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house Bill H.R. 1590

Should There be a National Training Exercise Aimed at Stopping the Travel of Terrorists & Foreign Fighters?

Argument in favor

Homeland Security should develop a training exercise to determine how well prepared our national security infrastructure is to respond to the threat posed by the travel of terrorists and foreign fights.

Ian's Opinion
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04/01/2019
Yes, of course. Moreover, I believe that the DHS is, and has been, unprepared. We need better Human Intelligence, and less gadgets that are pushed onto tax payers by all the vendors who want a government contract. Also, interoperability among agencies at the local, state and federal level continues to be an obstacle to efficient and effective protection, prevention, response and mitigation efforts. It’s time for the National Incident Management System to get an overhaul. Respectfully submitted, 9/11 Responder, Katrina Responder, and Veteran of four combat tours (Iraq&Afghanistan)
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Raymond 's Opinion
···
04/02/2019
@Ken. Sir you are so BLINDED BY HATE you are a very very sorry sad individual. Most people actually understand what is at stake in America, the people and the leftist media although hate Trump so very very much that the truth is never the issue for them. It’s all about hating Trump. So I say go for yourself to the border. Look for yourself. Trump asked for more money to house and take care of so many people invading our sovereign borders. But the hate group of Democrats in Congress voted it down. So blame yourselves for the deplorable conditions.
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Dave's Opinion
···
04/02/2019
We should make life as tough as we can for those who seek to harm us.
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Argument opposed

There's no need for agencies to carry out a nationwide training exercise aimed at stopping the travel of terrorists and foreign fighters to increase their preparedness.

Kodiwodi's Opinion
···
04/01/2019
It seems to me that this is their job and we don’t need another bill for them to do their jobs. Now if you wish to discuss them having more training in identifying Domestic terrorists, well they don’t seem to be so hot at that...
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Ken's Opinion
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04/01/2019
Anything that involves Trump administration would only be to benefit himself. Sooner congress realizes that the better.
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Jann's Opinion
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04/01/2019
We require preparedness and in view of the overreach of ICE and our highly militarized police I am not sure this is the direction to take. Sounds like we are headed into a police state and setting us up for a secured dictatorship. Focusing on health care, education, better jobs, housing and infrastructure would be a better Insurance against terrorism that creating more paranoia.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
  • The house Passed April 1st, 2019
    Roll Call Vote 394 Yea / 7 Nay
      house Committees
      Committee on Homeland Security
    IntroducedMarch 7th, 2019

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What is House Bill H.R. 1590?

This bill — the Terrorist and Foreign Fighter Travel Exercise Act — would require the Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) to plan and conduct a preparedness exercise to evaluate how prepared the U.S. security apparatus is to detect and prevent terrorist and foreign fighter travel. After the exercise is conducted, the DHS would have to submit a report detailing vulnerabilities in U.S. security with respect to terrorism. The report would include recommendations for what legislative actions should be taken to remove the vulnerabilities.

The DHS’s exercise would be required to include:

  • A scenario where a U.S. citizen is travelling to provide support to a terrorist group in another country;
  • A scenario where either a U.S. citizen or a foreign national enters the U.S. to launch a terrorist attack; and
  • Appropriate coordination with local, state, federal, and foreign agencies.

The bill also amends previous legislation to require that other exercises include strategies or scenarios involving terrorist threats. These other exercises and protocols include:

  • The national preparedness goal;
  • The National Incident Management System; and
  • The National Response Plan.

Impact

People trying to launch a terrorist attack on the U.S. or help a foreign terrorist group; local, state, and federal agencies partaking in the exercise; and DHS.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 1590

Last Congress, the CBO estimated that implementing this bill wouldn't entail any significant expenses.

More Information

In Depth: Rep. Michael Guest (R-MS) reintroduced this bill from the 115th Congress to ensure U.S. law enforcement agencies are able to conduct swift and precise counterterrorism activities

“In order to protect our nation from terrorism, our law enforcement agencies must be able to conduct swift and precise counteraction to these activities. On average, the Department of Homeland Security stops 10 known or suspected terrorists per day who are attempting to enter the United States. Our nation is kept safe from these threats due to the advanced training of our federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement officers. The Terrorist and Foreign Fighter Travel Exercise Act will add to the training and coordination received by these law enforcement agencies in preparation of terrorist activity response. President Trump and other White House officials have developed effective guiding principles to combat terrorist travel and keep Americans safe. This bill will put these principles into practice by preparing our men and women in uniform to respond to domestic and foreign threats to our nation,” Guest said. “Our hope is that the exercise called for in this bill will reveal any potential gaps in our security. We will then be able to improve our national security strategies to combat terrorism and build a stronger defense system for the American people.”

When she introduced this bill in the 114th Congress, then-Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ), who also sponsored this bill in the 115th Congress, explained the need for this legislation in a press release:

“The last time the federal government actually tested our defenses against the threat of terrorists entering our country was seven years ago. Since then, the threat environment has changed dramatically. Nearly 30,000 people from over 100 countries have traveled to conflict zones in Syria and Iraq since 2011, including over 4,500 Westerners and 250 Americans. There are ISIS-related investigations happening in all 50 states. We need to know our systems in place can keep Americans safe, and where there are vulnerabilities, we need to fix them immediately.”

There are four Republican cosponsors of this bill in the current session of Congress. Last Congress, this bill passed the House by a voice vote with the support of 12 cosponsors in the House, including nine Republicans and three Democrats. However, it didn't receive a Senate vote.


Of Note: The last time the government led a large scale terrorism preparedness exercise was in October 2007. The exercise simulated a situation in which terrorists released radiation in Portland, Oregon; Phoenix, Arizona; and Guam. Over 15,000 people from different levels of governmental and non-governmental organizations participated in the response.

In a 2015 report, the House Homeland Security Committee said: 

"Today we are witnessing the largest global convergence of jihadists in history, as individuals from more than 100 countries have migrated to the conflict zone in Syria and Iraq since 2011. Some initially flew to the region to join opposition groups seeking to oust Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, but most are now joining the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), inspired to become a part of the group's 'caliphate' and to expand its repressive society. Over 25,000 foreign fighters have traveled to the battlefield to enlist with Islamist terrorist groups, including at least 4,500 Westerners. More than 250 individuals from the United States have also joined or attempted to fight with extremists in the conflict zone. These fighters pose a serious threat to the United States and its allies. Armed with combat experience and extremist connections, many of them are only a plane-flight away from our shores. Even if they do not return home to plot attacks, foreign fighters have taken the lead in recruiting a new generation of terrorists and are seeking to radicalize Westerners online to spread terror back home."

In a June 2018 report, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) concurred with the House report, noting that "Foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) have, over the past few years, constituted one of the major threats to international peace and security." The UN report notes that while individuals traveling to Iraq and Syria to join ISIL (Da'esh), the Al-Nusrah Front, and other Al-Qaida cells are authorities' foremost concern, it notes that foreign terrorist fights are broadly defined as all "individuals who travel to a State other than their States of residence or nationality for the purpose of the perpetration, planning, or preparation of, or participation in, terrorist acts or the providing or receiving of terrorist training.”

This bill aligns with Goal 1 of the White House's National Strategy to Combat Terrorist Travel: "Constrain and deter terrorist travel planning, facilitation, and mobilization through support of Federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement, private sector partners, and communities."

On January 27, 2017, President Donald Trump issued Executive Order 13769 (Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States) — often referred to as the "Muslim ban" or the "travel ban" — which lowered the number of refugees to the admitted to the U.S., suspended the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days, suspended Syrian refugees' entry into the U.S. indefinitely, and banned foreign nations from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen from entering the U.S. (hence the "Muslim ban" moniker).


Media:

Summary by Chris Conrad

(Photo Credit: Flickr user soldiermediacenter)

AKA

Terrorist and Foreign Fighter Travel Exercise Act of 2019

Official Title

To require an exercise related to terrorist and foreign fighter travel, and for other purposes.

    Yes, of course. Moreover, I believe that the DHS is, and has been, unprepared. We need better Human Intelligence, and less gadgets that are pushed onto tax payers by all the vendors who want a government contract. Also, interoperability among agencies at the local, state and federal level continues to be an obstacle to efficient and effective protection, prevention, response and mitigation efforts. It’s time for the National Incident Management System to get an overhaul. Respectfully submitted, 9/11 Responder, Katrina Responder, and Veteran of four combat tours (Iraq&Afghanistan)
    Like (25)
    Follow
    Share
    It seems to me that this is their job and we don’t need another bill for them to do their jobs. Now if you wish to discuss them having more training in identifying Domestic terrorists, well they don’t seem to be so hot at that...
    Like (46)
    Follow
    Share
    Anything that involves Trump administration would only be to benefit himself. Sooner congress realizes that the better.
    Like (35)
    Follow
    Share
    We require preparedness and in view of the overreach of ICE and our highly militarized police I am not sure this is the direction to take. Sounds like we are headed into a police state and setting us up for a secured dictatorship. Focusing on health care, education, better jobs, housing and infrastructure would be a better Insurance against terrorism that creating more paranoia.
    Like (22)
    Follow
    Share
    @Ken. Sir you are so BLINDED BY HATE you are a very very sorry sad individual. Most people actually understand what is at stake in America, the people and the leftist media although hate Trump so very very much that the truth is never the issue for them. It’s all about hating Trump. So I say go for yourself to the border. Look for yourself. Trump asked for more money to house and take care of so many people invading our sovereign borders. But the hate group of Democrats in Congress voted it down. So blame yourselves for the deplorable conditions.
    Like (18)
    Follow
    Share
    We should make life as tough as we can for those who seek to harm us.
    Like (15)
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    It seems like our members of Congress are just proposing anything in order to pretend that they’re actually doing something productive. The DHS should already be dealing with these kinds of situations in real life. They don’t need a training exercise.
    Like (9)
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    This is stupid. First, isn’t this what DHS is for and should be doing everyday? With 22 trillion in debts is this a good way to spend money? This sounds like just another way to waste taxpayers money and the time of public servants.
    Like (8)
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    It seems to me that this is their job and we don’t need another bill for them to do their jobs. Now if you wish to discuss them having more training in identifying Domestic terrorists, well they don’t seem to be so hot at that...
    Like (7)
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    Our greatest terrorist threat is from the far right neo Nazis. They are here and seem to be emboldened by the Trump administrations nationalist rhetoric. They have infiltrated our local government, police and military. Our greatest threat to democracy is acting in plain sight and encouraged by the White House.
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    Make sure you restrict the movements of domestic terrorists too. The KKK is a terror group.
    Like (4)
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    I do not believe this administration has the ability to determine what is and is not a threat to our National Security. Learn to be responsible for what you say and do. Certainly, if a group of 6 year old Daisies can understand this concept, then seasoned professionals SHOULD BE able to grasp the concept.
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    This is to demonize foreigners and put fear in people and cause abusers to abuse the weak and defenseless.
    Like (4)
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    Pass the House Bill H.R. 1590..... Now and Not Later I’m all for This bill — the Terrorist and Foreign Fighter Travel Exercise Act — which would require the Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) to plan and conduct a preparedness exercise to evaluate how prepared the U.S. security apparatus is to detect and prevent terrorist and foreign fighter travel. After the exercise is conducted, the DHS would have to submit a report detailing vulnerabilities in U.S. security with respect to terrorism. The report would include recommendations for what legislative actions should be taken to remove the vulnerabilities. SneakyPete. 👍🏻👍🏻HR-1590👍🏻👍🏻. 4*1*19
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    "Today, America would be outraged if U.N. troops entered Los Angeles to restore order [referring to the 1991 LA Riot]. Tomorrow they will be grateful! This is especially true if they were told that there were an outside threat from beyond [i.e., an "extraterrestrial" invasion], whether real or promulgated, that threatened our very existence. It is then that all peoples of the world will plead to deliver them from this evil. The one thing every man fears is the unknown. When presented with this scenario, individual rights will be willingly relinquished for the guarantee of their well-being granted to them by the World Government." Dr. Henry Kissinger, Bilderberger Conference, Evians, France, 1991 I tried to post this earlier but hit the WRONG button. Take a deep breath and ask yourself when did this all become an EMERGENCY and why. We saw a DECREASE in illegal immigration so what changed? What changed were the people VOTED into office. Trump and his gang have attacked our ALLIES and befriended the world’s DICTATORS. He has openly attacked EVERY program that helps Americans and the poor countries we have helped in the past. Dear God, PLEASE take a few hours to find out the REAL REASONS these people are fleeing their countries. Countries like Honduras may have always been POOR but in many ways, they live a better life than most. ONE, JUST ONE American CORPORATION managed to destroy an entire countries economy. America has done this to many THIRD WORLD COUNTRIES. We TALK about RESPONSIBILITY but refuse to accept our part in all this. We have just FIVE PERCENT of the world’s population but use about 30% of its resources and the poor people in POOR countries are where we STEAL those resources from. WHAT WOULD YOU DO if YOU lived in these countries? Don't let them control you with FEAR.
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    This could very easily be a call to marshal law for the sake of tyranny. Too much of a slippery slope and I care more about freedom and national security than just about any other topic these days.
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    They already know what they need to do, stop wasting tax payer money on nonsense do nothing legislation. This is nothing but an excuse to line someone’s pockets with another worthless program
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    Passing Medicare4all should be all you’re concerned with now.
    Like (3)
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    Training is how we continue to maintain professionalism. There are terrorists who wish to kill us and destroy the freedoms we enjoy in this country of course we need training
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    No. This is a large scale practice operation, with people from the federal, state, and local governments. First, who is going to pay for this? Second, are the people participating going to take a vacation so they can play in war games. If not, then there is a cost for running these scenarios. Provide a cost and maybe my point of view may change. We deserve to know how every penny of our hard earned money is being used.
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