June 23, 2003 —
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- The House Select Committee on Homeland Security recently visited U.S. Northern Command to learn how the command supports our nation’s effort to guard the homeland.
Committee members received one of the first congressional tours and briefings at USNORTHCOM, the nation’s newest unified command that is expressly focused on homeland defense.
During the briefings, the committee was given an overview of USNORTHCOM’s mission responsibilities, command and control processes and the authorities for conducting military operations within the continental United States. They also discussed the legal and policy boundaries of employing military forces in domestic events.
The House Select Committee on Homeland Security is chartered to coordinate the efforts between Congress and the federal agencies tasked with protecting our homeland from terrorist attacks. The Committee’s membership was announced in Feb. 03.
This is the first major trip for the committee. During their trip, they also visited the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, June 21, and held a field hearing on Protecting Our Commerce: Enhancing the Security of Americas Ports in Los Angeles. They also met with Orange County First Responders the following day.
According to the committee’s web site, (http://www.hsc.house.gov/index.cfm), "with the enactment of the historic legislation creating the Department of Homeland Security, the immediate focus of the Select Committee will be to work with the President to implement the new law. The Select Committee’s oversight will be devoted to getting the new Department up and running as quickly and efficiently as possible.
The Committee has exclusive legislative jurisdiction over all matters relating to the Homeland Security Act and will be a crucial influence in shaping America’s security future."
Members attending the briefings included Rep. Christopher Cox (R-Calif.), Chairman of the Committee; Delegate Donna M.C. Christensen (D-U.S. Virgin Islands); Rep. Jennifer Dunn (R-Wash.); Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.); Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-Texas);and Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.).
Rep. Joel Hefley (R-Colo.) attended as a guest of the Committee.