Gilmore Commission - Minutes

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

Arlington, Virginia
12 September 2002


James Gilmore, Chairman
George Foresman
Patrick Ralston
Dallas Jones
William Reno
Jack Marsh
Ellen Gordon
Paul Maniscalco
James Greenleaf
Patty Quinlisk
A.D. Vickery
William Jenaway
William Garrison
Hubert Williams
Kathleen O'Brien
Joseph Samuels
Michael Freeman
Jerry Bremer
Other Attendees
Michael Wermuth
Jennifer Brower
John Hathaway
John Lombardi

I. Opening Remarks

Chairman. Good morning and thank you for coming. We are now deep into our fourth year as a commission and are moving towards our December statutory date. We certainly have a lot on our plate and we expect that this will continue to grow as issues continue to grow. Yesterday was a day of remembrance for all of us. Of course, one of the attacks was less than a mile from us where we are sitting. As everybody knows, we lost one of our own members a year ago. Chief Ray Downey was a member of this panel, devoted to his family and his country and we continue to grieve for him and his family. In fact, we continue to grieve for all of the families – if we could have a moment of reflection and prayer.

II. Presentation by John Parachini, RAND – Threat Update Briefing
[Slides Submitted for the Record and the Website]

Parachini. I am going to use a few slides to set the context of how we are thinking about updating the threat. The motivations to inflict massive casualties, while that has not been seen as part of terrorist objective, September 11th shows something different. With the anthrax letters, we are also in a fundamentally different environment.

When we think about the threat, it is not just vulnerabilities, but the capabilities, motivations, context and vulnerabilities. I also want to talk about the baseline of groups that used diseases and toxic chemicals as a mass casualty device. These groups have a number of commonalities: opportunity, obsessions with CBRN, capability-motivation dynamic, lack of restraint, desperation, and other unknown factors.

One of the frightening and perhaps unavoidable findings from the safe houses in Afghanistan is that the terrorists have become aware of biological weapons when the enemy said that they could be "weaponized" easily. This is a problem in an environment where we are concerned about a lot of possibilities. In fact, in Afghanistan we have found lots of interest, but no success. Finally, we should not only think about al-Qaeda, but others coming at us that see the United States as an adversary.

Based on how we see the changes from the original assessment, there are some new unknowns that we need to take into an account. The threat continues to be a case where the high consequence attack is a low probability but there is an increased possibility of low-level CBRN attacks.

Williams. How much do we know about what Libya is doing? Also, what about people who are local criminals, trafficking in drugs, and no concern about the impact on society?

Parachini. That is an excellent question. In the case of the FARC in Colombia, these groups are making new weapons – they take some chemicals used in the coca-producing process – out of conventional weapons. In regards to Libya, there is evidence that the government is trying to get out of the terrorism business.

Maniscalco. You have spoken about transnational organized crime. What do you think the 23 March syndicate meeting of all of these groups to share information, tactics, and technology? What about the domestic aspect?

Parachini. You are correct, there are some dangers, but there are also some intelligence opportunities. Also, the wider the scope of people involved, they easier it is to penetrate these organizations. On the copycats, this is worrisome. But on the upside, these individuals often have delusions.

Foresman. We typically define consequences in human casualties. But in the post-September 11 environment, all of the economic models, do we need to draw the distinction that we are not necessarily talking about CBRN for high casualties?

Parachini. That is a completely logical distinction and is definitely relevant to the anthrax case. We can control that, not perfectly, but somewhat. Look, there is a fascination with the explosion, in the same way that the arsonist is fascinated with fire.

Garrison. Let me be a bit controversial. I understand that we are going to look at how we originally postulated the threat and update it. We need to go beyond the knowledge to the understanding. We need to understand it from the standpoint of how our adversaries have always understood it. So, I just wonder if when we are looking at what we originally looked at it, etc., etc.

Chairman. Do you have a recommendation for how we should approach this?

Garrison. How about looking at it from how the enemy looks at it? It is a mirror image and we look at it through our own eyes. Instead of what would we do, how about what would they do?

Chairman. Do you have a view?

Garrison. I think they are going to use anything they can get their hands on – whether it produces big casualties or little casualties.

Chairman. What I want to get a handle on is whether or not the assessment is fundamentally different from 1999 or not. We have gone over this now and what I get out of this is an escalation of threat. Is that right?

Gordon. Are we agreeing that the psychological impact is part of the consequence that we are looking at? I do not think I understand what you prediction is on the possibility of suicide bombings inside the United States?

Maniscalco. By and large our definitions pigeon-hole us to body-bags as a measurement of consequence. I would suggest that we try to get to the meat of this.

Chairman. We probably need to bring in the cyber threat as well.

Greenleaf. If we are going to reassess the threat, shouldn't we get someone to provide us with a classified briefing?

Wermuth. We can and will engage in the use of terminology to explain not a discontinuity or disagreement. Secondly, let me encapsulate a couple of things. First, we said in 1999 this threat assessment is a snapshot in time. It will include the kinds of things about looking over the horizon and focusing in on things that present more of a concern to us now. We will also try to describe how something different, some new set of conditions, some new methodologies might change our outlook dramatically.

III. Legislative Update – Susanne Spalding

Spalding. Given your full agenda, I'm going to abbreviate my briefing. I also have background materials that I can make available. The key legislative action is the consideration of the DHS.

Two bills have also passed in the Senate that bring in the critical infrastructure issue. One brings in the chemical one brings in the nuclear facilities and industries. One concern is the FOIA for the vulnerability assessments.

The other bill is the terrorism insurance bill, which I at one point thought was not likely to move and it is moving and is in conference. The primary issue of dispute is the immunity from lawsuits for businesses. This is again an issue that may be something that the President will veto, especially if there is not sufficient protection from liability.

Another key issue is the Senate version accepted the request for a new Undersecretary for Intelligence in the Department of Defense. That will be discussed in conference.

Wermuth. Any challenges to the USA Patriot Act?

Spalding. Yes the challenge with regards to the release of the names of those who have been detained.

Vickery. On the liability issues, we are concerned with the transfer of technology. The private sector does not want to give it to first responders because of liability, as opposed to military personnel. Is that issue being addressed?

Spalding. No. The liability issue is to protect businesses for, say, cyber attacks, but not new protective technologies.

Chairman. You have given us an enormous body of information. If I understand you correctly, the National Guard could be used for law enforcement issues?

Spalding. Yes, the Governor could order that.

Wermuth. This basically provides for the federal government to pay for what we did with the airports.

Spalding. There is an ongoing debate on the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence on whether or not this will undermine the DCI.

IV. Discussion on the Use of the Military
[Briefing Slides and Text Provided to the Panel]

Wermuth. What you are going to see in your books is a rough draft of policy recommendations for your consideration.

Reno. A couple things are new: Northern Command is now a new Unified on Command on the scene. Also, there is an Assistant Secretary of Defense for HLD – that is a long- term recommendation of the group.

As you go through the Homeland Security Strategy, it speaks to the more classical assistance, such as technical support and law enforcement support. As I go through the graphics I'll ask for questions.

Marsh. Does that include just active military?

Reno. No.

Reno. For the Posse Comitatus Act, in the national strategy, it recommends a review of the laws that would allow the military to response. The point is that significant authority exists, but confusion also exists and as a result, we recommended a handbook of authorities. Our panel recommended that we agree with the national strategy and recommend a thorough review. Any problems?

Returning to the Northern Command, it is important that we point out the command and control relationships of this NORTHCOM. You see that there is coordination with the four-star Joint Forces Command. The only units commanded by NORTHCOM would be in Norfolk and the JTF-CS and for drug interdictions. The notion will play out in our discussion of Special Operations Forces later and the use of the National Guard.

Now we recommended that unified command and control structure be created with a clear chain of command all the way down to the HLS function. Having studied what the NORTHCOM will be, it tracks pretty well with what we would agree with. We recommended that the new command be given responsibility for all-hazards; that the commander have OPCON of all military forces engaged within its area of responsibility for support to civil authorities; and ideally, the CT forces should be under the authority to be trained and ready to respond to a HLD mission.

We feel that the importance of this mission is such that the traditional relationship has to be revisited.

For Special Operations Forces, we look at the SOF as a unique capability within the DOD. We understand that there are SOF-like units elsewhere and that SOF are trained for overseas deployment. This complication, especially the rules of engagement, requires a shift in focus. The SOCOM units should then rotate with OPCON units in order to provide them with that training – giving them a domestic orientation as well as a foreign orientation.

Marsh. We believe that you shouldn't place a significant amount of forces under this command, but rotating them would work.

Reno. Within the report, we also have a section that deals with capabilities and requirements. We think that there needs to be a comprehensive effort to identify homeland security requirements and we want to elevate that to the DHS. We need to force NORTHCOM to build a bridge with states.

Hathaway. Actually, if you put DOD it will include both of them.

Marsh. The hostage rescue team of the FBI would also be under this and they could become a subordinate command of NORTHCOM.

Chairman. What are you recommending?

Reno. We are not dealing with the head of the federal agency that would be responsible upon the advent of the CBRN. We've already established that the DOD will not be a lead agent. I'm just discussing that there is a new piece of chemistry. Within the military we have a war-fighting culture. Should we suggest a new culture? The HLS mission does have limited rapid-reaction forces, but they are small. So should we explore the notion of rapid-reaction units targeted to support NORTHCOM? These units would be tailored, including medical, military police, and the like. Or maybe they could have a wide, wide, range of capabilities: quarantine, crowd control, and emergency response?

Williams. Would this structure - which seems logical on paper - work in reality?

Reno. Let me just say that a CINC is a powerful person, and now we have a CINC-domestic. This makes it important that the balance between the CINC and the civilian leader is very clear.

Wermuth. We do not envision that the situation would change from the current FRP. In that case, the head of FEMA has to come to the Secretary of Defense and ask for help in the response. This is a little bit more involved a lead-federal agency having a subordinate CINC, more importantly the military remains under military command and control, with taskings from civilian authorities.

Hathaway. Currently, JFCOM already has all of the appropriate authorities and requirements and that is not going to change.

Chairman. Technically, if we are going to have a discussion, we need to have it now. Otherwise we'll have to defer the topic. Also, I feel like I am swallowing a hippopotamus and yet this is a very serious matter. I think we are headed for a very long discussion. We have other topics to take up.

Classified Session

Chairman. Let me just say that we should continue this discussion for the record. We got into a classified session because of our discussion on the use of the military. But this evolved into a very philosophical discussion on the use of the military. So we moved back into public session. So let's continue that discussion until Ken Shine calls in at 4:15p.m.

Vickery. There is a concern from the local level that the military responders will replace the local responders and degrade their response.

Reno. In our first report, we wrote a chronology of engagements – or a sequence of commitments – in page 48 of our last report. In that, you would start with local responders. Should the incident be beyond the control of the local responders, it would go to the state, which could include the National Guard. Beyond that, there are state compacts and then at the escalation beyond that level, the federal government provides support under a lead federal agency – not the Department of Defense. The National Guard, unless they are federalized, would still work for the Governor. In this case, one set of the military units would work for NORTHCOM, but report to the lead civilian agency.

So do not think of it in terms of the military replacing local responders, but to augment, if required. The question then is should we design units in the National Guard for these responsibilities?

Chairman. We had this discussion in year two, about the relationship and sequencing between local, state, and military responders. I remind you that we rejected that and went to a proposal that Bill has laid out.

Vickery. We utilize the military in our naturally occurring disasters, say in support of local fire fighters. This support does not require a significant depth of training. It requires drivers. That very same capability could be used in a terrorist attack.

Garrison. You know, the Army is not that bad of a thing. You do not need to worry about the women and the kids and the sheep and the goats.

Maniscalco. The state and locals see the Federal responders more like, "your house is on fire and you call the post office."

Garrison. The correct model is what Bill Reno is talking about here.

Wermuth. One other thing, there is an important distinction between NORTHCOM and its homeland defense mission and its support to military authorities mission. For example, if the plane had not crashed in Pennsylvania, there would have been a purely political mission activated. To me, that was pretty clear, but it get fuzzier when it gets on the ground. NORTHCOM has those responsibilities. That is only one half of NORTHCOM and they need to understand that the support mission is dramatically different than their military mission.

V. Health and Medical Subpanel – Ken Shine

Shine. The subpanel has met several times by conference call. We reviewed previous recommendations and did not find anything we wanted to dramatically or substantively change. These are basically follow-on issues.

The first item had to deal with legal and regulatory issues in states. There was a model of legislation drawn for the CDC. Some states have adopted this model; others have not. We want to recommend that states continue to adopt and implement these laws and regulations. But also, these laws need to address civil liberties. Public health agencies are basically exempt from some of these issues because of their need to investigate. We spoke to a number of people that have said that the public health people will work with and alert the police.

Quinlisk. The model policy does target bioterrorism, but it also relates to radiological terrorism. So I would change the language to broaden that.

Shine. We have also been concerned that there is an OHS, a DHS, and yet only a limited amount of HHS is going to DHS. We are concerned that one person be responsible for a biological attack: this remains unclear.

Brower. Does the panel want to make a specific choice?

Gordon. I would think that that would be delineated in the Response Plan. Maybe we should just ensure that something to that end be included in the Plan.

Shine. Fine. As long as we highlight the point that there is still confusion, that is the point of this recommendation.

Foresman. One of the issues in the original draft was what about CIP – health and medical sector? This responsibility needs to be clarified. HHS needs to be the lead for this and needs to work with the private sector.

Shine. I think that is very reasonable. Could you give Jennifer some language?

Quinlisk. The way this is worded right now, we need to be explicit that basic public health and medical functions need to stay in HHS. The overlap is the issue. I am unsure that HHS is the agency that could coordinate issues that go beyond public health and human things. I would not want to pull the authority away from HHS.

Shine. Why don't we say that explicitly? While we anticipate that HHS is the LFA, we acknowledge that there is some overlap and we think that it needs to be clarified who would be in charge at that point.

Reno. If we are going to deal with simplicity, we should try to remove uncertainty off the table.

Shine. Under resources, the concern here was that although some significant resources have been provided for public health, medical facilities are not improving their preparedness. We want to identify that there needs to be emphasis on funds for medical facilities and improving their preparedness. The corollary to that point is that the Health Alert Network and rapid communication networks need to be continually funded.

Quinlisk. Do we know if the funding is truly moving along?

Shine. They are shooting for a 3 to 5 increase in what they originally provided.

Foresman. Approximately $680 million… maybe we could find the exact numbers?

Shine. The next item is that though there is a substantial amount of resources, we still need resources for exercises. There also needs to be better coordination of the funding streams for exercises.

Wermuth. The $3.5 billion is not intended to exclude these types of exercises. We could recommend standardizing exercises, regardless of the funding streams.

Gordon. I was going to suggest that all exercise money go to DHS for multiple purposes, rather than EPA and DOJ. That was where I was going.

Shine. My concern is that when you have a funding stream that comes down – lets' say HHS – they need to be including the exercise and evaluation process in what they do.

Quinlisk. You would still need coordination with other agencies and standardized to their responses.

Reno. I agree with you.

Wermuth. Clearly we can articulate a recommendation that deals with a single funding stream and an evaluation component to it as well. You need the evaluation to validate the exercise.

Gordon. I like giving the states the flexibility.

Foresman. So we would want to coordinate the exercise pieces and standardize the exercise pieces.

Quinlisk. I assume that the lessons learned would be shared with everybody.

Shine. With regard to the Medical Reserve Corp: we felt that there should be some serious follow-up. The real problem is, in fact, going to be accreditation. We could identify the potential for people to be mobilized with these responsibilities. We need to validate that surge capacities are appropriate for their specific roles.

Maniscalco. We are going to have to go back and look at the efficacy of the program – they may be placing the cart before the horse. Right now there is a recruiting frenzy. Yet, we have DMATs that are still holding fish fries to pay for their training program.

Maniscalco. I am talking about more than a HR program. We are throwing money at MMRSs, but what about the mutual aid compacts that are what actually work?

Shine. We also have the recommendation for continuing hospital services. I think that the DHHS needs to deal with surge capacity. It is interesting to me that in some jurisdictions people understand that surge capacity does not mean mobile hospital beds. In many cases, an armory and a hanger would be much more useful. I think people are just beginning to understand the issue.

Gordon. I think that the surge issue, the way you have it written, is fine.

Shine. NIAID has gotten some money and we think that their priorities should be influenced by the nature of the threat. And the second part of the recommendation had to do with the continuing need for coordination. We are concerned that it is unclear what the role of the DHS will be for coordinating research.

Quinlisk. We are also concerned with emphasis on research that will be relevant in 25 years from now, versus the practical applicability of immediate research needs.

Shine. I think that NIAID is reasonably sensitive to that, but why don't we add something like the research agenda much clearly include efforts that include fundamental science, clinical research, and technology development?

Quinlisk. Yeah, I'm concerned about emphasizing applied research, using technology that is easily available. Something of that sort… so it is not all going into fundamental science research.

Shine. Suppose we add a recommendation – pay attention to a balanced portfolio – including the application of technologies?

Quinlisk. It is important to note that public communication is not just in an acute situation.

Shine. With regard to interagency issues, we were concerned about making sure that local law enforcement interacts with public health. I think it was George who described that VA has created a fusion center as one model.

Foresman. The bottom line is, that when we send out an epidemiologist, they need to investigate with a criminal team as well.

Vickery. Can we change the term to public safety, not just law enforcement?

Maniscalco. Or the "functions of emergency services"?

Shine. A great deal of attention is being placed on analyzing data as it relates to health and disease. The WHO, for example, is working to improve information for health services. Some of that data could provide information that would be useful to the intelligence community or the community might have something to add. So we are trying to encourage the analytical ties between the intelligence and health communities. Should be do this? What about a unit in the intelligence community?

Maniscalco. What is the relationship between EIS and the CIA?

Shine. It is distant, and they want to keep it that way.

Brower. For example, in 1979 there was an outbreak of anthrax near a military facility in the Soviet Union. The intelligence community went to scientists to try to answer this question. There needs to be a mechanism to help them understand the data.

Quinlisk. I think that this is an area where there needs to be an ability to take this information in conjunction with other intelligence information. But the health community would be worried about strengthening its ties.

Shine. Yes. Maybe the intelligence community should strengthen its health and medical abilities to analyze information with regards to chemical or biological agents.

Wermuth. You will also see a recommendation on this issue from the strategy subpanel.

Shine. Under pharmaceuticals, I would say that we need to emphasize the importance of state and local to use the distribution system and stockpiles.

Foresman. Yes, many states are doing this and we need to put a short-term deadline on this one. The first round of metric measures should occur in early 2004.

Quinlisk. At the last meeting we also discussed the decrease in the pharmaceutical industry to make routine vaccines and new antibiotics. We can't handle this, but we might be able to mention it.

Shine. Let's pull that from the last report.

Shine. Let's also go to smallpox. We have a series of recommendations. We want the rapid distribution of a smallpox vaccine in the event of an attack. The question is how do you prove its effectiveness? There also should be a prioritization plan – who gets it first.

Chairman. We have seen evidence that the correct way to treat a smallpox outbreak is a limited "ring" vaccination. Now, if we reverse ourselves and talk about a general inoculation, we are moving away from that previous recommendation.

Shine. It should be clear that this is based on the notion that there is a proven case of smallpox, not before there is proof of an infection. In the past we have supported the "ring" approach. The issue reflected here is that if there is a proven case of smallpox, if the American public indicates that they want to be protected, given the proof of the infection, does the U.S. government have responsibility to respond to that? You may at least want that option.

Chairman. So you want us to put in our report that if there is a terrorist-related outbreak of smallpox, we should do a general immunization?

Quinlisk. The way that this is going, right now, if we do vaccination it should be limited and only in specialized medical personnel. I think what ACIP says, is that if cases occur, you have to look at the scenario. I think that if it is widespread, you at least need to have a plan.

Shine. Yes, it is a contingency plan based on a worst-case scenario.

Vickery. Are those recommendations based on naturally occurring outbreaks and how do they differ?

Shine. Instead of one person who is infected, it could be a dozen people spread out over a dozen different airports. Or it could be aerosolized and that would infect many more people.

Gordon. I think we need to change the wording on the 5th recommendation: we want to place a high priority on an even more effective vaccine. Meanwhile while waiting for that vaccine…

Shine. Okay, that would work.


September 13, 2002 Minutes