of the Treasury
Bureau of Alcohol,
Tobacco and Firearms
Statement of Bradley A. Buckles
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms
Presentation before the
on Treasury and General Government
Thank you Mr.
Chairman, Senator Dorgan, and members of the Subcommittee. I welcome this
opportunity to appear before the Subcommittee and present to you ATF’s
goals for fiscal year 2001 and to report on the results of your previous
investments in ATF.
I am pleased to introduce
Mr. Patrick D. Hynes the newly appointed Deputy Director of ATF. Mr. Hynes
brings with him 30 years of Federal law enforcement experience, 28 years
as a law enforcement officer with ATF.
Also with me today
are my other executive staff members:
Mr. William Earle,
Assistant Director for Management and Chief Financial Officer; Mr. Andrew
Vita, Assistant Director for Field Operations; and Mr. Jimmy Wooten, Assistant
Director for Firearms, Explosives and Arson; Mr. Arthur Libertucci, Assistant
Director for Alcohol and Tobacco; Mr. John Manfreda, Chief Counsel; Ms.
Gale Rossides, Assistant Director for Training and Professional Development;
Mr. Patrick Schambach, Assistant Director for Science and Technology and
Chief Information Officer; Mr. David Benton, Assistant Director for Liaison
and Public Information; Mr. Richard Hankinson, Assistant Director for
Inspections; Mr. Lewis Raden, Executive Assistant for Legislative Affairs;
Ms. Toby Bishop, Executive Assistant for Equal Opportunity; and Mr. Wayne
Miller, Chief, Strategic Planning Office.
While I have the privilege
of recently being appointed ATF’s fifth Director, I would like to express
my appreciation to my predecessor, John Magaw, for working with this committee
toward the common goal of strengthening ATF’s infrastructure, which was
essential for ATF to continue to function as a highly professional and
effective law enforcement organization. In my 26 years of service to the
Bureau, I have had the opportunity to witness
our history, participate in the formulation of our strategic vision and
assist in moving the Bureau forward into a new century.
I thank the committee
for their continued support for a new headquarters facility to safely
house ATF’s employees. The all too real threat to their safety was once
again uncovered this past year when an individual chose to mail three
explosive devices to two ATF facilities and the White House. Fortunately,
one of the devices prematurely detonated inside a mail trailer and the
remaining devices were safely disarmed upon discovery. The individual
responsible for these acts was apprehended by ATF and local authorities,
pled guilty, and has been sentenced to life plus 270 years incarceration.
I would also like
to thank the committee for the support provided to my predecessor over
the last several fiscal years. The foresight of this committee and the
strategic investments you have provided have allowed the Bureau to strengthen
its infrastructure to adequately support all program activities. Through
calculated investments in investigative equipment, training and information
technology, this committee sought to revitalize and restore ATF to a balanced
and stable position. I am pleased to report to you that your investments
have been well and prudently spent. For the fifth consecutive year, the
Office of the Inspector General’s independent contractor (PricewaterhouseCoopers
LLP) has issued ATF its highest audit opinion of "unqualified,"
with no material weaknesses. A copy of our Accountability Report will
be delivered to each of your offices in the next few weeks.
Given the committee’s
long investments in ATF, there are accompanying expectations. Expectations
that a well-equipped, well-trained, and well-disciplined organization
will be more effective. Expectations that a fundamentally sound organization
with proven results is capable of more. Expectations that, having restored
the "core" of an organization, you have positioned that same
organization to assume more and varied duties. This committee has a right
to expect a return. As a result of your investments, ATF is positioned
As ATF’s Director,
I am pleased to present to you a requested level of resources that builds
upon the foundation you have firmly established. This level of resources
focuses on the personnel and technology needed to address the varied and
critically important responsibilities that have increased over the past
decade. In keeping with your guidance, we have made our house sound. An
integral component of the growth will be recruitment of personnel to accommodate
the program expansions you have entrusted to us. The recruitment of additional
personnel in fiscal year 2000 and fiscal year 2001 will help ensure the
achievement of our shared vision of working for a sound and safe America
through innovation and partnership.
YEAR 2001 BUDGET REQUEST
ATF’s fiscal year
2001 Salary and Expense (S&E) request justifies $755,903,000 in direct
budget authority and 4,671 full-time equivalent (FTE). Our request accommodates
the realignment of the Violent Crime Reduction Trust Fund (VCRTF) programs
into our S&E appropriation base and represents an increase of $151,330,000,
or 25% over the total fiscal year 2000 enacted level of $604,573,000.
The majority of this
increase is for expansion of proven investigative and regulatory strategies
designed to maximize effective enforcement of existing laws and regulations.
An additional $25,834,000 is required for mandatory payroll costs and
ATF has a unique combination
of law enforcement and regulatory responsibilities. As Director, I will
continue to focus on our core mission and vision of "Working for
a Sound and Safer America...Through Innovation and Partnership."
ATF has developed sound programmatic initiatives, based on existing laws
and regulations, to respond to crime and violent acts that threaten public
safety and instill fear in all Americans. Our vision helps us chart the
course to best serve the public and achieve new levels of effectiveness
and teamwork. I would now like to highlight some of the programs that
support our efforts on behalf of the American public.
Violence Reduction Strategy (IVRS)
ATF is requesting
$41,322,000 and 193 FTE for expansion of the Integrated Violence Reduction
Strategy (IVRS) and will focus on several core components of firearms
enforcement aimed at reducing the illegal possession and use of firearms.
IVRS is a national
enforcement strategy that integrates several core concepts which are adapted
and applied in varying formulas to address the specific law enforcement
needs of a community. For example, Project Exile in Richmond, Virginia,
and Project Ceasefire in Boston, Massachusetts, are two different, yet
equally successful examples of IVRS. The core elements of IVRS include
reducing the illegal supply of firearms to criminals; specific enforcement
projects directed at criminals who use and possess firearms; and the identification
and prosecution of prohibited persons who attempt to acquire firearms.
All components of IVRS use state-of-the-art information processing to
assist ATF and our State, local and Federal law enforcement partners in
identifying those engaged in the criminal misuse and illegal acquisition
of firearms. ATF is committed to working with law enforcement agencies
and prosecutors to ensure the continued success of IVRS. Our experience
in the fight against armed violence has demonstrated that an integrated
approach is the right approach. Prevention, intervention and prosecution
cannot succeed as segregated strategies. They must be combined to meet
the challenge of effectively in reducing the criminal use of firearms
Project EXILE and
Project Ceasefire have been effective programs for addressing firearms
violence in certain cities. However, the requirements and resources of
each locality need to be evaluated individually. One of the purposes of
the Integrated Violence Reduction Strategy is to allow U.S. Attorneys
and ATF managers to collectively identify their unique crime problems
and formulate appropriate actions to address them. Through the Violent
Crime Coordinator, Armed Violent Criminal Apprehension (formerly Achilles)
Programs, as well as through the Firearms Trafficking Program, ATF investigates
and facilitates the prosecution of firearms violators. These programs
are components of the Integrated Violence Reduction Strategy.
In fiscal year 2000,
the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) National Instant Criminal
Background Check System (NICS) is projecting that over 86,000 firearms
purchase denials will be forwarded for ATF to evaluate and act upon. With
the fiscal year 2001 budget request, ATF will devote additional field
resources to investigate prohibited persons who attempt to purchase firearms,
as well as conduct more in-depth reviews of licensee records to ensure
that they are conforming to the requirements of the Brady Act. To date,
ATF has made more than 13,000 investigative referrals for field review
on potential criminal violations involving domestic violence offenses
or those who are subject to a restraining order. Additionally, more than
7,000 potential criminal violations involving violent felons or serious
drug offenders have been referred to the field for investigation.
ATF's objective is
to maximize voluntary compliance in the firearms industry through education,
partnerships, and a compliance inspection program that uses ATF’s inspection
resources to focus on licensees having multiple crime gun traces and/or
other indicators of potential firearms trafficking. The National Licensing
Center processes and issues all ATF firearm licenses. Under ATF's current
application program, all original applications are sent to the field offices
for investigation prior to issuance. Renewal applications are sent to
the field offices upon request.
Crime Gun Interdiction Initiative (YCGII)
In fiscal year 2001,
we are requesting $19,078,000 and 113 FTE for expansion of the YCGII Program.
This very successful program complements IVRS by using a multi-faceted
approach to break the chain of illegal gun supply to youths and juveniles
and reduce youth violence. ATF will continue to assist comprehensive crime
gun tracing in participating cities, provide rapid high volume crime gun
tracing and crime gun market analysis through the National Tracing Center
(NTC), and train ATF, State, and local law enforcement. ATF is proposing
to expand this program to an additional 12 cities in fiscal year 2001,
bringing the total of YCGII cities to 50. This reinforces the Administration’s
commitment to expand to 75 cities within four years.
Crime Gun Tracing
ATF is requesting
$9,990,000 and 10 FTE for Comprehensive Crime Gun Tracing that will provide
nationwide comprehensive tracing capability as well as faster trace results.
The National Tracing Center (NTC) provides State and local agencies with
information on crime guns to support its law enforcement efforts. The
NTC provides valuable investigative leads to assist in solving crimes
committed with firearms, and identifies those persons responsible for
supplying crime guns to criminals. The NTC maintains the record of all
crime guns traced by ATF, firearms stolen from firearms dealers, and records
of multiple sales of handguns. The Firearms Tracing System (FTS) provides
data on firearms which is used by ATF investigators to identify illegal
firearms trafficking. The funds requested in the fiscal year 2001 budget
will assist 250 State and local agencies in building tracing capability,
and will allow ATF to complete traces and respond to requests more rapidly,
making information available in real time for criminal investigations.
The NTC is also the
national repository for Out of Business Records maintained on approximately
400,000,000 frames of microfilm. These records are retrievable by the
Federal Firearms Dealer Identification Number. An effort has commenced
to index the firearms by serial number to enhance the retrieval process.
The NTC plans to digitally image the out of business records and use an
automated process to index the serial numbers. Currently 10% of traces
are successfully completed through out of business records and 25% of
all traces utilize these records.
ATF is also requesting
$23,361,000 and 10 FTE for Expanded Ballistics Identification. This national
system will allow crimes committed with the same firearm to be connected
through ballistics imaging. This information will be joined nationally
through the Department of Justice’s Criminal Justice Information System,
Wide Area Network. On December 2, 1999, ATF and the FBI executed a memorandum
of understanding (MOU) that will take maximum advantage of each agency’s
strengths and resources. The MOU established a single, jointly-operated,
ballistics identification program in which ATF will manage the field deployment
of ballistics imaging equipment supported by the FBI’s management of interagency
networking operations. Under the MOU, FBI’s DRUGFIRE units will be replaced
with ATF’s IBIS or next generation "unified systems" developed
from the best features of both IBIS and DRUGFIRE.
ATF is also seeking
$5,521,000 and 44 FTE to implement the second phase of the Taxpayer Relief
Act of 1997, (Tobacco Compliance law). Increased revenue will be derived
from the additional taxes imposed on tobacco products at the higher tax
rates. As enacted, this law requires two floor stocks tax increases; one
that took effect January 1, 2000, and the second, which is effective January
1, 2002. The enacted legislation also requires
a new permit system for importers of tobacco products.
The funding requested
in fiscal year 2001 would provide the necessary resources to implement
the legislation as enacted.
ATF is also seeking
$6,026,000 for above standard costs vital to the completion, move in,
operation, and maintenance of our new National Laboratory facility. The
new facility will include a replacement laboratory building for the existing
National Laboratory. The new National Laboratory’s Alcohol and Tobacco
Laboratory will support ATF’s industry regulation and product taxation
functions. The Forensic Science Laboratory will provide evidentiary analysis
for ATF criminal investigations as well as for other State, local and
Federal law enforcement agencies. The new Fire Research Laboratory is
the only fire research and forensic laboratory in the world dedicated
to criminal investigations. The Fire Research Laboratory will dramatically
expand ATF’s ability to support fire investigators on specific cases as
well as improve fire science knowledge as it relates to fire investigations.
Clearly, a budget
request that seeks to add 488 FTE and a 25% increase in funding in a single
year is ambitious, and perhaps to some, even presumptuous. It is however,
I believe, the logical and expected outcome of this committee’s investments
in ATF, and this committee’s efforts to position ATF to grow to meet the
mandates put before us.
Before I ask this
committee to make this additional investment in ATF, it is my duty and
responsibility to demonstrate to you that your prior investments have
in fact yielded the expected outcomes.
YEAR 1999 ATF ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Year after year,
ATF works to make America a safer place for its citizens by fighting violent
crime. ATF has been entrusted with the enforcement of the Federal firearms
and explosives laws, as well as the regulation of legal commerce in the
commodities produced by these industries. This dual duty places ATF at
the forefront of efforts to reduce violent crime through both regulatory
and enforcement initiatives.
As a result of the
activities listed below, ATF referred 5,131 criminal cases recommending
6,804 defendants for prosecution in fiscal year 1999. This level of activity
represents an increase of 1,041 additional criminal cases having been
referred for prosecution over fiscal year 1998 levels. Fiscal year 1999
is the second consecutive year that the number of cases ATF has referred
for prosecution has increased. In fiscal year 1999, the increase was 25%
over the preceding year. Over this same time period, ATF special agent
staffing only increased by six percent.
the past five years, ATF has expanded its illegal market disruption activity,
particularly as it relates to guns being funneled to juveniles and youths,
while remaining focused on serious violent offenders wherever State laws
or policies are not as effective as the Federal alternative. By deterring
and incarcerating recidivists and active shooters while also reducing
the illegal supply of firearms, the Bureau can have the greatest impact
on reducing violent crime.
Between November 30,
1998, (the effective date of the National Instant Criminal Background
Check System) and February 2, 2000, ATF has received over 104,000 reports
of denied firearms purchase applications from the FBI’s NICS unit regarding
persons identified as prohibited from firearms possession. Nearly 25,000
of those denials have resulted in referrals to ATF field offices for further
investigation. As a result of NICS referrals, ATF has made 100 arrests
and submitted 437 case reports charging 465 defendants with violations
of the Federal firearms laws. Over 14,000 referrals are under evaluation
for possible investigation.
In an additional 4,976
instances, firearms were delivered to persons identified by the FBI after
the three-day waiting period as prohibited from possession. In each of
these 4,976 cases, ATF conducted an immediate investigation to determine
if, in fact, the individual receiving the firearm was legally prohibited
from such receipt and possession. Where it has been determined that an
individual is legally prohibited from possession, immediate actions have
been undertaken to secure the firearm from the individual and initiate
prosecution where warranted.
ATF published regulations
implementing the permanent provisions of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention
Act by requiring entities licensed as Federal firearms importers, manufacturers,
and dealers, with some exceptions, to contact the NICS before transferring
any firearm to an unlicensed individual.
To date, ATF has made
more than 13,000 investigative referrals to our field offices on potential
violations of domestic violence offenses or of persons who are subject
to a restraining order. Additionally, more than 7,000 potential criminal
violations involving either violent felons or serious drug offenders have
been referred to the field.
of the Commerce in Firearms
ATF's objective is
to maximize voluntary compliance in the firearms industry through education,
partnerships, and a compliance inspection program that focuses on licensees
with trace indicators of potential firearms trafficking. The National
Licensing Center processes and issues all ATF firearm licenses. Under
ATF's current application program, all original applications are sent
to the field offices prior to issuance.
As of February 1,
2000, there are 104,070 Federal firearms licensees in this Nation, a substantial
reduction from the nearly 288,000 licensees authorized to conduct commerce
in firearms prior to the passage of the Brady Law. In an effort to ensure
that firearms industry members fully understand the regulatory requirements
of maintaining their license, we conducted 155 seminars for licensees
in fiscal year 1999. ATF also inspected 11,053 licensees, resulting in
the detection of 3,860 violations of regulations, and 2,426 referrals
to ATF Special Agents and other Federal, State, and local law enforcement
agencies for the investigation of possible criminal conduct.
ATF’s National Firearms
Act Branch maintains the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record
(NFRTR), which is the central registry of NFA firearms, such as machineguns,
short-barreled rifles, shotguns, silencers, and destructive devices. In
fiscal year 1999, the NFA Branch processed 306,515 registrations of NFA
firearms. ATF searches the NFRTR in support of criminal investigations
and regulatory enforcement inspections. The NFA Branch is in the process
of imaging and indexing all NFA records back to 1934 to afford ATF the
highest possible accuracy of the NFRTR.
Our Firearms and Explosives
Imports Branch (FEIB) is responsible for processing all applications for
permits to import firearms, ammunition, and other defense articles into
the United States, and for maintaining the registry of commercial importers
of such articles. In fiscal year 1999, FEIB received 12,776 import permit
applications, and 300 registration applications.
With the licensee
population over 100,000, it is not currently practical to perform a regular
cycle of inspections of the entire licensee population. Fortunately, the
majority of dealers rarely have their guns end up at a crime scene, and
only a small percentage of the population is involved in criminal activity.
It is therefore logical to select for inspection those dealers most likely
to be a source of crime guns – intentionally or not.
In October 1998, ATF
implemented a "focused" inspection policy, which requires field
division personnel to select Federal firearms licensees (FFLs) for inspection
based on information developed by the Crime Gun Analysis Branch of the
NTC. This valuable information provides indicators of potential firearms
trafficking associated with particular FFLs. These include such things
as the number of crime guns traced to an FFL in a 1-year timeframe, time
to crime, number of firearms reported stolen, and number of unsuccessful
traces associated with a particular FFL. ATF then selects FFLs for inspection
who have a high rate of the indicators associated with their businesses.
In order to achieve our goal of reducing violent crime by denying criminals
access to firearms, ATF needs to focus its limited inspector resources
toward inspecting these FFLs.
ATF published a final
rule in the Federal Register to amend regulations relating to the Federal
excise tax imposed on manufacturers of firearms and ammunition to clarify
which parts and accessories are to be included in the sale price when
calculating the tax on firearms.
ATF published in the
Federal Register a notice proposing to amend the regulations to prescribe
minimum height and depth requirements for identifying marks placed on
firearms by licensed importers and licensed manufacturers. If adopted,
the regulations will facilitate ATF's ability to trace the origins of
firearms used in crime.
In fiscal year 1999,
nearly 168,000 projectiles and casings were entered into the IBIS data
bases nationwide (an 81% increase over 1998) resulting in 1,150 matches
of ballistic evidence between multiple crime scenes (a 56% increase over
1998.) This technology has cut the process of comparing and evaluating
ballistic evidence from days to minutes and has provided criminal investigative
leads which were previously unavailable to the law enforcement community.
ATF and the FBI entered into an agreement in May 1997 that created the
National Integrated Ballistics Information Network (NIBIN) Board. The
Board’s goal is to unify Federal efforts to deploy ballistics technology.
The NIBIN Board determined that the best path to creating a unified national
ballistics network would be to use a single ballistics imaging system.
The NIBIN Board facilitated the execution of a memorandum of understanding
(MOU) between ATF and the FBI regarding the NIBIN Program. Under the terms
of the MOU, ATF will assume responsibility for crime gun operations. These
include hardware and software development, installation, and maintenance;
image database management; training; quality assurance; and user protocols.
The FBI will assume responsibility for networking operations and the development
and deployment of ancillary databases for firearms examiners.
In an effort to merge
the programs and allow for the seamless exchange of information, a decision
was made to adopt the single IBIS technology; therefore, ATF and the FBI
executed the MOU spelling out each agency’s responsibilities under the
NIBIN Program. This agreement ensures sharing of information and increases
the potential to identify armed violent criminals.
This past year was
significant in many ways to the National Tracing Center. The number of
crime gun traces topped the 200,000 mark. Additional cities became partners
in the YCGII, which has the use of crime gun information as its cornerstone.
Some of these enhancements to further improve upon the quality of this
unique ATF service included: improvements in response time through the
new Firearms Tracing System (FTS) platform; development of the "Web
Query" for access to the FTS by our agents and inspectors which provides
our partners in law enforcement the tools to improve their capabilities
through the Electronic Tracing Submission System (ETSS); working with
the firearms industry to improve firearms tracing through Access 2000;
and lastly, ATF’s "OnLine LEAD." This investigative tool uses
all the information in the NTC databases to assist our special agents
in discerning and investigating those who traffic illegally in firearms.
In addition, ATF and
its technology have been called upon to once again support the United
Nations’ War Crimes Tribunals investigating alleged death squads in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
In December 1999, ATF sent a team of experts to Bosnia to test-fire and
recover ballistic evidence from over 1,500 firearms seized from the Bosnian-Serb
Army. These weapons are suspected of being used in the 1995 atrocities
in Srebrenica and other areas of eastern Bosnia. ATF laboratories are
currently comparing the test fire evidence with over 3,000 pieces of ballistic
evidence recovered from primary and secondary gravesites. At the request
of the Tribunal, over 4,500 pieces of ballistic evidence recovered from
Bosnia are currently being compared and evaluated at the ATF laboratories.
Elsewhere, ATF participation
is essential in a variety of international forums examining methods of
combating illegal transnational firearms trafficking. ATF provides expert
technical advice relating to the Federal firearms laws and the benefit
of practical experience associated with our criminal enforcement responsibilities.
U.S. foreign policy decision-makers rely on ATF’s involvement and input
in formulating sound decisions, which ensure that U.S. equities and concerns
in this arena are protected.
AND EXPLOSIVES ENFORCEMENT
I would like to
point out to the Committee that while ATF has had very significant accomplishments
in fighting firearms violence, ATF has also had equally significant successes
in addressing violent crime in the areas of arson and explosives. For
example, in fiscal year 1999, ATF certified fire investigators responded
to an estimated 2,200 fires across the country. These highly trained special
agents respond to incidents at all times of the day and night to make
the initial determination of potential criminal acts warranting further
investigation. ATF inspectors carried a considerable workload in helping
to ensure the lawful use of explosives materials. They completed more
than 7,294 inspections of the 10,662 explosives licensees. These inspections
disclosed and resulted in correction of more than 2,831 violations, 1,431
of which presented unsafe conditions. There were also 182 criminal referrals
made as a result of these inspections.
at Houses of Worship
In fiscal year 1999,
ATF responded to all known fires and explosions at houses of worship nationwide,
322 responses in all. Of those incidents, 132 fires and 12 bombings were
determined through investigation to be caused by deliberate criminal conduct.
I am proud to report to the committee that ATF’s efforts in the investigation
of fires at houses of worship have resulted in 35% of these cases being
solved, a solution rate more than double the national average for the
crime of arson.
Our National Response
Teams were activated a record 42 times in fiscal year 1999 to investigate
major fire and explosives incidents. In 55% of these activations, criminal
conduct was determined to be the cause of the incident. Our National Response
Teams cleared 46% of these incidents within the fiscal year, a solution
rate that is two and one half times higher than the national average for
the crime of arson. Of the incidents that occurred in fiscal year 1999,
57 percent have been cleared by arrest to date and we expect this percentage
to increase as investigations continue. Due to the complexity of arson
investigations, it often takes several years to complete the investigation
from the time of incident.
and Local Support and Partnerships
ATF and the U.S. Fire
Administration (USFA) are teaming together to redesign and deploy a web-based
system managed by the USFA, entitled "Fire and Explosion Investigation
Management System," that will include information on fires and fire-related
explosives incidents that occur nationwide for use by the fire/explosion
ATF partnered with
the National Association of State Fire Marshals and developed a discussion
website for use strictly by individuals at the Federal, State, and local
levels who have the statutory
authority to investigate and prosecute fire and arson incidents. This
website facilitates communication between the investigators.
ATF finalized the
development of InterFIRE, a virtual reality, CD-ROM-based training tool
that is intended to establish "best practices" in fire investigation
and bring fire investigators to a "base level" of knowledge.
Distribution has begun.
Through its explosives
and accelerant detection canine training program ATF provides an investigative
tool for use in explosives, firearms, and fire investigations, National
Response Team investigations, public security, and the investigative needs
of outside agencies. ATF's canine training facility in Front Royal, Virginia,
is now open, and the kennels are in the final stages of construction.
Under a training arrangement with the U.S. Department of State, ATF also
trains explosives detection canines for foreign countries to be used overseas
in the war against terrorism, and to protect American travelers abroad
against terrorism. Through fiscal year 1999, ATF has trained and certified
68 accelerant-detecting canines for State and local agencies, and has
trained and certified 190 explosives detection canine teams for deployment
in 10 countries worldwide. Additionally, since 1998, ATF has trained 10
explosives detection canine teams for other Federal, State, and local
agencies including the FBI, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the Internal
In fiscal year 1999,
ATF became aware of a need to develop an explosives destruction and disposal
training program for State and local bomb technicians. This training program
will be designed and implemented to cover areas not currently addressed
by any other agency on a national scale. The first scheduled school is
slated for March 2000.
In pursuit of
the prevention of criminal misuse of explosives, ATF is strengthening
its cadre of explosives technologists, who possess unique capabilities
in explosives and bomb disposal. There are 18 technologists currently
In fiscal year 1999,
ATF produced a special video entitled "A Mother’s Tears" in
response to demand from State and local police departments and school
systems for an explosives safety program for juveniles. This video was
given the "Videographer’s Award of Distinction" for instructional
I would like to point
out that ATF’s resources are at the core of this country’s response to
terrorism. ATF’s firearms, explosives, and arson expertise directly addresses
the principal tools of the "would be" terrorist. ATF plays an
important role in the Federal Government’s fight against terrorism and
contributes to this fight through our day-to-day investigative work. ATF’s
employees hone their investigative skills in these areas on a daily basis
and are uniquely qualified and equipped to immediately respond to arson
and explosives crimes which may later be deemed acts of terrorism.
Study Group (ESG) is examining the tagging of explosive materials for
purposes of detection and identification; the feasibility and practicability
of rendering common chemicals used to manufacture explosive materials
inert; the feasibility and practicability of imposing controls on certain
precursor chemicals used to manufacture explosives; State licensing requirements
for the purchase and use of commercial high explosives; and the possible
use of prevention (explosives detection) technologies", as stated
in Section 732 of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of
1996, as amended by the Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act for fiscal
The ESG issued its
first report on the Study (1997 Progress Report) to Congress in March
1998. In November 1999, ATF’s second Progress Report on the Study of Marking,
Rendering Inert, and Licensing of Explosive Materials, was submitted to
In February 1998,
the ESG completed its research into, and analysis of, the Swiss identification
tagging program, and reported in its second Progress Report that the program
does not provide an adequate model for implementation in the U.S.
In early 1999, the
ESG completed its analysis of the results of the ATF-commissioned study
entitled "Study of Imposing Controls on, or Rendering Inert, Fertilizer
Chemicals Used to Manufacture Explosive Materials," completed by
the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) in March 1997.
The ESG concurs with the IFDC’s conclusions concerning the current unfeasibility
and potentially devastating economic and agronomic effects of rendering
ammonium nitrate (AN) fertilizer inert.
The ESG has continued
to communicate and work with other Federal agencies such as the Federal
Aviation Administration, the U.S. Customs Service, the Department of Justice,
and the Department of Energy. These efforts are aimed at facilitating
a coordinated effort to identify and direct resources toward the most
promising technologies, for both the detection of additives and the detection
of explosives and explosive materials themselves, which may be used in
a broad range of environments.
ATF continues to honor
its obligation to fairly and efficiently collect over 12 billion dollars
in revenue in accordance with current laws. Our efforts have achieved
an extraordinarily high level of voluntary compliance within the industries
we regulate. In fiscal year 1999, ATF collected the following revenue:
$11,900,000,000 in alcohol and tobacco excise taxes; $167,000,000 in firearms
excise taxes; and $105,000,000 in special occupational taxes; and $6,000,000
in licensing and transfer fees for a total exceeding $12,100,000,000.
ATF works with
Federal, State, local and Foreign Governments in an effort to effectively
collect revenue and regulate the industries subject to the Bureau’s authority.
ATF redirected its
approach to revenue collection through a program to identify taxpayers
that pose high risk to the revenue due using a factoring system to rate
taxpayers. In addition, a statistical sampling process was established
to identify taxpayers in order to validate the criteria used. For these
programs, new internal control documents were developed to pinpoint high-risk
activities and weaknesses for inspection.
were developed for the distilled spirits, wine, malt beverage, tobacco
products, and firearms manufacturing industries.
In fiscal year 1999,
ATF opened 106 alcohol and tobacco diversion investigations. Seizures
of alcohol and tobacco monies and real property totaled over $1,400,000.
ATF was also one of the lead agencies in a Federal investigation that
resulted in a payment of $10,000,000 to the Treasury Asset Forfeiture
Fund from a company wholly-owned by a major U.S. cigarette manufacturer
for its involvement in illegally diverting cigarettes to Canada. Diversion
investigations in fiscal year 1999 also resulted in 49 defendants being
recommended for prosecution, and several members of organized crime groups
successfully prosecuted for alcohol and tobacco related criminal activity.
ATF implemented the
provisions of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, including issuing regulations
restricting the importation of previously exported tobacco products and
cigarette papers and tubes.
ATF received nearly
68,000 alcohol beverage label applications in fiscal year 1999 of which
15 percent were denied approval due to non-compliance. On average, the
turnaround time for an application from time of receipt to completion
of processing was 8 days.
Efforts with Industry
In fiscal year
1999 representatives from the Treasury Department and ATF met with industry
members concerned about direct shipment issues. Discussion focused on
the accessibility of youth alcohol purchases on the Internet, issues surrounding
State law implications, small winery market access, and interstate beverage
We also met with representatives
from the alcohol beverage industry to initiate dialogues about regulatory
practices for alcohol and youth. Other meetings were scheduled with State
authorities, other Federal agencies, public advocacy groups, and public
ATF processed petitions
and issued notices of proposed rulemaking resulting in the establishment
of five new viticultural areas: Applegate Valley in Oregon, and Diamond
Mountain, San Francisco Bay, Chiles Valley District, and Yountville, in
As we enter the
new millennium, ATF has worked diligently to keep pace with an extraordinary
amount of technological change. In December 1999, ATF broke ground for
its new National Laboratory Center in Beltsville, Maryland. The new National
Laboratory Center will give ATF the kind of facility it needs to support
firearms, explosives, and fire investigations, as well as conduct testing
that insures the integrity of regulated alcohol and tobacco products.
Also at the new facility
is a one-of-a-kind fire research center located along side the Forensic
Science Laboratory and the Alcohol & Tobacco Laboratory. The Fire
Research Laboratory is a new addition to ATF’s technical expertise that
will directly support fire investigations and complement ATF’s on-going
fire investigation initiatives such as the Interfire Fire Investigation
Training CD-ROM, the Certified Fire Investigation Programs, and the Accelerant
Detection Canine Programs. It is the first laboratory in the world solely
dedicated to supporting fire investigations and the resolution of fire
related crimes, and advancing the science of fire evidence analysis. For
the first time, investigators will have a resource that can help them
unravel the difficult problems associated with fire ignition and spread.
ATF has established a memorandum of understanding with the National Institute
of Standards and Technology (NIST) to join forces on research into the
measurement and prediction of fire and its effects, to share training
and technology, and to conduct joint research and technical assistance
tasks on matters of fire science.
ATF initiated a National
Firearm Examiner Academy to help develop a national cadre of forensic
examiners to conduct firearms examinations. Historically, this expertise
has been developed through apprenticeship; often taking over two years
to develop the skills needed to do the job. As a result, there is a significant
shortage of skilled firearm examiners in most State and local forensic
laboratories. The pilot course will be completed in April. The 13-week
program fully trains the students in the skills needed to productively
begin case examinations. The profession’s Association of Firearms and
Toolmark Examiners (AFTE) endorses the training program and the Nation's
crime laboratory directors have expressed overwhelming support for the
The National Field
Office Case Information System (N-FOCIS), comprised of N-Force and N-Spect,
developed specifically for the ATF special agents and inspectors, respectively,
assists ATF employees in gathering, reporting, and accessing investigative
and inspection data. One major goal of N-FOCIS is to reduce the time special
agents and inspectors spend on administrative functions.
A simple, intuitive
user interface, N-FOCIS employs a familiar file structure to organize
data into logical categories (e.g., events, property, persons), and the
ability to share case information in a secure environment.
ATF provides our employees
with high quality and innovative training programs by assisting in their
professional development, thus improving organization performance and
supporting our Strategic Plan. In almost all technical training provided,
there are either pre-tests for admission or academic requirements for
graduation. In addition, "golden threads" are now part of many
programs. These are lessons on ethics and integrity, customer service,
teamwork, and accountability to the American public. Training initiatives
which enhance employee development and performance include our New Professional
Training Program; Advanced Firearms Trafficking; Alcohol and Tobacco Diversion;
Advanced Explosives for Inspectors and Certified Explosives Specialists;
and other technical programs. Each of these training programs seek to
expand the base of employee knowledge and understanding regarding ATF’s
roles, missions, and capabilities, and to capitalize on the ever-increasing
collaboration between agents and inspectors in the field. ATF also provides
training to thousands of other Federal, State, local, and foreign law
enforcement officers. Training areas include arson investigation, explosive
identification and regulation, firearms trafficking, and post blast investigations.
On average, we conduct
12,728 training instances each year for ATF personnel. In addition, ATF
provides training to an average of over 42,000 State, local, and international
law enforcement officers and industry personnel annually.
In fiscal year 1999,
ATF provided basic training to a record number of 168 agents and 72 inspectors
through the New Professional Training program, which was updated to include
comprehensive basic training to all new agents and inspectors.
Last year ATF developed
training protocols and organizational development plans for ATF’s Critical
Incident Command System. We have conducted field exercises and exposed
all ATF field divisions to the theory and principle of a standardized
Critical Incident Management System for ATF.
In fiscal year 1999,
ATF has focused on leadership development programs for all ATF supervisors
and managers with an emphasis on core competencies, ethics, integrity,
and Administrative Efforts
Over the past year,
ATF implemented and administered a comprehensive ethics program to ensure
compliance with the Standards of Conduct for Employees of the Executive
Branch and supplemental regulations. This program was put into place to
raise ATF employees’ awareness of the Standards and to ensure consistency
throughout the organization. The Ethics Program administers the Bureau-wide
financial disclosure program, provides legal advice in various areas,
and provides extensive training to all ATF employees. In providing ethics
training, we are ensuring that all new employees are trained and that
ethics presentations are provided at mid- and senior level conferences,
and at various retirement seminars around the country. ATF has also taken
the initiative in setting up an Ethics website and providing updated information
weekly to ensure that the ATF workforce has current changes to the rules
of conduct. With our approach, ATF employees recognize that ethics is
a real and integral part of all that we do and critical to carrying out
our mission successfully.
In fiscal year
1999 ATF hired over 500 employees with a net staffing increase of over
400. This accomplishment demonstrates that while ATF’s fiscal year 2001
Congressional request is ambitious,
it is also realistic. The past several years have enabled ATF to strengthen
its infrastructure to allow it to hire all of the personnel requested
in this request.
As you can see, ATF
continues to contribute to making America sounder and safer though its
efforts in very diverse jurisdictions in Reducing Violent Crime, Collecting
Revenue, and Protecting the Public. Along with the men and women at ATF,
I am prepared to rise to the challenge of meeting all of our responsibilities
under the laws that we enforce. I would be pleased to answer any questions
you may have and I would like to express my sincere appreciation for the
support that the Committee has provided us. I look forward to working
with the Committee to further our mutual goals of safeguarding the public
and reducing violent crime.