House creates homeland security subcommittees

House Committee on Homeland Security

The House Homeland Security Committee, which gained permanent status earlier this year, established five subcommittees this week.

They include:

The Subcommittee on Prevention of Nuclear and Biological Attack will consider the Homeland Security Department's role in preventing and detecting nuclear and biological weapons, including development and deployment of sensors, preventative use of technology, border, port and transportation security measures, and intergovernmental efforts.

The Subcommittee on Intelligence, Information Sharing and Terrorism Risk Assessment will oversee DHS' responsibility for terrorism-related threat, vulnerability and risk analyses; information gathering and dissemination to public and private entities; and cooperation with intelligence and law enforcement agencies.

The Subcommittee on Economic Security, Infrastructure Protection and Cybersecurity will concentrate on the development of counterterrorism strategies, prioritize risks through analytical tools and cost/benefit analyses, prioritize investment in critical infrastructure protection across all sectors, ensure continuity of business across those sectors, and prevent potential injury to the public and physical infrastructure resulting, directly or indirectly, from cyberattacks.

The Subcommittee on Management, Integration and Oversight will assess the department's reorganization progress, including the standardization and security of communications systems and information technology infrastructure, and effectiveness of the budgeting, acquisition, procurement, personnel and financial management systems.

The Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Science and Technology will look at federal support for first responders, including incident management and response; grants; coordination of training and exercises; research, development, and deployment of new technology and the adaptation of existing technologies to combat terrorism; and interaction with federally funded laboratories and the academic and private sectors in science and technology matters.

The Republican leadership also noted that Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, will be the senior Republican of the Homeland Security Committee. Also serving is Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.), who heads the House Government Reform Committee.

Rep. Christopher Cox (R-Calif.), who headed the select committee for the past two years, heads the Homeland Security Committee. Democrats on the committee are led by Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.). He replaced Rep. Jim Turner (D-Texas), who retired.

Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Pa.), an outspoken supporter of first responders, was named vice chairman of the committee.

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