What is House Bill H.R. 3875?
This bill would create a Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosives Office (CBRNE Office) in the Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS). The office would focus on coordinating and strengthening DHS capabilities to counter CBRNE threats.
Terrorism risk assessments would be developed in consultation with appropriate federal departments and agencies. DHS would use these terrorism risk assessments to allocate agency resources for preparing against CBRNE threats.
The CBRNE Office would have four divisions focused specifically on the individual threat areas of their namesake's acronym. It would share information with the intelligence community and other federal, state, and local governments and officials from high-threat areas.
Within two years of this bill’s enactment, the Government Accountability Office would have to report to Congress on DHS research and development programs related to CBRNE threats.
Domestic targets of chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive threats, the CBRNE Office, the intelligence community, relevant agencies at all levels of government, and DHS.
Cost of House Bill H.R. 3875
The CBO estimates that implementing this legislation would cost less than $1 million over the 2016-17 period.
In-Depth: The House Homeland Security Committee reported this legislation by voice vote. It currently has the support of one Democratic and two Republican cosponsors.
Of Note: DHS already has had the foundation of a plan to coordinate efforts against chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive threats since 2011. The "strategy" covers everything from the need for CBRNE standards, high-level goals, who should work on those goals (in the public and private sector), even what equipment should be used to detect these threats, protect against them, and decontaminate after they have happened.
Summary by Eric Revell
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