18 April 2011
Hearing Point Paper Subject: National Security Progress Report – Ten Years After 9/11
Purpose . To Whom it May Concern. The Senate Committee on Homeland Security andGovernmental Affairs (HSGAC) is holding a series of hearings leading up to the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in an effort to review the nation’s progress in adhering to the recommendationsfirst laid out by the 9/11 Commission and now by the Bipartisan Policy Center’s NationalSecurity Preparedness Group (NSPG). This Hearing Point Paper is meant to disseminate thehighlights of the March 31
, 2011 hearing, which acted as a complete overview of the nation’sresponse in the ten years following the 9/11 attacks, with an emphasis on preparing for emergingthreats.
Key Points .
The Senate Committee on HSGAC is Chaired by Senator Lieberman and Co-Chaired by Senator Collins. Senators McCain, Akaka, and Carper were in attendance as well.The witnesses for this hearing were Congressmen Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton,Chair and Co-Chair respectively of the 9/11 Commission and now the NSPG.
Both Senators Lieberman and Collins’ opening statements stressed that the U.S. has,for the most part, responded appropriately to the 9/11 attacks, in that there has not been another attack of that magnitude since. They encouraged further reform basedon the lessons learned from both our successes and failures over the last ten years;and thusly, they looked to the witnesses for insight. The discussion that followedrevealed that there were still a number of recommendations that had yet to beeffectively initiated from the 9/11 Commission Report and that there were emergingthreats. The most significant discussion points are recounted below.
Unfulfilled 9/11 Commission Report Recommendations:
Administrative Command of National Security – Throughout the hearing thequestion of who is truly the ‘quarterback” of national security was asked. Thecommittee determined that John Brennan, the National Security Advisor, isthe de facto “quarterback,” while the Secretary of DHS, the DNI, the Director of NCTC, and others play a significant role. The Committee likewisedetermined that the unity of command should fall under the DNI.
Information Sharing – How well national security agencies have implementedinformation sharing practices was discussed. Hamilton explained that themajor agencies, the FBI and CIA, had both undergone extensive cultural shiftsin order to meet the request, but that there was still room for improvement, aswas made evident with the Christmas Day bombing attempt and Fort Hoodshooting. Most notable was the lack of sharing vertically – to top agencyleaders – who would then presumably report the information to other agencyleaders. Lack of sharing was believed to be due to a bloated bureaucracy.
Reform Congress for Greater Oversight – The 9/11 Commission called for reform of Congress itself in regards to oversight of the IC and DHS. The