to thank them and I also want to thank our support staff, Terry Holder from my staff, Maureen Cragin also from the committee staff, and Tracy Walter from the committee staff, for putting all the legwork together to make this hearing come about.
With that, I will invite our witnesses for the first panel to come to the table, and while they are coming to the table, I have the very proud honor and privilege to announce to everyone in the room that the Secretary of the Army has just announced that General Schultz has been I guess nominated or—confirmed—appointed as the next Chief of the Army National Guard Bureau, which is a very distinct honor and we are pleased to have you with us and to make that announcement public here at the FDIC. It is a pleasure to have you. It is a little unusual for us to be so high, but you can still be nasty with us if there are things you feel the Congress is not doing to help you all.
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2With that, we are going to start off. The order will be with Mr. Cragin first, followed by General Friel, followed by General Schultz, followed by Denis Onieal, Steve Sharro, and Robert Blitzer. Each of your statements will be entered as a part of the record. You may make whatever statements you would like to make verbally. If you would like to refer to your opening statements or read parts or all of it, that is fine as well. So with that, we will turn it over to Mr. Cragin.
STATEMENT OF CHARLES L. CRAGIN, PRINCIPAL DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE FOR RESERVE AFFAIRS, OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE
Mr. CRAGIN. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman and Congressman Reyes.
Mr. WELDON. Could you move the mike a little closer so that the folks in the room can hear you, please?
Mr. CRAGIN. Let me initially, Mr. Chairman, take this opportunity on behalf of myself, my colleagues here from the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Department to express our appreciation for your calling this hearing. We think, as you believe and have indicated over the many years that you have been involved in this process, the asymmetric
Weapons of mass destruction are, as Secretary Cohen recently remarked, truly the poor man's atomic bomb; easy to make, easy to get, and catastrophically lethal when used. And while counterproliferation and force protection efforts must remain at the top of our security agenda, we must also prepare to deal with the consequences of a domestic terrorist attack involving chemical, biological, or radiological weapons.
Page 17 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2This week, Secretary Cohen announced an important new initiative regarding our Nation's ability to respond to terrorist use of weapons of mass destruction on U.S. soil. He announced the implementation of a plan designed to lay the cornerstone for a national strategy to provide military expertise to civil authorities in attacks involving such weapons.
Secretary Cohen has made it unequivocally clear that he wants the Guard and Reserve front and center in DOD's response plans for WMD terrorism here at home. The plan calls for using the National Guard and other Reserve component forces to support local, State, and Federal agencies in responding to a weapons of mass destruction incident should it occur on U.S. soil.
To perform this mission, the National Guard and other Reserve components are being integrated into our national WMD preparedness strategy. A new office, the Reserve Component Consequence Management Program Integration Office, has been established within DOD to oversee this integration process. It reports directly to the Director of Military Support and, through that general officer, to the Secretary of the Army, the Department of Defense Executive Agent for WMD Preparedness. This office will coordinate the identification, training, equipping, and exercise of Reserve component WMD assets and manage their integration into national WMD response plans.
This ongoing integration effort is one of the Department's
highest priorities, not only because defense of the homeland is a national
imperative, but also because the Guard and Reserve are ideally suited to
support this important mission.
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2Our Reserve component personnel live and work in nearly 4,000 communities across the country. They are familiar with local emergency response plans and they have well-established links to the fire, police, and medical emergency personnel who, as you indicated, are always the first to arrive at the scene of any incident—the first responders.
As a result, the Guard and Reserve, represent a sustainable and highly effective resource pool of trained power and expertise. With the additional training and equipment called for in Secretary Cohen's plan, our Guard and Reserve will soon be available to support local, State, and Federal authorities in WMD consequence management.
Given their proximity to likely centers of attack, as well as their familiarity with local plans and procedures, the U.S. military Reserve components, including the National Guard, have an effective and substantial response capability. By tapping into and leveraging these inherent strengths, the Department of Defense can improve its overall capabilities to provide military support to civil authorities.
Due to its historic role in performing disaster response and relief missions in a State capacity—that is, before a disaster situation has been federalized by Presidential declaration—the National Guard will be called upon to play a vital role in this new plan. But the other Reserve components will be equally engaged when Federal response assets are requested by State Governors or ordered into action by the President.
The underlying premise of this plan is that disaster relief is and must remain overwhelmingly a State mission. However, if one of these weapons were used by terrorists on U.S. soil, the resources and energies of local first responders, along with those of their counterparts at the State level, may be quickly overwhelmed or exhausted. And working through the Federal Emergency Management Agency [FEMA], the lead Federal agency for disaster response and consequence management, local and State officials would urgently require the provision of additional Federal assets, including military assets.
Page 19 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2Should a weapon of mass destruction actually be used, responders—be they local, State or Federal, civilian or military—will confront unique and daunting challenges. Survivors of an incident will need medical assistance. That assistance will have to be immediate and massive. Survivors will need information on where and how to get additional help. Specialists will have to identify the nature of an attack and restrict access to hazardous areas. Others will be needed to decontaminate those areas. And rescue and medical personnel will need to perform their mission without themselves becoming casualties.
The Department of Defense has an essential role to play in better preparing our Nation to deal with these challenges. But that role—and let me stress it again—will be one of partnership and support, so when it comes time for the Department of Defense to lend a hand, the authority of local incident commanders will not be undermined. We at DOD, along with our partners in the Federal response plan, will be there to assist first responding State and local agencies. More specifically, the National Guard and Reserve will be there trained, equipped, and ready to support local and civil authorities.
At its core, the plan envisages the initial establishment of 10 assessment teams, located regionally, that will be able to deploy rapidly, assist local first responders in determining the nature of an attack, provide medical and technical advice, and pave the way for the identification and arrival of follow-on State and Federal response assets.
Each rapid assessment team will consist of 22 highly skilled, full-time National Guard personnel who will act as the tip of our national military response spear. The initial use of these teams will be under the direction and control of the State Governor, who can deploy them to assist local agencies quickly, before a national disaster declaration by the President. Additionally, the existence of interstate compacts allows Governors to deploy National Guardsmen, acting in a State capacity, to surrounding States, short of a Presidential declaration.
Page 20 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2A process is now underway within the Department of Defense to determine where, across the 10 Federal regions these 10 assessment elements will be distributed. The selection process will be based on several criteria, including: Demographics of the response area—cities, counties, and States; identified threats or high-value targets, so-called; availability of National Guard airlift for the element; location of other military centers of excellence; location of supported Federal response assets and teams; State support for fielding the elements; and the availability of interstate compacts to allow the element's use across State lines.
During fiscal year 1999, one response element will be established in the first quarter, with the remaining nine to be stood up over the following three quarters, three in each of the quarters. There will be a limited response capability after fiscal year 1999, with fully-developed mission-ready elements in place after fiscal year 2000.
Complementing and supporting these rapid response teams will be specially trained and equipped decontamination and reconnaissance units, drawn from within the existing Reserve component force structure, specifically from the Reserve component's existing chemical companies, which will soon be provided with additional training and equipment to enable them to perform a WMD response and support mission.
Forty-nine million dollars is contained in the
Within this context, Secretary Cohen presented draft legislation to Congress on February 2, 1998. This legislation, if enacted, would be entitled ''The Department of Defense Reform Act of 1998'' and is intended to form the core of the defense reform initiative. Three sections in the draft legislation have proposed amendments to sections within 10 U.S.C. that relate to Reserve component personnel and WMD response capabilities.
Page 21 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2This plan to integrate the Reserve components into our national WMD strategy is a prudent one. By incorporating and leveraging existing forces into current WMD response planning, while creating only one new type of unit, the rapid assessment team, this plan is highly cost effective. It will help to fill the existing gaps in civilian response capabilities, especially those of local responders who need to rapidly determine the precise nature of WMD attacks. Without such capabilities, mass confusion and lethal delays would very likely result.
This plan complements ongoing interagency WMD preparedness efforts, including the Federal Response Plan and the City Training Program, which is now being conducted by the Army.
Mr. Chairman, at this time, I would like to introduce Major General Friel, the commander of CBDCOM, who is conducting the city training on behalf of the Army.
Mr. WELDON. Thank you, Mr. Cragin. General Friel.
I did not properly introduce Mr. Cragin, he is the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs from the Office of the Secretary of Defense. I apologize for not properly introducing you. And General Friel, the floor is now yours.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Cragin can be found
in the Appendix on page 62.]
Page 22 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2STATEMENT OF MAJ. GEN. GEORGE FRIEL, COMMANDER, U.S. ARMY CHEMICAL-BIOLOGICAL DEFENSE COMMAND
General FRIEL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Congressman Reyes. I appreciate the opportunity to come today and testify before this committee, as I did, Mr. Chairman, last year.
Mr. Chairman, I am Maj. Gen. George Friel, as you mentioned, commander of the Chemical and Biological Defense Command, but for this hearing's purposes, more importantly, I am the Army's program manager for the domestic preparedness program that was—that the Department of Defense is implementing under the Nunn-Lugar-Domenici Act.
My purpose today testifying before you is to describe the current overall Army efforts in executing the domestic preparedness program and describing in some general fashion the way ahead.
My written submission to the hearing, Mr. Chairman, contains a detailed breakdown of the current program. However, I would like to take a few moments to describe and summarize, specifically with emphasis on the training and related issues, some of which you have mentioned already.
We are serving, I believe, two important functions, while performing the domestic preparedness mission, as we were directed to by Congress. First, we are facilitators and enablers for the emergency response community, many of which are represented here today, through our efforts in the training, providing expert assistance and the exercise program that we developed in the past year and a half. We have established a national emergency hotline system and we provide assistance to the help line and a web page system that has been established in the past year.
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2Additionally, we have been catalysts for identification of the various voids, many of which you have identified, which need to be filled, such as the need for equipment, a sustainment program, mass media training, and other initiatives which I will discuss a little bit later.
As of this date, we, the interagency team, which is represented at this table, have trained 18 cities during the past year and a half, including the city of Houston, which we completed yesterday. The interagency team will train an additional 17 cities by the end of this September and a listing of those cities is provided in my written testimony. Those projected through the rest of the year are also listed.
To date, we have trained over 5,800 first responder trainers and these trainers are drawn from the firefighting community, law enforcement, hazardous material handlers, emergency medical communities, emergency management personnel, and the 911 operators and dispatchers of those cities.
The approach that we have used in our training program employs a train-the-trainer concept. We recognized early in the program the significant amount of time and resources that would be required to reach out to every responder in the various communities across the United States. In addition, each community responds differently to emergencies and relies upon unique organizational infrastructures to accomplish their responses. We also know that each community normally has several training institutions which train personnel from their various response organizations. So in order to most effectively implement the training program, we instituted the train-the-trainer approach.
Page 24 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2This approach will institutionalize the response material within the local response culture, and not ours. The city trainer takes the instructor material and adapts it to their unique response structures and organizations and then trains their responders. The Federal Government thereby enters into a partnership with the city to implement the domestic preparedness training program.
Furthermore, we use a team teaching concept in our training program. We pair a nuclear, biological, chemical expert with an emergency responder as instructors. The emergency responder instructors have extensive experience in the firefighting, law enforcement, and emergency medical communities. They have walked the walk and now they can talk the talk. Both instructors, therefore, bring a high degree of credibility and experience to our training program. To date, these two approaches, the train-the-trainer program and the team teaching program, are extremely effective and we believe are successful and recently are bringing accolades from the cities we have trained.
We plan to continue this successful approach and will continue to modify the program as necessary based on the comments we receive from each city. Indeed, we modified our training program last October based on feedback from the first five cities we trained in August and September.
After 1 1/2 years of developing the overall domestic preparedness program and the training materials and the last 7 months spent training the cities, we are now focused on two new initiatives. The first initiative involves sustainment, which is required, we believe, due to both the perishable skills of the individuals that we are training and the turnover of personnel. While the current domestic preparedness program's primary purpose was to increase the first responders' awareness in responding to weapons of mass destruction, sustainment is required in order to achieve long-lasting success.
Page 25 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2We believe there are three separate avenues to attain and achieve this sustainment. The existing training centers that are used throughout the country to train our emergency responders through the use of the Reserve and National Guard as previously described, and reaching past the 120 cities that we are currently targeting for training. First, we feel that the knowledge and expertise that the interagency community is imparting must be institutionalized into existing and recognized training venues. These venues include, at the Federal level, the FEMA, National Fire Academy, FBI Academy, the EPA Training Centers and the National Centers for Domestic Preparedness and others. We also feel that the States' training academies play an important role in this area by providing training in those cities which lie outside the current program and in those communities which rely heavily on volunteers.
To that end, we have adopted an approach which reserves training slots for each State's trainers in the cities we train and provide them with a modified training package when they leave. This will allow them to incorporate domestic preparedness material into the State training courses and begin training communities throughout the State.
Recently, representatives from the Maryland Emergency Management Agency and the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute attended our training program in the city of Baltimore. Their intent is to now provide this material to the various communities throughout the State.
Second, as mentioned by Major General Soriano in
his testimony last November, we have taken steps to integrate the Reserve
components into the domestic preparedness program.
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2Brig. Gen. Roger Schultz will speak in detail about the DOD plan for the National Guard, but for the training program currently, we recognize that the Reserve component also has a sustainment role. To assist them, we have incorporated Reserve component instructors on our training teams. A number of Reserve component soldiers are members of the response community in which they live in their civilian jobs while they serve their Nation as part-time soldiers. These instructors bring an invaluable citizen soldier perspective to our team. In addition, they provide a valuable nucleus upon which to build the sustainment training.
The third action we are implementing in the sustainment area will involve the mass media training. We are taking our current training materials and modifying them to fit into a series of 2-hour video sections. At the conclusion of this effort, we will have a PBS-like video program covering all aspects of the weapons of mass destruction including agent awareness, detection, decontamination, and mass casualty consideration. All responder organizations, volunteers and paid, can then use these videos as part of their training program. And we plan to develop an interactive CD–ROM program which will augment this training package. These finished products will be provided for distribution to the normal training venues at FEMA, FBI, EPA, and other agencies. We anticipate this effort to be completed by April 1999.
The second initiative we are undertaking this year involves improving the domestic preparedness process itself. One of the lessons learned from our last year was that we need to enhance the participation of the State and the regional Federal representatives including Department of Defense and the Reserve component organization. Changes to the process expanded the involvement of State and regional Federal representatives. We have conducted four regional kickoff meetings held in Sacramento, Virginia Beach, Oklahoma City, and in Memphis. These regional meetings allowed increased participation and planning by other State representatives and regional Federal agencies. This increased participation will complement our program's activities in the cities we plan to visit and conduct training. We anticipate that this increased participation from the various organizations will enhance the effectiveness of the domestic preparedness program that we are currently conducting. These initiatives will enhance city, State, and regional Federal agency relationships that would be called upon in any disaster besides those involving not only the weapons of mass destruction but other disasters. This is a national program we believe that requires maximum cooperation and coordination among all organizations that are necessary for success.
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2Mr. Chairman, I am proud to be associated with this program and your interest in the worthwhile endeavor caused by Congress 2 years ago, and we thank the subcommittee and its members for the opportunity to testify today and for your support.
[The prepared statement of General Friel can be found in the Appendix on page 68.]
Mr. WELDON. Thank you, General Friel.
Before I turn to General Schultz, I would just mention for the folks in the audience and for the fire service media that all of the testimony of the witnesses today is available on our web site which you can access through your own local computer at www.house.gov/nsc. So if you want to access any of the testimony, you can do that at your leisure. And while we only have the opportunity to have certain witnesses respond and be here on behalf of the fire service, one of the things we are asking for is the fire service leadership out across America to also respond to us, to give us your thoughts based upon what you hear today, your own review of the testimony and your own feelings in your own situation. So it is an opportunity not just for the formal part of the hearing, but to get responses from all over the country and I would appreciate the fire service media also making that point in their publications.
Again, General Schultz is the new Chief of the Army
National Guard Bureau. He is currently Deputy Director of Operational Readiness
and Mobilization at the Headquarters, Department of the Army. General Schultz,
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2STATEMENT OF BRIG. GEN. ROGER C. SCHULTZ, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, OPERATIONAL READINESS AND MOBILIZATION, HEADQUARTERS, DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
General SCHULTZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Throughout my military career as a National Guard officer, and in my current position as Deputy Director of Military Support, it has been my privilege to work with members of the first responder community, to support the volunteers of the first responder community.
Just a few days ago, Secretary Cohen commented to the National Press Club about his commitment to improving our Nation's ability to respond to weapons of mass destruction attacks, certainly an overwhelming condition that we all must think through.
General Friel addressed one aspect of DOD's efforts to enhance domestic preparedness. I will address an integral component of DOD's overall program, enhancing the DOD consequence response capability.
In November, a team of experts began preparing a plan to integrate the significant capabilities of the Reserve components, including the National Guard, into the military support for a catastrophic attack. This plan is based on the interagency strategic planning and the evolving plans for response to nuclear, biological and chemical attacks and on recently completed Department of Defense studies addressing transnational threats of terrorism and concepts of homeland defense.
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2The plan identifies the specific functions the military may be asked to perform following an attack or incident, identifies the specific elements required to perform those functions and lays out the steps necessary to identify, train, and equip those units.
In implementing the plan, the Army will task, train and equip Reserve component units, preparing them to perform the tasks that local, State, and Federal authorities may request. Our efforts will also work to ensure the many significant WMD response efforts underway within the Department are coordinated and the military support is fully integrated with local, State, and Federal response plans and teams.
For a response to a weapon of mass destruction incident, the Department of Defense will likely establish a response task force to control the responding military elements. This task force would perform assignments from the local, State, and other Federal agencies when they ask for our help.
Today, the Department of Defense only has a limited number of specifically focused technical response assets to call on. And their capacity for large or multiple events is not significant. These elements include the Army's Technical Escort Unit, the Navy's Medical Research Institute Lab, and the Marine Corps' Chemical, Biological Incident Response Force. They serve as models and prototypes for the functions, training, and equipment required to respond to a nuclear, biological, or chemical incident.
All of the response proposed elements are based on the planning and integrated local, State, and Federal exercises conducted prior to the Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta and refined in other special events throughout the country during the past 2 years. All are designed to supplement other local, State, or Federal response teams.
Page 30 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2This program will dramatically increase the elements that are prepared to respond on a moment's notice. Those elements will range in size from small teams of 5 or 6 people to larger elements of 50 or 60 personnel. During the first year of the program, as has already been noted, we will establish 3 types of elements: 10 assessments, 65 decontamination elements, and 27 reconnaissance elements, and begin training some medical personnel.
The rapid assessment elements will form the tip of the military response to WMD attacks. They will augment local responders by helping them assess the situation, provide advice, and facilitate requests for additional State or Federal response assets.
As a National Guard unit, these response elements may be employed by the Governor or federalized and deployed to respond with other Federal assets. The location of the initial state rapid assessment elements has not been determined yet, but will be made based on the factors outlined by Mr. Cragin earlier.
The structure, training courses, and equipment for the decontamination and reconnaissance elements are described in the plan. These, and the subsequent elements, are created by focusing existing units on consequence management missions, tasks, and other specific training outlined in our plan, and delivering supplemental equipment to handle their current capabilities. This capitalizes on the current structure and leverages on Guard units and Reserve units that exist in our communities today. Using National Guard and Reserve elements already stationed throughout the United States also improves the response time to incident sites. The National Guard elements may be employed as State assets or as Federal assets under the response task force concept.
Page 31 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2In conclusion, our military need is to be trained and equipped to operate safely alongside the first responders that they might be asked to support in the event of a nuclear, chemical, or biologically contaminated incident. This DOD program organizes, trains, and equips elements formed from within existing force structure. It is designed to assist and support the efforts of first responders and improve our nation's war fighting ability.
I will be followed by Mr. Steve Sharro, Director of the Terrorism Coordination Unit from FEMA.
Mr. WELDON. Thank you very much, General Schultz, we appreciate you being here and appreciate your testimony.
We will follow them with Steve Sharro, Director of Terrorism Coordination for FEMA. Steve.
[The prepared statement of General Schultz can be found in the Appendix on page 78.]
STATEMENT OF STEVEN G. SHARRO, DIRECTOR, TERRORISM COORDINATION UNIT, FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY
Mr. SHARRO. Thank you, sir, good afternoon. Good afternoon also, Mr. Reyes.
Page 32 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2I appreciate the opportunity to discuss with you today FEMA's efforts to assist State and local emergency responders to deal with terrorist events.
If we experience a terrorist attack in this country, particularly one involving chemical weapons, regardless of any other special response capabilities that we set up at the Federal or State level, it will be the local first responders who will have to deal with the situation during the first critical and very dangerous hours. These first responders will be the ones to save any victims who will be saved, to prevent any further contamination, and to keep others from becoming casualties. But they will need to protect themselves in the process and avoid becoming casualties themselves.
FEMA has taken the position from the earliest days of this effort that Federal resources should be focused squarely on local first responders until we are certain that they are fully prepared. And by prepared, I mean not just trained but also equipped.
Presidential Decision Directive 39 assigns FEMA lead responsibility for assisting State and local governments to
FEMA has also had a direct hand in the domestic preparedness training program. FEMA's Emergency Management Institute developed a workshop for mayors and senior officials to acquaint them with the special issues inherent in planning for terrorist events involving weapons of mass destruction. This workshop will also be available as part of FEMA's normal field training program that is offered in partnership with the State emergency management organizations in 50 States and 8 territories.
Page 33 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2In addition to our work in supporting the DOD Domestic Preparedness Program, FEMA offers a number of important terrorism-related training activities through the Emergency Management Institute and the National Fire Academy.
The Emergency Management Institute focuses on the management and planning side of disaster preparedness, so its courses are generally aimed at emergency managers and policy level community officials. EMI offers several courses directly related to terrorism preparedness. For example, the special terrorism version of EMI's popular integrated emergency management course is offered to communities either at the campus in Emmitsburg, MD, or on site in the city. This course brings together approximately 60 of the community's top officials who would have roles in an actual disaster. This includes the mayor, city manager, the fire chief, police chief, public works director, council members, school officials, emergency medical and public health personnel, public affairs officers, and even representatives from the local media. The course gives these officials 2 days of classroom instruction followed by a terrorism tabletop exercise that is set in their own city and based on the plans and vulnerabilities of that city. Students play their own parts in the exercise and it is an extremely useful experience as the folks from Oklahoma City will tell you. They had the course the year prior to the Federal building bombing and have attributed their ability to handle the situation, at least in part, to having participated in this course.
In addition to the Integrated Emergency Management Course, the Emergency Management Institute recently produced a short field course entitled ''Emergency Response to a Criminal or Terrorist Event.'' This 1-day course can be taught by local officials using EMI materials. It focuses on the interface between law enforcement authorities and fire rescue personnel and EMS personnel. It also addresses issues such as evidence preservation versus lifesaving activities and strategies for dealing with the threat of secondary devices.
Page 34 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2As part of the normal curriculum, EMI offers planning courses and courses on the incident command system that are directly related to terrorism preparedness. For example, a mass fatalities incident course helps communities to prepare for either natural or manmade disasters that result in a large number of deaths.
Now at this point, I would like to ask Denis Onieal, who is the Superintendent of the National Fire Academy, to talk about the important training that NFA is providing for first responders.
Mr. WELDON. Thank you, Mr. Sharro. Denis, it is good to have you here. We had a good meeting in my office and I welcome you to the hearing today.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Sharro can be found in the Appendix on page 82.]
STATEMENT OF DENIS ONIEAL, SUPERINTENDENT, NATIONAL FIRE ACADEMY, FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY
Mr. ONIEAL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you, Representative Reyes, for your interest in this most important topic.
The issue of terrorism is not new to us at the National Fire Academy. We began developing our Emergency Response to Terrorism long before Federal programs even existed, we were concerned about that role with firefighters. We convened a panel of local fire, State training and law enforcement, Federal and international terrorism experts to advise us on the curriculum.
Page 35 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2The National Fire Academy has had a long-standing relationship with our State and local training partners. Through the Training Resource and Data Exchange Network, which includes the fire training officers from each of the 50 States as well as 150 of the largest metropolitan fire departments in this country, the NFA is able to reach the entire Nation directly.
After beginning development of NFA's Emergency Response to Terrorism program in 1996, we received additional funding in 1997 from the Bureau of Justice Assistance. Also in 1997, FEMA distributed $2.5 million in grants directly to the States to enable them to deliver NFA courses.
The first course in our series, ''Emergency Response to Terrorism: Self-Study,'' is a paper-based, awareness-level, self-paced course. The intent is to provide first responders with the outward warning signs and detection clues of terrorism incidents and with the methodology to ensure safe and successful response. To date, 200,000 copies of that course have been printed and 80,000 have been distributed to first responders across this Nation. The course is also available on the U.S. Fire Administration's website (usfa.fema.gov).
The second course developed was ''Emergency Response
to Terrorism: Basic Concepts.'' This is a 2-day course that provides instructions
at the operations level and teaches first responders how to deal with terrorism
incidents using defensive tactics. To date, we have trained 421 instructors
and they have trained approximately 3000 students since October 1997, and
we project that upwards of 25,000 first responders will be trained by fall
of this year.
Page 36 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2The third course, which is currently under development, is ''Emergency Response to Terrorism: Incident Management.'' And this is a course designed to teach command level officers how to manage terrorism incidents. This is a 6-day course which will be available for distribution in June.
The fourth course, ''Emergency Response to Terrorism: Tactical Considerations'' is designed to teach technician and specialist-level personnel the technical nature of terrorism
An additional initiative is underway to develop an ''Emergency Response to Terrorism: Job Aid,'' which will be an on-scene resource in the form of a written guide providing quick and easy access to information and suggestions for appropriate actions.
FEMA's National Fire Academy is prepared to assist in providing the emergency response to terrorism training that is needed by this Nation's first responders. Our existing relationship that already works with our State and local trainers allows for rapid dissemination of our curriculum. We have an obligation to support first responders by continuing to develop courses, to train instructors and students in responding to and managing terrorism incidents. We need to provide funding to States. We intend to continue developing and delivering high-quality courses in an effort to better prepare first responders to respond to terrorism incidents safely and effectively.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would like to introduce
Bob Blitzer of the FBI, who will give his testimony.
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2Mr. WELDON. Thank you, Denis. Mr. Blitzer, it is a pleasure to have you here. Mr. Blitzer is Section Chief for Domestic Terrorism Planning for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Welcome.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Onieal can be found in the appendix on page 86.]
STATEMENT OF ROBERT BLITZER, CHIEF, DOMESTIC TERRORISM PLANNING SECTION, FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION
Mr. BLITZER. Chairman Weldon, Mr. Reyes, thanks so much for giving me the opportunity to appear today with this panel who I work with quite frequently.
There are a couple of issues that I thought I would table out to you, Mr. Chairman.
First of all, sometimes I think the role of the crisis manager gets lost in the fray as we are working on consequence management and I have seen this over the months, I am concerned about it. One of the key things that we in the law enforcement community must deal with is the protection of a crime scene and our ability to work within a crime scene in order to solve the crime, be it a major crime like Oklahoma City or even an act of war, because this could happen.
And so as I look at all the great work that has been done in the consequence management family, I am hoping that we can strengthen on the crisis management side also. And key to the crisis management side, in my view, is equipment. And one of the things on the civilian side that I think is needed and which the Bureau and the Department of Justice I think feels very strongly about is being able to equip the first responders sufficiently, because they will be the ones that go to the crime scene. It will be the policemen, it will be the firemen, it will be the emergency medical technician who is out there first, followed very quickly by bomb techs and other law enforcement personnel. We have got to have that equipment, we have got to be ready, we need to know how to use it. And I see that as a weakness.
Page 38 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2Now in our last budget we did get approximately $21 million to begin a process of providing some limited equipment. But in looking at that, I have got to tell you I do not think that is anywhere close to what the needs are and what the needs of the future will be, and we need to think about this. I do not have the answer to that, but I lay that out to you because I think it is important.
This first responder training that we have all been engaged with now for about 2 years is really a first step, and I think we have all considered it as a first step to a much wider program. It has been good, we have learned a lot, but we have got a lot more to learn. And I think that in the coming years, we will be able to do more and I appreciate the ability to be here today and share those thoughts with you.
Mr. WELDON. Thank you, Mr. Blitzer. And let me thank each of you again for coming to Indianapolis to be a part of this conference and this, I think, somewhat historic congressional hearing.
Before I begin some questioning and then turn to my friend for some questions and then we will get to our second panel, I want to again, to the folks in the audience and the fire service media, say that again all the testimony you will hear today is available on the House National Security Committee website, so when you go back to your stations or your towns, you can pull up all this testimony, see what has been said and then I am going to add one new dimension to it. We would like to hear from you. If you want to have your statement or your comment become a part of the official congressional record on this very timely topic, you can do that. You can get it to us in care of the House National Security Committee or you can e-mail it to us or you can fax it to us, but we would like to have input from other departments that are not going to be afforded the opportunity to testify formally here today.
Page 39 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2What we are trying to do is elicit as much in the way of input from across the country, from the smallest volunteer fire department to the largest paid department, we want to know what you think about the current efforts that you have just heard outlined to you, the success or lack of success
Let me start off by referring to Chief Marinucci's testimony, which he is going to present and you will not have a chance to respond. So I have gone through some of their testimony to be able to ask the questions that they probably would like to ask you all.
One of the things he says in his testimony is ''We request that the authority enhancing the current role of the National Guard be clearly spelled out,'' which I think General Schultz, you are doing and will be your major task here. But he goes on to say ''We need a wiring diagram of how Federal assets are requested.'' And when I am thinking about the 32,000 fire and EMS departments in this country, I know exactly what they are thinking. When they arrive on the scene and they think they have got something beyond their capacity, what do they do, who do they go to, you know, and how do they get the response that they need very quickly. Has that been identified yet and is it available.
Mr. CRAGIN. Mr. Chairman, if I might comment, at least initially. That was one of the concerns that Secretary had when he was putting together the team. As you well know, in the Federal system in which we live, the States are sovereign and their Governors are primarily responsible for the conduct of natural or manmade disasters within their jurisdictions. And in designing these rapid assessment elements, it was recognized that if we had to wait, to jump through all the Federal bureaucratic wickets to get a Federal person on the scene of such a disaster, it would be a day late and a dollar short, quite frankly. And that was the reason why the Secretary recommended that the individuals who would populate these rapid assessment teams would be active Guard and Reserve personnel acting initially in their State capacity, so that they would be available, either because they were located in the State or because of an interstate compact with the other Governors, to immediately respond so that they would be part of the State assets. And as you know, Mr. Chairman, many of these States have as the director of their emergency operations the adjutants general of those States. So it made a very nice fit.
Page 40 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2Obviously, if we have to get into Federal resources beyond what the States have available within their jurisdiction, that does take longer. And one of the other things that the rapid assessment team would be doing is anticipating the possibility that additional resources from the Federal sector were going to be necessary so that essentially as soon as they are on the scene, they can start back channeling so to speak to anticipate that, to make that work a lot faster.
Mr. WELDON. To follow on with that, we have 10—and I will let you all respond, but let me just follow up with this and add to it. You have mentioned that we have 10 teams that we are establishing around the country, which is Secretary Cohen's initial priority or objective, and that would involve 10 States. What if you are in a State that does not have 1 of those 10 teams? Is there a network being put into place so that that State that may not even be near 1 of those 10 sites has the ability to know who they are going to contact and access as equally fast as the State in which that team is located?
Mr. CRAGIN. As a matter of fact, Mr. Chairman, they will. As General Schultz mentioned, the Program Integration Office is in the process of developing those plans right now, and let me emphasize that Secretary Cohen decided in fiscal year 1999 to stand up 10 of these rapid assessment elements as part of the WMD Reserve/Guard program. As General Schultz mentioned, there are also additional reconnaissance and decontamination teams that are being stood up that year as well. But with respect to these 10 teams, 1 would be located in each of the 10 FEMA regions throughout the country, and then as I mentioned in my testimony, the specific location within each of those FEMA regions would be determined based on the number of criteria that I mentioned.
Page 41 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2And to some extent, it would be dependent on whether there was in fact an interstate compact between those States, so that there would be portability wearing their State hat, their immediate response hat rather than have to wait for the Federal wicket to be played.
Mr. WELDON. Now those 10 teams, are they going—then a Governor of a neighboring State, assuming they have a compact, can in fact request that assistance immediately.
Mr. CRAGIN. That is correct.
Mr. WELDON. General Schultz.
General SCHULTZ. Yes; that is correct. The Governors are making agreements as we speak. In fact, most States now have agreements with one another that they will share both personnel and equipment should emergencies in one State require the assistance of help from another. So that clearly as States begin to make those agreements, we can create a response capability that we have not thought of or at least experienced in the past.
Now back to your question, if I could, Mr. Chairman. The chief asked a great question, we have had great deliberation of this issue and what local responders need to do is ask their State emergency managers for help, and what we anticipate in the case of WMD attack is that the events will be accelerated very, very rapidly. So we are going to ask for State help almost on a basis that we have not had an exposure to before. And perhaps then if the Guard does not have the kinds of resources that we need in the case of a local request like we are describing here, then we would go to other Federal assets. In the case of Las Vegas, we received a request from the FBI sent up to the Office of Secretary of Defense through our shop and we sent a team from Dugway, UT, part of the Tech Escort Unit, to respond then to that request from the local community. So I understand the layers of Government that are in place there and what we are working through now is simply making all of those checks in the blocks as transparent as we possibly can so the first responder, those very individuals that really need the help, get it in as timely a fashion as they possibly can get it.
Page 42 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2Mr. WELDON. And that is the key, general, the key is for the on-scene commander, who has got to act in a matter of minutes, to be able to have the knowledge of where to go to get the assets and how to access what assets are available through the Federal Government.
If I am a small town chief sitting out in the audience or reading one of the publications summarized in this hearing, I
You have outlined a whole broad range of things from training to resources to expertise. How does the chief of a small town in Iowa know where to go to get access to this, and are we making—is it the Federal Government's role to directly interact with all 32,000 departments in the country or are we leaving out the States? Steve.
Mr. SHARRO. May I, sir? Speaking on behalf of those Federal wickets, which is not to say chokepoints, I think that General Schultz mentioned one of the right answers and that is an accelerated declaration process. I suspect if something like this happened, the declaration process would be greatly accelerated, if not immediate. So the process of using a Presidential declaration and the Federal response plan, the local emergency response plans of the States and so forth, would not be the impediment that it might be.
But more directly to your question regarding how does a local responder or a local incident commander get the information he needs or she needs. One of the things that the Federal Emergency Management Agency was required to do under the Weapons of Mass Destruction Act was to set up a rapid response information system, RRIS is the acronym. It includes a hotline that people can call, which is connected directly to the National Response Center, to provide special information on weapons of mass destruction, on their properties, what to do, how to recognize them and so forth. But it also provides information in a database of what Federal resources are available. And this is actually much more useful in the planning process because, as you know, at the time it is a little bit late to be trying to find out exactly what resources are available. But this information is on line right now as we speak. The information about it is being disseminated widely and so I think there is a resource for local responders to use.
Page 43 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2Mr. WELDON. And that is available now for any department in the country to access?
Mr. SHARRO. It is, sir. I will be glad to provide for the record, the websites and so forth.
Mr. WELDON. Great. Thank you. General.
General FRIEL. That was part of my program and we will make available several of these cards, but I will put it for the record. As I mentioned in my testimony, there are three separate components. The law required me to set up an emergency response hotline system which has been established well over a year, it is part of the national response system, that monitors every emergency call in this country, whether it is from the poison center or a local 911 operator. If that call indicates that there is a problem, not only will we respond immediately to a plea from a local responder incident commander, we may call back that incident commander and ask them if they have considered that this may be something that may be CB. So I am paying, out of the domestic preparedness program, both a team at the National Response Center that monitors all calls in the country, and a national response cell that I maintain at my headquarters connected to the FBI and to FEMA, that will put them in contact with the technical expert immediately, whether it be bio or chem or a nuc. And then the third component of that is that there is a help line, which I will also provide for the record, and I believe it is in my testimony, and those numbers.
We have a hotline which you call for emergencies, a help line if you just want to ask a question, and a website that you can get all this information.
Page 44 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2Mr. WELDON. So the hotline is not just for a weapon of mass destruction, you are saying it could be accessed for any disaster?
General FRIEL. Sir, there is a national hotline system established under the national response plan, it has been there for years, but we have augmented it——
Mr. WELDON. How much use are you getting on that? Do you monitor that?
General FRIEL. Sir, I visited the center probably 4 months ago and for the record, sir, I cannot give you the exact answer, the Coast Guard manages that in the District of Columbia, but I will tell you there was not probably 3 seconds go by that there was not a new call coming in. So they monitor every emergency call in America.
Mr. WELDON. And do they tie in with other efforts like Chem-Track, the national——
General FRIEL. Yes, sir.
Mr. WELDON. OK, so they can access them, good.
General FRIEL. The second part of it, sir, that I would like to mention and Mr. Blitzer will augment that, but the call and the responses to Las Vegas do not require—for example, what happened in Las Vegas does not require a Presidential declaration. There are agreements already with all the Federal agencies to use the national response assets that are available without that declaration when that asset does not normally exist in the State. And so the National Guard resources that General Schultz will stand up as well as the technical resources we have today, whether they be from Department of Defense or other agencies, can respond not only to the FBI but FEMA, EPA and others. For example, in Leila, AR, when they had the insecticide explosion, I deployed the same task force I would deploy against a terrorist attack to assist the mayor in coping with an insecticide fire. I deployed a team in 2 hours from Dugway, UT to assist the FBI in Las Vegas when there was a potential terrorist attack there, simply at the request of the mayor. So the mayor's request, we have procedures established, and I will provide for the record those telephone numbers that are hotline, help line system to get that assistance.
Page 45 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2Mr. WELDON. And to make the mayors feel at ease, there is no charge sent back to them, right?
General FRIEL. It is free, sir. No charge.
Mr. REYES. Mr. Chairman, will you yield?
Mr. WELDON. Sure, I will be happy to yield.
Mr. REYES. I have a question. Since General Schultz mentioned Las Vegas, I am curious, in the context of your comment that, if I understood it correctly, that we got a chance to see kind of a real time incident, gauge the reaction. In that context, what were the results, in your opinion.
General SCHULTZ. Well, of course, you will hear later in detail from a first-hand perspective. One of the things that we are arguing is we put together these 10 response teams—3 teams in the case of the tech escort capacity today. We have tech escort units in three locations. What we are suggesting is that just is not enough. And so we have extended the expertise that General Friel has through his tech escort community to 10 additional communities, and our response teams, with the exception of the explosive ordnance disposal, look much like his tech escort kinds of teams and
Mr. REYES. So in this first incident, what we had in place did not respond to the threat, is that correct?
Page 46 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2General SCHULTZ. Mr. Reyes, the teams I am talking about are not—they do not exist yet, we are just now organizing and designing them, so it will be after October 1, after the Congress reviews our request, that we will have any capability even beginning to be created or trained or equipped. So we are talking about a Las Vegas mission that was really just using the existing capability of the tech escort.
Mr. REYES. Well, the reason I would mention that is because, you know, Las Vegas is literally an international draw card city for entertainment and it stands to reason that that may potentially be a target. One thing that I—and again begging your indulgence——
Mr. WELDON. Sure.
Mr. REYES. One of the things that I would like a response to, and I am reading off the testimony of Chief Trevino where he makes an observation that he is calling for more in-depth training as a result of the incident that just occurred, and he is talking about his department finding out that—a tentative schedule for training sessions were made available and they found out about them, and one of them was emergency preparedness training. He noted that a training session to be held in Las Vegas on January 12 through 16, 1998 and when they inquired about attending this training session, they were told by Howard Levitan that this was an invitation-only session and that the Las Vegas Fire Department could not be included due to security concerns.
Now it seems to me like this is a first time opportunity that we have had in real terms a threat of this type and yet here is a department that is asking for inclusion in a critical part of being able to respond to that and yet they are being told that they are not able to attend this session for security concerns.
Page 47 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2He goes on in the testimony, I will just paraphrase it, he says that no explanation has been provided and at this point they do not know exactly what those security concerns are, but clearly having been in Federal law enforcement for 26 1/2 years, it does not make sense to have programs designed that are not accessible to the people that are going to be most affected.
Mr. WELDON. General Friel, do you want to start?
General FRIEL. Let me attempt to at least provide enough information that hopefully we can all understand it.
Sir, first of all, that was not a training program. That was a national Federal level meeting of all the Federal partners, so that we could educate them on the new process that I have described in my testimony of conducting regional meetings so that we can include more than just the cities, we could get all the emergency response organizations in five or six States into which we are going to begin to train in the next 6 months several cities, so that we get more than just the six cities we are training, we get all of the academies and other communities who may bring their trainers in there. This was a meeting hosted by the Department of Energy, and if you have ever been to a Department of Energy—and they are not here to represent themselves today, but most of their facilities are high secure facilities that require security clearances and passes to get into.
They simply were hosting this in Las Vegas, it could have been held in Washington, DC. It was a Federal meeting of just Federal partners learning how we were going to get our act together to be inclusive and include more than just the cities that we were training.
Page 48 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2So we apologize to the city of Las Vegas, it was not intended, nor was it a training program. It was simply a learning program for the Federal partners on how we could do what we do better. And it was conducted at a very high secure facility, so that is why it was not accessible. I was not there, but I am assuming that Department of Energy facilities are pretty tough to get into.
Mr. WELDON. Well, I appreciate your answer and we will let the chief—he may have had a different impression as to what that meeting was, which is why he raised the question in his testimony. That is something we should explore.
Let us talk about training for a moment, a couple of things come to mind. First, one of the most successful fire service operations in this country is the State of Delaware. In fact, Senator Joe Biden, who is a good friend, when he gives his speech each year at our national dinner at the end of April, he says there are three political parties in Delaware. There is the Democrat Party, the Republican Party and the fire service, and their power is not necessarily in that order. Which means if you are going to run for elective office in Delaware, whether it is the Governor or the Senate or the House, you had better have the fire service behind you. They are extremely powerful there politically. I know that because I live right next door to Delaware and I know exactly what he is saying.
Now Delaware is also the chemical capital of the country. The duPont Co. has its major chemical manufacturing operations there. Delaware has one paid department, in Wilmington. I think Dover is all volunteer, but the rest of the State is volunteer. They are not in the initial training mix for the first 100 and some cities. And this is a concern. I know you cannot do everybody at one time and I know—I got involved in this in a hearing we held in Washington before that you had to use I think FBI judgment as to where the most likely terrorist attacks might occur, which would likely be in the large cities.
Page 49 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2But what do we say to a State like Delaware where they have a very aggressive and very successful, very capable fire service but there are currently no immediate plans for them to be included in that first 120 some locations for that specialized training, in spite of the tremendous threat they have from the standpoint of being the chemical capital of America, primarily because of the headquarters of duPont, ICI, and other companies like that in that State. Whoever——
General FRIEL. I will take that one. That was actually a decision made much higher than my current two stars, but I will—I think what we told you last year, not what I said, but what others said—you are absolutely correct, sir, there are 11 States that we are not currently planning to conduct the focused training program that we are in. But that does not mean that the members of those States cannot train. That is the reason, sir, that we went to the regional task force.
So now that I have provided some rationale for what we are going to do about it, I will try to revisit the decision that was made that limited it to 120 cities. Given the time frame that Congress put in the initial legislation and the dollars that were made available, after about three or more
And that is the reason why we have expanded the program beyond the city limits, to include the metropolitan and the mutual aid assistance organizations in counties around the cities as well as inviting members of other cities in the State. Each of the cities now may host not only its trainers but trainers from across the State or from other cities that will then go back and provide the training to those cities. And as I mentioned in my testimony, we will provide training material in a modified form for all those training academies in other towns and cities who want to use the training material. And that is part of my target this year to do that.
Page 50 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2Mr. WELDON. General, is the limitation primarily a dollar one or is it a limitation of assets in terms of the instructors? Because what I would be interested in for the record, if it is a limitation dollarwise, our committee plused up funding for this whole program above what the administration asked for last year, because we did not think there was enough in the way of dollar assets. And since we are the first committee to mark up the Defense authorization bill in the process this year, we can take the lead again.
So is it a dollar limitation? I mean, what would it take—or is it possible or is it just that you are strained too much and could not do more training if you had more assets?
General FRIEL. Sir, it is possible to do more, but the process of training a single city usually requires 6 months. It would entail that we would have—and I potentially today, this week, am engaged in five cities in America in some form of the process. It would triple the number of people.
We are at the point now where I cannot increase the
number of cities that we potentially visit significantly for a year without
probably tripling the number of people I have involved in it. Because the
experts that we use—keeping in mind that I rely on more than just DOD experts,
I also am soliciting and using experts from cities across America that
are emergency responders themselves, and the ability to just manage more
than five or six cities every week that I have to be in in preparation
for the training or negotiating with the city to do that training, is a
workload that is about the maximum that we can handle.
Page 51 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2So more funding, sir, would not necessarily increase it.
Mr. WELDON. I imagine you will be hearing this year from Senator Roth and Senator Biden about Delaware and perhaps some other states as well, and we just ought to be aware of that, to make sure that we are attempting, although I understand what you are saying in terms of the way you are spreading it out.
Mr. CRAGIN. Mr. Chairman, if I could piggyback on General Friel's observations for a moment in response to your question, I know you are aware that the Congress in the last appropriation act tasked the National Guard Bureau with conducting a study, and I believe Congress appropriated $10 million for the National Guard Bureau to conduct a study with respect to a number of issues; one of which was an attempt to ascertain the extent to which the National Guard could be utilized as a training resource with respect to cities and States throughout America. Now that is a study that has not yet commenced. As I think you are aware, it is in the process of developing its study work plan and it is not to be confused with Secretary Cohen's initiative that we have been discussing today, but I think that is another vehicle that may provide synergy to what General Friel is doing, to expand the universe of training to municipal governments.
Mr. WELDON. I agree and that study is just about ready to go. In fact, last week, I was with Congressman Murtha and he was saying his understanding was it was—the contract was about to be let. That is a study of the National Guard's capability to provide resources at locations around the country.
Mr. CRAGIN. Right.
Page 52 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2Mr. WELDON. And let me ask some questions of Mr. Blitzer. The FBI was involved in setting up a nationwide network of training centers. Fort McClellan was one of the sites designated. Now I am not anti-Fort McClellan, I understand the valuable role it has played and you can do live fire training there which you cannot do—or live training that you cannot do in other places, but what bothers me is that the logic of selecting Fort McClellan seemed to me like it was more of a mandate put in by one Member of Congress as opposed to going to the fire and EMS community and saying where is the best site where this training could take place. And I say that not because of parochial interest. In fact, I have been pushing Texas A&M because I know that in fire service things that Texas A&M is one of the finest training centers in the country. Yet Texas A&M was completely overlooked and all of a sudden we find out that the Department of Justice is earmarking Fort McClellan to do this training, primarily because one of the Senators had earmarked in an appropriation bill last year that that is where the training is going to be held.
Well, I think the last thing the fire service wants is one person, one Senator, deciding where the best training for the fire and EMS community should be held. That should be done by the people who are out there using this training. And again, I am from Pennsylvania, I am not from Texas, but I know that the bulk of the people in the fire service who either go to the Fire Academy for administrative training or want to go to Texas A&M for hands-on training go to that kind of a site.
And so my question—if you cannot answer it, because I understand it is not your area of expertise, but I would like the Department of Justice [DOJ] on the record to indicate to us the logic of why Fort McClellan was selected, besides the obvious ability to use live ammunition, which may or may not be of benefit. I do not know, I think you could make the case either way.
Page 53 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2But my own opinion is that it was done more or less because it was earmarked into a bill, which I think is the exact wrong reason to have—and I am not saying it should not
Mr. BLITZER. But there were a couple other earmarks also that I think would address your concerns. For example, there was a $2 million earmark for a security technology program at the Southwest Surety Institute, which is a conglomerate of a number of universities, including New Mexico State and Arizona State University. Also Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center, where there was $2 million for that also, which does engulf Texas A&M, LSU, some of the very things that you are presenting.
Just putting aside for a second the $2 million for Fort McClellan, a lot of the issues you just raised we are addressing in the confines of that other $4 million. So I am really optimistic that a lot of the issues that you just discussed will be addressed as we move along through this program.
Mr. WELDON. Great. Denis Onieal, and then I am going to turn it over to Silver.
Mr. ONIEAL. Thank you.
Congressman Weldon and Representative Reyes, I am very pleased to tell you that a lot of the training is already ongoing. The National Fire Academy works with its State and local training partners throughout the country, as well as EMI does the same thing. We have—I had a meeting yesterday with State training directors. When I fly back to the District of Columbia tomorrow, I have more meetings with State training directors. We listen to what they tell us they need. They help us design courses and we deliver those courses through them. It is a decentralized system of the delivery of Federal fire training and emergency management training in the United States, and it can happen in a heartbeat and turn on a dime. That is the kind of thing about which we are most proud.
Page 54 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2Mr. WELDON. Thank you and I agree with you. Silver.
Mr. REYES. Thank you.
I am curious based on your comments, Mr. Blitzer, and the fact that you testified in our hearing last November and made reference to the fact that the FBI is extensively engaged in coordinating the issues that we are talking about this afternoon. But in your comments this afternoon, you made mention that one of the big priorities would be protection of the crime scene and then you went on and spoke about the importance of providing equipment to the first responders.
In the budget, I believe you mentioned $21 million that was provided. Has that money been spent?
Mr. BLITZER. It has not been spent as yet, but we are going through a lot of intensive planning right now in order to spend that money this year, the $21.2 million.
A couple of the things I just mentioned, working
with not only the Fort McClellan issue, but Southwest Surety Institute
and Energetic Materials Research, that money is going to go to them this
year. In addition to that, we are working with the Bureau of Justice Administration
to develop a grant program for spending money on equipment for the first
responders. That thing is well along also. I am again optimistic that that
$21.2 million will go.
Page 55 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2In addition, the balance of that money, Congressman, is for the Hazardous Devices School at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, AL. Obviously there is going to be a continued concern about bombings and what we want to do at Redstone is increase our capacity to double the number of bomb techs that are trained annually, and to keep them current and certified annually.
So that is where that money is going.
Mr. REYES. And the reason obviously that I asked that question is because, you know, with all the different agencies involved, Department of Energy, FEMA, and Public Health and everyone concerned with this issue, I am curious to know the amount of coordination that is going on as we work through this process of identifying and prioritizing the training, the equipping of first responders. That is one question. The other question that is probably much more important is what degree of consultation is going on with on-the-ground first responders that actually I think ought to be driving this vehicle and vetting their requirements, their experience, their expertise up through the system, you know, as these things get designed.
Mr. BLITZER. Again, through the design process
and as we are working with these various organizations, that is where we
are doing the consultation. We are letting them and us through the consultation
with State and local authorities, so that they have a part of this. As
I think I mentioned at least at one point, the equipment issue itself,
there is consultation with the National Fire Academy and the International
Association of Fire Chiefs, as we are trying to spend the money correctly
on equipment. But the whole issue is our doing that as we are working through
these various organizations and at the Federal level, I guarantee you there
is a lot of consultation and discussion all the time.
Page 56 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2Mr. WELDON. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. REYES. Yes.
Mr. WELDON. I just want to get this on the record for the fire service leaders in the room and for the fire service publications, let us re-emphasize again, $21.2 million was appropriated last year that has not yet been spent for resources, specifically for State and local agencies, fire service agencies. You need to get on the horn with your Representatives across the country and your Senators and say you want that money to be used to help you prepare for these kinds of disasters. This is not new money, it is already there. And what we are hearing today is the plan is not yet complete, so you have a chance.
What I hear from the fire service all the time is we never see any of this money come down to our level. Well, here is $21.2 million appropriated and it could be multiplied, it could be leveraged against the States to make the States match that money dollar-for-dollar, so you double the value of it. Now is the chance for the fire service organizations in this country to say how they want that money spent and to say it loudly and clearly.
Thank you, Silvestre.
Mr. REYES. You are welcome, Mr. Chairman.
So again, just to reiterate, when we hear testimony in the next panel, when we ask those chiefs that are testifying have they been consulted, then the answer we get should be yes.
Page 57 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2Mr. BLITZER. Particular chiefs are consulted and I am not sure which ones have been consulted, but I know through the work that we have been doing that there is consultation going on. I do not know which specific individuals have been
Mr. REYES. Well, let me just say one thing. If the first concern was Las Vegas, based on that scare that we just went through, would it not stand to reason that we would have called and consulted with Chief Trevino about what they ran into, what problems they had, et cetera, et cetera?
Mr. BLITZER. Sure. I do not know that that has happened, but it is a logical step.
Mr. REYES. OK. Well, I guess in the interest of saving time, I would like to just kind of go right down the panel, and based on what—the seriousness of the issue and what you have individually seen and been involved with, I would like to get, on a scale of 1 to 10, your opinion on where we are with this initiative. And starting with you, Mr. Blitzer, 10 being the best and 1 being the worst.
Mr. WELDON. Are you going to ask the other panel the same?
Mr. BLITZER. I hope you are.
Mr. REYES. Yes.
Page 58 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2Mr. BLITZER. My sense, four to five.
Mr. REYES. Four to five, OK. General.
General SCHULTZ. Three.
General FRIEL. Two.
Mr. REYES. Two.
Mr. CRAGIN. Are you going to average this out at the end, Congressman? [Laughter.]
Mr. REYES. No, but I want it to go on the record.
Mr. CRAGIN. Based on my experience, I think we are probably at about a 3.
Mr. SHARRO. I would say about three.
Mr. ONIEAL. I am going to go below and say two.
Mr. REYES. OK, as a quick followup, is there any rationale why? I mean, I think you are the people that at least we expect to be in the driver's seat at this point. Is there anyone willing to take a stab at giving us why we are not doing a better job at this?
Page 59 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2Mr. WELDON. Will the gentleman yield before they answer?
Mr. REYES. Yes.
Mr. WELDON. If it is resources, we are the people to tell that to, because the administration can make a request for money, but we ultimately decide how much money to spend, so be candid and tell us. If you need more resources, then I think you have to say that.
General FRIEL. Mr. Chairman, since I have the responsibility for the existing Lugar amendment, let me—at least for executing it—I will provide a personal perspective and then I will provide you what I think is a realistic answer.
First of all, this program only started a year and a half ago and it would be imprudent for me, even as a two star general, to talk to the mayor of New York City and say I am here to train your city. It took a national Presidential declaration and a decision directive and the intent of Congress to allow us to begin to change. Two things underpin that. First of all, the American public, unlike the public of the 1950's who saw the real threat from the nuclear weapons that were poised against the United States and which all of us, at least my age, began the fallout training and did that in school, America would not have accepted this training more than 3 years ago.
So the asymmetrical threat, the threat that now is real, which has always been there, has actually become a threat in the minds of the public. Now all of us are responding to that. So that is my personal opinion.
Page 60 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2The second one is bureaucracies move slowly, sir, and it takes—it has taken us a year and a half. I would have loved to have been able to train 120 cities last year. To get the six Federal partners to agree to which 120 cities took me 6 months, to agree to the national training standards that we would use to train the cities took me 4 months, because every partner and shareholder, every fireman, policeman, EMT, doctor who is responsible for the livelihood and the public safety must agree or I cannot do the training in the cities.
And so in order for me to put a training program inside of a city's infrastructure, they must agree to accept it, and second, they must agree it is credible. So it has taken us awhile to do that. But now I think we are at the point where we can make a real difference to the country.
Mr. WELDON. General, I think you have given us probably a good summary of the problem and unless you all want to add to that, I am anxious to get on to our second panel, so they can have their say. Anyone want to add to what the general said?
Mr. REYES. Mr. Chairman, could I ask one followup?
Mr. WELDON. Oh, sure, go right ahead.
Mr. REYES. Is there anything that you can recommend that we should be doing to assist you?
Mr. CRAGIN. I think I would make a recommendation, Mr. Reyes. I would hope that you and your colleagues would continue to encourage a lot of exercising together. One of the things that Secretary Cohen perceives with his new initiative is that we need to have people that are going to be called to the fore at the time of an emergency working together and planning together from the get-go. And as General Friel has just observed, that has been, in some instances, difficult.
Page 61 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2I was the acting deputy onscene commander for exercise Display Select in Virginia a few years ago, it was a 2,500-person full field exercise involving a nuclear weapons accident. And I want to tell you, there were an awful lot of people that came to the game who had never, ever talked to each other before, and a week later walked away saying boy, would it not have been great if we had gotten together before this event. And I mean, that is the key. This situation when it happens is going to be bigger than any situation anybody has anticipated, including the situation with the disaster that the chairman lived through with the ship disaster. And we have got to be able to work together. And you as Members of Congress, exercising your oversight and your appropriation authority, have got to keep that in mind, rather than tasking fragments to do these things, without any regard to its impact on other facets of the area.
Mr. WELDON. Thank you for that statement, and I think you will find us, in a bipartisan way, willing to do that. We just want to make sure that at every step of the way, that the local emergency responder is being listened to, is having input, and that his or her advice is being sought out and incorporated into the steps. And I have appreciated the way that you have outlined what you have been doing and the way you have been handling that and I would just say that that is probably going to be our major area of focus in the future.
But we thank you for the great job you have done, thank you for you excellent testimony and we look forward to working with you, and thank you for being here today and
We will now call our second panel up, a distinguished panel of fire service leaders from throughout the country, who will now have the chance to go on the record with what they think, how well we have done, how well we are doing today and what we should be doing in the future to best assist the volunteer and paid fire and emergency service professionals across this country. Thank you all for being here today. I will introduce in the order in which the testimony will go today—Chief Richard Marinucci, president of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, he is from the Farmington Hills, MI, Fire Department; Chief John Eversole, Hazardous Materials Coordinator, Chief of the Chicago Fire Department; Chief Mario Trevino, Las Vegas Fire Department; Commissioner Harold Hairston, Philadelphia Fire Department; Chief Larry Curl, Wayne Township Fire Department, Indianapolis, IN; Deputy Chief Theodore Jarboe, Bureau of Operations, Department of Fire and Rescue Services, Rockville, MD; Chief Keith Smith, Indianapolis Fire Department, Indianapolis, IN.
Page 62 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2Chief Marinucci, the floor is yours.
STATEMENT OF CHIEF RICHARD MARINUCCI, PRESIDENT, INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FIRE CHIEFS, FARMINGTON HILLS, MI, FIRE DEPARTMENT
Mr. MARINUCCI. Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman, and Congressman. I am Rich Marinucci, Chief of Farmington Hills, MI Fire Department.
Mr. WELDON. A grave mistake, I apologize. And I knew it was Michigan but I do apologize for that, Chief.
Mr. REED. Staff takes the hit.
Mr. MARINUCCI. No harm. I am appearing today as president of the International Association of Fire Chiefs [IAFC]. We very much appreciate you holding this hearing today. I have submitted copies of our testimony for the record and will now summarize those remarks.
The focus of the hearing today is on training for
first responders. The majority of my comments will be directed toward that
subject, but I will also take a few extra moments to quickly cover some
of the other critical areas that need Federal attention to properly prepare
Page 63 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2When an act of terrorism occurs, the only organized emergency response organization to immediately deal with the incident and begin mitigation will be the local fire and emergency services departments. The first 2 or 3 hours of work by the local fire force will greatly determine the number of lives saved and the eventual outcome of the incident. It is critical that Congress and the Federal Government clearly understand the role of local responders. In almost all cases, the Federal assets responding to the incident will not arrive until well after the most critical period is passed, up to 6 to 8 hours later.
I have submitted to you for the record a terrorism response time line which the IAFC has developed. It graphically shows the anticipated response of emergency forces and clearly demonstrates that the local first responders are unassisted for the most critical hours.
Federal response plans regarding terrorism are usually described in two roles, crisis management and consequence management. Crisis management deals with the enormous task of trying to prevent an incident from occurring. Consequence management concerns itself with planning for the incident before it happens, then recovery and rehabilitation after the event.
I want to point out that there is a third area, that
area called local emergency response, immediately after the event. Local
emergency response fits in between crisis and consequence management. Local
emergency response begins at that point immediately following notification
of a terrorist act. Local emergency response is that intense and vivid
period of several hours when local first responders cope with the aftermath
of a major incident. It is that time when local first responders work alone.
Page 64 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2In 1996, Congress passed two laws regarding acts of terrorism, the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act and the Nunn-Lugar-Domenici provisions of the Department of Defense authorization. Both of these important laws contain provisions designed to help prepare local fire and emergency response organizations to better deal with acts of terrorism.
These laws are implemented respectively by the Department of Justice [DOJ] and the Department of Defense [DOD]. You will hear today from fire chiefs whose communities have been aided by both of these laws. What I will focus on in my testimony are the policy issues which need to be addressed by Congress to ensure that the administration is delivering what is truly needed by America's fire and emergency services.
In November 1997, Defense Secretary Cohen announced he was enhancing significantly the role of the National Guard to work with other Federal agencies and State and local officials. Recently, he announced the establishment of a Consequence Management Program Integration Office to oversee the activities of the National Guard and Reserve components. We welcome this news since the National Guard, while military, is under the control of State government and is accessible at the local level. The Federal Government must acknowledge in planning a role for the National Guard and the Reserve component, that the military will be a supportive asset for the incident commander, who in all likelihood will be a municipal or volunteer fire chief.
It must be understood that any Federal asset, military, law enforcement, or emergency management, will necessarily be in a support role. We applaud the National Guard for its continuing effort to work closely with the IAFC and the fire service as it enhances its mission for maximum effectiveness at the local level.
Page 65 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2We request that the authority enhancing the current role of the National Guard to support local first responders be clearly spelled out. We need a wiring diagram of how Federal assets are requested. What is the Federal 911 number? How is it activated? Who determines what assets will be sent? What are the defined roles for each Federal agency
Let me say at the outset that we have had a close relationship with the Bureau of Justice Assistance [BJA] and the FBI. Nancy Gist, Butch Straub, and Andy Mitchell of the BJA have done an excellent job working with the fire service to produce excellent training materials. First was an awareness training package that has already trained 8,000 firefighters, 68,000 are expected to be trained by June 1999. Currently under development is an incident command module. Additionally, more than 80,000 videotapes warning first responders about the danger of secondary bombs have been distributed to fire, police, and EMS organizations.
The reason the BJA program has been so successful is that it was developed in very close cooperation with the National Fire Academy to ensure its acceptance by the fire service. It is important that the key role of the National Fire Academy in preparing fire and emergency service leaders be recognized and enhanced to increase its capabilities.
We have also found the FBI to be most helpful to
the fire service as we prepare for terrorism. Specifically, we have excellent
communication with Bob Blitzer, Rinaldo Campana, and Barbara Martinez of
the Domestic Terrorism and WMD Sections. We enjoy a high level of responsiveness
and willingness to work together in coordination of our efforts and we
plan to enhance this relationship in the future.
Page 66 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2To quote from a report prepared by the DOD Tiger Team dated January 1998,
Local response to an emergency situation uses the Incident Command System (ICS) to ensure that all responders and their support assets are coordinated for an effective and efficient response. The Incident Commander is normally the senior responder of the organization with the preponderance of responsibility for the event (e.g. the fire chief, police chief or emergency medical).
I could not have stated it better. When Federal assets arrive, the ICS will be in place. They will be plugged into that system by the Incident Commander. Therefore, there is an urgent need for every Federal agency that responds to any type of emergency to adopt the Incident Command System—the one taught by the National Fire Academy.
Both the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act and the Nunn-Lugar-Domenici lay out provisions for training and equipping first responders. These have been identified by Congress as the two key roles for the Federal Government in assisting first responders to deal with acts of terrorism. And these indeed are two crucial elements for which the fire and emergency services look to the Federal Government for assistance.
On training issues, you will hear from fire chiefs
who have received Federal training from both programs. Both the Department
of Justice and the Department of Defense programs are important, necessary,
and beneficial and both can be improved and both need to be better coordinated
between the two agencies and the Federal Emergency Management Agency [FEMA]
congressional oversight is required.
Page 67 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2A national domestic preparedness consortium has been formed to provide operational training, exercise, test, and evaluation for first responders as well as municipal leaders. The consortium consists of the National Exercise Test and Training Center at the Nevada test site, the National Emergency Response and Rescue Training Center at Texas A&M University, the National Center for Domestic Preparedness at Fort McClellan, AL, the National Center for Bio-Med Research and Training at Louisiana State University and the National Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. These training and exercise areas and supporting organizations are important in preparing first responders to deal with acts of terrorism. The IAFC endorses the consortium and recommends continuing support from Congress as a matter of policy.
Finally, training needs to be expanded beyond the 120 most populous jurisdictions that the DOJ and the DOD targeted. Strategic and critical U.S. infrastructure such as water, electrical power, telecommunications sites, are often located outside the major metropolitan areas. These areas are protected by career—combination career and volunteer and volunteer departments. Congressional mandate must direct that Federal training reach the fire and emergency services nationwide. We believe that the resident and nonresident programs of the National Fire Academy offer an excellent existing delivery system that should be utilized to the maximum extent possible.
On the issue of equipment, there is clear and demonstrated need for sophisticated detection equipment. Simply stated, we need to know what we are facing—what chemical or what biologic agent has been used. We require this information first to protect ourselves and second to employ the proper strategy and tactics to deal with the incident. Provision must be made when detection equipment is made available to first responders for training on the equipment use, maintenance, spare parts, and future upgrades. This cannot be a one-shot deal, but rather a continuing partnership between the Federal Government and local fire and emergency responders.
Page 68 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2There is also a need to help local response agencies acquire personal protective equipment. Local fire departments simply do not have the resources to purchase all of the protective equipment necessary to deal with a large scale chem-bio attack. Federal assistance is vital.
The ability to engage in a large scale decontamination effort demonstrates yet another equipment need. Some Federal groups, such as the Marine Corps' Chemical Biological Response Force, have some decontamination abilities. However, they can only be truly effective when pre-positioned in anticipation of a specific event. The effectiveness of these capabilities is greatly diminished when geography dictates a response time of 6 to 8 hours.
The fire and emergency services will be responsible for the triage, emergency medical treatment, and transportation of the sick and wounded resulting from a terrorist incident. A large scale WMD incident will sorely test any community's ability to deal with mass casualties. Congress needs to closely examine the ability of hospitals to deal with victims arriving at their emergency room doors. Drug and antidote caches, decontamination facilities, and hospital pre-plans should be a focus of congressional inquiry and policy. Federal assets such as the Veterans' Administration Hospitals might be considered for an important role.
In 1996, the Public Safety Wireless Advisory Committee submitted its report to the Federal Communications Commission [FCC]. One of the key provisions in the report asked for the FCC to set aside 2.6 megahertz of spectrum for
The Pentagon recently announced plans to vaccinate all U.S. military personnel against anthrax bacteria, including some mission-essential civilian employees. Consideration should be given to make this or any other vaccine available for the fire and emergency services first responders—the domestic defenders. Vaccines made available to municipal and volunteer fire and rescue companies should be utilized on a local option based on a threat analysis.
Page 69 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2In conclusion, I would like to make four points:
First, the fire and emergency services need assistance from the Federal Government in the areas of training, detection equipment, personal protective equipment, and mass decontamination abilities.
Second, the Federal Government must organize its various missions and objectives with the clear understanding that once a terrorist event occurs, the local first responders will be on the scene and operating in 6 minutes, while Federal assets will not arrive for 6 hours. The Federal Government must understand completely its supplemental, supportive role to the local incident commander.
Third, it is incumbent upon Federal departments and agencies to involve the fire and emergency services in the conception, design, and review of all Federal plans that relate to the response to terrorist incidents. We are currently working closely with the Bureau of Justice Assistance [BJA], Federal Bureau of Investigation [FBI], and the National Guard. This should continue and should be a matter of congressional policy. We also strongly encourage FEMA support for National Fire Academy involvement with DOJ and DOD on fire service training issues.
Finally, we solidly support Nunn-Lugar-Domenici and the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act. We strongly urge Congress to view these laws as ongoing and long-term Federal policies.
I appreciate very much the opportunity to appear before you today and commend you for holding this hearing. You have certainly demonstrated your abiding interest in this issue of preparation of the local first responder and for that, the entire fire service is grateful. After the completion of the other presentations, I will be pleased to respond to any questions you may have.
Page 70 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2Mr. WELDON. Thank you, Chief. Chief Eversole.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Marinucci can be found in the appendix on page 89.]
STATEMENT OF CHIEF JOHN M. EVERSOLE, HAZARDOUS MATERIALS COORDINATOR, CHICAGO, IL, FIRE DEPARTMENT
Mr. EVERSOLE. Congressman Weldon, Congressman Reyes, on behalf of the Chicago Fire Department and the city of Chicago, it is an honor to appear before you today to present a brief overview of our city's preparedness for terrorism through the use of weapons of mass destruction.
Since the very day after the inconceivable sarin attack on the Tokyo subway, we have been assessing the ability and improving the capabilities of our city to react to such a situation.
Although we had a strong incident command procedure
and city employees who are used to working together, we were not ready
for those types of incidents. Our usual sources were not able to give us
immediate knowledge of these war products. We reached out to the Illinois
National Guard and they were most helpful. On a very short notice, they
were in our city, they taught us the basics and loaned us the equipment
to at least minimally detect the presence of chemical warfare agents.
Page 71 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2As time moved on, Congress took initiatives that would begin to prepare our country to protect itself against this nuclear, biological, and chemical threat.
Congressmen, as you are aware, the implementation of the Nunn-Lugar-Domenici Act has not been an easy nor fast road. Much had to be learned by everyone. Many of the local people expected that the Federal Government would rush in to save the day. Many State people felt that it was their job to save the day. And many Federal people felt that only they could save the day. Now, after a long, hard, and I believe intelligent look at this problem, we know the truth and the way to success. And the way to succeed is that we all have to work together.
Our success in an incident involving weapons of mass destruction [WMD] will depend upon the unmatchable capabilities of the local first responders. If they are well trained and reasonably equipped, they can protect themselves, their community, and can minimize the overall effects. We dare not wait even 1 hour before taking decisive action. If the local first responders are to do this, they must be supported by a significant effort from State and Federal agencies.
Over the past year, we have seen a significant effort from the Department of Defense [DOD]. The DOD has been limited in what it has been allowed to do, the road to successful implementation has not been smooth. The differences between military and civilian thinking has been great in some areas. By a long and sometimes heated dialog, we have been able to work out most of our differences.
I would take this opportunity to commend Col. Robert Fitton and Mr. James Warrington. Many people are working on
Page 72 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2We are moving down that road, but we still have a long way to go. It is time for the Federal Government to broaden its scope of assistance. We must finish the job of preparing the local first responder, we must adequately equip the local first responder, we must establish a long-term supply line which will keep the first responder current with the latest intelligence and the newest equipment. This supply system must be clear to all and readily available to meet our needs.
Very recently, we learned that the National Guard will take on a larger role in preparedness and response. We in Chicago applaud that decision because we have had nothing but eager cooperation and great success in our dealing with the local Illinois National Guard. They have responded to our call and shown us that they can produce, if just given a chance.
We, the local first responder, must work closely with the Guard to determine how they can best assist us. We need a conduit which will bring from the Federal Government a regular support system to ensure that we are always prepared.
Please remember, when it happens, the bell will ring in the local fire house. Firefighters will get on their apparatus, the doors will open, and we will respond. How good we are will determine what is left of our community.
Mr. WELDON. Excellent statement. Chief Trevino.
Page 73 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2[The prepared statement of Mr. Eversole can be found in the appendix on page 96.]
STATEMENT OF CHIEF MARIO H. TREVINO, LAS VEGAS, NV FIRE DEPARTMENT
Mr. TREVINO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Congressman Reyes, I appreciate the opportunity to be here today.
The first thing I would like to do is provide you with an incident overview of our recent experience on February 18, 1998. The FBI received a report, a tip, that two men, one of them a known white supremacist, were in possession of a quantity of what was reported to be military grade Bacillus Anthracis, a bacteria known to cause anthrax.
The subjects were followed throughout the Las Vegas metropolitan area until they stopped in Henderson. At that time, it was determined that the material in question was in a vehicle and the subjects were arrested. The FBI controlled the incident from the outset. Also called in for assistance were Nellis Air Force Base personnel and U.S. Army Technical Escort Unit personnel. It was initially thought that an explosive delivery device may have been present. For that reason, Las Vegas Fire Department bomb squad commander was called in as local support. On his arrival, the suspects were leaving the scene for the hospital in a private ambulance at the direction again of the FBI. At the assistance of our bomb squad commander, an initial response was requested by the Henderson Fire Department and the Clark County Hazardous Materials Unit was dispatched. They remained there on standby and they were briefed at the scene, of what was before them.
Page 74 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2Initially it was requested that the bomb squad or the hazardous materials unit take custody of the material. That request was refused by our bomb squad commander. The vehicle was secured, it was wrapped in plastic and it was transported to Nellis Air Force Base, again, being driven through the streets of metropolitan Las Vegas.
This was a rapidly evolving incident. From the time of the tip until the time that the suspects were in custody and the material was secured was less than 12 hours. No information was released to the public or to the media until the following day when a press conference was called by the FBI.
The material was then sent to Maryland for testing and it was determined to be veterinary grade, nontoxic anthrax vaccine.
Some of the lessons we learned in this incident were first, there was a lack of communication with local agencies. This was due to the tight security mandated by the FBI. No emergency plan activation took place and no alert was called. What that meant was in the event of a spill or a leak, local resources would have been caught flatfooted.
We identified a training deficit in that first responders were in disagreement with the Federal agents in what level of entry protection was needed and what decontamination procedures would have been needed.
Since there was no prior notification of the hospital, there was a potential to contaminate the region's only level-1 trauma center.
Page 75 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2And last, a release could have exposed the general population, had an aerosol or an explosive delivery system been involved.
Let me briefly state our state of readiness and preparedness in the city of Las Vegas. Like most metropolitan fire departments, we are prepared for the more common emergencies like fires, building collapse, weather phenomena, conventional explosions, and hazardous materials incidents. The city of Las Vegas, again like most other fire departments, is not capable of dealing with weapons of mass destruction (WMD) mitigation, due to a lack of funding, equipment, training, and other material.
Significantly however, in the event of a WMD strike on domestic soil, local first responders will almost invariably be the first to arrive on the scene. Our experience with the FBI having advance notice I think is anomalous in this case. Our charge is to protect the community and it differs slightly from the mission of agencies like the FBI. In this case, their mission was to try to prevent the incident and always, their emphasis is on bringing the guilty to justice.
The LVFD has sought whatever training is available as listed in my written statement. Staff have attended the briefing that occurred in 1995 and I am personally scheduled to attend the conference entitled ''Strengthening the Response to Terrorism'' which is to take place in Leesburg, VA April 4. That was organized by the AFC and the Department of Justice Assistance.
All training to date, however, even in concert, is not enough. One product of the Nunn-Lugar Act was the domestic preparedness terrorism training that was discussed earlier, and in regard to General Friel's statement, yes, after the fact that my written statement was submitted, we found that that was training intended for Federal partners only. My point is that I think that that was an opportunity missed. That training took place or will be taking place in 20 cities throughout the country and I feel that why not bring the local first responders, at least the fire chief, in on that training. I see no damage with that. In fact, I think, as I said, that was an opportunity that was missed.
Page 76 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2By way of conclusions, we know that domestic terrorism is on the rise and many examples exist. Further, easily recognizable cities like Las Vegas can be symbolic of American culture and therefore could be tempting targets to people or groups wanting to make anti-American statements. The close proximity of Nellis Air Force Base, which is itself a potential target, exacerbates rather than mitigates that possibility. The proliferation of illicit WMD's is a new reality and the facile availability of chemical and biological weaponry makes their control difficult at best.
Even though the anthrax scare had an innocuous conclusion, it highlights the exposure of large numbers of people in urban areas. We must continue to pursue whatever training, funding, technology, and equipment is available to help us to prepare.
The most important needs of first responders are:
A widely distributed training process, including awareness, classroom and most importantly hands-on training. And hopefully that should be done in cooperation with Federal agencies that we work mutually with.
Equipment, such as detection and mitigation equipment specific to the potential threats of biological, chemical, and radiological weapons would be of great benefit.
Material and training in mass decontamination procedures
and possibly medical caches for immunization for the first responders and
potential victims is important.
Page 77 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2And last, personal protective equipment, such as entry suits and breathing apparatus.
It is imperative that the Federal Government assist local authorities in preparation for terrorist strikes. I must reiterate that local governments are unable to budget for adequate terrorism response. I submit that increased funding for the National Fire Academy should be considered with the caveat that funding for current programs should not be affected.
Tools afforded the DOD, such as specialized training, equipment and immunization given to the National Guard teams indicated earlier, should be imparted to local emergency workers as well, either directly or through the Federal agencies.
The anthrax incident in Las Vegas was exceptional in that it was under the control of the FBI from the outset. In the overwhelming majority of cases, local fire and police will be the first to arrive at the scene of any terrorist strike. It was demonstrated at the New York City World Trade Center and Oklahoma City bombings and other examples. Specially trained strike teams, such as the ones planned utilizing the National Guard will provide welcome support in the hours and the days after an incident. But with response times of mere minutes, the local fire and EMS personnel will be the first line of defense for the American public. Only through an intensive nationwide effort can these first responders be the rescuers and not the victims of potential strikes.
Mr. WELDON. Thank you, Chief Trevino. Commissioner
Hairston from Philadelphia, welcome.
Page 78 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2[The prepared statement of Mr. Trevino can be found in the appendix on page 98.]
STATEMENT OF COMMISSIONER HAROLD HAIRSTON, PHILADELPHIA, PA, FIRE DEPARTMENT
Mr. HAIRSTON. Thanks. I feel like I spent the day with you.
Mr. WELDON. You did.
Mr. HAIRSTON. Too bad we did not have any food.
Mr. WELDON. That is right, no food. [Laughter.]
But at least we got here.
Mr. HAIRSTON. That is right, we got here and it is all for a good purpose too. And I want to thank you especially and thank you, Congressman Reyes, for affording me this opportunity to speak before this committee.
Philadelphia, as the custodian of some of America's
most cherished artifacts and institutions must take seriously the threat
of a terrorist attack against the birthplace of democracy. The city's leadership,
in cooperation with the Federal and State governments, is doing all in
its power to deter an attack upon its citizens and institutions.
Page 79 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2We are also preparing, with the assistance of the Department of Defense [DOD], Federal Emergency Management Agency [FEMA], the U.S. Public Health Service, the Justice Department, and other agencies to minimize the impact of an attack should one occur. This heightened preparedness itself is a deterrent effect, as it makes for a less vulnerable target.
My purpose in testifying before this committee is to report on the Philadelphia Fire Department's successful participation in the Department of Defense domestic preparedness program and the equally important U.S. Public Health Service grant the city has received to develop a metropolitan medical strike team.
I would also like to acknowledge the Bureau of Justice Assistance and National Fire Academy's Emergency Response to Terrorism: Basic Concepts Program. Several Philadelphia Fire Department officers attended this course at the National Fire Academy and we have subsequently delivered it as an outreach program at the Philadelphia Fire Academy.
Further, I will offer some recommendations on how the U.S. Government might strengthen its support for the local first responders.
First, let me comment on the Philadelphia Metropolitan
Medical Strike Team [MMST] which is being established with a grant of $350,000
from the U.S. Public Health Service. The city's Office of Emergency Management
is coordinating the emergency response force of the fire, police, health,
and other city departments. This specialized response team, led by the
fire department, will render assistance to upwards of 1,000 casualties.
Although focused on a chemical weapons attack, the MMST is a critical asset
to any terrorism threat.
Page 80 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2Perhaps I should note that in Philadelphia both HazMat and EMS services are divisions within the Philadelphia Fire Department.
Additionally, the Philadelphia Police Department is training and equipping special units for on-scene security and the Philadelphia Health Department is developing plans and procedures for handling biological events, mortuary issues and hospital reporting protocols.
Regarding the Department of Defense [DOD] domestic preparedness program, the city's Office of Emergency Management is coordinating with DOD's Chemical Biological Defense Command [CBDCOM], a multijurisdictional exercise scheduled for late summer of 1998. The exercise, known as FSL 1998, Federal, State, Local, is comprised of three major segments designed to test the pre-incident interactions and communications between and among the agencies and departments of the Federal, State and local government. And the second thing is actual response by Philadelphia emergency services to a simulated chemical attack; in other words, a field exercise. And the last thing, the third thing, will be a post-incident recovery operation and the response to Federal assets.
Of particular concern is a weapon of mass destruction
assault resulting in casualties whose numbers and types of injuries have
not been previously experienced by local emergency services. A nerve attack,
for example, would kill or disable many firefighters should they fail to
recognize the threat upon their arrival. The loss of firefighters and police
officers would seriously endanger the welfare of casualties who might otherwise
still be helped. Less obvious, but also very important, would be the undermining
of public confidence in the capability of its emergency services and, therefore,
Page 81 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2A major theme of the CBDCOM program is to stress the need for awareness by first responders as well as other government and public service employees. In August 1997, the city of Philadelphia participated in a ''Train the Trainer'' program delivered by the Department of Defense.
For 4 days, the Philadelphia Fire and Police Academies were used to deliver training in courses identified as Responder Awareness, Responder Operations, EMS Technician, HazMat Technician, Incident Command, and Hospital Provider. It was the responsibility of the Fire Department and the Office of Emergency Management to select a representative cross section of emergency responders and support personnel so that the maximum benefit could be achieved. The goals were to train trainers and disseminate the information. We were very successful in this regard.
There were 524 registrants for 6 courses representing approximately 242 people attending one or more modules. In addition to the police, fire, and EMS personnel, other agencies represented included the State and county emergency management, hospitals and universities, railroads, Coast Guard, Federal Bureau of Investigation, mass transit, Environmental Protection Agency, and others. The quality of the training was excellent. Student texts, audio-visual aids and teaching props were all very high quality and the instructor staff was professional.
Interaction with CBDCOM management was open and productive and all parties contributed to and learned from this unique project. The tabletop exercise that concluded the training module was also a success. The participants walked away with appropriate concern for the challenge at hand and optimism that something can be done. However, there is always room for improvement.
Page 82 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2I would like to just take a few moments to discuss my earlier remark about how the Federal Government might further strengthen the local first responders.
The greatest shortfall in our joint mission to enable first responders to handle a terrorist attack without having the responding fire department decimate its ranks, has been and remains funding for the first responders. Fire departments are the most critical responders during a terrorist attack when it comes to saving lives and controlling the incident. The extensive training and outfitting needed to handle chemical and biological agents and their variations cost many, many times what has been allocated to date. It is so obvious the fire service just needs more funding.
Let me provide a few examples. With over 90 percent of the Philadelphia Fire Department's annual budget made up of personnel expenses, and with the balance dedicated to essential supplies, equipment and administration, there are precious few discretionary funds. When a critical issue such as terrorism arises, the programs developed to address it are often supported through overtime. There is no metropolitan fire department in this country that has enough personnel to be able to operate otherwise. Under these parameters, whenever a major training program, emergency operation or other nonroutine event is undertaken, the cost in overtime and related expenses is significant.
In August 1997, the ''Train the Trainer'' program
cost the Philadelphia Fire Department about $75,000. This cost was incurred
in backfilling positions and compensating members for attending on their
days off. The training was too important to cut corners.
Page 83 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2Additional and substantial training costs will be incurred as we train approximately 2,300 fire personnel during 1998. Other training costs borne by the Philadelphia Fire Department will include institutionalizing this program for recruits and as refresher training. Depending upon competing needs and staffing levels at any particular point in time, overtime will again be a major budget factor.
Further expenses incurred to date include about $40,000 spent to reproduce texts, slides, and videos in sufficient quantity to meet Philadelphia's training objectives. Although the CBDCOM provides up to $300,000 in training materials and equipment for long-term loan to the local jurisdiction and the U.S. Public Health Service grant provides $350,000 to fund the MMST, the two programs do not meet our needs. The Philadelphia Fire Department estimates that the cost will be somewhere around $2.5 million to adequately cover the cost of training, equipping, and administering and sustaining this initiative.
The fire service also needs assistance in the area of equipment—personal protective equipment as well as detection and decontamination equipment are all in very short supply.
PPE needs to be comfortable, compact and easy to use. For example, only a very limited number of first responders should be required to operate in Level A suits. Level A protection requires a completely encapsulated gas/vapor proof chemical resistant suit with self-contained breathing apparatus. These suits are hot, restrict movement and limit vision. It is therefore more desirable that the remainder of the response force have user-friendly gear in sufficient quantities to carry out the mission. The scale of such an operation requires funding by the Federal Government. No local department can purchase all the necessary PPE without seriously damaging its budget.
Page 84 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2Detection equipment needs to be simplified. Much of the equipment now available is unique to the military and requires extensive training. Obstacles exist in acquiring detection equipment. For example, the Chemical Agent Monitor [CAM] is an excellent tool used by the DOD to detect and identify chemical weapons. It is demonstrated and referenced in the CBDCOM program and recommended for first responder acquisition. However, a CAM operates using radioactive material and the DOD rules prevent its transfer to a civilian agency. Therefore, the purchase of such equipment, at $5,000 a unit, becomes the responsibility of the fire department.
Finally, on the issue of decontamination equipment, the MMST decon trailer, although not specifically high tech, can be expensive and cumbersome to manage. Apparatus bays in fire stations are premium space and a large decon trailer competes with other needs. Also, at a cost of about $75,000, it consumes a notable piece of your U.S. Public Health Service grant. Again, greater funding is required.
In closing, let me reiterate my previous comments that the Federal programs the Philadelphia Fire Department has participated in are of first quality. We have dealt with professionals who are dedicated to the well-being of the first responders and want to aid us in protecting the citizens of our communities. The leadership of the country now needs to recognize the extreme risk that fire department personnel are exposed to in a weapons of mass destruction event and provide the necessary funding so that we can respond in a safe and professional manner.
Page 85 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2Mr. WELDON. Thank you, Commissioner, for your testimony. Chief Larry Curl from Wayne Township, welcome, Larry.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Hairston can be found in the appendix on page 103.]
STATEMENT OF CHIEF LARRY CURL, WAYNE TOWNSHIP FIRE DEPARTMENT, INDIANAPOLIS, IN
Mr. CURL. Mr. Chairman and Congressman Reyes, good afternoon. It is an honor for me to have the opportunity to testify before this subcommittee on the Federal response to domestic terrorism involving weapons of mass destruction.
I am the fire chief of the Wayne Township Volunteer Fire Department located on the west side of the city of Indianapolis, in Marion County, IN. My department is a volunteer department of substantial size and activity, having nearly 500 members and an emergency response record of greater than 8,500 emergency alarms in the year of 1997.
Our emergency services include that of fire suppression, emergency medical treatment and transport, hazardous materials mitigation, as well as many non-emergency functions such as public education, public relations, and fire prevention. We have the distinct honor of having been the first in our State to initiate the juvenile fire setter program which provides antiarson education to juveniles who have been involved in the setting of fires.
I could summarize my testimony this afternoon to say I echo my fellow fire chiefs who have proceeded before me. However, ours goes deeper than that. My testimony before the subcommittee today is on behalf of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, Volunteer Chief Officers Section and the National Volunteer Fire Council. These organizations represent America's more than 850,000 volunteer fire and rescue personnel who perform duties as the first responders to all types of emergencies. From the removal of the cat in the tree, the pumping of a flooded basement, to being the first on the scene of a terrorist incident involving a weapon of mass destruction such as lethal gas or a fertilizer bomb, the professional volunteer men and women of this nation stand ready to serve.
Page 86 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2The implementation of the Domestic Preparedness program through the Chemical and Biological Defense Command illustrates the Federal Government understands the importance of preparing the fire service to respond to terrorist incidents involving weapons of mass destruction. Over the past 2 years, millions of dollars have been spent to train and equip the fire service providers of the United States. Of note are the two separate training initiatives set forth by the Federal Government to help local responders—the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 and the Department of Defense appropriation, also known as the Nunn-Lugar-Domenici Act. While both of these initiatives provide for the training of fire and emergency service personnel, the initiatives have been focused at the top 120 metropolitan jurisdictions. The Nation's volunteer domestic defenders understand that there must be a starting point for this training. However, we urge that the training must be continued and continue to be funded and expanded until all firefighters and rescue personnel are properly trained and equipped. This must include suburban and rural first responders as well as their urban counterparts.
We recognize the role of the military agencies in controlling an area that has been affected by a terrorist incident, but question the effectiveness of having them train the fire and emergency services. The training must be provided from the fields of emergency management and hazardous materials management rather than from the military and its consultants. The military is an important player in the field of technical expertise with weapons of mass destruction, but managing the consequences of the use of such weapons in civilian settings requires a civilian approach.
The National Fire Academy has a vehicle in place today for the delivery of education, and continues to teach and educate members of America's domestic defenders, our nation's first responders—the fire service of America and the use of incident command and with the mindset of a response in minutes.
Page 87 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2I echo Chief Marinucci's comments of the use of incident command and I would only add that if all training offered does not include the factors of incident command and immediate response, that confusion will certainly arise and
The National Volunteer Fire Council and the Volunteer Chief Officer's Section recommend that Congress support training of first responders on domestic response to terrorist incidents through the National Fire Academy under the U.S. Fire Administration and FEMA. The National Fire Academy is prepared to provide this type of training to first responders contingent on proper support through the appropriations process.
The concept of using the National Guard as a supplemental responder to these events is a valid one. However, the National Guard cannot be substituted for the local fire and rescue services that will respond in the first few minutes of a terrorist attack. The Federal Government must support local emergency response agencies in every community, both urban and rural. Every firefighter and emergency responder in America needs to be properly trained to respond to terrorist incidents involving weapons of mass destruction.
While the response of the National Guard is not only needed but also welcomed, my concern as a volunteer fire chief is three-fold:
First is the activation of the Guard unit—by who and under what authority. I heard the testimony awhile ago that it was the local mayor that has that opportunity to activate that unit, but do all the mayors in the small towns of America know that? And if not, how do we get that to them? And at what level will they support and respond? Will we be receiving command officers or line staff? Will we be receiving personnel or personnel and equipment? Will we be receiving assistance or government authority?
Page 88 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2My second concern is the timeliness. How soon can I expect to receive this assistance in Mill Creek, IN, 30 miles south of South Bend, 50 miles north of Kokomo, in rural Indiana? How soon can they assemble and be there?
My third concern with the use of the Guard is at what level will I as the incident commander be able to work with members of the National Guard? Will I as the incident commander have the same authority and responsibility with the members of the National Guard as I do with the members of the first response team, or will we have a different chain of command that we must follow? It is very important that the incident command system and the chain of command be the same, one that we can all follow.
The bomb that was detonated in Oklahoma City is believed to have been constructed and transported through rural America. Many of the fundamentalists and extremist factions within our borders operate in rural and suburban settings. These areas are protected primarily by professional volunteers. The Federal training initiatives that have been conducted have focused only on major metropolitan areas. This training must be expanded to reach America's volunteer fire and emergency services.
Furthermore, we stress that State and local emergency
responders are in need of additional Federal financial assistance to continue
the training of first responders on the basic awareness level as well as
the incident command; acquire the necessary personal protective equipment;
obtain the hazardous material detection equipment and the training of that
equipment; and purchase large scale decontamination equipment and the training
Page 89 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2Just this morning in the Detroit Free Press, in Battle Creek, MI, you will see the article that in one paragraph will state, ''There is a standing joke, he said a guy would go in with his briefcase and someone would say 'anyone smell fertilizer or diesel fuel?', a reference to the ingredients of a deadly truck bomb that destroyed the federal building in Oklahoma City.'' That was in rural America, the Battle Creek folks talking about the militia arrest that they had yesterday. So it is happening in rural America. It is being made in rural America, it is being transported in rural America and we have got to pay attention to those of us who are in rural America as we try to provide that service.
I thank you for the opportunity today.
Mr. WELDON. Thank you, Chief Curl, for your statement and for your references as well to the needs of the volunteers. Deputy Chief Jarboe, welcome and the floor is yours.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Curl can be found in the appendix on Page 109.]
STATEMENT OF DEPUTY CHIEF THEODORE L. JARBOE, BUREAU OF OPERATIONS, DEPARTMNENT OF FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICES, ROCKVILLE, MD
Mr. JARBOE. Good afternoon, Congressman Weldon
and Congressman Reyes.
Page 90 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2My name is Ted Jarboe, I am a deputy chief with the Department of Fire and Rescue Services, Montgomery County, MD. As a matter of reference, part of Montgomery County borders the District of Columbia and is the most populous of Maryland's 23 counties. For the past nearly 2 years, our county has been working to improve the response capabilities of our first responders; that is, fire, rescue, EMS, and law enforcement personnel. As a first responder, I know first-hand the importance of and need to substantially enhance our capabilities to manage the life-threatening consequences of a terrorist incident involving weapons of mass destruction. Through the dedication and commitment of our first responders and those throughout the United States, I believe we can save lives without becoming casualties.
While I am here today for Montgomery County's first responders, I do believe that most, if not all, of my comments and concerns will have direct relevance to our Nation's fire service. After all, the first responders are the first line of defense against an act of terrorism which results in casualties. These emergency responders will likely work alone at the scene for at least several hours and perhaps many hours before needed specialized State and Federal assets arrive.
During my testimony, I will address what I perceive to be the seven elements of the first responder's domestic preparedness equation. They are awareness, training, equipment, resources, planning, exercises, and research. My comments on these seven elements are likely to be similar to comments of other fire, rescue, and EMS departments, no matter their size, composition, or the population they serve.
Awareness. First responders need a quick reference which will provide them with the essential information about NBC agents, including how to protect themselves against exposure to them. An awareness brochure could be easily prepared and distributed to emergency responders across the country. Of course, funding is needed to make this awareness initiative happen. This action would buy some time while other important initiatives are being developed. And Congressman, you may have seen this, this is one such brochure that is made of just one piece of paper front and back, which contains salient information about the common chemical agents and how to protect yourself.
Page 91 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2Training. As you know, the U.S. Army's Chemical and Biological Defense Command, CBDCOM, under the leadership of Major General Friel, has developed and is delivering domestic preparedness training nationally to emergency
The domestic preparedness program is sensitive to the emergency responders' community efforts in carrying out their mission. These programs were developed and are being executed as a partnership among six Federal agencies: DOD, DOE, FBI, FEMA, PHS, and EPA and the emergency response community.
To date, 18 cities have received this Train-the-Trainer program. This program has training modules which address awareness, operations, hazardous materials technician, incident command, pre-hospital care providers and hospital care providers. These modules were prepared and are being delivered by a multidisciplined group of professionals. These professionals are from fire, rescue, EMS, and law enforcement organizations, CBDCOM, the FBI, and DOE. Just recently, members of the National Guard were validated to join the instructors' cadre. Some of them are also members of first responder organizations.
I serve as an instructor in this program. Back in April 1997, a representative of CBDCOM asked that I help with the development of the incident command component. The foundation of the incident command course was the course that District Chief Bob Stephan and I had developed for and delivered to command officers in Montgomery County. I consider myself fortunate to be part of this national initiative.
As the Train-the-Trainer program was delivered, beginning with Philadelphia, many positive comments were made by the target audience. Constructive criticisms have been welcomed and necessary changes to enhance the program were incorporated into the Train-the-Trainer program. This is a strong testimony to CBDCOM's commitment to transfer military NBC expertise to the responder community.
Page 92 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2I view this Train-the-Trainer program as a shot in the arm for the first responders. It is a kick-start program to get them focused on domestic preparedness in their respective communities. It is not the final answer or end to domestic preparedness training—it is a good beginning. It has the right mix of NBC experts and specialists from the first responders' community. The training and exercise program builds an integrated response over all first responders, fire, rescue, EMS, law enforcement personnel and health care providers. It delivers the information needed to keep first responders safe, while still maximizing their effectiveness.
Tailoring information from the Train-the-Trainer program to meet these communities' need is necessary for these cities. I believe that it is imperative that these jurisdictions commit to train all of their emergency responders.
In addition, there is a clear need to provide sustained and total training which goes beyond the training of the 120 cities. We must identify ways to deliver domestic preparedness training to all fire, rescue and EMS personnel. They could modify the Train-the-Trainer program based on local needs. This program could be delivered in a 1 or 2 weekend format for volunteer members of the fire services.
Equipment. First responders must have the equipment
to detect and monitor the presence of chemical, biological, and radiological
material. Having rapid detection capability and availability of appropriate
pharmaceuticals are paramount to a WMD incident. In many scenarios, these
remain the critical issues in saving victims and protecting first responders.
Page 93 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2The first responders need equipment to help monitor patients following decontamination to ensure they are clean before transport to a hospital. With the potential for large numbers of casualties, victim transport must not delayed until special State and Federal resources arrive.
The vast majority of law enforcement agencies do not have respiratory protection against chemical and biological agents. Law enforcement officers are first responders. This lack of equipment will compromise their ability to perform activities such as downwind evacuation, crowd control, protection of fire and EMS personnel and collection of evidence. Unprotected law enforcement officers would likely become casualties themselves.
Because of the super toxic inhalation hazards of chemical and biological agents, the use of self-contained breathing apparatus [SCBA] by first responders is absolutely essential. Funding must be allocated to ensure that SCBA or other appropriate respiratory protection is available to all first responders.
HazMat teams need detection equipment to detect the presence of chemical/biological agents and to monitor post-decontaminated victims. Identifying the chemical or biological agent released is the primary mission of Montgomery County's Hazardous Incident Response Team. I believe this is an effective use of HazMat teams in response to CB incidents.
If Federal funding is not available to purchase this equipment for HazMat teams, then emergency responders should have the opportunity to purchase the needed equipment at military cost or receive Federal subsidy. Why can local governments not purchase equipment at GSA contract prices? I must reiterate here that the first responders will be the first on the scene of a WMD incident. They need this equipment quickly to help them identify just what NBC agent is or are involved in the incident.
Page 94 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2Another concern is the difficulty in finding vendors from which to purchase needed NBC equipment. Developing a list of vendors and making it available to first responders across the country is sorely needed. Absent such a list, first responder organizations must duplicate each other's search efforts.
Resources. I openly acknowledge the capabilities of the many Federal assets which are available to respond to acts of terrorism involving weapons of mass destruction. Their expertise and equipment cache are specialized and extensive. However, the effectiveness of these valuable resources to on-scene first responders depends on their rapid response capability.
I believe that in order for these resources to help first responders manage the challenges and consequences of a terrorist event involving mass casualties, they must have a significant on-scene presence, preferably within 60 minutes, but no more than 90 minutes. A few people with expertise and detection equipment within this crucial 90-minute window will do much more for the first responders than many people with similar expertise and equipment arriving hours later. To say it another way, if lives are to be saved, I believe that getting a few specialized resources on the scene relatively quickly is far more effective than many resources from the same response group hours later. Developing ultra-rapid response teams with a target 90-minute arrival time is a challenge that I send to the federal response assets from the
For example, the newly formed MMST, the Washington metropolitan medical strike team, has a target response time for the region of approximately 90 minutes. However, other forming MMST's across the country may have shorter or longer response times based on their locale and composition.
Page 95 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2Planning. Congress should explore the feasibility of funding the development of model domestic preparedness plans for selected fire service communities such as career, volunteer, and combination emergency services.
Congressmen, if I could digress for a second, what I was looking at here is get funding out to the different types of fire departments in the country, allow them the opportunity to develop the plan contingent on their local capabilities and then have it reviewed and then let that model go forth around the country.
Joint planning should include representation at the local, State, and Federal levels. First responders must be part of any decision-making group that is meeting to determine the role and duties of first responders. This is the right thing to do.
Exercises. Each jurisdiction needs to test their terrorist disaster plan by staging realistic exercises. These exercises will serve as the yardstick for testing, measuring and validating the level of readiness of the plan.
Research. The last element of the first responder's domestic preparedness equation is research. Like the other elements, this is extremely important and necessary to help improve the safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of first responders who might have to respond to acts of terrorism involving weapons of mass destruction.
CBDCOM's improved response program is working to improve response capabilities of emergency responders. The program participants include members of emergency responder groups who are representatives of local, State, and Federal agencies. The group is divided into four subgroups—law enforcement, emergency responders, emergency management, and health and safety. The improved response program looks at ways first responders can use their existing equipment to manage special challenges attendant to a terrorist incident. Using this approach can keep the cost of implementation of new concepts, procedures, and equipment low and manageable.
Page 96 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2The key here, Congressmen, is we have to encourage our first responders to exercise their practical wisdom and be good at adaptation, do the best they can with what equipment they have on the scene. The improved response group can help to that effort and I just emphasize that that is the philosophy we have in our own department, we are doing what we can with what we have available.
Recently the Edgewood Research, Development and Engineering Center at CBDCOM in Edgewood, MD, completed phase one of a three-phase test program to evaluate the protection afforded by a firefighter's conventional protective clothing against vapor and aerosol challenges of a chemical warfare agent simulant. Of course, the simulants are harmless. Phase two of this program commenced this past Tuesday at the Research Triangle Institute in Durham, NC. Phase three of this test will be held in Kingston, Ontario, at the Royal Military College.
The results of these tests will be extremely important
to all first responders throughout the United States and perhaps beyond.
It is extremely important for me to note the main purpose of these tests
from a first responder's perspective. It is important to determine if firefighters
who are properly clothed, wearing their protective clothing, and using
positive pressure, self-contained breathing apparatus, could enter a confined
space for just a few minutes to rescue ambulatory casualties, and I underline
ambulatory casualties, resulting from exposure to a chemical warfare agent.
This is an extreme emergency situation which requires intelligent and timely
decisionmaking by the incident commander. Without the results and analyses
of these protective clothing tests, the incident commander has no quantifiable
information to base a decision as to whether to attempt rescue or abandon
efforts to save lives.
Page 97 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2Another project underway focuses on determining ways to effectively decontaminate mass casualties exposed to chemical, biological, or radiological materials. From a first responder's perspective, the answer lies with the use of equipment immediately available to first responders.
A proposed project involves the use of portable fans carried on fire response vehicles which are commonly used to remove smoke, heat, and hot gases from a building that is on fire. These fans may have a distinct application at the scene of a chemical release in an occupied structure. One proposed area of attention is determining what effect induced airflow has in reducing chemical agent concentrations within a building and especially near the entrance.
All of the above projects are part of the improved response program. As you can see, there are many elements needed in the first responder domestic preparedness equation. The closer we get to addressing these elements, the closer we will be to having an effective response capability against acts of terrorism involving weapons of mass destruction.
In closing, I want to thank the committee members for allowing me this very special and important opportunity to share my thoughts, concerns, and recommendations with you. Please remember our Nation's first responders will always be counted on to be the first to respond to disasters. Therefore, they must be the first to receive funding for training and equipment. The Nation's first responders are truly the first lines of defense against terrorism involving weapons of mass destruction.
Once again, thank you.
Page 98 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2Mr. WELDON. Thank you, Chief Jarboe. Our final witness today is Chief Keith Smith, and Chief, thank you for also hosting FDIC here in what is a very fine city and very hospitable city for the thousands of fire and EMS people who are here. I am sure you have got all the legal problems taken care of for them too. [Laughter.]
[The prepared statement of Mr. Jarboe can be found in the Appendix on page 112.]
STATEMENT OF CHIEF KEITH D. SMITH, INDIANAPOLIS FIRE DEPARTMENT, INDIANAPOLIS, IN
Mr. SMITH. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and welcome Congressman Reyes as well. I will keep my remarks brief and concise because most of my testimony echoes that of my colleagues.
My remarks are in two parts. The first regarding the question of effectiveness of the domestic emergency preparedness training being provided by the Federal contractors for the Department of Defense. And then my concerns regarding associated terrorist incident response issues, primarily issues of equipment and cost concerns.
The Indianapolis Fire Department has taken the terrorist threat seriously. Our emergency response force regards preparedness as our primary responsibility and training for that responsibility is a tool.
The Federal level of terrorist training that is being provided has been dovetailed into our commitment of public safety as well as the terrorist training initiatives provided by the National Fire Academy.
Page 99 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2The Indianapolis emergency response community received the Department of Defense training less than 30 days ago. There was a large commitment of local resources to receive this Federal training program and involved over 400 members of our community, including the police and fire communities, the medical and hospital communities as well as other city agencies, local utilities, emergency management personnel, State and Federal personnel, including the Indiana National Guard. It is my understanding that only New York City had more people committed to training than Indianapolis.
The training we received reinforced our view that a WMD event would create serious problems. The 5-day training session brought home the fact that during a WMD event, cooperation, coordination, communications, information, and support are critical and vital to keep the incident from becoming overwhelming. One of the values of training, particularly during the tabletop exercise, was realizing the impact on the total community, not just the emergency workers or the victims. We realize the provided training was developed as a Train-the-Trainer program. Our next step here will be to include the training to the entire work force, to the awareness and operations levels, of the Federal program.
Following the training, the entire force will conduct a practical exercise designed to evaluate the effectiveness of the training, which we will accomplish later this year. That exercise will be conducted under the direction of the Federal contractor. After the exercise is evaluated, we will look at the results and make adjustments to our training schedules and response as necessary.
The Indianapolis Fire Department, as the local lead agency of a lot of emergency response training, will coordinate training with other fire and police and EMS agencies in Marion County and also, because we cooperate automatically in mutual aid assignments, so that it is necessary for all of us to have an equivalent level of training.
Page 100 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2The effectiveness of the Federal training program we received was appropriate and considerate to the training audience. The contractor's faculty and instructors were knowledgeable in their respective fields. Of course materials and manuals were organized and appropriate tools for the training, although we did offer some suggestions that we thought could be changed to improve the course and the course manuals based on our own experience. Overall, our experience with the Federal terrorist training program was worthwhile and we consider it a good tool for risk assessment and risk management. Our department goal is to take advantage of any further programs provided to enhance our public safety mission.
Through this training, we believe that the weapons of mass destruction events are indeed serious problems, but they are not automatic death sentences and that the events can be overcome. The training provides some level of confidence, but likewise stresses the hazards of over-confidence. We are more prepared that we were 30 days ago. But we encourage more Federal support be directed at the first responders that encourages us to continue our training, and the current legislation we consider only the first step of that training.
Let me address in three paragraphs some other concerns. As we equip ourselves for this local mission, we have the concern of the staggering cost of the equipment and the protection that we have to afford our personnel to deliver the mission to the community. These costs significantly exceed the grants we received or are scheduled to receive. Our budgets are strained enough by the daily needs of our business and this burden stresses all the departments, large and small, represented here at this table.
Another concern is the vaccinations and inoculations and antidotes and the cost of pharmaceuticals, and more importantly the rotation and restocking of the pharmaceuticals due to the shelf life is a both practical concern and a fiscal concern.
Page 101 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2And last, the procurement process between the Federal Government and the local government must be streamlined and coordinated to avoid the creation of additional administrative burdens for the local personnel and local fire departments.
That concludes my remarks and I thank you very much for this opportunity.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Smith can be found in the Appendix on page 119.]
Mr. WELDON. Thank you, Chief Smith, and let me thank each of you for your outstanding statements and specifically for the recommendations you have made to us, which we will take—and we have already made notes about some things we can do legislatively in this year's defense bill to help accomplish some of the objectives you laid out.
I am going to turn to my colleague and let him start the questioning in this round. So Mr. Reyes, it is all yours.
Mr. REYES. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have just a couple of questions.
The first one is for Chief Trevino and that is following
up from the previous panel. Have you in fact been consulted for recommendations
as a result of the incident in Las Vegas?
Page 102 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2Mr. TREVINO. No, I have not.
Mr. REYES. You have not. Has there been or was there an after-action debriefing or report conducted by either your department or any of the Federal agencies involved in this incident?
Mr. TREVINO. I am not aware of any Federal agency debriefing. We did do an internal Las Vegas Fire Department after-action report.
Mr. WELDON. Thank you.
Mr. REYES. And then for each of you, I think it would be valuable to us to get your assessment on the effectiveness overall in your involvement, individual involvements up to date—up to this date, of the program. And if you would just rank it 1 being minimal, 10 being maximum, and we can start with you, Chief.
Mr. MARINUCCI. I would probably echo the last witnesses, 2 or 3.
Mr. EVERSOLE. Three.
Mr. REYES. Three.
Mr. TREVINO. Two.
Page 103 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2Mr. REYES. Two.
Mr. HAIRSTON. I am going to give our relationship with the kinds of things that happened around an 8. We have had some really good dynamics that have happened in Philadelphia and we have had a lot of cooperation at all of the levels that I mentioned before.
Our real problem though goes beyond that because you have to have a way of continuing that training, you have to have a way of resupply of the pharmaceuticals. You have all those other things that are associated with it and then I am getting ready to incur tremendous cost because of this training initiative that probably will be done to a large degree on overtime.
Mr. REYES. Just as a follow-up, would you categorize that your proximity to Washington, DC helps in terms of your satisfaction with the training program?
Mr. HAIRSTON. I do not know, I thought it was my pretty face. I really could not figure out what it was. [Laughter.]
Mr. REYES. That is why I wanted to get it on the record.
Mr. HAIRSTON. I mean honestly, we had such a—we got picked very early on in this and it might have been the fact that we got picked so early on and were given an opportunity for some input and that kind of thing. I am not sure really what caused all that to happen but there was a real enthusiasm that went on in this whole thing. I have no idea why it happened and worked so well for us, but it is still a beginning step. It is not where we should be, but I would be remiss if I did not say that we had all that cooperation and that people did a good job with it.
Page 104 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2Mr. REYES. Well 8 is pretty good.
Mr. HAIRSTON. Well, I mean for it to be that and I mean to compliment them, because we got asked pretty early on and we had a lot of people in our own city government that took it seriously, we took it seriously, the police department took it seriously, DOD took it seriously, the National Fire Academy took it seriously and they allowed us to have a lot of input into it.
So at this stage, I am rating it an 8 and hopefully we will have some way of giving us some more money so we can continue this and it will not just be a beginning step and we go from there.
Mr. REYES. Chief.
Mr. CURL. Congressman Reyes, we will have to represent the volunteer sector as a 1 at max and probably a 0, with the understanding that we know there has to be a starting point someplace.
Mr. REYES. Right.
Mr. CURL. And we hope there is a continuation and a follow-up that we are involved in.
Mr. REYES. And realistically, that is why we are here, we are interested, we are concerned and we want to make a difference in this. That is very important.
Page 105 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2Mr. JARBOE. I would say about a 7 and base it on the fact that for about 2 years our county has been working to get equipment and so forth, and it has been a very, very frustrating effort, although the people that we have talked with were very professional and very cordial. But there was no designated vehicle for us to get information and it just frustrated me and I am sure the other chiefs are frustrated too. Some simple things like M–8 paper, M–9 or M–256–A–1 kits. They will show them to you, demonstrate them to you and tell you they will give them to you if you get their boss to approve it. I never found their boss.
So there is a number of things, and I did put it in my testimony, and perhaps later we could talk more not in this forum but maybe I can expand on these points, but I believe they are good will people. We are trying to work together, but I think the communication links get mixed up or misrouted. We need to have more open dialog on these issues with people that can make things happen. I talked to a lot of people that like to listen, but they do not make things happen.
Mr. REYES. Well, thank you. And Chief Smith.
Mr. SMITH. As far as rating the program, Congressman, is that what we are——
Mr. REYES. Yes, up to now, your involvement
and your assessment.
Page 106 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2Mr. SMITH. I would echo Chief Hairston's opinion that we had a good experience with the training and with the contractor providing the training, but for where we are in the training process, I would put it at 3.
Mr. REYES. OK. That is all I have, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. WELDON. Thank you. We are going to wrap this up pretty quickly, but I have to get your observation, because I may be totally off-base, but as someone who sees the issues here as somebody from your point of view, I have heard a lot of comments today about the cooperation of the FBI, the Department of Justice, the FEMA. I have heard cooperation from the military, National Guard. But there is one agency I have not heard mentioned at all.
Let me say that I think one of the things the fire service suffers from in Washington is that it does not have what the law enforcement community has. The law enforcement community has the FBI, DEA constantly fighting for its priorities. The military has the Pentagon constantly fighting for its priorities. How come no one mentioned the Fire Administration?
And I know maybe I am putting some people on the spot. My own perception is the Fire Administration, which is a part of FEMA obviously, but FEMA has a much broader role—my own feeling is the Fire Administration is not aggressive enough in acting as an advocate for the fire service of this country, both paid and volunteer and that perhaps that is part of the reason why the fire service maybe has not been as satisfied.
Maybe that is not the role of the Fire Administration as perceived by all of you who are involved on a day-to-day basis. Would you all like to respond? Start over here and then go around.
Page 107 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2Mr. JARBOE. Congressman, I am very supportive of the National Fire Academy.
Mr. WELDON. No, no, I am not saying the Fire Academy. I
Mr. JARBOE. Well if you take the U.S. Fire Administration course, they set the budget I believe for the Fire Academy.
Mr. WELDON. Well, let us separate out the Fire Academy and all of us, including me, agree it is an excellent institution, does a fantastic job. I am talking about the Fire Administration.
Mr. JARBOE. I will skip it then.
Mr. WELDON. You will skip it now. Does anyone have any comments?
Mr. SMITH. My only comment, Mr. Chairman, would be I guess I never recognized that as the role.
Mr. WELDON. Should it be the role, should it be more of an advocate for the fire service?
Mr. SMITH. Well, because we need somebody to carry the banner, I would say yes, maybe it should be.
Page 108 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2Mr. WELDON. Chief Curl, what do you think?
Mr. CURL. I would say we need someone, that is an appropriate place to start.
Mr. WELDON. I have heard you loud and clear today and I think you are obviously—the volunteers feel, to some extent, neglected and you have hit the nail on the head, chief, by saying part of it is because we, as a country have focused on the big cities first. But we will work with the military leadership, we have the highest respect for them, to get them to reach out more aggressively. If they need more funds, we will give it to them.
We have also heard you about resources. In fact, I have been working with a bill that I announced last year, I have not introduced it yet because I wanted to get more input, that would provide allocation of existing resources through existing Federal funding streams like community development block grant moneys to be used specifically for fire and EMS purposes, creation of a national low-interest loan program, making Federal property available to you when it is excessed and not surplused, so you could get better equipment earlier on in the process. And providing some other easier access to material that we already have available. But we hear you, we do need to provide more in the way of resources because I think probably—and if you disagree with me, tell me. I do not think any of you would agree that you have extra resources to provide for this kind of a need, is that correct?
[Panel nods assent.]
Page 109 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2Mr. WELDON. In most cities that I have experienced, both paid and volunteer, the fire service is being pushed to do more with less anyway. You are being pushed to do more in terms of EMS and the way you're running your apparatus in terms of responding to EMS calls alone is a tremendous burden on a lot of our big city fire departments.
One of the things I will again stress to you and to your colleagues that you need to make the point is that there is that $21 million appropriated from last year. You need to make sure that before that plan is finalized, that you use your leverage to make sure that it is being directly provided to the fire and emergency services community in the way that you want to see it provided. My suggestion would be that you might want to consider having the States match that money so you double the value of it. And if the local departments, you know, plug in some money, perhaps you could triple the value of that, instead of making it $21 million, if you had local and also State participation, you could triple that to $63 million, thus creating kind of a model for us to provide additional funding in this year's appropriation process. So you begin to develop a larger funding base to help you buy the kinds of turnout gear, the kinds of specialized response equipment, testing devices, training equipment that all of you feel are necessary. So you do have that opportunity, but I would urge you to move quickly in that regard.
We are on somewhat of a time bind because of the use of the room and plane schedules, so I am going to pretty much bring the hearing to closure and ask my colleague, Mr. Reyes, before I close out if he would like to make any closing statements.
Mr. REYES. Well, only that I really appreciate your being here and your candid testimony. Please understand that we are going to work very hard to help get you the resources, the support, and the system in place to make you more successful, and certainly for the protection of our first responders, that is the bottom line. And I want to thank you, chief, for hosting us and I appreciate all the courtesies.
Page 110 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2That is all, thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. WELDON. Thank you, Silver.
I want to thank my colleague for being here. He took time out of his schedule to be here instead of in Texas. I want to thank the staff, I want to thank Bill Webb, who is someplace around here. Where are you, Bill? Over here on the side. Who runs the Congressional Fire and Emergency Services Institute that does all of the internal work with the Congress on your issues. Bill Manning, where is Bill, he is around here someplace, Bill for his efforts in working all of the details out and doing such a great job with FDIC. The local emergency response community, the staff of the FDIC itself, the staff of the convention center has been very helpful to us, and all of our committee staff and my personal staff—Terry Holder for doing so much and Jean Reed, for your leadership effort on this issue. Jean is the guy that will put this part of our defense bill together. So a lot of the suggestions you have given us today, you are going to find out they will be in language in the defense authorization bill, which is how this process works—you come in and tell us your concerns, we will do some of the parameters of the things that you want, we will talk to the appropriators, we will also begin to address some of the policy issues that you have talked about in legislative language and work with our counterparts in the Senate.
I also want to remind those in the audience and the fire service media, again, all the testimony given today, our witnesses on this panel and the first panel, the opening statements, is available to anyone in the country on our web site, which is www.house.gov/nsc. You can access that, and again, I would reiterate, we are open for additional comments, testimony, questions from those in the audience and from those across the country. If you have something on your mind that you are not happy with or you think we are missing the mark, get it to us and get it to us quickly. Either e-mail to us, fax it to us next week, so that we can include that as a part of the congressional record of this hearing and respond to your concerns as we proceed to develop our defense authorization bill this year.
Page 111 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2With that, I want to again thank everyone and announce that the hearing is now adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 5:34 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned.]
"The Official Committee record contains additional