Gilmore Commission - Minutes

Advisory Panel to Assess Domestic Response Capabilities
for Terrorism Involving Weapons of Mass Destruction

4 September 2003

In Room:
James Gilmore- Chairman
John Hathaway
Kathleen O’Brien
Bill Reno
Mike Freeman
George Foresman
Dallas Jones
Hubert Williams
Ellen Gordon
Pat Ralston
AD Vickery
Mike Wermuth-RAND Staff
Hillary Peck- RAND Staff
On Phone:
Jack Marsh
Scott McMahon- RAND Staff
Bill Jenaway
Roger Molander- RAND Staff

Opening Remarks

Gilmore: Good morning. I think we had a great meeting yesterday and I believe the most impressive part was from the RAND research staff. We are looking forward to seeing their drafts. The meeting has been very helpful so far and I think today will continue to help us focus.

Wermuth: In addition to Jack Marsh in the DC office, we have Roger Molander to talk about our strategic vision research.

Critical Infrastructure Discussion

Marsh: Yesterday I sent out a clipping from the Washington Post, that made a conclusion that Americans fear a cyber attack above terrorists. That survey was taken before the recent blackout and before the recent virus attacks. Had that poll been taken after that, I think you would see even greater concern. The Congress has had an interest in infrastructure that has gone back to the 1980’s. It was very clear that the infrastructure at that time was being increased and needed to be protected. Recently infrastructure- physical was being lumped together with infrastructure- cyber. The recent blackouts and the worm virus together are a road map for terrorists. Anyone who wants a roadmap, to show what can be achieved by interrupting the power grids or getting into the world of cyber, only need to look at those two incidents to see that we are in harms way. The National Security Council (NSC) is rewriting PDD 63 (cyber and critical information infrastructure). In the rewriting of that, there will be attention focused on physical infrastructure and cyber needs. There are some indications that in the OHS, they are going to consider physical infrastructure and cyber infrastructure as separate entities. It seems like a bad idea to me because one will get more attention than the other. These are issues that we need to put on the agenda. This commission has had a solid track record for putting threats down the road on the table. I am strongly of the view that the cyber threat is one that should be addressed.

Gordon: I agree with Jack as far as separating the two. I don’t think that they should be separated and I think we should put that in our fifth report.

Gilmore: Jack, could you work on defining the topics we should be including in our final report and the RAND people could fill in the body of what is necessary. My own view is that I think we will get a better understanding in the policy-making community if we define the risk better than it has been defined. If knocking out a power grid or the cyber system has consequences in terms of the economy, commerce or even elevators and doors, then the definition of the risk is something that needs to be explained here. I think that cyber has been pushed off to the side and we have been told that it really isn’t important. In the absence of the risk of physical death, people are not taking this risk seriously.

Foresman: There has not been a national threat assessment of the cyber threat. I think we need to moderate the threat discussion. In part this is a management and leadership issue. I think what we need to articulate is that we need a national approach to cyber security, one that includes the state, local, federal and private sectors.

Wermuth: What I propose is that we put together a meeting, a sub-panel if you will, and get some RAND staff members, Paul, George, Jack and Dallas and anyone else who would like to take part. I think we can pull together some threat analysis. We can probably come up with some proposals for some policy recommendations. There may even be some structural recommendations. Even though we were not tasked to do this before, the fact is that there is so much out there that we can put this together rather shortly.

Marsh: I think that is an excellent idea and it seems to me that the commission’s report will be viewed as neutral and I would suspect that things would happen because of the recommendations.

Reno: I think the reason that we don’t have a national strategy is because there are people opposed to it. Maybe instead of having the business roundtable look at all sorts of security issues, maybe they should just take on this one issue. It might be a good fit to give the business roundtable a lot of clout in one of our recommendations.

Maniscalco: I think that we don’t have a guarantee that we will have the security in place to support this.

Williams: It seems that even though we may have inadequacies in some areas, if panic sets in then everything is lost. If you had some small group that were intent on creating panic, the blackout would have been completely different. This notion of trying to assess the risk and manage cyber and infrastructure, we need to make sure that we don’t create a panic that will put a strain on the system.

Fifth Report Discussion - Roger Molander

Molander: See Power Point Slides

Gordon: Is this going to be a chapter in our final report?

Molander: I wouldn’t call it a recommendation but more of a concept ional goal. It is taking a hardheaded look at the threat and vulnerability.

Gilmore: Is this a way of going back to some discussion about how the country returns to normalcy?

Molander: Normal may be an unpleasant environment. What is the spectrum of what is normal? That is what we are trying to get to. In the last report we want to recognize that the risk will never be legitimized.

Gilmore: If this report says that we need to move forward and not be so pessimistic, that’s a big service to the country.

Reno: Back in March the intent of this report was to establish the vision of normalcy and hence establish the national debate on normalcy so that national policy could get in line with that policy and not have knee jerk reactions. I would recommend that this would permeate the report. Maybe our document would become the Bible, we need to be able to say that if you ascribe to that vision, you must deal with the five following things, cyber terrorism, intelligence, for example.

Brower: It is going to be more than a chapter, this is the body of the report. Roger and I wanted to come up with other strategic visions instead of just the new green, just to show that there was analysis. There is a possibility of a fourth scenario, if nothing happens again, people lose interest and we return to pre-9/11 life.

Gilmore: And there is risk in the emergence in the fourth view. The thing that worries me is this vision of World War IV, where there is a concept that you have to keep ratcheting down civil liberties in order to be secure.

Foresman: You have a lot of items under strategic vision two that are very technical in nature. I wonder if we can include the civil liberties and economic part of this. See if you can find some descriptors that can help us work through it for #2.

Ralston: I think in the fourth scenario, the chance of overreaction is just hanging out there.

Reno: I would recommend thorough treatment with an annex to civil liberties, in such depth that it becomes the source document in the next decade. I look at the future like leukemia, there is a form that you treat with a pill. The cancer is always there but the patient lives a normal life. That is what we are going to have with the threat we are going to face. How do you get it down so that the nation lives a normal life?

Maniscalco: Are we ever going to go back and revisit the emergency alert system?

Jones: We have had considerable discussion about green or “normal” and it shows that the public is very confused right now with the color codes and what not. We do need to raise that dialogue and say that we are returning to a new normalcy. So maybe green now is different than when the color codes were first put in.

Gilmore: Maybe we don’t want to adopt the word green. Maybe we should change the word green to normalcy.

Freeman: I just want to be sure that we don’t see this as a choice of options, but that there is some rational as to why we arrived at that option. So we are not just grabbing out there.

Wermuth: I propose that we at least outline all four options that we consider. ‘The Vision for the New Normalcy’ is a potential title for the next report. Roger, do you think that warning will always be low?

Molander: That is my perception and most people’s perception.

International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) Discussion - Steve Charvat

Steve Charvat: See written testimony

National Association of Counties (NACo) Discussion - Mike Selves

Mike Selves: See written testimony

Ralston: Is this synonymous with the term mutual aid?

Selves: Mutual aid is certainly a part of ‘regionalization’. The concept of ‘regionalization’ goes beyond just mutual aid to a vision and a strategy within that region. It includes some kind of coordinating planning and training capacity.

Williams: Has NACo had any collaboration with the League of Mayors or cities to see if you can collaborate on any of this with them?

Selves: We collaborate and coordinate with one another to a great degree. But no, everybody seems to take their own position.

Williams: Since it actually impacts on the delivery of services, at some point there needs to be more interaction and discussion to see if you can come up with a unified response.

Selves: That is the whole principal of what we are saying.

Ralston: I would like to see the IAEM and you folks take a position jointly about professionalizing the county emergency management systems. There is funding that states do give the counties. I think it’s important to have someone at the county level with the expertise to work on these kinds of issues.

Selves: One of the biggest focuses that we have is on education at the local and county level on their role in emergency situations. We have a number of county commissioners that are aware of this and want to get this out to the others. You are right, this is where it starts.

Ralston: You just have to keep pushing these folks along.

O’Brien: I would say that our NACo presentation has given us some idea of principals that we might use to walk through these different options that are fueled by political realities.

Gordon: The thing I would challenge is the target the high risk.

Gilmore: Thank you very much, well done.

Terrorism Early Warning Discussion - John Sullivan

John Sullivan: See Power Point Slides

Wermuth: Have you established any kind of relationship with the TTIC?

Sullivan: We visited the TTIC, and during our visit it appeared that they are new in their operation. They saw their role largely of providing a daily report to the President. The analyst there recognized the model but I don’t know that it went any further than that. It’s not a formal relationship.

Foresman: During their testimony the TTIC stressed that they wanted their information to flow downward but it doesn’t seem like that is happening.

Wermuth: Do you have any kind of connection with the private sector on this stuff?

Sullivan: We have terrorism liaison officers in every police department, public health department, and fire department in L.A. County and we encourage them to work with the private sector.

Gilmore: What do you need the private sector to do in order to make the task better?

Sullivan: They should have the awareness that if they build threat assessments of their own systems, they will be better off. They have the subject matter experts on what we are protecting and they need to share that information with us.

Vickery: How does the TEW differ from the Joint Terrorism Taskforce (JTTF)?

Sullivan: A JTTF is largely a black box, it is an investigative entity. We don’t do long-term investigations, we do preliminary lead investigations.

Maniscalco: What relationship do you have with the US Attorney’s JTTF?

Sullivan: They haven’t established one in L.A. County, but we have been meeting with them recently. I would love to get their involvement to keep our activities completely legal.

Gilmore: Thank you very much, nice job.

National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians Discussion - John Roquemore

John Roquemore: See written testimony

Reno: Why should the Secretary of Transportation be such a focal point? If we talk about being bold, why not recommend that it go where it should go? Why wouldn’t we put it into homeland security? If we are building the capability for response and recovery into one entity, wouldn’t it be right to go there?

Roquemore: It would have to encompass all of EMS, including physicians because we do not operate independently.

Reno: Where I would come down on it is that if the commission is going to make a recommendation about it, it should be a bold one. Otherwise you are just sort of flitting around the edges of it.

Foresman: Maybe part of what we can do is to put together a recommendation that is really bold, maybe with two options, one that goes to DHS, the other with something that goes to the HHS. Give them the best solution.

Vickery: As a national organization, where do they fit in?

Maniscalco: No one is really sure of that.

Foresman: If you would be willing to come back to us with the attributes, then RAND can do the legwork on the attributes of both the DHS option and the HHS option. Thank you very much John. I would like to make a motion to pass the minutes from the last meeting that you can find in your binder behind tab 7 (passed).

International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Discussion - James Ferguson

Jim Ferguson: See written testimony

Gordon: In rural America we suggested that rural fire services consolidate together, do you see this taking place elsewhere? Do you expect IAFF to come out with a position on this consolidation?

Ferguson: If we do it will be regional because there is no one size fits all.

Jones: I want to compliment you on your presentation. I noticed that there were agreements between your presentation and some we heard yesterday from the other fire services.

Gilmore: The fire message to this commission has been amazingly consistent.

Ferguson: Its simple, we need staffing, equipment and training. You can almost boil it down to one sentence.

Gilmore: I think the Panel is reaching for where the fire services fit into a national strategy or vision. We are hearing from the fire community that they know what they are doing, they are set with training, but they just need more of the same thing. I am willing to accept that philosophy if that is what you are telling us. But do you think that there is anything different that you should be preparing for?

Ferguson: There is this new component that we never had before and that is the terrorist arsenal of weapons that we have never dealt with before and that would be need new equipment.

Gilmore: I have a sense of unease, if we are preparing for a terrorist assault in this country, somehow I feel that it might be a different kind of threat than what the fire department is used to seeing. The insight we are looking for in your community is if you are looking at different things.

Ferguson: Across this country the first person that they are going to call for is fire department and EMS, it doesn’t matter what community you are in, that is who you are going to call. I think that the vast majority of the populace will still rely on the first responder being a fire or EMS officer.

Gilmore: Well I think that was the lesson at the Pentagon. In New York there was a classic fire response. There has been a great deal of discussion on interoperability but somehow I have this sense of disquiet about the fact that I don’t believe that fire services have thought about what kinds of things they might have to confront.

Ferguson: One of our problems is that we don’t talk with the League of Cities. Everything we put forth, they oppose.

Gilmore: Sadly we are out of time. Thank you very much for a good presentation.

Adjournment