DHS releases written testimony at hearing on streamlining WMD response

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released written testimony at a recent joint hearing of two subcommittees within the House Committee on Homeland Security on Tuesday.

The hearing on streamlining DHS responses involving weapons of mass destruction was jointly organized by the Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response and Communication and the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection and Security Technologies.

Science and Technology Undersecretary Reginald Brothers, Office of Health Affairs Assistant Secretary Kathryn Brinsfield and Domestic Nuclear Detection Office Director Huban Gowadia were among those testifying at the hearing.  

In their testimony, they said their respective offices would be charged with consolidating chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive (CBRNE) response functions within one office in the department.

They said the CBRNE office would be headed by an individual at the assistant secretary level and this person would have the ability to elevate issues related to CBRNE concerns or threats to the DHS secretary. This person would be charged with departmentwide CBRNE related items of strategy, situational awareness, planning, policy and assessments of threats and other risks.

Many of those currently working in DHS offices that specialize in CBRNE-related activity would be transferred to the new office. This office would serve as a focal point in the department and would be able to manage all departmental activity relating to CBRNE threats.

DHS representatives said this initiative would facilitate a unification of efforts that would bring a specialized office to work to counter CBRNE threats and to improve coordination of the department in the area.

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