Combating Terrorism: Observations on Growth in Federal Programs Page: 4 of 26
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agree on these matters, we have observed many conflicting statements and
views in public documents and testimony about the CBRN terrorism threat.
In addition, there is an apparent disconnect between the intelligence
agencies' judgments and the focus of certain programs.
Since 1996, the number of federal programs and initiatives to combat
terrorism have grown significantly. According to OMB, funding has also
increased from about $6.5 billion in fiscal year 1998 to about
$10 billion requested for fiscal year 2000. At the same time that the federal
government has created several potentially overlapping programs to train
and equip local first responders to prepare for possible CBRN terrorist
attacks, federal agencies have also expanded the number of federal
response teams, capabilities, and assets.
The executive branch has taken some important steps toward improving
the way it manages and coordinates the growing, complex array of
agencies, offices, programs, activities, and capabilities. For example, OMB
has issued two governmentwide reports-one in 1998 and one in 1999-on
funding levels and programs to combat terrorism. In addition, in December
1998, the Attorney General issued a classified 5-year interagency plan on
counterterrorism and technology. The Attorney General is also
establishing a National Domestic Preparedness Office at the Federal
Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to try to reduce state and local confusion
over the many federal training and equipment programs to help them
prepare for terrorist incidents involving CBRN weapons. While these are
important positive steps, we see opportunities to improve the focus and
direction of federal programs and activities to combat terrorism. For
example, a governmentwide strategy that includes a defined end state and
priorities is needed, along with soundly established program requirements
based on assessments of the threat and risk of terrorist attack. In addition,
a comprehensive inventory of existing federal, state, and local capabilities
that could be leveraged or built upon is warranted before adding or
expanding federal response assets. Without these fundamental program
elements, there can be little or no assurance that the nation is focusing its
investments in the right programs and in the right amounts and that
programs are efficiently and effectively designed and implemented.
Background Under Presidential Decision Directive 39 (June 1995) federal efforts to
combat terrorism are organized along a lead agency concept. The
Department of Justice, through the FBI, is the lead federal agency for crisis
management of domestic terrorist incidents and for pursuing, arresting,
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United States. General Accounting Office. Combating Terrorism: Observations on Growth in Federal Programs, text, June 9, 1999; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc290009/m1/4/: accessed November 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.