House of Representatives votes to authorize DHS Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction office
On September 13, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed by a voice vote the Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Act of 2018 (H.R. 6198), the Departmetn of Homeland Security announced.
Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen established the DHS Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction (CWMD) Office in December 2017 in one of the most significant reorganizations of the Department in a decade. If enacted into law, this legislation would permanently establish the office and grant it new authorities to protect the American people against evolving WMD threats. The CWMD Office is currently led by Assistant Secretary James F. McDonnell, who was appointed by President Trump in May 2018.
“The United States faces rising danger from terrorist groups and rogue nation states who could use weapons of mass destruction to harm Americans,” said Secretary Nielsen. “Although DHS has broad authorities to guard against radiological and nuclear dangers, we don’t have the authorities we need to do the same against biological and chemical threats. We must stay a step ahead of our enemies, and this legislation would help us do that. I applaud the House Homeland Security Committee for their leadership in developing this legislation—especially Chairman Michael McCaul and Rep. Dan Donovan—and all House members who voted to enhance our defenses against WMD threats. I now urge the Senate to do the same—to pass this legislation and send it to the President’s desk for signature.”