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Homeland Defense and the Fiscal Year 20004 Defense Authorization Request

Location: Washington, DC

SEN. CHAMBLISS: Gentlemen, all three of you have a great challenge in your respective, newly created positions. And I commend you on getting off the ground and getting going like each of you have.

General Eberhart, you and I—because, as you know, my close ties to the Air Force—have had many opportunities to work together over the last eight-and-a-half years. I've always been impressed with your dedication, your hard work and your capabilities. And I could not have been more pleased when I saw who the president's choice for the newly created NORTHCOM CINC was. So I, again, congratulate you and commend you for the good job you're doing.

And, Mr. Secretary, again, you and I go back to our days on the House Armed Services Committee. And we've both come a long way since then. Our mutual friends say you've taken a step up and I've taken a step down. I don't know what my House buddies mean by that, but --

MR. MCHALE: (Chuckles.)

SEN. CHAMBLISS: An issue that has been very important to me over the last couple of years, particularly since September 11, has been the issue of information-sharing between all of our intelligence- gathering agencies, as well as all of our law enforcement agencies at the federal level all the way down to the state and local level. Each of you have your own respective intelligence piece, but I think most significantly, information coming to you from our intelligence- gatherers is critically important to winning this battle of protecting our homeland and winning the war on terrorism.

And I'd just like to hear from each of you as to how that integration and cooperation and dialogue between our intelligence- gatherers is working as far as coming to you, and as far as information that you gather going back to them with respect to not just the war on terrorism, but any other issues that may be important to us.

So, Admiral Ellis, if you'd start off, please.

SEN. CHAMBLISS: I agree with you the analytical part of it is just as critical. Now, you say that you're sharing with them. Now, are you getting that same information they gather back?

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