Senate homeland security panel to add staff

The newly launched Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee plans to hire additional staff to address issues arising from the panel's expanded jurisdiction over the Homeland Security Department, committee staff said.

In a written response to Global Security Newswire, committee staff said that the additional personnel would be hired from across "the public and private sectors." They declined to comment, though, as to how many new staff members would be hired or when they would be in place.

Previously, a wide array of Senate panels had oversight over the various Homeland Security Department agencies, including the Armed Services, Energy and Natural Resources and Foreign Relations committees. Oversight was consolidated, though, with the approval last fall of a Senate resolution that added a homeland security aspect to the Governmental Affairs Committee.

The resolution was prepared following the release this summer of the recommendations of the Sept. 11 commission, which included a call for improved congressional oversight of homeland security-related issues through the creation of permanent homeland security committees in each house of Congress.

Prior to assuming oversight over most of the Homeland Security Department, the panel had experience with security-related issues, such as nuclear export policies, through its international security subcommittee, committee staff members said.

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