1997 Congressional Hearings
Intelligence and Security

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FLETC Opening Remarks

    Mr. KOLBE. Thank you very much.

    With that, we will proceed. Mr. Rinkevich, I would remind you, as I have all the other witnesses, that the full statement you have will be placed in the record and we hope you will summarize your testimony, so that we can go to questions.

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    Mr. RINKEVICH. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Hoyer. We appreciate the interest and the support that this committee, over time, has expressed and provided to the Center. We look forward to working with you, Mr. Chairman, and the staff, in the months and years to come.

    I will, indeed, ask that my full statement be admitted to the record. I just want to summarize, for a very brief moment, two items, the workload and the dollars that are driven by that workload.


    In 1996, the Center graduated 19,352 students, for an average student population of over 1,700. In 1997, the current fiscal year, we estimate that we will graduate 29,500 students, for an average resident student population of slightly over 2,600. In 1998, based on the agency's projections—and we are very comfortable with these, given the buildup that's occurring in a number of agencies—we're looking at a graduation of about 31,100 students, for an average resident student population of over 2,640. That gets to the question of workload, which you mentioned, Mr. Chairman.

    Our request before you for 1998 is for $68,284,000 in the S&E account, and $32,548,000 in the ACI&RE account, which is our construction master plan account, and a total request of 527 full time equivalents.

    There are eight initiatives, which we would be pleased to answer questions about, and this 1998 request represents about a 29 percent increase in appropriations from 1997. But that is clearly driven by the enormous workload that we are confronted with.

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    Now, Mr. Chairman, knowing of your interest in both technology and innovation, I would like to take just a few minutes to highlight four areas where the Center is studying or applying technology to improve its operations, its quality of training, and its responsiveness to our customers.

    First is the area of virtual reality. First I would like to briefly demonstrate for you some amazing new technology that the Center's Financial Fraud Institute is studying to determine its potential and application to training.

    What you are seeing is the beginning of a series of digital pictures that have been loaded into a computer, using a new, unique software. The software seamlessly knits several pictures of an area together so that a 360 degree panoramic view can be seen. The operator can even look up and down. The photographs, by the way, that you're seeing are of the Center's Glynco campus, and also the buildings you're seeing are the result of the master plan that this committee has supported.


    The first photo is a picture of our two new dormitories, the Brunswick Hall and the Gunnels dormitory. The operator will pan to an artist's rendition of the third new dormitory, which we will be constructing on that site, and that will be constructed with dollars that have been appropriated in fiscal 1997.

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    The second photo is a view of one of the Center's new state-of-the-art indoor/outdoor ranges, which is another master plan project. You can see the fan up there is in space that allows for the circulation of fresh air into the ranges, which makes it an indoor/outdoor range. As the camera pans around, you can see the students on the firing line. It's a 50 yard firing range with 25 firing points. So it's a project that will be replicated two or three more times with additional ranges at the Center.


    The third photograph is of the Center's distance learning facility. This is a broadcast-quality, television video conferencing studio, and is a result of the combined effort between the United States Customs Service and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. It is available to all of the Center's customers for distance learning technology, and the delivery of distance learning. I think you can see that the potential for this kind of technology. This ''bubble vision'' as it's called, is really enormous, both in terms of crime scene photographs, as well as in security surveys.


    The next example of technology is something called steganography. Steganography allows criminals to hide their illegal activity from law enforcement by burying one computer file within another. The use of steganography to hide criminal activity might involve the hiding of child pornography within apparently innocuous graphic images. The hidden file degrades the original graphic image very little, if at all, and when combined with encryption, steganography is virtually impossible to detect.

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    If you will look at the images that are now being projected, you will see a simulation of steganography. To start with, an innocuous computer graphic or photograph is chosen as the ''host'' for the hidden file. In this case, it's a picture of our Artesia training facility in New Mexico. The file to be hidden is combined with the steganography program with the host image, rendering the hidden file virtually impossible to see or detect. The graphic image containing the hidden file can then be distributed by a variety of methods, and in this case, in the simulation, it's the Internet being used to deliver the file.

    Once received, the hidden file can be extracted from the graphic file by using the same program and encryption system that was used to combine the two files. In this case, the hidden image of that is the Fermilab, a Government research facility, but it could just as easily have been one dealing with child pornography or other illegal materials. As in the past, our Financial Fraud Institute will take an active role in developing and providing and using the training needed to assist our customers in combatting this kind of criminal activity.


    Now I would like to briefly discuss the Center's efforts to assess and enhance the quality of its training and services, followed by a very short discussion and brief video of a computer-based interactive training module.


    The Student Feedback System, or SFS as we call it, is a major element of the overall, ongoing quality assurance program at the FLETC. It was implemented in 1990, and is used to evaluate the quality of the Center's basic training program. We're in the process of expanding this system to include all of our Center advanced programs.

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    Data from the Student Feedback System provides two of the key outcome measures used in the Center's annual performance plan required by the Government Performance and Results Act, commonly referred to as GPRA. These are student ratings on the quality of training and student ratings on the quality of our services.

    Students are asked to rate the courses, instructors, programs and administrative services. The FLETC then analyzes the student responses to these questions on a class-by-class basis and prepares a quarterly and an annual summary on each program.

    Students are asked to evaluate the Center's performance in each of the following program areas: practical exercises, written exams, faculty support, learning support, and student conduct. Students are also asked for their overall evaluation of the training and instruction. As you can see from the next slide, those ratings over the last five years have remained at levels above ''good'', and verging on ''excellent''. This compares very favorably with our established standard of ''good'' for performance in this area.

    Students' perceptions of our administrative services are also gathered. Students are asked to rate the FLETC in the administrative service areas that are being displayed here.

    Finally, we ask our students for an overall rating of these administrative services. As you can see, in the latest annual report covering 1996, FLETC has met its standard of 4.0 or ''good'' for administrative services.

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    In addition to the Student Feedback System, the Center conducts customer satisfaction surveys to ensure that the FLETC is meeting the needs of its agency customers. The latest survey for which we have complete data was completed in fiscal year 1994 and measured customer satisfaction in three general areas: training systems, training services, and support systems.

    The graph you see displayed now shows the consolidated results of that survey in these three major areas. As you can see, FLETC ranked very high in two areas—training systems and service. The overall average for the areas evaluated under these categories was 93 and 90 percent respectively. This means that 90 percent or more of our agency customers felt that we were meeting or exceeding their requirements in these areas.


    Customer ratings in three of the most critical areas of training systems, which are curriculum content and quality of instructors and quality of training, were 94 percent, 96 percent, and 94 percent respectively. This means that 94 percent or more of our customers told us that the Center is meeting or exceeding their requirements in these three areas.


    In the service category, our customers were asked to evaluate the quality of services provided by the FLETC in 45 different areas. Examples are like student registration, recreational services, uniform issue, and other kinds of similar services. As you can see from the graph, 90 percent of our customers felt that the quality of these services met or exceeded their requirements.

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    We also asked our customers to evaluate other support systems and services at the Center. These included items such as student housing, maintenance, communication and interaction, organizational structure and the like. Again referring you to the graph being displayed, you will note that in this category 76 percent of FLETC's customers felt that the support systems met or exceeded their requirements.

    Following this survey, FLETC began working with its customers to improve its performance in all areas, especially in those areas where customer expectations were not being fully met. We recently conducted another survey and the results of that survey are currently being analyzed, and a report will be issued some time later this month. Although we are very pleased with the 1994 customer satisfaction survey, we are even more pleased with the data that the current survey reflects. It will show an across-the-board improvement in almost all areas, and indicates the actions we have taken to correct the weaknesses have, in fact, worked.

    The Student Feedback System and customer satisfaction surveys ensure that FLETC focuses on continuous improvement in meeting the needs of our students and their agencies.


    Finally, Mr. Chairman, for the past several years the Center has been expanding the use of computer-based training, or CBT, as a means of improving quality and/or controlling program costs. We are now using five CBT training courses in our basic criminal investigator program. That means that, in five course, we are asking the students to develop this information, and learn this information, in a one-on-one situation with a computer. This takes away the need for them to be in the classroom for that period of time, therefore allowing us to insert other training into the classroom environment.

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    Additionally, our Driver and Marine Division is in the final stages of developing a computer-based interactive video that will focus on defensive and high-speed pursuit driver decision making skills, a terribly important area in American law enforcement today. Much of the instruction provided using CBT is after hours and the students do it on their own. CBT is a good, long-term, cost avoidance savings and quality improvement tool.


    I would now like to show a five-minute video which will demonstrate a new situational awareness and response module, which has been recently developed by our Firearms and Media Support Divisions. This module combines CBT and interactive video technology, using a scripted scenario that incorporates the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center's use-of-force model and the Justice/Treasury use-of-force policy.

    Don, if you will key up the video, we will take a look at it.

    [Video Presentation.]

    That, Mr. Chairman, concludes our opening statement and this demonstration. I want to again thank you for your support and interest in the Center, and also I should comment on the tremendous support that the Center has received through the Department as well as the Office of Management and Budget.

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    [The information follows:]

    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."
    Mr. KOLBE. Don't worry. If I make a critical error in my judgment here, in my questioning, it will not be ''to shoot''. [Laughter.]

    Thank you. That was very interesting. We were just saying that probably all the kids are playing this on the Internet anyhow.

    Mr. HOYER. When you go down there, they also have a program they did not show here. We sat at a table and had the scenario in front of us. You've got a gun in your hand and you act out, like a video game. It's the same concept of whether you correctly shot or if you shot the secretary coming out the door.


    Mr. KOLBE. Thank you very much.

    I have very few questions, and a couple of them I will submit for the record. But there is one I do want to get on the record here. It has to do with the training that you're doing currently at Charleston for the INS.

    I think currently almost 45 percent of your workload is in training INS, is that correct?

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    Mr. RINKEVICH. That's correct.

    Mr. KOLBE. It's the Border Patrol we're talking about here. And this surge led you to the decision to open a temporary training facility in Charleston.

    What kind of INS training is being carried out by FLETC there in Charleston?

    Mr. RINKEVICH. At this time, Mr. Chairman, all of the training at Charleston is for the U.S. Border Patrol. We have a student population there at any given time—I think this week there are about 450 Border Patrol students. When they first opened the Charleston facility, and until we brought some of the special training facilities, like the firearms and driver ranges on line, they did some of the Non-Border Patrol training that did not require as much use of those ranges. But now that these several ranges are on line, all of the training there is Border Patrol.

    Mr. KOLBE. Is the training all the way from beginning to end, or do they move from Charleston to another location?

    Mr. RINKEVICH. No, sir, it's beginning to end. Their entire 19-week experience is at Charleston.


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    Mr. KOLBE. At what point do you expect that you would be able to do all the training for INS, the Border Patrol, with your current facilities at Glynco and Artesia?

    Mr. RINKEVICH. Based on what we know now, Mr. Chairman, the end of fiscal '99 should be the point in time where we will be able to assume all of the training for INS at Glynco or Artesia. This, of course, is contingent——

    Mr. KOLBE. You said fiscal '99?

    Mr. RINKEVICH. Yes, sir, at the end of fiscal '99. Through fiscal '99 is the period that Charleston will be required, based on the anticipated increases that the Border Patrol and other INS series will be increasing. Of course, these increases for this year and '99 will depend on congressional appropriation.

    Mr. KOLBE. At that point you would then phase Charleston out?

    Mr. RINKEVICH. Yes, sir, that is our plan at that point, to phase Charleston out and have all the training done at Glynco.


    Mr. KOLBE. What are your assumptions about the numbers of INS agents over the next couple of years that would go into that?

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    Mr. RINKEVICH. We're assuming that the INS—the Border Patrol being the biggest part of INS—will have an authorized strength of 10,000, and therefore their attrition rate will be against that base.

    Mr. KOLBE. So you would just be doing the training for the attrition?

    Mr. RINKEVICH. That's correct. The attrition training for both the Immigration Service and the Border Patrol part. We're assuming there will be no major increases in either of those organizations beyond fiscal '99.

    Mr. KOLBE. Beyond the 10,000.

    Mr. RINKEVICH. Yes, sir.

    Mr. KOLBE. And as I recall, that is what we have currently authorized, is that not right?

    Mr. RINKEVICH. That's correct. That's my understanding as well.


    Mr. KOLBE. What would be the impact on FLETC's overall budget, and your per student training costs, if Charleston became a permanent facility after that point?

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    Mr. RINKEVICH. It is hard to say at this point, Mr. Chairman, but I think it would have a dramatic impact on our budget, not only in terms of the staffing necessary for Charleston, but the Charleston Navy Yard was an industrial facility and the security that we would have in place there would be difficult to continue to maintain. There are environmental questions that would have to be resolved, and our experience at Glynco, with a facility that was closed down by the Navy in 1975, is such that we're investing significant amounts of money there to clean up environmental problems.

    It is only three, three-and-a-half hours from Glynco. It would be a very costly, resource intensive second operation to run. Our view, of course, is that as the Department of Justice and Treasury have agreed, when the big push is over with in fiscal '99, then we will retreat to permanent facilities at Glynco and Artesia.


    Mr. KOLBE. You're estimating an increase of five percent of the students in fiscal '98, and one percent of student weeks, I think, better than a 14 percent increase in the number of instructors.

    Is that explained by the plan to consolidate this training from Charleston to Glynco in 1999?

    Mr. RINKEVICH. Not in '98, no, sir. The projections in dollars for '98 are to handle the workload that we project to occur in '98 at both Charleston and Glynco. Of course, the increase in instructor ranks is a direct result of that workload. But it doesn't——

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    Mr. KOLBE. Then the question is, with only a five percent increase in students—I think we're talking about a 14 percent increase in the number of instructors. How do we get that?

    Would you identify yourself, sir?

    Mr. RINKEVICH. This is Deputy Director Joe Miller, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. MILLER. I think it's the combination of student weeks that we're training, that some student weeks require more instructional support than other student weeks, so you cannot use the two comparisons and come up with the same—It's a different mix of programs that would result in the increase of staff.

    [CLERK'S NOTE.—Bureau added later that they are not fully staffed for the FY 1997 project.]

    Mr. KOLBE. Just one other question.

    Well, I have a couple more. I'll come back to mine. Go ahead.

    Mr. HOYER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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    Mr. Chairman, following up on your Charleston question, obviously Charleston took a heck of a hit. This is Navy property, is it not, that you're on?

    Mr. RINKEVICH. Yes, sir.


    Mr. HOYER. It took a heck of a hit in the '93 base closure, as you know. They lost much of the Navy there. In point of fact, my district competed with Charleston on the Naval Electronics Systems Engineering activities and we lost some of ours and kept some of it.

    Mr. Chairman, this is a specific example of what is so difficult to oppose, where everybody wants a little bit of this, that and the other.

    How much are we spending on capital funds at Charleston?


    Mr. RINKEVICH. Mr. Hoyer, the expenditure of funds for bringing Charleston on line for training came out of the Immigration Service budget. Our understanding is that it was something in excess of $10 million to bring on ranges and refurbish buildings that needed to be refurbished.

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    Mr. HOYER. What it came out of, so we all understand, is the 602 allocation to this committee. What I mean by that is, that was the overall number, with 602A being the big number and the 602B being the committee number. But that's $10 million, Mr. Chairman, at a facility that could have very well used $10 million, that we would have then had as a continuing resource to be utilized not just by INS but by law enforcement officials, not only at the Federal level but state and local levels.

    Now, I don't think we're going to get in a fight right this second with the leaders in South Carolina who have substantial seniority on all of us, probably cumulatively, if we added us all up. [Laughter.]

    And who may be here when all of us are gone.

    Mr. KOLBE. Just one of them takes care of all of us. [Laughter.]

    Mr. HOYER. That's what I mean. I mean, if I were elected to Congress in 1862, I would have been able to get this in my district.


    Having said all of that, are the facilities that we built—because this is going to be the issue when we come to 1999—are the facilities we built able to be utilized by the Navy? If they revert to the Navy, do they have any expected use for it? Clearly, if I were in South Carolina, no matter how much seniority I had, I would say, ''Look, you made this investment. You're certainly not going to abandon these facilities at this point in time.''

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    I presume these are bricks and mortar, or are they temporary buildings. What did we put there?

    Mr. RINKEVICH. Part of the investment was to bring existing structures up to standard, so they rehabed existing structures. The new structures were a drivers training track and a firearms range complex. Those were brand new from the ground up.

    Mr. HOYER. Could we have enhanced in any way the driver training track that I had the opportunity of driving on down at Glynco with a positive effect?

    Mr. RINKEVICH. Absolutely.

    Mr. HOYER. It would have had an ongoing effect.

    I mean, what is our plan in '99 to tell the Justice Department and the Commerce, State and Justice Committee, on which you also serve, Mr. Chairman, that it makes sense to reconsolidate at Glynco?

    Mr. RINKEVICH. An important part of that is money that was appropriated for a new dormitory in the current fiscal year—and we'll be breaking ground on that, Mr. Hoyer, come the next month or two——

    Mr. HOYER. In Charleston?

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    Mr. RINKEVICH. No, no. At Glynco, to give us the capacity at Glynco, so that when Charleston——

    Mr. HOYER. I understand that, and that's important. I understand your argument. But here's what I'm concerned about. If we put $10 million plus at Charleston, come 18 months from now, when we're making up the budget for fiscal year '99, how do we justify saying, ''Okay, that $10 million is not going to be used further?'' In other words, do we have an alternative use? Is there a plan, post-'99, or do we just write that off to a 24-month training expense?

    Mr. RINKEVICH. The buildings that were rehabed are in the main complex of what was the Navy shipyard, which has been turned over by the Navy to an economic development group in Charleston, so those facilities would be usable by some other entity, if they chose to.

    The two facilities that I referred to earlier, the drivers training track and the firearms complex, were built some distance from the Charleston Navy Yard on an active Navy installation, the Navy Weapons Center in Charleston. The arrangement between the Immigration Service and the Navy is that, when those ranges are no longer needed, the Immigration Service would return that property to its original state. So at this point there is on the table an expectation that those ranges will be disestablished.


    Mr. HOYER. How much did the drivers training track cost? Do we know, a ballpark figure? A million dollars?

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    Mr. RINKEVICH. I would think less than that.

    Mr. MILLER. I would think between $500,000–$600,000.

    Mr. HOYER. And it will take some money to return it to the state. So we have an existing excellent driving facility that could be enhanced at Glynco, and we've opened one and we're going to close one and return it to the state that we found it in. It's an example of what we fight about all the time with FLETC.

    Mr. Chairman, I may have used my five minutes on pursuing that. I will come back to my other questions.

    Mr. KOLBE. Mr. Price.


    Mr. PRICE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. Rinkevich, I would like to explore one of the smaller items in your budget but one that has a great deal of policy interest, and that is the work you're proposing to do in rural drug training.

    In your testimony you indicate that one million dollars in funding was authorized under the '94 Crime Bill for this purpose that has never been appropriated. You are now proposing to use these funds for four training programs to assist small, rural law enforcement agencies. Of course, this is a small part of your overall budget, but one of potential importance for districts like mine, with rural counties and local law enforcement agencies that need all the help they can get in fighting the war on drugs.

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    I am new to the subcommittee. I wonder if you could tell me, is this the first time that you have requested the funds authorized under the Crime Bill for this purpose?

    Mr. RINKEVICH. No, sir. My recollection is we requested those funds and they were not included ultimately in our budget.

    Mr. PRICE. They have never been appropriated and you have requested appropriation——

    Mr. RINKEVICH. Requested but not included in the previous year.

    Mr. PRICE. Well, we're only talking about a million dollars, but you propose to use that to support four programs in drug enforcement training, rural crime drug enforcement task force training, airborne counterdrug operations training, and advanced airborne counterdrug operations training.

    Are these new programs? What can you tell us about them and the uses to which you would put these funds?


    Mr. RINKEVICH. Mr. Price, I should also comment that one of the entities of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center is our National Center for State, Local and International Training. We have, since 1983, trained roughly 2-3,000 state and local officers through that center, either in programs especially developed for state and local police, or allowing access of state and local police to Federal programs.

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    Of the four programs that are part of the rural drug and law enforcement training initiative, two of those programs are already developed and functioning: the airborne counterdrug operations training program and the drug enforcement training program. Two others are in the process of being developed. They are the rural crime and drug enforcement task force training and the advanced counterdrug operations training program.

    For two to three years we have been offering training through the drug enforcement training program, in cooperation with DEA, as well as the airborne counterdrug operations training program. So even though we're going to be offering more of those programs through this initiative, on a smaller scale those very same programs have been available to state and local police, including rural law enforcement officers.

    Mr. PRICE. Have they had a particular rural emphasis, or rural focus?


    Mr. RINKEVICH. Yes, indeed. The airborne counterdrug operations training program is a program that trains local police on how to use government aircraft, principally National Guard aircraft, to spot illegal drugs being grown. Obviously, the application of that is in rural areas more likely than urban areas. The drug enforcement training program, the one that we do now offer, is a trainer program and it's designed specifically for those small communities that can't afford to send folks off for long, extensive periods of time. We would train trainers who would offer this on a regional basis to local law enforcement, particularly those in small communities.

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    Mr. PRICE. So this fits with work that you have underway?

    Mr. RINKEVICH. Yes, sir.


    Mr. PRICE. Can you be more specific about the million dollars and three FTE's that you're requesting, how that would augment your——

    Mr. RINKEVICH. I can give you a breakout of that, Mr. Price. The three FTE's would constitute slightly in excess of $300,000. There is $200,000 in travel costs because these programs are designed to be exported. That is, we will take them out to the field, rather than having them done at Glynco.

    Training services, $229,000, supplies of $120,000, equipment of $125,000, printing of $20,000, and transportation of $5,000. If my figures are correct, that should be about a million dollars.

    Mr. PRICE. Alright. Presumably, that then would give you some basis for judging the potential of this effort and what kind of expansions might be appropriate.

    Mr. RINKEVICH. Absolutely. One of the important ingredients in any of our training programs is an evaluation component, to make sure that we're meeting the needs of the students, as well as the agencies that send the students to us.

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    Mr. PRICE. Thank you, and thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. KOLBE. Thank you very much. I have some other questions, but I'm going to submit mine for the record.

    Mr. Hoyer.

    Mr. HOYER. Mr. Chairman, I have a number of questions and I will also submit them for the record.

Closing Remarks by Chairman Kolbe

    Mr. KOLBE. Thank you very much. We appreciate your coming, and appreciate your testimony and the good work you do. I'm looking forward to getting down to Glynco.

    Mr. RINKEVICH. We look forward to having both you and Mr. Price coming down, and Congressman Hoyer as well for a return visit.

    [Questions for the record and selected budget justification material follow:]

    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."