The5th meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Seniors, Veterans, Military Affairs, and Public Protection was held on Thursday, November 6, 2003, at 9:00 AM, in Room 131 of the Capitol Annex. Senator Dan Seum, Co-Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator Dan Seum, Co-Chair; Representative Mike Weaver, Co-Chair; Senators Tom Buford, Paul Herron Jr, Virgil Moore, Joey Pendleton, Albert Robinson, Richard Roeding, Katie Stine, Elizabeth Tori, and Jack Westwood; Representatives Sheldon Baugh, Carolyn Belcher, Bill Farmer, Danny Ford, Jodie Haydon, Steve Riggs, Tom Riner, Charles Siler, Dottie Sims, and Jim Thompson.
Guests: Bill Montgomery, Bob Amato, Chris Nolan, Bill Bowker, and Steve Ereglender.
LRC Staff: Scott Varland, Clint Newman, Todd Stephens, and Wanda Gay-Hollon.
Co-Chair Seum opened the meeting by asking a member of the Committee Staff to read a Resolution in honor and memory of Specialist James Edward Powell, a soldier who died while serving in Northern Iraq. Co-Chair Seum then asked for a moment of silence to honor the fallen soldier. Senator Westwood made a motion to adopt the Resolution. Senator Tori seconded the motion. The Resolution was adopted.
Co-Chair Seum next asked a member of the Committee Staff to read a Resolution urging Kentucky's Congressional Delegation to communicate its support of Kentucky veterans to the federal Department of Veterans Affairs Capital Asset Realignment for Enhanced Services Commission to and the Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Anthony J. Principi. Representative Baugh made a motion to adopt the Resolution. Senator Tori seconded the motion. The Resolution was adopted.
Co-Chair Seum asked the Adjutant General, D. Allen Youngman, to present his annual report entitled "Readiness of the Commonwealth to Respond to Acts of War or Terrorism." Ray Nelson, Director, Office for Security Coordination and Malcolm Franklin, Director, Kentucky Department for Emergency Management, joined General Youngman in giving an overview of the report.
General Youngman said that members had been provided a hard copy of the overview to read in depth and that in the interest of time he would focus on the challenges and the road ahead.
General Youngman said that the Committee should take great pride in its role in establishing the Office for Security Coordination two years ago. Immediately following the events of September 11, the most expedient response was to place the Office for Security Coordination within the Department of Military Affairs. General Youngman said that he has seen a phenomenal amount of success in getting agencies to talk and work together. However, the Office has operated on a volunteer basis, because the Office has no real authority, and it does not have a separate budget. General Youngman stated that under the current structure the Office for Security Coordination has accomplished as much as it can. The Committee may want to consider moving the Office for Security Coordination under the Governor's Office to give it more strategic high ground for dealing with agencies outside of the Executive Branch.
Co-Chair Seum told General Youngman that staff was in the process of drafting legislation to move the Office for Security Coordination under the Governor's Office.
General Youngman asked Ray Nelson, Director of the Office for Security Coordination, to continue the briefing.
Before Mr. Nelson began his presentation, Committee members applauded General Youngman for a job well done during his tenure as Adjutant General.
Ray Nelson, Director of the Office for Security Coordination, said that public safety officials are concerned about apathy in the state. He asked Committee members to continue to remind their constituents that Kentucky is not immune to an act of terrorism, and that we must strengthen anti-terrorist efforts.
Mr. Nelson said that his number one challenge was the inability to protect critical infrastructure information such as vulnerability assessments, contingency plans, and counter measures. Theft of identity documents and vital records is a growing problem in Kentucky and around the nation. Criminals in general, and terrorists in particular, use stolen identity documents and vital records to engage in identify theft and other criminal acts.
Mr. Nelson said that illegal immigrants create severe problems. He has had multiple meetings with organizations such as the Agriculture Department, the Labor Department, etc. to discuss the impact. Migrant workers are needed, but immigration leads to security and financial problems. These issues should be debated and a course of action decided upon.
Another area of concern is the significant increase of reporting requirements imposed by the federal Department of Homeland Security. The demand for information, reporting, participating in conferences, and seminars, etc. has dramatically increased. He said the Office for Security Coordination is not staffed, funded, or equipped to keep up with these demands.
Mr. Nelson said that looking to the future he would like to propose changes to the Open Records Law to allow him to protect critical infrastructure information such as the vulnerability and consequence assessments, as well as contingency plans. He said that if you reverse engineer those plans you basically provide a highway for any would be adversary. We must be able to protect this information and that our current laws do not allow that.
Mr. Nelson also recommended changes to the state acquisition/purchasing process. He said that the process of obtaining federally funded grants requires the same process as spending state dollars. He said that the process is extremely lengthy and cumbersome.
Another concern Mr. Nelson has is that the title of the Office for Security Coordination may not be an appropriate title for the duties his staff performs. He said that Washington refers to his Office as the Office for Homeland Security Coordination. He proposed changing the name of the Office to the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security.
Mr. Nelson said that staffing and management within the Department of Emergency Management was not sufficient to deal with federal grants that will be coming into Kentucky. He said that the staff is overwhelmed. Mr. Nelson said that with personnel hiring caps, etc., it is quite difficult for the Department to manage the millions of dollars that are coming into the state.
Mr. Nelson said that new Kentucky threat assessments and Kentucky strategies based on the assessments should expedite and simplify the delivery of future grant funds to local communities. The federal government will provide more homeland security money to a state that does a good job of threat assessments. Mr. Nelson said that the assessments are very large and very important and must be correct.
Mr. Nelson said that the Department of Emergency Management attempted to secure funds to upgrade the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), because it is 30 years old and requirements have dramatically increased over the last several years. The structure and equipment are becoming outdated. There needs to be replacement and upgrades to the EOC itself. Mr. Nelson said that with the additional workload that Emergency Management has picked up, the staffing structure needs to be addressed regarding personnel hiring caps.
Mr. Nelson said that interoperability within the Kentucky State Police remains a priority. Manpower allocations and overtime are significant problems. The demands on State Police in the terrorism prevention/counter-terrorism arena have significantly increased over the last two years.
Mr. Nelson also suggested strengthening the current laws that address hoax reports of explosive devices, anthrax, etc. Penalties should be toughened for individuals making hoax calls. Public safety agencies expend vast amounts of resources in responding to each hoax.
Mr. Nelson addressed the vulnerability assessments in our local communities performed by the Department of Criminal Justice Training. These are assessments in addition to those mandated by the federal government. The Department has done a phenomenal job, and we need to continue that assessment process. Mr. Nelson said that the department has taken the assessment process to communities with smaller law enforcement agencies across the state and that program needs to be continued and adequately funded. The Department of Criminal Justice Training will be develop a vulnerability assessment methodology course to be taught at the Department of Criminal Justice Training, and the Department, in partnership with Eastern Kentucky University, will basically teach communities how to do the assessments on their own. Mr. Nelson said that we do not have resources available at the state level to conduct a vulnerability assessment of every community and every asset within the state. Therefore, we must teach individuals how to conduct assessments and then provide refresher courses.
Mr. Nelson said that within the Department of Agriculture, revising emergency plans is a continuing challenge. The County Extension Programs should become more involved with the county agriculture response teams. Working on their communications network is critically important to our bio-terrorism programs. Budget and personnel are key issues as well as people to monitor the program. Security of surveillance data, who maintains ownership of that data, and how that data is protected are questions with a common thread throughout each of the areas covered in the presentation.
Mr. Nelson said that The Governor's Office for Technology (GOT) continues to enhance state computer security. More dangerous viruses and worms are coming out every day. Although we are at an elevated threat posture (yellow) nationally, within the cyber world, the threat posture is at high (red) on any given day. Looking ahead, it is critical that the GOT completes the request for proposal process for the enterprise content security management. Mr. Nelson said that security exemptions and open records within the cyber world need to be examined for vulnerabilities. One of the key issues is within the Government Information System. He said that as you build data layers together you are in fact building a map or criticality assessment.
Mr. Nelson said that within the Department of Public Health, budgeting, funding restraints, and the salary structure need to be addressed. He said it is difficult to fill some critical positions. Mr. Nelson said that with personnel cap reductions priorities have to be made as to which positions to fill.
Mr. Nelson said that within the Transportation Cabinet, there is a need for additional funding for security video monitoring equipment for critical bridges and highways, as well as training and equipment.
Mr. Nelson said that inadequate security measures surrounding critical transportation systems (bridges and highways) continues to be a challenge. There is a need for additional security video monitoring equipment, training and other types of security equipment.
Representative Riggs said that he serves on the Kentucky Law Enforcement Issue Committee and that the Committee was concerned that the focus of homeland security efforts was on dealing with the aftermath of an incident and not on detection and prevention efforts.
Mr. Nelson said that he has been focused on detection and prevention during the past two years. He said that Secretary Ridge's focus has been on prevention, but that the money has been focused on response. Mr. Nelson said that there was a grant specifically focused on prevention in the 2004 grant program.
Malcolm Franklin, Director, Kentucky Department of Emergency Management responded to Representative Riggs' comment by saying that part of the 2004 grant program includes a grant for law enforcement terrorism prevention program funding. Mr. Franklin said he would provide an analysis of the three parts of the 2004 grant to committee members.
Representative Riggs said that many people were not aware that the Kentucky State Police do not serve several of the larger metropolitan areas of the state where many targets are located.
Co-Chair Weaver asked Mr. Nelson how many people were employed with the Office for Security Coordination. Mr. Nelson responded by saying that besides himself, there are two people working in his office; one is a secretary, the other is a grant coordinator. In addition, there are two National Guard counter intelligence soldiers that are on loan to him working vulnerability assessment programs. Their funding comes directly from the Kentucky National Guard. Funding for his position, the secretarial position, and the grant coordinator position comes from the Department of Military Affairs.
Co-Chair Weaver asked Mr. Nelson to explain how he coordinates the duties of his office. Mr. Nelson responded by saying that he spends a great deal of time participating in teleconferencing or on the road traveling to meet with agencies, communities, mayors, and Kentucky's congressional delegation. Mr. Nelson commented that he could certainly use help, but he did not want just any help. He needs the right help.
Co-Chair Weaver asked Mr. Nelson how many people would be employed with the office if it were moved directly under the Governor's Office. Mr. Nelson responded by saying that ideally he would like a total of eight people and that total would be minimal staffing, but that would depend on funding. Mr. Nelson said that if his office dealt with critical infrastructure, he would need 17 employees.
Co-Chair Weaver commented that Mr. Nelson's entire presentation was focused on money and the lack of funding to do all that needs to be done. He said the Adjutant General has said that with the present structure everything that can be done has been done. He is confident that legislation will be drafted to restructure the Office for Security Coordination.
Mr. Nelson re emphasized the need to protect information. He said that protecting information was his number one issue. Co-Chair Weaver assured Mr. Nelson that there would be legislation to protect information and prevent identity theft. He told Mr. Nelson his help would be needed to work the legislation through the system.
Representative Riner asked Mr. Nelson if there was any present funding for security video monitoring equipment for critical bridges and if there are bridges being monitored now. Mr. Nelson asked Gary Mitchell, Emergency Response Coordinator for the Transportation Cabinet, to answer Representative Riner's question. Mr. Mitchell responded by saying there are bridges that currently have video surveillance; one is the Ardimus Project in Northern Kentucky, the other is the Trimark Project in Louisville.
Representative Riner asked if we had surveillance on the older bridges in the state. Mr. Mitchell responded by saying that he wanted to concentrate on having surveillance underneath bridges. He said if an attack occurred on a bridge it would be from underneath.
Senator Westwood cautioned members who would be working on legislation to stiffen the penalties for hoaxes. He said he did not want people to be reluctant to report a bomb or anthrax concern for fear of them being arrested for a hoax. Mr. Nelson responded by saying that he was very aware of such concerns, but that he wanted it to be more difficult for someone to call in that hoax verses calling in about an unknown substance.
Malcolm Franklin, Director, Kentucky Department of Emergency Management, said that Kentucky stands to get a little over $35 million in homeland security grants for next year. Mr. Franklin said that he would provide members with an overview of the 2004 grant program soon.
Mr. Nelson gave an overview of other grants coming into the state. It is very difficult to track grants coming into the state because they are stovepiped directly from the federal government to various agencies.
Mr. Nelson said the Department of Homeland Security is doing a good job of keeping state Homeland Security Directors informed of the grants it awards. However, a major concern is that at least 50% of the grants states are receiving do not come from the Department of Homeland Security, but from other federal agencies. Mr. Nelson said that he has asked that the Homeland Security directors be kept informed of the types of grants that are coming into the states as well as grant amounts.
Co-Chair Seum asked Mr. Nelson if the federal grant monies were tracked through the Department of Homeland Security. Mr. Nelson responded by saying that the Department of Homeland Security only tracks the grants they award. He said this has been a major concern and that Secretary Ridge is aware of this concern.
Co-Chair Seum asked Mr. Nelson if there was any federal legislation that would address this concern. Mr. Nelson responded by saying that there is no federal legislation that he is aware of that would address this concern.
Co-Chair Seum asked Mr. Nelson if there were any grants available to help fund the Office for Security Coordination. Mr. Nelson responded by saying that there are no grants to fund the Office for Security Coordination.
Representative Baugh asked Mr. Nelson if his work with various agencies is subject to the Open Records Law. Mr. Nelson responded by saying that he does not keep documents from meetings he has held with various agencies for fear of the information becoming subject to the Open Records Law. Representative Baugh commented that because of the Open Records Law Mr. Nelson's work with various agencies actually enhances the ability of terrorists groups to obtain information. Mr. Nelson ends up performing their work for them. Mr. Nelson responded by saying that was correct. However, he has taken steps to work around the information being subject to the Open Records Law by partnering with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Secret Service. By partnering the information is protected under the federal agencies jurisdiction and therefore not subject to the Open Records Law.
Representative Baugh asked Mr. Nelson why he wanted to move the Office of Security Coordination under the Governor's Office and expand the office if the work that he performs will then become subject to the Open Records Law, whereas the manner in which the office operates now does retain some protection. Mr. Nelson responded by saying that restructuring the office will have no impact on whether or not the material he deals with will be subject to the Open Records Law.
Senator Tori asked Mr. Nelson what he would recommend to resolve the matter of not being able to track grants coming into the state because they are being stovepiped directly from the federal government to various state agencies. Mr. Nelson responded by saying that a quick fix would be for the federal agency sending the money to provide the Office for Security Coordination with a courtesy copy of the grant documentation.
Senator Tori asked Mr. Nelson if there was a chance of duplication of efforts because of the way funds are stovepiped directly to agencies. Mr. Nelson responded by saying that duplication could in fact take place because of the way the funds are stovepiped directly to agencies.
Co-Chair Seum asked Mr. Franklin if FEMA dollars were readily available after a terrorist attack, as they are after a natural disaster. Mr. Franklin responded by saying that FEMA funds would be available after a terrorist attack, just as in the event of a natural disaster.
Co-Chair Weaver asked why only thirteen fire departments in Kentucky applied for federal grant monies last year. Mr. Nelson responded by saying that through his own investigation one-hundred fire departments within Kentucky actually received grant monies, but that only thirteen fire departments submitted reports to his office.
Co-Chair Seum commented that he sponsored Senate Bill 46 during the last legislative Session, and this legislation mandated that fire departments report grant monies they had received. He asked Mr. Nelson if that legislation needed to be more clear about reporting requirements. Mr. Nelson said that the legislation did need to be revised.
Co-Chair Weaver asked Mr. Nelson what he recommended to make drivers' licensing more secure. Mr. Nelson responded by saying that the FraudNet Working Group was recently established within the Transportation Cabinet. The group was is very concerned about identity fraud and in particular how it relates to drivers' licensing. The group does not have a specific recommendation at this time but is working on the issue. The group will submit recommendations at a later date.
Co-Chair Seum referred to Annex D of the Adjutant General's annual report that states "we will have better reporting and tracking information in 2004 because of added reporting procedures." He asked what the added reporting procedures were. Mike Scrivner, Department for Local Government, asked Tray Settle, also with the Department for Local Government, to respond to the question. Mr. Settle said that account codes had been added to both revenue and appropriation documents. When the quarterly and yearly reports come into his office, employees could easily identify the counties that have received homeland security grant funds. Mr. Nelson proposed getting a work group together to come up with specifics on how to address this issue.
Co-Chair Weaver asked how many vulnerability assessments have been conducted by the Department. General Clay Bailey, Special Projects Coordinator, of The Department of Criminal Justice Training, responded by saying that four communities have been assessed. More will be assessed in the future.
Co-Chair Weaver asked if funds to perform the vulnerability assessments come from the Justice Cabinet. General Bailey said that funds come from the Justice Cabinet budget.
Co-Chair Seum asked Carl Hazlette, Commissioner, Kentucky State Police, to give his suggestions on addressing the drivers licensing issue. Mr. Hazlette said that he was involved with the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators. He said that the Association contacted Circuit Clerks throughout the state, and that the Clerks told the Association that they did not wish to remain involved in the issuance of drivers' licenses. Mr. Hazlette suggested that legislation be drafted to relieve the clerks duties in issuing drivers' licenses. The Association has also recommended the establishment of regional driver testing centers that are open five days a week instead of the current practice of testing in a particular county for half a day once a week. Mr. Hazlette believes documents can be better screened to guard against fraud using the suggested regional testing centers.
Co-Chair Weaver said that he agrees with Mr. Hazlette's suggestion regarding the regional centers. He said that there are currently 13 regional testing centers in the state where immigrants who are here legally with a visa or a non immigrant visa, and those coming here for the first time, go to be screened. Co-Chair Weaver said that for this suggestion to work there would need to be more stations so that no one would have to drive more than 30 or 40 miles to be screened. Co-Chair Weaver asked Mr. Hazlette if he had looked at the regional offices and determined where these offices could be located in order to make it more convenient. Mr. Hazlette responded by saying that the subject had been studied with the road network factored in, in addition to population served. Mr. Hazlette said that the same procedure is used for commercial drivers' licenses. He said there are only eight commercial driver testing stations in Kentucky.
Co-Chair Seum asked if The Department of Criminal Justice Training was providing anti-terrorism training for law enforcement. General Bailey responded by saying that the training was being provided.
Co-Chair Seum asked if the training was mandatory. General Bailey responded by saying the training was not mandatory.
Co-Chair Seum asked why so few law enforcement officers attended the training. It was reported to him that only six hundred patrol officers have taken the training thus far. General Bailey responded by saying that the course was offered for the first time last year and in his view, that was a good number of officers taking the training.
Co-Chair Seum asked if the training was part of the Eastern Kentucky curriculum. General Bailey said he could not address that question and Mr. Franklin responded by saying that Kentucky Emergency Management is funding Eastern Kentucky University to add weapons of mass destruction training to their basic curriculum for new recruits. A homeland security grant is providing the funds.
Co-Chair Weaver commended Mr. Nelson, Mr. Franklin, and the Department of Military Affairs for their efforts in gathering the data to prepare the annual report. He said that he was impressed with what they have been able to do simply by convincing people that it was the right thing to do and having very little authority to enforce compliance.
Senator Tori made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Representative Baugh seconded the motion. The motion carried. The meeting adjourned.
A copy of the overview presentation as well as the full report is on file in the meeting folder located in the LRC Library.