The Testimony of
The Honorable Tom Ridge
Secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Statement of Secretary Tom Ridge Department of Homeland Security before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation April 9, 2003
Good morning Chairman McCain, Senator Hollings and other distinguished members of the committee. It is a pleasure to be here with you this morning to discuss the efforts of the Department of Homeland Security to secure our nation's transportation systems, borders and ports of entry. Thank you for providing the opportunity to discuss the Department's efforts on these fronts. As the President has stated, "the United States government has no more important mission than that of protecting the homeland from future terrorist attacks. The threat to America takes many forms, has many places to hide, and is often invisible. Terrorists wish to attack us and exploit our vulnerabilities - as we saw in the attacks of 9-11 --because of the freedoms we hold dear." Your good efforts last year significantly advanced our ability to meet the terrorist threat by creating the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). We at the Department are committed to working closely with you, the Congress, state and local governments, and private industry to continue this effort and ensure the security of the Homeland. The Department was created in order to bring the 22 agencies with a homeland security mission under one roof, to focus their activities, achieve efficiencies and eliminate redundancies. DHS has a two-pronged challenge in the transportation and border arenas - protecting the homeland while ensuring that the flow of goods and commerce that makes our economy strong is not disrupted. This is crucial in the transportation sector, where changes in the environment can have significant impact on local, regional and even national economies. Because we recognize this reality, DHS is fostering a communicative approach with our state and local, and private sector partners. We routinely engage in discussions with those potentially affected by heightened enforcement measures, and are developing partnerships with public and private sector entities to tap their extensive expertise and technological resources to advance our security mission without unduly impacting commerce. Much must be done in the months and years ahead, and fostering these partnerships will prove invaluable in achieving our goals and protecting the homeland. Mr. Chairman, you have asked me here this morning to discuss the security of our transportation sector, borders, and ports of entry. As you are keenly aware, since the terrorist attacks on 9/11, the federal government has taken great strides toward effectively protecting the national transportation system, including our ports and borders. We now have all of the key component agencies under one roof to manage this effort effectively. The U.S. Coast Guard and Bureau of Transportation Security (BTS), including the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection and the Transportation Security Administration, will all play key roles, as will the new Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection Directorate. The U.S. Coast Guard, reports directly to me and serves as lead agency in the maritime security domain, and the BTS Directorate is working to ensure the safe and secure passage of people, goods and cargo across our borders. The Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection (IAIP) Directorate supports the effort to secure our transportation sector by undertaking vulnerability assessments and mitigation measures for critical infrastructure components of our transportation system, ports and borders. IAIP will utilize requested funding to work across infrastructure sectors and address the highest priority assessment and mitigation initiatives. The Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate will support this effort by assessing and developing technologies that will meet our security needs. TSA will continue to focus on aviation security and work with other DHS organizations to develop and implement an effective transportation security program in other areas. TSA has been and will continue to work closely with the Department of Transportation and its constituent Operating Administrations. I want to personally thank Secretary Mineta for the devotion that he has shown toward ensuring that this endeavor succeeds. I am aware that ADM Loy appeared before this Committee in early February, and provided you with a comprehensive overview of the progress that TSA has made in the area of aviation security. I refer you to his detailed written testimony to describe those efforts. Since his appearance though, I would like to add several additional successes. Under the purview of the Federal Aviation Administration, approximately 95% of 6000 passenger airlines will have hardened cockpit doors by April 9, 2003. Those that do not have the hardened doors will not fly. On February 25, the Federal Flight Deck Officer (FFDO) program was initiated to permit the arming of pilots. The first training session will begin next Monday at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC), also within the BTS Directorate, leading to the first group of deputized pilots. After reviewing the effectiveness of the training program for this initial class, TSA will begin regular training in July and will be able to train more pilots this fiscal year based on what funds are available. The President has requested $25 Million for this program in FY 04. In the General Aviation arena, on April 1, the so-called "12-5" rule took effect. It applies to operators of aircraft with a maximum certificated takeoff weight of 12,500 pounds or more in scheduled or charter service, carrying passengers, cargo, or both. The 12-5 Rule requires the implementation of a standard security program to include restricted access to the flightdeck and a fingerprint-based criminal history records check on flight crewmembers. As you are aware, TSA did meet the 12/31/02 deadline to screen all checked bags for explosives and is using electronic screening, or other congressionally approved methods. Now, as TSA reports to you each month in a classified report, the agency continues to make progress in deploying electronic explosives detection systems at the few remaining airports where 100% electronic screening was not in place by January 1. We fully intend to meet the revised deadline of December 31, 2003 to install necessary remaining electronic EDS machines. We continue to address the additional security issues that exist in the aviation sector. As an example, TSA is in the process of developing a strategy to "right-size" its workforce. In some airports there is overstaffing and in other locations understaffing. The staffing needs of the more than 400 commercial airports must be harmonized, even as TSA works to also develop a model workplace. We recognize the threat of Man Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS) to commercial aircraft. We have completed preliminary vulnerability assessment maps of all major airports in the United States and sent interagency teams to 22 of the largest airports to provide detailed vulnerability assessments. In conjunction with other Federal law enforcement agencies, we are reviewing the results of these vulnerability assessments and working through our Federal Security Directors with airport authorities and local law enforcement agencies to identify specific areas of concern and to minimize the risk around the airports. That translates to more effective surveillance including more frequent and focused patrols keyed to available intelligence. TSA has also developed training materials and guidelines for identifying and reporting possible MANPADS threats, and TSA is distributing this information to its Federal Security Directors to share with airport security officials and local law enforcement officials. We will continue to work closely with these officials in order to ensure that any and all information concerning this threat is quickly shared and that our efforts to prevent a missile attack are well coordinated. I am aware of calls for the immediate installation of countermeasures on all commercial aircraft. An interagency working group has been developing the appropriate strategy to address this continuing threat. The group is exploring all tactical and technical solutions to the MANPADS threat.
I would also like to address an issue that has received much attention lately - the development of the next generation of the Computer-Assisted Passenger Prescreening System (CAPPS II). TSA staff has previously met with some of the members of this Committee, and staff to most of this committee's personal offices, to highlight, to the extent possible in an open briefing, what CAPPS II is, and is not. TSA has also met with advocates of privacy rights and civil liberties to listen to their concerns and gather their input, and will continue to do so. Our goal is for CAPPS II to enhance the screening of airline passengers. CAPPS II will not degrade the civil liberties of Americans. TSA will rarely see the background information checked by the computer. TSA will have access to this information in the extremely rare instances that a particular traveler has been identified as having known links to terrorism. TSA will only see the aggregated threat assessment of the data used to determine whether, based on current information on foreign terrorist activities, the passenger is a possible terrorist threat to civil aviation security. This assessment will be synthesized into easily understood color codes - Green, Yellow, and Red, which will be transmitted to TSA only shortly before the passenger's flight, and purged from the computer immediately after the passenger's flight is completed. Not only will the CAPPS II system improve aviation security, but the system will reduce the likelihood of innocent persons being misidentified or confused with similarly named persons who may have foreign terrorist links. CAPPS II will dramatically reduce the number of passengers required to undergo additional screening at airports as "selectees" under the current CAPPS system. DHS and TSA will continue to work with this Committee as CAPPS II is further developed. As a final note in the area of aviation security, I would like to address the need for additional efforts in the air cargo security arena. Recognizing that this is an area of that needs to be addressed, the President requested a total of $30 million for an air cargo security pilot program in FY 2004. Of this amount, $20 million is requested for the design and development of a random, risk-weighted freight screening process and the expansion of the TSA "known" shipper program. An additional $10 million is requested for further research and development to explore new air cargo technologies. As ADM Loy advised you in his February 5 testimony, TSA has established a working group that is using a threat-based and risk-managed approach, in coordination with the cargo industry. I would now like to turn to the other 80% of the transportation sectors, maritime and surface transportation. Their reach is vast. There are 3.9 million miles of public roads, which account for 2.7 trillion miles of travel by car and truck each year. There are 11.2 million trucks and almost 2.4 million rail cars coming into the U.S. each year. There are 120,000 miles of rail owned by the major railroads accounting for 700 million rail freight miles annually. There are 2.2 million miles of pipelines. Mass transit accounts for 9 billion commuter trips each year. The United States has 25,000 miles of commercial navigable waterways. Finally, there are 51,000 port calls made by 7,500 foreign flag ships to our 361 ports. The Department has adopted a risk management approach as a cornerstone policy for developing risk-based regulatory standards for the various modes of transportation. Under this approach, there are three primary elements of good risk management: a threat assessment, a vulnerability assessment, and a criticality assessment. In support of its risk-based regulatory approach, the Department, through IAIP, the Coast Guard, and BTS will continue to develop consistent vulnerability templates not only across the various transportation modes, but also across all critical infrastructure sectors, such as utilities and food and water supply. The very long-term goal of future security standards will be to link vulnerability model-generated relative risk to the homeland security advisory system (e.g., the color coded threat system). DHS's plan for maritime homeland security has three major components: · Container security, to facilitate trade while improving security; · Coast Guard operations, to ensure the safety of our ports and waterways; and · Vulnerability assessment and mitigation, to target resources to the highest priority assessments and protective measures across infrastructure sectors.
The Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA), which Congress passed last year, addresses each of these components. The MTSA provides a framework for ensuring the security of maritime commerce in our domestic ports. Among other security measures, it requires:
· Vessel and facility security and response plans · Foreign port assessment to ensure supply chain security · Implementation of a system to collect, integrate and analyze vessel, cargo and crew information · Certain vessels in US waters to carry automatic identification systems · Development of credentials to ensure only known and trusted transportation workers are permitted access to our maritime transportation system's sensitive areas
The Coast Guard, BTS and our industry partners are working hard to meet the requirements of MTSA to improve the security of our maritime transportation system. However, resourcing this initiative will require a public-private partnership to define responsibilities clearly and enable us to use our limited resources wisely. Implementing MTSA is part of the Department's comprehensive maritime strategy, which implements the maritime component of the President's plan. In addressing container security, excellent groundwork was laid in the establishment, after 9/11, of a multi-agency Container Working Group (CWG). The Coast Guard, BTS components of TSA and BCBP, and the Office of the Secretary of Transportation currently participate in the CWG, in addition to a large number of private sector participants including, in part, the American Trucking Association, the Association of American Railroads, the World Shipping Council, the Pacific Maritime Association, the National Association of Waterfront Employees, the Marine Transportation System National Advisory Council, and the International Mass Retailers Association. The CWG's charter focuses on addressing key components of the process through which a container is packed, secured, loaded, and transported to the United States, ensuring the integrity of the shipment at all points in the international transportation chain. The result of this effort is to improve the overall security of containers by: establishing security standards and criteria for identifying high-risk containerized cargo (including trucks), implementing a prescreening process to target containerized cargo before it is shipped to the United States; developing and deploying technology to prescreen identified high-risk containers; developing procedures and deploying technology to secure containers as they are transported to the United States; and improving cargo security during domestic transportation, particularly high consequence cargoes. Also in the cargo container security arena, the Department is using an approach to ensure the security of the nearly 6 million containers that enter our ports each year that involves partnering with other countries and the private sector to push the zone of security outward by utilizing advance information to pre-screen all containerized cargo and ultimately inspect 100% of containerized cargo that is determined to be "high-risk." One program to implement this strategy is the Container Security Initiative, or CSI, which identifies high-risk cargo containers and partners with other governments to pre-screen those containers at foreign ports, before they are shipped to our ports and ensure they are not tampered with between ports. The BTS Directorate administers CSI, and within BTS, the Bureau of Customs and Border Patrol has the policy and operational lead, and the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (BICE) and TSA participate by providing data that is reviewed by BCBP's Automated Tracking System (ATS), a sophisticated, rules-based system that sorts and processes vast quantities of information to pick up "red flags" and ensure that 100% of all high-risk ocean-going cargo is subjected to inspection. The U.S. Coast Guard not only provides data to support the CSI initiative, but also participates on an operational level, by interdicting vessels determined to be carrying high risk cargo before they reach our ports. The Department's efforts to provide additional security in the maritime arena also facilitate the sharing of information and expedite the movement of legitimate goods into our ports and across our borders. For example, the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism, or C-TPAT, administered by BCBP, involves the trade community -- U.S. importers, customs brokers, carriers, shippers, and others --to protect the entire supply chain, against potential exploitation by terrorists or terrorist weapons. The more than 2000 companies that participate in C-TPAT perform comprehensive self-assessments of their supply chain and agree to make security improvements based on guidelines developed jointly with the trade community. Those companies then receive expedited processing through our land border crossings, through our seaports, and through our international airports. This partnership enables us to spend less time on low-risk cargo, so that we can focus our resources where they are needed most - on higher risk cargo. Operation Safe Commerce (OSC), a cooperative effort between the federal government and the non-federal sector that includes some of the top seaport "load centers" in the United States - Seattle/Tacoma, New York/New Jersey, Los Angeles/Long Beach. Its purpose is to explore commercially viable options that support cargo management systems that keep pace with expanding trade, while protecting commercial shipments from threats of terrorist attack, illegal immigration, and contraband. Using $28 million in grants, being administered by TSA, to the designated load centers, OSC will analyze existing supply chains and current security practices, and provide a test-bed for potential solutions and improvements in the security and movement of container cargo. OSC will ultimately develop procedures, practices, and technologies that help secure and monitor cargo from point of origin to point of destination. These pilot projects will provide a proof of concept that will ultimately improve the security of the international and domestic supply chain. The BCBP's Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) will use computer technology to assist with the targeting of high-risk cargo and expedite the vast majority of low-risk trade. One important, fully integrated component of ACE is the International Trade Data System (ITDS), an e-Government strategy designed, developed, and deployed as an integrated, government-wide system for the electronic collection, use, and dissemination of the international trade transaction data required by the various trade-related federal agencies. ITDS will simplify and streamline the regulation, promotion, and analysis of international trade. It will also enhance enforcement of international trade and transportation regulations and laws, while improving commercial functionality to importers, exporters, carriers, and brokers through unified business processes. There are over 100 agencies to be integrated through ITDS with ACE, of which 48 have been identified as having admissibility and export control responsibilities at the border. Through ACE, the ITDS will be capable of linking the government's law enforcement and other databases into one large-scale relational database that tracks all commerce crossing our borders. ITDS will bring together critical security, public health, public safety, and environmental protection agencies under a common platform, and allow businesses to report data through the use of a single, harmonized data set. Successful targeting of high-risk goods transported through other transportation modes is as important as successful targeting of high-risk goods transported by sea. As with oceangoing cargo, good information received early in the process is key to successful targeting and to the application of sound risk management principles. With the Trade Act of 2002, Congress recognized the importance of such advance information by mandating presentation of advance manifest data on all transportation modes, both inbound and outbound. The Department is in the process of working through the consultative process called for in the Trade Act of 2002 to determine the most appropriate advance manifest requirements for cross-border shipments by land, rail, and air cargo. Once the rules for cross-border shipments for land, rail, and air cargo are in place, we will be able to carry out the same national targeting strategy for those modes that we currently employ with respect to sea cargo. DHS is in a unique position to use other innovations, including both new and off-the-shelf technologies, to improve security and enhance commerce across the modes. The Department deploys a range of technology to effectively inspect people and goods entering our maritime and land ports, including Non-Intrusive Inspection Technology -- large-scale x-ray and gamma-ray imaging systems, portal radiation monitors, and a mixture of portable and handheld technologies to include personal radiation detection devices that greatly reduce the need for costly, time-consuming physical inspection of containers and provide us a picture of what is inside the container for detecting weapons of mass destruction, explosives, chemicals, and contraband. The right equipment and systems access increases the number of inspections, minimizes risks to our personnel, and enables more effective processing. The Coast Guard serves as the lead federal agency for port security. Since 9/11/01, Coast Guard has conducted more than 36,000 port security patrols, 3,600 air patrols, and 10,000 vessel boardings. It has launched two new programs to ensure the security of our ports: Sea Marshals, which are Coast Guard officials placed on commercial ships entering ports to prevent them from being hijacked, and Maritime Safety and Security Teams, which are deployable fast-response units to protect ports. Implementing and enforcing a security regime aligned with international standards is also of paramount importance in this effort. For that reason, the Coast Guard successfully gained adoption of amendments to the Safety of Life At Sea (SOLAS) Convention and the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code at the International Maritime Organization (IMO). These very important agreements contain strong, comprehensive, worldwide measures to enhance maritime security around the world. The adopted ISPS Code substantially strengthens security measure of ships on international voyages and port facilities serving them. It requires ships on international voyages and port facilities serving these ships to (1) conduct a security assessment, (2) develop a security plan, (3) designate security officers, (4) perform training and drills, and (5) take appropriate preventive measures against security incidents. The United States is on record as enthusiastically supporting July 2004 as the implementation date of the new SOLAS amendments and the ISPS Code. The ISPS Code has a Part A-or mandatory-Section, and a Part B-or guidance-Section. The Department's intent is to mandate both Parts A and B to meet the requirements of MTSA. Finally, DHS is focused on vulnerability assessment and mitigation in the maritime environment. The Coast Guard is working to conduct port vulnerability assessments at the top 55 economically and militarily strategic ports. This effort has been underway since August 2002, and will be continued, in cooperation with BTS, and the Directorate of Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection (IAIP), the organization within DHS that has overarching responsibility for critical infrastructure protection. Given the risk, importance and visibility of the Radiological Dispersal Device (RDD/"Dirty Nuclear Bomb") and the Improvised Nuclear Device (IND), the Department of Homeland Security will also continue the excellent work begun by the Office of Homeland Security and the National Security Council's RDD/IND Working Groups. The efforts of these working groups will move forward as a joint effort under DHS/HSC/NCS. I have directed Under Secretary Hutchinson to coordinate the RDD/IND efforts currently underway in various regions of our country. These Federal, State, and Local RDD/IND efforts will be integrated into a Defense in Depth network across all modes of transportation from our borders inland. By coordinating current efforts, expanding our program to include modes of transportation that have been overlooked and then physically networking the system together, DHS will greatly increase the probability of stopping the RRD/IND threat through a Defense in Depth posture. However, Defense in Depth alone is not enough when dealing with a threat with this level of consequence. Therefore, DHS is also working with our Federal, State, and Local partners to improve preparedness, prevention, detection, response, mitigation, and recovery through training, equipping and coordinating from a broad perspective that only DHS can bring to the table. Moving to the land side of the equation, the approach we are taking to ensure the security of the containerized cargo coming into our ports is very similar to that used to ensure the security of goods and cargo coming across our borders and traveling throughout the country. In the area of rail security, the BTS Directorate's TSA has been working with and will continue to work closely with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) of the Department of Transportation, and the many stakeholders in the railroad industry to leverage industry relationships and regulatory structure that FRA has long developed. Now, BTS in cooperation with IAIP will establish transportation security regulatory guidelines for the rail sector along the principles of the threat based and risk management approaches that I have already discussed. These guidelines will be based on critical rail infrastructure risk assessments, and input from the FRA and industry. Amtrak's security plan was recently reviewed in this fashion, and this Committee was apprised of the results of that analysis. We have also reached an agreement with the Canadian Customs and Revenue Agency (CCRA), the Canadian National Railway (CN), and the Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) to implement a process for targeting, screening, and examining rail shipments transported into the United States from Canada by two major cross-border rail carriers. This is a major step forward in addressing the potential terrorist threat for rail shipments coming into the United States from Canada. DHS is following a similar approach in addressing mass transit security needs including rail, inter-city buses, and ferries, and over-the-road buses. Again, existing relationships, assets, and authorities of the DOT Operating Administrations such as the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will be utilized by BTS (through TSA) and IAIP. There is much that we can do to enhance security, including assessing vulnerabilities, improving security at critical access points, acting on specific threat intelligence, monitoring conditions, improving emergency communications, increasing law enforcement presence where needed, or when the national threat level is increased, and developing contingency and response plans. Providing for security on the Nation's highway system is an additional challenge we are now beginning to address. Cooperation is essential not only with the Federal Highway Administration but with the state Departments of Transportation throughout the country. IAIP is beginning efforts to assess critical bridge and tunnel vulnerabilities. The enactment of the Critical Infrastructure Information Act of 2002, part of the Homeland Security Act of 2002, will assist this effort not only in the area of highways, bridges, and tunnels, but in all areas of critical infrastructure vulnerability by protecting information that is voluntarily submitted to DHS and other federal agencies. One area in which we have made progress is the Free and Secure Trade, or FAST, program, administered through the BTS Bureau of Customs and Border Protection. Through FAST, importers, commercial carriers, and truck drivers who enroll in the program and meet agreed-upon security criteria are entitled to expedited clearance at the Northern Border. Using electronic data transmission and transponder technology, we expedite clearance of approved trade participants to focus our security efforts and inspections where they are needed most - on high-risk commerce - while ensuring that legitimate, low-risk commerce faces no unnecessary delays. Similar programs including NEXUS and SENTRI are being used to expedite the processing of people on the Northern and Southern borders, by enabling pre-screened travelers to use dedicated lanes at various ports of entry, including Blaine, Washington; Buffalo, New York; Detroit, Michigan; Port Huron, Michigan; El Paso, Texas; and San Ysidro, California. Security for the transport of hazardous materials, including explosives, over the Nation's highways by truck requires coordination of complex laws enacted under the Safe Explosives Act (included as part of the Homeland Security Act of 2002) and the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001. Under the Safe Explosives Act, additional restrictions on the carriage and receipt of explosives fall under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives unless the Department of Transportation regulates the area. Under the provisions of Section 1012 of the USA PATRIOT Act, the Department of Transportation is charged with the responsibility of overseeing issuance by the states of hazardous materials endorsements to Commercial Drivers Licenses (CDL). BTS through TSA, determines whether a CDL holder poses a security risk that warrants denial of the license, and will work with DOT to ensure this is taken into consideration for approval of a CDL license. This requires conducting Department of Justice background checks on the many HAZMAT drivers throughout the country. The Department together with DOT, acting through the Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA) and the FMCSA, are collaborating on a series of regulations that will provide uniform standards for the conduct of background checks and threat based security determinations. These regulations will end the uncertainty within the trucking industry as to what standards and rules will apply to the transportation of explosives. Because I know a number of Members have expressed concern about the timeframe in which the rules are being developed, it is important to note that despite the complexity of the statutory requirements governing their issuance, and the sheer volume of background checks the governing statutes will require, we are seeking to ensure maximum security with minimal economic impact. These rules are in the process of final review within the Administration, and we hope to issue them in the near future. To keep pipelines secure to the maximum extent possible, the communication process has been streamlined with our Federal, State and industry partners to ensure that security information and threat warnings are available on a real-time basis. BTS, IAIP, and DOT continue to focus on implementing a coordinated, appropriate set of protocols based on threat assessments for inspectors to use to verify that operators are putting security practices into place at critical facilities. Again, the Critical Infrastructure Information Act of 2002 will provide an added tool in assisting federal agencies, including DHS, to receive and assess critical infrastructure information from state and local governments and from the private sector. Mr. Chairman, as you well-know, transportation security is a collaborative effort between the Department of Homeland Security, other federal agencies, state and local governments, the private sector, and individual Americans. Together we have made great advances in securing our transportation systems, protecting civil liberties, and ensuring the free flow of people and commerce, but we recognize that more needs to be done and we will continue to make progress every day. The Department of Homeland Security is dedicated to accomplishing the objectives set forth in the President's National Strategy for Homeland Security. This strategy provides the framework to mobilize and organize the nation --- Federal, state and local governments, the private sector, and the American people --- in the complex mission to protect our homeland. We are proud of our efforts thus far and are confident that our transportation systems, ports and borders are more staunchly protected than ever before.
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee, this concludes my prepared statement. I thank you for the opportunity to speak before you today.
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