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house Bill H.R. 5399

Should Homeland Security Grants be Used to Prepare for WMD, Biological or Chemical Attacks?

Argument in favor

Domestic readiness to respond to WMDs and biological or chemical attacks is critical, and this bill provides state and local governments with the funding and support they need to ensure preparedness.

burrkitty's Opinion
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08/26/2018
You mean it’s not already? WTF? Get on with it. I lived in Guam, the first US target for the crazies of North Korea, when 45 was raising hell and we were put at risk. The Pacific states and island territories need more than lip service protection from non-traditional attacks.
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Mindful's Opinion
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08/26/2018
WMD-must, most necessarily, include Cybersecurity. Isn’t this the more immediate threat to our National Security? Do you really fear a Ballistic Missile, Tanks, Adversary Aircraft? Think how vulnerable our Election apparatuses are. And we always have elections on the horizon.
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Gopin2020's Opinion
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08/27/2018
Yes , preparedness is the best and only solution to preventing tragedies or mitigating one. Whether it’s civil, military or whatever. Being prepared with training has always been the best solution. #MAGA
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Argument opposed

The Department of Defense claims that it is already working with civil authorities to ensure domestic response capabilities for a range of attacks, including all types of WMDs and chemical or biological weapons.

NikolaiS's Opinion
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08/26/2018
The DHS should be eliminated. The department of the interior does all that already.
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Nicholas's Opinion
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08/26/2018
Stop bombing and oppressing people all over the world and it'll take to targets off all of our backs.
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Dean's Opinion
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08/26/2018
No, there is more than enough money to be used from the military budget.
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What is House Bill H.R. 5399?

This bill — the Civil Defense Preparedness Act of 2018 — would clarify that grants made under the Urban Area Security Initiative and the State Homeland Security Grant Program may be used to increase high-risk state, local, territorial, and tribal governments’ preparedness against weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) and biological and chemical attacks. These grants would be used for training, protective equipment, building reinforcements, and other community preparedness measures.

For the purposes of this bill, “high-risk state” means: 1) a state or territory that is geographically closest to known adversary countries, and 2) a state of territory proven or determined by the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of Defense, to be highly susceptible to a rocket-propelled or other form of kinetically-delivered WMDs from an adversary country.

This bill would apply to all 56 states and territories, including the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands.

On an annual basis, the the Secretary of Homeland Security would submit a report on the number of grants made under this bill to the Committee on Homeland Security of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate. This report would also be made publically available on the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) website. In this report, the Secretary would specifically report on the number of grants that pertained to increasing preparedness against rocket-propelled or other forms of kinetically-delivered WMDs.

Impact

High-risk states, localities, territories, and tribal governments receiving grants under the Urban Area Security Initiative; State Homeland Security Grant Program; and the Department of Homeland Security.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 5399

A CBO cost estimate for this bill is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthSponsoring Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) introduced this bill to strengthen civil defense preparedness across the country by expanding existing DHS terrorism and catastrophic event grant programs to include improving nuclear, biological, and chemical attack preparedness:

“The false ballistic missile alert sent out in Hawai‘i earlier this year, and the threat of nuclear attack from North Korea, reveal major gaps in preparedness measures and alert plans across all levels of our government. Addressing this must be taken seriously and made a priority in Hawai‘i and across the country. My bipartisan legislation provides the means to support state and local governments to make these critical investments for our communities.”

Original cosponsor Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI) added:

“This bipartisan bill will help prioritize Department of Homeland Security grant funding for communities that need to improve training, fortify or create shelter space, and purchase new equipment. Hawaii and many other municipalities around the country will benefit from increased access to federal funding to support community preparedness and response.”

In testimony to Congress on March 22, 2018, Kenneth Rapuano, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Global Security, stated that the Department of Defense is already prepared with “unique and flexible capabilities to manage and resolve WMD crises rapidly and decisively” both at home and abroad:

“DoD is postured to assist civil authority efforts to detect, identify, neutralize, dismantle, and dispose of CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear) threats before they can reach our nation’s borders and, if they succeed in penetrating our borders, before they can be employed against our nation. DoD has developed a wide range of CBRN-response capabilities and continuously plans, trains and exercises so that DoD is prepared to employ these capabilities rapidly in support to civil authorities to help save and sustain lives in the aftermath of a CBRN incident. The DoD CBRN Response Enterprise – approximately 18,735 Active, Guard, and Reserve military personnel – is postured to respond within hours of a CBRN incident with critical capabilities such as detection and assessment of CBRN hazards; casualty search and extraction; casualty decontamination; emergency medical, patient triage, trauma care, and surgical and intensive medical care; fatality recovery; ground and rotary-wing air patient movement; security; command and control; engineering; logistics; transportation; and aviation lift.”

There are five cosponsors of this bill, including three Republicans and two Democrats.


Of NoteThe 2018 Intelligence Community Worldwide Threat Assessment notes that “[Other nations’] efforts to modernize, develop, or acquire weapons of mass destruction (WMD), their delivery systems, or their underlying technologies constitute a major threat to the security of the United States, its deployed troops, and its allies.”

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) created a Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Directorate since July 2006. The Directorate’s purpose is to build a cohesive and coordinated approach to incidents involving chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear material — with a focus on prevention of these attacks. It has full oversight over initiatives and program activities — such as prevention, preparedness, countermeasures, investigations, and operational response — as well as the ability to lead field personnel.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: U.S. Marine Corps - Lance Cpl. Devan Gowans / Public Domain)

AKA

Civil Defense Preparedness Act of 2018

Official Title

To amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to clarify that grants made pursuant to the Urban Area Security Initiative and the State Homeland Security Grant Program may be used to increase the preparedness of high-risk State, local, territorial, and tribal governments against weapons of mass destruction and biological and chemical attacks, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Recovery
      Committee on Homeland Security
    IntroducedMarch 22nd, 2018
    You mean it’s not already? WTF? Get on with it. I lived in Guam, the first US target for the crazies of North Korea, when 45 was raising hell and we were put at risk. The Pacific states and island territories need more than lip service protection from non-traditional attacks.
    Like (62)
    Follow
    Share
    The DHS should be eliminated. The department of the interior does all that already.
    Like (44)
    Follow
    Share
    Stop bombing and oppressing people all over the world and it'll take to targets off all of our backs.
    Like (41)
    Follow
    Share
    No, there is more than enough money to be used from the military budget.
    Like (35)
    Follow
    Share
    WMD-must, most necessarily, include Cybersecurity. Isn’t this the more immediate threat to our National Security? Do you really fear a Ballistic Missile, Tanks, Adversary Aircraft? Think how vulnerable our Election apparatuses are. And we always have elections on the horizon.
    Like (34)
    Follow
    Share
    Yes , preparedness is the best and only solution to preventing tragedies or mitigating one. Whether it’s civil, military or whatever. Being prepared with training has always been the best solution. #MAGA
    Like (18)
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    Prepare for cyber attacks
    Like (15)
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    How about spending that money on health care and illness prevention. Poor health is a greater threat to our nation than any terrorist.
    Like (13)
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    Why would it not! Sounds like the perfect reason for Grant money usage. For those that are in question, read some of the idiotic opposed comments first. Some even mention no because "locals should get the training". THATS EXACTLY WHAT THIS STATES! All facet of the grants may in this type of training. Unbelievable!
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    Let the state be responsible for training. It's a local matter.
    Like (7)
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    Why aren’t they already??
    Like (7)
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    the event is inevitable, prepare!
    Like (6)
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    Cybersecurity is more of a concern. Divert the money already there to strengthen and protect the core of our democracy, our election process.
    Like (5)
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    Yes it’s very important we’re ready if the time comes.
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    Let the locals get the train instead. There are already too many government agencies. It's time to trim the fat and put the states back in charge.
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    "The future belongs to the those who prepare for it today. " I feel in this climate, it's good to have this opportunity for state and local governments have the resources and support to prepare for any attack that may come our way.
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    We see these being used around the world so it would behoove us to be prepared. More than likely someone will try to use it against us.
    Like (4)
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    As long as this doesn’t mean more big brother “toys” for law enforcement, I’d be okay with this passing.
    Like (4)
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    They should be used as monetary reparations to the refugee families they separated at the border!
    Like (3)
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    I’m against anyone who opposes this bill. I just wonder if they would be opposed to this same bill IF it were put forth by their party. I doubt it.....
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