Statement of Lieutenant General Patrick M. Hughes Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs "Assessing America's Counterterrorism Capabilities" August, 03 2004
Good morning Chairman Collins, Senator Lieberman, and distinguished members of the Committee. I am privileged to appear before you today to discuss the role of the Office of Information Analysis (IA), within the Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection Directorate (IAIP) of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), as well as IA's intelligence, coordination, and information sharing efforts to date.
September 11, 2001 forever transformed our nation. In one moment, we came face to face with a known enemy--on American soil--and a changed condition threatening to our way of life. This day seared images of devastating loss and destruction into our national consciousness, images that we -- I -- will never forget. I was present at the Pentagon minutes after the plane struck and I saw once again something I have become all too familiar with over the years--the violent outcome of a terrorist attack against unwarned unprotected people. The anguish and fear of the moment was written on the faces of many of my colleagues who never dreamed that their place of work in a bastion of Democracy would be struck. Our co-workers, soldiers all, lay in the wreckage. The damage was done.
However, on that day, something far greater than fear and something much stronger than despair took root. An unshakeable faith in our fellow citizens, in our ideals, in our nation and an unwavering determination to protect and preserve what we stand for as a country emerged from the destruction, to guide our efforts in the fight against terrorism and the quest to preserve liberty. I am at my place of work at the Department of Homeland Security because of that motivating set of beliefs.
In the aftermath of 9/11, the Department of Homeland Security was envisioned, formed, and is now in operation. Standing up the Department, the largest reorganization of government in fifty years, has been a great undertaking. Many employees of DHS have assumed new responsibilities, and all have put in long hours to ensure that while our strategies may change to meet the terrorist threat, our course as a nation will remain constant. President Bush's decision to establish the Department has enabled us to unify our resources into one team, to ready ourselves against our enemy, and to ensure the highest level of protection for our country and the citizens we serve.
I became a direct part of this Department's effort when I became the Assistant Secretary for Information Analysis, part of the Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection Directorate, on 17 November 2003. Through the Homeland Security Act of 2002, IAIP is charged with integrating relevant information, intelligence analyses, and vulnerability assessments (whether such information, analyses, or assessments are provided or produced by the Department or others) to identify protective priorities and support protective measures by the Department, by other executive agencies, by State and local government personnel, agencies, and authorities, by the private sector, and by other entities.
The philosophical underpinning of IA as an integral part of the IAIP Under-Secretariat of DHS is to provide the connectivity, the integration, the communication, the coordination, the collaboration, and the professional intelligence work necessary to accomplish the missions of, and the products and capability necessary for the customers and the leadership of DHS. Simply put, we perform the intelligence and threat analysis of Department of Homeland Security.
IAIP is moving forward in carrying out our statutory responsibilities which include:
Providing the full range of intelligence support to senior DHS leadership and component organizations and to state and local and private sector respondents Mapping terrorist threats to the homeland against assessed vulnerabilities to drive our efforts to protect against terrorist attacks Conducting independent analysis and assessments of terrorist threats through competitive analysis, tailored analysis, and an analytical red cell Assessing the vulnerabilities of key resources and critical infrastructure of the United States Merging the relevant analyses and vulnerability assessments to identify priorities for protective and support measures by the Department, other government agencies, and the private sector Partnering with the intelligence community, TTIC, law enforcement agencies, state and local partners, and the private sector, as well as DHS' components to manage the collection and processing of information within DHS involving threats to the Homeland into usable, comprehensive, and actionable information Disseminating time sensitive warnings, alerts and advisories to federal, state, local governments and private sector infrastructure owners and operators
It is the mandate to independently analyze, coordinate, and disseminate information affecting the homeland that makes IA unique among its Intelligence Community partners. The analysts within Information Analysis are talented individuals who draw on intelligence from other components within DHS, IA's fellow Intelligence Community members, the Terrorist Threat Integration Center (TTIC), and federal, state and local law enforcement and private sector entities. The analysis produced is coordinated with the vulnerability assessment and consequence predictions identified by the Infrastructure Protection half of the IAIP Directorate.
The Office of Information Analysis communicates timely and valuable threat products to state and local officials, federal sector specific agencies (as indicated in HSPD-7), and the private sector as is appropriate. The relationship IA and indeed the entire Department of Homeland Security has with these contacts results in the IAIP Directorate being in the position to effectively manage information requirements from the state and local governments and private sector entities that are vital to protecting the homeland. DHS will continue to work in close communication with these officials, as well as with the other organizations it receives inputs from, to maintain the effective relationships that have been established.
IA is the heart of the intelligence effort at DHS. It is responsible for accessing and analyzing the entire array of intelligence relating to threats against the homeland, and making that information useful to those first responders, state and local governments, and private sector. As such, IA provides the full-range of intelligence support to the Secretary, DHS leadership, the Undersecretary for IAIP, and DHS components. Additionally, IA ensures that best intelligence information informs the administration of the Homeland Security Advisory System.
Central to the success of the DHS mission is the close working relationship among components, the Office of Information Analysis and the Office of Infrastructure Protection (â€œIP"), and the Homeland Security Operations Center (HSOC), to ensure that threat information and situational awareness are correlated with critical infrastructure vulnerabilities and protective programs. Together, the three offices provide real time monitoring of threat information and critical infrastructure to support the Department of Homeland Security's overall mission. This permits us to immediately respond to and monitor emerging potential threat information and events, and to take issues or information for more detailed analysis and recommendations for preventive and protective measures. The integration of information access and analysis on the one hand, and vulnerabilities analysis and protective measures on the other, is the fundamental mission of the IAIP Directorate.
IA and TTIC
The close professional associations that have been forged between the two offices will allow both organizations to work on complimenting each other in the best interest of the nation's security. For example, IA is responsible for translating the analysis done at the TTIC into actionable data for State, territorial, tribal, local, and private sector officials responsible for homeland security. From a personal standpoint, I believe both organizations are fulfilling their missions and enriching both each other and the wider Intelligence Community. My relationship with TTIC Director John Brennan could not be better. At present, we talk at least daily and as specific threats pertinent to the homeland arise. This opinion is backed by the tremendous track record of success TTIC has in supporting the Department of Homeland Security and its needs. As partners, IA and TTIC spend much time communicating, both through the DHS representatives located at TTIC and through direct communication of leadership.
IA and TSC
The Office of Information Analysis has a similarly productive relationship with the Terrorist Screening Center. While both perform duties that result in information being passed to local first responders and state and local officials, both entities have separate missions. IA provides the full spectrum of information support necessary for the operation of the Department of Homeland Security and for the benefit of Federal, State, Local, and Private Sector officials throughout the United States, to secure the homeland, defend the citizenry and protect our critical infrastructure. In contrast, the TSC is in the process of developing a fully integrated watch list database which will provide immediate responses to border-screening and law-enforcement authorities to identify suspected terrorists trying to enter or operate within the United States.
Just as TTIC plays a vital role in supplying its federal partners with the broad threat picture, the TSC has quickly become an essential resource for local law enforcement, its federal government contributors, and other users. Through the matching and cross-referencing of lists, the TSC is allowing those personnel on the front lines of the fight against terrorism to access the information they need to identify and detain suspicious individuals.
DHS, IAIP, and especially IA will continue to work with the TSC to coordinate information sharing efforts and to establish requirements for accessing information. IA and the TSC will grow together in their effort to serve the people and guardians of this nation.
Improving Information Sharing and Collaboration
¬While existing relationships are gaining momentum every day, we must assure that we formalize a process which will improve information sharing and collaboration. The Department is charged with this responsibility by law and by Executive Order.
Our goal is to effectively, efficiently, and synergistically pass and receive information in all of its forms for the benefit of the United States Government, our State, tribal, territorial, local, and private sector partners, and other DHS entities. In order to achieve this goal we must develop technical and procedural transparency and interoperability in mind to the greatest extent possible. However, the most significant impediments to information sharing are not technological, they are legal and cultural. We needed to start with the â€œbusiness case" and work toward a common, integrated, and rational vision for the Department. That is precisely what we are doing.
Information sharing involves working with the Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and Department of Defense (DOD), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and others. For instance, as part of this effort, the DOJ and DHS information sharing staffs are working hard to bring the Homeland Security Interactive Network (HSIN), Law Enforcement Online (LEO), and the Regional Information Sharing System (RISSNET) together with the goal of making the systems more compatible as quickly as possible. As we rely on existing systems, we recognize the significant work needed ahead to achieve compatibility and interoperability to meet the challenges faced by DHS.
The Office of Information Analysis' unique position, roles and efforts have lead to many challenges. However, the work is not done. These challenges now lead us to the next logical step in protecting the nation, its people, and its infrastructure. Following careful review of the 9/11 Commission report, President Bush announced yesterday his support for the creation of National Intelligence Director (NID) and the establishment of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC). We at the Department of Homeland Security look forward to working with the Congress to take these important steps in preventing terrorist attacks against the United States. The Department of Homeland Security is a prime example of how changes have already been made to the Intelligence Community and the counterterrorism community as they existed before September 11th, 2001. The creation of the NID and NCTC will enhance DHS' ability to better identify threats and map those threats against vulnerabilities.
Building up the IA office, increasing our information capabilities, and coordinating information sharing across the entire federal government are monumental tasks. And, while we have accomplished much in a short period of time, we continue to press forward to strengthen this vital office and our ability to support the overall DHS mission of securing our homeland. In order for the Office of Information Analysis to accomplish its unique mission, we need the right organizational structure, qualified and cleared personnel, resources, and technical capabilities.
We are working hard to coordinate and integrate the intelligence and information necessary to protect our people and our critical infrastructure. Yet, we still have much work to do. We have made tremendous progress and the dedication and devotion to duty of those who do the work of intelligence at DHS is unparalleled.
We are meeting threats to the homeland with determination and dedication to lead this nation to a higher level of protection every single day. The sheer depth and breadth of our country means that one slip, one gap, one vengeful person, can threaten the lives of our citizens at any time, in any number of ways. There are no guarantees, but I firmly believe the American people are more secure and better prepared than before September 11th 2001, directly because of the Department of Homeland Security.
A brief note about the threat: it is real. Terrorists are at work around the world and when they succeed it seems our best efforts in intelligence, security, defense and protective measures have somehow failed, despite the many successes we have against terrorists. We continue to receive substantial information concerning terrorist intent to strike us again in our homeland. As we approach the period of our national political process and the many associated events, it is my view that we are entering a period of significant risk, perceived by those who would strike us as an opportunity to tear our societal and cultural fabric. We cannot relax, we cannot falter, we cannot live in fear. Instead, we who do the work of intelligence and law enforcement must persevere and provide insight and knowledge to those who lead and decide.
We have accomplished much in IA since our inception and we are on course with our partners and colleagues to continue to achieve. We are fully connected to the U.S. Intelligence Community and well informed. We are integrated into the workings of the domestic security structure. We are connected with law enforcement. We have working analysts pouring over the detail of intelligence and law enforcement reporting to discover the hidden patterns and concealed threads of terrorist activity and the manifestation of other threats to America from crime with national security implications and from other disasters and threatening conditions that come our way. We have a sense of purpose and we have embarked on what has likely never been done before with regard to information fusion--to fully understand the threat and the conditions extant in the â€œnew normal" United States context that we see now and in the future. The 9-11 attacks, the December 2003 -- February 2004 period of heightened concern, the recent attack in Madrid and potential but largely interdicted attacks elsewhere, and the fact of anthrax and ricin attacks here in the United States, combine to form this "new normal" condition of constant possibility that we cannot ignore.
At the same time we are -- I am -- most mindful of the need to the civil liberties and personal privacy of our citizens and to preserve and defend our Constitution and our way of life. In the end, we are -- I am -- focused on defeating the terrorists before they can strike. That is why we exist.
Chairman Collins, Senator Lieberman, and Members of the Committee, this concludes my prepared statement. I would be happy to answer any questions you may have at this time.