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Hearing of the Terrorism, HUMINT, Analysis, and Counterintelligence Subcommittee of the House Intelligence Committee - "The Role of DHS in the IC: A Report by the Aspen Institute"


Location: Unknown

The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Subcommittee on Terrorism, Human Intelligence, Analysis, and Counterintelligence will come to order.

I would like to welcome everyone to our first subcommittee hearing of the year. Today we welcome three members of the Aspen Institute's Homeland Security Group to discuss the results of their recent study of the Department of Homeland Security's role in the Intelligence Community.

DHS is one of the newest members of the Intelligence Community through its Office of Intelligence & Analysis. (The Coast Guard also has an intelligence unit, but this will not be the focus of our discussion today). The Office of Intelligence & Analysis, or "I&A" for short, has made significant strides toward maturity in recent years, particularly under the leadership of the current Undersecretary for Intelligence and Analysis, Caryn Wagner.

I&A historically has suffered from a lack of focus in its mission. This challenge partially stems from vague or overlapping authorities in some areas.

DHS clearly has primary responsibility for developing plans and measures for protecting key resources and critical infrastructure. Core DHS authorities in this area include:

Developing a comprehensive national plan for securing the key resources and critical infrastructure of the United States;

Recommending measures necessary to protect the key resources and critical infrastructure of the United States in coordination with other federal agencies, state

and local governments, and the private sector; and

Integrating relevant information, analyses, and vulnerability information to identify priorities for protective and support measures by DHS, other federal, state, and local government entities, and the private sector.

Additionally, DHS has a unique responsibility to secure our borders and to monitor travel data to detect threats.

However, there are also key areas of overlap between the roles and responsibilities of DHS and other federal agencies, namely the FBI, including:

The prevention and disruption of terrorist threats to the United States, including through the collection, analysis, and dissemination of intelligence information and warnings on terrorist threats; and

The collection, analysis, and dissemination of information regarding vulnerabilities and preparedness with respect to terrorism.

It is clear that in these areas overlapping authorities and responsibilities created by federal law and policy have contributed to confusion and duplicative efforts. Moreover, the vagueness of some of DHS's responsibilities and authorities has allowed for some interpretation by I&A with regard to its mission.

This Committee has encouraged I&A to focus its mission on the areas where it can provide a unique value added. In years past, the office has attempted to gain relevance through its involvement in a wide variety of issues. While I certainly can understand the pressure on I&A to spread its arms far and wide, I firmly believe that it will gain relevance, and contribute most effectively to the intelligence mission, by zeroing in on its core mission.

I couldn't agree more with the notion expressed in the Aspen report that, "In an age of budget constraints, pressure on DHS to focus on core areas of responsibility and capability--and to avoid emphasis on areas performed by other entities--may allow for greater focus on these areas of core competency while the agency sheds intelligence functions less central to the DHS mission." As we begin the budget authorization process for Fiscal Year 2013, we will continue to encourage I&A to reach a greater level of focus through the distribution of resources.

With those thoughts in mind, I'd like to welcome our three outstanding witnesses today:

Secretary Michael Chertoff, former DHS Secretary and current co-Chair of the Aspen Institute's Homeland Security Group;

Mr. Philip Mudd, a member of the Aspen Institute's Homeland Security Group, and former Deputy Director of FBI's National Security Branch and Deputy Director of CIA's Counterterrorist Center; and

Mr. Juan Zarate, also a member of the Aspen Institute's Homeland Security Group, and former Deputy National Security Advisor for Combating Terrorism.

The Aspen Institute has put together a paper entitled, "Homeland Security and Intelligence: Next Steps in Evolving the Mission" and I have invited our witnesses here today to discuss not only the content of this paper, but more generally their expert views on the maturation of the Department, its interaction with state and local partners, and lanes in the road relative to other Intelligence Community agencies.

Thank you all for taking the time to be here to discuss this important issue. I'd now like to invite Mr. Thompson to make an opening statement.

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