Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen released the following statement Tuesday after the U.S. Senate passed the Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Act of 2018 (H.R. 7213). The House unanimously passed this bill earlier this week. This legislation permanently establishes the Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction (CWMD) Office within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), granting it needed authorities to protect the American people against evolving WMD threats.
“I applaud today’s congressional action, which will provide DHS with the authorities needed to guard against biological and chemical threats, and which will build on our already broad authorities to protect against radiological and nuclear dangers. The United States faces rising danger from terrorist groups and rogue nation states which could use weapons of mass destruction to harm Americans. There is no question that such an attack could have a devastating effect on our country. This legislation will keep us a step ahead of our enemies, and I am grateful Congress has voted to send it to President Trump’s desk. I look forward to working with Congress and the Administration to deploy these new authorities.
“This has been a milestone year. DHS has worked closely with Congress to ensure we can effectively combat emerging and persistent threats. Among other measures, we have established the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency to defend our nation on the digital battlefield. We have secured authorities to counter the threat of nefarious drones. And now we have a law that will allow us to better protect Americans from chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear weapons. There are other areas where we continue to seek Congressional assistance, but I am grateful for the bipartisan support that has provided us with authorities we need to secure our great nation.”
Secretary Kirstjen M. 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. The CWMD Office is led by Assistant Secretary James F. McDonnell, who was appointed by President Trump in May 2018.