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Advisory board says military must define role in homeland defense.

The Pentagon needs to improve and integrate its maritime intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets with those of the Departments of Homeland Security and Transportation, CIA and FBI, according to a recent Defense Science Board study.

Rep. Jim Saxton, R-N.J., chairman of the House Armed Services subcommittee on terrorism, unconventional threats and capabilities, cited the study as evidence that the Defense Department has failed to articulate its role in homeland security.

"There are many gaps that need to be filled and many new organizational relationships that must be exercised and refined," Saxton said at a committee hearing.

"There are so many assets to protect, so many modes of attack available to adversaries and so many organizations involved, that--understandably--both the conceptual framework and the capabilities required are still immature," the DSB said.

Among its recommendations:

* Improve information gathering, assurance and collection. The department should establish a more robust human intelligence capability. The Pentagon's human intelligence service "must be reinvented to provide clandestine battlefield support and augmented technical collection," the report said. The department needs to place operatives in areas where terrorists are known to exist.

* Upgrades are needed in all areas of intelligence collection. The analytic component of intelligence needs to be more highly integrated with collection and domestically derived intelligence needs to be more effectively integrated with foreign intelligence.

The DSB urged the Pentagon to do more to protect defense-related, mission-critical infrastructure. While some good work is being done, the DSB said, the Pentagon must do more to address the problem, particularly in areas outside its direct control.

The assistant secretary for homeland defense and Northern Command should rake the lead in identifying and redressing mission-critical infrastructure vulnerabilities. The undersecretary for acquisition, technology and logistics should address defense-industry weaknesses.

Cyber security needs to be better integrated into the Defense Department's protection efforts, which traditionally have focused on physical attacks, the DSB said. It recommended assigning cyber security to the U.S. Strategic Command, supported with research by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the National Security Agency.

The Navy, NORTHCOM and Coast Guard should be assigned roles in this "national maritime-surveillance system-of-systems," which could provide a forward line of defense against cruise missiles and other low-altitude threats along the U.S. shoreline, the DSB said.

Because these delivery systems could carry biological and other weapons of mass destruction, the Pentagon should create a master plan for defending against low-flying air threats, according to the report.

Current efforts to develop bio-defense technology are weighted heavily toward early detection in order to minimize fatalities and continue essential functions. However, the study recommends increasing the emphasis on dealing with the long-term effects of a biological attack, through therapeutics, diagnostics and remediation. Responsibility for setting requirements for defending military bases within the continental United States should be assigned to NORTHCOM.

U.S. military forces lack a critical capability to expand their medical treatment services to deal with attacks from weapons of mass destruction, the report said. The Pentagon needs quantitative, end-to-end plans to provide treatment for its own forces at bases and critical ports of departure, the DSB said. Such plans must recognize that medical needs will extend well "beyond the fence." Therefore, they must involve coordination with local and state civilian authorities.

The DSB recommended 15 new tasks for NORTHCOM. Included were developing roadmaps for maritime surveillance and low-altitude air threats, and assuming lead roles in defense-related mission-critical infrastructure and conducting exercises, training, experiments and standards relating to homeland defense.

"The main message," the report said, "is that NORTHCOM must be empowered for the nation to achieve its homeland security and homeland defense goals."
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Title Annotation:Up Front
Author:Kennedy, Harold
Publication:National Defense
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2004
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