H.R. 2764: WMD Intelligence and Information Sharing Act of 2012

H.R. 2764

WMD Intelligence and Information Sharing Act of 2012

Date
May 30, 2012 (112th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Wednesday, May 30, 2012, the House is scheduled to consider H.R. 2764, the WMD Intelligence and Information Sharing Act of 2012, under a suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority for approval.  The bill was originally introduced on August 1, 2011, by Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-PA) and was referred to the Committee on Homeland Security.  The committee held a mark-up session on May 8, 2012, and ordered the bill to be reported by voice vote. 

Bill Summary

H.R. 2764 would amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to direct the Office of Intelligence and Analysis of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to do the following: (1) support homeland security-focused intelligence analysis of terrorist actors, their claims, and their plans to conduct attacks involving chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear materials against the nation and of global infectious disease, public health, food, agricultural, and veterinary issues; (2) support homeland security-focused risk analysis and risk assessments of such homeland security hazards by providing relevant quantitative and non-quantitative threat information; (3) leverage homeland security intelligence capabilities and structures to enhance prevention, protection, response, and recovery efforts with respect to a chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear attack; and (4) share information and provide tailored analytical support on these threats to state, local, and tribal authorities as well as other national biosecurity and biodefense stakeholders.

The bill would also require the Office to coordinate with other DHS components, the Intelligence Community, and federal, state, local, and tribal authorities where appropriate and enable such entities to provide recommendations on optimal information sharing mechanisms and on how they can provide information to DHS.

Additionally, the bill would direct the Secretary of DHS to report annually to Congress on the following: (1) intelligence and information sharing activities to counter the threat from weapons of mass destruction, and (2) DHS's activities in accordance with relevant intelligence strategies.

Lastly, the bill would require the Secretary to ensure that homeland security information analyzed by DHS concerning terrorist threats is provided to state, local, and private entities and the public.

Background

According to H. Rept. 112-466, “The Congressionally-mandated Commission on the Prevention of WMD Proliferation and Terrorism found insufficiencies in the Intelligence Community's ability to meet the needs of the highly technical nature of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) collection and analysis. The bioweapons threat in particular, the Commissioners argued in their report ‘World at Risk,’ must remain among the highest national intelligence priorities. The Department of Homeland Security, as a member of the Intelligence Community, contributes to this goal. H.R. 2764, therefore, codifies and provides Congressional direction toward WMD intelligence activities at the Department of Homeland Security to ensure that vital WMD intelligence analysis and information sharing conducted within the Office and Intelligence and Analysis and elsewhere in the Department are retained, enhanced, coordinated with other agencies, and shared with appropriate stakeholders.”

Cost

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that implementing H.R. 2764 would have no significant cost to the federal government. Enacting the legislation would not affect direct spending or revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.  CBO stated, “The requirements of H.R. 2764 are similar to the ongoing activities of OIA and other offices within the department, therefore, CBO [implementing] the bill would not significantly affect spending by DHS.”