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Public Statements

Hearing of the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


Federal News Service August 25, 2004 Wednesday

HEADLINE: HEARING OF THE COAST GUARD AND MARITIME TRANSPORTATION SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE HOUSE TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE COMMITTEE

SUBJECT: THE 9/11 COMMISSION REPORT AND MARITIME TRANSPORTATION SECURITY

CHAIRED BY: REPRESENTATIVE FRANK A. LOBIONDO (R-NJ)

WITNESSES PANEL I: JOHN LEHMAN, COMMISSIONER, NATIONAL COMMISSION ON TERRORIST ATTACKS UPON THE UNITED STATES; JAMIE GORELICK, COMMISSIONER, NATIONAL COMMISSION ON TERRORIST ATTACKS UPON THE UNITED STATES;

PANEL II:

REAR ADMIRAL LARRY HERETH, DIRECTOR OF PORT SECURITY; JAMES F. SLOAN, ASSISTANT COMMANDANT FOR INTELLIGENCE, UNITED STATES COAST GUARD;

PANEL III: DR. STEPHEN E. FLYNN, JEANE J. KIRKPATRICK SENIOR FELLOW FOR NATIONAL SECURITY STUDIES, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS

LOCATION: 2167 RAYBURN HOUSE OFFICE BUILDING, WASHINGTON, D.C.

BODY:

REP. FRANK A. LOBIONDO (R-NJ): Good afternoon. The Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation will come to order. I'm going to start out with an opening statement. We welcome, Mr. Secretary, Ms. Gorelick, thank you, and the subcommittee members who are here. We're going to be joined by Mr. Oberstar and probably by Mr. DeFazio shortly. They advised me-oh, here is Mr. DeFazio. Peter, welcome.

The subcommittee is meeting this afternoon to review the findings and recommendations of the 9/11 Commission and to examine the current state of security of our maritime transportation system. The horrible events that occurred on September 11, '01 had a profound impact on the lives of all Americans, including the intense loss still felt by so many families in my home state of New Jersey. In order to prevent future terrorist attacks on this nation we must as elected representatives learn from the events of that day and the circumstances that conspired to make such events possible.

By meeting today to discuss the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission we are taking a step further toward establishing measures that will protect the security of the American people. As members of this subcommittee, we are specifically charged with overseeing the security of the maritime sector. The 9/11 Commission report alludes to the fact that ports and maritime transportation industries may be particularly vulnerable to a future terrorist attack. The introduction of a dirty bomb or large amounts of explosives into one of our ports could have a catastrophic effect not only on the safety of the many Americans living in coastal areas nearby, but could effectively halt the global transport of goods and materials.

In order to ensure security at our ports and along our coast, we must focus our attention on improving the Coast Guard's capabilities to prevent future attacks. The Coast Guard has been and continues to be the lead agency responsible for protecting homeland security along our nation's shores. On September 11 the Coast Guard played a vital role in coordinating the evacuation of nearly one million people by boat from harm's way in lower Manhattan. After September 11 the Coast Guard quickly incorporated additional maritime homeland security responsibilities with the many missions that the service carries out each and every day. The men and women of the Coast Guard should be commended for the speed and skill with which they have accomplished this feat.

Nevertheless, I believe there are many measures that we can take to improve our awareness of activities occurring in the maritime domain. The Coast Guard has identified maritime domain awareness as one of its major objectives. It is our job to ensure that the service has the necessary resources, technology and authority to achieve this objective to better secure America's ports and maritime transportation sector. The commission's report includes a number of recommendations that call for system wide improvement in the national intelligence community so that we may improve the quantity and quality and the integration of information that is being collected.

We must focus energy and resources to increase our intelligence capabilities on the high seas and in overseas ports. Increased intelligence efforts in the maritime sector will allow the Coast Guard to further push out our borders, allowing the service to identify and track potential threats at a distance from our shores. We must be able to verify the list of ports previously called on by vessels approaching the U.S. We must also enhance our capabilities to both identify the individuals or groups that control interest in both the vessels and the cargo carried aboard those vessels, and track the long range movement of those vessels. Enhancing the collection and dissemination of maritime intelligence data is critical if the Coast Guard is to be successful in securing America's ports.

Like the Coast Guard, this committee has been given increased responsibilities in overseeing the security of the maritime sector following September 11. I believe that we have met this challenge. This committee has worked hard to ensure two unprecedented pieces of legislation that have for the first time imposed a state of security in the maritime transportation sector.

We are beginning to see the results of the Maritime Transportation Security Act today with the boarding and inspection of thousands of foreign and domestic vessels, and the security improvements being implemented at our ports. However, security needs are continually being identified and further refined and we must continue to develop legislation to adapt and to address these emerging needs. I am interested to hear the testimony today from our witnesses as to what they see as the critical areas that remain to be addressed.

Finally, I would like to echo the sentiments that have been so often directed to yourselves and to the other members of the commission. You and your staff are to be commended in the bipartisan in which this report has come forth. We thank you for your service.

And I'll now see-Mr. DeFazio, do you wish to open?

REP. PETER A. DEFAZIO (D-OR): Yes, in Mr. Oberstar's absence I will, thank you, Mr. Chairman.

REP. LOBIONDO: Okay.

REP. DEFAZIO: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And with deference to Mr. Oberstar, I'll substantially purloin his opening statement. America is vulnerable to terrorist attack. Our maritime transportation system is vulnerable to terrorist attack. We have over 95,000 miles of coastline, import more than seven million shipping containers annually. Thousands of tankers carrying oil and hazardous materials enter our ports each years, and millions of vacationers enjoy their holidays on cruise ships.

Beginning July 1, every ship and port facility was required to have implemented a security plan approved by the Coast Guard, yet somehow I think we're missing the big picture. Eighty percent of the drugs that are shipped out of Colombia by water penetrate our security and reach our shores. It wouldn't be difficult for narcoterrorists to smuggle a weapon of mass destruction into the United States using the same means and paths. Less than 4 percent of the containers that enter the United States each year are fully inspected. It would be easy to secrete a weapon of mass destruction in one of those with a GPS triggering device and when it reached a certain point in the United States, it would detonate.

Terrorist organizations have used suicide operatives to attack civilian and military maritime platforms with small boats loaded with explosives. Al Qaeda used this method in October 2000, the Cole; in October 2002 the MV Limburg. Other terrorists used these methods in the April 25 of 2004 attack on the Basra oil terminal in Iraq. These tactics could be used against cruise ships, LNG liquefied natural gas tankers, chemical tankers, offshore oil facilities, or other ships.

For example, the LOOP oil terminal off the coast of Louisiana handles 25 percent of the U.S. imported oil. A small boat with explosives attacking that facility could severely cripple our economy that depends upon those imports. Yet, the administration has not developed a coherent strategy that can realistically thwart these types of attacks, other than designating areas as security zones; which is like simply posting a No Trespassing sign over a high security area.

The Congress authorized the Coast Guard to lease additional aircraft for a West Coast helicopter interdiction tactical squadron. The administration has failed to lease these aircraft. We could be lucky next time and discover a bumbling terrorist, like the alert Customs agent did at the ferry in Port Angeles, Washington. But maybe we won't be so lucky and there will be a successor to the 9/11 Commission trying to get the government to address our security problems.

It's not too late. The turf wars within the Department of Homeland Security need to end. We need to clarify which agency is in charge of which area of security. We don't need to have the Coast Guard and the Border Transportation Security Directorate both operating ships on the water.

When this committee wrote the Maritime Transportation Security Act in 2002, we viewed it as the beginning of our major involvement improving security along our nation's waterfront. While some would say that you must centralize congressional oversight so that one committee has a single mission to oversee the homeland security activities of the executive branch, you also must have an expertise in transportation to protect our nation from the threats that can be launched through this transportation system. This committee brings that expertise to the table.

I look forward to hearing from today's witnesses about what more we can do to help prevent another attack against America using our transportation system as a weapon. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

REP. LOBIONDO: Thank you.

Mr. Gilchrest.

REP. WAYNE T. GILCHREST (R-MD): Just briefly, Mr. Chairman, I would like to thank the witnesses for coming this afternoon and I look forward to their testimony from the commission, from certainly the Coast Guard and from our other witnesses. To understand how the Congress can be an active, positive participant in securing the ports and the waterways of the United States by coordinating our activities not only with the various sundry federal agencies, but also with the private sector, with the ports and with our international friends.

So we look forward to your testimony and we will take the recommendations to heart.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

REP. LOBIONDO: Thank you, Mr. Gilchrest.

Mr. DeMint?

REP. JIM DEMINT (R-SC): Mr. Chairman, I will pass on an opening statement. I am ready to hear the testimony, thank you.

REP. LOBIONDO: Thank you.

Again, we welcome Secretary Lehman and Ms. Gorelick. We thank you for being here and for the work you've done, and please proceed.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
REP. LoBIONDO: Thank you, Mr. Gilchrest. I think what I'm hearing is that you believe that Department of Homeland Security, we need to press them for an overall plan specifically as it relates to maritime but the commission didn't look at making any specific recommendations for the maritime side of this. Specifically what I-even more specifically, I think your report makes brief reference to the need to intensify the efforts to identify, track and screen maritime cargo. Did the commission investigate the possibility of maritime cargo containers as a means of importing either material to carry out a terrorist attack or terrorists themselves? And will the commission issue specific recommendations to us to improve the screening of cargo? Did you get that far or --

MR. LEHMAN: We certainly got far enough into it to know that the threat is very real, that there had been-there has been planning. It's an area that our enemies have indeed focused on and we saw a great disparity in the level of interest from the Islamist terrorist world compared to the level of effort to deal with those security measures. Certainly x-raying and barcoding and those kinds of technologies are part of the solution. But we did not go beyond the fact-it was beyond our purview. If there was look as we might through the bureaucracy, we found no place where we could find a framework to evaluate the efforts that were being done.

It's such a beginning stage as mentioned earlier. Four percent at most are looked at in some way. And so what we've done-again, our approach in our report has not been to provide an exhaustive list of nice-to-haves and must-haves. But the highlight-we only made 41 recommendations because we wanted to concentrate on those things that we felt were the most important and not try to get into the level of detail that the expertise in your committee and your staff would be essential to carry out.

We found insufficient basis of evidence that work was being done within the bureaucracy to make a clear set of specific recommendations other than the ones that we have made, which are we've got to get on with it, recognize the nature of the problem, the insufficiency of the resources, the availability of resources that are not being harnessed in technology and private sector and urge that the administration and Congress, and specifically the subcommittee, get on with it at a very high priority.

REP. LoBIONDO: Can I ask you just to elaborate a little bit on something you commented on earlier, about the Navy possibly being a partner for resources with port security, how that would work in your view?

MR. LEHMAN: This is beyond what we actually evaluated in the commission. It is more drawn from my own experience as the secretary of the Navy. In the east coast at any given time, there are dozens of naval ships in home waters, exercising, operating and so forth.

There are significant numbers of Reserve ships operating out of Gulf ports and east and west coasts, although now far fewer than there used to be. But the Navy is just moving to a very innovative new way of deploying rather than the six months work up, six months deployment, six months repair. The Navy has now shifted and is in the process of shifting to deploying on an exceptional basis for shorter periods for surge and for crisis management and spending much more time operating and training in home waters.

As you know, the instrumented test ranges for the Navy and Air Force are all up and down all of our coast. And so, we have that presence there. It was like, you know, we had a total of four aircraft on alert on 9/11 on the whole east coast. Yet we had probably 500 or 600 aircraft, military aircraft flying that day on the east coast not harnessed into NORAD because they were the-the belief was that there was no more threat.

So the resources are there. You don't have to buy new ships if you couple up the homeland security and Coast Guard to the available training that the naval ships are doing in port. I might say, the Army actually has a larger fleet of relevant boats in American ports than the Navy does.

So I wouldn't leave the Army out. So these resources are there. And if they can be coupled in, well they-and it's been done in the past. It's not just take somebody to decide that this is a priority to do and that can plug a lot of holes, in my judgment.

REP. LoBIONDO: Well, I thank you, Secretary Lehman, Ms. Gorelick. Thank you very much for being here today and for your work on the commission. And we'll take a brief adjournment till we move to panel two.

WITNESSES: Thank you.

(Recess.)

REP. LoBIONDO: I thank the second panel. Admiral Hereth, we thank you for being here today. You're director of Port Security for the United States Coast Guard. And the admiral is accompanies by James Sloan, assistant commandant for Intelligence for the United States Coast Guard. Admiral, thank you and please proceed.

ADM. LARRY HERETH: Always a pleasure, Mr. Chairman and thank you very much. I am the director of Port Security in the Coast Guard's Marine Safety, Security and Environmental Protection Directorate and I am pleased to be here with Mr. James Sloan, who is our assistant commandant for Coast Guard Intelligence. It's a pleasure to appear before you today to discuss the Coast Guard's continuing efforts to improve maritime transportation security. It is also appropriate that we appear together because intelligence and port security must go hand in hand if we are to secure our nation's vast maritime arena.

First, on behalf of the commandant, we would like to thank the commission for the service they provide to the nation, for their thoughtful deliberations and recommendations on how we can further secure the homeland. We would also like to thank the subcommittee, Mr. Chairman, for your tireless efforts to secure final passage and enactment of the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2004. It's important legislation that will help us continue enhancing security and reducing maritime risk.

As recognized in the commission's report, the nation's maritime transportation system is vast and diverse. The system spans 26,000 miles of commercially navigable waterways. That accounts for $800 billion of freight trade each year and is used by 180 million ferry passengers and 78 million recreational boaters. Protecting the system is indeed a significant challenge. A maritime terrorist attack, with its associated ripple effect, would have a dramatic effect on trade and commerce and will severely impact on the nation's economy. So we must focus our efforts on preventing such an act.

While we take great pride in the progress we've made since 9/11 to improve maritime security, we are intent on pressing hard for greater improvements. For the Coast Guard, that means continuing the aggressive efforts to build capability and apply resources related to risk to support our maritime security strategy. The four key pillars of that strategy are awareness through enhancing the maritime domain awareness program that we're trying to emphasize, building prevention through enforcement of our effective domestic and international security regime, increasing protection by improving our operational presence and by leveraging state, local and private sector capabilities and improving our capability to respond and recover should an incident happen.

The core of our maritime domain awareness efforts revolves around the development and employment of accurate information intelligence, knowledge of vessels, cargo, crew and passengers and extending this well beyond our traditional maritime boundaries. All DHS components are working hard to provide this layered defense through collaborative efforts with our international partners to counter and manage security risks long before they reach the U.S. ports.

But we have taken some steps to improve maritime domain awareness. We've implemented the 96-hour advance notice for arrival requirement for vessels. We've accelerated the implementation requirements for AIS equipment. We've stood up joint operations centers. We still have much to do, however, to ensure an adequate level of maritime domain awareness. To help that, we have set up a specifically dedicated staff, an MDA staff to coordinate those activities and to encourage collaboration with all agencies in the government that share our goal.

Regarding building a security regime, much attention has been paid to the implementation of MTSA and ISPS. This is certainly a major part of our prevention strategy. And our domestic efforts and international efforts have focused on implementation in a very short period of time, centered around that 1 July date. We are also intent on improving supply chain security. And our basic premise is that, since trade is global and terrorism is global, we felt it was necessary to build a global security regime and therefore we collaborated with representatives from 147 other countries at the International Maritime Organization to build this new and substantial security regime that applies to vessels and port facilities around the world.

These international requirements mirror our domestic standards set forth in MTSA. So that's very much an equal push domestically and internationally on the same security front. This provides a powerful way to leverage our efforts, not only across the country but across the world. We do have implementation challenges and we have met those and the 1 July implementation date has come and gone very smoothly despite these many challenges.

Since 1 July, we have continued our enforcement efforts and have conducted other 2,500 foreign vessel security exams under our Port State Control Program and about 1,000 other facility and domestic vessel security inspections to ensure compliance with our new regime. Also Coast Guard men and women are working every single day on the waterfront to deter and prevent terrorist acts and are preparing to respond should something happen in a port.

As required by the MTSA, the Coast Guard has also established an international port security program that works in concert with Customs and Border Protection, with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, with the Transportation Security Agency and the Maritime Administration and some other federal agencies to identify foreign ports that pose a potential security risk to international maritime transportation because of their lapse in security as the vessels or cargo comes to the United States.

BTS, Border and Transportation Security, is also leading an effort along with TSA, CBP and the Coast Guard to develop a cargo security strategic plan known as the Secure Systems of Transportation, which is an MTSA requirement, by the way. It takes a systems approach related to risk to cargo transportation by enhancing existing security regimes through minimal regulatory standards and using performance based options to improve shipments. The Secure Systems of Transportation effort will ensure security requirements for international and domestic cargo shipments are aligned for all modes of transportation.

Further enhancing our maritime security implementation efforts has been our gaining membership in the national intelligence community. Intelligence community membership is absolutely necessary, in our opinion, because it gives the Coast Guard expanded authority to collect, retain and disseminate foreign intelligence to meet the various homeland security objectives, one of which is port security. It also gives us enhanced access to information and enhanced intelligence in maritime domain awareness through our partnerships and access to information from the many intelligence community members.

To continue facilitating our intelligence capabilities and information sharing capabilities, the Coast Guard will hold a public meeting on the 1st of September here in DC to discuss information sharing mechanisms that will allow the federal government, particularly in the maritime security arena, to more effectively share threat information with maritime industry stakeholders, specifically the private sector.

Regarding our operational presence, our collective efforts to increase our operational presence in ports and coastal zones continue to build upon our layered security posture established by the Maritime Security Strategy, which is a document we published in December of '02. Since 9/11, the Coast Guard has grown by over 4,000 people. We've increased our cutter operating hours by almost 100,000 and our small boat operating hours by estimated 200,000 hours just in support of port security missions. We will also, by the end of this calendar year, have deployed and commissioned 13 maritime safety and security teams. Those are search teams, as you well know, that provide us a great deal of asset capability should something happen and also for daily operations to search and meet the needs related to the risks in the various ports around the country.

We also are working with DOD as close as we ever have and we will receive and commission five new coastal patrol boats from the Navy before the end of the year. We will also add 17 new 87-foot coastal patrol boats and nearly 3 new small boats by the end of this year. So our operational presence certainly depends on the acquisition and development of these resources and we're making great progress on that front.

Regarding response and recovery, the Coast Guard has been working with Customs and Border Protection, TSA, the Maritime Administration and other DOT modal administrators on establishing national standards, plans and policies for maritime transportation security, including response and recovery. Just three short examples that are key but significant. Since 9/11, we have adopted the now National Incident Management System, the NIMS system, which essentially is a 9/11 Commission recommendation to adopt ICS. NIMS is essentially the incident command system. That will be the nation's first standardized model for incident management that will create a unified structure to involve federal, state and local responders to respond to any kind of incident, including a terrorist incident.

The National Response Plan, which is the capstone document that talks about response and recovery, is in its final stages of review and we look forward to getting that finalized. I'd also offer that area maritime security committees, 43 of them, have been stood up around the country and one of their charters, in addition to a strong focus on prevention, is also to talk about jurisdictional responses in their particular area of responsibility, identify agencies that have response capabilities and, in general, make sure that there is good coordination between local, state and federal agencies to any incident that may occur.

We recently, in the last couple of months, have had the opportunity as a department to exercise our planning and coordination at three national security special events, the G8 Summit, the state funeral for President Reagan and the Democratic National Convention up in Boston. During all these events, the department not only coordinated its own agency efforts. But it also worked with other federal, state and local agencies as well as our private sector maritime community partners. This allowed us to address the security risk presented while ensuring a free flow of commerce and minimizing the effects on recreational boaters and the commercial fishing community, which is important. Our efforts again will be surged for the Republican National Convention in New York.

In conclusion, we've come a long way since the morning of 9/11. But we still have a great deal to do. It will require continued capability growth and development of strong partnerships among the Coast Guard, Transportation Security Administration, Customs, ICE, MARAD and state and local agencies and our local maritime community private stakeholders. No single stakeholder, whether it be government, industry, labor or private sector, anyone, can do this alone. We must continue to work together to improve security.

The recent 9/11 Commission report and the focus it places on the national intelligence infrastructure and maritime security provides further opportunities for improvement. While we must remain vigilant and dedicated to the effort, the Coast Guard's maritime homeland security strategy has, we believe, produced significant results since 9/11. We have a rich tradition of answering the nation's calls. We are proud of our accomplishments over the past three years and we appreciate the dialogue with this committee in particular to continue those improvements.

Thank you very much for the opportunity to come today and talk to you and we'll be happy to answer any questions you may have.

REP. LoBIONDO: Okay. Thank you, Admiral.

Mr. Gilchrest, why don't you start off.

REP. GILCHREST: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Admiral, welcome to the subcommittee hearing. As stated by the first panel, made a recommendation that Congress reform itself so that we don't have 45, 32, however many subcommittees dealing with this issue and fragment the kind of information that needs to be consolidated so that we can keep the Coast Guard and the bureaucracy dynamic. I also want to welcome James Sloan, a graduate of Cranford (ph) High School 1964. A neighboring high school, we challenged each other in a whole range of sports. I'm glad to see, after 40 years, we've finally got together again.

MR. JAMES F. SLOAN: Good morning, sir.

REP. GILCHREST: Admiral --

REP. LoBIONDO: You've got to give him a chance to respond, Wayne. You threw something out there.

REP. GILCHREST: Mr. Sloan.

MR. SLOAN: I'm not foolish enough to say that Congressman Gilchrest won everything.

REP. LoBIONDO: Okay.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
REP. LoBIONDO: Thank you, Mr. Gilchrest. I think what I'm hearing is that you believe that Department of Homeland Security, we need to press them for an overall plan specifically as it relates to maritime but the commission didn't look at making any specific recommendations for the maritime side of this. Specifically what I-even more specifically, I think your report makes brief reference to the need to intensify the efforts to identify, track and screen maritime cargo. Did the commission investigate the possibility of maritime cargo containers as a means of importing either material to carry out a terrorist attack or terrorists themselves? And will the commission issue specific recommendations to us to improve the screening of cargo? Did you get that far or --

MR. LEHMAN: We certainly got far enough into it to know that the threat is very real, that there had been-there has been planning. It's an area that our enemies have indeed focused on and we saw a great disparity in the level of interest from the Islamist terrorist world compared to the level of effort to deal with those security measures. Certainly x-raying and barcoding and those kinds of technologies are part of the solution. But we did not go beyond the fact-it was beyond our purview. If there was look as we might through the bureaucracy, we found no place where we could find a framework to evaluate the efforts that were being done.

It's such a beginning stage as mentioned earlier. Four percent at most are looked at in some way. And so what we've done-again, our approach in our report has not been to provide an exhaustive list of nice-to-haves and must-haves. But the highlight-we only made 41 recommendations because we wanted to concentrate on those things that we felt were the most important and not try to get into the level of detail that the expertise in your committee and your staff would be essential to carry out.

We found insufficient basis of evidence that work was being done within the bureaucracy to make a clear set of specific recommendations other than the ones that we have made, which are we've got to get on with it, recognize the nature of the problem, the insufficiency of the resources, the availability of resources that are not being harnessed in technology and private sector and urge that the administration and Congress, and specifically the subcommittee, get on with it at a very high priority.

REP. LoBIONDO: Can I ask you just to elaborate a little bit on something you commented on earlier, about the Navy possibly being a partner for resources with port security, how that would work in your view?

MR. LEHMAN: This is beyond what we actually evaluated in the commission. It is more drawn from my own experience as the secretary of the Navy. In the east coast at any given time, there are dozens of naval ships in home waters, exercising, operating and so forth.

There are significant numbers of Reserve ships operating out of Gulf ports and east and west coasts, although now far fewer than there used to be. But the Navy is just moving to a very innovative new way of deploying rather than the six months work up, six months deployment, six months repair. The Navy has now shifted and is in the process of shifting to deploying on an exceptional basis for shorter periods for surge and for crisis management and spending much more time operating and training in home waters.

As you know, the instrumented test ranges for the Navy and Air Force are all up and down all of our coast. And so, we have that presence there. It was like, you know, we had a total of four aircraft on alert on 9/11 on the whole east coast. Yet we had probably 500 or 600 aircraft, military aircraft flying that day on the east coast not harnessed into NORAD because they were the-the belief was that there was no more threat.

So the resources are there. You don't have to buy new ships if you couple up the homeland security and Coast Guard to the available training that the naval ships are doing in port. I might say, the Army actually has a larger fleet of relevant boats in American ports than the Navy does.

So I wouldn't leave the Army out. So these resources are there. And if they can be coupled in, well they-and it's been done in the past. It's not just take somebody to decide that this is a priority to do and that can plug a lot of holes, in my judgment.

REP. LoBIONDO: Well, I thank you, Secretary Lehman, Ms. Gorelick. Thank you very much for being here today and for your work on the commission. And we'll take a brief adjournment till we move to panel two.

WITNESSES: Thank you.

(Recess.)

REP. LoBIONDO: I thank the second panel. Admiral Hereth, we thank you for being here today. You're director of Port Security for the United States Coast Guard. And the admiral is accompanies by James Sloan, assistant commandant for Intelligence for the United States Coast Guard. Admiral, thank you and please proceed.

ADM. LARRY HERETH: Always a pleasure, Mr. Chairman and thank you very much. I am the director of Port Security in the Coast Guard's Marine Safety, Security and Environmental Protection Directorate and I am pleased to be here with Mr. James Sloan, who is our assistant commandant for Coast Guard Intelligence. It's a pleasure to appear before you today to discuss the Coast Guard's continuing efforts to improve maritime transportation security. It is also appropriate that we appear together because intelligence and port security must go hand in hand if we are to secure our nation's vast maritime arena.

First, on behalf of the commandant, we would like to thank the commission for the service they provide to the nation, for their thoughtful deliberations and recommendations on how we can further secure the homeland. We would also like to thank the subcommittee, Mr. Chairman, for your tireless efforts to secure final passage and enactment of the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2004. It's important legislation that will help us continue enhancing security and reducing maritime risk.

As recognized in the commission's report, the nation's maritime transportation system is vast and diverse. The system spans 26,000 miles of commercially navigable waterways. That accounts for $800 billion of freight trade each year and is used by 180 million ferry passengers and 78 million recreational boaters. Protecting the system is indeed a significant challenge. A maritime terrorist attack, with its associated ripple effect, would have a dramatic effect on trade and commerce and will severely impact on the nation's economy. So we must focus our efforts on preventing such an act.

While we take great pride in the progress we've made since 9/11 to improve maritime security, we are intent on pressing hard for greater improvements. For the Coast Guard, that means continuing the aggressive efforts to build capability and apply resources related to risk to support our maritime security strategy. The four key pillars of that strategy are awareness through enhancing the maritime domain awareness program that we're trying to emphasize, building prevention through enforcement of our effective domestic and international security regime, increasing protection by improving our operational presence and by leveraging state, local and private sector capabilities and improving our capability to respond and recover should an incident happen.

The core of our maritime domain awareness efforts revolves around the development and employment of accurate information intelligence, knowledge of vessels, cargo, crew and passengers and extending this well beyond our traditional maritime boundaries. All DHS components are working hard to provide this layered defense through collaborative efforts with our international partners to counter and manage security risks long before they reach the U.S. ports.

But we have taken some steps to improve maritime domain awareness. We've implemented the 96-hour advance notice for arrival requirement for vessels. We've accelerated the implementation requirements for AIS equipment. We've stood up joint operations centers. We still have much to do, however, to ensure an adequate level of maritime domain awareness. To help that, we have set up a specifically dedicated staff, an MDA staff to coordinate those activities and to encourage collaboration with all agencies in the government that share our goal.

Regarding building a security regime, much attention has been paid to the implementation of MTSA and ISPS. This is certainly a major part of our prevention strategy. And our domestic efforts and international efforts have focused on implementation in a very short period of time, centered around that 1 July date. We are also intent on improving supply chain security. And our basic premise is that, since trade is global and terrorism is global, we felt it was necessary to build a global security regime and therefore we collaborated with representatives from 147 other countries at the International Maritime Organization to build this new and substantial security regime that applies to vessels and port facilities around the world.

These international requirements mirror our domestic standards set forth in MTSA. So that's very much an equal push domestically and internationally on the same security front. This provides a powerful way to leverage our efforts, not only across the country but across the world. We do have implementation challenges and we have met those and the 1 July implementation date has come and gone very smoothly despite these many challenges.

Since 1 July, we have continued our enforcement efforts and have conducted other 2,500 foreign vessel security exams under our Port State Control Program and about 1,000 other facility and domestic vessel security inspections to ensure compliance with our new regime. Also Coast Guard men and women are working every single day on the waterfront to deter and prevent terrorist acts and are preparing to respond should something happen in a port.

As required by the MTSA, the Coast Guard has also established an international port security program that works in concert with Customs and Border Protection, with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, with the Transportation Security Agency and the Maritime Administration and some other federal agencies to identify foreign ports that pose a potential security risk to international maritime transportation because of their lapse in security as the vessels or cargo comes to the United States.

BTS, Border and Transportation Security, is also leading an effort along with TSA, CBP and the Coast Guard to develop a cargo security strategic plan known as the Secure Systems of Transportation, which is an MTSA requirement, by the way. It takes a systems approach related to risk to cargo transportation by enhancing existing security regimes through minimal regulatory standards and using performance based options to improve shipments. The Secure Systems of Transportation effort will ensure security requirements for international and domestic cargo shipments are aligned for all modes of transportation.

Further enhancing our maritime security implementation efforts has been our gaining membership in the national intelligence community. Intelligence community membership is absolutely necessary, in our opinion, because it gives the Coast Guard expanded authority to collect, retain and disseminate foreign intelligence to meet the various homeland security objectives, one of which is port security. It also gives us enhanced access to information and enhanced intelligence in maritime domain awareness through our partnerships and access to information from the many intelligence community members.

To continue facilitating our intelligence capabilities and information sharing capabilities, the Coast Guard will hold a public meeting on the 1st of September here in DC to discuss information sharing mechanisms that will allow the federal government, particularly in the maritime security arena, to more effectively share threat information with maritime industry stakeholders, specifically the private sector.

Regarding our operational presence, our collective efforts to increase our operational presence in ports and coastal zones continue to build upon our layered security posture established by the Maritime Security Strategy, which is a document we published in December of '02. Since 9/11, the Coast Guard has grown by over 4,000 people. We've increased our cutter operating hours by almost 100,000 and our small boat operating hours by estimated 200,000 hours just in support of port security missions. We will also, by the end of this calendar year, have deployed and commissioned 13 maritime safety and security teams. Those are search teams, as you well know, that provide us a great deal of asset capability should something happen and also for daily operations to search and meet the needs related to the risks in the various ports around the country.

We also are working with DOD as close as we ever have and we will receive and commission five new coastal patrol boats from the Navy before the end of the year. We will also add 17 new 87-foot coastal patrol boats and nearly 3 new small boats by the end of this year. So our operational presence certainly depends on the acquisition and development of these resources and we're making great progress on that front.

Regarding response and recovery, the Coast Guard has been working with Customs and Border Protection, TSA, the Maritime Administration and other DOT modal administrators on establishing national standards, plans and policies for maritime transportation security, including response and recovery. Just three short examples that are key but significant. Since 9/11, we have adopted the now National Incident Management System, the NIMS system, which essentially is a 9/11 Commission recommendation to adopt ICS. NIMS is essentially the incident command system. That will be the nation's first standardized model for incident management that will create a unified structure to involve federal, state and local responders to respond to any kind of incident, including a terrorist incident.

The National Response Plan, which is the capstone document that talks about response and recovery, is in its final stages of review and we look forward to getting that finalized. I'd also offer that area maritime security committees, 43 of them, have been stood up around the country and one of their charters, in addition to a strong focus on prevention, is also to talk about jurisdictional responses in their particular area of responsibility, identify agencies that have response capabilities and, in general, make sure that there is good coordination between local, state and federal agencies to any incident that may occur.

We recently, in the last couple of months, have had the opportunity as a department to exercise our planning and coordination at three national security special events, the G8 Summit, the state funeral for President Reagan and the Democratic National Convention up in Boston. During all these events, the department not only coordinated its own agency efforts. But it also worked with other federal, state and local agencies as well as our private sector maritime community partners. This allowed us to address the security risk presented while ensuring a free flow of commerce and minimizing the effects on recreational boaters and the commercial fishing community, which is important. Our efforts again will be surged for the Republican National Convention in New York.

In conclusion, we've come a long way since the morning of 9/11. But we still have a great deal to do. It will require continued capability growth and development of strong partnerships among the Coast Guard, Transportation Security Administration, Customs, ICE, MARAD and state and local agencies and our local maritime community private stakeholders. No single stakeholder, whether it be government, industry, labor or private sector, anyone, can do this alone. We must continue to work together to improve security.

The recent 9/11 Commission report and the focus it places on the national intelligence infrastructure and maritime security provides further opportunities for improvement. While we must remain vigilant and dedicated to the effort, the Coast Guard's maritime homeland security strategy has, we believe, produced significant results since 9/11. We have a rich tradition of answering the nation's calls. We are proud of our accomplishments over the past three years and we appreciate the dialogue with this committee in particular to continue those improvements.

Thank you very much for the opportunity to come today and talk to you and we'll be happy to answer any questions you may have.

REP. LoBIONDO: Okay. Thank you, Admiral.

Mr. Gilchrest, why don't you start off.

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