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Homeland Security

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Statement of Under Secretary Dr. Charles E. McQueary Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate

Before the House Select Committee on Homeland Security Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Science, and Research and Development


Good afternoon. Chairman Thornberry, Ranking Member Lofgren, and distinguished members of the subcommittee. It is a pleasure to be with you today to discuss the Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate. It is a great honor and a great responsibility to lead the science and technology efforts of this Directorate and the Department to meet the challenges of protecting our homeland and our way of life.

The most important mission for the Science and Technology Directorate is to develop and deploy cutting edge technologies and new capabilities, so that the dedicated men and women who serve to secure our homeland can perform their jobs more effectively and efficiently - they are my customers. Our plans for FY 2004 reflect this relationship and our desire to provide capability to the field as rapidly as is possible.

The threats to our homeland are many. We must constantly monitor these threats and assess our vulnerabilities to them; develop new or improved capabilities to counter chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, explosive, and cyber threats; and mitigate the effects of terrorists attacks should they occur. The Science and Technology Directorate's program must also enhance all of the Department's missions, whether or not they are focused on the threat of terrorism.

Throughout the initial planning process for the S&T Directorate we have been guided by the Homeland Security Act, current threat assessments, our understanding of capabilities that exist today or that can be expected to appear in the near term, and, importantly, by the priorities spelled out in the President's National Strategy for Homeland Security.

Thus, our key specific areas of emphasis are to:
1. Develop and deploy state-of-the art, high-performance, low operating-cost systems to prevent the illicit traffic of radiological/nuclear materials and weapons into and within the United States.
2. Provide state-of-the art, high-performance, low operating-cost systems to rapidly detect and mitigate the consequences of the release of biological and chemical agents.
3. Provide state-of-the art, high-performance, low operating-cost systems to detect and prevent illicit high explosives transit into and within the United States.
4. Enhance missions of all Department operational units through targeted research, development, test and evaluation (RDT&E), and systems engineering and development.
5. Develop and provide capabilities for protecting cyber and other critical infrastructures.
6. Develop capabilities to prevent new-technology as a surprise weapon by anticipating emerging threats.
7. Develop, coordinate and implement technical standards for chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) non-medical countermeasures.

Research, Development, Test and Evaluation Portfolio
We are requesting $803M in FY 2004 to provide applied research, development, demonstrations, and testing of products and systems that address these key areas of emphasis. The Science and Technology Directorate will implement its activities through focused portfolios that address biological, chemical, radiological and nuclear, and cyber threats; support the research and development needs of the operational units of the Department; and receive innovative input from private industry and academia as well as national and Federal laboratories. In particular, the Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency (HSARPA) will have an essential role in meeting the goals and objectives of the Department and the Directorate across the range of the portfolios.

These portfolios and activities are described as follows:

Biological Countermeasures - Biological threats come in many forms. They can be toxins, viruses, or bacteria, distributed by airborne aerosols, or in food or water supplies, or in the case of contagious diseases, spread among infected people or animals. Timely detection and early initiation of prophylaxis and decontamination is the key to mitigating the consequences of any biological attack, should it occur. We are requesting $365M in FY 2004 to:

  • Develop and deploy a Biological Warning and Incident Characterization System (BWIC). BWIC will consist of three major elements: a nationwide bio-surveillance system that looks for early biological indicators of the exposure of people, animals and plants to biological agents; development of a public health surveillance system working through the Department of Health and Human Services and its Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) public health surveillance system to detect early adverse health events in the population as a result of such agents; and environmental monitoring networks in selected cities that can detect the agent directly. S&T plans to work closely with the CDC in developing this seamless sentinel system. This activity will be available as a pilot in FY 2004.
  • Continue the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center (NBACC), initiated in FY03, as a key component in implementing the President's National Strategy for Homeland Security. The NBACC will leverage the expertise of America's cutting-edge medical and biotechnical infrastructure to focus on the biological agent threat, including performing risk assessments. It is an essential, new approach to integrating national resources for homeland security, supporting public health, and law enforcement. The analytical capabilities of the NBACC will be functional in FY 2004, and closely coordinated with the National Institute of Health and the Food and Drug Administration.

Finally, the Plum Island Animal Disease Center is expected to be transferred from the Department of Agriculture to DHS in June 2003. We plan to work closely with USDA in areas of mutual concern in animal disease research and diagnostics.

Chemical Countermeasures - According to the National Research Council's Report Making the Nation Safer, "chemicals continue to be the weapon of choice for terrorist attacks. They are readily available and have the potential to inflict significant casualties." In fact, terrorist attacks on civilian populations with chemical warfare agents have already occurred. In the Aum Shrinrikyo attack on the Tokyo subway, casualties were limited only because the attackers did not use an effective agent dispersal method. Similarly, accidental releases of toxic industrial chemicals have demonstrated that materials relatively widely available in modern industrial societies can result in a large number of casualties.

Significant work on chemical defense in military situations has been conducted focusing on battlefield attacks using chemical warfare agents. However, major gaps exist regarding civilian defense, most notably in strategies for dealing with the broader spectrum of threats (e.g. toxic industrial materials); detection systems capable of continuous monitoring with very low false positive rates; deployed chemical defense systems; and a robust forensic capability. The Chemical Countermeasures portfolio is requesting $55M to address these shortcomings through a balanced mix of activities: 1) systems studies will be used to prioritize efforts amongst the many possible chemical threats and targets; 2) new detection and forensic technologies will be developed and demonstrated; 3) protective systems that integrate physical security, ultra-sensitive detection, information management, and consequence management strategies will be developed and piloted in selected high value facilities such as airports and subways; 4) the Science and Technology Directorate will work with the Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection and Borders and Transportation Security Directorates to characterize and reduce the vulnerability posed by the large volumes of toxic industrial materials in use by the critical infrastructures, stored or transported within this nation; and 5) ensuring coordination with the CDC for public health response and management of detected events.

High Explosives - Detection of high explosives and mitigation is now a prime focus of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). The current terrorist threat extends beyond air transport to all other modes of transportation and fixed facilities. The Department of Homeland Security will build on TSA's R&D in this area to develop and deploy more effective explosives detectors that can address the broader threats. Development of reliable stand-off detection capability of large quantities of explosives, especially in vehicles, is particularly needed. For this purpose $10M is requested in FY 2004.

Radiological and Nuclear Countermeasures - Countering the threat of radiological or nuclear attack is one of the top priorities of the Department of Homeland Security and the Science and Technology Directorate. The Radiological and Nuclear Countermeasures portfolio is requesting $137M to address this threat through a comprehensive systems approach that emphasizes early detection; effective intervention capabilities at the Federal, state and local levels; development of mitigation technologies and science-based consequence management programs for use should an attack occur; and effective training at all levels of response. Concurrent efforts focused on deployment, evaluation and improvements to currently available technologies; a research and development program for advanced technologies and their continuous insertion into operational use; and the provision for an enduring science and technology base to address long-term challenges such as the detection of highly-enriched uranium and heavily shielded radioactive sources is used to address both today's threats and those of the future.

Threat and Vulnerability, Testing and Assessment - The purpose of the Threat and Vulnerability, Testing and Assessment (TVTA) program is to create advanced modeling, and information and analysis capabilities that can be used by the organizations in the Department to fulfill their missions and objectives. One thrust of this program is to develop advanced computing, information, and assessment capabilities in support of threat and vulnerability analysis, detection, prevention and response. This portfolio also conducts extensive research and development activities in the area of cybersecurity, addressing areas not currently addressed elsewhere in the Federal government. An example of this is developing tools and techniques for assessing and detecting the insider threat. The TVTA program uses a strategy of multi-year investments that infuse new capabilities into the DHS mission directorates on a regular basis based on strategic five year road maps. A spiral development process ensures early use and feedback by intended users and operators of all technologies developed within the program. Successively, more complete and refined prototypes lead to operational pilots and fully operational systems for the Department organizations. $90M is requested in FY 2004 to support this activity.

Critical Infrastructure Protection - Our national infrastructure provides the continual flow of goods and services that are essential to the defense and economic security of the United States. Many of these functions are so vital that major disruptions would cause severe consequences to the behavior and activities of our citizens. Our free society and the high quality of life that we value depend upon the reliable operation of the infrastructure. In addition, we must protect the lives of our citizens and key assets such as many national monuments and icons.

The Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) portfolio has three primary goals: 1) develop, implement, and evolve a rational approach for prioritizing CIP strategies and resource allocations using modeling, simulation, and analyses to assess vulnerabilities, consequences, and risks; 2) propose and evaluate protection, mitigation, response, and recovery strategies and options; and 3) provide real-time support to decision makers during crises and emergencies - $5M is requested in FY 2004 for this activity, which also leverages work being done elsewhere in the Federal government and the Department of Homeland Security.

Standards/State and Local Programs - Standards should be applied to all elements of the homeland security infrastructure to ensure a robust capability to defend against and to respond to any crisis situation - whether it is the result of terrorism, natural causes, or a catastrophic accident. Organizing and integrating the efforts of the government and the private sector will enable the Department of Homeland Security to develop standards for equipment used for detection of materials that could be used in a terrorist attack. This will reduce the probability of a successful terrorist attack on the United States and facilitate development of a vital and enduring ability to respond to national emergencies.

The Standards/State & Local Program will provide consistent and verifiable measures of effectiveness of homeland security related equipment and systems in terms of basic functionality, appropriateness and adequacy for the task, interoperability, efficiency, and sustainability. The Science and Technology Directorate will facilitate the development of guidelines in conjunction with both users and developers. The guidelines will encompass user needs and operating conditions, as well as the capabilities and the limitations of the technologies. The Standards/State and Local Program will develop, in collaboration with operational end-users, performance measures, testing protocols, certification methods, and a reassessment process appropriate to each threat countermeasure and for the integrated system. The Standards/State and Local Program will address all elements of the homeland security mission including equipment, information, analyses, personnel, and systems. Special emphasis will be placed on soliciting input from the actual users in the state and local response communities, and on providing effective methods for communicating information back to these agencies.

Major program objectives include working with the private sector to establish a network of homeland security certification laboratories. This will provide a consistent level of assurance in the effectiveness of detection and other operational equipment. Consistent standards for training and certification of personnel will also be developed. The program will continue to broaden the suite of technical standards for various forms of equipment and systems and will provide protocols and standard data collection formats for test and evaluation projects undertaken by the Science and Technology Directorate. $25M is requested in FY 2004 to support this important effort.

Support to Department of Homeland Security Components - The Science and Technology Directorate has the responsibility to provide Federal, state and local operational end-users with the technology and capabilities to protect the United States homeland from catastrophic terrorist attacks and enhance their capabilities for conducting their conventional missions. An essential component of this responsibility is to coordinate and collaborate with the other components of the Department to assist and enhance their technical capabilities through integrated research and development activities. The integration of the Science and Technology Directorate research and development efforts with the Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection Directorate is specifically described in the Threat and Vulnerability, Testing and Assessment, and the Critical Infrastructure Protection portfolios. In addition, the Science and Technology Directorate will support the mission needs of the Border and Transportation Security Directorate, the United States Coast Guard, the United States Secret Service and the Emergency Preparedness and Response Directorate through coordinated and focused research and development programs. Research and development in potentially high payoff technologies will be emphasized. $55M is requested in FY 2004 for this purpose.

Rapid Prototyping Program - Significant capabilities exist in private industry for the rapid development and prototyping of technologies in support of the homeland security mission. A mechanism to quickly and easily access the capabilities of private industry will allow the Department of Homeland Security to more effectively fulfill its mission requirements.
The Science and Technology Directorate will establish a partnership with the Technical Support Working Group (TSWG) to provide the Department with a technology clearinghouse to encourage and support innovative solutions to enhance homeland security and to engage the private sector in rapid prototyping of homeland security technologies. $30M is requested in FY 2004 to solicit from the private sector near-term capability that can be rapidly prototyped and fielded.

Homeland Security Fellowship Programs/University Programs - Advancements in science and technology have the potential to change or increase the threats to our security; these advancements also improve our ability to thwart these emerging threats. A knowledgeable workforce focused on homeland security is essential to our ability to address advancements in science and technology.

The vast scope of the science and technology needed to address homeland security coupled with declining enrollments in specific areas such as nuclear science and technology, and radiochemistry are leading to a lack of qualified applicants for relevant research and development. This program requests $10M to support strategic partnerships with the academic community to provide support for qualified students and faculty.

Emerging Threats - Advancements in science and technology have the potential to change or increase the threats to our security. These advancements also improve our ability to thwart these emerging threats.

The Emerging Threats program will support the exploration of innovative, cross-cutting, out-of-the box approaches for anticipating and responding to new and emerging threats. It will also establish and support studies and analyses to be conducted by the new Homeland Security Institute. $22M is requested in FY 2004 for this purpose.

The scope of the work to be conducted by this budget is broad but focused on the areas that improve our capabilities to thwart terrorist attacks by early detection and identification of the threat, effective protection and intervention technologies, mitigation of potential consequences should an attack occur, and a robust forensics and attribution capability. Our strategy includes early deployment of off-the-shelf technologies to provide initial defensive capability and near-term utilization of emerging technologies to counter today's terrorist threats and the development of new capabilities to thwart future and emerging threats. A key part of our efforts will be conducted through the Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency to engage industry, academia, government, and other sectors in innovative research and development to meet operational needs. Although I have described the budget request along product lines, such as biological and chemical countermeasures, it is our estimate that at least $350M of the overall request will be carried out by HSARPA in FY 2004.

Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, this concludes my prepared statement. I would be pleased to address any questions.

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