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Homeland Security : the Need for Unfied Structure

Homeland Security : the Need for Unfied Structure

Testimony by U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld before the House Select Committee on Homeland Security, Cannon House Office Building, Washington, D.C., July 11, 2002.

Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman (Representative Dick Armey), members of the committee. Good morning. I do appreciate this opportunity to make a brief statement on President Bush's proposal to create the Department of Homeland Security.

In announcing the proposal, the president, properly, highlighted the need for unified structure. He noted that today some 100 federal entities are charged with responsibilities having to do with homeland security. As he put it, history teaches us that critical security challenges require clear lines of responsibilities and the unified effort of the U.S. government. Those new challenges, he said, require new organizational structures. Interestingly, it was just such a challenge in 1945 that prompted President Truman to combine another collection of offices into what became the new Department of Defense.

Meeting the complex challenges of the global war on terrorism requires a direct response. It means employing all of the instruments of national power -- diplomatic, economic, military, financial, law enforcement, intelligence, overt as well as covert activities. It means also a two-pronged approach to defending our country.

First, of course, is attempting to combat terrorism abroad. The president understands that a terrorist can attack at any time, at any place, using every conceivable technique. And we all know that it's not possible to defend in every place at every time against every conceivable method of attack. That being the case, we simply have no choice but to take the effort to the enemy. We also have to marshal all of the nation's capabilities to attack and destroy terrorist organizations with global reach and to pressure those who harbor them.

Second is the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security, which we're discussing today, to coordinate the efforts of federal, state, local agencies to provide for security at home.

Both of those efforts are crucial, the one abroad as well as at home, and the role of the Department of Defense in each differs in important ways.

With respect to the war abroad, U.S. military forces, at the direction of the president, are charged with engaging enemy forces and governments that harbor them. In this effort, the DOD works closely with other government agencies, including the Departments of State, Treasury, Justice and the intelligence community. And in these types of operations, the Department of Defense often takes the lead, with other departments and agencies working in support of those efforts.

With regard to improving security at home, there are three circumstances under which DOD would be involved in activity within the United States; first, under extraordinary circumstances that require the department to execute traditional military missions, such as combat air patrols or maritime defense operations. In these circumstances, DOD would take the lead in defending people on the territory of our country, supported by other agencies, and plans for such contingencies would be coordinated, as appropriate, with the National Security Council and with the Department of Homeland Security.

Second is the emergency circumstance of a catastrophic nature. For example, responding to the consequences of attack or assisting in response today, for example, with respect to forest fires or floods, tornadoes and the like. In these circumstances, the Department of Defense may be asked to act quickly to provide and supply capabilities that other agencies simply don't have.

Third, our missions or assignments that are limited in scope where other agencies have the lead from the outset. An example of this would be security at a special event like the recent Olympics, where the Department of Defense worked in support of local authorities.

The recently revised Unified Command Plan makes a number of important changes to U.S. military command structure around the world. Indeed, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Dick Myers, recently said that in his view, this was the most important and significant set of changes in the unified command structure for the United States during his entire military career. The Unified Command Plan established a combatant command for homeland defense, the U.S. Northern Command or NORTHCOM, which we expect will be up and running by October 1st. NORTHCOM will be devoted to defending the people and territory of the United States against external threats, and to coordinating the provision of U.S. military forces to support civil authority. In addition, NORTHCOM will also be responsible for certain aspects of security, cooperation and coordination with Canada and Mexico, and will help the Department of Defense coordinate its military support to federal, state and local governments in the event of natural or other disasters.

Second, we will establish a new office within the office of the Department of Defense to handle homeland defense matters to ensure internal coordination of DOD policy direction, provide guidance to the Northern Command for its military activities in support of homeland defense, and lend support to civil authorities and coordinate with the Department of Homeland Security and other government agencies.

Third, the administration has offered legislation to establish a new undersecretary for intelligence. The primary responsibility of this office would be ensuring that the senior leadership of the Department of Defense and the combatant commanders received the warnings and actionable intelligence and counterintelligence support that they need to pursue the objectives of our new defense strategy. This new office should improve intelligence-related activities, but also provide a single point of contact for coordination with national and military intelligence activities.

Finally, I'd just like to briefly mention the two functions identified for transfer in the president's proposal from the Department of Defense to the Department of Homeland Security: the National Communications System or NCS and the National Bio- Weapons Defense Analysis Center.

The NSC is an interagency body of 22 departments and agencies of the federal government, in addition to its strong government/industry partnership through the president's National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee (NSTAC). The transfer of the NCS into the Department of Homeland Security can be accomplished with little impact on DOD.

The National Bio-Weapons Defense Analysis Center, the mission of which would be to coordinate countermeasures to potential attacks by terrorists using weapons of mass destruction, does not yet exist. The administration's draft proposal would establish that center from the proposed $420 million in the DOD chemical biological defense program for biological homeland security efforts, which is included in the president's fiscal 2003 budget, and transfer it in its entirety to the new Department of Homeland Security.

Mr. Chairman, the Department of Defense welcomes the new Department of Homeland Security as a partner that can bring together critical functions in a new and needed way. Working together with the other agencies charged with U.S. national security, we will accomplish our common goal of ensuring the security of the American people, our territory, and our sovereignty.

Thank you very much.

 

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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).

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