18 April 2011

Hearing Point Paper Subject: National Security Progress Report – Ten Years After 9/111

Purpose. To Whom it May Concern. The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental 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 recommendations first laid out by the 9/11 Commission and now by the Bipartisan Policy Center’s National Security Preparedness Group (NSPG). This Hearing Point Paper is meant to disseminate the highlights of the March 31st, 2011 hearing, which acted as a complete overview of the nation’s response in the ten years following the 9/11 attacks, with an emphasis on preparing for emerging threats. Key Points.
a. 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. 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 based on 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 followed revealed that there were still a number of recommendations that had yet to be effectively initiated from the 9/11 Commission Report and that there were emerging threats. The most significant discussion points are recounted below.

b. Both Senators Lieberman and Collins’ opening statements stressed that the U.S. has,


Discussion Points.
a. Unfulfilled 9/11 Commission Report Recommendations: i.

Administrative Command of National Security – Throughout the hearing the question of who is truly the ‘quarterback” of national security was asked. The committee determined that John Brennan, the National Security Advisor, is the de facto “quarterback,” while the Secretary of DHS, the DNI, the Director of NCTC, and others play a significant role. The Committee likewise determined that the unity of command should fall under the DNI. information sharing practices was discussed. Hamilton explained that the major agencies, the FBI and CIA, had both undergone extensive cultural shifts in order to meet the request, but that there was still room for improvement, as was made evident with the Christmas Day bombing attempt and Fort Hood shooting. Most notable was the lack of sharing vertically – to top agency leaders – who would then presumably report the information to other agency leaders. Lack of sharing was believed to be due to a bloated bureaucracy. reform of Congress itself in regards to oversight of the IC and DHS. The

ii. Information Sharing – How well national security agencies have implemented

iii. Reform Congress for Greater Oversight – The 9/11 Commission called for

1 C-SPAN, “Ten Years After 9/11,” C-SPAN.org, Adobe Flash video file,

http://cspan.org/Events/Congress-Reviews-National-Security-Issues/10737420650-2/ (accessed 3 April 2011).

NSPG continues to call for streamlined oversight by creating Joint (House and Senate) Committees overseeing both the IC and DHS, respectively.
b. Emerging Threats: i.

Radicalization/Homegrown Terrorism – More than any other emerging threat, the witnesses expressed concern for the radicalization of persons within the U.S. They underlined the critical need for collaboration between federal and local officials, to include Islamic community leaders. issue had to be brought up as a future concern, and the witnesses could not say with certainty that the response thus far will be enough.

ii. Cyber Threats – The cyber world being in a constant state of flux like it is, this


Conclusion and Recommendation. The following was derived from what appeared to be major inconclusive discussion points from the hearing, so major that they colored all other points. Inconclusive discussion points may pinpoint serious gaps in our leaders’ understanding of how to effectively reform national security.
a. “The Quarterback” – Before and during discussions the Committee did not

adequately distinguish the roles and responsibilities of the components of the national security apparatus. Despite very different focuses, all of the agencies involved with national security were lumped together and then treated solely as an intelligence component. This was made especially clear when the topic of “Unity of Command” came up. Why this is a problem is because the agencies will have conflicting interests in their pursuits of national security and therefore cannot be treated the same. The DNI would not be able to effectively command first responders within Homeland Security, for instance. Any discussion on the national security apparatus should begin with clearly dissecting said apparatus into its functional areas: Intelligence, Homeland Security, and Homeland Defense. Any topic of discussion should then be aligned within its appropriate functional area. The matter of “Unity of Command” would not align appropriately with any one functional area; therefore, “Unity of Command” should not be granted to any of the heads of those functional areas. bureaucracy. Having organizations with overlapping roles and responsibilities is one thing, but having overlapping Chief Offices is another. We do not need a Homeland Security Advisor when we have a Secretary of Homeland Security. In a streamlined bureaucracy there would be no question as to whether John Brennan or Tom Donilon (the National Security Advisor) should be the head of the national security apparatus because that job would clearly fall to the President alone. He/She would need only look to his Secretaries for advisement within each functional area. For that matter, The DNI should be made a Secretary and the IC made a Department of the Executive Branch. Oversight would have to ensure intelligence remains separate from policy. place that can regulate the effectiveness of all of the components of national security.

b. Blotted Bureaucracy – Cleary the national security apparatus has become a bloated

c. Oversight – Oversight is a simple matter of ensuring that strong Committees are in

Prepared by: Damian Niolet, SSgt, USAF BS Student

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