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tv   Asst. DHS Secretary Testifies on Weapons of Mass Destruction  CSPAN  July 23, 2021 3:45pm-4:58pm EDT

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and environmentalists is ready for the next fire and they hope it won't happen but they are going to be prepared for that pretty. >> washington columnist sunday at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span q&a. you can also listen to q&a the podcast wherever you get your podcast. >> next the department of homeland security's acting assistant secretary for weapons of mass discretion testifying on the operations before house and security subcommittee. that's about print detections and workforce morale, bioterrorism, security and the origins of covid-19. >> the subcommittee on the american preparedness as coming to order rated subcommittee is meeting today to receive testimony on examining the u.s. department of homeland security
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countering weapons of mass discretion and without objection, the chair is authorized to declare the subcommittee and recess. we are here today to discuss the united states department of homeland security countering weapons of mass discretion office. the september marks the 20th anniversary of the worst terrorist attack on u.s. soil. and since that time, there has been general agreement that we as a nation it must be prepared to address an attack on our country regardless of the mode of attack. this means being prepared for low probability and cost was attacks. and let's not take a lot of
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imagination to envision it the damage it that of biological radiological,ol nuclear attack good due to our country. in addition d to that open safey consequences, such an attack could impair our nations critical info structure and destabilize large parts of the country. with its part of dhs is called to the office to not only prevent such an attack but also partner with domestic and international partners to safeguard the u.s. againstty health security attacks and unfortunately, since they were authorized in 2018, despite face significant challenges and problems some of which predate the offices actual establishment that undermines the offices ability to successfully reveal is very michael mission and they challenge were not unforeseen. in august 2016, the general, two
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years prior to the trump administration unilateral action to consolidate in a new. [inaudible]. that dhs was", did not fully access and document initial problems that could result fromn consolidation. although they workforce i performed multiple activities during the pandemic, such actions in issuing guidance performing surveillance and efforts to vaccinate the dhs reports numerous governmental and nongovernmental reports indicate there was a a significt structural workforce moralen issue within cwm date and cw md is at a crossroads, at this time there are a number of major portions of the office and there is a - organization will have adequate resources to deliver
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the promise of the prominent inconsequential detections program. for instance, dhs continues to struggle with bio detection capabilities that can effectively deploy in urban and other hybrid areas and into 2003 dhs began installing pilot, and street-level and of top buildings and citizens across country to detect deadly biological attacks. but that never quite delivered predict in the situational awareness that local responders needed to dhs shifted gears to the bio detection from 31st century. and unfortunately, the program is struggling as well and in fact, i the 2021 report issued by the general felt that the program faces technical challenges due to inherent limitations in the technologies and uncertainties the
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biotechnology for use in bio detection. and in securing the cities program which is proposed to detect nuclear radiological patent - the trump administration sold confusion and uncertainty of individuals participating according to the controller general. [inaudible]. and the leader then of the communicated to the stakeholders that the dhs wanted to reduce his participation i let other federal agents display a larger role predict that are on the same time in 2019, that was reporting to the trump administration had quietly dismantled her prospect program such as dw md trenton programs and carry out dozens of drills around the country each year to help federal state and local officials detect potential threats that improvise nuclear devices instant case for a cargo ship carrying radiation bomb. as well as the operations report
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director which had helped lead up to 20 related training exercises each year for state and local authorities and some of the challenges that they face today are a byproduct of the way in which they were formed rated by the trump administration it and other challenges are in its mission. given all of these challenges, dhs leadership will have to borrow time for improvement in order to enhance the departments cdr in program and the subcommittee stands ready to assist them in an apartment in to improve automation's ability to protect their homeland against weapons of massru destruction. i along with members of the subcommittee are grateful that the participation of our witnesses here today, secretary, and the director of the homeland and justice division.
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we look forward to your testimony. in the chair now recognizes the ranking member of the subcommittee, the gentlewoman from florida. it for an opening statement. >> will thank you medical chair and pleasure to see everyone here today and take a tour witnesses and a less than two months of our nation it will collectively more the 20th anniversary of the september 111 attack. the tax of the homeland security was created and - however the last 20 yearse the terrorist threat landscape has changed dramatically pretty the same as have long tried to employee chemicals biological radiological and nuclear materir attacks printed in 2001, anthrax attacks, degraded and grim reality of a bio weapon and the powder was delivered to mail ultimate killing five people making ill 17th and shutting
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down much of the capitol complex predict in 2000 something from the australian government had a plot by ices involves setting up a device to release toxic gas in the enclosed public space and even now, when we are finally looking down at the downslope of covid-19, questions have been raised as to the origins of the virus that is not just the united states but the entire world pretty and is cost more than 600,000 american lives pretty and it is imperative that we stand ready to encounter these types of threats. the mass destruction office, is authorized to elevate and streamline efforts to prevent terrorism using weapons of mass destruction. unfortunately, dw md has had its fair share of going to paint. the reporting 2019, tweeted that the cw see office eliminated program specifically put in place to help the united states.
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nineteen according to a matter removed from their areas ofis expertise rated and training exercises aimed at helping stats and local officials were minimized predict simile the gao has several reports highlighting the many shortfalls in the office has encountered through its various programs. and i am happy that we are here to hear from them today. for example gao recently found that they had taken little action on working with cities participating into securing the cities programs on the detection capabilities in securing the city's name and reducing the risk of a successful deployment of a radiological and nuclear weapon areas within the united states about analyzing the risk related to sustain and working in the cities to address the risk radiological detection capabilities of the country good and will deteriorate. g a l and dhs office of
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inspector general has also the glong-standing challenges that the dw d technologies and biological programs. and they're intended to detect biological agents and provide early warnings in the event of g biological attack. military, the oig reported that the system monitors detections are less than 50 percent of the biological it is known to bes threats were because he had not updated his entire agent detection capabilities in the 2017 threat assessment result read and additionally in july i just last year, dhs oig report stated that dw empi in 20 the agriculture and food act had limited awareness of dhs and ongoing effortsd cannot enter s adequately prepared to respond to a terrorist attack against the nation's food agriculture
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pictionary system. considering the supply shortages that wein face, both western ths year due to the covid-19 pandemic, i cannot simply imagine the consequences of our food agriculture systems were attacked. and i would be remiss if i did not mention the low morale they are facing since the offices in 2019 the office was rank dead last almost life-size agency in the partnerships the best places to work. in 2020, while the office paid progress, the right 430411 agencies moving up only had both sides. it's so important for the success of the office and theon they maintain our nation's readiness to detect deterrence support a terrorist attack pretty as i have highlighted in my opening statement, they been partially many roadblocks since its creation i am hopeful as an upturn the rest of our members
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of this committee, this hearing will bring to light the underlying issues that plague the success that we may have an open-ended discussion puts us on the cause of the tax forward. thank you for hauling this very important hearing and i look forward to hearing from our witnesses here today. and i yield back pretty. >> i think her first name and the members also reminded the committee will also operate according to the guidelines laid out in regarding remote procedures without objection, members now on the subcommittee shall be permitted to sit and question the witnesses. the chair now recognizes the chairman of the committee, the gentleman from mississippi. for an opening statement.
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[inaudible]. [inaudible]. >> mr. chairman. mr. ranking member is on? okay, we will move forward and if mr. thompson joins us we will go back to him rated i know welcome our panel of witnesses, the first witness is gary, he served as the acting assistant secretary to the u.s. department of homeland security council weapons of mass destruction office. he previously served at the assistant secretary of the 19th of october 2019 through july 2020 and prior to his role within cw md, he assumed the of the u.s. coast guard deputy, not for his report omission support personnel readiness in 2018 and
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has experience working in transportation security administration. he has also served as an active duty coast guard officer for more than 20 years in the subcommittee appreciate him for his service. thank you so much for joining us today. our second witness is mr. curry as the director of homeland and juvenile justice division it within the u.s. government accountability office and in his role he leads the gao investigative work on emergency management, disaster response and recovery and management of the department of homeland security and mr. curry began his time with gao in 2002, mr. curry thank you so much for joining us as well. without objection, the witnesses whole statements will be inserted into the record in a now give each witness the opportunity to summarize their
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statements for five minutes beginning with acting assistant secretary. >> distinguished members, thank you for inviting me to speak here today and appreciate this opportunity to discuss thesc homeland security weapons of mass discretion office known as cw impey that our efforts to safeguard the nation from chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and other health security threats. ... ... ... ... of 2018, cwmd is the hub of the departments health security activity, providing providing coordination strategy and policy guidance, intelligence analysis, operation support developing and deploying
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technology. the president's budget request for $27 million by 22 to support 309 federal staff and programs critical to this mission. i've had the privilege of leading this office twice. most recently since january 2021. my priority to establish a sale work environment will transfer mission capability across the broad spectrum and three to strengthen both critical partnerships and support to dhsn operating components and full range of federal, state, local, tribal and territorial part. over the past two years, we've made notable progress in strengthening programs with alex and congress, government accountability office and inspector general. first responder and other
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operational organizations we deport. recent mission accomplishment include strengthening flagship bio defense programs including actions with file and formal recapitalization program in 21. expanding security program.s reinvigorating dhs food, agriculture and veterinary events program. strengthening to a three-part series of exercises including 300 dhs federal and state and local participants of the last barrel month. the chief medical officer vaccinating our workforce which has vaccinated 75000 frontline mission-critical and dhs employee.
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finally, we focused extensively on improving this. this established an employee engaging seek to empower staff at all levels to provide input and ownership in the organization strategic decision-makingte product. throughout the pandemic, we conducted over 70 weekly virtual town halls with an average of more than 250 staff participants. additionally, i have personally held numerous small town halls and multiple letters. these and other actions that played a significant role reflecting as one of dhs's most improved components in the overall ranking in the recently released partnership for public services best places to work in the federal the creation of 2018 elevated and streamlined the ability to successfully resource and execute this criticald mission.
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as with any organization, there is room for improvement. we plan to work closely with the members of the subcommittee as we strive to improve. on the behalf of the staff who worked tirelessly to keep the american people safe, i look forward to working with each of you on the continue authorization. finally, i am humbled to be here larepresenting this office and e department of homeland security. to me, this hearing is the federal government work just like we all learned about. thank you, i look forward to your questions. >> thank you for your testimony. i now recognize director curry to summarize his statement forr five minutes. >> thank you chairman c thompson
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if you're here and otherer membs of the subcommittee. i appreciate the chance to be here to discuss our past work and ongoing work on the weapons of mass destruction and i don't think i could have set up the importance of this topic any better than your as the chair minted the opening this is an incredibly difficult mission, chemical biological nuclear and radiological address are extremely unique challenges. unlike cyber threats, mass shootings, disasters or apprehension drug smuggling and other daily occurrences dhs basis, these threats are not as routine is not only perceived as more likely as you said in your .pening his competing for resources and attention with other dhs components dealing with these daily events. however, the covid-19 pandemic
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showed us biological and other threats like this while not routine, can create catastrophic society changing impacts and it shows pandemics are not just a public health issue but a national security issue requiring a huge rolege for dhs and that's what happened. our work has identified a numbet of challenges across the mission. one peter challenges they face right now is both addressing many problematic challenges entered in theeses opening whilt the same time working to better define its role in transforming itself. however, this shows what we have seen for decades of net government programs. mission results cannot be separated from organizational health and employee morale and you can't have one without the other. in the bio defense area since 2012 we've reported on challenges in implementing fire watch, a systemow designed on an
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airborne bio attack. two months ago, we reported on challenges in the effort to upgrade and replace fire watch, the third effort to do so called bt 21. we found they face challenges such as inherent limitations in the available technology and uncertainties with combining technologies for use in the domestic environment, places like train stations, sporting arenas and things like that. for example, avoiding and reducing falseg alarms, still a difficult technical challenge that has to be overcome to quickly detect bio threats in these environments and i think this shows how hard it is to apply technologies for dhs and moment versus overseas and war fighter or military environmentm we've also found they struggle to develop effective surveillance systems to share information on bio threats. we've reported dhs national bio surveillance integration center
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struggle to fulfill mandate and law and provide value to federal state and local partners. in chemical chemical security area 2018 reporting dhs had noti fully integrated and coordinated this defense program and activities are possible dhs components. we recommended dhs develop a strategy and implementation plan and the good newsev is if it's completed implementation plan to be completed in the next couple of months according to dhs. we've also identified challenges related to nuclear and radiological efforts. we found challenges in securing the cities program in the opening, this helps cities basically detect and deter nuclear terrorism and report if they didn't fully have programs and performance and addressing challenges at the local level we recommend they better do so. they've made a lot of progress in this area but there is still
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more to be made and it's important to note that because it seeks to expand the program in the 22 budget. i realize the key question and it's the right question for derek, what do we do to move forward to help the organization be successful? in addition to the recommendations we've made, toe help the organization mature and address morale and other challengesur. four years ago we testified to the same committee as dhs was first considering this reorganization. we stand by the same recommendations we've made at that timewe. it's continuing to implement best practices for example, focusing on efforts and can dbetter define its mission focusing on what it does best, communicate with internal and external stakeholders and involved employees and all of these efforts. this completes my statement and i look forward to the discussioc
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and questions. >> i will remind the subcommittee we will each have time questions of the panel. i recognize myself for questions. both of our witnesses today mission on these efforts and coordinate federal and state and local travel territorial and international partners. against chemical biological radial biological and nuclear threat. as we've already talked about relatively new office struggled to manage its responsibility bio detection being one of the most prominentom examples previous leadership issues has led to, as we've already mentioned and employee morale and high
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attrition rates. in the short time, the office has already sent off responsibly including the national technical nuclear program in the office of the chief medical officer. what is your vision for cw mp and how will you work to keep the office intact? >> my vision is very much aligned, we are the coordination for the operational support for this critical mission throughout dhs and honestly throughout nature parts of the federal government. we are suffering from national policy to state and local program for the cities and other programs we have exceptional regions all the way down to the
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local level swords my vision as we return these programs, and i want to say, we are taking into account all of these recommendations and ig recommendations and we are trying as best as possible to incorporate them as we move forward. i look forward to these questions on the specific programs, i'm notof sure where we're going with but i look forward to securing the cities as well as giving a quick debrief on where we are. we want the opportunity to discuss those. thank you. there are currently a number of proposals to reorganize including proposals of the chief medical officer to the office of the secretary and the nuclear forensic operation to the energy department moving these policy officials. given that this is a relatively young organization a diverse
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range of significant challenges, how should we think about reorganization acts. >> the first thing i would say is the organization moving around is often something that's looked to from when a problem is received. the challenge is that it's understandable a specific action to take but that doesn't always solve the problem. these reorganizations, oftentimes you can create additional problems when something reorganizes that they have to go through a transformation effort they can often take multiple years and ewent back happened, the focus n internal transformation can take away from some of the mission response about his they have outside and some of the services they provide can decline so we are not for or against changes but it can't be looked at as a
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solution. some of these officers if there are challenges, if you're going to move, there has to be a clear understanding and reason why you are moving to a different place it has to be crystal clear what the responsibilities and authorities are going to do or else it's going to be another move. >> what was your response director curry there in reorganization? >> i am on the cmo outside, looking across the department and these changes that might be necessary in the chief medical officer to provide options regarding the correct placement of chief medical officer. we've learned a lot this past year end it highlights the public health and medical aspects of dhs and the review is wanted. i tell staff all the time have to reserve the right to learn
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and as we learn more things, we may act differently and we have no decisions tono take on the co and if i could suggest, we are still doing what we are required by law. i chair the executive committee had a meeting on may 13. what we are doingus as the department of energy does the primary operational work. we don't have boots on the ground, that's energy. their labs provide a construct, we refunding most for these labs. i think it's a good leadership practice to put funding decisions and leadership closest to what's being funded and what operational so the agency suggested we move the actual funding in the direction of our empty for these labs to doe.
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doe has been funded in the last year to do that so while funding is going down, article coordinating nuclear forensic for the nation remains intact and i chaired the nuclear forensic executive committee so i think i agree with director, this isn't going to get us out of any problem. when in doubt, reorganize. that's not what we are doing.. we are learning as we move along and we have to take advantage of what we have learned. thank you. >> assistant secretary, the chair recognizes ranking member, gentlewoman from florida for five minutes. >> now we are unmute it. thank you. appreciate it again, thank you to witnesses for appearing here today. i know we have been on a lot today about the gao report so
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i'm going to touch briefly on it and move t on so july 2020, inspector general published a report found they've not yet had a program securing agriculture and requirements. as noted in your testimony in fy 20, dw and be established and reestablished a food and agriculture veterinary different program meet the standards and requirements. can you describe in detail how they are meeting requirements of this? additional staff requested for the program the 2022 budget request and it, why? >> november 2019, we reestablished program, we brought some staff over began leveraging internal resource to
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do that. our accomplishment so far we've put together a cooperative agreement to direct research on this program and enhance that research and development work. we have increased the budget in fy 19, 800,000 and 21 it was 2.4 million. and 22, we are requesting other 2.7 million to take it to 5.1. we have pushed out both agriculture and fda. we meet with them all the time, those are our primary partners defending the nation in this sector. one of the things we've pushed the inner agency on, i feel like we have been in full-scale exercise over the past year. we watch the impact of public packing industry, we have read all about that so wee put together an industry fisting table, firstound
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week of june for we brought in major industry leaders using our format for industry engagement through agricultural sector and tried to capture lessons learned o that they have had over the lt year end the corporate response to see how we can do things that are and as we adjust policy based on that we want to makean sure we have industry input because we are living on the front line so that is where we are headed. >> i appreciate that and as a follow-up, we had a conversation a couple of days ago and i'm glad, i would love to get the workup of findings you pack from the discussions and you can follow up with rose about but i want to jump to the strategy so this office is to enable operations from operational prop
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offense, weapons of mass distraction from iqs against the home and chemical biological radiological nuclear security threat. this strategy its ability to provide operational capability and technical assistance for local and tribal front line operators is a crucial aspect of homeland security. my own shares don't even know about this office if they don't know it exists, how are we executing on this strategy and what is the plan to engage with local law enforcement? >> we probably have not given all that's going on within the office, they probably not done state and local outreach outside of those jurisdictions already participating in our programs but it's my intention the next year to reach out chief of police all the right organizations to let them know
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what we are offering and what capabilities we can bring to them. we are big players in the agency board as a governing board for inner agency, state and local organizations, we've front of that organization in the past continue to work with them. i look forward to any opportunity for letting cmo post know what we are doing. we are pushing people out in the field. i felt folks our regional medical operations center to help with public health in five locations across the country. we got 30 jurisdictions across the country, we just expanded securing the city to 13 major metropolitan areas across the country. we are out there and we will do a better job letting people know you hit the nail in the head, if the people don't know what we
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are doing, how do they know what to ask for? would do a better job getting the word out. >> i know my time has expired but i want to say i'm looking forward to working with you. as i think right now at the border, 3:30 a.m. this morning, six of my sheriff and i for with border patrol pulling people out of the river. my fear is that one day someone is going to bring a bomb across the border and that something we are not prepared for in my locas sheriffs rc this firsthand they don't even know this office exists so i am looking forward to helping you get the word out about what you're doing for training and make sure our front-line guys and gals have the best resources available so that and i go ba back. >> the ranking member yields back in the chair will recognize other members for questions and they may wish to ask the witness. i will recognize members in order of seniority between majority and minority.
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members are reminded to unmute themselves when recognizing questioning. the chair recognizes for five minutes the gentleman from new jersey. >> thank you. it is good to be with you again for this timely and as usual, hearing. i say that because this is a follow-up from a hearing i had in october 2019 on bio defense. at the hearing i was attempting to get answers from stakeholders with relations to their conversation going on with this so here we still are two or three years later.
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this is kind of a follow-up for me. so as i stated october 2019th the subcommittee heard testimony on the nation's preparedness of terrorism. witnesses hearing the spoke about cw and be lack of coordination and communication state and local territorial as ranking member just said. to improve this program, this must engage with these partners. please describe the steps taken to increase the amount of engagement and how the staff are able to successfully partner with localbl government. >> thank you for that question good to see you again.
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i came and later in october and i know we've met in your office several times. i heard you loudud and clear on that. it's especially true, i think in the dd 21 arena for i think initially when we were working on that program, it was in the basement of the building that i occupy. we heard you. i went up to new york city and met with everyone up there because they were one of the primary places we were doing some demonstration work and heard what they were saying that the team has been out. many of the jurisdictions state and local input for operational requirements should look like and what concept of operations should look like because we need to make sure this works for they state and local. as you know, the whole idea behind this is to try to reduce the time it takes for detection to be recognized if it is an
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actual detention of actual agent, we can quickly get tohe e medical measures that parameter is different in every city so we got to be out there talking to about my team has been out there and help listing sections and we have talked to academic folks and working closely with labs to understand what is feasible. it's not in anyone's interest for me to buy something that doesn't work. i get it. >> thank you for that. let me ask you one question, are we still using the 1950s technologies for file watch? >> yes, the sensors are there proven and reliable the problem is we do need to expand and we are working with the national lab based on gaoe report and inspector general's report to see how we can expand the number of agents and look forward to getting that report this fall. we're working with fbi, hhs and cdc and seeking what agents we
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should be expanding so we are looking to improve that system and we have looked to ask, are we in the right place to provide the most protection for the money to the american public? where taking actions here. >> thank you. let me quickly go to mr.ay curr. i feel like her to say throughout this whole process, i told you before because it seems like the same issues are persistent here. global detection architecture is the work developed to analyze report on nuclear and other active material. based on your work reviewing these, you believe properly
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prioritizing these responsibilities and if not, why? please explain the implications for your dereliction. >> thank you, sir. thank you for the question. it's been a little bit of time we have issued a full-scale report but i will say this. one of the interesting things with the reorganization is domestic reorganization process merging and combining with other officers. know, these officers, a very high-performing office the bubble and nuclear detection was a real success in the governmens in terms of their coordination with all the other federal agencies and it's a very clear mission space. things we have seen happen since the reorganization
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there are some questions from partners and stakeholders about some of theme things happening under that. for example, some of the risk assessment before it were doing to identify in this which are self-critical component and postcards to understand as i monitor and things like that so that is definitely an area where there are questions about what the role will be moving forward. >> thank you. >> chair recognizes the gentleman from iowa for five minutes. >> thank you so much. gentlemen, please don't interpret my question as being
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derogatory in any way. they come from a position where just helping just like you, that we can do the best for our home and so i am a physician, former director of the iowa department of public health and also a 24 here military veteran so i fully know both having been a director of state agency and in the military now year after year were scrambling for funding from invalidating the work you do even when often times -- the workload that makes it difficult to coordinate that and justify. also in the military participating in many tabletop grills were morning so i fully am understanding comprehending
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-- [inaudible] extraordinary difficult and i think the task placed upon you is monumental so as i read the f report and understand some of the failures and criticisms, i am also cognizant of the fact that so hard so this question comes out of that. we've just based our home and, not only our homeland but honestly the entire world just based the biggest threat to its security through covid-19. we've asked repeatedly for an investigation into the origins of covid-19 and as a scientist, the scientific evidence to me indicates this has come from the laboratory in wuhan in all likelihood, a week so the reason it's important to -- [inaudible] we need to know for national security as you indicated, we
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need to know for public health and how we respond to public health and we need an international community that has standard for disclosure,it transparency, laboratory security, what type of research can go on and laboratories and gain of function research but representative educated earlier her chair don't know of your expenses, your office mass destruction, as i indicated when i was director of health what cap the appetite, virus or bacteria this is just after 81 and one.
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to our witnesses, if you put receivepr -- proceed with respondent. >> i'll call first, president biden stated the intelligence community efforts as they look at the origins of covert roman animal born transport accident at the wuhan bible and that work is ongoing and look forward to results and there is no denying the impact of the covert virus has had on the united states and we are working hard to mitigate this. >> if there was more question, i couldn't hear. >> my apologies. i just want to know to you it has the same importance as it does to me. it's a critically important issue for national security and public health and i think there
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questions we need to ask of the international community and we can be elite in b that regard aa country. >> i would agree with everything you said but it is important to ask those questions and also important as we look at global health security to reinforce that and strengthen that system because as we've heard the administration and other states the disease is not over for anyone until it's over for everyone. >> thank you for the question. as a former director of public health, i can use the technical term of surveillance. notice one important thing dhs has a rolling and so does hhs but having surveillance systems work effectively -- sorry, yes,
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ma'am? >> no, go ahead. proceed. >> oh, okay. i thought you were trying to jump in. i was saying i think the area of surveillance is an area we've been monitoring for over a decade and we have a number of findings and regulations about how we think dhs role in thefi surveillance base can be strengthened or improved. >> if i have time, with your report, do you think bio surveillance should be moved to another agency or do you think that we need to reconsider what our efforts are and what our expectations are? >> montage, there are so many different surveillance efforts across agencies. dhs has them, cdc has it, dod has these efforts but i don't think these have been well integrated. when dhs, i don't think their specific role in these have been made as clear as it can be and well integrated. for example, dhs has struggled r with getting data and metricst
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needs from cdc and state and local public health department to even provide surveillance information to the community that provides a benefit. >> perhaps we need the help with the definition of those and information sharing across agencies but i think my time is probably up. thank you and i think our witnesses for their testimony. >> the gentlewoman yields back and thank you for your questions. we are prepared for a second round of questions so if members have additional questions, please stay with us and along the same lines, let's go back to rearranging to our witnesses. pros and cons of that and there's discussion about the location of where the chief medical officer is housed. i would like to hear dhs officials within dhs.
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acting secretary, i would love to hear your thoughts on that particular position as well as director curry. >> thank you. cmo and i closely together d everyday, literally and i yelled to the secretary and will provide this and look at the structure of dhs, doing and the most impactful way to look forward to these decisions but i would offer that the collaboration here and i worked together and i have never met someone like him and what he's doing and it's been refreshing since he's been here in january and will working forward on a number of programs under his leadership where we went from zero to 60 literally right after
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he got here vaccinating 75000 line workforces so they could perform their duties catching the covert virus. if i could, maybe i could take a step back on bio surveillance and offer something -- >> i'm sorry -- if you could hold off for a second. director, i would love to hear from you, your thoughts on moving the position of cmo to another unit within dhs. >> i don't have a strong position either way. i think the role over the last year end a half has shown to be tremendous and it's not just providing bio defense expertise for the leadership of the department but there's 240,000 employees. many of which are on the front lines touching the public so pharaoh has alwayse been to -
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address health and safety of the workforce but over the last year end a half has been incredible but they have had to do to make sure we don't have any reduction in mission because of the covid-19 pandemic so wherever it is, i think it is critical that it will be solidified and strengthened given the role. >> thank you so much, director. >> i want to caution on the integration center which is a subject of the 2015 report gao report. i have to say they've jumped all over those recommendations and we expanded our reach in the department of veterans affairs interior with five 052 track animal born illnesses that may transmit to humans over covid-19 they put out the first reports
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december 31, 2019 on pneumonia like virus from wuhan it was pushed to our stakeholders so they are on the forefront of doing this and honestly the number of reports have gone up significantly over the lastt year. there pull factor, the people have gone up 30%. we areea pushing this decline, north, commander all the way to state and local over 500 state and local officers so we haveus kept picked up the game since 2015 and the folks working there are dedicated, they scour reports through and get the word out so i wanted to update us from that 2015 report. >> thank you so very much. i want to pause for a minute and see if members have additional questions. are there any questions from
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ranking member? from the gentleman from new jersey the gentlewoman from miller -- okay. director, both of you, we've already talked somewhat aboutt employee morale and 420 hours for 20 like a punch in the face for the employees. you've talked about the steps been taking to meet which is a wonderful idea and it gives away to hear directly from the employees. i'd like to start with you to find outld number one, i have st
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before you cannot motivate, i don't believe my personal opinion, that you can not motivate people to feel bettere about their jobs but it allows them too. i like to hear from your monk your thoughts on how we first got in this predicament morale being so low. even in a survey, 40% of the workforce would recommend a place to work, how to get there if you could expound a little more on the result that you are having specific recommendations coming from the employees and where did we go from here? >> thank you. i think most people know the domestic nuclear detection office and office of health affairs, did have very
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difficult, as you bring things together behavior, folks will tell you as you try to do these things your stormy and performing. in 2017 and 2018 performing and cultures came together in a law passed in december 2018, government shutdown so people tried to come together, no one is in the office about one of the underlying factors that probably propagated this but there's a lot of cultural issues that had to be worked through and i'm not certain that mission clarity was there in the beginning, i was not here, i was in 2019 right after the fourth 20 rankings were announced and one of the first things from this listening session and listen to the people and understand. i didn't hold it like an office,
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we did it by sections. we met with the scientists and public health, we met with operations specialists so they were telling me, i asked what we need to do here because we have the best and brightest employees here. i would suggest the scientists, physicists, biologists, procurement specialists, operations specialists, they are all top notch and when i went through that we have gotten the last two years done, that doesn't happen with this workforce so we are making progress, we have listened and put into standard operation procedures and they are transparent and we have every h week about what's going on. my townhouse are every week and to keep people safe, informed information ready, in the order and it was critical to do that during covid-19 and i think we
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were one of the first offices to telework. we made sure everybody had what they needed productivity stayed the same. as i told you in the ranking member, i had to make a rule because folks were still working into the evening because we could. that's how dedicated they are to the mission and it's my job to support that dedication and i'm back for my second term because that's what i want to do. i was asked to come back and i gladly came because i think their mission-critical, the best and brightest within this department and deserve all the support we can give them. i listen to everything. why would i not listen to some of the world most nuclear physicists and biologists how to confront today's best. >> what can congress do to better support the men and women? >> we've got some requests here within the 2020 budget and we would appreciate your support
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their. director curry talked about the g nda risk assessment. we are bringing it back, i think it's $5 million to help us with that. i want to expand it. dnd zero hit the nail on the head with that analysis. they basically tracked human behavior from aspiration to execution in a terrorist act and they looked at the cap measures like detection and interdiction could stop that continuum of action. i want to expand back to bio and that's why i asked for more money a couple more people the way they were done under dnd zero so that is one way to request to enhance work and chemical. askingav for frequently dollars andd looking to $3.5 billion asi described everybody want their
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products and need to put more staff to keep up with the demand and i have asked for $2.2 million to increase our exercise program. i want to be rectally responsive to state and local asking for more exercise. i've got one more, $5 million securing the cities because it offered the criticisms from 2018 and we took them to heart. we are doing sustainment now. we heard state and locals, giving them this fantastic equipment but in some of the smaller cities, it is tough to maintain and time to accept that we are going to start in 22 giving them the money to sustain back equipment. $1.5 million, building $2.5 million a year sustainment and we just put in securing the city in fermentation plan, i just released it and it was later than i wanted it to be but
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i wanted to solve this problem before we show you how we were going to document and fomenting the program. >> thank you. if we could go back to employee morale. as i said earlier, 420 out of 420, thoughts like a punch in the face. your perspective how we got there, acting secretary talked about the merger of the department and the town hall talking directly to the employees is always a good thing to do getting suggestions from them but also how we maintain and retain and where to go from here , your perspective, please. >> thank you. morale is a complicated issue and is also sometimes a leg whee you get the result to what's actually going on in the organization so i think what we
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have seen and other organizations is oftentimes when morale is low, employees don't feel like they bring heard by top leadership and being supported. because of those things, he will often get responses like we don't feel like we are accomplishing our mission as good as we could so there are so many collocated things they go into. on the positive front, look at the morale, they have gone up in the last year end one key question is about top leadership so you deserve a lot of credit for that odyssey something has changed for the questions to change. everything i am hearing today we've heard about efforts aligned with the things we've talked about about engaging employees, placing employees and communicating with them about what is being done to address the challenges. as he said, these are incredible
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folks and they work incredibly hard and sounds like they just want the support and recognition of those things moving forward. i am cautiously optimistic that maybe they are going in the right direction and we have seen this in the past, by the way. scientific technology director had serious morale problems years ago and they have worked hard to do some of these things and now there morale is some of the highest in the department so it is possible to turn it around. >> this will be my final question and director curry, we will start with you. i would like to hear from a based on tao reporting lead up the creation, how confident are you in cw and bees ability to be able to successfully fulfill this mission and guards the homeland against threat.
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>> i think they are absolutely capable of performing their mission with the resources they have and that they are requesting. i think the act of 2018 is very good because it is authorized the office in the worst things that can happen in government is no authorization telling you what to do. i think the key is going to be focusing in on key response about these on the things it does well and communicating drilling down into those issues. for example, one of their primary missions is working, as we have her today, working with state and local partners and communicating with them. throughout, at the beginning of the transition may be that has flipped a bit and some of the things they were doing were not being done quite as well. it sounds like there's going to be a lot more effort put into that and i think that is a very good thing. you also don't need to try to do more than you can do but the
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budget of $400 million and 300 people, there is only so much that can be done so we need to focus on those things they are good at and achieve and i think that will help the morale issue, to. >> acting secretary, any comments from you? >> we appreciate your support and the support of the committee and look forward to the ongoing discussions on renewing authorization. i think this office is doing what it's asked to do. we probably had a couple of false starts but we are starting to hit our stride. covert brought us through that norming phase and i talked a little bit about the exercise conducted, a series of three exercises across dhs. honestly the inner agency,
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assistant secretary, people with cdc, department of state, fbi, , gave kickoff speech are not a car, there's 150 people on the screen. i come back at 12:30 p.m., there's 160 people on the screen people are interested in this mission and as we coordinated bring people back, that is what we are doing and i think i agree with director curry, we have most of the resources and look forward to your support on the budget as we try to address some of the areas brought up in the committee -- or in the hearing but i think we are on the right path. they're doing what we were asked tooi do and i look forward to keeping you updated. >> with that, i want to thank the witnesses for their testimony and the members for their questions. members ofon a subcommittee may have additional questions for the witnesses and we ask that you respond expeditiously
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writing to those questions. the committee record will remain open for ten business days. without objection, the subcommittee dance adjourned. ♪♪ >> we can bring you the best in american history and nonfiction books. on book tv, get an in-depth look at the trump administration's handling of the covid-19 pandemic, nightmare scenario. on "afterwards", lieutenant colonel wayne writing about the military's increasing reliance on drones affecting the military units to operate them. he's interviewed by cornell university professor and former u.s. air force officer. march book tv every weekend and find a full schedule on your program tried to watch online anytime at
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this sunday c-span premiers january 6, views from the house. fourteen members of congress share stories of what they saw, heard and experienced that day including colorado democrat jason crow talked about how he felt as people tried to breach the house chamber. >> if you're not scared in a situation like that, there's probably something wrong with you or you don't realize the magnitude of the situation. there was a moment i was going to ask one of the officers for his firearm because i've used firearms against people, i know i'm capable of doing what's necessary to protect myself and others but i didn't know whether the officers were because you never, my experience and, is you never know who's going to actually pull the trigger and do what's necessary but i know that i could. i was thinking about asking the officer for his firearm i do want the officer to be put in that position for never asked but i never thought, i am a very
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different person now that i was when i was a ranger. i'm a father, husband, a member of congress ... when i took the uniform off years ago that i left that life behind me. i have changed. i never thought i would converge again and be in a position of having to think like that and potentially act like that. certainly not as a member of congress in 2021 in a house chamber in the u.s. capitol. >> this week will hear from oklahoma republican mark mullen in new jersey democrat tom. january 6, views from the house this sunday 10:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. or listen on the c-span radio app. ♪♪ >> roberts nickname was the prince's darkness.
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named that by many of his friends and journalists. in 2007, two years before he died at the age of 78, his autobiography was published about his 50 years as a reporter, television personality, author and conservative political commentator. he appeared on notes about time about his book, the prince's darkness. >> are on this episode of book notes plus, listen at or wherever you get your podcast. ♪♪ >> agriculture secretary tom phil sucked testifying about immigrant farmworkers before a senate judiciary committee hearing following testimony by secretary phil sucked the committee heard from farm owners and favor union the challenges facing farmworkers and agricultural industry. this front three hours.


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