Senate committee blasts lack of unified biological weapon strategy

Members of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee blasted a recent report submitted by the Department of Homeland Security for lacking substantive detail.

The ranking member of the committee, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), singled out the report for failing to adopt a unified strategy for detecting nuclear and biological weapons. The committee members’ reactions were all a mix of befuddlement and consternation as they questioned how useful the report could be, according to

"The report says that the department will 'leverage the full range of capabilities to address biological and nuclear threats,' but these are just buzzwords," Collin said.

The lone witness at the proceedings, DHS Deputy Secretary Jane Holl Lute, said that the implementation plans for the 44 initiatives in the report had not been completely worked through, but that they would be by the time the department submits its 2012 budget to Congress in February.

Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) criticized Lute harshly, telling her that he believed the report to be embarrassing and disrespectful to the jurisdiction of the committee.

The 70-page report, released in early July, was intended to be a review of DHS’s organizational structure and programs and their relationship to the department’s mission priorities as they were expressed in Quadrennial Homeland Security Review submitted in February 2010.