U.S. Pledges $1.6 Million for OAS
Counter-Terrorism Efforts

Port au Spain, Trinidad (USDHS) — The United States has pledged an additional $1.6 million to strengthen and expand counter-terrorism coordination in the Western Hemisphere, officials announced at a meeting of the Organization of American States (OAS) – bringing the total U.S. contribution to $5 million since the 9/11 attacks.

The announcement was made by Asa Hutchinson, head of the U.S. delegation to the OAS Fifth Regular Session of the Inter-American Committee Against Terrorism (CICTE), a three-day conference hosted this year in Trinidad. The U.S. pledge represents approximately 80 percent of total hemispheric investments in CICTE.

“The United States values effective multilateral institutions like CICTE and believes strongly that this body should continue to play an instrumental role in the security of the Western Hemisphere,” said Hutchinson. “This funding demonstrates our firm commitment to working with free states to defeat an indiscriminate terrorist threat and ensure the safety, prosperity and well-being of all Americans. We share so much more than geography; we hold common beliefs and a promising future.”

This year’s CICTE session brings together official delegations from all 34 OAS member states to evaluate existing policies and to develop new strategies for hemispheric communication, cooperation, and training in combating the threat of transnational terrorism.

Among the issues addressed at this year’s conference are a number of key issues such as document security; aviation security (including potential threats to civilian aircraft posed by Man Portable Air Defense Systems, or MANPADS); biometrics sharing; and links between arms/narcotics trafficking and terrorism.

Hutchinson serves as Under Secretary for Border and Transportation Security in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Other senior members of the U.S. delegation include, Ambassador John Maisto, Permanent Representative to the OAS, and William F. Pope, Department of State Acting Coordinator for Counter-terrorism.

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** Remarks by Under Secretary Asa Hutchinson at The Inter-American Committee Against Terrorism Regular Session
** Testimony by Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Admiral James Loy Before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security

Remarks by Under Secretary Asa Hutchinson at The Inter-American Committee Against Terrorism Regular Session

Port au Spain, Trinidad – Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would like to thank the Government of Trinidad & Tobago for hosting this important meeting and for assuming the Chair for 2005. I’m also grateful for Colombia’s decision to serve as Vice-Chair. I would like to express our deepest appreciation to Uruguay for their chairmanship over the past year and for Under Secretary Bluth’s leadership. Finally, I thank the Honorable Prime Minister Patrick Manning and other distinguished participants who have joined us in Port of Spain.

Today, we gather not simply as individual nations, but as a unified body committed to securing our hemisphere from the global threat of terrorism. We recognize that we are equally vulnerable, but in unique ways, to the threats of terrorism. Our differences present opportunities for exploitation by terrorists seeking safe-haven, financing, recruiting, or fraudulent travel documents.

We know that terrorists in our hemisphere are increasingly engaged in narcotics and weapons smuggling, and money laundering, as a means to fund their criminal agendas. Nearly as many innocent civilians were murdered last year by three terrorist organizations in Colombia, as were victims of the September 11th attacks.

We call upon CICTE members to stand with Colombia and support the Uribe Administration in the fight to rid their homeland of terror. No single nation can defeat terrorism on its own. Terrorism is an evolving threat and it requires a new level of cooperation and coordination among CICTE members. In our case, the United States undertook a comprehensive review of counterterrorism efforts following the September 11 attacks. First, we developed a National Strategy for Combating Terrorism – to defeat terrorist organizations of global reach, deny them sanctuary, diminish our vulnerabilities, and defend our citizens and interests.

Second, we restructured our government to better secure our homeland. We knew that improving the integration, analysis, and sharing of terrorism-related information, as well as coordinating counterterrorism activity, would be essential to our future security. In response, the Bush Administration and Congress created the Department of Homeland Security, the Terrorist Threat Integration Center and the Terrorist Screening Center. And soon, the United States will establish the National Counter-Terrorism Center and designate a National Intelligence Director.

Third, we recognized the need to enhance border security. We unified our frontline border inspection force, increased training and manpower, utilized new technology, expanded container screening programs, and implemented programs like US-VISIT – a biometrics driven system that has processed 20 million visitors and denied entry to hundreds of criminals, potential terrorists, and immigration violators.

I thank our Canadian neighbors for hosting an important border symposium in Vancouver this past September. And, I recognize Mexico for hosting a Special Summit of the Americas this past January, as well as for working with us in the Border Partnership Accord. Here in the Caribbean, the State Department is conducting a needs-assessment program that focuses on key infrastructure. In Central America, we are supporting a variety of anti-smuggling initiatives. We are also working closely with partners in the 3+1 Group on Tri-border Security to share ideas on improving border security between Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. These important security initiatives are designed to disrupt terrorist movement. By integrating document security in CICTE’s work plan, we complement these initiatives.

Fourth, the United States has taken steps to improve transportation security. We urge CICTE members to work with us in this critical area. After September 11th, we instituted a multi-layered strategy for aviation security, including 100 percent screening of passengers and baggage on commercial flights, a dramatic expansion of our Federal Air Marshal Program, and hardening of cockpit doors. We encourage all CICTE members to meet the International Civil Aviation Organization standards, including 100 percent baggage screening, and travel document issuance and handling. We ask CICTE members to partner with the G-8’s Secure and Facilitated International Travel Initiative, which includes guidelines for strict national controls of MANPADS, or shoulder-fired missiles. Further, we encourage CICTE members to enhance coordination on maritime security and to meet the International Maritime Organization’s International Ship and Port Facility Security Code requirements.

Fifth, we must cut off terrorist financing. The United States has designated 40 Foreign Terrorist Organizations and 397 terrorists – freezing their assets and criminalizing acts that constitute material support of terrorism. International cooperation has led to 700 terrorist-related accounts blocked around the world, including 106 in the United States and nearly $140 million in frozen assets. We have conducted training and assessments in Brazil, Panama, Paraguay, and Venezuela. And, we have funded a $5 million regional training program to combat money laundering in the Caribbean.

Finally, we recognize that the ultimate success of the global counterterrorism campaign hinges, in large part, on two factors: sustaining and enhancing the political will of states to fight terrorism and enhancing the capacity of all states to fight terrorism. We must continue to expand cooperation; speak out against terrorism; defend our critical infrastructure, cyber-systems, and international commerce; and marshal our resources to raise our counterterrorism capacity.

We appreciate the voluntary contributions that member states have given to CICTE and we strongly encourage all members to make contributions, whether financially, through personnel, or with in-kind technical assistance. I am pleased to announce that we will contribute $1.6 million to CICTE in 2005, bringing total U.S. cash contributions to more than $5 million since September 11.

In closing, I am reminded of President Bush’s description of terrorists. He said, “They can incite men to murder and suicide, but they cannot inspire men to live, and hope, and add to the progress of their country. We did not seek this war on terror, but this is the world as we find it.”

The Western Hemisphere is more secure because of CICTE. Let us each, as member states, recommit ourselves to greater cooperation, partnership, and the strengthening of our shared values.

Thank you.

Testimony by Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Admiral James Loy Before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security

WASHINGTON — Mr. Chairman, Representative Sabo, and Members of the subcommittee, I appreciate the opportunity to appear before you today and discuss the management accomplishments and challenges for the Department of Homeland Security. We’re grateful for the support we have received from this Committee as we continue to build a Department fully equipped and capable to lead the national effort to protect the American people from all manner of threats, whether natural or man-made.

The President has reaffirmed his staunch commitment to this most pressing of tasks. Through the allocation of $41.1 billion in new resources, a 7 percent increase over the current year, we will expand and improve existing programs as well as put in place new initiatives that will further strengthen and safeguard our homeland. Turning specifically to the focus of today’s hearing, one of our key priorities is to support the ongoing creation, development and transformation of a formerly disparate group of agencies into one cohesive 21st century Department.

As all of you know, in standing up the Department of Homeland Security nearly two years ago, we faced the dual challenges of meeting our mission of securing the nation, while at the same time integrating into a single Department 22 different agencies, each with their own employees, cultures, legacies, duties, and support system. An enormous amount has been accomplished and the Department continues to evolve and mature. And as we gain further knowledge and insight, we learn of new opportunities where we can become more efficient, or where structural changes can improve security or simply add to efficiency and effectiveness. Our challenge is to be both methodical and determined to see the work through to the end state we envision. The budget proposal includes several important initiatives that demonstrate how we are continuing to tear down stove-pipes and coordinate issues across DHS and government wide.

For example, we propose the creation of the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, which will develop, acquire and support the deployment of a domestic system to improve security against terrorist use of a nuclear device in the United States. This effort will pull together experts from across DHS, as well as the Departments of Defense, Energy, Justice, and State; the Intelligence Community; and elsewhere. In many ways, this is a statement about trust and confidence. A year ago, DHS was not ready to host an initiative of this import. Today we are.

Another example of our evolution and unification is our proposal for the creation of an Office of Screening Coordination and Operations. The SCO would consolidate several similar screening programs, such as US VISIT, Secure Flight, and the Transportation Worker Identification Credential program into a single office to substantially improve internal coordination and efficiency and potentially reinvest the savings from integrated overhead costs into mission strength.

We also continue to progress with our efforts to functionally integrate various support activities across the Department. This task has been an overriding objective of our work in building this Department.

We’ve had to ensure that everyday processes such as information technology support and financial management are as efficient and effective as possible, so that our employees are free to focus on the business of protecting our country, and so that we can maximize the dollars we push into our mission activities. It was and continues to be an enormous challenge, but one that the employees of this Department have not faltered in meeting. And as a result of much hard work and effort, today 22 different human resource servicing offices are down to 7; 8 payroll systems are pared to 2; 22 personal property management systems to 3; and the list goes on and on.

Functional integration efforts are leading to increased efficiencies in human resources, procurement and acquisitions, information technology, administrative services and financial management. Major mergers in the private sector of just two companies are considered well done if pulled off in 3 – 5 years. I have challenged our teams at DHS to merge 22 entities in 3 years. We have done well this past year and will continue to do so. In each one of these significant functional areas, I have insisted on a 5-year end state vision and the FY05 steps, projects, activities or process changes necessary to take steps toward that end state.

For example, within the procurement and acquisitions area, as a result of this integration, a close collaboration between the Chief Information Office and Procurement Office has produced an Information Technology Acquisition Center that will steer the acquisition of the billions of dollars of information technology goods and services that the Department consumes.

We’ve also established benchmark staffing targets for procurement professionals across all organizational elements of DHS. This will enable the Department to not only allocate resources more effectively, but also to gain a greater understanding of the types of commodities and services purchased. In addition, the Department has consolidated acquisition support into eight major procurement offices within DHS. These eight offices provide acquisition support to the 22 legacy agencies that formed DHS as well as 35 new customers, such as S&T, IAIP, USCIS, the Office of State and Local Government Coordination and Preparedness, Office of the Secretary and Under Secretary for Management that were created when DHS was formed.

We’ve also made great progress in the integration and transformation of our information technology infrastructure. In this area also, we have laid down clear markers to strive toward over the next five years. One of which was complete email and network consolidation, a goal we are very close to realizing. Modernizing and strengthening our IT backbone is essential because it drives our all important need to share information more adeptly with those who need it most. Our Homeland Security Data Network has proven effective in sharing information not only across our Department and with our field offices, but also across other federal agencies, with state and local governments, law enforcement, and first responders.

Our work to functionally integrate the financial management of the Department has enabled the consolidation of 27 travel and purchase card programs down to 3 and a reduction in the number of accounting providers from18 to 8. Most importantly, we are developing Department-wide standards and procedures to ensure effective decision-making and use of our financial resources. DHS continues to execute its three-year strategic audit plan, and implement improvements in Department-wide internal controls. Timely, reliable financial information is essential for Department managers in their decision-making and for our reporting to Congress and others.

DHS made progress in 2004 regarding its financial statement by providing information to the auditors almost three months faster than in 2003. Our audit results were disappointing in that we didn’t hold the qualified status of 03. However, the books audited for 04 were dramatically more complete, available three months earlier and the audit offers us great clarity on what to concentrate on this year. Critical to our financial management success in 2005 will be the execution of our very detailed corrective action plan that addresses each of our weaknesses. Our goal is to regain qualified status this year, to focus separate audits on several large agencies whose status underpins the Department, and to gain an unqualified audit in FY 06. We’ve also looked for ways to consolidate and share services across different agencies to eliminate duplication of effort and streamline administrative support systems to better serve employees.

We’ve also requested additional funds to continue the implementation of our emerge2 initiative which, when complete will be the backbone of dramatically improved financial and resource management. Emerge2 is a program that will ensure our decision makers have the information they need to properly support those who are on the frontlines of homeland security…those manning a border checkpoint, screening high-risk cargo, delivering disaster relief. We are continuing our efforts to design and deploy our innovative new human resource system Max HR, which will replace more than 140 legacy human resource systems. This modern personnel tool will ensure both flexibility and accountability within the workforce. Through realignment of staff from existing offices and a small number of new staff, we will create a long overdue Policy, Planning and International Affairs (PPIA) office – one that will do long range strategic planning, coordinate and develop major policy initiatives and connect the U.S. plans and programs to our international agenda.

To facilitate coordination and operational direction among all operational components, we ask you to support the creation of a permanent operational integration staff at DHS headquarters. Formally establishing this team will provide the type of high-level operational planning and coordination necessary to complete the demanding assignment of coalescing and connecting the wide range of Departmental operations both at headquarters and in the field. This is crucial to putting leadership to the mandated collaboration role this Department has in countless areas. The staff established last year out of clear need has produced extraordinary products such as the National Response Plan (NRP) and National Incident Management System (NIMS), and the Interagency Security Plan which keeps us attentive to the prevention, protection, response and recovery activities of America.

The task before us, as a nation – not just a Department – will continue to be challenging, but meeting these challenges with solid performance and outcomes is the mission and mandate of the 180,000-plus people who have taken on that mission as a personal cause since 9/11. Early on, in transforming our government to respond to the threat of terrorism, we set high expectations for ourselves – expectations that this Department would serve as a model agency for the new century. Our goal was and continues to be to craft an organization that is flexible, innovative, efficient, and bold in confronting the dangers terrorism pose.

We believe that just as this Department was created to execute a mission unlike any other agency in government, the delivery of service in supporting this critical charge should be equally progressive. Every day we rise to execute the great trust that has been placed in this Department. The work of our management team and the support of this Congress will enable us to build and sustain a Department that is capable of upholding that trust and securing our nation for many years to come.

Mr. Chairman, this is likely my last appearance before the Congress. I would like to publicly thank you for your many years of support. We have worked together through what seems like an endless list of important challenges for America. You and this committee have been constant sources of ideas, good counsel, firm direction and by the way…dollars. I thank you for all those things, but perhaps mostly for your friendship and commitment to what’s best for our country.

I’ll be happy to take your questions at this time.