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Defense R&D Support to Domestic Emergency Preparedness

Defense R&D Support to Domestic Emergency Preparedness

Defense Research and Development Support to Domestic Emergency Preoaredness for Response to Threats of Terrorist Use of Weapons of Mass Destruction Terrorism. Source: Prepared Combined Statement before the House Armed Services Committee, Military Research and Development Subcommittee. Washington D.C., March 11, 1999.

Mr. Charles L. Cragin, Principal Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness; Dr. Delores M. Etter, Deputy Undersecretary of Defense (Science and Technology) and Deputy Director, Defense Research and Engineering; Major General John Doesburg, U.S. Army, Commander, U. S. Army Soldier and Biological Chemical Command; and Mr. Raymond Dominguez, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Forces and Resources.

Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman, and distinguished members of the Subcommittee, we are honored to be here today to discuss our efforts to coordinate and support domestic emergency preparedness for responding to incidents involving weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

The purpose of our testimony is two-fold. First, we will update you on the Department of Defense’s efforts to support state and local authorities in responding to WMD incidents. Second, we will discuss the department’s research and development efforts that can be used to support those responders in the event of a WMD incident.

In the wake of the bombings at the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City and the World Trade Center in New York, it became readily apparent that we as a nation were less than well prepared to respond to terrorist incidents involving WMD. As a result, President Clinton has undertaken significant efforts to galvanize federal agencies and prompt them to work more effectively, both together at the interagency level and in support of first responders, to provide our nation with an enhanced, flexible and integrated response capability.

The federal government is today taking concerted action across a wide variety of fronts. Let me summarize some of those steps. Through the historic Nunn-Lugar Legislation, we have participated with Russia in destroying nuclear missiles, warheads and bombers; and we are on the verge of destroying tons of chemical weapons. In order to deter attacks against the United States, we are continuing to sharpen our military spear. Within this context, force protection efforts remain at the top of our security agenda. We are constructing safer buildings and bases around the globe; we will continue to vaccinate our military forces against anthrax; and we will continue to strike at terrorists, no matter where they find sanctuary.

But we as a nation are also facing the fact that the front lines in the war against terrorism are no longer only overseas—they are also right here at home. As Secretary Cohen recently said, we must face the fact that "the next terrorist attack will come to U.S. soil in a bottle or a briefcase." We are determined to ensure that we are prepared for a deadly chemical or biological attack against our country. A comprehensive and coordinated government-wide interagency effort is now underway.

Under the direction of President Clinton and Secretary Cohen, and in partnership with Congress, plans, policies and laws are being developed to help us prepare better for the day when terrorists or rogue nations threaten us with unconventional means. President Clinton believes we must do more to protect our civilian population from the scourge of chemical and biological weapons; that we must prepare better to respond to attacks against our Homeland. Last May, in his commencement address at the Naval Academy, the President announced that the government would do more to protect our civilian population from these threats.

Process for Coordinating Interagency WMD Preparedness Efforts

Specifically, the President has signed Presidential Decision Directive 62 (PDD 62)—the Combating Terrorism directive—which highlights the growing threat of unconventional attacks against the United States. In essence, PDD-62 helps bring a program management approach to our national counter-terrorism efforts; it details a new and more systematic method of working together to fight terrorism.

PDD-62 established the Office of the National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection and Counter-Terrorism to oversee national counter-terrorism efforts. This National Security Council (NSC) directed framework is bringing a new impetus and a new urgency to our efforts to support state and local authorities. Within this framework, the NSC established three senior management groups: the Counterterrorism Security group (CSG), the Critical Infrastructure Coordination group (CICG), and the Weapons of Mass Destruction Preparedness (WMDP) group. The NSC chairs all three of these groups; and each group has multiple subgroups.

The NSC-chaired WMDP senior management group coordinates interagency WMDP policy issues and oversees the activities of seven subgroups. These subgroups are engaged in coordinating policies involving Federal Assistance to State and Local Authorities, Research and Development, Prevention of WMD from Entering the U.S., Security of U.S. WMD Facilities and Materials, Contingency Planning and Exercises, Legislative and Legal Issues, and Intelligence. Each subgroup

membership is comprised of the appropriate Federal agency/department principals and/or their senior level representatives who can accept or deliver tasks for action. The DoD is an active participant in all of these subgroups, which at its core, operates on the assumption that disaster response is primarily a mission for state and local authorities. As Dr. Hamre mentioned during his testimony on Tuesday, the role of the Department of Defense is to be a supporting activity to federal and state civilian agencies and officials.

Within the DoD, Dr. Hamre, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, issued an internal management plan for implementing its responsibilities as outlined in PDD-62 and to better coordinate DoD-wide WMD activities. This mangement plan identified DoD senior management committees and subject matter subgroups that mirror the PDD-62 committee and subgroup structure established by the National Security Council (NSC).

Mr. Charles L. Cragin is responsible, with a representative of the Secretary of the Army, for coordinating the department’s WMDP efforts involving assistance to state and local authorities and for representing the department on such matters at the National Security Council’s Assistance to State and Local Authorities Subgroup. He, along with the Principal Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, is also responsible for coordinating the department's input to and participation on the NSC's WMDP Senior management committee. Dr. Delores M. Etter heads the subgroup within the department for coordinating WMDP related Research and Development matters, and serves as the department’s lead representative to the National Security Council’s Research and Development Subgroup, which is chaired by the Office of Science and Technology Policy of the NSC.

PDD-62 and the implementing guidance clearly provided the interagency with a more rigorous management structure for coordinating and promulgating national domestic preparedness programs and policies. As always, however, our efforts are designed to support—not supplant—the efforts of state and local agencies and first responders.

The Role of the National Guard and Reserve in Domestic Emergency Preparedness

One effective means of channeling federal support to first responders will come through the National Guard and Reserve. The Guard is the tip of our military response spear and, as such, will usually be the first military asset on the scene. Indeed, as Dr. Hamre mentioned Tuesday in his testimony before the SASC, the National Guard and Reserve forces are "forward deployed all over America." When it comes to WMD response, the members of our National Guard and our other Reserve components are ideally suited for the mission. They live and work in more than four thousand communities nationwide. They are familiar with emergency response plans and procedures. And they often have close links with the fire, police, and emergency medical personnel who will be first on the scene. As a result, the Guard and Reserve comprise a highly effective source of trained and ready manpower and expertise.

For example, over half our total military medical capability is resident in the Reserve components. In the event of a WMD event, casualties may be enormous—and we will need to call on Reserve component medical expertise and equipment. The Reserve component, predominantly the Army Reserve, also has more than sixty-percent of our military chemical-biological detection and decontamination assets. They will be essential providers of support to state and local authorities in the event of a real or suspected WMD incident.

To better harness these inherent capabilities and make our national plans for WMD response more effective, last May President Clinton announced the establishment of ten rapid assessment and initial detection (RAID) teams. These RAID teams are designed to be assets of the Governors as they perform three vital tasks. First, they will deploy rapidly to assess suspected nuclear, biological or chemical events—in support of the local incident commander. Second, they will advise civilian first responders regarding appropriate actions. And third, they will facilitate requests for assistance. Each RAID team will be composed of 22 full-time National Guard soldiers and airmen. The units will be fully mission-capable in January 2000.

In FY00, as Dr. Hamre mentioned to the SASC, we will be requesting permission for five or six additional RAID elements to be organized. Congress must approve additional full-time National Guard positions for these teams. Stationing of these additional elements is currently being analyzed.

Additionally, each of the Reserve components is being called upon to play an expanded role in WMD response. The Department of Defense in FY99 and FY00, will train and equip 43 Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical reconnaissance elements and 127 decontamination elements in the Army Reserve, Air Force Reserve, Army National Guard and Air National Guard, enabling them to more effectively respond to a WMD attack.

In addition, and at the direction of Congress, the department is working to establish 44 military support detachments, which we refer to as RAID (Light) teams. These teams are being established as part of our overall effort to develop a nation-wide response capability that has strong roots in the local and state first-responder community. They will be established using traditional National Guardsmen and will be built on the RAID model but tailored to the specific needs of different States. The RAID (Light) teams will be structured and trained to provide a modest planning and assessment capability in every state and territory.

Congress, in the Strom Thurmond National Defense Authorization Act of 1999, directed the establishment of an advisory panel to assess domestic response capabilities for terrorism involving weapons of mass destruction. This legislation directs the Secretary of Defense, in consultation with the Attorney General, the Departments of Energy and Health and Human Services, and FEMA, to contract with a federally funded research and development center (FFRDC), which will then establish the panel and support it for its three-year life cycle. The panel is to be composed of private citizens who have knowledge and expertise in emergency response matters. The panel is required to provide an initial report, with annual reports to follow, to Congress within 6 months that will make recommendations for improving Federal, State, and local domestic emergency preparedness to respond to incidents involving WMD. The RAND Corporation has been selected to establish and support the membership of the panel.

Additionally, in the Department of Defense Appropriation Act of 1998, Congress directed the National Guard Bureau to conduct a study on how best to maximize the inherent strengths of the National Guard and other Reserve components in responding to WMD incidents. That study is in the final stages of coordination and a report from the Director of the National Guard Bureau will be provided to Secretary Cohen for transmittal to Congress.

The Domestic Preparedness Program

The Defense Against Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-201) authorizes Federal agencies to provide resources, training and technical assistance to state and local emergency management personnel who would respond to a WMD terrorist incident. This interagency effort is called the Domestic Preparedness Program (DPP).

DoD was designated the lead federal agency for the development of the program. The Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs provides policy guidance and oversight for city training/exercises, equipment loans, and expert assistance program elements while the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict) provides oversight for the annual Federal-State-Local exercise mandated by law for the program. The Secretary of Defense designated the Secretary of the Army as the Executive Agent for implementing the program. The Director of Military Support (DOMS) is the Staff Action Agent and the Commander of the Soldier and Biological Chemical Command (SBCCOM) is the Program Director for the Domestic Preparedness Program.

An interagency plan was developed which included initial visits to selected cities, a week of "Train the Trainer" training for local first responder trainers including hazardous material (HAZMAT), firefighters, law enforcement, and emergency medical service personnel. Tabletop and functional "hands-on" exercises using chemical and biological scenarios further reinforce this training. A training equipment package is loaned to each city for their subsequent training use. To date, 51 cities have participated in the training with approximately 14,800 first responder trainers having been trained.

Annual federal, state, and local exercises are held to improve the integration of federal, state, and local response assets during a WMD response. In FY97 the annual exercise was held in conjunction with the "Summit of the Eight" Conference in Denver, CO (May 97). The FY98 exercise was held in September 1998 in Philadelphia, PA. The FY99 exercise is scheduled for August 1999 in New York City, NY.

Other components of this program include the Improved Response Program and the Expert Assistance Program. MG Doesburg directs both of these programs, and details on how they are being executed are addressed later in this statement. The Improved Response Program is designed to study shortfalls in a WMD response and then propose solutions and to test new and existing equipment. The Expert Assistance Program has established a national Hotline for emergencies, a Helpline for assistance, and web pages that provide technical information needed by first responders.

Because we see this training mission as one more attuned to civilian agencies, facets of this program are being transferred to the Department of Justice. This will also have the benefit of placing the training and equipping roles in one location, as part of the "one stop" shop consistently requested by first responders. In September 1998, the Attorney General and Deputy Secretary of Defense began discussions on transferring portions of the DPP from DOD to DOJ. Personnel from

DOD are currently meeting with representatives from DOJ to develop a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the transfer.

The framework for this MOU is based on the following assumptions:

  • The President of the United States will designate the Attorney General as the lead official to assume responsibility for the DPP no later than October 1, 2000.
  • DOD will remain the lead federal agency for the DPP through the end of FY2000.
  • The transition will be accomplished in stages in order to accommodate existing budgets and program plans.
  • DOJ will honor the commitment to train the originally designated 120 cities.

A memorandum of agreement guiding this transfer will be finalized this spring.

The world of domestic preparedness and response is highly dynamic. No single agency acting alone can address the problem in its entirety. As a result, we are in the process of deepening our interagency ties and developing a coordinated approach. We at the Department of Defense realize that this approach is necessary if we are to avoid confusion, both within the federal government and in terms of our ability to communicate effectively with the first responder community. We are working hard to understand the concerns of state and local authorities regarding the federal role in the process. In many respects we share the same concerns, especially regarding the need for a lead federal agency for WMD and the need for the federal government to speak with one voice on this vital issue.

The department, along with its federal agency partners; DOJ, FEMA, PHS, DOE, EPA, and others are working hard to ensure that we address problems through a coordinated approach. Both the Department of Defense and the Department of Justice have recently conducted forums with first responders. Without exception, the number one request of first responders has been for the identification of a single federal agency to lead the training and equipping of first responders. As I mentioned earlier, in their words, they seek the ease, convenience and predictability of "one stop shopping."

In an effort to respond to this need, the Department of Defense and the Department of Justice have agreed in principle to establish the DOJ as the lead federal agency for the federal DPP. Within that framework, the Attorney General has proposed the establishment of the National Domestic Preparedness Office (NDPO), which is up and running at FBI headquarters and is even now furthering the integration of our national response efforts.

Let me emphasize that our combined efforts will not amount simply to a one-time training event. Through the development of the RAID teams and the other supporting Chem-Bio elements, we are in the process of supporting the development of a national standard. Technology in this dynamic field is evolving rapidly, and our goal is to place the nation at the forefront of technological advancement. With cities worried about filling potholes, they cannot all be expected to worry about acquiring costly new WMD-related equipment. We are developing and fielding a model to help firefighters and law enforcement and emergency medical personnel to identify the equipment and procedures they need.

From joint publications to field manuals, from schools to staff colleges, we are working to embed WMD procedures and training into the way we do business. This effort is particularly pronounced at those schools that produce qualified personnel to perform WMD functions. The training of the RAID and other elements will mirror our efforts to work across both Service and interagency lines to develop mutually supportive programs. We are working to ensure that the people who actually respond are prepared to work together to meet the needs of the people affected by a WMD incident. Extensive training will include teaching and course work provided by the Army Chemical School, the Defense Nuclear Weapons School, the Army Medical Department, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Fire Academy, the US Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases, FEMA, and the Department of Justice’s Center for Domestic Preparedness.

DoD’s R&D Efforts in Support of WMD Preparedness

In support of issues identified by the NSC-level R&D Subgroup, Dr. Delores M. Etter has led DoD’s efforts to catalogue all its procurement, science and technology, and research and development programs in the taxonomy of medical, non-medical, and modeling and simulation areas of chemical, biological, and radiological defense countermeasures. Working groups have been established to promote a comprehensive coordinated effort within the department. These working groups involved representatives from the Services, Joint Program offices, and Defense Agencies to ensure that all programs were represented and taken into account, and include the following:

Deputy Undersecretary of Defense (Science and Technology)(DUSD(S&T))

Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs (ASD(HA))

Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict (ASD(SO/LIC))

Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs (ASD(RA))

Under Secretary of Defense Comptroller (USD(C))

Office of the General Counsel

Technical Support Working Group (TSWG)

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)

Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA)

These members cover the breadth of the DoD NBC defense community in planning, research, development, and acquisition.

To avoid duplication, the DoD Research and Development Subgroup is building upon the work of the Technical Support Working Group (TSWG) and the Public Health Service, who led an interagency effort to develop five-year non-medical and medical R&D plans. These studies served as the DoD R&D Subgroup’s initial baseline. Building upon this baseline, information matrices in the areas of medical, non-medical and modeling and simulation were developed. These matrices were developed through a four-step process, which involved the following:

  • Assessment of nominal requirements provided by the TSWG, based upon their work with the interagency partners.
  • Identification of all available military off-the-shelf equipment which potentially met some of the nominal requirements.
  • Evaluation of future programs as they are articulated in the DoD’s Future Years Defense Plan (FYDP).
  • Evaluation of gaps and shortfalls in the current or planned programs to meet the needs of local and state agencies. The last step is crucial for planning future R&D strategies across the federal agencies involved in this enterprise.

To date, the matrices have been completed for existing and planned DoD programs and activities in support of chemical, biological, and radiological countermeasures. But it is based on DoD’s understanding of its requirements, which may not directly correlate to the capabilities and needs of users in a non-military setting. To better support domestic WMD preparedness, we intend to work at the interagency level to obtain a well-articulated "capability needs" or requirements statement, coupled with a concept of use for civilians threatened by WMD. Such information would enable us to more effectively assess how well DoD current or planned programs could help fill the local and state agency gaps and shortfalls.

While we have developed a comprehensive listing of all R&D programs, the utility and applicability of the list in the context of future civilian emergency response capabilities is not entirely apparent at present. Indeed, it is unclear that military materiel items in development for battlefield use are suitable, or the most appropriate for local and state agencies. Certainly there are opportunities for technology dual-use, if not direct use. Evaluation of military research and development products for direct use by the emergency response community will require a more formal testing and certification mechanism than is present today.

Therefore, it is imperative that the PDD-62 interagency groups, in partnership with the ‘first responder and public health community’, fully address mechanisms and processes for universal requirements development, for development of common operational protocols, and for testing of proposed materiel. Without these mechanisms and processes and the resulting documentation, it is very difficult if not impossible for the department alone to identify specific civilian gaps or shortfalls and, therefore, assess future R&D activities that could benefit domestic emergency preparedness.

We expect to provide the department’s R&D information matrices to the NSC’s R&D Subgroup by late April. Within the bounds of defense policy and law, we are committed to support OSTP in its further efforts to coordinate interagency R&D efforts in support of its goal to combat terrorism and support national WMD domestic preparedness.

Interagency Advisory Board and the Standardized Equipment List

The department, through the Army’s Director of Military Support and the DoD Joint Chemical and Biological Defense Program, has supported an Interagency Advisory Board to develop a Standardized Equipment List for use by the Department of Justice as they work to execute their equipment grant program. This list will evaluate existing military equipment and commercial-off-the-shelf products to meet the needs of the local and state agencies in the areas of medical, personal protective and operational equipment, interoperable communications and information systems, and detection and decontamination. Participants on the board include firefighters, HAZMAT technicians, police, and civilian standard agency representatives. It is expected that this list will form the baseline for future assistance to state and local agencies and possibly serve as the starting point for development of the specific user needs and requirements described above.

The Interagency Advisory Board plans to meet in October to convene an Advanced Planning Brief to Industry. Following that process the Board will identify certain items of equipment for testing and evaluation based upon civilian standards. Those items of equipment will then be placed on the list as passing the Board’s standards and meeting local and state requirements.

Mr. Dominguez and MG Doesburg are actively engaged in directing the excellent efforts undertaken by the TSWG and the U.S. Army Soldier and Biological Chemical Command to provide applicable military materiel items and capabilities right now to the nation’s emergency response organizations capabilities.

Publicly Available Information on Chemical and Biological Terrorism

We would like to acknowledge and congratulate the National Academy of Sciences and its Institute of Medicine for its recent completion and publication of a study on Chemical and Biological Terrorism: Research and Development to Improve Civilian Medical Response. In our estimation they have done a great service to the country. This publication should become essential reading for both the technology and public policy communities and should serve as an information source to demystify this important area of public concern. This work provides an authoritative source of information to establish a baseline for future policy and program efforts.

We recognize that DoD has an ongoing and unique responsibility within the government for protecting our military forces from chemical and biological agents, and that we have a responsibility to support other organizations as they work to support civilian needs. The department will continue to work within the PDD-62 framework to leverage Defense technologies in our nuclear, biological and chemical defense program and provide functional expertise and information to assist in meeting civilian responder equipment requirements.

The Soldier and Biological Chemical Command

As commander of the Soldier and Biological Chemical Command (SBCCOM), Major General John Doesburg is responsible for supporting the execution of two programs that benefit the nation’s responders to weapons of mass destruction (WMD) terrorism incidents. These programs are the Domestic Preparedness Program and the Reserve Component Consequence Management Program. These programs are executed in conjunction with the other services and other federal agencies, such as Department of Justice (DOJ); Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA); Department of Energy (DOE); Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The functional experts within SBCCOM are using their technical and programmatic expertise gained since 1917, over 80 years to execute these programs.

SBCCOM is responsible for much of DoD’s research, development and acquisition (RDA) in the areas of individual protection and chemical/ biological (CB) defense. SBCCOM conducts basic and applied research, development and engineering, acquisition, integrated logistics, materiel readiness management, and maintenance support functions for all CB and soldier defensive (non-medical) systems and equipment. The SBCCOM works closely and collaborates with the Army’s Medical Research and Development Command, in Ft. Detrick, MD for medically related efforts, the Dugway Proving Ground (DPG), UT, for system level/operational field testing, and the Pine Bluff Arsenal, AR, for manufacture and readiness sustainment efforts. We are relying on this extensive RDT&E, acquisition, readiness and sustainment background to help develop and enhance the nation’s response to chemical and biological incidents.

The Domestic Preparedness Program is focused on improving the response to WMD terrorist incidents at the local, state and federal levels. Aside from the 120 city training, exercise and equipment effrt, we have established several other efforts which use SBCCOM’s technical and functional expertise to provide first responders with useful information. In addition to the Helpline, Hotline and Web page, the Expert Assistance Program conducts chemical agent and simulant testing to determine performance of equipment in chemical and biological environments. The testing is managed and conducted by SBCCOM and will leverage the defense test & evaluation infrastructure. The test data are provided on the DP web page, www.nbc-prepare.org, as reports are completed and released. The intent is to enable the local and state response organizations to become more informed consumers as they acquire equipment to prepare their communities.

Currently, our testing efforts are based on the procedures used for testing the equipment used by the military. We challenge the items with quantities of agent and simulant that, based on our expertise, should be valid for a domestic terrorist incident. We use the extensive modeling and simulation capabilities of the DoD to determine valid challenge levels in a domestic setting. SBCCOM provides technical support to NIOSH, OSHA, NFPA and the other regulatory agencies as they develop the standards and associated test methodologies for this type of response equipment. Once the standards are established, our programs for testing civilian response equipment will be modified accordingly.

Several types of equipment have been tested to date. SBCCOM’s test program has been structured to conduct this testing in phases to enable us to address new equipment and upgrades made by the manufacturers. To date we have conducted tests of the following items:

  • Level A suits – data on web page
  • Level B suits
  • Powered air purifying respirators (PAPRS)
  • SCBA hoses – data on web page
  • Chemical detectors
  • Boots
  • Gloves

We have also established an Improved Response Program (IRP) to systematically review and enhance the response to chemical and biological terrorist incidents. The IRP effort involves evaluating equipment, in conjunction with the aforementioned testing effort, and related response procedures commonly used by responders to determine their utility in a WMD incident. The IRP evaluates responses to chemical terrorist incidents separately from responses to biological terrorist incidents.

The Chemical Warfare Improved Response Program (CW IRP) is continually examining and enhancing the response to CW incidents using the city of Baltimore, surrounding counties, and responders from across the nation to assist in this team effort. The major emphasis of the CW IRP team is to address the issues of protection, detection and decontamination during a CW incident. The program recognizes that while most communities have some capability to respond to hazardous materials (HAZMAT) incidents, they have not fully addressed a response to a CW terrorist incident.

The CW IRP has conducted testing of firefighter’s turnout gear to determine the protection it provides in various chemical scenarios. Evaluations of protective equipment for law enforcement & health care providers operating around the incident’s perimeter are also being conducted. Additionally, the team has evaluated technical studies and conducted field evaluations to determine best practices for mass decontamination of individuals. The chemical detectors available in HAZMAT units have been identified and some testing has been conducted to determine if they could detect chemical warfare agents. The performance of these detectors was also evaluated in the presence of possible interferents.

As the CW IRP team continues improving the response to a CW terrorist incident at the local, state and federal levels, additional issues are identified. The team conducts market surveys and equipment evaluation to identify solutions to the gaps or issues. If commercial equipment is not available or directly applicable to the need, requirements are defined and provided to the interagency Technical Support Working Group (TSWG) for further interagency review and action.

As we began our efforts to address the response to a biological incident, we found that there was little or no response to build on. Because of that situation, the Biological Warfare Improved Response Program’s (BW IRP) focus is to outline a mechanism for responding to a biological incident and evaluating equipment and procedures for enhancing such a response at the local, state and federal levels. The BW IRP has developed a template for use in responding to a BW incident by conducting a series of workshops & scenarios, using input from a team of responders from across the nation. As the template was developed, gaps were identified. The technical and operational requirements of these gaps were defined and the gaps were prioritized by work effort. The template has been documented in a BW IRP Report, which will be posted to the DP web page following its release.

A process to validate components of the template and systematically demonstrate the utility of the response template has been developed. Another process to identify the gaps with various other agencies has been implemented, since many of these gaps fall in areas outside our CB expertise and must be integrated into a total response. As the solutions are defined or developed, the template validation process is used to incorporate them into the template. Some gaps will require a rigorous R&D effort. Such requirements will be forwarded to the TSWG for further review and assessment.

SBCCOM also supports DoD’s Reserve Component Consequence Management Program, which is establishing state and regional Reserve component WMD response capabilities, as described by Mr. Cragin. SBCCOM supported the development of the Utmost Advantage resource management model developed by the Consequence Management Program Integration Office. Utmost Advantage provides research, development, acquisition, and logistical support to the RC Consequence Management Program. SBCCOM leads a team of DoD functional experts to source, acquire, field, sustain and modernize the material for Reserve component WMD response. SBCCOM equips and provides logistical support to these assets.

Much of the initial equipment provided to these RC assets is available through commercial and/or military sources. We are using "tried, true and tested" products. Market surveys will be conducted to identify product improvements for the next generation equipment. Additionally, emerging technologies will be used to transition promising advanced technologies or rapidly develop prototype systems into field applications.

As in the Domestic Preparedness Program, we plan to leverage the Defense Test & Evaluation infrastructure such as the DPG, UT to obtain test data or conduct technical performance evaluations, when necessary, of commercially available equipment. The data collected under both of these programs will be applicable to the nation’s responders.

Representatives from SBCCOM are participating on the Interagency Board (IAB) for equipment standardization and interoperability. The IAB consists of leading subject matter experts from local, state and national response organizations and is co-chaired by DoD and DOJ. The IAB has developed a standardized equipment list for WMD response operations, which ensures equipment standardization and interoperability at the local, state and federal levels. This is a list of functional items, yet SBCCOM’s equipment test program provides data on specific items within each functional category. The IAB membership also includes NIOSH, OSHA and NFPA, who are focused on generating standards for equipment used by responders to WMD terrorist incidents. The combined efforts of the IAB and our equipment test program will greatly enhance the communities’ ability to acquire equipment suitable for response to these critical incidents.

After the planned transition of the Domestic Preparedness Program in FY 01, DoD‘s focus in the Improved Response Program will be to continue to enhance the capabilities of WMD reserve component response teams and installation responders as well as to continue to support DOJ, as they request. SBCCOM functional experts will continue to support this initiative as we have supported the Domestic Preparedness Program and the RC Consequence Management Program thus far.

The Counterterror Technical Support Program and the Interagency Technical Support Working Group

The Counterterror Technical Support Program (CTTS) and the interagency Technical Support Working Group (TSWG) have become increasingly important resources for state and local agencies involved in domestic preparedness. The Counterterror Technical Support Program is a fast-track research and development program that addresses the domestic and international aspects of terrorism. CTTS projects are selected to meet the requirements identified and coordinated, through the TSWG, with other U.S. Government agencies and with three countries--Israel, Canada and the United Kingdom.

The CTTS Program and the TSWG are longstanding and important parts of DoD's strategy to combat terrorism. The CTTS/TSWG tracks technology development in other DoD programs that may have applicability to overall U.S. efforts to combat terrorism. These include numerous technology development activities conducted by DARPA and the DoD Joint Chemical and Biological Defense (CBD) Program. For example, the CBD Program is developing improved decontamination methods that will meet consequence management needs. The TSWG takes into account projects in the CBD program, as well as other DoD and interagency programs, when developing the annual CTTS program.

Both the domestic and international programs provide us with opportunities to combine our efforts, avoid duplication, and accelerate placing equipment in operational use. The DoD executes this program to address the interagency and international requirements identified and prioritized by the TSWG. Typically, equipment prototypes are fielded in one to three years. However, we are finding that longer term R&D is becoming necessary to find solutions to some difficult operational problems.

The DoD managed TSWG is a unique forum where representatives from eight U.S. departments and over 50 U.S. organizations identify, coordinate, and prioritize R&D requirements and recommend projects for funding. This is accomplished by addressing requirements and technologies in eight functional subgroups, whose members represent both user and developer communities. The users include representatives from Defense, State, Justice, Transportation, Treasury, FEMA, Public Health Service, and the CIA. In addition, the TSWG includes, and continues to increase its focus on the needs of, state and local law enforcement and emergency agencies.

Participation in the TSWG by Federal agencies, such as the FBI, the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), FEMA, and Public Health Service, ensures that the activities of the working groups take into account the needs of state and local first responders. As you know, these agencies provide information and assistance to state and local first responders. Their involvement is important to the U.S. program to support first responders through sharing information, technology, capabilities, procedures, and to identify first responder requirements.

In the past 15 months, the TSWG has added the FBI to its Executive Steering Committee, and has also invited state and local representatives to participate directly in its process. Represented on the TSWG are the Capitol Police and the Virginia Department of Emergency Services. Additionally, the TSWG has begun an outreach program to ensure that we are adequately addressing the needs of, and getting the word out to, state and local responders. This program includes attending and briefing at meetings of the International Association of Bomb Technicians and Investigators, International Association of Chiefs of Police, Congressional Fire Services Institute, National Association of Technical Investigators, and co-sponsoring a FEMA conference on emergency management. The TSWG has welcomed the National Guard and Reserve Components and included their R&D requirements in the TSWG interagency process.

The DoD through the TSWG process was a key participant in working with the Department of Justice to develop the technology portion of the Attorney General's Five-Year Interagency Counterterrorism and Technology Crime Plan. The TSWG has been and will continue to coordinate with the National Domestic Preparedness Office to ensure that, in meeting domestic preparedness needs, there is a streamlined approach that avoids multi-layering of organizations, focuses coordination of R&D activity at a single point in government, and provides state and local jurisdictions effective access to state-of-the-art technology. At the request of the NSC Office of Science and Technology Policy, the TSWG led the initial, quick-look interagency effort to develop a five-year non-medical R&D plan. The TSWG has been active in two of the seven subgroups established in response to PDD-62--the WMD R&D subgroup and the subgroup on Preventing WMD from Entering the U.S. The TSWG, in conjunction with the DoD Joint Chemical and Biological Defense Program, is working with Research and Development Subgroup of the DoD-DoJ Interagency Board to help meet the R&D needs of the emergency response community.

We would like to update you on some of our projects that relate to domestic preparedness. State and local responders already have TSWG-developed equipment in their inventories, such as the PAN Disrupter--an explosive device disablement capability developed by TSWG several years ago that, through the FBI, is in the inventory of every bomb squad in the country.

Other items that have recently been or are now being commercialized for use by first responders include the following:

  • Foam Mitigation System: Mitigates blast and agent release from an explosively driven chemical or biological device for use by first responders.
  • Robotics Trainer: Simulates the operation of the ANDROS robot for use in training new bomb squad personnel to avoid the cost of damage to actual robots. The FBI's Hazardous Devices School in Huntsville, Alabama has purchased several robotics trainers and will begin training all state and local bomb squads using this equipment.
  • Large Vehicle Bomb Disablement Systems: Equipment and techniques to defeat large-vehicle bombs. These systems were delivered to selected military users last year and are being commercialized for sale to all state and local bomb squads. The bomb squads involved in the development process are planning to purchase multiple units.
  • Real-time X-ray System: Portable X-ray system with high-resolution real-time diagnostic capability. This system is now a formal DoD acquisition program with 700 units being procured. NIJ has also purchased more than 30 units for field testing with selected state and local bomb squads.
  • X-ray Pulse Controller: Supplemental capability to existing x-ray systems that prevents explosive devices from prematurely detonating when x-rayed. This item is being transferred to the private sector for commercialization.
  • Access Training Kit: Simulates booby traps that confront bomb squads in training scenarios. This system is commercially available.
  • Nuclear Material Identification System: Determines the specific identity of a suspect nuclear material. The system, which was specifically designed for law enforcement agencies, is undergoing commercialization and will have a cost lower than any comparable system currently available.

The FY 1999 CTTS program is executing numerous projects at both the national and international level that support first responders at Federal, state, and local levels. They include the following:

  • Chemical/Biological EOD Suit: Protects explosive ordnance disposal and civilian bomb squad technicians against blast and chemical and biological agents. This suit was demonstrated to the Committee in February 1997. In cooperation with NIJ, the TSWG is conducting a field evaluation of previously developed chemical and biological bomb suits with selected bomb squads around the country. This effort, which will provide the first such capability to civilian bomb squads, was suggested by the NYPD bomb squad during a recent visit by TSWG staff.
  • Detector Simulant Kit: Allows first responders to test chemical detectors to ensure proper response to a variety of chemical agent simulants, and provide agent recognition capability for both visual and odor characteristics.
  • Non-Hazardous Decontamination System: A non-toxic, environmentally safe decontamination system that mitigates the effects of chemical and biological agents.
  • Advanced Decontamination Techniques: Improved techniques for high-volume generation of foam optimized for chemical agent decontamination.
  • Escape Hood: Protect individuals during evacuation from areas under chemical or biological agent attack.
  • Hazardous Materials Database: Maintains critical data on chemical agents, precursors, and other hazardous materials a hand-held computer.
  • Disposable Toxic Agent Protective System: A disposable suit in Level A, B, and C levels of protection that will be low cost, NIOSH approved, and live-agent tested.
  • Improvised Agent Evaluation: Determine the effectiveness of existing detectors and countermeasures against improvised agents and improvised dissemination methods.
  • Low-cost RF Fire Set: A very low cost radio frequency initiator for explosive charges for use primarily by state and local bomb squads. The U.S. Capitol Police is the task manager for this effort.
  • Chemical/Biological Containment Vessel: A bomb containment vessel that is designed to contain chemical and biological agents, as well as explosives and fragmentation. This is similar to the total containment vessel that the U.S. Capitol Police use. The Capitol Police is the proponent for this effort.
  • Sampling Development Capability: Aids the first responder is gathering samples of air, water, and soil for later analysis for the presence of chemical and biological agents. The TSWG and NIJ are jointly developing this capability.
  • Detector Evaluation: Evaluation of existing chemical agent detectors against the threat agents most likely to be encountered by first responders. This is a joint TSWG-NIJ effort that relies on a threat study that TSWG is conducting in cooperation with NIJ.
  • Non-Intrusive Detection of Chemical Biological and Explosive Threats: Determines the contents of closed containers without disturbing the contents of the containers.
  • CB Overpack Bags: A low cost containment device for suspect chemical or biological devices. This system will be commercially available in the next nine months.

In addition, the TSWG is conducting joint testing with our international partners to develop chemical/biological mitigation equipment and techniques that maximize use of existing and planned equipment in state and local response unit inventories. Also, the TSWG is working with the Federal Transit Administration to determine the effectiveness of detection and response procedures in urban settings, such as a subway.

TSWG places a high priority on transferring technology to ensure it is available to state and local responders. To facilitate technology transfer, the TSWG is working directly with the Office of Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Transfer Center. In fact, an individual from this office is now a part-time consultant to TSWG to address issues related to technology transfer.

We would also like to recognize the tremendous value of the support provided by the U.S. Capitol Police Hazardous Devices Unit. Their active participation in the TSWG process helps ensure that items developed by the program meet the user's needs and gain broad acceptance at the state and local level.

In this brief update, we have tried to underscore that the Counterterror Technical Support Program and the TSWG are effective mechanisms for addressing U.S. R&D needs for combating terrorism, as well as for meeting some of the needs of domestic preparedness. The CTTS/TSWG has been and continues to be an integral part of DoD's strategy to combat terrorism. The department, which has supported reasonable growth of the program, will continue with its strategy of ensuring that programs specifically focused on countering terrorism are fully coordinated with other DoD programs.


Disaster response, whether man-made or natural, is essentially a state and local responsibility. Within this context, the role of the federal government in any WMD terrorist incident will be one of support to states and their citizens. We are making significant progress in our shared efforts to tailor federal response plans to support state and local authorities; and we are making this progress, in large part, because the Congress and President Clinton are determined that we do so. The appropriate federal entities are now working hand in hand to provide an integrated response capability. For its part, the Department of Defense will continue to work within the PDD-62 framework to leverage Defense technologies in our nuclear, biological and chemical defense programs and provide functional expertise and information to assist in meeting civilian responder equipment requirements.

This is a comprehensive, long-term effort, undertaken at the federal interagency level and designed to support state and local authorities in the event of a WMD incident. As President Clinton said recently, "This is not a cause for panic. It is a cause for serious, deliberate, disciplined, long-term concern." We must therefore approach this problem with reason and rationality. We must have the right frame of mind, and we must work together. Our goal as we move into the 21st century is to have in place an effective, integrated and flexible response mechanism, able to respond to a wide range of unconventional threats against our homeland.


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Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).