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tv   C-SPAN Weekend  CSPAN  December 14, 2009 2:00am-6:00am EST

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disrupting democracy. a military coup are some kind of authoritarian project. that did not allow for democracy to consolidate itself in many of the countries in the region. it is absolutely essential, and this is why i will talk about honduras, that the precedent of a could a top -- but tof a coup d'etat does the stand. .
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>> it was not in any way justified to take a head of state or any citizen forcibly out of the country without some kind of due process of law. that is basic. that goes back to the mac makarova. -- the mac naqoura -- magna carta. different people do find it in different ways. -- define it in different ways. our position has been very clear on this. we do not accept the the genesee
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of the government -- the legitimacy of the government. what we have done is look for a solution. i am really proud to see how other -- we have been able to work with other governments in the region to address this question. the formulation had to be that the election itself was part of the process of resolving the problem in honduras. some people question that. they say that isn't possible to have a defacto government won an election. there is a good point to some of that. if human rights or thare not ald by the defacto government, it is easy to develop a pat. there are lots of experiences
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worldwide where authoritarian regimes, in order to move away and run elections, that leads to democratic governments. this particular instance is very important to her _. the appellate court process in honduras began long before the coup d'etat. the vice president, toes, actually left office and ran in primaries within his party and the laporte process was on its way -- the electoral process was on its way. this means that we need to stop an electoral process. it would have been a mistake. it is an exit strategy for honduras, but it also would have deprived the honduran people of
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an electoral act that they were already participating in from an earlier time i have not said that. of the reason i am taking a little more time on honduras is because the secretary said that the elections may have been a necessary step for an adequate outcome in honduras, but not a sufficient one. it is going to have to restore its democratic institutions. in order to do that, it has to follow a certain path. that path is with this agreement that was broken with the organization of american states. they had to put down some key conditions.
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a truth commission, and verification commission so that, ultimately, the hondurans would do the reforms. the commission would give them advice on their constitutional process. constitutional reform is very necessary. it is up to the people to decide that. at any rate, various efforts have been made. they tried to go back at one particular point and did not get in but then he went back and did get in. the mexicans tried an initiative to get him to leave. it did not work.
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i am fairly optimistic that with the commitment and support of the other countries of a correct resolution of the hon during crisis, but there is one to be an agreement. steps will have to be taken to restore the credibility of democratic institutions in honduras in order to admit honduras at a later stage to return to the system. is still a work in progress. one of the things that you will learn in public affairs, and this is different from being an academic, there would be all kinds of in games that you want to pursue. in crisis management, you have
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1000 different variables cumming machu at one time and the situations change. what is absolutely crucial is to have fundamental principles of back you up without those principles, you will not succeed. and we want multilateralism to work the united states said we are not that interested in multilateralism. it is not something that is in their lexicon they have. -- lexicon. we want to work with the latin american countries in a true partnership. we are hoping that we can get beyond the honduran crisis soon
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in order to pick up all the various elements across the region. the ones that focus on people and the ones that focus on social justice and economic opportunity and focus on fighting in defeating discourage of criminal -- defeating of the scourges of criminal activity. our values are similar. we have a lot to do. we need to get beyond a certain kinds of misconceptions that we may have. we must be able to build a good relationship moving forward. thank you. [applause] >> good morning.
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i am from honduras. i represent the central american organization here in washington d.c.. as the secretary said this morning, we often get lost in the discussion. we're very concerned in fact, we just had a general assembly as part of our declaration. we believe this is very concerning to us. i would like to expand and look
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at the descendants were more than 150,000 descendants, if you add the other 200 million, together, we make 60%-7% though there are no official figures. in that context, we would like to ask how we can work with the government of the u.s. to address these issues of poverty. we see that this is a result of long years of exclusion and discrimination. you do not see us working in the banks and the airports. we look for equal opportunities
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to participate in the free trade agreements and in more of the investments that she mentioned in the human capital and infrastructure. there was a recent report on the development bank saying that only 0.013% of the investment in the region goes to the indigenous communities. that brings great concern to us. we would like to know what the state department thinks and how they believe we can address the issues. >> thank you, very much for your questions and/or comment. i am going to have to find out a little bit more about what programs the state department might have, but the central message of your question is an
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extremely important one. there are lots of communities, but the afro-american community is a community that has often been neglected. there have been special efforts to work with afro colombians -- after-colombians -- appro- colombians -- afro-colombians. we need to address the problems within the quality and social justice in various areas. this also means paying attention to ltd. patterns. the other side of the corn is a
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clear one. this has been one of the patterns in the area. what you're seeing in bolivia is, for the first time, indigenous populations using this process. we need to look and that phenomenon. in my first trip to bolivia, i was stunned and all you saw on walls were pictures of bearded white men. in congress, which is so overwhelmingly done, it allows for the empowerment of excluded
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sectors. minority should not be neglected. there is a danger that majorities will neglect minorities. that is something we need to work on. contact us through the state department and see how we might be able to work more specifically to address those concerns. when i reflect on the americas as a whole, this is an exciting time because many of them are setting up. they're beginning to set up the anniversary of the independence of the americas. this is an extraordinary process. we in the united states share a common history with much of america.
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the common history is the fragments of europe are coming to a continent where there are significant populations, but also the slave trade with these massive flows of people creating these multi-ethnic, multi racial nations with a terrible narrative with the cruelty and injustice behind us. there is also an narrative of working to try to overcome these kinds of things. this is a story that touches on south america as well as on north america. we have a common background. we have a common history. his family has been mexico.
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there are even boundaries between countries that have been defined differently. that is what the united states is. their countries of immigrants with strong, indigenous populations. and they have the right to be at the table. this is what we want to do. do want to share our experiences and see how we can work better together to be able to ultimately empower. that is what this is all about. thank you. >> up next, a public hearing on the safety of public transportation. after that, efforts to protect diplomats and embassies around the world. and then q&a.
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but richard newell, head of the u.s. energy administration announced projections. live coverage tomorrow at 9:30 p.m. eastern on c-span 3. >> and now, a senate hearing on public transportation safety and plans to play a bigger role in rail systems. witnesses include barbara mikulski. this is about 1.5 hours. >> this hearing of the banking subcommittee will come to order.
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chairman dodd is a busy man these days. the most import reform in our health-care system in a generation while working hard to completely overhaul our regulatory financial system, not to mention his central role in formulating legislation to jump-start our economy and create millions of new jobs. in the interest of giving him a few minutes to sleep and eat, i volunteered to lead this hearing. we appreciate everything he is doing. i want to start by praising the work of secretary lahood and the administrator. they are overseeing transportation when localities have fewer resources to meet this demand. they have proven themselves able and visionary leaders in these trying times. as seen by the proposal they
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will be discussing today, their leadership on safety has been particularly important. transportation policy, safety must always be of paramount importance. this past summer, the tragic metro crash claimed lives of nine people, including a retired commanding general of the d.c. national guard and his wife. two working mothers, retired teacher, and a woman who worked with nurses around the world. we must never forget the coming up short unsafety results and tragedies that must be avoided at any cost. as we begin this discussion, there are a few key points i would like to make. the way we currently regulate mass transit safety does not simply make sense to me. there is basically no federal role in transit safety oversight and that is shocking. we have 27 states with a regulation -- with regulations [unintelligible] second, in the past two years
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there has been a disturbing trend in transit safety. fatalities, injuries, and derailments seem to be trending upwards and we must act to make sure this trend stops and reverses. it is important to keep in mind that despite the lack of federal oversight and the trends in recent years, mass transit is still the safest mode of transportation there is. much safer than driving or commuter rail which is governed by a robust federal safety system. the last point is no matter how well we regulate transit safety, we cannot expect safe systems if we do not invest in new infrastructure. according to an fda report, it would cost $50 billion just to get the nation's seven largest transit systems to good repair. i am hopeful that robust real
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modernization funds will be part of the bill. rail modernization funds spend quickly. they create jobs and they are an investment in infrastructure that is critical to our economic health. these funds must be part of any effort to make transit safer. i want to think the administration for a well thought out proposal. i look forward to working with them. this issue is of the upmost importance and cannot be held hostage by the reauthorization process. despite the full committee schedule, i certainly hope and expect that we will market safety legislation next year. let me recognize the distinguished ranking member for his comments. >> thank you. i am eager to hear the testimony so i will thank you and the committee for this hearing and welcome secretary will hood and i have had the
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pleasure of serving with him in the house. thanks for your continuing service. >> i want to echo the chairman's comments on the importance of transit safety and the fact that it has been an area that has often been overlooked and i have to acknowledge as a former governor, perhaps at the state level, overlooked as well. i want to start by applauding the secretary for his collaborative approach you have taken in trying to see how the federal government can be involved in strengthening these state and local efforts. i look forward to working with the chairman and ranking member and you on making sure we move
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forward. echoing again what the chairman said, the recent incidents on metro were more than just an incident to me. this is a network that serves my communities in virginia. we remember the tragic accident in maryland in june. there have been a series of other incidents that have taken place over the last few months. three of them in virginia, one as recently as november 29. this string of incidents really heightens the need for our attention and focus. and showing what the chairman said, i am happy to see that the report includes a bill for funding and grants to address safety and maintenance issues. one of the things all this realize is the metro systems which i can remember that we
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prided as brand-new is getting up by an age. -- in age. it is 35 or 40 years old at this point. just like any house that gets that age, things start to break down at once. we're seeing that at least on the maintenance side with metro. it is showing its age. i echo the chairman's comments that we need to increase our focus on safety but we have to increase our focus on maintenance. i want to make two final points. i hope we look at this from the standpoint of how we get transit safety right. there should be an increased
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federal transit safety rope. perhaps with the exception of california, most states do not do a good job on transit safety. we have gone back to my secretary of transportation, and try to look at what authority we thought we had in virginia to take on transit safety. it has never been high enough on our priority list. there is some uncertainty on what kind of authority at the state level we have. in terms of metro, that is further compounded because of the challenge with the three jurisdictions. i know that the biggest divide talked about in this area is the potomac river between virginia, maryland, and the district and with these three
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jurisdictions will have to find a way to strengthen the oversight board and to strengthen local and state abilities to look at safety. since i will not be here for the comments i want to pose a couple questions. we have read that metro has lost a number of its experienced employees in the normal course of retirement. as we have seen, some of these positions particularly in safety oversight maybe are being replaced by younger employees. i want to know what he's doing in emphasizing safety in terms of training employees and ensuring safety is a high priority and how it is measured and how the employees are measured on safety performance. what else can we do to slow further attrition of the experienced workforce? what new safety training
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programs are you putting in place? has there been any thought to on some short term basis bringing back some of the recently retired employees who have expertise on how they might help consoles or further train this newer work force? i will not be here to hear the responses but i look forward to getting their responses. thank you. >> thank you. let me introduce secretary lynn hood. secretary lahood. several of us have had the opportunity to serve with the secretary in the house of representatives. we welcome you are we're ready for your comments. >> thank you for the opportunity to testify on the
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proposed legislation to reform the department of transportation's role in overseeing the safety of our nation's rail transit systems. with me today is peter rogoff, our transit administrator. travel by rail remain safe but serious accidents do occur. we believe the additional action is needed to make rail transit even safer. rail transit is currently the
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only mode within the department that operates without comprehensive federal safety regulations, oversight, or enforcement authority. we must remedy that gap. rail transit systems carry far more passengers than airlines. the d.o.t. is prevented from issuing a national safety regulations for rail transit systems. that antiquated provision was put into law 45 years ago. i ask you to change it now so we can address the safety needs of the more than 14 million
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americans that use these rail transit systems every day. this is an antiquated law and it needs to be changed. at present, the nation's major metropolitan subway and light rail systems from seattle and san francisco to chicago, boston, new york, and atlanta, are subject only to the federal transit demonstration safety, a state safety oversight program. this program lacks federal statutory authority to establish meaningful minimal safety thresholds in states where real transit systems -- rail transit systems to operate. each is permitted to determine its own safety practices. it is up to state governments to determine the state of regulatory oversight and enforcement authority granted to each system. this results in a patchwork of 27 separate state oversight programs guided by a regulatory framework of inconsistent
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practices, ltd. standards, and marginal effectiveness. what is more, most states to vote in sufficient resources to these safety programs. nationwide with one exception, state agencies employ an average of less than one full-time person per year to do this work. under these conditions, we risk transit safety problems going unidentified and uncorrected. especially as the transit infrastructure gets older and available revenues for transit remain tight. clearly, urging reform is needed now under the leadership of our deputy secretary. our department has developed a legislative proposal that has now been formally transmitted to you on behalf of the president to the speaker of the house and the president of the senate. i ask you to consider or reform proposal seriously and promptly. our legislative proposal would accomplish three goals to strengthen transit safety nationwide.
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through the fta it would establish standards for rail transit systems that receive federal transit funding. it would establish the safety certification program that would provide federal assistance to eligible states that elect to carry out federally approved public transportation safety programs and enforce federal regulations. we seek to ensure that states will now have the manpower and training and the enforcement
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tools to conduct meaningful oversight in states that choose to opt out. -- enforcement tools to conduct meaningful oversight. any state agency would be financially independent from the transit system it overseas. i have informed congress that we would establish a transit rail by azeri committee to develop new recommendations for fta's consideration. the advisory committee will be made up of safeties bands -- specialists -- safety specialists. we will encourage agencies to use risk analysis to identify loder billy's and take action. safety remains our highest priority.
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we have established a safety council that will tackle crosscutting safety issues across all transportation modes. our transit safety legislation proposal was brought before our council and approved through the input of safety experts throughout the entire department. i believe our proposal offers a critical and necessary step to provide a consistent oversight that rail transit industry needs to ensure safety for workers and the traveling public. we look forward to your questions and thank you for your leadership. and allowing us to be here to testify today. >> thank you for your testimony. let me welcome and call upon the distinguished chair of the full committee. with everything you are doing, we are amazed that you -- health-care reforms, job package, we are thrilled to have you here. >> i would not miss ray lahood. let me thank senator menendez for doing this. he has strong interest in the subject matter. and others -- this is a subject in which a great many of us have interest. i am excited about your
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leadership in this effort. i appreciate that very much. this is -- is described -- i describe this issue as a win- win. it reduces dependence on foreign oil and protect our environment and connects people with jobs and services. this is an issue that truly demands our ongoing attention. it may have said this already. if i am repeating your remarks i apologize. i was stunned to see the numbers on writer ship. -- ridership, they are the highest numbers since 1956. there were 10.7 billion trips taken last year. we want to work to increase
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those numbers. our first priority is security. even though there are problems and we read about them, it is important to note that among the safest mode of transportation are transit. incidents fell by half which is a positive sign despite the notoriety of some of these major problems you are saying. a recent series of accidents have some americans' concern. -- americans concerned. the record overall has been a pretty good one. transit administration has limited authority to implement and enforce national transportation safety standards. we have gone without a proper national safety program. states handled an unfunded
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mandate, many of the sport's lack authority and expertise -- these boards lack authority and expertise. this is an ad hoc approach to transit safety. i support you in the efforts. i have taken -- they have taken leadership roles and we're grateful to you for doing so. by improving our oversight structure, we need to address a backlog in infrastructure. metro-north provided 40 million troops in connecticut last year alone has not had a collision in 25 years. we cannot keep running along aging rail lines and decaying tracks and bridges and expect that record of safety to continue. it will not happen. a recent study by the fta of the
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nine largest transit operators found one-third of the agency's assets are near or have exceeded their expected life span. and are either marginal or in poor condition. we're running a $50 billion deficit for the needed repairs which can only grow. funding levels for the fixed guardway lag behind it must be addressed in the next transportation bill. we can catch up by funding the capital investment bill. this will create jobs and create a more reliable system. no rider should ever wonder if they are safe. i commend you for what you are doing and i know that senator barbara mikulski is testifying. she has taken a great interest in this since last summer's accident. i would like to thank you in advance and for your testimony as we move forward. the opportunity for us to take advantage of what people perceive of an area of interest. there is a growing dependency and an opportunity for expand
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and leave the country. i thank you and bob. >> let me start off. this is a strong proposal that sets us off on the path to re transit system. i have a few questions. -- this is a strong proposal that sets us off on the path to a transit system. i view the fta as a grant making organization.
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mine understanding -- my understanding is it has less than three full-time employees. can it ramp up assuming congress passes the legislation and sends it to the president, is that something you envision being able to happen? >> yes, sir. upon enactment and having this bill signed, would ever -- whatever you do, it would take upwards of three years to implement it. during that time, we will be able to staff up and work with the states and develop the best program possible.
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i will let peter say a word about this. >> we have been working with omb in development of the 2011 budget to make sure there is a meaningful funding increment to hire the necessary staffing both for people to write regulations but also to better finance the state partners in the field so they can build up their expertise and inspection of the training costs. >> which brings me to my second question. some of the details which have to be fleshed out. those details will determine whether the safety regime will be successful or not. when do you envision being able
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to give us insights as to what type of oversight authority states are going to need to meet federal standards, and how much are we talking about in terms of projected costs, as well as what type of staffing will be necessary in order to meet these new, more rigorous standards? >> the funding increments, the funding has several components. it is getting necessary folks to do the regulation writing. because the states have stood up the bare minimum in terms oversight, we envision the government taking over it. right now, the state agencies with one exception average less than one person per year. we do not think that is anywhere near adequate. we would propose through federal grants to grow that
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resources to handle the staffing costs and training costs. overall in terms of hard numbers, we're not in a position while the budget is being developed to talk about hard numbers. it will be less than 1% of the fta's budget. we're fine-tuning those needs now with omb. we expect the safety partners in the states to have in order to enforce federal regulations -- we want them to have the necessary teeth to compel the intention of the transit agencies they oversee. that is something we have not seen. that could include the ability to assess fines. there would have to have access to inspect those systems and access to the agency's documentation.
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if we found them to be inadequate, we would have federal fta personnel handle that oversight in the state. >> you talked about in your testimony the desire to have performance based measurements when evaluating whether an agency is operating safely or not. what type of performance measurements are we talking about? are we talking about number of accidents, personnel dedicated to safety, a condition of systems, what are we looking at? >> we have some experience with this through the fra and problem -- pipeline safety program. we would probably look at those standards and issues in relationship to what best practices have been with fra and our pipeline safety and work with the transit organizations to make the highest safety standards and our ability to oversee those in a way that reflects the values that safety is number one. we had a meeting of transit groups from around the country,
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this was a few months ago, to explain we felt it was important for the department to step up one safety. and to elicit their ideas on how we could use their expertise, whatever they had, with our expertise to develop these kinds of standards. we're going to take best practices from around the country and from within our own department through the fra which does some of this and our pipeline safety, and try and use best practices to develop these new standards. >> i think it's great to have the stakeholders with you. what was their attitude? >> i will let peter talk about that. the fact that he is here today.
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he told me before we began, he supports what we're doing and he is giving us a lot of encouragement to move ahead. i think that is a strong signal from one of the largest metro systems in the country. america's metro system. we appreciate the fact he is here today supporting our efforts. i think that is true. peter was interfacing with these folks more than i was. >> i would say there are a lot of elements of our legislative proposal that have been infused by our meetings with stakeholders. not just -- we had state commissioners at that meeting,
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senator warner talked about his state commissioner who admitted that he did not know until the issue of the norfolk rail system came to him that he had this responsibility in his agency. two other state commissioners confessed the same thing. we took from that this need to raise the capability and visibility of state partners or replace them with a federal presence to make sure the issues are being attended to. >> thank you very much. >> we are doing a lot of opting out today in various proposals around congress. whether it is public auctions. i noticed here despite the efforts, you allow the states to opt out here. i am -- given the budgetary restraints that all the statements are facing, -- states are facing, how are you going to encourage the states not to opt out given the pressures they are under? >> we are talking about adopting, taking on the state costs as a federal cost in this
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instance. we would be covering, if they would grow the inspection presence and grow their authorities to do an adequate job, we would cover salaries, training, the trouble of the state partners. they could still opt out. there are a couple states, wisconsin might be one that has a very short amount of mileage and arkansas might be another that has less than four miles of rail transit service. . . . . . the " that he made, it was in august of this year. it deferred long enough or left undetected, it could become a critical safety risk. the issues and the safety is
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linked. it is a very concise clear statement. aho -->> this is a way to address the backlog. i talked about the $50 billion now, those numbers become exponentially larger with every passing day and week. particularly if router ship its up and more demand there is more stress on the system, all of these contribute to that. we have to think more creatively about how we finance and budget these things. i keep on talking about this infrastructure bank idea for regional and national and for stricter needs of the country. their of their ideas like bonding. we will never do this under the normal preparation process. there are limits. we talk about the magnitude of the problem and the ability to either cut spending or raise
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taxes, we all know that is impossible. we have to think differently about how we do this. we did not have a lot of time because the problem is so fundamental and the stresses on the system are larger all of the time. i hope there is a high priority and even though it does not produce the jobs tomorrow that the people would like and i would too, we better start thinking about these longer- term ideas or this is all going to be a bit sticky problem going on. if the system collapses, the deferred maintenance predicts the types of problems you will have. they are blinked. >> if i could just say, i know that you know this but it is worth saying. at the economic summit that president obama hosted at the white house, he sat in on the infrastructure panel that i was a part of. he talked about the infrastructure bank. the president is very keen on this idea.
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we are very keen on it. there is a lot of momentum groping for the infrastructure bank for the very reason you are saying -- growing for the infrastructure bank. this is a good way to identify some big things that can be done. i think you will see a lot of interest from this administration from the president down for this idea. >> may i add to two things? when the secretary took office, we devised a new plan. one of the priorities for the department is the state of good repair of the transportation system. it is not just limited to transit. it covers the pipeline network and all of those things. i think you will see an emphasis on the condition of the existing infrastructure. we recognize that backlog exists and we are not going to move it down. this is essential to that
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because it requires people to use safety management systems recognizing that the system may be in poor repair. how we identified the greatest safety risk before the accident happens? that is an elemental part of this proposal. >> senator reid -- reed. >> thank you. to follow that point, if we subsidize these transit systems at the rate we subsidize the road infrastructure, these problems may be self correcting. i think every system wants to do this. this is not something that they did not want to have happen. let me ask a specific question. within the legislation, there is a proposal to expand coverage
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to bus systems. there are possible -- two and always to do that. one is the bus systems that are linked to the transit rail systems you are proposing to regulate. the other would be bus systems or not which would be the case in ryeland where we have a state-wide system that has a decent record but we could do better. would you exercise this authority? is this something good to have on the books or is this part of the specific plan with the timetable? >> it is a part of trying to look at this at a rigid in a comprehensive way.
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as peter indicated, our number one priority is safety in all modes. we know that people ride the trains and buses. there needs to be attention paid to this and we did not want to leave it out and be criticized for what are you not taking care of this mode of transportation? >> the only thing i would add is it is not in our near-term plans to take on the bus regulatory agenda. we want to walk before we run. the greater focus we think should be on grill. we are prohibited by law to regulate in either area, we thought asking you if that provision be lifted that we address the entire universe and have the option of getting into the bus to read that if necessary. >> i appreciate that. it helps clarify your intentions. i understand that indirectly
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the national traffic safety administration have authority in this area. is the first step to coordinate their activities? is that something is worth thinking about? >> our emphasis is on the rail area. we wanted to reserve the statutory authority. if we got to that point, we would have very clear delineations of authority as you correctly point out. they have different regulatory authorities depending on if it is focused on the driver or the vehicle. if we would get into the space, we would focus on the systems. that is not in our near term plans. >> a final question. the thrust of the legislation is to have a transportation system and an independent safety oversight body. i do not know, is that the system today everywhere? to some states and localities have to modify their approach? how do you ensure this
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independence? that goes to the question that senator dodd race about -- raised about paying for this and not being able to fully satisfy their funding. >> we would like to follow satisfy their funding by doing it through grants to the state. they would have to change governing structure. and this is one of the deficiencies we want to address. some of these transit oversight agencies actually depend on the transit system they oversee for their budget. it is a conflict of interests we cannot allow anywhere else in test partition safety. we do not allow the airlines to decide how much the faa
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inspectors are paid. we cannot allow the freight railroads to decide how many inspectors there are and how much they get paid. somehow this current system has evolved into where certain systems have been allowed to either pay their safety oversight entity or not. by taking over the -- at the federal level, we hope to eliminate that conflict of interest and there would have to be some governing restructuring. >> thank you. >> thank you, senator jack reed. >> we appreciate and looking forward to continuing to work with you. as you depart, let me welcome our distinguished colleague from maryland who has been a vocal advocate for more federal oversight of the transit safety issue and recently introduced a senate bill, the national metro safety act which she will want to talk about today. senator mikulski, thank you for joining us. we look forward to hearing your testimony.
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>> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for those nice words of introduction. i want to thank you for your national leadership of transportation safety in general and also on this transportation safety issue, in particular. you were prompting by responding to my request to take a look at these issues. the washington, md., metro -- maryland and virginia metric systems. we have had terrible accidents in the action has been swift, urgent, and several. if we all work together, the executive and legislative branch, we can really within the next year do something that
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we can be proud of and that our constituency can rely on. i feel like it is a new day and there is a freshness and leadership and a commitment to rigorous follow-through. i recognize that transit safety is a national problem. i am here today to speak about the washington metro that serves maryland, virginia, and the district of columbia. i am here to speak for all of the people in the capital region, over 2 million people, who ride the metro, go to school on the metro, keep their doctors' appointments on the metro and use it. the metro also serves the nation. it is america's support. your constituents -- use the metro when they come to
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washington. they need to be able to rely on it for not only the reliability of timeless and adherence to schedule but also to safety. i want to commend the day-to- date staff that operate it. they have done a fantastic job. i remind you that on 9/11, they helped evacuate the district of columbia at some considerable risk to their own lives. they also did a setback -- a spectacular job on inauguration day. they are facing serious problems. they need money. they remind us continually. they need a more vigorous and aggressive form of management and they need to know their federal government is on their side in terms of a national framework for public safety. i am calling for a sense of urgency both by metro and ourselves because i want to tell you some shocking things just in the last year.
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in the last year, there have been 11 deaths on metro. 11 people have died. in june, a train struck another train during the evening rush hour. eight passengers were killed, including one from maryland and a metro employees. 50 passengers were injured. in august, another metro employees died, of repairman. he was hit by meekness equipment. we have trains owned and operated by a metric that are a cause of the problem. this was not a terrorist or a drunk driver, this was metro equipment that failed the people that were writing it and failed the people that were working on it. -- riding and fill the people that were working on it. . .
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state department worldwide. so, our diplomats can advance u.s. interests. since the terrorist bombings of the u.s. embassies in kenya and
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tanzania in august 1998, the terrorist attacks of 9/11, diplomatic security's responsibilities have grown and evolved. the walls in iraq and afghanistan further increase the challenges of keeping our diplomats safe. last week president obama announced his new afghanistan strategy. 30,000 u.s. troops will be deployed in support of this effort. secretary of state clinton stated that the number of civilians in afghanistan will triple by early next year. d.s. must be fully prepared to support and even a greater role in protecting our civilians. over the last decade, d.s.'s budget has increased almost ten fold to about $2 billion.
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and its direct staff has doubled. unfortunately these extra resources have not guaranteed d.s.'s readiness. in particular, i have concerns in three areas that i hope will be addressed today. first, the department, state department must address the ongoing staffing challenges. gao identified gaps that hindered d.s.s. in carrying out their duties. less than half of security offices serving in language designated positions meet their proficiency requirements. more than one-third of diplomatic security positions are filled by offices below the
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appropriate grade. and personnel gaps at domestic offices and at key posts overseas. i believe that d.s. should invest more in its workforce by having enough people with experience and language skills necessary to fully support its critical missions. understaffing leads to an overreliance on contractors. gao found that there are 36,000 contractors at work in d.s. which is about 90% of diplomatic security's notal workforce. according to gao, some d.s. employees are not prepared to manage this large contracted workforce. recent security lapses at the u.s. embassy in kabul have
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illustrated the need for better contractor oversight. second, the state department must better manage tension between fulfilling diplomatic operations, and providing strong security. today, state department employees serve in iraq, afghanistan and other posts where they would have previously been required to evacuate. these diplomatic operations are critical to u.s. interests, but providing security for such dangerous missions places a great burden on d.s. because of these dangers, some of our overseas folks resemble fortresses and for security reason we're not in locations considered to be most appropriate and accessible for
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diplomatic operations. gao reported that some diplomats are concerned that security measures make it more difficult for visitors to attend u.s. embassy events, making person to person engagement less likely. we must be mindful that the way our diplomatic presence is seen and felt in other countries may reinforce or undermine our broader diplomatic goals. it is certainly critical that tuesday protect its personnel from threats, both on and off post. security, however, must be carried out in concert with our diplomatic mission. finally, i want to emphasize the need for improved strategic planning efforts within d.s. i support gao's recommendation for the department -- state
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department to conduct a strategic review of diplomatic security. the department has already stated that d.s. will benefit from the diplomacy and development review. i'm looking forward to hearing more about this from our state department witness and how strategic planning for d.s. can become a part of its culture. i look forward to hearing from our witnesses today. senator voinovich, your opening statement. >> thank you, senator, akaka and i appreciate you holding this hearing today. i've been concerned about the management of the state department not only as a member of this oversight government management and federal workforce
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but also as a former member of the foreign relations committee and now on the appropriations committee on the subcommittee on foreign ops, and i think that too often the management of some of our agencies haven't been given the consideration that they should have been given, and i know that secretary clinton has indicated that she wants to move forward and improve the management and there's going to be a large number of people that are going to be hired by the state department, and we're anxious to make sure that they get the right people on board to get the job done. i think that's one of the reasons we're here today, because we're concerned about the issue of diplomatic security, and i move around the world and visit some of our
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embassies, and very impressed with some of what i've seen and in other instances after reading this report a little bit concern. and i want appears that the bureau lacks the strategic planning with little capacity, you know, to prepare for future security needs. i've talked this over with my staff and it seems that we just have too many people that are under contract, although from what we can tell, those under contract do a pretty good job. i know when i was in iraq, i had with the black -- whatever the name of the group is. i asked who is security, i was in a helicopter i thought it was our guys. no it was the security operation. got out of the helicopter and got into an suv and i wanted to know who is the security and it's another private operation.
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and i wanted to find out who was training the iraqi government folks in the special unit and they were also hired people. and, of course, that was the department of defense. so, we would just like to look into how this is being looked at by the state department, and i think the thing that bothers me the most and i think senator akaka you did a good job of laying it out, it appears that the people that have been brought on don't have training that they need to to get the job done. i spent a couple of hours over the defense department with richard holbrooke and visiting with team that he put together to go over to afghanistan. he's taking his time and trying to make sure he gets the right people and not in a big rush to just get people on and they are
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trying to find the right ones. so i would like to know what percentages of the people that are going to be doing this taught be on the government payroll and not private contractors. are there too many that are on the private payroll? second of all, can't we do a better job of preparing those individuals that we're asking to do this job, i understand it takes about three years to train somebody up for one of these jobs. the other thing i'm interested in is who decides whether or not the private contractor is doing the job that you're paying them for. i found that too often you have private sector people on and the question is does the agency know whether or not they are getting a return on the investment that they are putting in to that private sector? so i'm anxious to hear your testimony today and the other two witnesses to follow. >> thank you very much, senator voinovich. i want to welcome our first panel of witnesses to the
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subcommittee today. ambassador erik j.boswell the assistant secretary of state fod g before we start, i want to know -- i want you to know that
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your full written statements will be part of the record, and i also would like to remind you to please limit your remarks to five minutes. ambassador boswell, please proceed with your statement. >> thank you, chairman. oops. thank you, mr. chairman and good afternoon to you, sir, and to the members of the committee, senator voinovich as well. i'm honored to appear before you today. i would like to thank you four continued support and interest in the diplomatic bureau of programs. with your support we've been table safeguard american diplomats and facilities for the conduct of u.s. foreign policy and main tower our robust investigative programs which serve to protect borders of the united states. with your permission i'll make this brief statement. while diplomatic security continues to provide the most secure environment possible for
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the conduct of america's foreign policy, as you mentioned, mr. chairman in your opening remarks, the scope and scale of d.s.'s response and authorities have grown immensely in response to emerging threats and security incidents. increased resources were necessary for the bureau to meet the requirements of securing our diplomatic facilities in the extremely high threat environments of iraq, afghanistan, pakistan and other locations. the department currently operates diplomatic missions in locations where in the past we might have closed the post and evacuated all personnel when faced with similar threats. as you may know, mr. chairman, i also served as assistant secretary for diplomatic security from 1995 to 1998. this is not the same organization as when i left. it is far, far more capable. not only has d.s. grown in personnel and resources, it has
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developed the organizational structure necessary to meet all of the current challenges as well as those of the future. the recently released government accountability office review of my bureau correctly assesses d.s. must do more to anticipate potential and emerging global security trouble spots in order to create risk management and mitigation strategies that best focus our limited resources and prioritize security needs. such plans must also incorporate the strategic management of the resources available for our bureau to fulfill its mission both currently and in the future. two years ago diplomatic security created the threat investigations and analysis directorate to enhance our analysis capability. this consent trants our threat analysis and intelligence efforts under one streamlined command struck purr and fofters closer working relationships among all our analysts.
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our next challenge is to sharpen our focus as you mentioned, sir, not only on predicting future security threats but on planning in advance for the security solutions and resources needed fortomorrow's crisis and foreign policy initiatives. over the coming months, we will begin working toward the development of a strategic unit charged that they're better positioned to support policy initiatives and manage global security threats. at the same time, we must balance our resources and security requirements to achieve an infective mix of highest skilled personnel while controlling costs associated with requirements that have grown tremendously over the last 20 years. we are embarked on a new bureau wide planning process that will allow us to better measure the performance of our 120 plus existing programs and utilized data to make better and more informed resource decisions.
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having decisions supported data available will enable ds to determine how well current programs and resources align with the bureau's and the department's strategic goals. ds is actively participating in the state department's diplomacy and development review that the secretary, secretary clinton has focused on improferring the department's resources and training to insure the right people for the right job at the right time are in place to conduct diplomacy around the world. we are also participating in the qddr working group responsible for the foreign affairs communities activities and contingency response environments. the department of state operates in increasingly in dangerous locations. and this requires extensive resources to mitigate the risk. although ds workforce has grown substantially over the past deca decade, the fluid nature of the security environments in afghanistan, in iraq, in pakistan presents an on going challenge to our program and
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staffing structures in those and other posts. to meet the challenge of securing u.s. diplomatic operations under wartime conditions in iraq, afghanistan, and other high threat zones, ds relies on worldwide personal protective services contract, wpps contract to provide protective security, aviation support and fixed guard services. these contracts allow the scaleability required for increased threats or new operational requirements and provides specialized services in extraordinary circumstances. in recognition of the early challenges ds experienced in contract oversight, specifically in iraq, we improved contract officers representative training for all security officer personnel and increased agent staffing in iraq and afghanistan to directly supervise the personal security contractors. in addition, ds has established a new security protective specialist skill code, a limited noncareer federal appointment
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category, federal employment category designed to augment ds special agents by providing direct oversight of motorcades in critical threat locations where such resources are needed most. we are similarly evaluating other staffing options to adequately cover this important oversized function -- oversight function. although the bureau is experiencing a surge in new positions, uneven staffing taken in the 1990s has resulted in significant experience gaps in our agent and security engineering core. to limit the experience gap, we increased training and mentoring programs and carefully identified personnel capable of serving in what we call stretch assignments. over the past ten years, the bureau has embarked on an ambitious recruitment and hiring program, we increased our outreach to colleges and university with an eye toward building a professional service that reflects america's
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diversity. in order to deploy highly qualified personnel into the field quickly, we have revamped some of our training programs and are evaluating our entire agent program to insure that the instruction provided to new and existing ds special agents is relevant to the new realities of our bureau's mission. ds continues to strive to meet the security needs of department in increasingly dangerous locations by anticipating needs and dedicating appropriate resources to accomplish our mission. through these changes ds remains one of the most dynamic agencies in the u.s. federal law enforcement and security community. thank you, mr. chairman, for the opportunity to brief you on the global mission of the bureau of diplomatic security and on our unique ability to safeguard americans working in some of the most dangerous location as broad and the taxing requirement that's we face. with your continued support, we will insure diplomatic security remains a valuable and infective resource for protecting our people, our programs,
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facilities, and interests around the world. >> thank you very much for that statement. we'll proceed with your statement. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i'm pleased to be here today to discuss the department of state's bureau of diplomatic security which is responsible for protection of people, information, and property at over 400 embassies, consolates and domestic locations. since the bombings in east after kashgs the scope and complexity of threats facing americans abroad and at home has increased significantly. diplomatic security must be prepared to counter such threats such as crime, espionage, visa, passport fraud, technological intrusions, political violence and terrorism. my statement today is based on our report which we released two
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days ago which was requested by the subcommittee. i'm going to briefly summarize our findings. we found since 1998, ds' mission has grown considerably in reaction to the security threats and incidents i just outlined. the wars in afghanistan and iraq, the need to enhance the physical security of our embassies and our facilities domestically, the increase protection mission that's ds tho has to undertake, visa fraud have let to significant budget airy and personnel growth. diplomatic securities budgets has increased tenfold since 1998 from approximately $200 million to about $2 billion today. in addition, the size of ds direct higher workforce doubled since 1998. the number of direct hire security specialists, special
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agents, engineers, techniques and kerriers has increased. at the same time, the diplomatic security bureau has increased the use of contractors to secure a security operations worldwide through increases in their guard force and use of contractors to provide protective details for american diplomats in high threat environments. as a consequence of this growth, diplomatic security faces policy and operational challenges. first, ds is maintaining missions in increasingly dangerous locations necessitying the use of more resources and making it more difficult to provide security in these locations. second, although ds has grown considerably in staff over the past ten years, it still faces significant staffing shortages and domestic offices. it still has a number of language deficiencies of its staff, and it still has experience gaps as well as other
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operational challenges which need to be addressed. finally, the state has not benefitted from good strategic planning for the bureau which is an area that we made recommendations for in our report. we identified several challenge that's impede ds from effectively carrying out its mission. just to cite some examples, staffing shortages in its domestic offices. in 2008, about one-third of the officers operated with a 25% vacancy rate or higher. several offices reported that this shortage of staff affected their ability to conduct their work resulting in case back logs and inadequate training opportunities. foreign language deficiencies. as you cited in your opening statement, mr. chairman, we found that about 53% of the regional security officers overseas do not speak or read at
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the level required of their positions. and we concluded that these foreign language short falls could negatively affect several aspects of u.s. i ddiplomacy. to cite an example, an officer at one post told us that because she could not speak the language, she had to transfer a sensitive phone call on an informant on a potential criminal activity to one of her locally engaged staff. experience gaps. 34% of ds' positions are filled below the position grade. for example, several assistant regional security officers with whom we met with in the course of our work indicated that they did not feel adequately prepared for their jobs, particularly with the responsibility to manage large security contracts. we previously reported that experience gaps can compromise
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diplomatic missions. the desire to provide the best security possible to its staff overseas has at times resulted in tension within the department over its diplomatic mission versus its security needs. for example, diplomatic securities establish strict policies concerning access to facilities that are usually include both personal and vehicle screening. some public affairs officers that we met with indicated that they were frustrated that they could not operate as freely as they would like. and this continues to be a challenge within the department in terms of balancing appropriate security versus enhancing our diplomatic posture outside the embassy walls. in our view, the increasing growth in expanding mission ands operational challenges facing the bureau require a strategic review of the department. while ds has undertaken some planning efforts, we found that they had not adequately addressed the resource needs or
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management challenge that's we outlined in our report. several senior diplomatic security officials indicated that ds remains largely a reactive in nature stating that
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the diplomatic review conduct a strategic review of the bureau of diplomatic security to insure that its missions and activities address the department's priority needs and address the challenge that's we outline in our report. mr. chairman, that concludes my statement. i'd be happy to answer any of your questions. >> thank you very much. last week secretary of state hillary clinton testified that u.s. is on track to triple the number of civilian positions in afghanistan to 974 by early next year. how will this large increase impact ds operations in afghanistan? and how much additional ds staffing will be required?
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>> mr. chairman, that will be a great clalg tohallenge to ds as surge in iraq was some years ago. we have the advantage this time of having a little more advance notice. we are going to be doubling the staff of our security office in kabul. and we have, shall we say, a large resource package included in the discussions that will go forward regarding the budget for 2011. but it is a very significant change. ds agents largely protect the mission in kabul. we -- they do not have responsibilities outside of kabul.
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the civilians are under the protection of the military. >> ambassador, the state department just announced its intention to find a new contractor to provide security at the u.s. embassy in kabul after reviewing the allegations of misconduct and security lapses by the current contractor. the prominent government watchdog group questions whether embassy security in a combat zone should be handled by the private sector instead of by
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government employees. has the state department considered whether these positions in combat zones should be performed in house? >> yes, sir, we have. that -- that contract which is, as you mentioned, we have -- the department has decided not to exercise a renewal, an option year in that contract. it is going to be recompeted. it's going to be recompeted among guard companies. i have to clarify that what we're talking about here are the guards that provide the static security around the embassy in kabul. they man the guard posts around this embassy in kabul. they check the vehiclesment they man the checkpoints. they screen the people that are admitted to the compound. these are not the people that provide bodyguard services, that protect our people when we move. these are the fixed post guards.
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around the world, those -- that function has been provided by contractors for many, many, many years. i don't see any real chance that they could be provided by direct hire u.s. government employees or military simply because there are so many. out of the 34,000 people you mentioned, 32,000 are these fixed post guards. just like the fixed post people that stand around the capitol or around the state department. and that has been a successful program for many years. >> ambassador, according to the gao report, ds is planning to replace some contractors with federal employees.
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>> please tell us about reducing the number of contractors. >> yes, sir. i think it's fair to say that the civilian surges in afghanistan and pakistan and iraq and also if pakistan which we haven't mentioned quite yet, severely challenge ds from the point of view of stretching us and making very, great demands on our resources. we could have done better in providing the military tale that supports the teeth, the agents in the field. and this was pointed in and out a recent state department inspection also of ds that we had underresourced the
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administrative management end. mostly in the states. we are increasing the number of people that have been filled by contractors in the past. by contractors, i don't mean guards. i don't mean bodyguards. these are administrative and technical positions, secretaries, analysts, this sort of stuff. >> mr. ford, you said when the united states removes the remaining forces from iraq by the end of 2011 it will impact diplomatic securities operations. what specific challenges do you foresee?
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>> we haven't seen the plan yet for how it's going to be impacted in terms of the civilian side. as the military with draws, ds already has a very large presence in iraq. we believe that it will effect ds because some of the protective service that's the military may be providing currently could be transferred over to ds. we don't have any specific information with regard to what the staffing implications of that might. in our report we had indicated that i believe it was last year ds had, i believe it was 81 special agents in iraq which is by far the largest number of any overseas post. there is likely to be some implications as we surge into afghanistan. so we don't -- we have not yet been briefed on what the actual numbers will be and what the
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resource implications might be for providing protective services in iraq once our military starts to withdraw. >> ambassador, do you have anything to add? >> it is a major case facing us. we, the department, will take over certain functions that are now performed about it military. i can give you an example. the police training function which is currently done by the military will be handled by the department. that will mean a significant increase in the number of direct hire usg employees and contractors that will be assigned to the embassy in baghdad and also around the country. and that will be a big challenge for us because they will have to be protected. this is a significant staff increase. and these folks, business is not in baghdad.
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it's out in the countryside. and we'll have to protect them. and we will -- we are seeking the resources necessary to do that. there is a very, very active planning operation regarding iraq in 2012, it's department wide. we're very much a part of it. and that aspect is one of the things that we are -- that we are considering very closely. >> thank you. senator whitehouse? >> one of the things that always bothered me is the lack of planning, the fiasco and a few others. and lucky that toward the end we got our act together. it seems to me that we're doing a much better job of preparing for our mission in afghanistan. do you have a critical path in place? you mentioned that in terms of
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iraq that who's going to leave say in the green zone and how much is being provided by the military there gone and how are those people going to be taken care of? i don't think very much is said about the number of people that are going to leave in iraq may continue with what prts that we got going there. has somebody really sat down with a piece of paper and scoped it out so that you have confidence that once this takes place in '11 that you're going to be taking care of your folks? >> yes, we are, senator. as i mentioned, there's a very, very actsive planning program that is going on that is going on not only in the department but involves ambassador chris hill's staff in baghdad. i think it's reasonable to say here that we will have a significant presence in -- we, the department, will have a significant presence in the countryside.
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it's likely that we will open up new consolates which do not exist now. and it's also likely that there will be somewhat we're going to call enduring presence posts which are -- where state department employees will be in the countryside. and we're very, very actively planning one for that and, two, how we're going to protect them. is there any paper anywhere that we could look at that would kind of give us the long range plan and a commitment in iraq so that we have some idea of where folks are going and how long we anticipate their being there? >> i'm not aware of any paper that exists. this is a planning process that is going on. i don't think i could tell that you there is a formal road map out there yet. but i do know that planning is going on. it is being factored into the president's 2011 budget request. >> mr. chairman, i think it will be a good idea for us to talk
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maybe with foreign relations to really get an idea of just what the commitment is going to be made in iraq once the troops leave there. the other thing that i think hasn't been underscored in the president's presentation or quite frankly been brought up -- i've seen some of the other hearings. what are the plans that we've got to move folks out to do the prts and the government infrastructure building and so forth that we have in afghanistan? and, you know, how long do we think that we're going to need to do that in order to stabilize those communities? it's a big part of that. we'll talk about the military side of this. but i think that we may not be in -- as candid as what we should be, in other words. and from the information i got was that we're probably going to
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have to have folks there for a longer period than what was presented by the president. i wholeheartedly support the idea of putting the praur on him to do the things that they're supposed to be doing. but this recent comment by karzai about the fact that, you know, that we're going to have to be there for a long time. one of the things we're not talking about is if we have an afghanistan army, we're going to have to pay for it. we're going to have to pay for it. they don't have the money to pay for it. it's different than iraq. beyond that, forget about the subject, is you're going to have a lot of people over there, and i'd be very interested in knowing because of this very, very good plan that was shared with me, what are goug do to make sure when they get out in the boonies that they're being taken care of? now i did hear you -- you're going to initially rely on the military. is that right? >> yes, sir.
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the arrangement that has been made is that -- is that we, the diplomatic security, are responsible for the staff that are at the embassy in kabul and are at the embassy in kabul and associated missions in @@@@@@@@s >> you indicated that you have done an analysis of the people that should be governmental and
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replacing contractors. do you have that anywhere written down about what somebody did to some -- essence fought into what this was like and you made some decisions to say we're going to have people that are going to be on the federal payroll rather than contractors. >> yes, sir, i want to clarify that is not wholesale replacement of a lot of contractors. what's been kind of the subject of controversy is the degree to which the u.s. government relies on contractors largely in the field. and that, i'm afraid, is not going to change from a security point of view. we really have no alternative to using contractors as both as our fixed post guards and i don't think really any substantive reason to use contractors for that purpose. but also as a sort of force
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multiplier for us in which -- so that we can deal with protecting our people when we get surges like this. for example, there is something like 1,000 bodyguards, including the ones who protected you when you were there, in iraq right now. that number can go up and down and change. there's -- i don't see any way that those contractors will be replaced by direct hire people. the commission on wartime contracting is looking at that among other things. and i don't imagine that they're going to come up with an alternative. >> may i ask you something? >> sure. >> you say it's been happening for a long time. and, you might comment on it. has somebody sat down and looked at a piece of paper and said these folks are costing us x number of dollars? they have certain xpen czys that
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we need compared if they were direct hires? and how does that work out from a dollars and cents point of view? in other words, you're saying we have to stay with those people. we've been with those people. has anybody ever thought of developing a cadre of individuals within the department that can do the same thing? and is there a reason you don't want to do that in terms of recruitment or cost or, you know ksh , it is really cheaper to hire these people? >> that's a long and complex subject. i'll do my best to answer it. and right off the top i need to make very clear the differentiation between fixed post guards man a perimeter and the bodyguards who are much more controversial, the blackwaters of this world.
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there is no question to tell you that to hire these people to guard the areas, except for afghanistan and iraq, that hiring local nationals is far, far cheaper than trying to hire some american contractor who will put americans -- not only that, it's not necessary. it's just not necessary. these are contractors who -- and some of them are under personal services groemenagreements. >> by the way, that is -- probably -- you traveled. you're right. they've got a lot of folks that, right professionals attached to the embassies for years, that are nationals that aren't providing the security. thanks for reminding me of that. >> yes, indeed. and that's the bulk of the contractors. the great bulk the contractors. they go home at night. they don't go in some guard camp somewhere. they go home at night.
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>> so the fact is it's cheaper? >> it's much cheaper. infinitely cheaper. now, the second category are the security guards, the body bargu. these people. there's been a question of whether it's cheaper to do it with americans on contract or perhaps military, u.s. military. and i believe the congress shio budget office came out with a study last year in which they put up the true cost, as best they could get to it, the true cost of a sieve civilian contractor and bodyguard and plilt person. it was very close to the same. obviously, if we substituted military, that's 1,000 new military in iraq at a time when we're drawing down the military. it's really very not practical. >> thank you. >> thank you, very much, senator
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voinovich. mr. ford, you testified that gao identified domestic and overseas ds officers with significant staffing gaps. i want to set the stage for why this issue is -- will you please describe how the staffing short falls could affect our diplomatic missions? and the security of state department personnel. i'd like to ask for any additional remarks from the ambassador as well on this. >> okay. most of the staffing gaps that we identified in our work tended to be in the domestic offices here in the united states. i think typically what was happening was that ds would
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receive protective missions for things like the olympics or they needed to staff positions in iraq and afghanistan which was their highest priority. and they tended to use agents that were here on domestic assignments. and so the domestic offices here, they're responsible for things like passport fraud, visa fraud, other investigating type missions that ds has. those were where the short falls tended to be in terms of the mission. so we had some examples we cited in our report. i think one of the examples as i recall was in the houston field office which we indicated they had about a 50% staff vacancy last year. when we consulted with them about what the implications of that would be, they told us that it resulted in case back logs on such things as the western hemisphere travel initiative. so some of the implications of the ds having to shift resources
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to conduct, say, work in afghanistan and iraq by taking people from the domestic offices, that resulted in mission short falls here domestically. and that's where most of the impact occurred based on our analysis. now we also visited a number of overseas locations in which we talked to a number of ds folks and other embassy employees at various overseas missions. and similarly, in those that were not necessarily the highest priorities such as pakistan, iraq, and places like that, a lot of their folks were shifted over to work in those other locations which had some negative implications in terms of what rso es wanted to do wit their individual locations. it also impacted ds' ability to provide sufficient training for all its staff because there isn't a sufficient training flow within ds. by the way, this is state department wide problem. it's not unique to ds.
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staff are not able to get the training they need because they need to go overseas immediately fill a position which in some cases resulted in people that may not be as experienced as they should be to fulfill that mission. and we cited some examples in our report. will tl are negative implications of staffing shortage that's ds is faced with because of the other higher priorities. i think it's true that the challenge, the stress of the major initiatives in iraq and afghanistan had a back stream effect. we were dealing with our highest challenge. we were dealing with our highest priority. it is true that it caused some
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vacan vacan have vacancy rates. we have a vacancy rate in the domestic field offices now of 16 periods, foreign service and civil service and we're looking to close that last remaining gap. i would take a little issue in what -- with what mr. ford said in terms of training. i don't think any ds agent had their training cut short. that is their agent training cut short to go to any assignment overseas. we just wouldn't do that. but i think where we did fall short is on the issue of language. i snow senatknow senator that y interested in this and you testified before this committee several weeks ago. the gao report accurately points
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out that we have about 50% of our jobs -- of the ds jobs oversea that's are language designated do not have people that tested at that level. and i think there was some curtailment of language training or waivers put into place. i was in this job ten years ago in a time when there were few diplomatic positions. they were ever language designated. it was just not part of the deal. i'm very, very pleased now to see that bureau and the core of agents evolved in the good direction in the sense that many, many, many more agents are getting language training, including hard language training, chinese, over a long period of time. that was not -- had not been done in the past. now we're still catching up. there are a lot of positions
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that were language designated that we haven't had the chance or the time, haven't been designated long enough for us to be able to put people with that kind of training in. . . . of -- certain amount of catching up to do in that regard. >> ambassador, senior diplomats worldwide have been provided fully armored cars. some situations, the use of high profile armored vehicles may put
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our diplomats at greater risk. also, in some cases, these vehicles may not be the correct ones for the local terrain. my question to you is, is diplomatic security also hearing these concerns and are there steps ds can take to provide more flexible, lower profile security wherever it's appropriate? >> one of the other bits of cull ta culture shock i had that was mentioned in the report whereas ten years ago there were small number of armored vehicles out in the field. relatively small number of embassies where the amount rated an armored vehicle. now it's thousands. thousands armored vehicles. and certainly every ambassador is required to have an armored
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vehicle and in many places it's more than one. i think we have 3,000 armored vehicles, maybe more than that, in the field. mostly in the combat zones as is appropriate. in terms of what kind of vehicles, i think it's a fair criticism. we're limited by america. and, you know, the kind of vehicle -- american vehicle can you put heavy armoring on is a chevy suburban. and that's a lot of what's out there. that's a loot of what's out there. what we are doing, i think we made a good deal of progress. we do have other kinds of vehicles particularly in places where we're exempt from buy america because of right hand drive, for example, pakistan is one. there is a place like. that but also we are, i think, making a lot of progress in mixing up the kind of vehicles that we're using, combination of a#@ @ m n,, m n,@ @ @ @ y@
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maintain what you could call it a training float. you could call it many other names over the years. men in motion. it's not just training.
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there are always gaps between assignments in the foreign services, just the nature of the game. there are leaves. there is training. there is home leave. there is this kind of thing. and there are the complications that are the result from trying to match up a departure date with an arrival date. >> in terms of the language gap, either hire new people that have the languageos or take the peope that are there and upgrade their language skills. in order to do that, you got to give them time off for that to occur which means that if they're not doing their job and somebody else has to do it. you're saying that it's still -- you're not to the point where you're robbing peter to pay
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paul? >> i didn't mean that at all. the department has always had it as a matter of principle that we will train our people. if people come onboard with languages, that's fine, that's great. but we will train our people, including the ds agents, and we intend to train our people to the language required about it position. we have taken advertising world languages. putting a list that ds gts can compete for, can express their preferences for jobs. we have listed advertised well ahead of time so we can put people into training to fulfill a language requirement.
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>> do you have somebody that is a coordinator? >> every office has a chief security officer for the embassy. it is a ds agent always. some are very senior and manage enormous operations. some of them are very small. but there is an rso at virtually every post. in the # 0's there were 20 security officers in the field in the department. in the foreign service. and they were truly regional. because there were only about 20 of them. but there is nothing regional about the jobs now.
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there are very few security officers that are responsible for more than one country. regional security officers are the chief security official and the chief -- >> and they're state -- >> they are always state department employees -- >> always. >> so really, in effect, if that's the case, that's the group of people that you're trying to bring onboard and train up to take on these positions? would that be -- >> that's right. we have about -- we have about 700 agents in the field, security officers. a little under half of our entire agent population is in the field. and the ones that are state side spend a lot of time doing tdy in the field. >> i don't have any more questions.
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>> we traveled in the near east and central asia and saw firsthand posts that look like fortresses. of course, strong security measures are necessary to protect embassy personnel. nonetheless, our diplomats informed my staff into these posts make it more difficult to build relationships with local populations. either due to stringent security standards or the relative inaccessibility of these posts. my question is how do we build better relationships and increase our public diplomacy while insuring that posts are well protected? >> mr. chairman, my
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responsibility is the security part. but it is a balance that we're trying to reach. and we in security try to play our part in helping the foreign service, the rest of the foreign service achieve that balance. having said that, i think if somebody was here from the office of overseas buildings that is responsible for building embassies would tell you that they work very closely with diplomatic security to try to produce designs and buildings and standards that are more -- what shall i say approachable, humane, a little less of the fortress. but you have to understand also that in the wake of the terrorist attacks on our embassies in nairobi and tanzania the congressman dated new standards for buildings and the department went through an incredibly intense building program. i think we built 50 new embassies or maybe it's 60 -- 65 new embassies, thank you, in the
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last several years. and to do that in an economical way, much use was made of something called a standard embassy design. standard embassy design is not very pretty, i'll tell that you right now. it's a -- it's very functional. and many of the embassies that your staff saw in central asia were certainly of that kind of design. i do think that we made a lot of effort in the right -- we, the department, have made a lot of effort to make these buildings a little less fortress like. but, senator, i'm a big fan of very secure buildings. when i get a -- when i get a threat, when -- when i sit in the morning meeting and look at threats in new places, one of the first questions i ask is what kind of building do we have there to protect our people? and i'm very reassured when it's one of these new buildings.
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ambassador newman stated in his written testimony that the state department needs to give its deploying officers securer communication devices to be used in the field because officers currently rely on the military for these capabilities. is the department considering doing this? and are there any obstacles to move forward on this? but they're not in general use. the state department personnel in the field and in afghanistan, for example, as i mentioned, are closely linked to the military and do use the military
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communications. we need to do some more on our side, though. i think some things are being done. we have just, for example, in afghanistan made available our open net which is not classified. it's sensitive but unclassified. nevertheless, it's a step in the right direction to all the people that we have in afghanistan. >> mr. ford? the gao report identified the challenges ds faces of balancing security with slates the diplomatic mission. do you have any recommendations on how ds and states diplomatic corps core's can best achieve this balance? >> i think the key thing here is communication. there is sometimes miscommunication that occurs between security folks that work
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for ds and the diplomatic side of the house which is trying to accomplish a -- an outreach mission or -- reach a broader audience in an individual country. and then in many cases there is just a lack of communication about what types of security is necessary for them to conduct their work and how to get outside the building. so i mean i -- i would say at a minimum -- and this may be a training issue, we need to make sure that our security folks are sensitive to what the diplomatic mission is. we need to make sure the diplomatic folks are sensitive to security. the security mission that ds has. both ds and those in the field and the state department employees in the field, you often -- i often hear perceptions that indicate that one doesn't really understand what the other's job is. and as a consequence, there is sometimes some negative
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viewpoints on both parts with regard to what the mission is overseas. so i think the main thing is to make sure through training and through other communication mechanisms that the department makes it clear, you know, there are certain reasons why we have security standards in our embassies and in our packages for people that want to go outside the embassy. and i think the diplomatic side there needs -- on the ds side, there needs to be an understanding that, you know, we want to outreach to the local population there because we have other diplomatic objectives. so in my mind, it's communication -- communication is the key. >> thank you very much. that was my final question. >> the criteria that you use in terms of where you're going to build a new embassies?
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by that, i mean, i was in china in 2005 and they're building a new embassy, 45 minutes outside of beijing or something. i mean it's a long distance away. currently it's -- maybe they've already moved. it was downtown, very close to other embassies. so it's now way out somewhere else. is there something that you could go to to say that we made the decision to move it there for ten different reasons? or is there a standard, macedonia? they got one of the prize pieces of property in the area way out. i think in a residential area to build their new -- it's probably built, too. but is there any kind of -- what's the criteria that you use about where you put these places? and it gets back to something i'm going to as the next panel
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about. you get them way out some place where there's no -- you're not close to the business area or maybe other embassies and does anybody weigh that in terms of its location and the image it's going to create? for example, the biggest one was the one we built in iraq. i mean who in the devil ever figured -- built that thing? i mean what was the basis for their building it? >> the short answer to your question, senator, is that there is a standard. and it does govern to a large degree where we put our embassies. and that is the requirement that classic requirement well known for 100 foot setback which between our buildings, buildings occupied by americans and the edge of the property where the wall is. that is an essential, in fact, probably the most important security measure that i can put into place is that 100 foot
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setback. and, of course, that means if you're going to have a significant embassy, that means you need a significant piece of land. and a significant piece of land that size is often very difficult to find. so it is true that new embassies, as i mentioned before in my testimony, there have been an awful lot of new embassies built, that many of them are not right in the downtown core. i put in parenthetically that one in beijing is in the downtown -- beijing is a pretty big city. but it is -- it's not in some field. it is down -- it is in town and is, in fact, in an area where a lot of other embassies are being -- >> you are talking about the new one? >> the new one. i'm very intimately familiar with it. >> okay. that's good news to me. i was told that they were building it way out and taking ambassador 35 or 40 minutes to come down to meetings. >> i think -- one, it was not being built way out. it's just that beijing is a very
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big city and being built in a different part. it has been built in a different part of town. it is true that it is farther away from the abc's residence, the ambassador's residence. but in terms of where it is in beijing, it's in a verycáik@@@@' downtown location where the old very difficult to defend embassy was. and the site was in a bunch of
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tomato fields owned by local farmers. and it was a 13-acre site. and i went back to that site last year where the new embassy has been in place for 15 years. and the town has grown up around it. it is a highly prestigious area of amman with an enormous number of other buildings around it including prestigious buildings. i'm not saying that happens in every case. but that certainly happened there. >> in the uk, in london, the prize piece of property, the state department folks said we're going to get so much money for this that it will help pay for the new embassy? >> that's right, sir. but the reason for the new embassy was simply that the existing embassy is extremely -- >> too close? >> very difficult to protect. almost impossible to protect well -- about as much
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unattractive bar sh wire and barriers as possible have been put around that rather classic famous embassy. and it's still, you know, there is a real threat in london as we witnessed in the last few years. so that embassy is being sold. i think it has been sold. and a new site has been found. a rather remarkable new site. >> i've seen it. >> centrally located. >> and expensive. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. thank you very much. i want to thank our first panel for being here today. your responses will be helpful to what we'll be doing. and, again, i thank you and wish you well in your positions. thank you. now i'd like to call up panel two.
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our second panel of witnesses are ambassador ronald e. newman, the president of the american academy of diplomacy and miss susan r. johnson, the president of the american foreign service association. as you know, it is the custom of the subcommittee to swear in witnesses. and i would ask you to stand and raise your right hand. do you swear that the testimony you're about to give to this subcommittee is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you god? >> i do. >> i do.
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>> thank you. let the record note that witnesses answered in the affirm tichlt before we start, i want you to know that your full written statement will be part of the record. and i also like to remind you t remind you to please limit your oral remarks to five minutes. ambassador newman, we'll please proceed with your statement. >> chairman akaka, thank you for inviting me to appear again before you. as you know, i am not a security specialist. i speak to you as one who has lived with security issues, been under fire and served in three critical threat posts, two as ambassador. first however, i would like to pay special tribute to the brave and hardworking security officers who have protected me in my mission in dangerous times. i also would like to acknowledge my respect for the men of dine
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core and blackwater who protected me in afghanistan. they performed with courage and restraint. one lost his leg in the process. whatever a program now attaches to others i owe those gallant men, state department and contract employees my gratitude. i wanted to have this moment to express it. to sum up the problems that i wanted to talk about are the inadequate security communications that you referred to in the previous panel, security mobility issues, especially the need for expanded air assets that may be required, utilizing local security forces for prts and branch posts and accepting some greater degree of risk when the gains warrant. finally, the consideration of funds for security emergencies. the report observed the changing security conditions that govern our life.
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that has produced a vast expansion of security facilities and resources. but there are still gaps between some of our standards and practices and the needs that we have to serve. we lack the standards, not the equipment, to provide secure deployable computer-based communications. we have had this problem for years and we have never solved it. we have delegated it to the military but that is going to be a problem as they go away and, frankly, we have people serving with allied militaries that don't have compatible secure communications. this is a bureaucratic issue. this is an issue of willpower. the military protects the same secrets in deployable circumstances. it is time for state to summon the willpower to resolve the bureaucratic problems and find a way to send secure computers to the field with officers. i would add this is not a d.s.
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problem exclusively. this is a problem between bureaus and standards. you raised the comment in the previous panel from my testimony about our vehicles. i think we have made progress in afghanistan and iraq on the mix of vehicles. i think we still have a problem in some areas. i'm probably a little out of date. i know d.s. has made a good deal of progress on that. i think it's something that needs close attention in the further follow up work i would note that part of the problem is also a congressionally mandated problem. that's the buy america standards. but congress has supported waivers and changes. i hope you will continue to do that. as the military redeploys from iraq, we are going to face complex issues of how to handle protection for our movements.
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state may need much more robust maintenance capabilities than it now has. i think state should consider having its greater air assets both fixed in a rotary wing in these critical threat areas. i understand there is some planning going on for this, but many issues remain to be settled and future funding is a significant issue. these resources and the authorities to use them wisely need to be thought about now and budgeted for. supplemental budgets are not the answer. they are neither sustainable nor dependable for year to year operating costs. this problem, as you well know, goes to everybody administration and congress alike, but it is time to stop flinching from the requirement to pay for the mitigation of the dangers we ask our personnel to accept. operating in areas like afghanistan and iraq requires we adopt new ways of thinking about risk. our foreign service officers are
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not soldiers but our nation's need for informed judgment on complicated economic and political subjects doesn't end when risk arises. you cannot coordinate effectively over the telephone with foreigners that work on face-to-face and personal relationships. we are hampered not only by issues of numbers of vehicles and shortages of rsos but by our self-imposed standards often described as zero tolerance. we have avoided the problem in the field by turning over the security to the military so that our people are moving on different standards than those which we would use if they were secured by rsos. but as the military withdraws from iraq and we are on our own or we establish branch posts we are going to face increased problems. i want to be clear. i do not advocate that we assume high levels of risk for civil n
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civilians and i would be opposed to ordering officers to take risks they deem unreasonable. but we must find better answers than we have to date. we have made progress in iraq. we have too many places where we have 48-hour requirements still for movements in cultures that don't make appointments 48 hours in advance for necessary work. we have to have standards that allow for the use of judgment in weighing the risk of doing something against the gain to be derived from the action. i want to be clear. i'm not criticizing the excellent rsos who worked for me. they did a fine job. i hope we are beyond the issues of the past in which dedicated officers frequently push the bureaucratic boundaries to accomplish what they often correctly believe to be essential tasks. these were not members of officers taking foolish risks or
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using bad judgment, although i have known that to happen. rather, the point is to note the tension between security standards and what we need to know and do. i believe we have made progress, but i believe we're going to find this problem coming back in spades. and if we -- we do need to focus on it. some speak of risk management. it's a bureaucratic term to avoid saying someone may get killed taking a risk that seemed sensible at the time. it is the flexibility to make difficult decisions we need to strengthen on two different levels. one is in the field. you talked in the last panel about security officers and regular officers not understanding each other. i think that's true. i think we need to move to having this kind of training be a part of regular training for all state department officers, not just senior officers and
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security officers. there is no telling when you go to a quiet post whether you will have the next coup in the world. so this needs to be part of the training that we don't do anyway. the second issue concerns washington. we need a more systematic policy between local responsibility and washington responsibility. i believe we have made progress. i think it is probably too dependent on individual officers and i think if we are going to ask people to take risks they need to know they will have bureaucratic back-up if they are unlucky. as we go to the prts branch post we have repeatedly had problems for the last eight years on how we secure these people. we have not done well with our answers historically. delegating the protection of civilians to the military has been only partially successful
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in my judgment. i frankly do not believe our military will be able -- that is not willing. i don't question their willingness, but i question that they will have the resources to secure all our people and allow them to move with the frequency required of their mission. >> mr. ambassador, would you please -- >> yep. that's about it. i think we can use local security. i think we know how to do it, but we have to make decisions. we have to fund it and finally, i would make two last points, mr. chairman. one is we need some kind offen financial reserve because -- of of financial reserve because it would take a lot of work to design with congress in a way that wouldn't be a slush fund. the last thing is strategic planning. we haven't done nearly enough. we need to do a lot more.
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it's hard. we don't have enough people. but i think we're still playing catch-newspaper the strategic planning. thank you, sir. >> thank you, mr. ambassador. ms. johnson, please proceed. >> thank you again for inviting us to testify on this important issue and complex issue. i welcome the opportunity to share some of our perspectives and to be testifying again along with ambassador neumann with whom we almost always agree. afsa is proud to -- i know, i'm looking for an area of disagreement. afsa is proud to represent diplomatic security specialists at the state department. they make up about 10% of our membership. we are proud to salute their dedication, courage and hard work to protect both our overall mission and personnel.
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the challenges and demands facing foreign service abroad as well as concern for security and safety of our diplomatic personnel have grown over the last two decades. @å,@ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ and travel outside of our embassies and missions. we can no longer rely on the
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ability of host countries to provide adequate security. finding the right balance between prudent and effective security measures and policies and the ability to do our jobs as diplomats effectively is more challenging than ever. afsa welcomes the g.a.o. report calling for strategic review of the recent growth in the mission and the resources required by the bureau of diplomatic security. we support the gao recommendations. we also concur with ambassador neumann's recommendations. i served in iraq as a senior advisor to the iraqi foreign ministry from july through september of 2003 and for the next three years in bosnia as a deputy high representative and supervisor of bergco district. a high profile position that came with a full security details, a u.s.-led team of security personnel provided under a contract. this close protection unit was
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dedicated, highly professional and, if i had to have security 24/7, i couldn't have had better people, but i questioned then and i still do today whether that particular security package was needed in bosnia ten years and more after the peace accords. it seemed it was either an all or nothing proposition. either you have the whole package or nothing. nothing was not the right answer either. in iraq in 2003, as i have described in my written testimony, the stated policy was all travel outside the green zone required full military escort. i arrived with the first surge of civilian advisors and it was quickly apparent that such escort wasn't available to the majority of the civilian advisors although we needed to travel to our respective ministries, especially in the early and chaotic period. many of us considered a several-vehicle military convoy
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with civilians wearing armored vests and helmets projected a high profile target and it was safer to travel quiet lly under the radar, avoiding timetables and taking other security measures, so we did that in order to do our job. fortunately, no disaster occurred. my personal experiences there and in other posts lead me to suggest first the need for more and better internal dialogue or communication between the policy and security sides of the state department on what is the best security posture. secondly, that the one size fits all approach is not the best one for us today. thirdly, that senior officials on the ground in country should have more flexibility and take more responsibility to determine which mix of security measures is most appropriate in a given situation at a given point in time. and i second the remarks that
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ambassador neumann made that this can't be left to personal decision. there has to be bureaucratic support, consensus that lays out guidelines for this. you can't expect someone to take a position i'm going to authorize or have somebody take on a risk when the other side of it is you take all responsibility if anything goes wrong. there has to be a better way. finally, the increased prominence of security issues today underscored the need to do more to avoid the experience gaps highlighted in this and other gao reports prepared for this committee. lack of experiences, from my perspective, increases security risk at both the personal and the mission level. having seasoned, experienced veterans in the right positions decreases those risks. the training now offered at fsi certainly heightened security awareness, but it cannot be expected to substitute for years
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of accumulated experience. thank you, mr. chairman. i'm happy to respond to any questions that you may have. >> thank you very much. this question is for the panel. as you know, gao found that over half of the regional security officers do not have the language competency that they require. what impact could this have on overseas security for diplomats and what recommendations do you have to improve their language competency? >> i'll go first. it is a help when they have language. rsos are responsible not only for protection but for negoti e negotiating and working out a lot of arrangements with the host government. being able to do it directly rather than depend on
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translators that may be inadequate is a big advantage. i don't think we are hurting in a fatal way, but we need to do it. it goes back to the issue of training. you were raising the question earlier. one, the state has to have enough people to take them off the line and train them. otherwise we're just flapping our gums. secondly, they have to have a strategic plan for how they will use the training. i don't yet see that emerging. it's of quite a bit of concern to me. they are drinking out of a fire hose to assign the people they're getting. it's a good problem to have but i'm concerned if we don't have the plan and budget, it gets more difficult next year. you won't have a template to fill in against for the long term. i see the need to lay out the
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strategic plan as the next critical piece beyond getting the bodies. >> thank you. ms. johnson? >> i believe there is an impact. it's felt most greatly in the most dangerous or difficult countries. the lack of language skills really depends on which country. in some places it's important and others, less so. i think as part of the planning effort there needs to be a review of criteria for designating language in general and certainly for ds officers and the levels at which that should be taking into consideration we need higher levels of proficiency in dangerous, sensitive countries and lower levels in countries where that is not the case and where use and knowledge, good command of the english language
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is much greater. i think to do that, d.s. is now recruiting many people who don't have any experience with learning languages and don't necessarily have any aptitude for learning language. we may have to recognize that it may take longer and we may need to review the approach we have to the language training and reinforcing it once we have given it. so i think that whole approach of the department to language training needs to be more carefully targeted and a little more creative in the way we give the training particularly to differentiate more between those people who have strong language aptitude and experience with learning language and those who don't. right now we don't. we mix everybody together to the disadvantage of both groups. >> but don't look at me when you talk about strong language aptitude. >> to both of you, gao testified
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that diplomatic security's workload likely will increase as the military transitions out of iraq. ambassador, you mentioned that also. what should -- the question is what should the state department be doing to ensure that the transition is a smooth one? >> there are several things. some of them they may be doing. remember, i am now out of the department for a couple of years, so i may be behind. first thing is they need a plan for what the post is supposed to do. what are the missions you're going to have to accomplish. in broad terms, how much are you going to have to move as well as to protect the base. then you backplan from that and say, okay, what does that mean i need in terms of detail people, facilities, vehicles? and from there, you go to looking at your choices for how
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you're going to fill those needs. i doubt that the process is well advanced. they should be doing it right now because they have to give you the budget because those things are not going to be there, i'm reasonably sure in the current budgets because we didn't have to pay for them. the military paid for them. that process needs to take place at a high level of detail in order to come to the congress with a request for the requisite assets that is solidly documented. i think there is work on that now. i don't mean that they are asleep at the switch, but i think they are probably not up to the speed they themselves would like to be. >> ms. johnson? >> i would agree with the points ambassador neumann just made. one consideration for me
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representi ining rank and file the people is that whatever planning is going forth or might go forth in the future that perhaps afsa have a role or a seat at the table in some of this so that we can provide a constructive, you know, value added to the process by perhaps filtering in the unfilters views of people who have served in iraq, afghanistan and who have practical firsthand experience and views on what are likely to be the problems, the conditions. it's hard to look ahead and see what analysis we're going to make as to what are the -- going to be the conditions on the ground after our military withdraws. and therefore what can we take on as civilians. but this is another area where i am not sure what the department is doing.
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i would agree that if the planning is not far along and i would like to work with management to see that afsa is involved in an ongoing basis in this and that we can figure out together how we can add to the process so that the end product is, in fact, better and better under by the people who have to implement it. >> senator? >> i sit at these hearings in my 11th year. senator, you have been around longer than i have and you will be because i'm leaving next year. i always wonder about the hearingin hearings and what comes out of it. i have asked my staff to go back over the hearings and the questions that we have had. these folks are here to testify today and in terms of the practical things the two of us
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and the subcommittee can do, when i think about iraq -- and i was on foreign affairs and i looked back on that. we assumed based on what was told to us that they had figured this out. the fact is, they didn't and we thought they did. i met with richard holbrook and his team. i was impressed. he was saying people are complaining because we're not bringing on people fast enough and we're trying to get the best people. i was impressed with that. but if you were in our shoes, how would you go about making sure that the plan in terms of
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iraq has been well thought out in terms of human capital, security and other things. a critical path in terms of the things we need to do and to get an idea of how long we'll be in iraq because we're not talking about that. it's the same thing i mentioned earlier, in terms of afghanistan. i mean, to my knowledge, nobody's talked about the commitment that we're going to make towards nationbuilding. anybody that knows what's going on has to understand that's as important or more important than the military side, but very little attention has been paid to that. how do we get a guarantee that, in fact, holbrook's got it figured out, the state department's got it figured out how many people, how long, where they are going to be and all the other details to make sure that
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two years from now when i'm no longer in the united states senate i don't read about some fiasco over there where somebody didn't do their homework and we're in real trouble because the planning wasn't done. how do we get@@@@@@h $
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place? >> i think it is in place in theory. i think some of the theory will be very thin. especially when you talk abo about -- i want to be realistic here. when you talk about new people doing jobs that have never been done there is a limit as to how much you can think it through in a vacuum. when those people arrive there will be a certain amount of muddle, quite frankly, while humans work out what they can do
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in a complex place. i have every expectation that there is going to be a huge amount of muddle, particularly on the civilian surge when we get people. we don't own enough people who have the requisite qualifications. not just we don't own them in the state department. they don't exist in america. part of the planning will be have you learned from your mistakes, how is the plan flexible enough to adapt instead of coming up here on the hill and defend what may have been an inadequate plan because you didn't see something right as opposed to saying i'm learning and fixing it. the other detail is planning which the staff has to work on. what are the questions -- i think you have to say what are the questions you're trying to answer in your plan. it needs to get down to a level
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of detail on numbers of -- not just numbers of people but how many people are going to secure. right now the answer being given to how you will handle the civilian surge is the military's going to do it. i am skeptical that will be adequate to add it to the job, but that goes beyond people arguing about views and saying what is it you have to do, how are you going to do it and why do you think the military can do this? i think it will be a lot of grilling from you all, frankly. >> ms. johnson? >> i hope i'm not going out on a limb, but i know you have been asking and urging the department to produce various plans on various things. those plans may or may not be in the works and may or may not be
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forthcoming. so it's possible you will have to -- the only thing i know of that ensures that you will get a product is to tie it to money -- getting money. it's an awkward thing to say and i hope that's not the case because it's much better to do it -- i mean, more informally. the other question is the quality of the plan. the thinking is critical. one of the weaknesses is that it's insufficiently inclusive if it's done at all. not enough people get to have input. not enough people get to see it and critique it or -- i don't know, red game it or something or other. secondly, once you have your plan and as ambassador neumann says, there will be unexpected things that happen, so make sure you have two critical factors
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addressed. that is good communication and good mobility. thirdly, try to get the best people you can into those dangerous places. if you've got those mix of things there, i think our chances of avoiding any sort of catastrophe and dealing with the unexpected emergencies are rather good. but we often don't have. in fact, right now we're missing most of those ingredients. >> i've got more questions, but it's your turn. >> fine. mr. ambassador, in your testimony, you mentioned that the state department needs more people to do strategic planning and that's one of your prioriti priorities. this may impact the qddr and perhaps later efforts. my question to you is along with
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adding more personnel, how will the department's culture need to change to support ongoing strategic planning? >> clearly, there are cultural changes. some of that, i think, is that we have to get a plan right for professional growth in the service as a whole. we have not had that in the past. we haven't had the choice frankly because we didn't have the people. now we're getting, with thanks and for what the congress has done, you know, what this committee has supported, they're getting numbers. the numbers are going to change the complexion of the department. we have worked on a basis of the old training the young, but the old are retiring and the young are multiplying.
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so the result is that more and more people are going to be trained more often by people that don't have nearly as much experience and seniority as they used to have. i think we have to grow -- we have to create a new paradigm, a new plan that looks at professional development, not just formal training, language training, but professional development writ large as our military colleagues have thought about it for some time. i think if we get that plan in place, although it will change and shift over the years that we will then begin to grow people with somewhat different attitudes toward a number of the things you're concerned about. if we don't have a plan for professional development then i think it will all be ad hoc and much of what you're seeking, i think you will get pieces of it,
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but you will be kind of cramming it down against the grain. >> ms. johnson, you testified that some u.s. ambassadembassie become less ax accessible, have moved to the outskirts of capital cities and have a fortress profile that may send the signal of a militarized america. my question to you is what needs to happen to make our embassies more accessible while continuing to meet security requirements? >> well, that's a tough question because we have embarked over the last decade in this direction we're currently on of building 60 or fortresses like
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this outside the center. we often see the properties we sell are taken over by other european powers and they use it for an embassy. i think that's in zagrab right now. one concern is that in trying to defend ourselves from attack and address the security of our d diplomats and people overseas we are going to be fighting the last technology. we are now working with this 100-foot setback and it's my understanding that may have been imposed by congress or perhaps was in the inman report but now appears to be cast into law or something, cast in stone. i think we are reading about suicide bombers and attacks at 500 feet detonated, still blowing up entire buildings. it's possible that the
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technology in the hands of people setting off explosions will make the 100-foot setback obsolete. i'm not sure that defensive tactic will serve us well over the long term. we may find we have spent a great deal of money to fight the last war and we'll be confronted with a new set. i'm not sure i have the answer to that. i know it is a problem for conducting diplomacy. from where i sit, in many of the posts i have been in the last decade i'm finding that the business world and the ngo world is becoming better informed and more knowledgeable about what's going on in the country where they are living and working than many of the people in our fortresses who are handicapped by, you know, many constraints that make it impossible for them to get out and get their finger
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on the pulse of the country they are in. we need to develop a vision for what's going to be the mission of the diplomatic service of the united states in the coming years. what is the vision? that we will be increasingly involved in nationbuilding post conflict or continuing conflict fragile or failed states and that we are going to build up for that or is there some other notion and how does the role of the u.s. government fit with what the private sector is doing? how do we get a better grip on what's the appropriate and optimal role for the public part of that, let's say the embassy, and what's the appropriate role for the private part, the private sector. who should be coordinating or a clearinghouse or what should be the role of the embassy in this?
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i think many of the questions are not being addressed in the sort of -- i don't want to say public square, but aren't being addressed with sufficient thought. we may end up spending a lot of money and training even for the wrong things if we don't figure this out. >> thank you. let me ask embassy neumann this. you recommend that foreign service officers at the state department and usaid should be given risk management training. how do you suggest the department implement this training and who should be in charge of providing that kind of training? >> new curriculum will have to be developed. this is, i think, primarily a mid-level and senior-level training issue, not a juniio
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junior-level one. it goes to the question of people not understanding each other that game up with gao and you talked about with the first panel, senator akaka. i think it is not that hard to have professionals invent role-playing scenarios, curriculum training, but right now we're not doing much -- we're doing mid-level training in a series of postage stamp modules we try to cram into people's transfer summer. i think this is the kind of thing that you need in the in-service training to expose officers to broadly across the service. the state department has done team exercises, crisis exercises for years where they have teams that travel to embassies and do simulations and go through a crisis. you could build training into that, build training here.
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but right now, we're not doing it. we're getting past the question of misunderstanding that you raised only by accident or by officers who live it, you know, but not everybody needs to do four wars the way i did. >> thank you. senator voinovich? >> i didn't really understand. you're talking about communications and computers that are secure. tell me about that. i'm not -- >> i'm trying to be careful because there are issues that are still forward projection and i have security implications. >> okay. >> but basically right now -- when we first sent officers to iraq, we gave them no deployable security secure computers until they got on the military net they had only unsecure methods
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of receiving information which means they were blind to a lot of threat information. they could not report appropriate appropriately with appropriate classification in most areas developments in their own areas. that problem has not really been fixed. we have done a work-around now. we accepted them out with the u.s. military using military computers. they have completely different -- it's the same government but they have different standards from stat#@b
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cannot cross communicate secure communications between nato communications and either the military or our -- american military or ours. i can get a state officer out in
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a prt with a nato force and they can be friendly and give him, you know, their computer. but he can't send to my account in the embassy. we were physically dealing with this in kabul. we actually were running fiber optic cable off the telephone poles down the street to connect my office with general mcneil's so we had a nato communication. he had separate net, so we could talk, but the headquarters didn't. we had to go out and buy computers not in the state system, run fiber optic cable off telephone poles and connect. then we had to physically handle data. you can't electronically move it from one system to the other. i think this is ridiculous. >> so the point is that there needs to be a lot more coordination that you would have
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secure computers and they are probably going to have to talk with the military part of this. >> exactly. but it is a bureaucratic issue of what standards are acceptable. >> so you would try to have uniform standards so you have quin consistency there and you can talk. it gets back really to the other thing -- i will never forget when i was in iraq, we went out to one of the camps and i don't even know if there were state department people there. there were military people, but the fact of the matter is that they had developed a very, very good relationship with the sheiks. you could tell. there was a little celebration and it was the kind of thing that makes a difference. it seems to me that if you're
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going to do the afghanistan and you're going to have your military out there that one of the things you want to make sure is that they are trained in counterterrorism and, you know, they're trying to make friends. but that segues in with the state department people. there is a movement from one to the other that's probably as effective as anything that we can do. lots of challenges. >> yes, sir. >> you talk about the concept of an overall plan for human capital, training and the rest of it. so often we spend time putting out fires and never have time. >> that's, i think, part of what's happening in state. one way it's a good problem. it's better having a problem of too many people to deal with than not having that problem, but the fact is -- or my
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impression and remember i am on the outside. i don't speak for the administration. my impression is they are so beleaguered trying to get people assigned that they are having a lot of trouble dealing with the sort of out here big strategic issues, how do you fill the knowledge gap between bringing people in at the bottom and a lot of what we need is not just bodies but a certain level of experience and what is your long-term training? your staffs were both involved with us in preparing the report of the academies on the budget. we made a big deal of the need for a training and transition float. they, in my judgment state needs though to come up with a strategic plan for training. >> let me ask you one other thing. the last time around, i was
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disappointed in secretary rice because she had zelik in there and negrapanti in there and kennedy and what's the name -- the lady that was there trying to do the management thing as contrasted with with colin powell and armitage who seemed to have importance of human capital and that type of thing. where do you think we are now, ms. johnson? they have a new organization. secretary clinton decided to have one person in terms of policy and another in terms of management. from your observations, is there anybody getting up early and staying up late working on management things, working on developing the capital, training, looking at the big issues the department has to undertake to get the job done
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overall? >> i think they are all up early and staying up late at night. whether they are thinking about the correct issues, i think they are trying to. i don't know if i can answer the question. we'll have to see what comes out. >> who's in charge of that? >> qddr -- well, it comes under lou. >> we have two deputy secretaries. lou is doing that with anne-marie slaughter. they are co-chairing the qddr effort and there are five or six working groups under that that are working on different things and we at afsa are trying to see how we can relate to the different working groups. some affect usaid in particular. we're concerned with getting our usaid folk in touch with the people doing that kind of planning. >> in terms of the plan, the recommendations you made, do you know if anybody's spending time
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looking at the recommendations from the academy to see if they are implementing them, following through or responding? >> not very much. they are certainly interested in the numbers. i don't think they are using the plan. we are talking to the director general's office about having the academy take on another planning -- try to help, don't feel proprietary about it. if they can do it without us, we don't need to be horning in, but we have a lot of experience in the academy and an awful lot of knowledge. we would like to find a way to work with them to make some of the knowledge -- you know, tom pickerings favorite joke, 200 members with 7,000 years of experience and we would like to make that available to help with the effort. >> mr. chairman, i want to thank you very much. i don't have any other
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questions. this has been a great hearing. i'm fired up, mr. chairman. >> well, thank you very much, senator. let me ask my final question. in trying to reach in to maybe something you didn't have a chance to mention and this is to both of you. what are your top three recommendations for improving the diplomatic security efforts within the state department? >> i'll let you go first for a change. >> i listened to secretary boswell give his testimony on what they are planning and trying to do. i would go back to, i think, the suggestions that i made in my oral testimony earlier.
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one i think is kwint with what mr. ford from gao was saying. -- consistent. i say better communication between the policy side and the security side. these misunderstandings or miscommunications and i think that communication has to happen at multiple levels. some could be by having more joint training where ds people and other officers are taking or addressing the same issues together in the same room from their different perspectives. i think that always adds value to both sides. so one is just to find ways to pay more attention to that dialogue because i don't think it really exists in any kind of consistent, systematic or formal way. it's ad hoc, unrecorded and out of date. we need a new one. secondly, i think, would be some discussion about whether this basically one size fit all approach needs to be changed.
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the fact that we have these unique situations in iraq and afghanistan, i think, give a good opportunity to reassess that and say, we need a more differentiated approach. and the last thing has to do with finding a way to take advantage of afsa's connection and ability to get the unfiltered views of members and compare those with whatever else is being -- coming up through the more hierarchical system. we often hear very different things from our members than what apparently management is hearing when they ask the question. so i think we need to, you know, confront that a little bit and see what's happening. why is it that people feel that they can say and do say one thing to us where it's not necessarily for attribution and another thing in their more
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official capacity. we need to narrow the gap. there will always be a little bit of a gap, but we need to narrow it a little bit. if it gets too far out of whack it's a signal that we need to -- as secretary clinton said early on, she encourages and wants to hear different points of view. i don't think people have internalized that yet. i turn it over to you. >> you know the real state joke about three things that are most important -- location, location, location. in this case, i'd say plan, plan, plan. also picking up ms. johnson's issue of the need to talk across substantive lines, but if one doesn't plan then you're always react i reacting and our budget cycle is not conducive to acting in a
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reactive mode because then you can't get the resources to, in fact, react. then you have to pull from someplace else. you just cascade your problems, shuffle them from one place to another. so of the things i laid out, i think planning is my overall priority. >> thank you. well, i want to thank you both very much. and thank all the witnesses today. diplomats repeatedly have been targets of attacks and d.s. is charged with keeping them safe so they can advance u.s. interests abroad. you have provided key insights and support of this effort. additionally, i'm hopeful that diplomatic security will begin taking a strategic approach to addressing its staffing and operational challenges. this is critically important
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since the department must be fully prepared for new challenges in iraq and afghanistan as well as other crises that may emerge. the hearing record will be open for one week for additional statements or questions other members may have. this hearing the adjourned. . . .


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