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Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and High-Yield Explosives 
Consequence Management Plans and Preparedness' which was released on 
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Testimony: 

Before the Subcommittee on Terrorism and Unconventional Threats and 
Capabilities, Committee on Armed Services, House of Representatives: 

United States Government Accountability Office: 
GAO: 

For Release on Delivery: 
Expected at 10:00 a.m. EDT:
Tuesday, July 28, 2009: 

Homeland Defense: 

Preliminary Observations on Defense Chemical, Biological, Radiological, 
Nuclear, and High-Yield Explosives Consequence Management Plans and 
Preparedness: 

Statement of Davi M. D'Agostino, Director: 
Defense Capabilities and Management: 

GAO-09-927T: 

GAO Highlights: 

Highlights of GAO-09-927T, testimony before the Subcommittee on 
Terrorism and Unconventional Threats and Capabilities, Committee on 
Armed Services, House of Representatives. 

Why GAO Did This Study: 

DOD plays a support role in managing Chemical, Biological, 
Radiological, Nuclear, and High-Yield Explosives (CBRNE) incidents, 
including providing capabilities needed to save lives, alleviate 
hardship or suffering, and minimize property damage. This testimony 
addresses GAOís preliminary observations on DODís role in CBRNE 
consequence management efforts and addresses the extent to which (1) 
DODís plans and capabilities are integrated with other federal 
government plans, (2) DOD has planned for and structured its force to 
provide CBRNE consequence management assistance, (3) DODís CBRNE 
Consequence Management Response Forces (CCMRF) are prepared to perform 
their mission; and (4) DOD has funding plans for the CCMRF that are 
linked to requirements for specialized CBRNE capabilities. 

GAO reviewed DODís plans for CBRNE consequence management and documents 
from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal 
Emergency Management Agency. GAO also met with officials from the 
Undersecretary of Defense for Homeland Defense, U.S Northern Command, 
U.S. Army Forces Command, U.S. Army North, the National Guard Bureau, 
and some CCMRF units. 

What GAO Found: 

DOD has its own CBRNE consequence management plans but has not 
integrated them with other federal government plans because all 
elements of the Integrated Planning System mandated by Presidential 
directive in December 2007 have not been completed. The system is to 
develop and link planning documents at the federal, state, and local 
levels. While the systemís framework is established, the CBRNE concept 
and strategic plans that provide further guidance are incomplete. DOD 
has had operational plans in place and revises these plans regularly. 
However, until the Integrated Planning System and its associated plans 
are complete, DODís plans and those of other federal and state entities 
will not be integrated, and it will remain unclear whether DODís CCMRF 
will address potential gaps in capabilities. 

With a goal to respond to multiple, near-simultaneous, catastrophic 
CBRNE incidents, DOD has plans to provide the needed capabilities, but 
its planned response times may not meet incident requirements, it may 
lack sufficient capacity in some capabilities, and it faces challenges 
to its strategy for sourcing all three CCMRFs with available units. 
Without assigned units and plans that integrate the active and reserve 
portions of the CCMRF, and agreements between DOD and the states on the 
availability of National Guard units and the duty status in which they 
would respond to an incident requiring federal forces, DODís ability to 
train and deploy forces in a timely manner to assist civil authorities 
to respond to multiple CBRNE incidents is at risk. 

DOD has taken a number of actions in the past year to improve the 
readiness of units assigned to the CCMRF, increasing both individual 
and collective training focused on the mission and identifying the 
mission as high priority. However, the CCMRF has not conducted 
realistic full force field training to confirm unitsí readiness to 
assume the mission or to deploy rapidly. Competing demands of overseas 
missions may distract from a unitís focus on the domestic mission, and 
some CCMRF units rotate more frequently than stated goals. These 
training and force rotation problems have prevented DOD from providing 
the kind of stability to the force that would allow units to build 
cohesiveness. 

DOD is making progress in identifying and providing funding and 
equipment to meet CCMRF mission requirements; however, its efforts to 
identify total program requirements have not been completed, and 
funding responsibilities have been assigned across the department and 
are not subject to central oversight. When the CCMRF mission priority 
increased in the spring of 2008, more funding was provided. However, 
units did not have dedicated funding and thus purchased equipment with 
existing funding which is also used for other missions. DOD lacks 
visibility over the missionís total funding requirements. Without an 
overarching approach to developing requirements and providing funding 
and a centralized focal point to ensure that all requirements have been 
identified and funded, DODís ability to ensure that its forces are 
prepared to carry out this high priority mission remains challenged. 

What GAO Recommends: 

GAO has ongoing work on this issue and will report its complete 
evaluation along with any recommendations at a later date. 

View [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-09-927T] or key 
components. For more information, contact Davi D'Agostino at (202) 512-
5431 or dagostinod@gao.gov. 

[End of section] 

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee, 

I am pleased to be here today to discuss preliminary results of our 
work on the Department of Defense's efforts to provide consequence 
management support to civilian authorities in the event of a 
catastrophic chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high- 
yield explosives (CBRNE) incident. The 2007 National Strategy for 
Homeland Security highlighted the continuing threat posed to the United 
States by the potential use of weapons of mass destruction by terrorist 
organizations.[Footnote 1] In addition to efforts focused on preventing 
such attacks, the strategy highlights the need for a comprehensive 
capability to mitigate the consequences of an attack involving weapons 
of mass destruction. Such a capability is also a key pillar of the 
National Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction.[Footnote 2] 
The Department of Defense (DOD) characterizes weapons of mass 
destruction in terms of CBRNE materials. Incidents involving CBRNE 
could range in magnitude, from such things as accidents like chemical 
spills that likely could be addressed by local responders to 
catastrophic incidents such as terrorist attacks involving nuclear 
material that could result in extraordinary levels of casualties and 
property damage. 

A catastrophic CBRNE-related incident occurring within the United 
States would require a unified, national response, including action by 
DOD. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is responsible for 
coordinating federal disaster response planning, with the Federal 
Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) serving as the primary federal 
agency under DHS for coordinating federal assistance in response to an 
incident. DOD would act in support of the primary federal agency. In 
addition to establishing CBRNE response units in the National Guard, 
including the Civil Support Teams and CBRNE Enhanced Response Force 
Packages, DOD is establishing CBRNE Consequence Management Response 
Forces (CCMRF). The CCMRF is intended to be roughly a brigade-sized 
force (approximately 4,500 troops) that provides the federal military 
assistance when a CBRNE incident exceeds local and state capabilities. 

In May 2006, we reported that the National Guard Civil Support Teams 
were generally organized and prepared for their mission, and we 
highlighted management challenges that needed to be addressed.[Footnote 
3] In response to the request of this subcommittee and other Senate 
requesters that we assess DOD's federal role in CBRNE consequence 
management efforts, we initiated a review focusing on federal military 
planning and preparedness efforts and the CCMRF. This testimony is 
based on preliminary findings from this work and addresses the extent 
to which (1) DOD's plans and capabilities are integrated with other 
federal government plans to address capability requirements, (2) DOD 
has planned for and structured its force to provide CBRNE consequence 
management assistance, (3) DOD's CCMRF are prepared to perform their 
mission; and (4) DOD has funding plans for the CCMRF that are linked to 
requirements for specialized CBRNE capabilities. 

To determine the extent to which DOD has planned for CBRNE consequence 
management operations and integrated plans with other federal 
government plans, we reviewed and compared current DOD operational and 
tactical level plans for civil support and CBRNE consequence management 
with existing FEMA and DHS planning efforts. We also met with officials 
of the Department of Homeland Security, the Office of the 
Undersecretary of Defense for Homeland Defense, and U.S Northern 
Command. We reviewed prior GAO reports and worked with other GAO staff 
currently examining the overall domestic homeland security planning 
integration process. To determine how prepared the CCMRF is to perform 
the mission we compared existing DOD policy and practices on readiness 
with the current process used to prepare CCMRF units and report mission 
readiness. We also met with U.S. Joint Forces Command and U.S. Army 
Forces command--which are responsible for providing ready forces to the 
combatant commands--to discuss the manpower sourcing process followed 
for the CCMRF. We obtained readiness reports for CCMRF units from U.S. 
Northern Command and from judgmentally selected units that were part of 
task force operations--which contains most of the specialized 
capabilities. To determine CCMRF funding planning and the linkage of 
funding to mission requirements, we met with Army and U.S. Northern 
Command officials to obtain guidance on the topic and to discuss 
mission requirements, funding needs, and sources. We compared funding 
sources to known CBRNE consequence management requirements and 
highlighted areas where funding was not identified for key activities 
or areas relevant to unit preparedness. We also met with the National 
Guard Bureau and some key units that were assigned to or soon to be 
assigned to the CCMRF to discuss their current capabilities, identified 
shortfalls, and their approach to mitigating any identified shortfalls. 
These units were selected because they belonged to the task force that 
would provide most of the specialized CBRNE capabilities that reside in 
the CCMRF. 

We conducted this performance audit from February 2008 through July 
2009 in accordance with generally accepted government auditing 
standards. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit 
to obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable 
basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. 
We believe that the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for 
our findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. We plan to 
report on our complete findings and any recommendations at a future 
date. 

Background: 

DOD plays a support role in CBRNE consequence management, including 
providing those capabilities needed to save lives, alleviate hardship 
or suffering, and minimize property damage caused by the incident. DOD 
generally provides defense support of civil authorities only when (1) 
state, local, and other federal resources are overwhelmed or unique 
military capabilities are required; (2) assistance is requested by the 
primary federal agency; or (3) NORTHCOM is directed to do so by the 
President or the Secretary of Defense.[Footnote 4] DOD has designated 
U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM)[Footnote 5] to lead the federal 
military[Footnote 6] portion of such a support operation in direct 
support of another federal agency--most often the Federal Emergency 
Management Agency (FEMA). DOD would be the lead federal agency for 
CBRNE consequence management or any other civil support mission only if 
so designated by the President.[Footnote 7] To be effective, DOD's 
efforts must be coordinated with a wide range of federal departments 
and agencies--including FEMA and the Departments of Health and Human 
Services and Justice--in order to support 50 states, the District of 
Columbia, six territories, and hundreds of city and county governments. 

The National Response Framework establishes the principles that guide 
all response partners in preparing for and providing a unified national 
response to disasters. [Footnote 8] Under the Framework, disaster 
response is tiered; local government and agencies typically respond 
immediately after an incident. When additional resources are required, 
states may provide assistance with their own resources or may request 
assistance from other states through interstate mutual agreements or 
the Emergency Management Assistance Compact.[Footnote 9] Localities and 
states usually respond within the first several hours of a major 
incident. The federal government provides assistance to states if they 
require additional capabilities and request assistance. In the event of 
a catastrophic incident, such as one involving CBRNE, the framework 
also calls for federal response partners to anticipate the need for 
their capabilities before their assistance is requested. The framework 
lists 15 emergency support functions and designates federal lead 
agencies in areas such as search and rescue, public health and medical 
services, and transportation. DOD is a supporting agency for all 15 
emergency support functions but is the primary agency only for search 
and rescue and public works and engineering.[Footnote 10] Additional 
tools to guide response efforts are provided by The National 
Preparedness Guidelines, including National Planning Scenarios, Target 
Capability and Universal Target Lists, and national priorities. 

DOD has created significant capabilities that could be used to augment 
a federal CBRNE response. It also contributes to the organization, 
training, and equipping of several other state military units focused 
on consequence management. These include the 22-person National Guard 
Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Teams that are located in 
each state and territory); the larger National Guard CBRNE Enhanced 
Response Force Packages of about 200 soldiers each that are located in 
17 states for more expansive response; and the DOD's CBRNE Consequence 
Management Response Forces (CCMRF). 

The Civil Support Teams and CBRNE Emergency Response Force Packages are 
intended to be part of the state response to an incident and therefore 
remain under the control of the respective governors, unless they are 
mobilized into federal service. The CCMRF is intended to be a roughly 
brigade-sized force (approximately 4,500 troops) that provides the 
federal military assistance when a CBRNE incident exceeds local and 
state capabilities--including the Civil Support Teams and CBRNE 
Enhanced Response Force Packages. The CCMRFs are not whole units by 
themselves. They are a collection of geographically separated DOD 
capabilities and units across the military services and consist of such 
existing specialized capabilities as the U.S. Marine Corps' Chemical 
Biological Incident Response Force as well as general capabilities, 
such as transportation units. Although the CCMRF is intended to be 
about 4,500 personnel in size, the size of the force that would deploy 
in support of an actual incident could be modified based on the size of 
the incident. DOD ultimately plans to have three fully functional 
CCMRFs. DOD would, if necessary, draw on additional general military 
forces over and above the CCMRF to provide assistance in the event of 
one or more major CBRNE incidents. 

DOD CBRNE Consequence Management Plans and Integration with Other 
Federal Plans: 

DOD has operational plans for CBRNE consequence management. However, 
DOD has not integrated its plans with other federal government plans, 
because the concept and strategic plans associated with the Integrated 
Planning System mandated by Presidential directive in December 2007 
have not been completed. 

DOD Has Developed Plans for CBRNE Consequence Management: 

Unlike most federal agencies, DOD has had CBRNE consequence management 
operational plans for over 10 years. DOD, NORTHCOM, and its components 
have prepared individual plans that address CBRNE consequence 
management following DOD's well-established joint operation planning 
process.[Footnote 11] This process establishes objectives, assesses 
threats, identifies capabilities needed to achieve the objectives in a 
given environment, and ensures that capabilities (and the military 
forces to deliver those capabilities) are distributed to ensure mission 
success. Joint operation planning also includes assessing and 
monitoring the readiness of those units providing the capabilities for 
the missions they are assigned. DOD and NORTHCOM routinely review and 
update their plans as part of DOD's joint planning system. For example, 
the most recent NORTHCOM CBRNE consequence management plan was 
completed in October 2008. DOD and NORTHCOM have also developed such 
planning documents as execute orders that are key to linking immediate 
action to those plans, as well as scenario-based playbooks to guide the 
planning, operations, and command and control of military forces for 
CBRNE efforts. 

Governmentwide Integrated Planning System Is under Development but Not 
Yet Complete: 

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is leading a governmentwide 
effort to develop an Integrated Planning System that would link the 
plans of all federal agencies involved in incident response, including 
DOD's; however, this effort is not yet complete.[Footnote 12] While 
much in the way of federal guidance has been developed, to be most 
effective, policy documents must be operationalized by further 
detailing roles and responsibilities for each entity that may be 
involved in responding to high-risk or catastrophic incidents. 

In December 2007, Homeland Security Presidential Directive 8, Annex 1, 
mandated that the Secretary of Homeland Security, in coordination with 
the heads of other federal agencies with roles in homeland security, 
develop an Integrated Planning System to provide common processes for 
all of the entities developing response plans.[Footnote 13] The 
directive also called for the development of strategic plans, concepts 
of operations plans, and operations plans that would be integrated at 
the federal, regional, state, and local levels. DHS has grouped the 15 
national planning scenarios on which preparedness plans are to be based 
into 8 scenario sets, of which 5 are CBRNE-related. Each of the 
scenarios, listed in table 1, includes a description, assumptions, and 
likely impacts, so that entities at all levels can use them to guide 
planning.[Footnote 14] 

Table 1: Fifteen National Planning Scenarios Grouped into Eight 
Scenario Sets: 

Scenario Set: Explosives Attack - Bombing Using Improvised Explosive 
Device; 
National Planning Scenarios: 
Scenario 12: Explosives Attack - Bombing Using Improvised; Explosive 
Device. 

Scenario Set: Nuclear Attack; 
National Planning Scenarios: 
Scenario 1: Nuclear Detonation - Improvised Nuclear Device. 

Scenario Set: Radiological Attack - Radiological Dispersal Device; 
National Planning Scenarios: 
Scenario 11: Radiological Attack - Radiological Dispersal Device. 

Scenario Set: Biological Attack - With annexes for different pathogens; 
National Planning Scenarios: 
Scenario 2: Biological Attack - Aerosol Anthrax; 
Scenario 4: Biological Attack - Plague; 
Scenario 13: Biological Attack - Food Contamination; 
Scenario 14: Biological Attack - Foreign Animal Disease. 

Scenario Set: Chemical Attack - With annexes for different agents; 
National Planning Scenarios: 
Scenario 5: Chemical Attack - Blister Agent; 
Scenario 6: Chemical Attack - Toxic Industrial Chemicals; 
Scenario 7: Chemical Attack - Nerve Agent; 
Scenario 8: Chemical Attack - Chlorine Tank Explosion. 

Scenario Set: Natural Disaster - With annexes for different disasters; 
National Planning Scenarios: 
Scenario 9: Natural Disaster - Major Earthquake; 
Scenario 10: Natural Disaster - Major Hurricane. 

Scenario Set: Cyber Attack; 
National Planning Scenarios: 
Scenario 15: Cyber Attack. 

Scenario Set: Pandemic Influenza; 
National Planning Scenarios: 
Scenario 3: Biological Disease Outbreak - Pandemic Influenza. 

Source: Department of Homeland Security. 

[End of table] 

The directive required that the Integrated Planning System be submitted 
to the President for approval within 2 months of the directive's 
issuance in December 2007. As we have reported, the Integrated Planning 
System was approved in January 2009 by former President Bush, but is 
currently under review by the new administration, and no time frame for 
its publication has been announced.[Footnote 15] The approval of the 
CBRNE plans required under the directive (see table 2 below) would be a 
step toward unifying and integrating the nation's planning efforts. For 
example, for each National Planning Scenario, a strategic guidance 
statement is intended to establish the nation's strategic priorities 
and national objectives and to describe an envisioned end-state. 
Strategic guidance statements will have corresponding strategic plans, 
which are intended to define roles, authorities, responsibilities, and 
mission-essential tasks. Under each strategic plan, a concept of 
operations plan will be developed, and federal agencies are further 
required to develop operations plans to execute their roles and 
responsibilities under the concept of operations plan. 

As of today, strategic guidance statements have been approved for all 5 
CBRNE-related scenario sets. Four of the 5 required strategic plans 
have also been completed. The remaining strategic plan (chemical 
attack) was begun in June 2009 upon the approval of the strategic 
guidance statement for that scenario. One of the 5 required overall 
federal concept plans--that for terrorist use of explosives attack--has 
been completed. As we have previously reported, apart from the 
sequential timelines required in HSPD Annex 1, FEMA and DHS have no 
schedule or project plan for completing the guidance and 
plans.[Footnote 16] Table 2 shows the status of federal CBRNE strategy 
and plans called for under HSPD 8 Annex 1. 

Table 2: Status of Development for CBRNE Related Plans Called for under 
HSPD 8 Annex 1, Utilizing the Integrated Planning System (As of July 
2009): 

Planning Scenario: Terrorist Use of Explosives Attack; 
DHS and Interagency Incident Management Planning Team, Strategic 
Guidance Statement Status: Approved by Secretary of Homeland Security, 
August 2008; 
DHS and Interagency Incident Management Planning Team, Strategic Plan 
Status: Approved by Secretary of Homeland Security, November 2008; 
FEMA: Overall Federal Concept Plan Status: Approved by Secretary of 
Homeland Security, May 2009; 
Federal Departments and Agencies, Agency Operational Plans Status: DOD 
has approved plans. Other agencies started January 2009. 

Planning Scenario: Improvised Nuclear Device Attack; 
DHS and Interagency Incident Management Planning Team, Strategic 
Guidance Statement Status: Approved by Secretary of Homeland Security, 
September 2008; 
DHS and Interagency Incident Management Planning Team, Strategic Plan 
Status: Approved by Secretary of Homeland Security, January 2009; 
FEMA: Overall Federal Concept Plan Status: Under development: 
interagency review/adjudication; 
Federal Departments and Agencies, Agency Operational Plans Status: DOD 
has approved plans. Other agencies awaiting development; due 120 days 
after Concept Plan. 

Planning Scenario: Biological Attack; 
DHS and Interagency Incident Management Planning Team, Strategic 
Guidance Statement Status: Approved by Secretary of Homeland Security, 
January 2009; 
DHS and Interagency Incident Management Planning Team, Strategic Plan 
Status: Approved by Secretary of Homeland Security, July 2009; 
FEMA: Overall Federal Concept Plan Status: Under development: 
interagency review/adjudication; due 180 days after Strategic Plan; 
Federal Departments and Agencies: Agency Operational Plans Status: DOD 
has approved plans. Other agencies awaiting development; due 120 days 
after Concept Plan. 

Planning Scenario: Radiological Dispersion Device Attack; 
DHS and Interagency Incident Management Planning Team, Strategic 
Guidance Statement Status: Approved by Secretary of Homeland Security, 
January 2009; 
DHS and Interagency Incident Management Planning Team, Strategic Plan 
Status: Approved by Secretary of Homeland Security, July 2009; 
FEMA: Overall Federal Concept Plan Status: Awaiting development; due 
180 days after Strategic Plan; 
Federal Departments and Agencies: Agency Operational Plans Status: DOD 
has approved plans. Other agencies awaiting development; due 120 days 
after Concept Plan. 

Planning Scenario: Chemical Attack; 
DHS and Interagency Incident Management Planning Team, Strategic 
Guidance Statement Status: Approved by Secretary of Homeland Security, 
June 2009; 
DHS and Interagency Incident Management Planning Team, Strategic Plan 
Status: Under development; started in June 2009; 
FEMA: Overall Federal Concept Plan Status: Awaiting development; due 
180 days after Strategic Plan; 
Federal Departments and Agencies: Agency Operational Plans Status: DOD 
has approved plans. Other agencies awaiting development ; due 120 days 
after Concept Plan. 

Source: GAO analysis of Department of Homeland Security data. 

[End of table] 

DOD's plans and those of other federal and state entities cannot be 
fully integrated until the supporting strategic and concept plans are 
completed. 

Current Capability Assessments at Local, State, and Federal Levels May 
Provide Insufficient Data for DOD to Shape Its Response to CBRNE 
Incidents: 

A number of efforts to develop capability assessments are under way at 
local, state, and federal levels, but these efforts may not yet be 
sufficiently mature to provide DOD with complete data that it can use 
to shape its response plans for CBRNE-related incidents. For example, 
FEMA has begun to catalog state capabilities in its preparedness 
reports and is working on a capability gap analysis. However, DHS faces 
challenges in developing its approach to assessing capabilities and 
preparedness. As noted in DHS's January 2009 Federal Preparedness 
Report, several key components of the national preparedness system are 
still works in progress, and not all data required for the federal 
government to assess its preparedness are available. We have previously 
reported[Footnote 17] that state capability data developed by 
individual states cannot be used to determine capability gaps across 
states, because the states do not use common metrics to assess 
capabilities and do not always have the data available that they need 
to complete their reports. In addition, according to DOD and FEMA, even 
to the extent that these data are available, states may limit their 
sharing of sensitive information on capability gaps with DOD entities 
responsible for developing DOD's plans and related capabilities. 

DOD's Planned Response to CBRNE Incidents: 

DOD has had plans to provide CBRNE consequence management support to 
civil authorities since before 9/11 and in the last few years has set 
higher goals in the expectation of being able to provide expanded 
capabilities through its 3 CCMRFs. However, its ability to respond 
effectively may be compromised because (1) its planned response times 
may not meet the requirements of a particular incident, (2) it may lack 
sufficient capacity in some key capabilities, and (3) it faces 
challenges in adhering to its strategy for sourcing the CCMRFs with 
available units. 

DOD's Planned Response Times May Be Too Long: 

In 2005, DOD established a standard for itself that called for the 
ability to respond to multiple, simultaneous catastrophic incidents, 
[Footnote 18] and it initiated efforts to create 3 CCMRFs. For the 
first 3 years, DOD did not regularly assign units to the CCMRF mission, 
and this decreased DOD's ability to actually field any of the CCMRFs 
within the timelines it had established. In October 2008 DOD sourced 
the first CCMRF, primarily with active force units. A second CCMRF, 
comprised primarily of reserve units, will assume the mission in 
October 2009 and a third in October 2010. In the absence of national 
guidance suggesting what level of response capability DOD should have 
available within a specified time frame, DOD's plans use a phased 
deployment to allow the CCMRF to be able to provide consequence 
management support to civilian authorities within 48-96 hours of being 
notified of an CBRNE incident. The earlier phases of the deployment 
will provide the lifesaving capabilities. However, multiple DOD 
estimates for some of the more catastrophic scenarios, such as a 
nuclear detonation, have identified significant gaps between the time 
certain life saving and other capabilities would be needed and DOD's 
planned response times. For example, victims of a nuclear attack would 
require decontamination, which medical experts have established must be 
provided within as soon as possible after exposure. If DOD adheres to 
its planned response times in such a scenario, the capabilities of 
early responders such as local police and fire departments would likely 
be overwhelmed before DOD arrived at the incident site. NORTHCOM's 
assessment [Footnote 19] and other DOD estimates demonstrated that, for 
a number of capabilities, DOD's response would not be timely. Table 3 
shows one estimate of the potential shortfall in decontamination 
capabilities that could result. 

Table 3: Estimate of Potential Lifesaving Decontamination Requirements 
Compared With Likely Capabilities for a 10 Kiloton Nuclear Detonation 
in Major Metropolitan City in the First 72 Hours After Incident: 

Source of Decontamination Capability: Local; 
Estimated Capability by Timeframe (persons): 
1st 24 hours: 14,640; 
24-48 hours: 14,640; 
48-72 hours: 14,640. 

Source of Decontamination Capability: State; 
Estimated Capability by Timeframe (persons): 
1st 24 hours: 1,350; 
24-48 hours: 5,400; 
48-72 hours: 10,800. 

Source of Decontamination Capability: CCMRF Package 1; 
Estimated Capability by Timeframe (persons): 
1st 24 hours: 1,350; 
24-48 hours: 5,400; 
48-72 hours: 5,400. 

Source of Decontamination Capability: CCMRF Package 2; 
Estimated Capability by Timeframe (persons): 
1st 24 hours: 0; 
24-48 hours: 0; 
48-72 hours: 2,880. 

Source of Decontamination Capability: Self Decontamination; 
Estimated Capability by Timeframe (persons): 
1st 24 hours: 8,000; 
24-48 hours: 8,000; 
48-72 hours: 8,000. 

Source of Decontamination Capability: Other Federal Decontamination 
Capabilities; 
Estimated Capability by Timeframe (persons): 
1st 24 hours: 270; 
24-48 hours: 1,080; 
48-72 hours: 1,080. 

Source of Decontamination Capability: Total Decontamination 
Capabilities by Timeframe; 
Estimated Capability by Timeframe (persons): 
1st 24 hours: 25,610; 
24-48 hours: 34,520; 
48-72 hours: 42,800. 

Source of Decontamination Capability: Total Decontamination 
Requirement; 
Estimated Capability by Timeframe (persons): 
1st 24 hours: 138,000; 
24-48 hours: 112,390; 
48-72 hours: 77,870. 

Source of Decontamination Capability: Unmet Decontamination 
Requirement; 
Estimated Capability by Timeframe (persons): 
1st 24 hours: 112,390; 
24-48 hours: 77,870; 
48-72 hours: 35,070. 

Source: GAO analysis of DOD information. 

[End of table] 

The NORTHCOM capability-based assessment similarly suggests that 
without a national, risk-based determination of DOD's share of the 
federal capability requirements, DOD will be unable to determine 
whether its planned response times should be adjusted. 

DOD's Planned Force May Lack Sufficient Capacity in Some Key 
Capabilities Needed for Catastrophic Incidents: 

In addition to timeliness issues, DOD's planned force has limited 
quantities of some of the needed life saving capabilities, such as 
medical and decontamination services. For example, some nuclear 
detonation scenarios project that hundreds of thousands could be 
killed, injured, displaced, contaminated, or in need of medical care. 
The CCMRF would be able to provide only a small portion of the 
necessary capability. Although a CCMRF is estimated, under optimal 
circumstances, to be capable of decontaminating several thousand people 
per day, some estimates project that the gap between needed 
decontamination capabilities and what local, state, and other entities 
could provide would be tens of thousands. DOD recognizes that it may 
need additional units to augment the CCMRF, and it has made some 
tentative estimates. However, DOD has not developed contingency plans 
designating specific units to augment the CCMRF. Unless these units are 
identified in advance and trained for the mission, they may be unable 
to deploy rapidly. Without clear plans aligning CCMRF objectives with 
the projected need for response capabilities and clearly delineating 
national expectations for timely response, neither DOD nor other 
entities involved in incident response can be certain that the CCMRFs 
will be able to respond adequately to mitigate the consequences of a 
catastrophic CBRNE incident. 

DOD Faces Challenges in Adhering to Its Strategy for Sourcing the 
CCMRFS with Available Units: 

In sourcing its 3 CCMRFs, DOD has encountered challenges in 
implementing an approach that could enhance unit availability and 
training and readiness oversight for forces that are not assigned to 
NORTHCOM. DOD originally intended the CCMRF to be comprised entirely of 
federal active military forces, but the two follow-on CCMRFs will be 
sourced with large numbers of National Guard and Army Reserve units. 
The demands of ongoing overseas operations have led DOD to draw more 
and more heavily on Guard and Reserve forces to fulfill civil support 
functions. Because National Guard units have responsibilities in their 
respective states, a competition for resources issue may arise between 
DOD and the states. For example, while governors may need the same 
capabilities within the state or to support mutual assistance 
agreements with other states as would be needed to support a CCMRF, 
there is no clear understanding between the governors and DOD to ensure 
that these units will be available if they are needed for a federal 
mission. Moreover, elements from a single unit can be spread over many 
states, further complicating the task of coordinating between DOD and 
each of the states. For example, one Army National Guard aviation 
company belonging to the CCMRF has elements in Arkansas, Florida, and 
Alabama. Three different states would be required to make these 
elements available to form the company. The potential rapid deployment 
mission of the CCMRF makes it imperative that specific agreements be 
reached. However, the agreements that have been reached to date are 
general in nature and do not specify how states are to ensure that 
Guard units will be available for a CCMRF deployment. 

Similar issues arise with the Army Reserve. The training demands of the 
CCMRF mission have caused DOD to authorize additional training days, 
but according to Army Reserve officials, reservists cannot be compelled 
to attend training events beyond their annual training requirement. 
They stated that, as a result, units must rely on the voluntary 
participation of their personnel for training beyond the requirement, 
which reduces their assurance that these personnel will be available 
for other necessary CCMRF training. For example, one reserve company 
was unable to fulfill all aspects of its mission requirements because 
of low participation at a training event. Unit officials stated that 
some of the unit's members had school or work obligations that 
conflicted with this training. Moreover, reserve unit officials stated 
that, unlike active unit officials, they cannot restrict the personal 
travel of unit members to ensure that they will be available if they 
are needed to support an unexpected federal CBRNE incident response. 
These challenges to sourcing the CCMRF increase the risk that DOD's 
ability to effectively respond to one or more major domestic CBRNE 
incidents will be compromised. That risk can be mitigated by plans that 
integrate the active and reserve component portions of the CCMRF and 
agreements between DOD and the states on the availability of National 
Guard units and the duty status under which they would respond to a 
major incident requiring federal forces. 

DOD's decision to change its approach to how NORTHCOM will routinely 
interact with units designated for the CCMRF will present additional 
challenges. In 2008, DOD's sourcing approach was to assign the first 
CCMRF (primarily active forces) to NORTHCOM and allocate the remaining 
two CCMRFs (mix of Guard and Army Reserve) to NORTHCOM.[Footnote 20] 
Beginning in October 2009, DOD will allocate the units from all three 
CCMRFs to NORTHCOM, rather than assigning them to the NORTHCOM 
commander outright. As a result, despite the fact that NORTHCOM's 
commander is responsible for commanding the federal military domestic 
CBRNE response in the continental United States, NORTHCOM will have no 
CBRNE forces under its direct control. There are advantages to 
assigning forces directly to NORTHCOM. For example, the command would 
have direct authority over the units' day-to-day activities, including 
training and exercise schedules, and would be better able to monitor 
readiness. Additionally, there would be fewer administrative steps 
required for the NORTHCOM commander to activate and deploy the CCMRF in 
the event of an incident. This would be crucial for deploying the 
critical initial response elements of the overall force. Under 
allocation, while DOD's current approach would provide NORTHCOM with 
authority over units while they are participating in scheduled NORTHCOM 
training events, NORTHCOM would have to coordinate with multiple 
commands to obtain participation from these units. Current guidance 
states that other commands should make their units available for 
scheduled NORTHCOM exercises "to the greatest extent possible." 
However, NORTHCOM cannot always be assured that units will be available 
for these exercises. In addition, NORTHCOM remains uncertain about the 
extent to which it will have oversight of CCMRF units' day-to-day 
training activities and be able to confirm that these units are ready 
to perform their mission even when they are under the authority of 
another command. 

DOD Actions on CCMRF Readiness and Training and the Impact of Current 
Deployments: 

DOD has taken a number of actions in the past year to improve the 
readiness of its CCMRF units. However, our ongoing work shows that the 
CCMRF may be limited in its ability to successfully conduct consequence 
management operations because (1) it does not conduct realistic full 
force field training to confirm units' readiness to assume the mission 
or to deploy rapidly, and (2) conflicting priorities between the CCMRF 
mission and overseas deployments impact some units' mission preparation 
and unit cohesion. 

DOD Has Taken Actions to Improve CCMRF Readiness: 

The initial assignment of the CCMRF to NORTHCOM in October 2008 and the 
increased priority DOD has placed on the CBRNE mission have resulted in 
a number of improvements in unit preparation for the first fielded 
CCMRF. The Army, in coordination with NORTHCOM and its subordinate 
commands, has established guidance for both individual and collective 
training--including joint mission essential task lists--for units 
designated for the CCMRF. Therefore, for the first time, identified 
units are conducting individual and collective training focused on the 
CCMRF mission. For example, key leaders such as brigade task force 
headquarters personnel and battalion commanders are required to 
participate in a number of command and control training events to 
provide them with an understanding of how to organize and conduct 
operations in a complex interagency environment under catastrophic 
disaster conditions. Moreover, the increased priority given to the 
mission in the spring of 2008 has led to units receiving personnel and 
equipment before they assume the mission and ahead of many other units 
that do not participate in the CBRNE mission. 

Extent of Realistic Field Training Impacts CCMRF's Ability to Perform 
Effectively: 

Despite units being certified as ready prior to assuming the mission in 
October 2008, it is unclear whether the CCMRF can effectively perform 
CBRNE consequence management operations throughout the 1-year mission 
period to which it is assigned, because the readiness of the entire 
CCMRF is not confirmed through a realistic field training exercise 
before the force assumes the mission, nor have its rapid deployment 
capabilities been fully assessed. Before designated units assume the 
CBRNE mission, they must be certified by the military services to be 
trained to perform that mission. However, there is no requirement to 
provide these units with a full force tactical field training exercise. 
While units conduct this type of training prior to an overseas 
deployment, and NORTHCOM and Joint Force Land Component Command (JFLCC) 
training officials have discussed the desirability of such an exercise, 
the first CCMRF units have not received this kind of training. Although 
some CCMRF units have participated in joint field exercises, critical 
units often did not participate. In addition, the exercises were 
conducted several months after units had been certified as trained to 
perform the mission. 

Units also must demonstrate that they will be able to meet the required 
response times once they assume the mission. A key aspect of the CCMRF 
mission is to be able to rapidly deploy each of the three force 
packages that comprise each CCMRF within a specified response time. One 
of the primary challenges to a timely response is that CCMRF packages 
may have to deploy rapidly from their home stations. Deployment 
readiness exercises are important, because they test units' abilities 
to ascertain how quickly staff can be notified and assembled, equipment 
prepared and loaded, and both staff and equipment moved to the 
designated point of departure. DOD has provided general guidance that 
supported commands, such as NORTHCOM, should verify the ability of 
CCMRF units to activate and deploy. However, DOD has not yet conducted 
deployment exercises for the entire CCMRF, and it is not clear if its 
plans for future CCMRFs will include such exercises. In the absence of 
such exercises, NORTHCOM and DOD will continue to be unable to verify 
the ability of CCMRF units to deploy. 

Units' Preparation for the CCMRF Mission and Efforts to Achieve Unit 
Cohesion Are Impacted by Other Missions: 

The demands that overseas missions are placing on the Army also may put 
the effectiveness of the CCMRF mission at risk. While DOD has 
identified CCMRF as a high priority mission, competing demands 
associated with follow-on missions may distract from a unit's focus on 
the domestic mission. For example, Army units are frequently given the 
CCMRF mission when they return from an overseas deployment. Because 
these units are at the beginning of the "reset" phase of the Army Force 
Generation (ARFORGEN) cycle, they often lack personnel and equipment. 
Although the Army attempts to accelerate the fill of personnel and 
equipment to these units, some units may not have received their 
personnel and equipment in sufficient time to allow them to meet all of 
the requirements of the CBRNE mission before they assume it. These 
training and force rotation issues have prevented DOD from providing 
the kind of stability to the force that would allow units to build 
cohesiveness. While DOD's goal has been to assign units for at least 12 
months and to set standard start and end dates for each rotation, 
several critical units have been unable to complete their 1-year CCMRF 
rotations for fiscal year 2009. As a result, the replacement units who 
have finished out these rotations have missed important training. For 
example, the headquarters units for the aviation and medical task 
forces rotated out of the mission after only 4 and 6 months, 
respectively, because of competing priorities. Because key leaders from 
units of the entire force attend a mission rehearsal exercise prior to 
mission assumption, the replacement of these units after only a few 
months negated much of the value that was gained from these three task 
forces working together and precluded the replacement task force 
leaders from having the same opportunity. 

CCMRF Requirements Development, Funding, and Oversight: 

DOD is making progress in identifying and providing funding and 
equipment to meet CCMRF mission requirements; however, its efforts to 
identify total program requirements have not been completed, and its 
approach to providing program funding has been fragmented, because 
funding responsibilities for CCMRF-related costs are dispersed 
throughout DOD and are not subject to central oversight. 

CCMRF Mission Requirements Have Not Been Fully Developed: 

The units initially designated for the CCMRF mission did not have fully 
developed funding and equipment requirements. In addition, the recent 
NORTHCOM Homeland Defense and Civil Support Capabilities-Based 
Assessment highlighted a number of systemic capability gaps that need 
to be addressed and may generate additional funding requirements. 
[Footnote 21] Moreover, other important requirements for this mission 
have not been identified and funded. The Joint Forces Land Component 
Commander (U.S. Army North--ARNORTH) and the Joint Task Force Civil 
Support[Footnote 22] are responsible for developing and approving 
service-specific equipment unique to the CCMRF's Joint Mission 
Essential Tasks. However, to date, mission essential equipment 
requirements have not been fully developed. While some equipment 
requirement lists have been developed and are being reviewed by 
NORTHCOM, equipping officials said that lists have not been developed 
for non-standard equipment that units may need in order to support 
civil authorities in a CBRNE environment. As a result, some fiscal year 
2008 units have determined requirements based on their own independent 
mission analyses. Unit officials stated that filling some of the needs 
they identified--such as the need for non-standard communications 
equipment that is compatible with civilian equipment--was difficult 
because the units lacked a documented requirement for their planned 
acquisition. In addition, the review process did not always include the 
command organizations that are responsible for the mission. Thus, 
decisions on what to buy and in what quantity were not consistently 
vetted to ensure standardization in equipping various units. ARNORTH 
officials stated that they were in the process of developing mission 
essential equipment lists and hope to have them completed in time for 
the next rotation, which begins in October 2009. 

Extent of Dedicated Funds for Some CCMRF Training Impacts Mission: 

In the spring of 2008, sourcing priority for the CCMRF mission 
increased substantially within the department, and funding was provided 
for specific aspects of the mission. For example, funding was provided 
for NORTHCOM's training program--which totals more than $21 million 
annually--for three major exercises associated with the CCMRFs for 
fiscal year 2010 and beyond, and the Army Reserve has planned funds of 
more than $37 million for fiscal years 2009 and 2010 to support 
additional full-time personnel and training days that have been 
authorized to support the CCMRF mission. In addition, while the 
military services have not planned funds for equipment specifically for 
the CCMRF mission, equipment has been purchased with funds left over 
from past Global War on Terrorism deployments. In other cases, purchase 
requests for certain equipment were denied by administrative parent 
commands because, unit officials believed, the equipment was considered 
non-critical by reviewing officials. Moreover, units must fund their 
CCMRF training activities from their operations and maintenance 
accounts, which were developed and approved months before units knew 
they would be assigned to the CCMRF. According to unit officials, 
because they do not have dedicated funds for CCMRF in their budgets, 
they sometimes must take money from other sources to meet what they 
believe are their highest priorities for the CCMRF mission. Also 
according to these officials, while the lack of planned funds for the 
CCMRF has been mitigated to some extent by the mission's high priority 
level, they have found it necessary to curtail or cancel some desirable 
training because funding was unavailable. Army officials told us that 
if funding shortfalls develop because units lack sufficient funds to 
conduct both CCMRF and follow-on mission training, units can request 
additional funds from the Army. However, unless units assess their 
total funding requirement for the CCMRF and their other designated 
mission and receive funding based on both missions, CCMRF units may be 
at risk of not having enough funding to conduct all of their CCMRF 
training. This, in turn, puts units at risk of not being fully prepared 
if they are needed to respond to an incident. 

CCMRF units may face more acute funding issues as the United States 
begins drawing down in Iraq and as military supplemental funding, such 
as funding for Global War on Terrorism, is reduced. Because DOD has 
assigned funding responsibilities across the department and because 
much of the funding for the CCMRF is coming from existing operations 
and maintenance accounts, DOD lacks visibility across the department 
over the total funding requirements for this mission. Without an 
overarching approach to developing requirements and providing funding, 
and a centralized focal point to ensure that all requirements have been 
identified and fully funded, DOD's ability to carry out this high- 
priority homeland security mission in an efficient and effective manner 
is at risk. 

Agency Comments: 

We provided the Departments of Defense and of Homeland Security an 
extensive briefing on our preliminary findings. We also provided them a 
draft of this statement. Neither DOD nor DHS had formal comments, but 
both provided technical comments, which we incorporated into the 
statement, as appropriate. 

We plan to provide this subcommittee and our other congressional 
requesters with our final report on DOD's CBRNE consequence management 
efforts in September 2009. We expect to make a number of 
recommendations for DOD action at that time. Mr. Chairman, this 
concludes my prepared statement. I would be happy to respond to any 
questions that you or other Members of the Subcommittee might have. 

Contacts and Acknowledgements: 

For questions about this statement, please contact me at (202) 512-5431 
or daogostinod@gao.gov. Individuals who made key contributions to this 
testimony include Joseph Kirschbaum, Assistant Director; Rodell 
Anderson; Joanne Landesman; Robert Poetta; and Jason Porter. 

[End of section] 

Footnotes: 

[1] Homeland Security Council, National Strategy for Homeland Security 
(Washington, D.C: Oct. 2007), pp. 15-31. 

[2] White House, National Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass 
Destruction (Washington, D.C.: Dec. 2002). 

[3] GAO, Homeland Defense: National Guard Bureau Needs to Clarify Civil 
Support Teams' Mission and Address Management Challenges, [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-06-498] (Washington, D.C.: May 31, 
2006). 

[4] Department of Homeland Security, National Response Framework 
(Washington, D.C.: Jan. 2008), and Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joint Pub. 3- 
28, Civil Support (Washington, D.C.: Sept. 14, 2007) 

[5] United States Northern Command, established in 2002, has the dual 
mission of homeland defense and support of civil authorities. 

[6] This does not include U.S. Coast Guard forces, which is under DHS, 
or the National Guard, which, unless federalized by the President, 
would remain under the authority of the respective state and territory 
governors. 

[7] Under DOD's immediate response provision, local commanders are 
authorized to take the necessary actions to respond to local civil 
authorities without higher headquarter approval when a civil emergency 
may require immediate action to save lives, prevent human suffering or 
mitigate property damage. 

[8] Department of Homeland Security, National Response Framework 
(Washington, D.C.: Jan. 2008). The National Response Framework-- 
previously known as the National Response Plan--is the plan that guides 
how federal, state, local, and tribal governments, along with 
nongovernmental and private sector entities, will collectively respond 
to and recover from all hazards, including catastrophic disasters, such 
as Hurricane Katrina. 

[9] Emergency Management Assistance Compact is a mutual aid agreement 
among member states and is administered by the National Emergency 
Management Association. States affected by disasters have increasingly 
relied on the compact as a means to access resources from other states, 
including emergency managers, National Guard assets, and first 
responders. GAO, Emergency Management Assistance Compact: Enhancing 
EMAC's Collaborative and Administrative Capacity Should Improve 
National Disaster Response, [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-07-854] (Washington, D.C.: June 29, 
2007). 

[10] The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is the DOD agent responsible for 
public works and engineering. 

[11] One of the primary joint doctrine documents that lays out DOD 
guidance for joint operation planning is Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joint 
Pub. 5-0, Joint Operation Planning (Dec. 26, 2006). 

[12] The full National Response Framework is also not yet completed. 
Partner guides, incident annexes for terrorism and cyber incidents, and 
the incident annex supplement for catastrophic disasters remain 
incomplete. 

[13] White House, Homeland Security Presidential Directive 8, Annex 1, 
National Planning (Washington, D.C.: Dec. 2007). 

[14] The 15 National Planning Scenarios have been grouped in 8 scenario 
sets of similar characteristics. For example, the 4 National Planning 
Scenarios related to chemical incidents have been grouped together. 
Concept and operation plans are being developed for the 8 scenario 
sets. 

[15] GAO, National Preparedness: FEMA Has Made Progress, but Needs to 
Complete and Integrate Planning, Exercise, and Assessment Efforts, 
[hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-09-369] (Washington, D.C.: 
April 30, 2009). 

[16] [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-09-369]. 

[17] [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-09-369]. 

[18] Department of Defense, Strategy for Homeland Defense and Civil 
Support (Washington, D.C.: June 2005), p. 3. DOD has since refined that 
standard to "prepare for and mitigate the effects of multiple, near- 
simultaneous CBRNE events." U.S. Northern Command, Department of 
Defense Homeland Defense and Civil Support Joint Operating Concept, 
Version 2.0 (October 2007), p. 43. 

[19] U.S. Northern Command, Homeland Defense and Civil Support 
Capabilities Based Assessment (Colorado Springs, CO: Mar. 2009). 

[20] Assigned forces are under the direct command of their unified 
command, such as NORTHCOM. Allocated forces are transferred from their 
assigned unified command to another command for employment for a period 
of time. 

[21] Homeland Defense and Civil Support Capabilities Based Assessment. 

[22] U.S. Army North and Joint Task Force Civil Support are subordinate 
commands of NORTHCOM. 

[End of section] 

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