Pete V. Domenici
Statement Regarding Department of Homeland Security Hearing before
Environment and Public Works Committee
July 10, 2002
I have had an opportunity to review the President’s proposal for homeland security, particularly as it relates to the Science &Technology (S&T) mission of the department and how our national labs should contribute to the cause of homeland security - - and I maintain that they have much to contribute.
The president’s proposal certainly recognizes the capabilities of our national laboratories - - but the manner in which the initial plan was developed, announced, and communicated to the Congress has led to substantial confusion.
So let me try to clear the air as to what I believe the new Department needs in the way of Science and Technology.
1. The president has proposed an Under Secretary to address the science, technology, and operational issues associated with Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear or CBRN threats.
2. I would argue that the undersecretary’s mission should be broadened to cover the entire S&T mission for the whole department, and the operational missions should be run by the other parts of the department.
3. Certainly much of the focus will be on CBRN threats, as it should be - - but there are other S&T opportunities and challenges that exist outside that area.
4. That Under Secretary for S&T should be responsible for several things under him...
· Utilizing the R&D base at Health and Human Services Department- - as the President suggests in his bill
· Performing the agriculture-related R&D - - as the President suggests
But there are several ideas that are left out of the President’s bill...
$ The Under Secretary needs a mechanism to tap into the full capabilities of the National Laboratories.
$ He also needs a “DAPRA-like” organization that can rapidly procure technology for homeland security applications.
$ Finally, I think he should also have a “RAND-like” think tank to support homeland security research through policy and systems analysis. This function was suggested by the National Research Council review.
5. Thus, I think we should build upon the ideas that the President has suggested to fully support the important S&T missions of the new Department.
6. As it relates to the National Laboratories, let me make a few more comments.
$ Tremendous capabilities exist at all of the labs - - much of it is at Sandia, Los Alamos and Livermore - - but Oak Ridge, Idaho and Pacific Northwest have unique capabilities as well.
$ Those capabilities should be fully utilized and managed by DHS from a location that is centrally located among those laboratories.
$ The labs’ work for DHS should be governed by several principles...
$ The Secretary of HS should be able to task and fund the labs directly.
$ Homeland security work should be done on an equal basis to the other important national security work at the labs.
$ DHS should be able to access all parts of the laboratory for expertise - - not just a carved out section.
7. In conclusion, I suggest the principles that I have laid out here should be the basis on which S&T missions of the DHS should be carried out. I look forward to working with the Administration and you, Mr. Chairman, in building legislation to do so.