September 11, 2001 : Attack on America
Statement of General Peter Pace, USMC Vice Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Before the 107th Congress Senate Armed Services Committee; October 25, 2001

Statement of
General Peter Pace, USMC
Vice Chairman
Joint Chiefs of Staff
Before the 107th Congress
Senate Armed Services Committee
25 October 2001


On behalf of General Myers, I want to thank you for the opportunity to appear before this committee to discuss the important topic of Homeland Security. It is an honor to be here. I should also thank the Congress, and especially the members of this Committee, for your enduring and significant support of America's Armed Forces. Your deep commitment to our great men and women in uniform, who today are waging war against international terrorist organizations, is very much appreciated.

Of course, it was the tragic events of September 11th that led to this hearing. So let me also add, on behalf of General Myers and the Joint Chiefs, that our hearts and prayers go out to the thousands of innocent Americans and other victims who lost their lives or were injured that day, as well as to their families, friends, and colleagues.

September 11th

Six weeks ago the terrorist attacks against the Pentagon and the World Trade Center shocked the world. Today, we who serve in uniform join with the rest of America, and with our friends and allies around the world, in a multinational effort to take down the network of terrorist organizations responsible for these acts. No one should mistake our unified purpose and strength of our resolve. We did not ask for this fight, but we will win it. The dastardly act of terrorism against America will in no way diminish our commitments to our allies, and it will in no way prevent our military from performing its duties and responsibilities to defend the United States' interests around the world.

As President Bush and Secretary Rumsfeld have frequently noted, this is a new type of war - one that will require an unprecedented pooling of all elements of our National power, at all levels of government. It is also a war that will require us to work in close concert with our friends and allies to maximize our effectiveness.

Our adversaries, unable to confront or compete with the United States militarily, continue to spend millions of dollars each year on terrorist organizations that target U.S. citizens, property, and interests. These terrorists are indiscriminate killers who attack where and when their victims are most vulnerable. They seek to find and exploit perceived weaknesses, striking at us with what we call "asymmetric means" to achieve their goals. The September 11th attacks were the most recent example of this strategy. Attacks such as these further reinforce the necessity of improving our ability to protect our homeland and the American people from future attacks.

Homeland Security

Defending the homeland has always been a vital mission for the military. Our traditional national military strategy has been to defend the homeland by engaging threats beyond our nation's shores; however, the September 11th attacks have graphically illustrated the need to do more to meet this threat. We must now focus on improving our levels of security here at home, with appropriate deference to our constitutionally guaranteed freedoms, while simultaneously continuing our strategy of detecting and defeating threats outside our nation's borders. This new emphasis is reflected in the 2001 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) Report, which states: "The highest priority of the U.S. military is to defend the Nation from all enemies." The report also states that "The U.S. will maintain sufficient military forces to protect U.S. domestic population, its territory, and its critical infrastructure..."

Homeland security also involves providing appropriate military assistance to the responsible civilian authorities to mitigate the consequences of such attacks. So we divide Homeland Security into two major subsets, Homeland Defense and Civil Support.

The Homeland Defense piece of Homeland Security is about warfighting missions, with the military clearly in the lead. These missions include the defense of maritime, land, and aero-space approaches to the United States. In the future, this will include defense against ballistic missiles.

Today, your armed forces are conducting many of these missions. For example, we have over 100 military aircraft involved in fighter Combat Air Patrols (CAP) and on strip alert for increased air defense; approximately 18, 000 National Guard personnel are stationed in airports, port facilities, and other critical infrastructure sites reassuring our public, deterring future attacks, and providing temporary increased security capabilities to other lead federal agencies; and finally, the U.S. Coast Guard has established over 90 coastal Security Zones on both the east and west coasts, using 60 cutters and patrol boats.

The Civil Support piece of Homeland Security is where the military provides support to other lead federal agencies to help manage the consequences of a Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) event, assist in disaster relief efforts, and provide some counter-terrorism support. The Department of Defense (DoD) also provides unique capabilities to respond to the effects of chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high explosive weapons of mass destruction, complementing federal, state and local first responder capabilities.

Even before the horrific events of September 11th, we had been exploring organizational improvements to support Homeland Security. For example, on 1 October 1999, we established Joint Task Force-Civil Support (JTF-CS), an organization that is now fully operational under the command of General William Kernan, Commander in Chief, United States Joint Forces Command. This standing JTF currently has a major role in the development of training and doctrine associated with providing support to civilian first-responders for a WMD event. JTF-CS also provides expertise and command and control to those DoD assets deployed in support of civil authorities. Additionally, on 1 November 1998 we created another standing task force to defend the Defense Information Infrastructure against cyber-aggression. Our Task Force-Computer Network Operations currently operates under the command of General Ralph Eberhart, Commander in Chief of the United States Space Command.

In the wake of the attack, we have placed an even greater emphasis on these missions while continuing to examine other steps to more effectively respond to emerging threats. We are also in the process of carefully reviewing our Unified Command Plan (UCP). Currently a number of Combatant Commanders are assigned different roles within our homeland defense mission. Consequently, we are looking at ways of eliminating any seams that may exist between the various organizations and agencies involved in the Homeland Security efforts. We will be reviewing the UCP with an eye toward developing a seamless command and control of all DoD assets ... active, reserve, guard, and civilians ... required to execute our Homeland Security responsibilities. This past July, we established a new Homeland Security Division within the Strategy and Policy Directorate (J5) of the Joint Staff. This new division will serve as the focal point for the development and coordination of the military strategy and policy aspects of Homeland Security. Additionally, we recently established a General Officer Steering Committee to facilitate the coordination of Homeland Security issues.

Of course Homeland Security is not a DoD-only effort. An effective Homeland Security posture requires that multiple federal departments, agencies, state and local governments, and the military all work together as a team. Therefore, anything we do within DoD must be synchronized as part of a comprehensive interagency effort. DoD is currently represented in key Interagency-working groups, identifying and responding to emerging homeland security requirements.

Indeed, an overall Homeland Security strategy of preventing and deterring future attacks, while simultaneously protecting the American people and our critical infrastructure, demands improved communication and sharing of information across the government. It also demands a laser-like focus and unity of effort, and this is where Governor Ridge and his team at the Office of Homeland Security will play such a critical role.


The Chairman, the Joint Chiefs, and I recognize that much work remains to be done. Together, with Secretary White, DoD's new Executive Agent for Homeland Security, we will get the job done. For inspiration we need look no further than the mountain of rubble in New York City or the gaping hole in the Pentagon where so many from our DoD family were suddenly taken from us. We will continue to focus our attention on efforts to protect our homeland, our people, and our national interests.

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