Gilmore Commission - Minutes

Panel to Assess the Capabilities for Domestic Response
to Terrorist Acts Involving Weapons of Mass Destruction

Arlington, VA
Thursday, 29 March 2001


James Clapper, Vice Chairman
L. Paul Bremer
Raymond Downey
George Foresman
William Garrison
Ellen Gordon
James Greenleaf
William Jenaway
Dallas Jones
Paul Maniscalco
Kathleen O’Brien
Jack Marsh
M. Patricia Quinlisk
Patrick Ralston
Joseph Samuels
Hubert Williams
Also present:
Ellen Embrey, Department of Defense Representative
Michael Wermuth, RAND project director
Members Absent:
The Honorable James Gilmore, Chairman
Raymond Downey
William Reno

I. Opening Remarks by Governor James Gilmore (Chairman):

Vice Chairman: Introductory Remarks. We only have one last year left so we don’t have the luxury to push things off until next year.  We will rely on our cyber, health, and maritime sub-panels. 

WermuthReview of the Agenda and other research.  This next block of time is devoted to border security issues and the legislative mandate to examine maritime regions.

II. Presentation by Steven Flynn, Council on Foreign Relations

Flynn: Summary of Presentation – Countries cannot prosper unless they are free and open, and yet transnational threats are making this increasingly difficult.  This presentation will cover two key points: 1) dimensions of the threat; and 2) framework of how to deal with the problem. 

There has been a revolution taking place in transportation and logistics.  For example, companies are adopting supply-chain management policies, inter-modals, and transportation hubs.  So Chrysler expects to get a part six hours after the order is placed.  Chrysler’s supplies come through the busiest border crossing in the world, which moves trucks through at one truck per minute.  Not only will slowing this movement down hurt the US economy, but also stalling out trade can essentially foster the type of threats border controls are trying to address.

The solution is to move beyond the Pentagon and resist hardening US borders.  We need to bolster human intelligence, tighten security within the international transportation systems, implement incentives for private-public partnerships, and mandate in-transit transparency.

Williams: Assuming that everything is put in place with perfection, what would be the percentage of deterrence from such a system?

Flynn:  It’s hard for me to put a range on it.  But the overwhelming volume of the goods are repeat customers.  Once you take that out of the picture, you are dealing with smaller percentages.  Also, it would reshape the wide-open culture that we have now.  It’s like airport security, there is a sense that even though things happen, people keep flying.  It’s both deterrence and age-old security.

McGowan:  We need to maintain an efficient system, but we also need to be able to sort good traffic from high-risk traffic.  In the customs world there are 445000 import entities. 50% are repeat, so if we can keep whittling that down then we have an investigative target and the bad guy has to include more people in his enterprise.

Bremer:  I think we are going to find interesting similarities with cyber as with border security.  The need is a private-public cooperation.  Secondly, there is a trade-off between openness and security.  Third, there is a need for standards.  There is also the question of new authorities.  Finally, there is the question of setting priorities because there is no such thing as 100% security. 

The commission is going to have to figure out 1) what are the gaps?; 2) what standards do we need to tighten for commerce? and 3) what is the current status of R&D for remote sensing?

Flynn:  An example of a gap issue is "maritime domain awareness."  The Coast Guard has one piece, INS has another and the databases do not talk to each other. 

In terms of standards is the "easy trade line," basically physical security around loading a container is needed.  Also, smart containers are relatively low cost that could advance in a standards framework. 

In terms of data, businesses can transmit data earlier and we could tell people to give us the data and do basic safeguards, and if you don’t, you wait in the long queue.

Bremer:  What about precise authorities?

Flynn:  In the Coast Guard we monitor fishing fleets, but none of that gets into the security realm because there is a firewall in the legislation.  Same problems in the trade line because when Congress wrote the rules they didn’t want big brother.

Jones:  Given the breadth of federal agencies that deal with all of these systems and the stove-piping.  Who should be responsible for coordinating these activities?

Flynn:  The entity you don’t want is the DoD.  We are trying to promote efficiency, competitiveness and safety all at the same time.  Actually, I think Treasury plays a role in housing it because it has relationship in the commercial role versus Justice because there is a "making a case" culture and the systems-thinking is not really in law enforcement. 

III. Presentation by Admiral Cross, U.S Coast Guard

Cross: Summary of Presentation – The Coast Guard likes to press out our borders in order to sort the legal from the illegitimate traffic.  We currently know a lot more about land and aerospace than maritime borders.  The difficulty lies with the international and domestic transportation system, for example the size and ownership of the ships as well as their disparate multinational crews.  We have just developed the Marine Domain Awareness system to integrate the information and intelligence that is available.  But the system is still in its infancy.  The Coast Guard has a potential strategic role in border control.  On the water, Coast Guard authorities are far broader than normal law enforcement authorities on land.  The Coast Guard is also a primary actor to interdict ships after intelligence identifies them as a potential threat.

Vice Chairman:  Would it be useful if EPIC (drug info-sharing) was implemented?

Cross:  Really we are more interested in data-mining in other agencies databases, and then to have a fusion-center and the people and the technology to do the sorting that we were talking about earlier.

Ralston:  Do you interact with your counter-parts in Canada and Mexico?

Cross: More with Canada than Mexico, but with President Fox we expect much more cooperation.  There are no logistics spaces south of Baha, and Mexico has had sovereignty concerns in the past but now Mexico is considering more cooperation.

Flynn:  In the Mexican constitution, they cannot work with US military, but they will work with the Coast Guard.

Jones:  Wasn’t the Coast Guard one of the first agencies to adopt the ICS?

Cross: Yes, and Jeff will talk to that.

Samuels: How does the Coast Guard share it’s intelligence and analysis with local law enforcement authorities? I haven’t experienced this at this point, how could we go about improving it?

Cross:  The Coast Guard should be sharing that information already with local law enforcers. 

IV. Jeffrey High Presentation, U.S Coast Guard

High: Summary of Presentation – The Coast Guard is the lead agency for port security, although there are lots of overlapping agencies.  They are also lead for marine inspection and pollution response under the Espionage Act of 1917 and the 1970s Ports and Waterway Safety Act.  We have National Strike Teams that are used for oil spills but have applications to chemical accidents.  We also have a Special Interest Vessel Program that is designed to keep out vessels from countries that might, "do us ill."  We know that we have allowed our "tool kit" to dull a bit, but we are trying to correct that an to reconnect with key people and look into information-based tools like the Marine Domain Awareness that we believe are the most value-added.

Wermuth:  Does the Coast Guard participate in city Terrorism Working Group task forces?

Cross: We are in the metropolitan and D.C area, but I do not know if we are involved in all of them at the city level.

Vice Chairman:  Could you speak briefly to the Maritime Awareness Data Process chart?

Flynn: We are still trying to get our hands around matching requirements to capabilities that we already have. 

Marsh:  I want to ask a question on "flags of convenience," can you assert a special authority?

Flynn: Flags of convenience vessels can get easy access and benefits and crews, part of our interest is "who is on the crews"?  Port State Control is our process of looking at ships of various different flag-states and owners.  Those of flag-states that traditionally caused problems get a higher level of inspection.  So we have just recently embarked on the Quality Ship program, so those with good solid operations get less inspections from the Coast Guard.

Marsh:  So you keep an inventory?

Flynn:  Absolutely, we know where they are from and where they have been, but not up-to-date information on the crews.

Maniscalco:  But what about the rogue operators? 

Flynn: Yes, but the better information that we have on the legitimate expose the illegitimate. 

Maniscalco:  Well, we need to do a better job of getting you some resources.

V. Presentation by John McGowan, Customs Service

McGowan: Summary of Presentation – Airports are currently en vogue with security because that is how people travel.  But seaports are 95% of the tonnage and value that arrives into the U.S, while it constitutes only 35% of Customs activities. 

Vice Chairman:  What is your view on the Maritime Domain Awareness initiative?

McGowan:  Much of the information that U.S. Customs has, we cannot share it unless there is a specific request.  Invoice information, handling parties information, and business information is confidential.

Bremer:  I’m still interested in "detection."  This Commission is concerned in biological and chemical.  What are the technological and funding gaps?  What are legal authority gaps to use existing technologies?

McGowan:  I fail you.

Bremer:  This is something that we should assign to staff.  We should really drill down into this issue.

McGowan: We have a laboratory system group that I can refer you to, we may be testing some existing technologies.

Vice Chairman:  This is something that always comes up is the need for sensor systems.  Do you rely on your own organic lab?

McGowan: Yes, but they are tied into existing inter-agency labs.

Foresman:  Is there a focus within customs to look at the import of high-tech systems?  I guess if we make it hard enough to acquire the necessary system in this country, what about importing high-tech equipment into the country? 

McGowan:  Yes, we do focus on both inbound and outbound commodities.  The analysis of all of our information is inbound, we do assess among multiple offices in the agency.  We are hampered by our automated commercial system which is too old and we’ve had to use one-on-one tools.  We do not do as well with other agencies or outbound as well as inbound.  We have the designs to use this type of information, but not the funds.

Marsh:  Where is the R&D lead?

McGowan:   We try to put our requirements on someone else’s development. FAA looks as chemical analysis of explosives, so we establish our requirements and try to dovetail their thresholds. 

Bremer:  The TSWEG is supposed to work that out.

Quinlisk:  I’m wondering if you had a ship of sick people or on a plane, who do you call?

McGowan:  Again, for an example, I should bring in our RED BOOK.  It has all the phone numbers of people and scenarios to answer questions like, "who do you call in this situation?"

VI. Presentation by Mike Cronin, Immigration and Naturalization Service

Cronin: Summary of Presentation – Control of the southwest border is a key priority for the INS.  We are applying a new technology and strategy modeled after systems in San Diego and El Paso that rely on sensors and surveillance.  INS also participates in the JTTFs, though we are still at the conceptual stage with terrorism since our focus has primarily been on trafficking and alien smuggling.  We bring our forensic document laboratory to the table as well as our participation in the Interagency Border Information Systems, which is one of the most excellent examples of data-sharing in the federal community.  

Vice Chairman: Can we get the breakdown of manpower, R&D, and procurement?

Wermuth:  A lot of your personnel are congressionally mandated, correct?

Cronin:  Yes, and I can get those numbers for you.

Marsh:  Are there any federal statutes that you feel are impeding your efforts, or any statutes that need to be adopted? 

Cadman:  Some of the information we collect is protected information.  For instance, an applicant for asylum we cannot share with other agencies even if we decide that it is bogus, unless we prosecute the applicant.  So that is an example of legislation that prohibits our ability to exchange information.  Two of the designated terrorist organizations have appealed their designation – LTTE and Mujahedeen.  If it is found unconstitutional, we won’t be able to bar them from the United States.

McGowan:  We would like to see the passage of a general smuggling bill, especially about outbound mail parcels and there is a prohibition from us performing under-cover work in arms trafficking.

Bremer:  When I last tuned into this show, these executive branch databases were not executive wide.  Has there been any success in getting these all agency and all-source?

Cronin:  There is not direct access to FBI and CIA databases, but there is some cooperation with them putting data into LOOKOUT systems.  In terms of specific terrorist data, there is a database maintained by the State Department on terrorism from the CIA and FBI.

Flynn:  Let me be clear about how little resources are available, you aren’t going to fix these problems with the staffing that they currently have right now.

Foresman:  Let me just follow up on the force multiplier issue, how closely to you work with state and local law enforcement agencies?

Cronin:  It’s emphasized by the INS, clearly the state and locals call our attention to illegal immigrants and we have Quick Response teams, but they call our attention to more people than we can address.

Cadman:  But some state and locals WILL not work with us, so it hinders our relationship.  They have very real concerns.  Police agencies who cooperate with INS will not get illegal immigrants to come forward and testify. 

VII. Presentation by Charles Cragin, Acting Assistant Secretary to the Secretary of Defense for Civil Support

Cragin: Summary of Presentation – Secretary Rumsfeld is currently engaged in a strategic review of the DoD.  We intend to continue to use existing interfaces between crisis and consequence management and other federal agencies.  My office is currently trying to eliminate redundancy and to speak with one voice within the interagency on this issue.  To do this, a directive signed by the Deputy Secretary of Defense today addresses how we will manage CBRNE activities.

Vice Chairman:  Are the two RTFs analogous to the JTF-CS on full-time basis?

Cragin:  Emphasis on analogous because there are not living and breathing it every day, working the interagency everyday; they are the headquarters element. 

Gordon:  What about lowering the standard of qualifying CS-Teams?

Cragin: We are going to take a look at that.  The Congress was very split on whether we need these teams.  So I think this was part of the compromise that was reached in conference.  The DoD IG did a great service.  This COMPIO program was not being managed and cries about its mismanagement were not being listened to.  We will look to adjust or change this.

Greenleaf:  I heard a presentation by the CA team, which I was really impressed with. What has been the response by the federal agencies to this concept? 

Cragin:  A lot of the agencies thought that DoD was designating another asset to be used as part of the FRP.  These are bright, dedicated men and women; teams that are created to get someplace reasonable fast.  They bring a lot to play, but we didn’t do a good job of communicating what they are and what they are supposed to be.

Jones:  Was there every consideration given to mirroring the Urban Search and Rescue teams where they are given a stipend and used as an asset through FEMA?  During Y2K we identified hazardous responder teams, and they could still do this function both by state and regionally.

Cragin:  We looked at that and there was a tiger team that did that analysis.  Those Urban Search and Rescue teams are still a federal asset and we don’t deploy them until a declaration of a federal disaster by the President.  But if you have somebody down by OKC that is a state resource, the governor can deploy them as an asset. 

Samuels:  I want to applaud DoD for recognizing that there is a need to expand it’s assistance to local jurisdictions, but as you undertake your process, does your methodology include outreach to professional organizations?

Cragin:  We do some of that outreach, there have been inter-agency attempts at outreach which have been done better than others, for example the NDPO that was a great idea that still needs to be full implemented.  The idea was to have a single point of contact rather than disparate efforts.

Wermuth:  JTF-CS has the mission of consequence management support, there are already some very specific statutory authorities on the book that would allow armed forces to be used at the request of the AG for crisis management? 

Cragin:  I am the consequence and SOLIC is the crisis management element.  

Foresman:  In the community how do we determine the difference of who is crisis and who is consequence?

Vice Chairman:  Do the policy tenants apply to DoD resources in a crisis management?  Is there a parallel document that governs SOLIC?

Cragin:  SOLIC is a political appointee confirmed by the Senate and that is civilian oversight.  What levels of state government need to be aware of how this process works?  Senior law enforcement folks are fairly conversant with these activities.

Bremer:  We should ask somebody from SOLIC to come and talk with us about this.

Wermuth:  We made that request twice and have been turned down twice.

Jones:  At one of the other briefings, there was proposed over 100 decontamination teams, and I haven’t heard anything on the follow-up.

Cragin:  They are still in the works, the CS-Teams have received the most attention.  What we are doing is taking teams that are trained as a military issue and training them to perform in an urban environment.  They are primarily reserve assets because they are combat service support organizations.

I wanted to make another point.  When you see forces running down the street, people say to me, "what are my soldiers doing running down the street?"  They are often State resources.

Jones:  So a declaration has to be made by the President?

Cragin:  Yes, we are talking about using federal military forces and there are structures defined in the FRP on how to raise support.  We don’t want you to tell us what you want specifically, but rather what the problem is so we can marshal the resources we give you. 

Jenaway:  The whole discussion is part of what we have been talking about from day one.  How do we get the resources there after the first wave of forces and discover that they can’t handle it? 

Jones:  You have varying differences within the state, and there are groups that can go on and help them know where the federal assets are and these are "advisory teams."  The issue of being overwhelmed is everywhere.

Vice Chairman:  FEMA has a command center set up designed for interagency coordination.  And they have people pre-designated to monitor processes.

Foresman:  We need to have the capability to address the gap between beyond state resources and a Presidential declaration.  Are we going to get robust forward deployment?  If you are the mayor of Richmond, will you have assets to deal with potential threats?

Jones:  In Richmond CA there are chemical plants, now if there is a major release we don’t know if it is terrorist.  Our governor is quick at signing emergency declarations; it has never been done in less than 72 hours.

Vice Chairman:  Are you suggesting another procedure?

Jones:  We need to shorten the approval process to buy stockpiles, to access urban search and rescue teams.  I mean there are all kinds of pitfalls to going through this process.  The civilian support agency is a good way to raise this issue.

Foresman:  Maybe FEMA needs a bigger petty cash drawer to pay federal agencies from when we know there is a problem and there is a declaration.

Vice Chairman:  I would assume that it would be the responsibility of the state planners to educate the local folks and the federal level as well.

Foresman:  It is something to play with the locals, but also these unrealistic expectations are there with the federal family as well.  It is as much do to the absence of what it should look like in the end.

Ralston: States have got to know what there capabilities are and that is what you are getting paid to do.

Jones:  Urban Search and Rescue teams are still a state asset and they use police, fire and health professionals on those teams and they can be mobilized quickly.  Tasking to the Guard may have been a mistake; it is a abysmal failure.  Why not use this model?

Vice Chairman:  Our discussion assumes that if we have an attack it will abide by our political boundaries

Embrey:  I’m trying to get to the gap

Foresman:  There is a delta between what we want and what exists.  We need to talk about the delta and what it means to the fire chief; it means people are going to die and he will be on his own for 3 hours.

VIII. Update on Congressional and Executive Branch Activities and Discussion of 3rd Annual Report Analytical Format

O’Brien:  We mentioned outcomes measures or matrixes, do we want any kind-of measurement?

Bremer:  We basically concluded that this Commission could not design the matrix.

O’Brien:  There are a lot of matrixes out there that are being used…

Vice Chairman:  I’m not sure we have the time or wherewithal to pick or endorse one.

O’Brien:  Many professional organizations have spent years doing this, so I’m worried about having a national office doing it.  If the rest of the body feels that it is off the table entirely…  but we could mention where the National Office might go to find these matrixes and which ones we think are good.

Vice Chairman:  One concern that I have is the time that it takes us to do that, and the controversy would detract from whatever else we say.

O’Brien:  I would just like to comment on this further…

Bremer:  Oh, I agree.  We should comment on this.

Gordon:  And we can comment on where to find these models.

Quinlisk:  We said we would revisit agricultural terrorism.

Embrey:  If you could go to your testimony, it goes over the legal requirements of this panel, have we done what we are supposed to do?  I think that one through four you’ve done, but number five is not anywhere and there is not tick for it.

Wermuth:  Number 5 is "assess federal roles in helping state and local authorities."

Foresman:  Part of the challenge is that there are other things we can send the staff after.

Vice Chairman:  After the survey data, we should be able to look at it.

Wermuth:  The staff has not lost focus on that.  We will come forward with suggestions to you.  I get the sense that the Panel does not feel obligated to provide hard numbers, with regards to federal percentage as opposed to state funding.  But every time we talk about a function involving state and local activities, we will include a funding responsibilities section especially in terms of federal support. 

Samuels:  Is there going to be a follow-up effort to maximize the survey returns?

Wermuth:  Our target is to have all the data by 25 May, input it into the system.  We will get you some figures and breakdowns and do some crosswalks among the functions by the end of the first week of June. 

If there is any reason that we feel like the data did not answer questions, there is a mechanism to do some follow-up.

We expect to have data from the Justice Department on the assessments that they are doing.  Anyway to the extent that any of that information can be used, we want to include that in the analysis and we will bring that forward in August.

Bremer:  We should avoid getting the full commission wrapped around the survey.  Is there a subcommittee that will deal with the surveys?

Wermuth:  There will be pieces of the survey for each group. You have heard about the survey, just to get into a few more specifics. 

The "big four" issues will always be topics of discussion for subsequent meetings and certainly survey pieces.

Bremer:  I would suggest that we ask the Chairman of each subpanel to submit a memo of 1) findings and recommendations; 2) what areas are there that we need more information; 3) are there areas of significant disagreement within the subpanels. 

Wermuth:  We will continue with an analysis of those two agencies to then do more on FEMA and include this as an appendix.

Vice Chairman:  Why do we need these reports?

Wermuth:  To assess federal agencies and their role in preparedness and response is a legislative mandate. 

Foresman:  We probably do not to get specific on the agencies.  I thought we did this very nicely last year.

Wermuth:  If you are not looking for agency assessments, you need to tell us what it is you are looking for.

Foresman:  We need to make sure that we meet our statutory requirements.  I guess it is the whole definition of "what is research?" We need to know what empirical data do want to collect.

Maniscalco:  How do we address programmatic training conflicts without these evaluations?

Vice Chairman:  Do you think we have time?

O’Brien:  I think these subpanels should be the framework for such a plan and a task, and then they can decide if such intellectual validity is needed.   

Williams:  There should be a strong effort made to see if committees can get together physically because the subcommittee work will be the backbone of our operation.  I suggest that we provide some resources to doing that. 

Williams:  Should the subpanels make their own charges for responsibilities and deliverables  and will we have a point of contact at RAND?

Wermuth:  We will work out whether it will be me or other RAND researchers.   It would be helpful if the Panel would make a policy decision, to empower the subpanels to make decisions for the full panel.

Quinlisk:  Could we ask the "staff" to come back to the full panel for any overarching principles that over each subpanel?

Embrey:  RAND has all the money I can give them.  I will assimilate all of this but seriously, no more money.

Friday, March 30th Minutes