Hearing Of The Transportation Security And Infrastructure Protection Subcommittee Of The House Homeland Security Committee
Subject: The Fiscal Year 2010 Budget For the National Protection And Programs Directorate And The Transportation Security Administration
Chaired By: Representative Sheila Jackson-Lee
Witnesses: Philip Reitinger, Deputy Undersecretary, National Protection And Programs Directorate, Department Of Homeland Security; Gale Rossides, Acting Administrator, Transportation Security Administration, Department Of Homeland Security
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REP. SHEILA JACKSON-LEE (D-TX): The subcommittee will come to order. Let me indicate that my delay was related to some security concerns that are occurring in and around the Capitol. And some of you may have heard that there is a shooting, or was a shooting, at the Holocaust Museum. The information I have is that two persons may have lost their lives. We don't have all the facts, but hearing no objection, I would like for us just to have a moment of silence, before we start this hearing.
The subcommittee will come to order. The subcommittee is meeting today to receive testimony on the FY 2010 budget for the National Protection and Programs Directorate and the Transportation Security Administration. Our witnesses today will testify about the budget request of their respective components for FY 2010.
At the onset, I would like to thank the witnesses for appearing before us today, because schedules are hectic and the deputy under secretary must leave before 3:00 p.m., I would like to proceed as quickly as possible. In addition, I would ask the indulgence of the deputy under secretary if we are a few minutes beyond, but we recognize his scheduling issue.
Without objection I would like to request that the witnesses' testimony be considered as read so that we can move directly to questions. Hearing no objection, it is so ordered.
Because this hearing will be abbreviated due to the scheduling, the subcommittee requests that each witness meet with staff soon after this hearing concludes to go over additional questions. And I would like to indicate that members of the committee will have the opportunity to submit their questions as well. At that point, Ranking Member Dent and I may ask that you meet with us as well.
Today's hearing is an important part of the subcommittee's oversight of the Department of Homeland Security. Specifically, it provides us with the opportunity to assess, discuss, and analyze the president's budget requests for FY 2010. I do thank the acting director member of the Transportation Security Administration for the meetings that our committee has been able to have with her. So I thank you very much.
As you all know, this subcommittee has jurisdiction over TSA and many elements of NPPD. With respect to TSA, we have already done a great deal this year, and the TSA authorization bill was passed out of the House in an overwhelmingly bipartisan manner just last week. I again thank the ranking member, Mr. Dent, for being my original co- sponsor on this legislation.
When it comes to infrastructure protection and the other elements of NPPD, the committee is moving quickly to extend and comprehensively modify the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards. In addition, the subcommittee will be working on an authorization package for NPPD later this year. Some of our members have asked about paying more attention to general aviation. A number of new issues will be coming to our attention.
With respect to TSA, the subcommittee is generally pleased with the budget request of almost $7.8 billion for FY 2010. TSA has requested an additional budget authority for adding bomb-appraisal officers, travel document checkers, and behavioral detection officers to enhance aviation security. In addition to the standard checkpoint and baggage screening operations, TSOs will continue to support security initiatives such as screening of passengers by observation techniques, visible inter-modal prevention and response teams, and the aviation direct access screening program. TSA has also made heightened investments in technology, precisely what we need to keep the traveling public safe.
I am concerned about TSA's FY 2010 budget request of $108 million for cargo security operations. This figure does not support an increase in FTEs for air cargo, and reflects a 12 percent decrease from the FY 2009 enacted amount. Even as TSA faces significant challenges with respect to air cargo security, it is imperative that TSA have significant resources to face these challenges.
The president's FY 2010 budget request for surface transportation security at TSA totals roughly $128 million, which is more than double the FY 2009 enacted appropriation. Although I have concerns about how these new resources are allocated, this request reflects a real investment in securing non-aviation modes of transportation and is consistent with the broader priorities of our authorization bill.
Turning to NPPD, there is much to applaud in this budget proposal. This directorate has a troubled history, and this budget attempts to unify an entity that contains several disparate components. In fact, let me be very clear. Sometimes it is not understood what the infrastructure protection aspect of our jurisdiction is. And the only thing that I can say to you that makes it as real and as viable and important, as I believe it is, and I believe my ranking member believes it is, is to recognize the overall responsibility of this committee including infrastructure protection, takes into account aspects of cyber security which we know is shared by our other subcommittee, but also it deals with the very incident that we have just pointed to that happened today. Infrastructure is everything in America, and we must be concerned about it.
The committee welcomes the $87 million increase over FY 2009 appropriation for the National Cyber Security Division. This addresses an important function, and we are pleased that the deputy under secretary, who has a career of success in the cyber environment, is willing to serve in order to help protect the nation. We still need to better understand how the department's efforts will interface with the rest of the federal government, especially with the creation of a new cyber coordinator in the White House. Because this subcommittee works a great deal with the 18 critical infrastructure sectors, we must ensure that the department's cyber efforts are efficiently leveraging these important relationships.
I applaud the deputy under secretary for his testimony that "filling vacant federal positions and right sizing the federal and contractor staff ratio across NPPD" is his "utmost priority." This subcommittee fully supports this effort, but I am concerned about the suitability protocols of NPPD. This subcommittee stands ready to assist you in your efforts to expedite the security clearance process for prospective employees.
The subcommittee is pleased with NPPD's request for $333 million for infrastructure protection.
As you well know, we have done a lot of work in this important area, and the response to the Mumbai attacks shows that we have a long way to go. The increases for chemical site security and the ammonium nitrate regulations are also important steps.
However, the subcommittee is concerned about the cuts to partnerships related to the National Infrastructure Protection Plan. In this economic climate, it seems that we should be bolstering these efforts, as the private sector -- an important security partner -- will have fewer resources.
I remain very concerned with the Office of Risk Management and Analysis. Staff has quarterly briefings with RMA, and it seems both underfunded and headed in too many different directions. As I said last Spring, we need a strategic plan from RMA that puts it on a path to success. I look forward to introducing legislation that will clarify the roles and responsibilities of RMA.
Finally, the president's 2010 budget request proposes to move FPS out of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and into NPPD. The committee agrees that ICE was not the proper entity to house FPS, but questions whether moving it to NPPD will address the problems encountered under ICE, and we look forward to hearing your thoughts about the proposed move today.
I look forward to our discussion today, and I work with you, and am willing to work with you in order to support the vital mission of both TSA and NPPD. Once again, I thank the witnesses for their participation today. Let me also acknowledge the presence of the gentleman from California, Mr. Lungren, the gentleman from Connecticut, Mr. Himes, and the gentleman from New Mexico, Mr. Lujan, and thank them for their presence here today
The chair now recognizes the gentleman from Pennsylvania, Mr. Dent, for an opening statement.
REP. CHARLES W. DENT (R-PA): Thanks Madam Chair, and good afternoon. I'd like to thank both our witnesses for joining us today. I know your time is in short supply so I'll respect that. We understand that there is an inordinate amount of time senior officials of the department spend answering too many different congressional committees because of Congress's dysfunctional jurisdiction over the Department of Homeland Security. However, since the committee on Homeland Security is the principal authorizing committee in the House, we very much appreciate you being with us today. So that said, in light of some of the constraints, time constraints, I would like to keep my remarks short.
So, as you know, the House passed the TSA Authorization Act last week. The bill was negotiated on a bipartisan basis. I thank the chairwoman for her leadership on that issue, and also the committee met with many different stakeholders for input. I believe it was a good bill, and I was happy to be a co-sponsor, original co-sponsor of the legislation.
The Republican members of the committee, however, believe that it was premature to bring the bill to the floor for consideration before a new administrator was named for the TSA. As you know, TSA did not provide any formal input into the bill, and that's unfortunate. One of the casualties of TSA not being able to provide input in the TSA Authorization Act was the misguided adoption of the amendment that would have severely restricted the use of whole body imaging technology. The adopted amendment will prevent TSA from using whole body imaging technology for primary screening purposes at the airport checkpoints.
As you know, the committee has been very supportive of WBI technology because we know that it enhances aviation security. We understand that WBI technology can detect many things such as small IEDs, plastics explosives, ceramic knives, and other objects traditional metal detection cannot detect. This technology was developed with the backing of Congress because we know our enemies are looking to use certain explosives which are not detectable with metal detectors and magnetometers.
Restricting the use of WBI technology at the airport checkpoint will put us in a vulnerable position, just as we were prior to 9-11. We can't, we simply can't allow that to happen. I should note that I saw the WBI technology for myself last week at Reagan National. I think it's a great technology, and I am very satisfied with the privacy measures currently in place, and I know you have taken a great deal of care to ensure that. I think there is a lot of inaccurate information out in the public domain, and many members are misinformed on the technology.
As the TSA Authorization Act makes its way through the legislative process, it's my sincere hope, and for the sake of all Americans who fly, that TSA will weigh in an informed Congress on the advantages of WBI technology so we can ensure the use of this innovative and very necessary technology at our nation's airports. And my colleague Mr. Lungren was very eloquent on this issue. I wish more members could have heard his comments on that amendment .
Moving to the National Protection and Programs Directorate, I am very glad to see that the administration is making cyber security a priority. I am encouraged by the increased funding request of $75 million over fiscal year 2009 to support the implementation of the Comprehensive National Cyber Security Initiative. Mr. Reitinger, I understand you have an exemplary background in cyber security, and I look forward to the work you will do at the National Protection and Programs Directorate. Thanks again for both of you being here today, and I'll yield back the balance of my time.
REP. JACKSON-LEE: Let me thank the gentleman for his testimony. I welcome our witnesses. Our first witness is Philip R. Reitinger, who was appointed by Secretary Janet Napolitano to serve as the Deputy Under Secretary for NPPD on March 11, 2009. In this role, Reitinger leads the department's integrated efforts to reduce risk across physical and cyber infrastructures. Prior to joining DHS, Mr. -- let me just ask, because it is not the "i"; how do you pronounce your name?
MR. PHILIP R. REITINGER: Yes ma'am. It's Reiting-er.
REP. JACKSON-LEE: It is Reitinger. I just want to make sure. Thank you. Prior to joining DHS -- I wanted to make sure that we were not getting that smile because you're just a smiling person. Thank you very much.
Mr. Reitinger was the chief trustworthy infrastructure strategist at Microsoft Corporation, and I would suggest to you that you come widely applauded. Because in his title of his previous position had the term trustworthy. Is that correct?
MR. REITINGER: Yes ma'am it is.
REP. JACKSON-LEE: I couldn't imagine that the secretary could find a better selection. Thank you.
In that role, he worked with government agencies and private- sector partners to enhance cyber security and infrastructure protection.
Our second witness, Ms. Rossides, is acting administrator at TSA. As acting administrator, Ms. Rossides oversees a workforce of 50,000 and the security operations of 450 federalized airports throughout the U.S., as well as the federal security regime for highways, railroads, ports, and mass transit systems. Ms. Rossides was one of the six original federal executives handpicked in 2002 to build TSA. And we are certainly appreciative of your leadership on that issue.
As agreed to at the beginning of today's hearing, the witnesses' testimony will be considered as read so that we can begin to question our witnesses in the interest of time. I will remind each member that he or she will have five minutes to question the panel, and I will now recognize the ranking member for five minutes, Mr. Dent.
REP. DENT: Thank you, Madam Chair. And just by way of commentary, I learned a long time ago, my middle name is W-i-e-d-e-r. And my mother taught me as a young person from Pennsylvania Dutch country, i-e is "e"; e-i is "i". Mr. Reitinger, it's a lot of names like that in my area, but a couple of things.
First, just a couple of things.
Is the department, Mr. Reitinger, is the department aware that the Committee on Homeland Security and the Committee on Energy and Commerce are crafting legislation to authorize the department's regulatory authority over chemical securities -- chemical facilities, excuse me?
MR. REITINGER: Yes sir.
REP. DENT: Yeah, and then, the department did request a one-year extension to the current CFATS regulations. Why did you do that, knowing that the committees are engaged in legislation?
MR. REITINGER: Thank you, sir. Let me first, before answering that question, thank the committee for the opportunity to testify today and for the kind words that both you and the chairwoman said about me and about NPPD and the criticality of our mission.
To answer your question in particular, sir, the department requested a one-year extension of CFATS in the budget because we believe that one year would give us the time to work effectively with Congress for a permanent re-authorization of CFATS. The department supports the permanent re-authorization of CFATS, and a year seemed to be a reasonable amount of time to enable that discussion to take place and an action to be taken by Congress.
REP. DENT: Do you believe that the current CFATS regulations are sufficient?
MR. REITINGER: I believe the current CFATS regulations give us a good basis for going forward, sir. As the ranking member knows, we are currently in the process of implementing the regulations, in tiering assets, and in executing the site security plans that are called for under the regulation. That activity will give us a lot of additional experience about the effectiveness of the regime if there are holes in it, and so, while I am comfortable with the regime as it is, I believe we will have additional opportunities to learn about opportunities for improvement going forward. And I look forward to working with the committee and staff on the most effective design for that program.
REP. DENT: You know, I've introduced legislation to extend the current CFATS regulations by three years. So thank you for that comment.
One of the issues Congress is grappling with is whether or not to require facilities to re-engineer their plants to use different and perhaps less dangerous chemicals in their manufacturing processes. Alternatively, plans could shift from an on-site storage model to a just-in-time delivery model. A popular catchy phrase for this is called "inherently safer technologies," or IST. If IST reviews were mandatory, how many government employees who were professional IST experts capable of analyzing each of these facility processes does the department have on staff? Any idea?
MR. REITINGER: Well, sir, in terms of specific IST experts, I'm not aware that we have any. We, of course, are in the process of hiring and training chemical experts, chemical inspectors who would develop certainly expertise that would be applicable to that sort of activity, if not completely aligned with it. One of the things I'd say is that there is nothing about the current statutory regime however that forbids the use of what amounts to IST technology's choosing to use different chemicals, choosing to use different technologies, in order to tier down or comply with the existing regime.
So, the current regime allows use of those, it just doesn't mandate their analysis for use.
REP DENT: Now does the department's fiscal year 2010 budget request include any investment in IST expertise, you know?
MR. REITINGER: Not specifically, sir. It does, however, include authorizations to hire up to 139, yes 139, CFATS inspectors, with an additional 20 ammonium nitrate inspectors who could be cross-trained or, you know, with the upcoming addition of 40 chemical inspectors who could be cross-trained to do CFATS inspections.
REP. DENT: Now to Ms. Rossides, just, as you know, during last week's authorization of the TSA authorization bill, the House adopted the amendment offered by Mr. Chaffetz and Ms. Shay-Porter, which would prohibit the use of whole body imaging and primary screening positions. Of course, I opposed this amendment very strongly as did Mr. Lungren.
And as you know I went to Reagan National last week and saw this technology first hand. I was, as I mentioned earlier, very impressed by it. I saw an individual walk through a checkpoint with two weapons, and without going into any details, let's just say I was unnerved by the magnetometer's inability to detect them. However, the whole body imaging showed both concealed weapons pretty easily.
Could you explain the department's current privacy safeguards in place that govern the use of this technology? And what would be the practical implications if the prohibition of using whole body imaging technology for primary screening were to become law? I mean, you know, what capabilities would be lost?
MS. GALE D. ROSSIDES: Yes, sir. First of all, with respect to the privacy issues, TSA took really great measures to protect the privacy concerns, and we have a privacy impact assessments study that was published that reflects those measures. But very specifically, first of all, the passengers have a choice as to whether or not they go through the WBI or the walk-through metal detectors.
Secondly, the images that are viewed are viewed in a remote location so that the officer that is viewing the image never sees the passenger, and the officer that is assisting the passenger never sees the image. The face is blurred. There is signage in the checkpoint advising the passengers of their options and what the image actually looks like.
The technology itself does not store, it does not print, it does not transmit nor save the image, and once the image is deleted it cannot be retrieved. And these are the measures that we have put in place. In the places where we have the technology, we have over a 95 percent satisfaction rate with the traveling public.
In all honesty, sir, based on the intel that I and the leadership team at TSA sees every single day, if we do not have the ability to deploy this technology and utilize it to the best of the abilities for the system, it will represent a severe limitation of our detection capability. And we know that those who intend to do harm today have moved way beyond metal items. And they are in fact looking for things that they can conceal. They are looking for things that the walk- through metal detector cannot detect, and the whole body imaging technology can.
REP. DENT: Well thank you. I hope somebody in the media is writing that down. They can publish that tomorrow. It's a very good statement. I appreciate that.
Finally, on the LESP program. I just wanted, as you know I have some real concerns about the proposed rule making. I note that with some comfort that the department has recently conducted a couple of workshops of various stakeholder groups, and we will soon be able to consider a future proposal they are making. How is this process that you are conducting different than the process you use in developing the initial rule making, which has given a lot of us, on a bipartisan basis, some real heartburn?
MS. ROSSIDES: Well, sir, the initial rule making that we sent out, we actually did something that was rather unconventional with our regular rule making process in that we did have five public meetings on the initial rule making. But after the extensive comments -- and I believe we got over 6,000 comments from the public in general -- we have held a series of meetings with major trade associations and other stakeholders. We held the first meeting in April, the second in May, and we have the third meeting scheduled for June 15th.
And what we're looking at is those areas of concern by the external stakeholders and associations. Once we have these meetings, we will look to see where the interests of those persons are and the TSA concerns and security interest are, and then we will go out with, we will reopen the notice of proposal we were making second for a second round of comments. And I'm hoping, and from the feedback we are getting from the associations, that is a positive step in the right direction, in terms of coming to agreement on how we close some of the security vulnerabilities we're concerned with and meet their concerns as well.
REP. DENT: I just think a lot of the members here would be appreciative if the stakeholder input was not summarily dismissed.
And that's something --
MS. ROSSIDES: -- It won't be.
REP. DENT: -- we are concerned with.
Thank you, I'll yield back.
REP. JACKSON-LEE: Thank you. Let me ask Mr. Reitinger again how close to the 3:00 o'clock hour can you stay?
MR. REITINGER: Thank you, Madam Chairwoman. I have a speaking engagement at the chamber of commerce where I know one of your members is going later. I was supposed to leave at 2:45, but I will push it as we need to respond to the committee.
REP. JACKSON-LEE: Well, let me do this. My questions are only going to be to you, and I hope, if you give quick answers, I might be able to get Mr. Lungren in and Mr. Himes before you leave. If I could ask members to only question, we'll be able to come back around for Ms. Rossides. And if that can work for your questioning, it would be helpful since he has an opportunity to leave.
Let me quickly ask the question about the NPPD. There has been a lot of discussions about the permanence of NPPD. As we all know, it is a disparate collection of entities that in some cases do not appear to have a unifying focus beyond being security programs. With that said, does this budget set the stage for the reorganization of the NPPD before or after the delivery of the quadrennial homeland security review next winter? Mr. Reitinger?
MR. REITINGER: No ma'am, it does not. The budget, in fact, is designed to help drive unity of NPPD by building an effective front office that will enable the organizations to move effectively and work together on its joint mission of mitigating threats to the homeland.
REP. JACKSON-LEE: Are you saying that you don't intend to begin to look at reorganization, or at this time, or before the delivery of the quadrennial homeland security review? Or are you going to do it after? What's the time frame for reorganization, and what is the interest in reorganization?
MR. REITINGER: Well ma'am, an ultimate decision about reorganization I would leave to the under secretary, once confirmed by the Senate. I believe we have a good basis for going forward with NPPD. There are no current plans to reorganize NPPD. But, other than to move IGP up as a direct report to the secretary, we intend to move forward effectively. And as experience tells us, whether the organization of NPPD is optimal, we would come back and work with the committee to make sure that could be done as effectively as possible and with minimal disruption to business.
REP. JACKSON-LEE: Well let me just hope that you'll convey to your leadership there that we are interested in seeing a plan for reorganization, or at least some argument that it shouldn't be reorganized. The subcommittee is concerned with the level of personnel NPPD employs. I am happy to learn from your testimony that you have brought on 300 new employees over the last 12 months and currently have approximately 800 federal employees on board out of 1,064.
For that reason, I was pleased to learn from your budget request that you intend to bring on additional personnel. Could you describe NPPD's efforts to employ additional personnel, how this will affect current contracts at the department?
MR. REITINGER: Yes, ma'am. As you indicated in your opening statement, Madam Chairwoman, my number one priority is bringing the right people on board. It is my personal belief that organizations succeed or fail based on the people that they have. Therefore, that takes the majority of my time. I spend the biggest chunk of it on working to make sure that we have effective processes in place to bring on the right people as rapidly as possible to supplement the excellent staff we already have.
To that end, we have aggressive hiring plans for the remainder of the fiscal year, and we will be bringing on additional people next year. As my testimony also indicates, we are making efforts to, as you said, correctly, right-size the contractor workforce so that we build up our government personnel capabilities, create expertise in government, and use contractors appropriately for the roles for which they are best suited, which includes scaling to meet needs, and for getting particular expertise that's readily not available in the government workforce.
I'm sorry ma'am --
REP. JACKSON-LEE: Just finish.
MR. REITINGER: That will, I think for the foreseeable future, remain my number one priority because I believe if we can do that effectively everything else will come with it.
REP. JACKSON-LEE: I'd like to have you make yourself available for briefing for members who may be interested, and myself. I happen to be interested on the progress of that effort and how you are approaching it, particularly since it relates to the utilizing or non- utilizing of contractors. So if you could make note of that, I'd appreciate it.
MR. REITINGER: I'd be happy to, ma'am.
REP. JACKSON-LEE: On the RMA, you heard my comments earlier, and they have been meeting with our staff. We know that they have an ambitious agenda ranging from a national risks assessment to the informing of budget cycles, to a heavy presence working with the quadrennial homeland security review. So how then is approximately $9 million enough for FY 2010 for this particular subset? And staff was told last week that 19 of the 26 FTEs are filled. That means that you have got seven that are not, and how quickly can you get to full capacity, given the major hiring that you are trying to do with NPPD?
MR. REITINGER: Well, ma'am, I believe that the budget request is reflective of what we believe we need to start to drive success with RMA. And, in particular, to have it lead the risk management study group within the quadrennial homeland security review. I think going forward, as this is another area where we will get additional knowledge about the scope of requirements, then we could come back to the committee or find the resources within DHS and re-allocate personnel if necessary to accomplish the mission.
In terms of hiring, I believe that the number that you stated refers to -- my recollection is we have 13 government personnel on board in FTE, with six offers outstanding and ten contractor personnel on board. That's my current understanding. So we will be to the number you said very soon. We are focusing just as much on RMA hiring as we are on hiring for other components. So we will bring on the additional FTE as rapidly as possible to make sure that we can effectively execute the mission.
REP. JACKSON-LEE: Let me suggest that I appreciate the answer that you had to give. This should be an ongoing review by those of us who are concerned that any cuts in the budget, when we are trying to build and ensure that the department does have the staff, is of concern to us.
And it follows with my next question about the $11-million cut from IP's national infrastructure protection program effort. We are curious as to the rationale behind those cuts, particularly since we know the private sector are not regulated for security purposes, many do not have the financial resources in this economic climate.
So I'd appreciate it if you would explain whether other departments and agencies which partner with DHS under the NIPP will be providing resources to counter and to complement the losses of $11 million and to further security efforts under the NIPP in FY 2010.
I think one of our biggest Achilles' heels are the private sector. Although they are aware of the responsibilities of securing their facilities, the question is do we have it at a level that suggests that they are doing everything they can do and we are now cutting in this area.
MR. REITINGER: Yes, ma'am. Let me answer that in several different ways, if I could. And I'll try to be as brief as possible. First, it is not our intention to not do anything we were going to do with the cut of $11 million. We might simply have to push out particular products that we were -- designed from FY '10, perhaps to FY '11.
We are also going to have to rely on a more -- as your question indicates -- a more distributed model for resourcing the partnership.
That seems to me appropriate because it is, in fact, a distributed process involving not just the Department of Homeland Security, but multiple federal agencies and literally thousands upon thousands of private-sector entities. We are going to need to rely more on them to help drive the -- partnership. And I will be working personally and avidly to make sure other federal agencies do their part in that process.
In addition, with regard to the private sector, as your question points out, it is a more difficult time for the private sector to devote things, such as working to partnership with the Department of Homeland Security.
That said, I've spent the last six years in the private sector, and I can personally testify to the fact that large portions of the private sector are deeply committed to the security of the United States and I believe, with the right partnership, with the right opportunities are willing to go to even greater lengths to work with the U.S. government -- and DHS, in particular -- to more effectively secure the homeland.
REP. JACKSON-LEE: I thank the gentleman. With that, I will end my questioning and yield to Mr. Lungren. And I will reserve my questions for you, Ms. Rossides. Thank you. Mr. Lungren.
REP. LUNGREN (R-CA): Thank you very much, Madam Chair. Mr. Reitinger, in the president's budget, I think there's $19 million for the implementation of the -- or enforcement of the chemical security regulations. Can you give us an update on where we are in terms of the implementation of the chemical security regs?
MR. REITINGER: Yes, sir. The most recent action -- As I'm sure you know, the original notice or rulemaking was published back in 2008 and initial tiering determinations were made. This is also reflected in my testimony.
Most recently, back in May, the initial or the tiering of the entities regulated under CFATS, the initial letters went out to those regulated under tier one, the highest level. And so those have been notified of their need to develop a site security plan, and so that effort is ongoing. Further communications to the -- will take place over the remainder of the year.
REP. LUNGREN: The regulation or the authority to regulate the chemical security expires in October of this year because of how we had to fashion the legislation in the past. How long does the department need to complete and review all the vulnerability assessments, the site-security plans and site visits to the covered facilities?
MR. REITINGER: Yes, sir. We believe that will be an ongoing activity, and, with support reauthorization of CFATS, that's the reason that we ask for, in the budget request, the one-year reauthorization, so we could discuss with Congress the permanent reauthorization of the CFATS regulatory --
REP. LUNGREN: I want to stress that, because there's a lot of talk here on the Hill that we didn't do enough or we've got to change it and so forth. You got the industry to buy into it. You had a cooperative effort with the industry to come up with regulations that it appears to me can actually work.
And I am worried about us starting the whole process again. Not that we can't improve the process, but starting it again and losing all the good work that we had in the past. Do you share that concern?
MR. REITINGER: I certainly would not like to start again from scratch. We've made a lot of headway. We've done some extensive hiring. We're bringing the right expertise on board to be able to execute the regime. And zeroing out that program and restarting would be costly and inefficient.
REP. LUNGREN: The budget request has $19 million in there to complete the ammonium nitrate regulations that were mandated some years ago. Can you give us the status of the regulations, when you expect those will be completed?
MR. REITINGER: Yes, sir, I can. The advance notice of proposed rulemaking came out last year, and comments were received. Based on those comments, which came in through December of last year, a task force was established by DHS in January of this year.
And that body has been reviewing the comments, contacting internal and external stakeholders and is working on developing an actual notice of proposed rulemaking that should be released some time in the fall, after a review by OMB. The ultimate deadline or the ultimate effective date of such a regulation will depend on a number of factors after that.
REP. LUNGREN: Sure. I understand that, but I hope that you understand that we in the Congress are very concerned about the ammonium nitrate. It does appear to be a substance that is a favorite substance used by terrorists. This Congress was concerned with some sense of urgency that we do have regulations. So I hope that they'll be completed sooner than later.
The committee will be considering chemical facilities security legislation next week. We have the issue of inherently safer technology or IST. There's some issue -- again, this goes back to the question about whether we start almost from scratch or revamping it again. Can you give us your thoughts on IST and its reasonable application to regulations?
MR. REITINGER: Of course, sir. And I'll be brief on this subject, because, as you indicate, sir, there's a hearing next week specifically on the topic.
There's nothing in the current regime that prohibits a covered entity from implementing the use of inherently safer technologies to tier down or to comply with the existing regime. So the existing regime has the flexibility to allow regulated entities to use those sorts of technologies. It does not, however, mandate them.
I would be -- and NPPD, generally, would be happy to work with the committee going forward to make sure that any permanent reauthorization of CFATS or other statutory amendments most effectively allow meeting critical national needs around protecting chemical facilities and, at the same time, preserve the greatest degree of flexibility around risk-based performance, so that covered entities can comply most effectively with the federal requirements.
REP. LUNGREN: I thank you. I appreciate that response, and return any time I might have.
REP. JACKSON-LEE: Let me thank you. Before I just may be able to yield just a minute or two to the next speaker, looking at the clock, Mr. Reitinger, I just wanted to make mention of the fact that our chemical legislation we've been working on for a very long time. So it would not be starting from scratch. If we got momentum and saw this thing really formulating, would you welcome it getting done within the year?
MR. REITINGER: I would welcome a permanent reauthorization as rapidly as possible of the CFATS regime, yes, ma'am.
REP. JACKSON-LEE: Thank you. Mr. Himes. We have you for a moment.
REP. HIMES (D-CT): One minute, one question, Chairman. Mr. Reitinger, I'm interested in the topic of cybersecurity in particular. I've listened to people at DOD and elsewhere who are concerned with this issue make statements indicating they understand the threat. In all candor, it also seems like people are just now beginning to really think how to address that.
So my question is with the inter-budget requests, and also aware of the fact that the White House has developed this concept of naming a cyber coordinator, can you address how you are thinking about this, how you are coordinating this in an integrated fashion with DOD and other interested agencies and departments and how you might relate to the White House cyber coordinator and how your budget proposal reflects that possible integration?
MR. REITINGER: Yes, sir, I can. We have a very strong interagency coordination process under the White House through interagency policy committees, and they meet regularly to make sure that all of the agencies are moving forward jointly to address the issue.
In that vein, I would greatly welcome the appointment of a cyber coordinator in the White House, because, in my opinion, as the president indicated during the outcome of the 60-day review, that this is an issue of such national importance that we need White House leadership. We need White House leadership to continue to bring all of the agencies together as effectively as possible.
And I pledge to you and the committee that DHS will be a part of that and will work effectively, not only with the White House, but with all of our agency partners from DOD, through the Department of Commerce to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and many others to make sure we're effectively addressing issues.
I believe our budget proposal reflects the increasing seriousness of the issue. And, as the chairwoman noted, we are devoting substantial additional dollars to help do our part in DHS to help provide for cybersecurity both within the federal government and in the private sector.
REP. HIMES: Thank you. I yield.
REP. JACKSON-LEE: Thank you. Mr. Lujan is next. Mr. Massa, did you have a question, because you'd have to ask Mr. Lujan to yield.
MR. MASSA: No, Madam Chair, I'll wait until we go around our first round.
REP. JACKSON-LEE: All right. Thank you. I think he is ending his time. Mr. Lujan, did you have a second of any comment to the --
MR. LUJAN (D-NM): Well, Madam Chair, maybe not necessarily anything that the undersecretary would have to respond to. I could probably make my point as the undersecretary is packing up, so best to utilize his time.
I know he has an important speaking engagement, but the issue that we have to visit about are important as well. I would yield back to the chair and allow him to maybe be excused and I could make my point as he's packing up.
REP. JACKSON-LEE: Well, I'm yielding to you, Mr. Lujan. You are ready to make your point.
REP. LUJAN: With that, Madam Chair, thank you very much. The one thing to carry on what Mr. Himes was discussing pertaining to cybersecurity, again, we have an invaluable asset in some of our NNSA laboratories, both Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos -- National Laboratories, which they already possess real-world experience, technology, government-private sector interface to be able to -- asset to these efforts and to this program.
And I would hope that as we look at DHS, in conjunction with what the president's efforts are in this area, that we look to NNSA laboratories for their expertise and to fully utilize our experience with the datasets that have been compiled, as well as other security measures that can be taken.
And I yield back, Madam Chair, and other questions I can reserve later on. Thank you.
MR. REITINGER: Again, offer my apologies that I need to leave and my thanks to the committee for understanding that I had a prior commitment, and my commitment to come back and meet with you and/or staff, at your convenience, to address any additional questions that you have.
I would -- in response to the last -- that I agree completely that this is a national problem and we need to bring all national capabilities to bear to address it. So I look forward to working with the committee and all elements of the government to make that happen as effectively as possible.
REP. JACKSON-LEE: We're understanding of that, and as you're putting your papers together, I don't want to -- Mr. Cleaver, did you have a point you wanted to get on the record as he's packing up?
Let me suggest to the members of what I said earlier that any additional questions we'll provide in writing. And, Mr. Reitinger, you indicated that you'd be willing and are accepting the fact of sitting down with staff after this particular meeting to go over any additional points.
MR. REITINGER: Yes, ma'am.
REP. JACKSON-LEE: Thank you very much.
Somewhat out of order here, but let me find out -- Mr. Lujan, did you finish?
REP. LUJAN: Madam Chair, I yield back and so we go -- second round of questions.
REP. JACKSON-LEE: All right. So then I'm going to go to Mr. Cleaver. And the witness that you have before you, the acting administrator for TSA.
REP. CLEAVER (D-MO): I'm concerned about -- and I apologize if this issue has already surfaced, but the TSA has this mandate by 2010 to do 100-percent screening. And, based on what happened with this existing budget, I'm wondering if it's still realistic to have 100- percent screening by 2010, if we're going to begin to cut back in the current budget.
MS. ROSSIDES: You're speaking about the air-cargo budget.
REP. CLEAVER: Yes.
MS. ROSSIDES: Yes, sir. First of all, let me explain the reduction which is a reduction of $18 million that was in the '09 budget that was for pilots of utilizing technology, and those dollars went out to various partners that were testing the technology.
So, in essence, that was a one-time investment that was made in 2009. So, in essence, the budget is a flat budget, sustained investment in terms of the program dollars from '09 to 2010.
With respect to the screening and the mandate for the 100-percent screening for both domestic and international by August of 2010, we are absolutely certain that on the domestic side we will meet that mandate.
We do believe that it is going to be a significant challenge to meet the international mandate by August of 2010, because, in essence, you have 98 countries that are importing to the United States via air cargo, and it's going to be a challenge to get all of those in compliance by the August 2010 deadline.
And, honestly, sir, that is not necessarily a function of the dollars that TSA has, but it is the limitations we have with some of those foreign governments in getting them to comply with that mandate.
REP. CLEAVER: So you do believe that, with the existing revenue stream, funding stream, that, domestically at least, you will be able to meet the --
MS. ROSSIDES: Yes, sir.
REP. CLEAVER: -- the deadline?
MS. ROSSIDES: Yes, sir.
REP. CLEAVER: Now, there's nothing that needs to be done congressionally to deal with the international --
MS. ROSSIDES: No, sir. What we're doing is we're visiting these countries. We're giving them our standards. We're assisting them with teams of TSA experts that are going there and assisting them to try to get their supply chains to meet the U.S. standards.
And it's not that we're not going to get quite far towards that 100 percent. We're estimating today that we'll get about 80 to 85 percent of the way. But there will be some countries where it's going to be difficult to get to that August 2010 date.
REP. CLEAVER: Where are we now? What percentage --
MS. ROSSIDES: We are over 50 percent, both domestically and internationally as of today.
REP. CLEAVER: And you have no reservations whatsoever --
MS. ROSSIDES: For the domestic side. Yes, sir.
REP. CLEAVER: But your projection is perhaps under 90 percent.
MS. ROSSIDES: For the international. That's right.
REP. CLEAVER: Madam Chair, one other question that's related to this, because I'm concerned that when the budget shows a reduction -- and I'm not sure how it can be addressed -- but when the budget shows a reduction like this -- and I don't want you to make up stuff and -- you wouldn't do it anyway, but it does create some concern., and I'm not sure how to address it.
Are you familiar with the 2200, H.R. 2200?
MS. ROSSIDES: Um-hum.
REP. CLEAVER: How does or was the congressional action taken in that legislation helpful in address this issue?
MS. ROSSIDES: Yes, sir, in a way it does --
REP. CLEAVER: Internationally.
MS. ROSSIDES: It extends the time frame, but that legislation actually does not change the mandate that we have under the 9/11 Act, which is for the August 2010 deadline. That legislation is still in effect.
And that is the target date we're working towards. That is the date that we're working towards with our international partners, the August 2010 date.
REP. CLEAVER: all right. Thank you, Madam Chair.
REP. JACKSON-LEE: I thank the gentleman from Missouri. That last point that you made, could you restate it and clarify it for me, please?
MS. ROSSIDES: Yes, ma'am. It's my understanding that although the provision to provide for the -- two years from the date of the enactment of the TSA reauthorization bill recognizes that -- this is what the counsel is advising me -- that the mandate under the 9/11 Act to meet the August 2010 date doesn't change.
Now, I may be incorrect on that, but that's my understanding, that we still have an August 2010 mandate under the 9/11 Act.
REP. JACKSON-LEE: And that is for domestic?
MS. ROSSIDES: I believe it's both domestic and international.
REP. JACKSON-LEE: We'll pursue that further. Let me recognize Mr. Massa for five minutes.
REP. MASSA (D-NY): Thank you, Madam Chair. Thank you, secretary, for being here today. I'd like to return to one topic with a follow-on question. You very adroitly answered a question about whole-body imaging. Paraphrasing, you said, I believe the word was critical for the security of the agency to fulfill its mission. Am I understanding your opinion of that process correctly?
MS. ROSSIDES: Yes.
REP. MASSA: You also stated that passengers, in all cases, would participate voluntarily.
MS. ROSSIDES: Right.
REP. MASSA: Can you help me understand how a voluntary program could therefore be critical to the security of the ongoing operation, since there's no way to screen or determine who's going to be participating, since they self select?
MS. ROSSIDES: Yes, sir. The way the system is designed is the passenger would be given the option to go through the whole body- imaging technology. If they pass through that technology, then that technology is so superb at detecting anything on the body that it will not require us to have an officer do a pat down.
REP. MASSA: No, I understand that. Although I would never want to inflect anyone on my participation in this program, my point here is you made the statement that the deployment of this technology is critical to the overall improvements in security at TSA.
MS. ROSSIDES: Yes, sir.
REP. MASSA: But you also outlined and have now confirmed that participation by passengers is voluntary. That, to me, is a fundamental disconnect in logic.
If I say that we have to do that to this group to increase security, and then I say to this group it is voluntary to participate, and no one opts in, how can that technology thereby be considered to be crucial to the increase of security to the group?
MS. ROSSIDES: Well, sir, it is because the majority of the passengers are opting in, number one. And, number two, in order to do what we have to do every day, we have to be able to deploy as many tools as possible to help us in the screening process.
REP. MASSA: Is it a question of speed?
MS. ROSSIDES: It is a very effective process to screening people very quickly. It's much quicker to go through the whole-body imaging than it is to do a pat down. So one is a passenger throughput, but the primary goal is the ability to detect, without ever having to touch the passenger.
REP. MASSA: So a second point I'd like to ask, if you can just give me a few moments on this, it is my understanding -- and I apologize that I arrived late. It may have been addressed before my arrival -- that we are preparing to fulfill a requirement to increase security in corporate aviation.
That brings the presence of the air marshals, the screening of passengers and the handling of corporate -- in fact, all private aircraft over a certain weight limit -- to the standards that we have come to be familiar with as the general public, myself included, flies. Is that program continuing as had been previously briefed?
MS. ROSSIDES: It is subject to continuous discussions currently with the stakeholders. And we are going to go out with a second round of proposed comments and a second round of notice of proposed rulemaking.
And the goal is to listen to and address the concerns that the stakeholders have, but also to close the gap in what we see as some security vulnerabilities with the general aviation population.
REP. MASSA: Is part of that enhanced security in corporate aviation entailed in the embarkation of air marshals on those aircraft?
MS. ROSSIDES: It is one of the elements. Whether that ultimately ends up in the final decision, that is to be determined. But it was one of the elements to know, to have a law-enforcement security official on board.
REP. MASSA: So one of the concerns I have with this potential mandate is where will these people come from? It is my understanding -- and I apologize. I'm just a country guy from upstate New York, but it's my understanding from the reading of the information I've been given that we kind of are looking for people anywhere.
We're facing some shortages in that particular endeavor. Where will we find all the additional officers necessary to fulfill this requirement in general and corporate aviation?
MS. ROSSIDES: I believe that the proposal would allow those corporations to employ their own, and then we would train them or offer training to a certain standard.
REP. MASSA: Well, I would offer an observation that if the company is buying and training their own, we've kind of lost control of that particular aspect of the security operation.
So it is my opinion, as a pilot, I am very dubious of the enhanced security that this particular mandate, in all of its factions, will bring.
I am concerned about its cost-debt analysis and detracting from other areas that are a much more significant potential threat. And I am open to participate and offer any insight, as a guy with an awful lot of hours behind the stick, as to what this is going to mean to general and corporate aviation and to the traveling corporate world.
This is an incredibly important tool to them. I don't want to put any more burdens on business when we don't have to.
MS. ROSSIDES: We would be happy to sit down and talk to you and actually brief you on the comments as we go through the period of the working with the association.
REP. MASSA: Thank you. And thank you, Madam Chair. I yield back.
REP. JACKSON-LEE: Let me query my colleague, because he does have a lot of information.
Before I do that, Ms. Rossides, let me suggest to you that we are going to look at the jurisdictional question of 9/11 versus H.R. 2200. And I would offer that clarification.
Before Mr. Massa leaves, I wanted to query Mr. Massa before I move us to our next round. I think we have finished our next round. Because of your experience behind the stick, could you just articulate for the committee the point that you are making? Were you suggesting the impact on general aviation -- so that our witness can hear it as well --
REP. MASSA: Certainly. So my concerns about this particular proposed enhancement of security in aircraft -- I think it's over 18,500 pounds. I may be off on that number. But it's almost everything that flies -- has to do with not only its impact on general aviation, which I believe, if fully implemented, will basically terminate general aviation, but also on the ability to use corporate aircraft as an extensive business tool.
I fully understand that a three-engine, intercontinental jet or a Gulf Stream 5 or any of the larger corporate jets potentially represents an aviation threat as per the nightmares that we've lived through in the last decade.
But every individual on a corporate flight is self-identifying and self-selecting. That airplane will never get off the ground unless everybody on the airplane knows everybody else on the airplane. This is the fundamental difference between corporate aviation and the general traveling public.
Likewise, in light general aircraft, it is much the same. And if the airplane is small enough, you can't put the security measures inside of a Cessna 150 or a Cessna whatever.
So I am very, very concerned about the impact on this industry. It represents a significant sector of our economy. We have whole cities, literally, for whom the construction of light and corporate aircraft is a key element. And I do not presuppose or recommend that the current briefings I've received get enacted into law. This is going to be very, very, very problematic.
And, again, I'm speaking to this from a guy that's done a lot of flying. So I offer those viewpoints, and I stand ready to help in any way possible, although I'll counsel, there's a lot of people on this that are a lot smarter than I am. But I know the questions.
REP. JACKSON-LEE: I wanted you to restate your concerns on the record and just to say to you that, on that particular question, we're going to have a general aviation hearing, so that we can respond to being helpful to TSA. TSA regulations have been, if you will, somewhat challenging.
I happen to err on the side of wanting more security, but I also want to be balanced and responsible. So I wanted you to be able to articulate that on the record again and also indicate to you, Mr. Massa, that we will be having a hearing on this question overall of general aviation security.
I just ask the agency to be prepared, because we will be asking you to respond to your framework for security in that instance. And I thank you.
We're going to start a second round that I'm going to start with and then yield to you, Mr. Dent. And I'm going to focus my questions on cargo and a number of other issues.
I'd appreciate, Madam Administrator, if you would explain to us the reduction, in light of the upcoming August 2010 100-percent cargo- screening deadline for cargo on passenger aircraft. And the reduction I'm talking about, the FY 2010 request for air-cargo security programs is less than the enacted FY 2009.
Can you describe how the budget is changing with respect to the number of inspectors as well as the resources being allocated to certify shippers' screening facilities? I have visited a number of our airports. I think I relayed that to you. And one of the issues was the certification of the shippers' screening facilities which can be helpful in moving cargo. Would you provide us with your understanding of that?
MS. ROSSIDES: Yes, ma'am. The enacted 2009 air-cargo budget was for $123 million. And the request for 2010 is $108 million. And that difference, which is actually $15 million, represents a reduction from 2009 to 2010 for a one-time investment in technology to be deployed in pilot locations with these cargo facilities to test in the cargo environment the technology.
With respect to the number of inspectors, the program level from 2009 to 2010 -- it remains the same and, in fact, there is a small increase for the cost of living for the payroll for the employees in the program area.
The work that we're doing in the air cargo program is a very strong partnership with the external business cargo facilities, those who are becoming certified shippers, and that is ongoing, and we are actually making very, very good progress, particularly here in the United States, with certifying those facilities and those certified shippers so that we are quite confident that we will get to the 100 percent by the August of 2010 here in the United States.
With respect to the international partners, we are doing a lot of work internationally visiting those countries, really training them, educating them about the process that the United States government has put in place here, and gaining compliance that way with our international partners, and so, from a budget standpoint from '09 to '010, that reduction was a one-time technology investment that does not impact the strength of the program from '09 to 2010.
REP. JACKSON-LEE: There does seem to be, you know, a limited window. You're suggesting that the work that you do between '09 and 2010 is not going to be diminished. What about prospective planning, needing more staff to prepare for after 2010? How does this budget relate to those issues?
MS. ROSSIDES: The projection is that once we gain the compliance with the mandate by August 2010, then those resources will be in an audit role. They will go out and they will visit, and we will have a series of ways of looking across the system, looking at compliance, and then selecting for audit those locations where we believe we may have a concern, but the program will shift from educating to gain compliance and certification to an audit process.
REP. JACKSON-LEE: So what you're saying is that you have enough personnel to certify and you'll use a formula to audit and to check to see whether or not they're functioning properly?
MS. ROSSIDES: That's correct, after they have been certified.
REP. JACKSON-LEE: Let me put a hold on that point and just raise the issue of whether or not I'm comfortable with security being done by audit, though I know that some information has to be gained that way as well.
Why are there no new FTEs or funding increases for the purpose of building and expanding the expertise and workforce for surface transportation programs? And I hope that the staff and you as well -- and I think you have -- will review extensively H.R. 2200 because it does have a lot of positive aspects for surface transportation security.
MS. ROSSIDES: Yes, Madam Chairwoman.
First of all, let me say that we do appreciate the fact that with the TSA reauthorization bill, there is direction to TSA to focus on surface modes of transportation, and with respect to our budget in 2010, it is for $128 million. That actually represents an increase of about $65 million over our enacted 2009 levels.
Most of that is going towards our VIPR teams, which are -- this will create 15 permanent VIPR teams that will be deployed in the surface modes of transportation, and in addition, that supports 225 surface inspectors who work across the system in the surface areas doing the inspection work and working with those industries in terms of meeting certain security standards that we put out across the system.
Also, our surface program includes canines which -- currently, we have 86 teams that cover 15 different mass transit locations and the ferries as well on a random basis.
REP. JACKSON-LEE: Let me just pursue the VIPR teams, which have their fans and non-fans. When you say deploy 250, are you talking about over various surface transportation systems?
MS. ROSSIDES: Yes, ma'am. Working with our state and locals partners, we would go into various modes of transportation. For example, we would work in the rail with Amtrak, we would work in mass transit in some of the major cities, working with them to put these VIPR teams, which we have found to be an excellent deterrent.
And the success of these -- for example, in the last couple of years, we've probably executed about 1,000 VIPR teams deployments, and about 45 percent of those have been in the surface areas, and it is very much a partnership with the local mass transit police departments, local mass transit authorities. We've done work in collaboration with the Coast Guard and the ferries in the Pacific Northwest.
REP. JACKSON-LEE: So we have the funding to deploy them and to have them remain in place for a period of time?
MS. ROSSIDES: They would be strategically situated around the country to work in an area in the mass transit in those areas.
REP. JACKSON-LEE: Targeted or to remain ongoing?
MS. ROSSIDES: It would be an ongoing process.
REP. JACKSON-LEE: So they would be assigned to a certain area --
MS. ROSSIDES: Yes.
REP. JACKSON-LEE: -- and we have funding to keep them on duty?
MS. ROSSIDES: Yes.
REP. JACKSON-LEE: And just for my own edification, are there various oversight in terms of back at headquarters on issues dealing with civil liberties and civil rights in terms of how these teams will be acting?
MS. ROSSIDES: Yes. Yes, ma'am. They all have a supervisor on the site with them, and they have been through the training. They have -- our Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties does monitor their activities, and any instances of concern are immediately investigated.
REP. JACKSON-LEE: Thank you.
Last year, working with Assistant Secretary Hawley, we discussed the checkpoint evolution as TSA's new way of modernizing checkpoints across airports. This initiative was started at the end of the previous administration. Outside of BWI, it does not appear that many of the elements have been implemented at other airports. What is the status of checkpoint evolution?
MS. ROSSIDES: Well, I am very happy to say that as of the end of April, we have completely trained all 50,000 front-line officers in the training, which we called Engage and Coach, which was a combination of providing them enhanced IED detection capabilities --
REP. JACKSON-LEE: So you're saying it's across all airports?
MS. ROSSIDES: Yes, ma'am. We have trained the entire workforce by the end of April.
The other part of the evolution strategy is to continue to focus on the training of our supervisors, which we are in the process of doing now, and then the third element really is the technology which is the major investments in technology that we're making to bring the entire system at the checkpoint up in terms of our advanced technology X-Ray and continuing to improve the in-line baggage system.
REP. JACKSON-LEE: What methods are you using to measure, to check, to see whether or not the checkpoint evolution is working? What are your benchmark standards?
MS. ROSSIDES: The benchmarks and standards include things -- we have a pilot program going right now where we're asking the traveling public for feedback as soon as they've passed through the checkpoint. We've piloted that at BWI. We also have a number of surveys that we're developing in conjunction with several of the carriers to ask about the passenger experience that they've had.
When we've deployed any of the new technology in, for example, the WBI, in the pilot modes, we do surveys right there with passengers to ask them for their feedback, and we're developing a series of pulse surveys that we will provide to the workforce that continues to focus on their ability, their quality of work life issues within TSA, all of which goes towards their ability to better do the job.
REP. JACKSON-LEE: And you have the staff to -- these are good benchmarks, but you have someone reviewing this and making an assessment?
MS. ROSSIDES: Yes, ma'am. The senior leadership team of TSA and particularly our managers in our security operations look at these measures and they drill them down to every airport in the country.
REP. JACKSON-LEE: All right.
Let me yield now. Thank you very much. And let me yield now to the gentleman from Pennsylvania, Mr. Dent.
REP. DENT: Thank you, Madam Chair.
The inner-city bus security grant program has provided grant funds to private over-the-road buses for the past five years. The president's Fiscal Year 2010 budget request, however, proposes the elimination of this grant program. Can you tell us why the inner-city bus security grant program's being eliminated in this budget?
MS. ROSSIDES: Sir, the proposal was to shift the focus from the grants funding per se to the work with what we call an ISAAC, which is an interagency advisory committee, and in the course of looking at the entire grants process this year, those were not funded for 2010.
REP. DENT: And also, Section 1604 in the Implementing Recommendations Act of the 9/11 Commission Act required that airports that have incurred eligible costs associated with the development of partial or completed in-line baggage systems before enactment of the Implementing Recommendations Act of the 9/11 Commission Act be included in the TSA prioritization schedule for airport security improvements projects. The president's budget request includes a significant funding increase of $565 million from the 2009 level for in-line explosive detection systems procurement and installation.
Can you tell us how much of that funding will go towards reimbursement of airports for in-line systems that airports themselves installed and paid for?
MS. ROSSIDES: No, sir. At this point, I can't give you an exact figure on that. I will tell you that we do, through a rather extensive process, have the airports apply, but I can't predict the breakdown of that right now.
REP. DENT: Okay. And, finally, the final rule for the secure flight was announced, I think, in October of last year. Can you give us an update on the secure flight implementation?
MS. ROSSIDES: Yes, sir. The secure flight program began to actually what we call cut over air carriers at the very end of January, and as part of the building of this program and the work to bring it on line, we've done an extraordinary amount of work with the General Accounting Office, which has been a terrific partner in getting us to a program level that is really quite exceptional. We've met all 10 conditions the GAO set before we launch the program.
As of today, we have four or five carriers that are now providing their passengers' names and TSA is screening them under the secure flight program, and we are working with all of the domestic carriers to provide the dates for when they will begin cutover. The goal is to have all domestic carriers cut over and operating fully under secure flight by March of 2010, and we're working with them now on those scheduled for the cutover.
The ultimate goal is the international carriers will be all covered under secure flight by the end of 2010.
REP. DENT: Thank you.
And I yield back.
REP. JACKSON-LEE: I thank the gentleman.
Mr. Lujan for five minutes?
REP. LUJAN: Thank you very much, Madam Chair.
One of the questions I have is in and around -- I guess most of my questions center in and around surface transportation with how we're able to fully screen vehicles, trucks, and we go back to '95 with the Oklahoma City bombing, how we're screening the vehicles, the importance of looking at, you know, container vehicles or those vehicles that are delivering packages to homes, businesses, residents, and what we truly can do to make sure that we're applying adequate screening for these vehicles.
How is the department ensuring that these trucks, these vehicles -- that adequate support for surface transportation is going forward?
MS. ROSSIDES: Part of the dynamic is what is the TSA role versus state and local role with respect to surface transportation, truckers, and we do this through a series of assessments. We have a model where we're assessing each of the industries in terms of their ability to provide training to their workers. We do have programs in place where we vet the drivers, and we also have extensive work through our grants administration which goes to surface in general, particularly with respect to rail, and it is a matter of our providing them certain standards to meet rather than we're in there actually inspecting.
REP. LUJAN: And, again, I talked about our laboratories quite a bit. I think they're an immense resource, but there's laboratories that are developing technology for quick screening, but it's very effective screening that I hope that we look to employ.
One of the concerns that I have is a few of the programs that are related to surface transportation. One is the first observer program, which appears to be getting reduced, although there's the Highway Information Sharing and Analysis Center which is getting an increase, but it's part of the first observer program which appears to be getting cut, and I'd like to understand how that's going to truly work or provide us some support from a surface perspective.
And then related to the efforts with utilizing some of the VIPR teams, one of the concerns that I have is -- and I'll quote from some information here that -- "The surface transportation security and efforts to annualize functions established in the 9/11 Act -- it's troubling that the additional funds and personnel are not targeted to any of the most urgent needs or gaps in TSA's execution of its surface transportation security mission, such as the surface transportation security inspection program, the transit security grant program, and building of surface transportation security personnel and expertise."
Although we're seeing more support with surface transportation -- or with the VIPR programs, the resources don't appear to be going towards the surface transportation security inspectors, And I may have that unclear, and if I need to clear that up, please let me know. But when we're utilizing these programs to assist or offer the additional support with transit or with surface, why is it that the training that's taking place is -- maybe those that have more expertise with air as opposed to those on surface where, in fact, that program's being managed a bit by the entity with the air marshals?
MS. ROSSIDES: If I understand your question, on the surface side, what we do is we help design training, we help put standards out, we work with whatever the mode is -- whether it's rail, mass transit, highways -- to provide training conferences, but a lot of that is done as part of creating a baseline of a standard for that particular industry.
The VIPR program is utilizing TSA resources, TSA personnel, to assist, to complement, to help provide as a deterrent in those surface areas. So I'm not -- I don't know that I've answered your question.
I can go back and we can be happy to give you kind of a total picture of what we're doing in the highway area with the ISAAC and how that really is -- in fact, it's viewed as one of the strong partnerships between TSA and the federal sector, is the work we're doing with the highway and motor carriers.
But I'm not sure if I'm being responsive to your question.
REP. LUJAN: Well, Madam Chair, I may be able to make it a little clearer in writing. I'll submit that as well.
But if you could include where you feel that the most urgent needs or gaps in TSA's execution of its surface transportation security mission exists to the committee, I think that would assist us in making sure that we're providing the needed resources and that they're being targeted to areas where we can make sure that we're keeping our surface areas the safest.
Thank you very much, Madam Chair.
REP. JACKSON-LEE: Thank you very much.
We'd be happy to have the gentleman, one, have the opportunity to meet with representatives from TSA going forward, or the gentleman could engage the committee staff and we can be sure that his questions receive an answer in writing. That might be helpful to the gentleman.
I'm delighted to now recognize the gentleman from California for five minutes, Mr. Lungren.
REP. LUNGREN: Thank you, Madam Chair.
Registered traveler, Congress likes the idea, Congress says they like the idea, Congress repeats they like the idea, Congress puts it in legislation, and TSA says, "What?" What does it take for Congress to convince TSA and whatever administration it is that we're serious about registered traveler?
MS. ROSSIDES: Well, sir, I think we know that you're serious about it, and I think that one of the things we're looking at is how do we create the kind of process that is first focused on security, second enables us to ensure that we don't have what we are concerned about with respect to clean skin (ph) who --
REP. LUNGREN: Right.
MS. ROSSIDES: -- and, secondly, one of the things that the secretary now is looking at is registered traveler-like programs across the whole department and how do we maybe bring some alignment with those and how do we employ those in a risk management way.
One of the areas that will make all of our jobs easier at some point down the road and hopefully in the not-too-distant future is the use of biotechnology and biometric cards and things like that so that you have a confidence in who is presenting, that you don't have a fraudulent form of identification, and that you create a program where you're maximizing the security benefits as well as customer service benefits, and we don't have the program today, and I will tell you that the secretary is committed to looking at this as well as other RT-like programs across the department.
REP. LUNGREN: Okay. The only thing I can't understand is we use now the license you get from a state. Some states do a better job than others in making sure the person that gets it is the person who says he is or she is, and I've always thought that in part of the equation of risk is threat vulnerability and consequence, and the only way you know the threat is by gathering information or intelligence.
And the whole idea of registered traveler is that people would expose themselves to more information checking for you than the average person and that, presumably, a one-time or twice-a-year person getting on the airplane's not going to be as interested in it as a regular traveler, and so, presumably, you can do the vetting of these people or have the company that does the registered traveler program do the vetting of these people on a regular basis, and you would have more information.
I still can't understand why giving you more information makes it more likely that they're more seriously a threat than if you don't have that information. I can't get over that. I understand you folks keep saying that we don't understand it, but I just don't understand that. I mean, I presume that if you have more information upon which to check against somebody's bona fides, that's better than not having the information, isn't it?
MS. ROSSIDES: It is. It is, and, as I said, the goal going forward is to look for what kind of a protocol, what kind of a security clearance, and what kind of a card could you have that would benefit the interests of folks that were looking for an RT versus our responsibility for the screening and --
REP. LUNGREN: Oh, I understand.
MS. ROSSIDES: -- and securing, and, you know, I would say that it is still an issue on the table, and we just haven't gotten the solution yet.
REP. LUNGREN: I understand that the behavior detention program at the checkpoints have been very effective.
MS. ROSSIDES: Yes, sir.
REP. LUNGREN: Can you give us a status update on the program? What do you think we'll be doing in FY '10 funding to further improve the program?
MS. ROSSIDES: There is a -- it is basically a flat budget for behavior detection officers, and they are the folks that are trained to observe passenger behavior and then refer to the officers at the checkpoint if they see any anomalies in those behaviors. We also have a slight increase of about 55 FTEs for our bomb appraisal officers.
And these are two complementary skill sets around the checkpoint that help with detection, and both of these programs have been terrific internal to TSA from a security standpoint, but also they have given our officers a career path to move from a transportation security officer up to a behavior detection officer or a bomb appraisal officer.
REP. LUNGREN: So what you're saying is from your standpoint and from your administration's standpoint, you think these have been successful programs.
MS. ROSSIDES: Yes.
REP. LUNGREN: And they bear -- they have come through well under the testing, and we ought to integrate them as a regular part of our program, correct?
MS. ROSSIDES: Absolutely. Yes, sir.
REP. LUNGREN: I don't think these programs are that well known here on the Hill, and I think we need to do a better job of letting members know exactly what this is and the basis upon which you've made an evaluation so that you'll have the support for it that I think it deserves.
MS. ROSSIDES: I would be happy to brief the committee.
REP. LUNGREN: Thank you very, very much.
Thank you, Madam Chair.
REP. JACKSON-LEE: I thank the gentleman very munch.
And I want to thank Mr. Cleaver for his patience, and I yield the gentleman five minutes --
REP. CLEAVER: Thank you, Madam Chair.
REP. JACKSON-LEE: -- for his questioning.
REP. CLEAVER: Let's go back and revisit the whole issue of the cargo. Now I have three questions that are very -- that should be quick.
With H.R. 2200, TSA was given additional time to move up to 100 percent of the cargo internationally. I guess -- and perhaps I should have asked this question a little better than when we had an exchange earlier because I'm not sure whether you said you still don't believe that we will get up to 100 percent internationally after the additional time --
MS. ROSSIDES: At this point, the additional time would be beneficial to have. I just can't say sitting here today what countries will be the last to come into compliance and by what date we will be able to get that date. If it's August 2010, December in 2010, that is part of the work with the international partners that we're trying to do.
REP. CLEAVER: Okay. I'll --
MS. ROSSIDES: -- and I will check and will provide -- happy to provide the committee a specific schedule by country that we think we will have compliance, but I can't answer the question --
REP. CLEAVER: Okay. It would be important for me to know that. I remember when we had this onslaught of public criticism, as I'm sure you do in the department, and so this is an important issue out in the world.
I want to deal with training. I'm a former mayor, and we have all of our police officers -- when they stop individuals, they always refer to them as Mr. and Mrs. because people don't like to be stopped, and so you've got to go as courteous as possible, and I think probably -- I'm familiar with police departments, primarily in Missouri, but I'm -- chances are that that's the case around the nation for the same reason. That's not a part of the training for the TSA officers.
MS. ROSSIDES: Yes, it is, sir. It is. We put a lot of emphasis on the courtesy, the professionalism, the respect that they should pay passengers. We even go so far as to recommend specific, you know, statements that they should be making when they are approaching the passengers, when they're patting them down. We do focus on the communication with passengers.
REP. CLEAVER: Well, yes. I flew out of an airport yesterday in Springfield -- the Springfield-Bentonville, Arkansas -- it's a weird airport -- Springfield, Missouri, Benton, Arkansas, a joint airport, and so I -- there was an older gentleman who was being screened, and the TSA officer kept saying, "Bob, just come on over here and sit down." Well, I wanted to say something, but, of course, I thought better of it, and I think I was probably smart in not saying anything, and it just occurred to me that that may not be a part of the training.
But you're saying it is?
MS. ROSSIDES: It is, sir. Yes. But there is always room for improvement with a workforce of 52,000 people.
REP. CLEAVER: Yes. And, well, that's exactly where I'm going now because there is an increase in the training budget this year. Is there a certain area where you intend to go in terms of improving training or creating training with the additional money that is appropriated or will be?
MS. ROSSIDES: Yes, it is -- our focus is on their ability to detect small improvised explosive devices, and those training dollars go principally to continue to train them in that area. However, the training that I just described we finished across the whole system to all 50,000 employees, actually, a good deal of that was on how you engage the passenger and how you communicate with them, and one of the things we're looking at as well is continuing to put out training on that side of the equation because for the officer, honestly, if they have a calm passenger and they get in the proper kind of conversation with the passenger where they remain calm as they're going through the screening process, we actually get a higher level of screening as a result. So, it is very much a part of the training for both improvised explosive device training as well as how they engage with the passengers, how they communicate with the passengers.
And, also, we put a tremendous amount of focus on dealing with persons with disabilities and training for persons in wheelchairs and persons with other disabilities because such a great percentage of our traveling population either is persons with disabilities or persons with artificial hips, persons with pacemakers and so that is also a part of the training.
REP. EMANUEL CLEAVER (D-MO): I have a missing knee, my left knee, so I go through it twice a week and I'm perfectly willing and happy to do that and I'm glad that the training is moving in that area because this gentleman that I spoke of earlier, he was irritated and a little confused and then I became irritated and confused as were others around me. But, I held back because if you're a member of Congress and you say something, you end up on the front page of the newspaper; maybe even get the electric chair ---
REP. SHEILA JACKSON-LEE (D-TX): Will the gentleman yield?
REP. CLEAVER: The gentleman has articulated a concern, Madame administrator, that has been constant. My recollection is, Mr. Cleaver, is that we work very hard to secure TSA officers, or TSOs. After 9-11, it was a massive plus-up, a surge, and I'm grateful for the wonderful Americans that rose to the cause. But, I think that as we have thanked them for their service, and I think Congressman Cleaver would agree with me. He thanks them for his service. Probably there are a number of individuals that he might know in his own airport that he travels back and forth and sees them on a regular basis and says thank you.
But this training issue has come up a number of times, professional development I'd like to call it. I'd like to work with the gentleman. In fact, I'm going to be writing legislation freestanding on this whole question of professional development. When I felt we had more of it in H.R.2200, but we had so much to do.
But, let us put this on your mind that what the gentleman is saying and what we've all been saying, one of the reasons he went to behavioral assessments -- in fact, I ran into a behavioral assessment person. That information was given to me by another TSO who was trying to be responsive. That behavioral person didn't have all the manners that I think they should have. Security should not be conflicted with manners and I would just like to join the gentleman. He made a simple point, which is that he could call whoever this person was, "Mister", he or she, whoever the TSO officer was. But, that is in a line of circumstances that we seem to find and I'm used to putting -- (inaudible) -- on the record.
No member is asking for special privileges. It's not about us. But, I would say is that the gentleman has indicated if we as a good servant or good citizen were to offer a suggestion, think what the gentleman is saying that our suggestion would be taken out of context and there is some doubt as to how it would be received and whether or not there would be a supervisor there that would welcome Congressman Cleaver's calm assessment of the circumstance. That's all in training. That's all in professional development and at the same time, balancing it, but making sure that terrorists, and the shoe bomber, and some other creative person, doesn't get through.
But, when we first started this, Congressman Cleaver, you were a mayor and you read about this. The baby formulas were maligned, and mothers who were breastfeeding had issues. Then we had issues with the artificial hip. We were just getting it together.
So madame administrator, as we move into this new administration, as we plus-up on the number of TSOs, because we need them, as we prepare to provide them -- this is not your issue -- but provide them opportunity for workforce rights that they've been asking for, I think it's important for you to note -- now you get back to the gentleman -- that this, as someone who's been involved, either in this committee as a member or subcommittee member for a number of years since 9-11, this is an issue that we must confront. We confront it all the time in our law enforcement, but this is a new team and it looks like in the new team we should be able to make as much progress as we possibly can. I'll yield to the gentleman because I cut him off.
REP. CLEAVER: Thank you, Madame Chair, I'm finished with the questioning. You said it much more eloquently and clearly, I think, than what I was hoping to convey and whenever we increase training dollars that seems to me a perfect opportunity to expand, you know, the teaching of courtesy. Thank you, Madame Chair. Yield back.
REP. JACKSON-LEE: Thank you very much for your astuteness and eloquence, Congressman. Let me conclude on this point to give us an update on the Secure Flight Program implementation. It looks like there's very little in the budget request on this program and our committee would like to have the assurance from TSA that you are in fact budgeting appropriately for this program since it's supposed to be completed in FY2010.
MS. ROSSIDES: Yes, Madame Chairwoman. We are making excellent progress on Secure Flight and the system is built and we are in the process now of working with the carriers to begin the transference of their system of vetting over to TSA. There is a schedule in place. We are working very hard with the carriers to keep that schedule so that the U.S. carriers have been cut over and their passenger records are being vetted under the Secure Flight Program by March of 2010 and again, the international carriers by the end of 2010.
We have had great success with those carriers, albeit they're small carriers, and the capability to vet them under the Secure Flight Program. There is a very strong program management team in place and, as I have stated earlier, we have met all of the conditions under the general accounting office for this program to be a very strong program and we will keep the committee apprised of the progress we're making as we are bringing the major carriers into the system.
REP. JACKSON-LEE: Keep us informed. It's very important and I also ask we have language H.R.2200 on these foreign repair stations. This has been a continuing issue for this committee and we want to see TSA take our interest seriously and begin to look at the structure that you need to put in place and the requirements that you need to put in place.
There is no doubt that every time a catastrophic incident happens in the air, or one that happens on the ground, such as Mumbai, which is I guess our latest, and we have Spain and some other areas that have surface transportation, but the recent Brazilian or Air France aircraft, those of us who are on this committee immediate response is not to be hysterical, but it is to think of anything so catastrophic -- disappearing, no evidence at least in the most recent hours -- begin to think of all kinds of unfortunate incidences.
Those foreign repair stations are one of the stopgaps to that kind of unfortunate circumstance possibly occurring, as it was with the question of interline banks that we addressed, tragically probably too late in the case of Pan Am 103, which is preceding 9-11. So, what is the hold up or the issue with the Foreign Repair Station?
MS. ROSSIDES: Madame, the rule is in review still within the administration and we are working very diligently to get it out so that it will be something that we can work on. We are staying in very close touch with the FFA on it and it is just a matter of getting it through the review process currently within the administration.
REP. JACKSON-LEE: I'm going to leave these two points on the record, Mr. Reitinger has gone and this is done in his absence, so if you can convey to him. I think I made a point about being apprised and kept in sync with what you are doing on outreach. I know that TSA, the whole agency, is looking to ensure that they have the right kind of staffing and some people would say, as I've mentioned this on the record, that I'm speaking the obvious because, you know, there's possibly new attitudes here in Washington and I respect that and I'm excited about it.
But, I hope that we are keeping in mind diversity, that includes region, that includes ethnicity, racial -- sometimes that overlaps. That includes both, if you will, gender. That is diverse so that we will look in far ranges of opportunities.
I hope that we will look at the nation's colleges. Class of 2009 is now ready to work. There are small and large universities. I'm always hearing from my constituents they didn't come to ABC's 2500 student campus. I know you can't do that, but, you know, with email and outreach, I frankly believe some notice should be at all the campuses across America, at least those that may have programs at that includes historically black colleges, Hispanic colleges and any other colleges, community colleges, Ph.D., MIT, all those that have a range of diversity.
I think the other point of it is that that goes to the idea of contracting. H.R.2200 gives some impetus, a push, to science and technology that has not been very responsive. They are all thoughts of small inventors and others with creative ideas that need to be before you, need to be on your list if they are adequate. That needs to be diverse as well. Talent is diverse and so maybe we'll have an opportunity for us to get back and show some data that indicates that you have seen the light as you move forward to building your team and obviously, getting all of the personnel that the secretary needs at DHS.
MS. ROSSIDES: Thank you, Madame Chairwoman. I would love to come back and brief you on, specifically, the initiative TSA has put in place on diversity. We have some superb programs with colleges and programs where we're offering our officers Associate's degrees. We have extensive intern programs now that are in place and I would love to able to brief you, the committee, and your staff on those programs.
REP. JACKSON-LEE: We'd be delighted and you will get your chance.
MS. ROSSIDES: Thank you.
REP. JACKSON-LEE: Let me ensure that I have no further questions. I think I have asked and answered the question on Secure Flight which I was going to repeat again. But, in any event, let me thank the witnesses for appearing before us today and the members for their questions. The members of the subcommittee may also have additional questions for the witnesses and we ask that you respond to them expeditiously in writing. Hearing no further business, let me thank you very much for your presentation. The subcommittee now stands adjourned.