Senate Democrats

S. 4, The Improving America’s Security Act of 2007

 Summary and Background

Yesterday afternoon, the Senate voted to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to    S.4, Improving America’s Security Act of 2007.  This morning Senator Reid submitted an amendment in the form of a substitute, which includes S.4, as well as titles based on legislation from the Commerce Committee (S.184, the Surface Transportation and Rail Security Act of 2007; S.509, the Aviation Security Improvement Act; and S.385, the Interoperable Emergency Communications Act), and the Banking Committee (the Public Transportation Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007).  The Foreign Relations Committee is expected offered an amendment to the bill with 9/11-related provisions under its jurisdiction.

The substitute amendment is entitled, “To make the United States more secure by implementing unfinished recommendations of the 9/11 Commission to fight the war on terror more effectively, to improve homeland security, and for other purposes.”

Please note that the title numbers of the provisions (see below) may change after the Homeland Security, Commerce, and Banking titles are combined into one substitute bill, but the content will not.

Homeland Security Title

This title includes the full text of S.4, the Improving America’s Security Act of 2007, as reported by the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee on February 17, 2007. 

Title I: Improving Intelligence and Information Sharing Within the Federal Government and with State, Local, and Tribal Governments

Homeland Security Advisory System and Information Sharing.  The bill would amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (HSA) to authorize the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to administer the Homeland Security Advisory System and would require the Secretary to establish criteria and a methodology for the issuance of the homeland security advisory system.

Information Sharing Environment (ISE).  S.4 would strengthen the Information Sharing Environment by doing the following:

  • Amending section 1016 of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (IRTPA) to make permanent the ISE Program Manager (PM) and the Information Sharing Council (which are set to expire in April 2007);

  • Providing the PM with the authority to issue government-wide information sharing standards and to identify and resolve information sharing disputes;
  • Requiring the President to report to Congress on the feasibility of eliminating “originator control,” adopting an authorized use standard for information sharing, and using anonymized data;
  • Codifying the ISE Program Manager’s proposal, already adopted by the President in the Information Sharing Environment Implementation Plan, to create an Interagency Threat Assessment and Coordination Group that would, with state and local participation, determine what federal intelligence products should be disseminated throughout the federal government and to state and locals, how those products should be written, and when they should be distributed;
  • Authorizing up to 40 full-time employees and $30 million in each of the next two fiscal years for the Information Sharing Environment Program Manager;
  • Establishing a training program for state, local, and tribal government officials in the handling, review, and development of intelligence material; and
  • Establishing incentives for government-wide information sharing by allowing federal employees to be rewarded information sharing accomplishments and by requiring relevant departments to adopt best practices to educate and motivate federal employees to engage in the information sharing environment.

State, Local, and Regional Information Fusion Center Initiative. The bill would amend HSA to establish a DHS initiative to improve the sharing of intelligence and information between DHS and the state, local, and tribal governments via fusion centers.  S.4 would:

·          Require the Secretary to develop guidelines for, and to support and coordinate with state, local, and regional fusion centers;

·          Authorize DHS to assign its officers and intelligence analysts (who are appropriately trained and meet certain criteria) to state, local, and regional fusion centers; and

·          Authorize funds, as necessary, including for the hiring of federal personnel to replace personnel assigned to fusion centers.

Homeland Security Information Sharing Fellows Program. S.4 would amend HSA to establish a fellowship program to detail state, local, and tribal law enforcement officers and intelligence analysts to the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis.

Title II:  Homeland Security Grants

S.4 would amend HSA to establish the Homeland Security Grant Program and revise the process by which DHS allocates and administers grants to states and urban areas.  The program aims to ensure that terrorism-oriented funds will be distributed overwhelmingly based on the risk to an area from a terrorist attack, while also ensuring that states and localities across the country have the basic capabilities to respond to natural or man-made hazards.  The legislation would authorize a total of $3.105 billion for each year, Fiscal Years 2008-2010.

The bill outlines the four components of the program:

1.)  Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI).  S.4 would establish the UASI grant program, to assist high-risk metropolitan areas in preventing, preparing for and responding to acts of terrorism.  The bill would require that the grants be allocated based on the threat, vulnerability, and consequences of a terrorist attack.  It would provide for no minimum level of funding.  The 100 largest metropolitan areas would be eligible to apply for the grants.  S.4 would authorize $1.279 billion for this program each year, for Fiscal Years 2008-2010.

2.)  State Homeland Security Grant Program (SHSGP).  The bill would establish SHSGP, to assist state, local and tribal governments in preventing, preparing for and responding to acts of terrorism.  It would require that grants be allocated based on the threat, vulnerability, and consequences of a terrorist attack.  The bill would require that each state receive a minimum of 0.45 percent of the overall appropriation for this program and would require that each state distribute a minimum of 80 percent of funding received to local and tribal governments within the state.  S.4 would authorize $913 million in funds for this program each year, for Fiscal Years 2008-2010.

3.)  Emergency Management Performance Grants Program (EPMG). S.4 would reauthorize the EPMG program, which would provide funding to states to assist in preparing for and responding to all hazards, including natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters.  The bill would codify the existing allocation formula for EMPG grants:  each state would receive 0.75 percent of the total appropriation for this program, with the remainder of the appropriated funding distributed to states in proportion to their population.  It would require states to apply annually for grants, stipulate the allowable uses for all-hazards emergency management, and establish a cost-sharing requirement, whereby the federal share of an activity’s cost may not exceed 75 percent.  S.4 would authorize $913 million in funds for this program each year, for Fiscal Years 2008-2010.

4.)  Emergency Communications and Interoperability Grants Program.  S.4 would provide funds for states for emergency and interoperable communications, as outlined in Title III of the bill.

Terrorism Prevention.  S.4 would require that DHS designate a minimum of 25 percent of the funding (at least $548 million) to states and metropolitan areas through UASI and SHSGP for law enforcement terrorism prevention activities.  The bill would establish the Office for the Prevention of Terrorism within DHS, with a Director reporting directly to the Secretary, which would coordinate terrorism prevention policy and operations between federal, state, local and tribal government. 

Restrictions on Use of Funds.  The legislation would provide limitations on the use of grants funds for construction and personnel.  It would clarify that state, local, and tribal governments may use SHSGP and UASI grants to enhance preparedness for non-terrorism disasters if such use also assists in achieving terrorism-related capabilities.

Administration and Coordination.  The bill would reaffirm that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator has responsibility within the DHS for administering homeland security grant programs.  It would require that the Administrator regularly consult with the National Advisory Council (an advisory body comprised of state and local officials and emergency response providers established in the Homeland Security Appropriations Act of 2007) in administering the grant programs.  The bill also would require that recipients of Department grants coordinate their activities regionally, including across state boundaries where appropriate, and that state and metropolitan recipients establish a planning committee including relevant stakeholders to assist in preparation and revision of area homeland security plans.  Further, S.4 would require that DHS coordinate with other relevant federal agencies to develop a proposal to coordinate the requirements for homeland security assistance programs across the federal government.

Accountability and Auditing. S.4 would require reports to Congress on the efficacy of funding provided under this title and a thorough description of DHS’s risk assessment process as well as a periodic review of grants by the FEMA Administrator and by the General Accounting Office (GAO).  The bill also would require the DHS Inspector General (IG) to audit all recipients of State Homeland Security Grants, UASI grants and EMPG grants (including those entities that received a preparedness grant prior to enactment of the bill) within two years of enactment of the bill or receipt of a grant.  The legislation would set aside one percent of the total amount of each grant under SHSGP, UASI and EMPG to fund the audits.

Title III:  Communications Operability and Interoperability

Dedicated Funding to Achieve Emergency Communications Operability and Interoperable Communications.  S.4 would create a grant program administered by FEMA dedicated to improving operability and interoperability at local, regional, state and federal levels.  In applying for the grants, states would have to demonstrate that the grants would be used in a way that is consistent with their state-wide interoperability plans and the National Emergency Communications Plan.  The states would be required to pass at least 80 percent of the total amount of the grants they receive to local and tribal governments.

Because operability and interoperability are all-hazards concerns, the bill would establish a minimum of 0.75 percent for each state of the total funds appropriated for the grant program in any given year.  The bill would authorize the following funds for the first five years of the program:  $400 million in Fiscal Year 2008, $500 million in Fiscal Year 2009, $600 million in Fiscal Year 2010, $800 million in Fiscal Year 2011, and $1 billion in Fiscal Year 2012. 

Border Interoperability Demonstration Project. The bill would establish an international border demonstration project involving at least six pilot projects aimed at improving interoperability along the Canadian and Mexican borders. 

Title IV:  Enhancing Security of International Travel

Security Enhancements to the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). S.4 would require the Secretary, working in consultation with the Secretary of State, to implement security enhancements to the VWP.  It also would grant the Secretary conditional authority to waive one of the program’s requirements, the three percent visa refusal rate criterion, for countries that are allies in the war on terrorism.  The security enhancements would include mandating improved reporting of lost or stolen passports; requiring countries to share information about prospective visitors who may pose a threat to the United States; and authorizing an “electronic travel authorization” (ETA) system with which travelers would apply in advance for authorization to visit the U.S. – allowing their names to be checked against watch lists.  The bill also would require DHS to implement an exit system within one year that would record the departures from airports of every alien participating in the VWP.  Once an accurate system is in place, the Secretary could waive the statutory requirement that a country’s nationals are refused visas to travel to the United States less than three percent of the time.  This waiver could only be granted to countries cooperating in counterterrorism initiatives.

Strengthening the Capabilities of the Human Smuggling and Trafficking Center.  S.4 would clarify the role of the Center as the focal point for interagency efforts to integrate and disseminate intelligence and information related to terrorist travel, and require that the Secretary of DHS nominate a government official to serve as Director of the Center.  The Director would be confirmed by DHS, DOJ, and the State Department.  The bill also would require that the Center be staffed with at least 40 full time employees and directs the Secretary to work with various DHS agencies and other federal departments to provide detailees with appropriate areas of expertise.  The Secretary will fund the administrative costs and management of the Center.  The legislation would authorize $20 million to allow the Center to carry out its existing responsibilities, increase staffing levels and reimburse other federal departments for personnel.

Enhancements to the Terrorist Travel Program.  S.4 would require the Secretary of DHS to establish the terrorist travel program, as mandated by section 7215 of Intelligence Reform and Terrorist Prevention Act of 2004, within 90 days of enactment and to report to Congress within 180 days on the implementation of the program.  The program would ensure coordination on terrorist travel initiatives among DHS agencies and with other departments and the National Counterterrorism Center. 

Enhanced Drivers License.  The bill would require DHS and the Department of State to sign a memorandum of agreement to initiate a pilot project, in at least one state, that will allow U.S. travelers to use an “enhanced driver’s licenses” as valid identification when returning to the United States from Canada under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI).  S.4 would require certification of the project prior to final implementation of WHTI and a report to Congress.

Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI).  The bill would require the Secretary of DHS to complete a cost-benefit analysis of WHTI.

Title V:  Privacy and Civil Liberties Matters

Modification of Authorities Relating to Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board.  The bill would replace the existing provision in the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act related to the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (“Board”) with a new provision intended to strengthen the Board.  S.4  would provide for the following changes to the Board: all five members of the Board would have to be Senate confirmed and would serve fixed terms; no more than three members of the Board could be of one party; the Board would have expanded responsibilities to hold public hearings and inform the public of its activities; and the Board would be able to request that the Attorney General issue a subpoena to obtain documents and testimony from private parties – and would be required to inform Congress if that request was denied.  S.4 also would authorize gradually increased funding for the Board, from $5 million in Fiscal Year 2008 up to $10 million in Fiscal Year 2011.

Privacy and Civil Liberties Officers.  The bill would provide that the Departments of Justice, Defense, State, Treasury, Health and Human Services, and Homeland Security, the Director of National Intelligence and the Central Intelligence Agency, and other agencies designated by the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, are required to designate at least one senior official to serve as an internal privacy and civil liberties officer, to function as a source of advice and oversight on privacy and civil liberties matters to the agency.

Department of Homeland Security Privacy Officer.  This section enhances the DHS privacy officer’s authority to investigate, including providing the privacy officer, subject to the Secretary’s approval, with the authority to subpoena private parties for the production of documents and testimony.  S.4 would require that the Secretary notify Congress if the privacy officer is removed or if the Secretary denies the officer’s request for a subpoena.

Federal Agency Data Mining Reporting Act of 2007.  The bill would require federal agencies to report annually on their development and use of data mining technologies that could potentially raise privacy or civil liberties concerns.

Title VI:  Enhanced Defenses against Weapons of Mass Destruction

National Biosurveillance Integration Center (NBIC).  The bill would authorize and improve upon an existing effort within DHS to establish the NBIC.  It would clarify NBIC’s mission to promote integration of local and federal interagency data from human health, agriculture, and environmental surveillance programs in order to provide comprehensive situational awareness across species and sectors necessary to rapidly identify and track outbreaks following a bioterrorist attack or a naturally occurring pandemic.

Biosurveillance Efforts. S.4 would direct the GAO to assess current federal, state, and local biosurveillance efforts to identify coverage gaps, duplication of efforts and integration of biosurveillance programs to maximize effective utilization of resources.

Interagency Coordination to Enhance Defenses against Nuclear and Radiological Weapons of Mass Destruction.  The bill would require that the Director of National Intelligence and heads of relevant Departments annually review the global nuclear detection architecture and verify that it addresses current threat assessments.  It also would require that the Secretary of DHS evaluate the technology assessment and acquisition practices of the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office and that agencies evaluate the performance of new radiation detection equipment deployed in their sectors. 

Title VII:  Private Sector Preparedness

Responsibilities of the Private Sector Office of the Department.  The bill would amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to make the Special Assistant to the Secretary responsible for promoting to the private sector the adoption of voluntary national preparedness standards.  It would task the private sector advisory councils with the new responsibility of advising the Secretary of DHS on private sector preparedness. 

Voluntary National Preparedness Standards Compliance – Accreditation and Certification Program for the Private Sector. The bill would amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to require the Secretary of DHS, in consultation with organizations that facilitate the development and use of standards, appropriate voluntary consensus standards development organizations, and private sector advisory councils, to develop, implement, and promote a voluntary program to certify whether a private sector entity complies with voluntary national preparedness standards adopted for the program.  The legislation also would require the Secretary of DHS to enter into an agreement with ANSI or other similarly qualified entity to manage the accreditation and certification process and would require that the certification process be carried out through qualified third parties accredited by the entity the Secretary designates to administer the program. 

Promoting an International Standard for Private Sector Preparedness.  The bill would express the sense of the Congress that the Secretary of DHS or the entity the Secretary designates to administer the accreditation and certification program should promote, where appropriate, efforts to develop voluntary consensus international standards for private sector preparedness.

Report to Congress.  The bill would require DHS, within 180 days of enactment of this Act, to submit a report to appropriate Congressional committees on actions taken to implement Title VII. 

Title VIII:  Transportation Security Planning and Information Sharing

Transportation Security Strategic Planning.  The bill would require DHS to include additional information in subsequent submissions of the National Strategy for Transportation Security.  The legislation would require DHS to tie the risk-based priorities identified in the Strategy to the vulnerability assessments conducted by DHS; coordinate the development of the Strategy with federal, state, regional, local and tribal authorities, and with transportation system employees; and tie the budget and R&D to the priorities in the Strategy.  It also requires DHS to build into the Strategy a more intermodal perspective for transportation security.

Transportation Security Information Sharing. S.4 would require the establishment of a Transportation Security Information Sharing Plan to improve transportation security information between the public and private sectors.

Transportation Security Administration Personnel Management. The bill would require the Secretary of DHS to grant to airport screeners at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) the same level of employment rights and protections as their colleagues have elsewhere in TSA and DHS.  To provide for the uniform treatment of all TSA employees, the Secretary would have the option of either including screeners under the personnel system that applies to TSA generally, or including all TSA employees under the personnel system that applies at DHS generally. 

Title IX:  Incident Command System

Pre-identifying and Evaluating Multi-jurisdictional Facilities to Strengthen Incident Command; Private Sector Preparedness.  The bill would amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to include two additional responsibilities of FEMA regional directors: 1) assisting state and local governments, where appropriate, to pre-identify and evaluate suitable sites where a multi-jurisdictional incident command system (a system for efficiently managing disasters) can be quickly established; and 2) coordinating with the private sector to help ensure private sector preparedness for disasters.  

Credentialing and Typing to Strengthen the Incident Command System. S.4 would require DHS to enter into a memorandum of understanding with the administrators of the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, state and local governments, emergency response providers, and the organizations that represent such providers, to collaborate on establishing nationwide standards for credentialing and typing resources likely to respond to disasters.  (Credentialing and typing involves using a common naming system to authenticate and verify the qualifications or attributes of personnel and equipment.) 

Once the standards have been developed, the bill would require that federal resources that are likely to be used in disaster response be typed, credentialed, and inventoried, to allow FEMA to be able to effectively coordinate the deployment and use of federal resources in disaster response.  The language also directs the FEMA Administrator to provide guidance to state and local governments to facilitate the credentialing and typing of state and local resources likely to be used in disaster response.  This language was passed by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee in July 2006 as part of the Post Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act, and it passed the Senate as part of the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2007.   

Title X:  Critical Infrastructure Protection

Critical Infrastructure Protection.  The bill would require the Secretary of DHS to establish a list of critical infrastructure that would cause catastrophic damage if disrupted or destroyed.  The list would be risk-based and reflect cross-sector analysis.  S.4 would authorize the Secretary to establish additional sector specific lists of critical infrastructure and key resources based on the sectors named in Homeland Security Presidential Directive-7.  The bill would require that the lists be updated on a regular basis and that the Secretary provide a report to Congress on the content of and criteria used to establish these lists. 

Risk Assessment and Report. S.4 would require the Secretary of DHS to perform a risk assessment, or certify the risk assessment of another federal agency, of all critical infrastructure sectors.  It would require the Secretary to provide an annual report to Congress on the risk assessments performed that year and what DHS recommends to mitigate those risks. 

Title XI:  Congressional Oversight of Intelligence

Availability to Public of Certain Intelligence Funding Information.  The bill would require the President and Congress to publicly disclose the total amount of appropriations requested, authorized, and ultimately appropriated for the Intelligence Community.  It also would direct the Director of National Intelligence to study the merits of disclosing additional information about the intelligence budget.  This provision was included in the Senate’s version of the IRTPA in 2004.

Response of Intelligence Community to Requests from Congress.  S.4 would amend the National Security Act of 1947 by adding provisions to allow for greater Congressional oversight of the Intelligence Community.  In 2004 these provisions were included in the Senate’s version of IRTPA:

  • Section 508 “Response of Intelligence Community to Requests from Congress for Intelligence Documents and Information” requires the Intelligence Community to provide Congressional committees of jurisdiction timely access to intelligence information unless the President certifies that the information is not being provided because he is asserting a Constitutional privilege.  In addition to responding to requests from committees of jurisdiction, the section requires the Intelligence Community to respond to requests from the Chairman or the Vice Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee or the Chairman or Ranking Member of the House Intelligence Committee.  Finally the section permits the heads of Intelligence Community elements or their designates to testify before Congress and submit testimony, recommendations, and comments without seeking permission to do so from any Executive branch officer, department agency or element.
  • Section 509 “Disclosures to Congress” permits Intelligence Community employees and contractors carrying out contracts for Intelligence Community agencies to report classified information directly to members of Congress and staff who both have an appropriate security clearance and are authorized to receive the information, if the employee reasonably believes the information provides direct and specific evidence of a false or inaccurate statement made to Congress or contained in an intelligence assessment, report or estimate.

Public Interest Declassification Board.  The bill would clarify language enacted by IRTPA, enabling the Public Interest Declassification Board to recommend to the President, upon the request of a Congressional committee, whether documents should be declassified, even in the absence of a corresponding request from the President.  The section also would extend authorization of the Board through the end of 2012.

Title XII:  International Cooperation on Antiterrorism Technology

Promoting Antiterrorism Capabilities through International Cooperation. The bill would establish a Homeland Security International Cooperative Programs Office in the Science and Technology Directorate, which will be responsible for developing partnerships with U.S. allies to further homeland security research and development.

Commerce Committee Title

Title XIII: Transportation Security and Interoperable Communication Capabilities

This title contains the texts of three bills reported by the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee on February 13, 2007 that contain provisions to implement recommendations of the 9/11 Commission in areas within the Committee’s jurisdiction: S.184, the Surface Transportation and Rail Security Act of 2007; S.509, the Aviation Security Improvement Act; and S.385, the Interoperable Emergency Communications Act.

Subtitle A: Surface Transportation and Rail Security

This subtitle contains the text of S.184, the Surface Transportation and Rail Security Act of 2007, as reported by the Commerce Committee on February 13, 2007.  The rail security provisions were originally included in the 109th Congress’s Senate-passed version of the SAFE Port Act.

Section 1: Improved rail security.  This rail security package is an updated version of the Rail Security Act of 2004 and the Rail Security Act of 2005, which the Commerce Committee and the Senate approved unanimously in the 108th and 109th Congresses.  The bill would:

  • Require the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to conduct a railroad sector risk assessment and submit prioritized recommendations for improving rail security;
  • Provide grants through TSA to Amtrak, freight railroads, and others to upgrade security across the entire freight and intercity passenger railroad system;
  • Provide funding through the Department of Transportation (DOT) to upgrade Amtrak railroad tunnels in New York, Washington, and Baltimore to modern safety and security standards;
  • Create a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) rail security research and development program and encourage the deployment of rail car tracking equipment for high-hazard materials rail shipments;
  • Authorize studies on improving passenger rail security screening and immigration processing along the northern border;
  • Require railroads to create a railroad worker security-training program; 
  • Provide whistleblower protection for rail workers who report security concerns;
  • Require railroads shipping high-hazard materials to create threat mitigation plans;
  • Require DHS to develop a program to encourage equipping of rail cars transporting high hazard materials;
  • Clarify the DHS Secretary’s legal authority to initiate administrative enforcement proceedings for violations of non-aviation related transportation security regulations and requirements; and  
  • Expand the authority of private railroad police to allow police officers who work for one railroad to help other railroads in carrying out enforcement duties and require the distribution of model legislation to the states to help prevent “scam railroad” policing. 

Section 2: Improved motor carrier, bus, pipeline, and hazardous material security.  This section contains the Motor Carrier, Bus, Pipeline, and Hazardous Material security provisions of the Senate-passed SAFE Port Act.  These provisions were unanimously endorsed by the Senate Commerce Committee and the full Senate in the 109th Congress.  The bill would:

  • Require the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to provide guidance to motor carriers and states regarding hazardous materials routing and to assess the addition of certain high-hazardous materials to the list of existing hazardous materials required to be transported by motor carriers with highway routing plans;
  • Require DHS to develop a program to encourage the equipping of trucks carrying hazardous materials with communications and tracking technology;
  • Require TSA and DOT to clarify respective roles for truck security;
  • Establish a program for reviewing and enforcing hazardous materials security plans;
  • Require DHS to design a pipeline security and incident recovery plan and create a program for pipeline security inspections and enforcement;
  • Consider the development of a national public sector response system for transportation communications alerts;
  • Authorize the existing grant program for improving intercity bus and bus terminal security; and
  • Require the Secretary of Homeland Security to study the need and feasibility of establishing a system of maritime and surface transportation-related user fees to provide necessary funding for improvements to maritime and surface transportation security.

Total authorization levels for Subtitle A ($millions)

 

FY 2008

FY 2009

FY 2010

FY 2011

Rail Security

       

Security Assessment

5

Amtrak Security

63.5

30

30

Tunnel Security

121

118

118

118

Security Grants

100

100

100

R&D

33

33

33

Family Assistance

0.5

Rail Hazmat Tracking

3

3

3

Subtotal, Rail Security

326

284

284

118

         

Surface Security

       

Truck Hazmat Tracking

3

3

3

Hazmat Inspection and Enforcement

2

2

2

Pipe Inspection and Enforcement

2

2

Response System

1

1

1

Bus Security

12

25

25

Subtotal, Surface Security

20

33

31

Total for Subtitle A

346

317

315

118

Subtitle B: Aviation Security

This subtitle contains the text of S.509, the Aviation Security Improvement Act, as reported by the Commerce Committee on February 13, 2007.  The bill would:

  • Provide an extension for aviation security funding through fiscal year (FY) 2009;
  • Require the TSA to develop and implement a system, within three years of the date of enactment, to provide for the screening of all cargo being carried on passenger aircraft.  After the system becomes functional, the TSA is required to report to Congress, within one year, detailing the operations and assessing exemptions permitted under the system;
  • Require the TSA to develop a system by which the Administrator will provide blast-resistant cargo containers to commercial passenger air carriers for use on a random or risk-assessed basis as determined by the agency.  The cargo containers must be acquired by the TSA within 90 days of the agency’s completion of development of the system;
  • Direct the DHS to expedite research and development (R&D) pilot projects that advance technology to protect passenger planes from the threat of explosive devices.  It would also require the establishment of a grant program to fund projects the agency develops through this process with an authorization for such sums as necessary for Fiscal Year 2008;
  • Authorize $450 million in discretionary funds for Fiscal Years 2007 through 2009 to fund the installation of in-line explosive detection systems (EDS) at U.S. airports at a level approximate to the TSA’s strategic plan for the deployment of such systems.  It would also require the submission of an overdue cost-sharing study on in-line EDS installation within 30 days of passage;
  • Mandate the annual dedication of $250 million of the amounts currently collected in aviation security fees to the Aviation Security Capital Fund for the installation of in-line screening systems for the enhanced screening of checked baggage at airports.  The bill would also bolster the existing LOI program through changes in funding allocation requirements and requiring the creation of a prioritization schedule for planned projects;   
  • Extend an authorization for R&D spending for aviation security technology at a level of $50 million through Fiscal Year 2009;
  • Remove the arbitrary screener cap of 45,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees that is currently imposed on the TSA’s screener workforce to ensure that the agency is properly staffed at a level necessary to screen travelers as air passenger traffic numbers continue to increase;
  • Require the TSA to provide specialized training to Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) for the development of advanced security skills including behavior observation, explosives detection and document verification;
  • Direct the DHS to issue, within 90 days, a strategic plan for the deployment of explosive detection equipment at airport checkpoints required by the Intelligence Reform Act of 2004.  Requires the TSA to fully implement the strategic plan within one year of its submission;
  • Direct the DHS to create an Office of Appeals and Redress to establish and administer a timely and fair process for airline passengers who believe they have been delayed or prohibited from boarding a passenger flight because they have been misidentified against the “No-Fly” or “Selectee” watchlists;
  • Require the DHS, within six months of passage, to submit a strategic plan to Congress that will include timelines for the testing and implementation of its advanced passenger prescreening system.  A GAO report is required to be issued to Congress within 90 days on the implementation of Secure Flight;
  • Require that security rules be put in place at foreign aircraft repair stations, within 90 days of passage of the Act, and that any security rules established be reviewed and audited within a six month period.  If no action is taken within 90 days, the Administration will be prohibited from certifying any further foreign repair stations until such regulations are in place;
  • Require the TSA to develop a standardized threat and vulnerability assessment program for general aviation (GA) airports within one year, and create a program to perform such assessments at GA airports in the United States on a risk-assessed basis.  The TSA must also study the feasibility of a grant program for GA airport operators to fund key projects to upgrade security at such facilities, and establish that program if feasible;
  • Require the TSA to develop a program, within six months, under which foreign registered GA aircraft must submit passenger information to the TSA to be checked against appropriate watch list databases prior to entering the United States;
  • Mandate a report to Congress, within six months, on the status of efforts to institute a sterile area access system that will grant flight deck and cabin crews expedited access to secure areas through screening checkpoints.  The report must include recommendations to implement the program for the domestic aviation industry within one year after the report is submitted, and fully deploy the system within one year of the report’s submission; and
  • Require a doubling of the DHS’s existing dog team capacity to be used for explosive detection across the nation’s transportation network.  The mandate must be completed as soon as practicable and such sums as necessary are authorized in FY 2008 and FY 2009.

Subtitle C: Interoperable Emergency Communications

This subtitle contains the text of S.385, the Interoperable Emergency Communications Act, as approved by the Commerce Committee on February 13, 2007.  The subtitle is designed to give the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) greater direction regarding how to use the $1 billion interoperability fund created by the Commerce Committee in the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-171).  The bill would:

·          Direct NTIA to rely on recommended grant guidance issued under the Department of Homeland Security’s SAFECOM program to promote greater consistency in the criteria used to evaluate interoperability grant applications;

·          Expand grant eligibility to include all proposals designed to improve the interoperability of emergency communications, and not artificially limit eligible grants to systems or equipment that utilize reallocated public safety spectrum (764-776 MHZ and 794-806 MHZ);

·          Require funding allocations among the several states consistent with section 1014(c)(3) of the USA PATRIOT Act (.75 percent to each state) to ensure a fair distribution of funds to all states seeking to improve the interoperability of emergency communications in their state or region;

·          Require prioritization based upon an “all-hazards” approach that recognizes the critical need for effective emergency communications in response to natural disasters (e.g. tsunamis, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados, snow and ice storms) in addition to terrorist attacks;

·          Permit NTIA to allocate up to $100 million to establish Strategic Technology Reserves that will augment communications capabilities of first responders and other emergency personnel in response to an emergency or a major disaster;

·          Require the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to report on the feasibility of a redundant system for emergency communications to ensure operability in the event of system failures;

·          Improve transparency and effective oversight by requiring the Inspector General of the Department of Commerce annually to assess the management of NTIA’s interoperability grant program;

·          Encourage NTIA to leverage existing federal resources pursuant to carrying out the administration of this grant program;

·          Clarify the concurrent authorities of the FCC and the Department of Commerce related to promoting the safety of life and property through the use of communications;

·          Establish a Joint Advisory Committee on communications capabilities of emergency medical care facilities and authorize ten emergency medical communications pilot projects; and

·          Extend the quorum authority for the Consumer Product Safety Commission for six months.

Banking Committee Title

This title includes the full text of the Public Transportation Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007, as unanimously approved by the Senate Banking Committee on February 8, 2007. 

The key provisions of this title include:

Section 1: Public Transportation Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007.

Section 2:  Findings of the Congress.

Section 3: Security Assessments.  The bill would stipulate that:

  • The Federal Transit Administration and the Department of Transportation must submit all public transportation security assessments to the Secretary of Homeland Security.  Assessments would be the basis for allocation of grant funds.
  • The Secretary of Homeland Security shall establish security improvement priorities, in consultation with state and local officials, and these priorities must be updated annually.
  • Security assessment information shall be used to establish a process for developing security guidelines and designing a security strategy that minimizes the potential for terrorist threats and maximizes efforts to mitigate damage from attacks.
  • The Secretary of Homeland Security shall conduct security assessments appropriate to the size and nature of each system – to include bus-only and rural systems, as defined by Title 49, Section 5311 of the U.S. Code.

Section 4: Security Assistance Grants.  The bill would:

  • Direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to award grants directly to public transportation agencies for allowable capital security improvement priorities including, but not limited to, tunnel protection systems, perimeter protection systems and fire protection equipment.
  • Authorize the Secretary to awards grants directly to public transportation agencies for allowable operational security improvement priorities including, but not limited to, canine patrols, security training for public transportation employees, and public awareness campaigns.
  • Instruct the Secretary to ensure that the Department’s actions are consistent with relevant state Homeland Security plans.
  • Require the Secretary, where there are multi-state transportation systems, to consider the risks of the entire system when it crosses state lines when awarding grants.
  • Require the Secretary, not later than three days before the award of a grant, to notify the Congress of the intent to award such grant.
  • Direct public transportation agencies to identify a security coordinator to develop a plan to operate and maintain equipment purchased with grant funds.  If the Secretary determines that grant funds were misspent, the bill states that the grantee shall return grant funds to the Treasury of the United States.

Section 5: Public Transportation Security Training Program.  Ninety days after enactment, the Secretary, in consultation with appropriate officials, would be required to develop and issue detailed regulations for a public transportation worker security training program.  The bill would requirepublic transportation agencies who receive security funding to develop a comprehensive worker training program and submit it to the Secretary for approval.  The Secretary would be required to review the program and make any necessary revisions.  The bill states that no later than one year after the plan has been established and reviewed, the public transportation system must complete the training of all workers and it directs the Secretary to report to the Congress on the training program and update it as necessary.

Section 6: Intelligence Sharing.  The bill would instruct the Secretary to provide sufficient financial assistance for the reasonable costs of the Information Sharing and Analysis Center for Public Transportation (ISAC).  It would encourage all transit agencies to participate in the ISAC and those that the Secretary deems to be at significant risk would be required to participate.  The bill states that no transit agency shall be charged a fee to participate in the ISAC.

Section 7: Research, Development, and Demonstration Grants and Contracts.  The bill would direct the Secretary, through the Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency, and in consultation with the Federal Transit Administration, to award grants to public and private entities to conduct appropriate research into technologies or methods of deterring and mitigating the effects of terrorist attacks.  It would require the Secretary to report to Congress on the use of these funds and states that if the Secretary determines that grant funds were misspent, the grantee shall return grant funds to the Treasury of the United States.

Section 8: Reporting Requirements.  The bill would require the Secretary to submit a semi-annual report to Congress on the implementation of the program, the use of funds and the state of public transportation security in the United States.  It also would require the Secretary to submit an annual report to the Governor of each state who has received a grant regarding the amount and use of such grant funds.

Section 9: Authorization of Appropriations.  The bill would authorize the program to make $3.5 billion in transit security grants between now and Fiscal Year 2010.  The grants would be split mostly between capital and operating grants, with much smaller funds for research and for the intelligence sharing.

Section 10: Sunset Provision.  The bill provides that the authority to make grants under this Act shall expire on October 1, 2011.

Legislative History

The Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs reported S.4 on February 17, 2007 by a vote of 16-0, with an amendment in the nature of a substitute.         

The House of Representatives passed H.R.1, the Implementing the 9/11 Commission Recommendations Act of 2007, which differs from the bill now being considered in the Senate,by a vote of 299-128 on January 9, 2007.

Statement of Administration Policy

On January 9, 2007, the White House issued a Statement of Administration Policy in opposition to passage by the House of Representatives of H.R.1, as reported by the House Homeland Security Committee.  The Statement can be viewed at the Office of Management and Budget’s website, (H.R.1sap-h.pdf">http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/legislative/sap/110-1/H.R.1sap-h.pdf).  At the time of publication, no Statement of Administration Policy has been issued with regard to S.4, the Senate version of this bill.  

Amendments

A title from the Foreign Relations Committee is expected to be offered as an amendment to the bill.

The DPC will circulate a description of expected amendments as information becomes available.

Bookmark and Share