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MG CLYDE VAUGHN - INTERVIEW

U.S.A. CENTER FOR MILITARY HISTORY

CMH CATALOG NO. (NEIT-542)

Interview with MG CLYDE VAUGHN

Interviewer:

Stephen J. Lofgren

US Army Center of Military History

Lofgrsjihqda.army.mil

Interview Date: 12 February 2002

FOR REFERENCE ONLY. NOT TO BE RELEASED OUTSIDE OF THE

DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE

ORIGINATING AGENCY.

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[BEGIN SIDE ONE, TAPE ONE.]

Mr. Lofgren:

This is Steve Lofgren of the US Army

Center of Military History. I am conducting an oral

history interview with General Clyde Vaughn. Today's date

is 12 February 2002, and the subject of the interview is

the terrorist attack on the Pentagon on 11 September 2001.

Sir, if you

could tell me your full name, and

position for the record?

MG VAUGHN:

Full name is Clyde A. Vaughn.

I am the

Deputy Director of Operations, Readiness and Mobilization

and also the Deputy Director of Military Support for DOD

within the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Army.

Mr. Lofgren: And you are conducting this interview

voluntarily, sir?

MG VAUGHN: Absolutely.

Mr. Lofgren: Great. Could you briefly describe what

your position entails, the responsibilities and --

MG VAUGHN: My position as the deputy to the director

is pretty much the same responsibilities as the second man

in the directorate. Obviously this is current ops. This

is current operations for the Army, so in many instances

we run -- well, in all instances, we run 24-hour-a-day

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operations, and as far as a portfolio that's kept separate

from the director, we don't do that. There are a couple

of areas that we probably each concentrate a little

heavier on, but basically

I've got to be able to step in

for him and be his second in almost everything he does.

So the responsibilities are the same as he has, and that

is providing the right kind of leadership over all the

divisions within the directorate to encompass everything

from operations and mobilization, the CAP, the watch for

the Army, the directorate of military support, everything

that the Army touches in current operations.

Mr. Lofgren: Okay. Would you describe what you were

doing Tuesday morning, just sort of start with getting to

work --

MG VAUGHN: Very interesting. During that time

frame, we always start with a morning brief-off, that's

called an O&I, and we traditionally get in here somewhere

around 0530 in the morning. The first brief normally goes

through General Chiarelli and myself, and then we'll take

that brief upstairs to the DSCOPS of the Army, usually

carried up there at either 6:30 or 7:00, depending on

their schedule, and then normally we would go on from

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there to the Chief of Staff of the Army if he was

available and wanted the briefing that day, and then the

briefing team would go on to SECARMY if he required the

briefing. So that day, undoubtedly just like all the other

days, started with a briefing down here early, from

probably a ten or 12 man organization that we normally

have it every day.

Now, after that, and I would have

to go back and look

and see what my schedule consisted of, but I usually sign

out the force protection message out to the field, and

then I was scheduled -- the piece that I do know --d o

remember quite vividly, is I was scheduled to sit in on

the Reserve Forces Policy Board meeting for General

Kensinger at the Army-Navy Country Club, and so sometime

after the morning brief, I left here and went to the Army-

Navy Country Club.

I would say probably I arrived out there around 0800,

and sat in on the opening sessions and the opening

remarks. We were waiting

at that time I think for Mr.

Brown to show up and the Assistant Secretary of the Army

for Manpower Reserve Affairs. We were waiting for him to

show up and deliver his remarks, and General Davis, Lt.

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Gen. Davis, the Chief of the National Guard Bureau, came

in the back of the room and motioned for myself and Lt.

General Schultz to come out in the lobby.

So, I went

outside with him and he gave us the information then, the

breaking news was that the towers, and I don't remember

whether it was one tower or both, but I think at that time

it was both, had been hit by an airplane or by airplanes.

And so I called in here

to talk to my exec who was at

that time Lt. Col. Jerry Ketcham, and he told me that

General Chiarelli had already gone to the CAT floor, the

CAT was being stood up, and I told him that I would be

there quickly.

So, from that point I just picked up my

materials and went outside and got in the vehicle, and

drove down Glebe Road for 395.

and was listening to the radio.

I turned to go 395 north

At that time,

of course,

they had it on about the towers being struck and I

remember thinking then that I was probably driving towards

a target.

If -- and, you know, it was pretty obvious that

it was a terrorist incident because I do remember either

earlier or at the time I turned on the radio that both

towers had been struck, so it was definitely a terrorist

action.

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I remember very vividly there wasn't anything in the

sky, and again, thinking

about as I came up 395 and over

the top of the hill, you know, somewhere down in there you

think about what a target the Capitol would be. You know,

that's kind of what you think when you come up

395.

So,

as I was going north on 395, I remember seeing an

airplane, a liner, that to me it seemed a little bit out

of, you know, out of sorts.

It was - there was only one

aircraft in the sky that I could see, and I didn't -- I

didn't, of course, didn't hear anything else. And that

aircraft from where I was coming up 395 at that time

appeared to be in a straight line up over maybe the

Georgetown area or something like that, and I watched it

kind of bank slowly and head west, and then you're kind of

down in a deflade area coming up 395, you can't see back

to the left or the right.

To jump ahead, I've always

wondered it that was the plane that circled and come back

around, and I've read different accounts that say that

particular plane had actually done some kind of a right

bank, and came on back and hit the Pentagon.

But the one

I saw was headed west and was not in a normal traffic

pattern, and maybe, I don't know, maybe two or three

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thousand feet high and kind of lumbering just a little

bit.

But as I came up 395, I got to the top of the hill

where from that point you had a real good view of the

Pentagon and the city, ane for those who have come up 395

you know exactly what I'm talking about, it's right on the

top.

And right as I got to the top of that hill, the

hijacked airliner was out my left window, and there

weren't very many people that were on the top of the hill.

The highway was full of cars and vehicles, and so it

was slow traffic, but the airliner -- you know, and it

would be very hard, and I said I've never been able to

pinpoint even driving in in the mornings exactly where

that

plane was, but it was probably, I mean it was very

low, and it probably had to be in close proximity or over

the top of the Navy Annex.

It may have been even over Columbia Pike, but very,

very close, very low, and there was no doubt instantly

what was going on, because

it was -- it must have just

barely missed the Sheraton and the landing gears was up, I

mean, there was no doubt it was on a -- that it was -- if

anything, it was accelerating, and it was on a collision

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course, it was aimed for the Pentagon. There was just no

question at all.

And

I saw it, of course, you know, traffic had come

to I mean a slammin' stop right then, even before

it hit

the

Pentagon. I mean it slowed -- and from where

I was I

had probably as good a vantage point as you could have on

395, and it appeared that it may hit short, I mean it was

so close, and there's actually -- your vantage point at

some point as you come off the hill you're somewhat in a

deflade there, your view gets a little obstructed by I

think 29 where it turns and goes under

395. There's a

little ramp in there, or an underpass, but I saw it track

all the way

in to the Pentagon and if I lost it at all it

had to be just

there -- but it happened so quick, as it

closed on the Pentagon in the last couple of hundred feet,

you know, and the resulting ball of flame and everything,

and

I'm just -- I'm not actually sure that I saw it hit

the Pentagon thinking back.

But, you know, it's -- I'd almost have to get out in

the middle of traffic, stop, and just see whether I can

see that or not.

But I saw it all the way in and

if I

lost it at all it was

just in the last split second before

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it hit.

From there I don't

know.

We may have, you know,

during that time we may have moved a hundred foot and

traffic was stopped, and I had trouble -- of all times I

have had trouble with a particular brand of cellular phone

that they had given General Chiarelli and I probably that

week, and so we were trading out cellular phones and I

didn't have my phone with me.

And so there we were, and

of course now -- and right -- there's people, you know,

that are in disbelief, you know, all over.

There was a young lady in a car next door to me, it

was a hot day, and windows were down, and

she was on her

cell phone and so I yelled at her to see if I could borrow

her cell phone real quick, and I called in here to AOC,

into this office, and talked to a Major George Sterling at

that time, and my first question I asked him, I said

"George, are you all right?" and he said "yeah", I think

he said that Jerry, my exec, had already gone into the CAT

and they were all in the CAT, opening the CAT up, and I

said "You know that you've been hit by an airplane", and I

think he said "Is that what happened?" Because, you know,

there's many, many, many people that didn't find out for

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some time it was an airplane.

He said everybody down here was okay, and they were

headed for the CAT.

So I told him

to tell General

Chiarelli I was on top of the hill and I would be there as

quickly as I could get in.

So, I gave that cell phone back and by this time

traffic had moved down the hill maybe another hundred

yards or so, and so I pulled up and then there was a big

traffic jam again, and I looked back in my rearview

mirror, I was in a green Explorer, and I saw a policeman

with his sirens going back, oh, back behind me a couple of

hundred yards, and of course, traffic is stopped and

stacked up, so I got out on 395, I pulled my vehicle as

far over to the side as I could, and I got out and

directed traffic over to the side until the policeman

could come off the top of the hill.

I guess what's interesting about that, that is the

policeman that hit the intersection first down there, that

directed all the traffic for some time, and as we opened

that lane up and he came by and I remember him on the

speaker phone telling me thanks, and I fell in -- I

jumped, my vehicle was still running, I jumped in behind

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him, put the flashers on, and he and I went right through

the traffic all the way down underneath the underpass, to

the intersection where, if you would come out of the south

parking lot like -- whether it's 27 or 29 -- I believe

it's 27, I've been saying 29, but I believe it's 27, the

one that goes down the west side of the building, right in

front of the helicopter pad where the plane went in.

We came off the hill, I followed him all the way down

to that intersection, he pulled his car up real quick, and

got out, and I pulled up right behind him and told him

that I was, you know, that I need to park that

car in

there and I'd be going into the building.

And so, he

said, "Yes, just pull off on the grass right behind that

barricade." So in many pictures for the next 24 hours

there's a green Explorer sitting there on that corner

where all the emergency vehicles and everything were. I

pulled up as close as I could to the retainer there on the

grass, and by that time he was moving traffic on down from

the Pentagon,

When I got out there on that corner, I remembered

seeing General Mahan, and now when I was kind of thinking,

you know, I was looking at where the plane hit and I was

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also kind of noticing, you know, who I'd seen that I knew,

especially general officers. So Mahan -- I saw General

Mahan, I headed on down, walking and running down the road

and there were people -- and I remembered when the plane

went in to hit the Pentagon one of the offices that I knew

was right close to that, to the heliport, was General

Glenn Webster's, Fuzzy Webster's. I remember thinking,

that his office had to be hit, because I'd been in his

office several times, and I knew the heliport was real

close in there

right out that window.

So I was real-- you

know, I thought, boy that had to hit Training, which is

underneath the DCSOPS.

So, as I came on down -- now on foot--as I came down

the road that's when I saw all kinds of people being

helped. You know, that's where we talk about the number

of real heroes that there were, they were helping people,

you know, comforting them and taking care of them, and

there were some grossly burned people. But they all had

people all over them, and I saw Glenn Webster out on the

grass over an individual then, so I knew he was okay.

And

at -- of course, you know, it just happened, I don't

really know how long it -- it just seems like a couple of

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minutes to get off the top of the hill, but it may have

been, you know, as much as ten minutes.

I don't have any idea whether it was five or ten.

Simply to, you know, make a call from the top of the hill,

to pull down, stop, you know, get the policeman down the

hill, pull in behind him took probably ten minutes.

There

wasn't any, obviously there wasn't any firefighting

equipment or anything yet, everything was -- it was really

going. I mean, the building was engulfed in a big ball of

flame.

And a lot of heroes out there on that grass.

And

I often I wondered about the people who came out that way,

because that's where the fire was, and that's where the

airplane went in, but there were people that came out of

entrances and went out the direction of the fire, were out

there in a hurry, and with all the seriously hurt people

out on that side of the building.

And so I went around the building, and of course,

especially after the towers, I thought "Boy, this is kind

of weird. Here we are going into the building."

You

know, the towers had been just hit by a couple of planes,

and I wondered if there's, like a lot of people, you

wonder if there's another one coming.

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But I went around the building, and came in a back

door.

I went

to the Mall entrance, they had the Mall

entrance shut down. They weren't allowing anyone in --

they were allowing people to leave. There were people

leaving the building, and they weren't allowing anybody to

come into the building. So I didn't waste any effort

trying to get in there.

I went on around to where I knew, where I was fairly

sure some side-doors would be open on the Pentagon, and

back between, as you round the building between the Mall

and the River entrance, there's a side door there, which

you

take the steps down, and it was open between the 7th

and 8th corridor.

And I came in that way and came on down

here to the OPS center.

I went in to the AOC and, of

course, the CAT was stood up and told General Chiarelli I

was there, and what I'd seen happen, and accounted for a

couple of the general officers that I'd seen up to that

point, and then of course, we started from there. The

first big task, obviously, was to get a count on how many

people were missing on the Army staff. And so we were

charged off in that direction. He told me he really

wanted me to concentrate on that piece, it's the most

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critical, you know, piece of it.

So, I got ahold of Major Matt Haider and we

organized, what we had to do, how we would count the

[Note: not clear here] section and we went

to work.

I

announced it on the CAT floor to, you know, for each

section now to start that process of figuring out who was

missing and who was not, and what their impressions were

of all that.

Somewhere along the line I was into the OPs Center,

or into the Army watch, the watch is separate, you know,

that goes all the time, twenty-four watch with watch

officers, and it's got all the COMs for the senior

leadership and it hooks us up with the rest of the world.

I went in there to check in from time to time, and I

think, I either -- I don't remember whether I had Glenn

Webster's number or he called in on his cell phone. He

may have borrowed somebody's cell phone and called in to

the watch, and I took the call.

I told him

I had seen

him, I knew he was okay, and told him where

to come and

I'd get him into the CAT, and then we went out

the back

door a little later and met him and brought him on into

the CAT.

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Then, we were in CAT operations for I don't know how

many consecutive days. General Chiarelli had the -- I

think I went home the first night, I don't know, 1:30 or

2:00 o'clock. General Kensinger, who was in the office

where our two DCSOPS personnel were killed, I remember

everything that he had in there had disappeared, and so he

didn't have keys to the car or anything else, and so he

lives at Belvoir and I took him home that night.

He and I

walked out, I don't know, maybe 1:00 or 1:30 in the

morning to go home for a few hours and get some clothes

on, and get back in here and try to get, and continue.

But we went out, and of course, my vehicle was still out

where we left it, and there were firemen and emergency

workers and everybody else spread out, you know, all over

that piece of terrain, so probably my vehicle was the last

civilian vehicle left up there.

Then we came back. I don't know when we came back the

next day. We divided up and General Chiarelli took the

days and I took the nights for some, I don't know, 38 or

440 days, you know,

in a row until we started on some

kind

of a shift section and we

got some other GOs.

We had some

-- obviously we had a lot of officers that didn't have

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offices because of the smoke and water damage or it was

gone completely, so several of those general officers

threw in and helped us early on, especially during the day

shift when we had to get all the briefings together and

what not, or Hardy and Eikenberry, Webster, were all in

here.

I worked the night shift for, I don't know, probably

some 40 days, and

then we finally got down to where we had

a couple of other general officers help us and we could

get back to some kind of a schedule.

Mr. Lofgren: Okay.

How much of the CAT was already

stood up? I know that General Corelli had an exercise

planned for a couple of days later.

MG VAUGHN: Yeah. There were representatives at that

time, I think probably from all the Staff, and that was

really -- I don't know how deep that was in terms of one

or two shifts, and that CAT, because we go through a

series of exercises and continual identification, and you

pull on the rest of the staff to stand up to CAT.

Because

we had been doing that I think the right people assembled

real quickly. They knew exactly where to go to, and the

CAT was, by the time I got here, I think people had

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automatically reported to it down here, and it appeared to

have someone in every seat, and like I said earlier, I

think, and actually there were a number of other people,

high-ranking officers that are looking for what's going

on, and don't really have any other place to go and work.

They weren't going to leave the building, so they went to

the ops site, which is the hub for any crisis.

So, it appeared that the full CAT was there.

To me,

I think at that time that we were also moving to make sure

that it had 24-hour capabilities, and probably if you talk

to him, later - you

know, it takes three shifts, you know,

to do this thing for as long as we've done it now, which

is some five -- October, November, December, January,

February -- five months now. So in order to give anybody

any time down at all it takes three shifts to keep going

24 hours a day, and

that's where we're at now.

But we

weren't

there for a

long time.

I took awhile to make that

happen.

Mr. Lofgren: Was there any concern early on about

needing to evacuate the building or the center, or whether

you're --

MG VAUGHN: I think that, again, we had people

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monitoring the fire, and the smoke, and where it was.

We

knew where it was contained or where it was, and there was

probably more smell down here than there was smoke. At

some time or other there got to be a concern with the

potential for water, because much of our stuff, our wiring

and what not, is in the floor, and there was some concern,

and we started tracking where the water was. But I think

that although it wasn't real apparent, you know, whether

or not there were other attacks scheduled, we did know of

the one coming in from Pennsylvania.

Mr. Lofgren: So you were

MG VAUGHN: We were aware

aware of that --

of that because of the

phone calls and the fact that the watch was on line during

that process, and so there was an effort, or we did move

or make a move to move some people

to site R.

But I think

that there was, you know, after we got over the initial

three or four or five, three or four hours, there was more

of an attempt, I think, to make

sure that the Army

Operations Center stayed up and running and connected from

here.

There was more of an attempt to do that, than there

was action to actually move the OPs Center.

We did put our liaison Mr. Gary Gall, who is the

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exercise director for the OPs center, and it worked a

couple of actions on, if for some reason we had to vacate

the OPs Center, which site would be go to short of not

including site R, and there are a couple of locations here

fairly close. Not anything to do with at that time, with

the fire but more with, again, with water. If we actually

lost our COMs capability, where would we transfer that

kind

of ? seat to ? [Note:

term not clear on tape].

But, again, the thrust especially after probably the

first eight or ten hours was simply to stay in here.

I

don't recall when we knew, and you know, it took some

time,

to have the fire put out, but I don't

recall when we

knew that water wasn't going to be an issue either, but

there was a real thrust to keep the Operations Center open

the whole time.

Mr. Lofgren: Did you get overloaded with people down

here --

MG VAUGHN: I don't know that I'd call it overloaded,

and I don't know that I've ever considered it as

overloaded. I do know, you know, during an emergency the

CAT is the place, and the AOC is the place that people

will migrate. We had a lot of people in here by

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necessity, and I think that's just part of operational

reality on something like this, that that's going to

happen,

so I don't -- I was

certainly glad that we had

some of the general officer help that we had in here

because there was a lot of different actions all at the

same time going on, and it was good to have, again, the

ones that, you know, that I recounted to you.

Awhile ago between Webster and Eikenberry and Vince

Hardy, it was good to have them here.

Mr. Lofgren: Because they could make decisions or --

MG VAUGHN: Because they could help take actions,

take a larger action. It's just like the compilation of

the status, you know, when all the information brief where

we're at that had to be compiled and go together, and

Eikenberry and Hardy really fell in with that, and Webster

gave us some relief on shifts. They all just pulled

together and did what they could for the first three or

four or five days.

Mr. Lofgren: Very specific kind of detail question,

but how did you get the woman's phone?

your Explorer or --

Did you get out of

MG VAUGHN:

I sure did.

I rolled down

my -- I have

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electric windows on my Explorer, and she was talking, and

I rolled down, just rolled down the window and yelled at

her, asked if I could borrow her phone, and of course, I

was in uniform, and she said sure, she was still in shock.

I just said

-- I told her is "Ma'am, I need to call in to

that building right now. Could I borrow your phone?"

Mr. Lofgren: For somebody writing about, sort of the

history of the Army dealing with the attack on the

Pentagon and what it spawned, what's significant about the

AOC operations?

That is, we know what goes on in the AOC

in general, but is there some impression or perspective

that you would want somebody writing about this to know,

that they might not pick up from the normal course of

research?

MG VAUGHN: It's a very good question, because I

think, and again we say AOC, the Army Operations Center

goes all the time, every day, whether

there's -- and, of

course, there's crises around the world, but what made

this one spectacular on the front end, is that one of the

worst things you have to deal with is the mass casualty

event. And it's hard enough thinking about dealing with

that, you know, when its some other place, but we had the

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worst situation here. We had a mass casualty event on our

own headquarters, and so we were going to end up in the

crisis response, in the consequence management mode and

actually in an operational execution mode, you know, all

at one time.

CATs, by their very nature, are to deal with crises,

and every command stands them up. But I think that,

again, what made this one really, really spectacular on

the front end was the fact that we got hit and had to deal

with the immediacy of who we lost, accounting for all

those people, and putting together the next phases of

dealing with all of that.

For a long time our number one priority, was locating

and identifying and taking care of, either in a hospital,

or there were names of our soldiers and civilians, and you

know, as far as something that is probably our thinking

here will be, on this crisis action team, especially as

long as we've run it now, in looking back we would

probably hot bed this thing at a little higher level. And

what I'm saying by that is normally day to day if you walk

by the CAT there wouldn't be anybody in there. Of course,

we exercise it from time to time and we have staff

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training, but you know, you'd have to go back and think

well, maybe I need to structure this a little bit

different, with augmentation units and drilling reservists

and National Guardsmen that would actually hot bed this

thing at a much higher level than what we were doing

previously.

Right now, for instance, in order for the Army to get

back to doing its business plus doing all the daily crisis

action business, and I don't know what the percentage is,

but probably as much as 80 to 90 percent of that CAT is

pulled by Army Reserve and National Guard soldiers, and

doing a magnificent job, but that's probably one take-

away. And, of course, for the Pentagon the other take-

away is that it really stressed the importance of being

able to account for all of your people.

I think that what we saw is that for organizations

that were predominantly military, that that came rather

easy, and the answers were pretty quick. For those that

were predominantly civilian, probably it wasn't embedded

quite the same way.

It was a little harder, you know, to

get the actual numbers and names of people that were truly

missing.

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Mr. Lofgren: Is there anything I should have asked

you?

MG VAUGHN: No.

You'll think of things. The pieces

for the CAT, I think it's interesting, you know, as you

look at how we changed you know, from phase to phase to

phase, and there were lots of, you know, all the various

pieces were going together at one time, that you know,

priorities such as accounting for and taking care of

people, you know, on the front end, to getting the

requirements in from all the commands and then dealing

with all the mobilization piece that followed on top of

that, and then the actions in support of the war, so I

mean there were a lot of phases that we moved through

quickly.

One of the big things that jumped out is the issue

that they're still dealing with now, which is homeland

security. And you know, when you deal with war plans and

bids and documents there are -- there's a process

for planning and validating and putting forces against

particular plans, and so you just move quickly into that

process. Here, because of the attack on this building,

and then the follow-on immediate concerns of securing a

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certain functions and facilities around the United States,

such as chem sites and some of our key installations and a

lot of critical infrastructure, there wasn't a plan to

deal with that.

And so, when you look at what the Army did, the Army

MACOMs came in with their requests, and those were

prioritized and filled here in OD by the G-3 or DCSOPS of

the Army, as opposed to a CINC driving that process. The

Service ended up reacting quickly in driving out those

security forces. There was not a plan, there was not a

TPFD and there was no forces for a sink in charge

of what

happened. And I say what happened, I don't mean the

Pentagon, necessarily. I mean in charge of what was

happening throughout the United States on the ground that

had a force ready to go --

[END OF SIDE ONE, TAPE ONE; BEGIN SIDE TWO, TAPE ONE]

MG VAUGHN: The big issue is exactly what they're

dealing with right now, as a start-in to this CINC

NORTHCOM situation, where there will be forces for what

the plan is, with the thought that next time around there

will be a structure that will deal with that. But the

Services, and especially the Army, which has the great

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land component, and the chem sites, especially the Army,

we had to deal with that real quick.

Mr. Lofgren: Busy time.

MG VAUGHN: Yeah, it's hard to, you know, when it's

all coming together here it's hard to look back and piece

together all the various things that were going on.

That's a good stud in itself. You know, all the documents

that came out of here.

Okay.

Mr. Lofgren:

I thank you for your time, sir.

MG VAUGHN: Are you done?

Mr. Lofgren: Yes, sir.

MG VAUGHN: Well, you're most welcome.

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