Volume I, Domestic Preparedness Program in the Defense Against Weapons of Mass Destruction


1. Introduction

This report summarizes the Department of Defense (DoD) actions as requested by Public Law 104-201, National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1997, Title XIV: Defense Against Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), Subtitle A: Domestic Preparedness. The Conference Report accompanying Public Law 104-208 Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act, 1997, requested DoD to submit a report to Congress on four specific issues that are outlined in the Scope of the Report.

1.1 Background

Within the last five years at least eleven states as well as other nations have experienced terrorist incidents. Some of the most widely publicized incidents were the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993, the chemical terrorist attack on the Tokyo Subway system in 1995, the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995, and the Centennial Park bombing in Atlanta in 1996. With the increasing availability of raw materials and technology from worldwide sources, the potential use of WMD by subversive groups has mounted dramatically. In response to the growing concern of the potential use of WMD in a terrorist attack, Title XIV was established.

1.2 Responsibilities

Under Title XIV, Subtitle A, Domestic Preparedness, responsibilities for oversight and execution are as follows. The Assistant Secretary of Defense (Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict) has responsibility for policy and resource oversight. The Assistant to The Secretary of Defense (Nuclear, Chemical & Biological Defense Programs) provides resource oversight for equipment procurement. Additionally, in accordance with Section 1413, Title XIV, the Secretary of Defense (SECDEF) designated the Secretary of the Army (SECARMY) to serve as the Executive Agent for the coordination of DoD training assistance to Federal, state, and local officials to better assist them in responding to threats involving chemical and biological weapons or related materials or technologies, including assistance in identifying, neutralizing, dismantling, and disposing of biological and chemical weapons and related materials and technologies. As the Executive Agent, the Secretary is responsible for developing the planning guidance, plans, implementation, and procedures for the Domestic Preparedness Program. The SECARMY subsequently named the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Installations, Logistics and Environment) (ASA(IL&E)) as the focal point for all matters in which the Army has executive agency, and the Director of Military Support (DOMS) as the DoD’s staff action agent. In a separate directive, the SECARMY directed the Commander, Army Materiel Command (AMC) to appoint a DoD Program Director. AMC subsequently directed Commander, Chemical Biological Defense Command (CBDCOM) to appoint a DoD Program Director with the primary responsibility to implement the basic elements of Title XIV.

The Senior Interagency Coordination Group (SICG) on Terrorism was established to facilitate the interagency coordination of policy issues and program activities in support of Federal initiatives to assist Federal, state, and local first responders in responding to WMD incidents. The SICG is composed of senior members from DoD, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Public Health Service (PHS), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Energy (DoE), the Department of Justice (DoJ), the Department of Transportation (DoT), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), General Services Administration (GSA), and the National Communications System (NCS).

1.3 Scope of the Report

This report responds to four issues outlined by Congress. The report will assess the types and characteristics of chemical and biological threats against the U.S. and the capabilities of civilian agencies to respond to these threats; identify unmet training, equipment, and other requirements of civilian first responders necessary to provide a basic capability to respond to domestic chemical and biological attacks; identify DoD chemical/biological warfare information, expertise and equipment that could be adapted to civilian application to help meet identified requirements; and present a detailed plan for DoD assistance in equipping, training, and providing other necessary assistance for first responders to such incidents.

This report provides information to Congress on the status of the existing programs and initiatives required to enhance Federal, state, and local capabilities to respond to terrorist incidents involving WMD. The overall initiative uses existing Federal agencies’ chemical and biological assets and programs as the foundation for its program. The SICG members are building links between participating agencies to develop new programs to ensure that the intent of Congress is met as outlined in Title XIV and subsequent legislation. The DoD initiative is an evolving program. This report will provide information on the status of the individual components of the DoD program and plan. Volume I of this report is unclassified. Volume II provides an assessment which is classified SECRET US ONLY.

Table of Contents | Next Section