tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN May 14, 2016 2:00am-4:01am EDT
very important. this slide shows that we actually had a big success when it comes to managing high school athlete concussions. in 2007-2008 academic year, 30% of athletes diagnosed with a concussion return to play in less than seven days which is a violation of return to play guidelines and disturbingly 8% return to play the same day they were injured, that is unacceptable. look at how things have improved. last year in 2014-2015, less than 2% return to the same day they were injured. this is a result of prevention. not equipment prevention, but education and regulation prevention. effective prevention in public health, we talk about three legs
of a stool, equipment is one piece in terms of concussion, but educating individuals and providing good, strong policy policy based on evidence are the other two legs. i would love to come away from the efforts of this committee, incredibly important efforts, with the ability to do this work at the youth level. currently, no one can give you this type of data for children playing sports who are younger than high school age. that is a travesty. we have got to protect our children who are sports because we want them to play sports. i'm not against sports, not even against contact sports, despite my appearance i played rugby for 13 years, yes, i am only am only 4-foot 11 inches and i played rugby. i appreciate the fact that participating in sports is a very important way that children can incorporate physical activity as part of a daily, healthy lifestyle.
we need everyone sitting at the table and our policy representatives like the distinguished members of this panel to work together to drive evidence-based, prevention practices now. now. we do not want to wait for 30 years to learn about long-term consequences of concussion. that that is secondary prevention. we need primary prevention. i already know that concussions are bad for us. i want to keep kids from being injured in the first place. thank you. >> thank you very much. now doctor you recommend for five-minute. >> thank you. i am thomas am thomas and professor of electrical computer engineering up to university. i've been a member of recent years at the ncaa task force on concussion emma member of the scientific advisory board to the ncaa care consortium. i'm about a member of the
concussion consortium which is a multi-institutional effort to bring together researchers who have a history of publishing and doing research in the area of concussion and traumatic brain injury together to so many problems. i served with a neurotrauma group, i'm also the lead pi for the purdue college of engineering preeminent team in engineering health your brains. as our rabid sports fan of the pittsburgh steelers and expert pirates and father of four active young children this is an issue near and dear to my heart has been for a long time. as a part of the neurotrauma group i want to summarize really quickly that our goal and our proposal to the future is to achieve saver participation in you sports. our goal is to make sure more children can participate in sports more frequently. without risking injury or reduced risk of injury to something that is acceptable to us such as riding a bicycle or playing baseball or basketball. our goal is to achieve this in the education of applets,
parents, coaches, and healthcare providers regarding risks of concussive and sub- concussive injuries. through engineering engineering based improvements in protective equipment, through modeling and appropriate preventative methodologies that allow us to monitor exposure to head injuries and the risk of pager injuries. finally techniques that have already been described to improve training of athletes. for the past seven years are pioneering study has been engineering based following the model illustrated on the slide. were a technique from basing material and structures in our everyday world could be planes, bridges, automobiles, automobiles, where you essentially do non- instructive documentation and document a material is in good health before you continue board with its use. is that material starts to exhibit some sort of's change you either repair or in the case of some materials you allow them to rest and recover. this methodology has been applied now is a for seven years
in the study of high school girls playing soccer and poison play football. in our study though, of applying the methodology began like many other studies in this domain were real initial effort was to understand why some kids got a concussion a concussion and some didn't. what we discovered rapidly and has driven our research is that in truth, many of the children who we think are not injured are in fact showing changes in their physiology, changes in their brain that are strongly suggestive of underlying brain injury. what is critical is that not only are athletes who are supposedly healthy who do not have signs of a concussion, who are not diagnosed or examined by their athletic trainer or physician is having a concussion , will look abnormal in this manner for up to five months after the season. this means they may be spending eight - ten months of the year in an abnormal state. what we already know ahead of time that is never a good idea idea to hit your head, the question now becomes how long is
it that these athletes are injured and what can we do to prevent that entry in the first place. our study has been going first seven years and up were able to find funding sometime in the future will continue the study, ideally later this year. i i only wish to be working from this methodology with the goal being that if we understand how input in this case mechanical input of heads being hit, whiplash from the body being hit and the head snapping to the side, four, rotate and abruptly will allow us to understand how each of those events affect the brain. then we can go back and correctly have helmets that prevent concussion. we can do about appropriate methodologies for identify when an athlete should skip a practice because clearly we want kids to miss practice and not the games and that's with the kids want. we'll we'll also then be able to evaluate whether or not we are recovery has been truly complete. can we actually document that an athlete who has been pulled and ready to put a is healthy
enough, that it makes sense for them to go back into play. so, with that we really feel as a pretty group and as myself as a researcher that most of these changes can be made to no cost of the enjoyment of the game. they're very likely to the freedom or comfort to engage in these activities without any substantial consequences beyond those associated with other non-collision sports such as basil, bicycling, whatever. we really feel that the science is far enough along that these changes should be made now rather than delay any more time especially since 30,000,000 kids kids every year are exposed to potential injury. there's no reason not to act. >> thank you dr.. i do want to recognize i will start up with questions and let members know that we are trying to continue this, there'll be one vote at some point. we will try to continue to hold that boat. i do want to recognize in our audience we have nick lowery,
nick the kick, you played for the patriots, jets, and cheese, it's good to have you here today. also sean and redskins and patriots and seahawks both replay pro bowl, thank you for your interest in concussions. and former colleague phil, the dock is here as well. we appreciate you coming back. i want to say do not make the georgia tech team but i understand that you drove the mask mascot car. it's nice to know your skill sets. now recognize myself or five minutes. this goes to doctor gregory, mr, from the perspective youth sport organization, what are the greatest needs in terms of research related to concussion and player safety? any comments on this? >> for clarification, the greatest needs.
>> yes. >> so my first response would be to agree with don that we have a databases in college and high school we don't have them in youth sports. so establishing a database for youth sports injury is imperative. >> i would act of those statements that we do need to have a database of injuries that are occurring in our youth sports that we can make these decisions. it is hard, hard, we don't want to wait for the future. we need to start gathering this information right now. >> i would agree. each of us in sports is trying to do our best to fund research to a non- profit. but we need greater resources to drive the resource into the youth play area. >> along the lines of research to encourage coaches, as their way to help coaches and teams also keep track of their own database? do coaches keep track of their data to see what happens for
their own coaching style comparison question. >> i would say and doctor comstock will have a word here, but the challenge with that is the quality of the data that is collected. unless unless it is collected well and consistently, which coaches generally speaking do not want to do, then we are concerned about having flawed data. >> mr. comstock, do you have a comment on that. >> i agree, we are concerned about the quality of the data and that is directly correlated to was reporting the data. at the high school and collegiate level we rely upon athletic trainers to report this data to us. however, i, i and others have been investigating ways in which we could modify our surveillance system to enable a parent or a coach who is trained appropriately and appropriately motivated to be able to report,
perhaps not 300 variables per injury but at least enough variables that we could drive forward a lot of these discussion. >> coach stevens, you did record and look for specific dated. >> in general overseas. >> and that's helpful to give the feedback along those lines. >> it is. use you or you stack up to the teams in the league. >> so let me ask, how significant is the issue of athletes not reporting concussions? they themselves have symptoms but are not giving that input information. >> i can tell you that on all levels that is an issue. the problem is knowing what the symptoms of concussion are, if if you report to someone, that person knowing what the symptoms of concussion are. i do think that what don showed with that data that concussion rates are going back down as a result of education, of coaches, athletes, players of what the signs and symptoms of concussion are. having said that, i'd don't think we can stop there. we have to to continue the efforts for everybody. >> anyone else want to?
>> that same graph that showed the doubling of concussion rates between 2008 - 2012, high school athletes do not high school athletes did not suddenly become twice as fast, strong, vicious. the years preceding that, there concussions occurring that just went undiagnosed and unrecognized. the increase the increase in the concussion rates truly reflect the great deal of education that has been done by individuals on this panel as well as group as cdc and national association -- to make sure that when -- so it may not of been prior to that increase it means when they were reported. >> yes or. and the parents and families. the parents of these young athletes it's important to
educate them as well. >> do you see this as an ongoing problem in regard to injuries, that this is working are we still have ways to go? >> i think the fact that that curve has seem to have peaked and leveled off i think it is an indication coupled with the less light i showed that showed how much better we are doing at managing concussions. i think both of those speak highly to the success that we have had today to in educating parents, coaches, athletes, policymakers about concussion. we still have further to go particularly in the younger groups. >> thank you. i will yield now to for five minutes. >> thank you so much mr. chairman. i want to take a look at some of the sciences out there. by the way, it was really an excellent panel with everyone giving a great perspective. your work examines high school football players as well as high school soccer players, can you tell us from your research about the head impact from head impact sports and how it impacts head injuries? >> so what we have observed is that when the athletes take large amounts of blows per week
whether it be a ten gr above, 10g is a reference, if, if you just stand up and drop down to your chair you'll generate ten times the force of gravity on your head. when players are taking numbers of 60 --70 blows per week in football for example, those male athletes tend to show alterations in the brain physiology that are suggestive of either damage to neurons or at least some sort of impairment in the way information passes from your brain and ultimately result in you being able to respond to a question or answer a task or achieve a target on a game or particular activity. >> ..
>> we are in fact benefiting our athletes. >> we had a forum committee in march and at that forum there were researches that suggested we don't have enough science to act on issues and they said we should wait until there is more research. what is your response to this? >> i don't believe that. >> and that is because you actually have scientific research? >> we are working with several other institutions ohio state university, michigan state, university of the nebraska shows published work there are changes in the brain. >> if you would not mind getting that to this committee that
would be helpful in our investigation. thank you. i want to ask you a couple questions, dr. comstock, about gender differences in cushion and head trauma. girl's soccer has the highest rate of reported concussion. are girls more likely than boys to get concussion? >> that is a million dollar question if you will. we reported in 2007 in gender compareable sports, so both sports play and same equipment and sports, girls have higher concussion rates than boys. what we don't know at this point, people are working on the question, is it a bio problem?
or is a social-cultural issue because we don't have a test for concussion and we rely on reports and young female athletes may be likely to report it more. >> do we need more data? >> we have the data showing the consistent change. >> what to we need to prove it? >> we need more detailed research to determine if there are differences or social and culture. >> this is the intent of our study. they can understand the brains changing and we can understand if it takes less. >> you are girls and boys? >> yes, girls and boys. >> dr. comstock, i want to ask one more question. you say there is no surveillance for under high school ages. do you think this is something that should be instituted so that people like you can get
that data to see exactly what is going on? >> yes, i would love to give it to you and can give you the name of ten other researchers. >> who should set it up? >> my work hasn't been federal funded. the ncaa funds their own system. i think it should be a federal effort but i don't care if it is joint but somehow someone has to do it. >> thank you very much. thank you for coming. >> just to remind member, votes are called and we will continue to roll through. dr. burgess you are recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, chairman. i thank the panel for being here. coach stevens, your testimony was revelation and it seemed so obvious when i read through it and once you understand this is a repeatative injury. that must have been a hard
decision to make -- repetitive -- when i was growing up it was practice, practice, practice. >> when i announced this to my coach staff they thought i was kidding. but i took enough time to make sure we got the appropriate response. >> and five years into this you feel you have made a -- >> it made a difference in the way we practice safety. the front line guys practice through the course of the season, defensively i had two players miss and one had a high ankle sprain and the other had a lacerated kidney and he missed five games. that was it. so the regularity and the players. i tell them the rules of the guy are get the guy on the ground, not injure. you can teach that skill set.
there is a risk playing the game but we can minimize the risk. >> let me ask you this but when you go back and look at your record prior to instituting this program and in the year since is there a marked difference? >> we were 0-10, 2-8 and 8-2 and 9-1 the last season. >> so you became a remarkable coach in that time. >> appreciate that. >> repetative injury so we will reduce the risk by stopping that practice. i don't know i was aware of that. i don't know how i would have been aware of it. mr. o'neill, i wanted to ask you because when i started reading your testimony and practice like the pros i thought that would be
dangerous because those are the guys that really -- the dreadful stories of people trying to hurt each other in a game. but you had the observation of watching the practice and it was almost like a ballet. >> yes, sir, it is. as we pointed out with the video, the players execute every aspect of the play in rehearsal for sunday until the moment of imminent contact and then they break away and pat each other on the back. in the high school level, the proof of the efficacy of this is in the state of wisconsin, they put the standards in two years ago for the 2014 system and the university of wisconsin medical school did a study and showed they count the concussion by
half by adhering to our standards. that is a breath-taking reduction. the quality of wisconsin football has never been better. the players are fresh and ready to play. it is the high school model of. >> has there been widespread acceptance of that in the high school level? >> coach teevans and i went to the university of wisconsin clinic in madison and because of the revictions and the coaches need to know how to practice with less contact we had enormous attendance, more than 125 coaches and the greatest follow-up we have had in 30 clinics around the country. more than half of the coaches asked for our videos so they could show them to the staff and players and teach their players in the 30 minutes, just 30 minute of contact per week in practice, how to practice like
pros or the dartmouth victory. >> i cannot help but observe emmitt smith won dancing with the stars a few years ago and based on that concept. were there pro-players using dance and ballet moves to improve their performance? >> they were. this approach dates back to bill walsh with the 49ers in the 1980s and been refined by his disciples along the way to a point where so many college players look forward to entering the pros in order to avoid the carnage of 90 minutes full on contact during the week and practice the way the dallas cowboys have for years. >> thank you. i yield back. >> thong -- thank you.
ms. schakowsky. >> i want to thank the moms here. mr. o'neil, you showed the video of dr. ann mckey answering my questions at that round table. i want to focus on cte because i think little focus has been on the subconcussion brain injur s injuries. it is about limiting every head injury that occurs on every level. i followed up with that question to jeff miller of the nfl, the chief person for health and safety, and said what do you think? is tte linked to football and he said yes, certainly. little did i know this was an explosion that happened outside
that room and even has started some conversation about what is the future of football. is there a future for the kind of football that we play? there has been a lot of talk about concussion but i wanted to ask more about cte. so what does the research indicate about the effect that routine hits sustained by high school football players and younger have on brain function even though they don't rise to the level of concussion? what about cte? >> so at this point the linkage is not sure coming from our end. on ann's end, you can see individuals who have larger number of hits over their career have more deficits. there is good evidence there is
a link between the total exposure and brain stress that is accumulated from getting hit day after day, year after year. within our own athletes, what we can at least identify is athletes spend 5-8 months a year in the state of chronic infl inflamma inflammattion and cells can't renew and you cannot get nutrients. if this is true, we are putting our athletes at risk for the types of biochemical processes that will lead to cte. >> is there any test for cte before an autopsy? >> there are several imaging
methodologies that identify markers within the body but nothing has been confirmed. >> my understanding is the kind of sub-concussion events have to do with the brain inside the skull and virtually nothing to do with helmets. >> a helmet can absorb energy and it would be easy to improve designs but the companies are not interested. their goal is to meet the standards and the standards set forth are to prevent skull fracture and death on the field and they are very effective but do nothing to prevent concussion. energy absorbtion would reduce the amount of energy that reaches the brain and that reduces the pull, stretch and compression on the cell tissue and you will see a reduction in the consequences of the sub-concussion hits and the reduction in the observation of concussion and see a reduction in long-term situations like cte
>> dr. comstock, you don't think kids under what age should be playing tackle football? >> i never made any recommendation. >> oh, i thought you said something. >> i am aware of other researches who have given exact cut points. >> did someone say that on the panel? >> our organization is the 1-5 operating in the space that believe grade school boys and girls should play flag football exclusi exclusively and contact football should start in ninth grade with a transitional phase in 7th and 8th boys in shorts and t-sures who intend to play learn how to tackle and block using the state-of-the-art tackling called seahawks tackling pioneered by the coaches of the seattle seahawks.
mr. soto is a leading tour and made a number of videos for us. >> there has been a good deal of pushback after jeff miller made his comment jerry jones, the owner of the dallas cowboys, you know he absolutely disregarded that. there has been mocking of that and this idea of the connection between manliness and football i think is really concerning. i want to just ask, let's see, i had a couple other questions. dr. gregory, i am -- you know, if once all of the -- let me ask you before my time runs out, the usa football guidelines limit full contact practice to four times a week. i know this represents more
contact practices than occur at higher levels such as the college level and even in the nfl. so, you know, given all of this evidence about repeated hits to the head, why haven't usa football taken steps to further limit full-contact practice for young children? >> the question is a good one in that we recognize that tackling causes injuries. if you look at data that we do have in youth football -- >> my time is up. so why haven't you? >> what we have instituted is ways of trying to decrease the number of hits there are. the concern is -- >> what about four times a week? >> if you take it away completely you have to learn the skill. at the youth level we don't have the resources the high school and college levels have to teach the skill. that is what we trying to do; learn how to tackle appropriately over time. that is the goal; to do it well and protect your head.
>> at this time, i will recognize myself for five minutes to ask questions. mr. o'neil, thank you for the work you do and appreciate the information you do today. you advocate children under 14 shouldn't be tackled and it should be limited to high school athletes. how do we make sure young athletes learn proper tackling techniques so they don't resort to the dangerous head down or whatever the case may be? if they don't get the practice when the contact is not as hard as it will be later is there a concern of them internalizing the techniques? >> if staff could allow me to cure up a 17 second video click. rocky soto, which is number 24. coach soto knows -- he is the
guru of tackling. him and pete carol devised this system in seattle that has become the standard in two years. introduced two years ago in the spring, they put out three videos and coach tours with us. it is not that. it is -- as i say, number 23? tackling in shorts. just to answer your question, mr. hudson, is what we recommend in 7th and 8th grade is rather than hitting each other these boys need to learn in shorts and t-shirts an introduction to weight training, they need strengthening of their necks which i think all of the scientist here agree that is important, they need to wear the pads, and be ready with this gradual run-up to ninth grade to
be prepared without the many co collisions in involved. it is the cumulative injuries that cause problems. boys at five years old playing contact football in our minds is quite surprising. any luck? >> we will look at the video after. >> i will be happy to show it to you, mr. hudson. >> thank you. are there examples where young kids have not had young contact until they reach high school age and have been successful? >> thank you for asking. tom brady, eli manning, payton manning. >> i have heard of those folks. >> archie manning has waxed eloquently in the "washington
post" just a few years ago, i think his phrase was, god, what a grade game flag football is. my son, a quarterback at tufts universities, wouldn't be playing college football if he had not played flag instead of contact. it cod him about reading defenses, making decision and good throws, all of the teamwork and character buildings. those who suggest those qualities can only be developed in contact football haven't heard my younger son and his teammates recounting their victories in flag football four and five years ago, the highlight of their athletic careers, they are football-fans for a lifetime, they wore the nfl jersey in playing flag, came out of it healthy with the experience that made them the way they are. >> coach teevans, do you have
any opinions on this? >> if you decry people of the opportunity they will catch up. one of nine kids and we all played in high school and that was it and had successful careers. there is a litany of people who have gone on. if they are going to play at a young age, educate them proper lay, start slowly and deprive them as much contact as possible. >> dr. gregory, do you have anything you want to share? >> i think if you take the contact away the education piece on how to tackle is imperative and that is the challenge in youth sports without the resources. and the football administers the largest flag football league in the country. we are proponents of flag football. i think it is important we promote flag football as well.
>> thank you. mr. o'neil, your organization is trying to change the culture of high school football by advocating limited contact akin to the professional level. only one state has adopted your standards and in light of the successful outcomes in that states have others expressed interest? >> that is a good question. we need more participation from the state governing bodies around the country. the word is traveling. when a state governing body gets behind it, the contact -- the support grows. the coach of the seahawks, coach stevens, and others hit four cities in two days and we had enormous participation because the cif, which governs athletics
in california, made it mandatory. we saw 1200 coaches in two days. we are going to alabama in july and same thing is occurring there. our clinic, has been made mandat mandatory for every coach in the state. so we will greet a ballroom of coaches in alabama. >> any opposition you received? >> absolutely. i grabbed coach stevens to places where there were 450 coaches at a convention and at your session 20 showed up and the other 430 were standing out in the hallway saying they didn't want to hear it. it is not like we are having raging success. it is mixed around the country and will be until the state governings bodies give us a hearing and mandate all of the stakeholders and coaches come in
and see what we have on video. when they do, we never fail to convert. >> thank you. at this time, i recognize mr. pallone. >> thank you. earlier this year the ivy league received attention for removing contact practices during the regular season and strict rules about the spring and pre-season. mr. teeven, you put these in place at dartmouth many years ago. what your the initial response and why did you do this? >> we had too many guys going down. the mike webster story and concussion was surfacing and it instruct me we can do this in a better way. watching research on tackling,
we started to do it, it wasn't well received. it is still not well received by an awful lot of people. i made a recommendation at the ivy level and all of the coaches that played against dartmouth know how we played and how effectively we tackle and the vote was unanimous and it was progressive in mindset to say this is the direction we should travel. >> how have the rate of head injuries changed since you implemented the no-contact policy? >> five years ago it was 15-20 during the course of the year. this past season we had two. two pre-existing situations. both young men that can no longer participate. our defense was nationally ranked and had zero concussions. spring practice, we have had zero and that is somewhat concussion season in college football. >> in your opinion of full contact practice necessary to
insure success on game day? >> no, i don't know so. you can replicate tackling on bags. you can do it at any level. i have a three year old grandson and he gets it. again, crawl, walk, run mindset introduces skill sets that are helpful down the road not but don't need to be practice. >> do you think engaging in full contact four to six times a week increases the risk? >> without question. the more you hit the more likely injury occurs.
>> mr. o'neill, we see many different rule changes being implemented across the state and league and there has been some criticism these rule changes upset the integrity of the game. what do you think about pop warner eliminating kick offs and returns? will that prevent brain injuries? >> good question, mr. pel pallo. this is my reaction to them saying grade school boys are not capable of playing the game the way it is designed. they are making our argument and that is these boys should be converted to flag football until 14-15. we advocate no basic changes in the game. we say there will not be further rule changes that will make the game less dangerous. the game is the game. we don't advocate major changes
but we say strongly boys in grade school are not nearly prepared to play it the way adults play it and therefore boys and girls ought to be playing flag football until boys make a transition, if they chose, to play contact in ninth grade. >> just so i understand, you don't think any other changes would better protect the kids other than if they continue with the present -- >> it will not be football if we strip away the kick return, the purnt return, the three point stance. we are opposed to all of those proposal. likewise, heads up tackling, which is an attempt to somehow sanitize the very difficult, it can't be done. tackling is tackling.
it should be done at the three levels of football where the game should be played. if boys can't tackle the way the technique was designed, they shouldn't be playing contact football. they should be playing flag until they are ready to play. >> thank you, gentlemen. this time i will recognize my colleague from virginia. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i apologize i took my jacket off, ran over to vote, and got wet so i took off my jacket. mr. o'neil, my boys are eight and ten. my ten year old tried tackle football. when my eight year old was seven he played flag. it is not available to him. have you done studies on how many kids because they are not ready to do tackle drop out of the support?
>> we haven't but it is a very good point. football loses candidates for the fact we throw them in unprepared at any age. there is a sound byte of john madden, former colleague and coach and broadcaster, he tells a story where his son coached ninth grade football at a school in california for 15 years and john said if you took a boy who didn't play contact youth football and match him up against a boy who did play contact football how long would it take the boy who didn't play to catch up with the skills of the boy who did and joe madden, his son, said to him one week. one week it would take him to catch up to what supposedly had been learned by a youth contact player those eight years he took all of the hit trauma from age 5-13.
>> i appreciate that. i will have to move on. dr. comstock, i was intrigued about your testimony of young women having more concussion than young men. do you have enough data to say that is true through all age groups? middle school, high school and college? >> it has been consistent with my data. across slightly different populations and the high school and college age group, in the middle school and younger age group, we only have very small studies of one league or school district, based on those it appears it is also so in younger age groups but no national surveillance data to answer that. >> appreciate that. sorry we have some limited time. mr. stenenson, u.s. lacrosse invested in the deployment of the coach standards in
officiating education. is the conclusion based on the changes in the injury rates since deploying the curriculum? >> in part. but it is more based on the fundamental belief that if you cannot teach a support correctly, the outcomes will not be what you want. and part of the challenge like youth sports, lacrosse and ice hockeyy we are seeing privitization of the sport. >> i appreciate that. you mentioned one of the biggest challenges is getting youth leagues and state high school associations to buy into your standards. why do you think this is a challenge?
if you could be quick, i would appreciate it. >> culture and tradition. >> i have to tell you the good news is my 16-year-old daughter had a concussion this year and they pulled her out for about two weeks and, you know, she got it playing lacrosse. i only have a minute left. is there something you haven't had an opportunity to touch on? >> no >> would you agree the more week train folk to do the checks and hits right. >> we have a lot of that built into the program. >> do you have the same buy in difficults that were indicated earlier? >> to a degree.
not all hockey leagues are governed by usa hockey and we don't have influence there. so there is no uniformity among the leads. >> and there is a lot of pri privitization. my child is playing lacrosse at a private institution. i came back because this is an important hearing and appreciate your testimony and we will continue to work on this. >> this time i recognize mr. tonko for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chair. i appreciate all of your witnesses being here and having this panel of expert witnesses is a good opportunity to have dialogue on how we can further enhance the safety of youth sports. i would like to ask rules about changes for contacts especially kids.
dr. gregory, you are here as a member of the medical advisory committee, what schakowsky tell us about the guideline changes usa sports has made for young athletes? >> there are practice guidelines in place to limit t whcontach happens as part of the heads up program showing decrease of injury and that is limiting contact to 30 minutes per practice, no more than four practices a week, and no more than two hours of total length of practice. decreasing the number of potential hits which has been shown to occur by limiting the amount of time. >> thank you. it is my understanding that usa football doesn't operate its own teams? >> that is correct. we can only make suggestions to the leagues underneath us. the same problem that all youth sports have. we want these leagues to follow a recommendation but we cannot enforce them. >> in other words, it is just a
recommendation there is no way to implement the guidelines. >> there is no way to enforce it. we have to get buy in by showing them it works and get buy in from the youth coaches. >> and have you been monitoring the rate of injuries? particularly head injuries since implementing these changes? >> so in the three areas we showed with the dataless youth football study, the fairfax county here and in south bend, indiana, the educational component and the practice limitations, all injuries went down in practice and games. >> do you know anything more than other than dropping -- >> i gave the numbers but i can give them again. >> just as long as the committee has them. and we heard from coach teevens
with his success at dartmouth and mr. o'neill with the practice like pros with addition changes to reduce contact particularly for young players. the whole ivy league eliminated contact practices and the nfl only allows 14 practices over the season. what do reducing the number of hits and longer reps between the do for these people? >> the more time you can give them off the less time they have to get impaired and hurt in the future. >> and given what the size has said, why hasn't usa football
considered stricter rules to reduce or eliminate contact for young players? >> i will tell you what has been demonstrated by the dartmouth and then high school level is it is fairly knew and i would say it is very compelling and the challenge is can we replicate this at the youth level without the resources they have at the college and youth level. we can make recommendations but we cannot enforce it. we have to have the resource do is back it up. >> pop quarter announced it will eliminate kick offs and kick returns and reduce practice time. do you think these measures will be effective at reducing head injuries for kids? >> they are a good start.
we will say that. >> the main issue, to tie back to one comment, eliminating a few hits a game isn't going have a huge affect. i would be more excited about the reduction in contact practice time. >> those wouldn't be the first additional changes you would encourage. dr. gregory, is usa football considering similar measures as those introduced by pop warner? >> so one of the thing that is clear is this is an evolving game and this is up for consideration. rule implementations will be looked at and studied to see if it has the same impact. committee democrats sent a letter to the executive director of usa football about how the organization is insuring the
safety of the young football players in addressing the risks posed by concussion and sub-concussion hits. we have asked for a response by may 25th. dr. gregory, can you confirm a response will be provided by that date? >> i can confirm. >> i yield back. >> at this point, we will recognize ms. clarke. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i think the witnesses for appearing before us. i would like to talk about the change in culture. we have to address sports culture and the attitude of toughness. kids have watched idols deliver the hardest hits on the field and get the most fights on the ice. as we make changes to play and practice, we need to ensure that permiates the culture of sports. my first question is do you believe players are convinced of
the importance of reporting concussions? >> i think they are getting there and it is important for the coaching staff to make it aware it is okay for players and get rid of the old tough guy mindset. >> and do you believe that the coaches and the medical staff at the high levels of play take concussions seriously? >> i think they do. i think the coaching profession is conservative and a lot of guys that played less than five years ago started coaching five years ago or greater, they grew up in a time where you didn't self report and a lot of people teach what they were taught as players. that is part of the culture that needs to change. >> do you think we have been successful in spreading that message? >> not as successful as we need to be and the broader the better and limiting injury is what we
are all about. >> mr. o'neill, same question. how can we won vince players and coaches to report concussions and treat them seriously? >> ms. clarke, it is great question. when we do clinics around the country we hoe showeded 19 cases of suspected second impact syndrome and we tell the stories in detail with video of the players involved and tell the stories of catastrophic injuries in an effort to scare straight through the coaches these young boys who need this information. i show my son's concussion as an example. i show how he lied about his symptoms, did everything to stay on the field, and only when confronted with an impact test that showed he had failed the
cognitive test only did he then admit he was suffering from a concussion. it is a huge problem in high school football. we think it is a subject which we need to be direct with players. we tell the stories to the coaches, give them the video, and encourage the coaches to tell the players the story of what catastrophic injury can be in their lives if they don't self-report and self diagnose. >> many kids try to model behavior after the athletes they revere. we need to make sure the athletes at the highest level of play, college and pro, are sending the right message of taking brain injury seriously. what can the college and professional athletes and league do in carrying that message forward? >> i think it is the coaches that drive that message. unless we change the way we coach the game we will not have a game to coach. we have a virtural player
tackleal device now. tep stez -- steps like that. coaching the coaches is critical to getting the message across. >> ms. clarke, what is effective for us is when we take the hall of fameers around the country and warren moon says he had the first concussion at seven on a practice field and tells his personal story about hiding symptoms and coming to a recognition later in his career how foolish that was. we take anthony munez around who tell the story of playing for a coach in cincinnati who wanted to hit and hit and hit every day including the day before games on a surveillance transparency act -- saturday. then we had a new coach and that coach took our approach which is virtually no contact during the
week and he said we won both ways but i sure felt a lot better, and my teammates did too, in the second approach. >> any of you have comments on what you think the fans should be requiring of this sport? >> i think fans should be aware of it. we have someone's child playing the game and understanding the rules of the game don't dictate taking people out of the game but it is just get them on the ground. it is understanding long-term people can be in jeopardy if we don't change the way we approach the game. >> the other thing is the the espn hits of the week segment doesn't have good hits. that is what is being shown as a highlight. that is not the goal. we have to change that. >> we have the change the culture and that requires everyone that is participating
and revers this game. >> i ask consent the report called concussion and youth and improving the science and changing the culture be introduced to the record. without objection, entered in the record. and i want to do another promotion of the briefing congressman butterfield and i are hosting on may 24th. you have ten business days to submit questions to the record and ask the witnesses to respond promptly to those questions. with that, the subcommittee is adjourned.
saturday morning. join the discussion. >> the government will soon start checking social media as part of the background check for employees seeking a security clearance. tony scott testified before the house subcommittee on government operations and security. the new policy allows the government to seek out public posts on facebook and other social media but not ask individuals for their private passwords. this is an hour and 15 minutes.
>> the subcommittee on government operations and the subcommittee on national security will come to order and without objection the chair is authorized to declare a recess at any time. we are here today to discuss incorporating social media into the federal security clearance and background investigations. having a security clearance means by definiteion you have access to information that would hurt our nagszal security if it got out and that is why we perform background investigations on individual whose want a security clearance. the goal of the background investigation must be to find out if an individual is trustworthy. back in the 1950s that meant talking to neighbors and family. today with more than a billion individuals on facebook what a person says and does on social media can often give a better insight on who they really are. since 2008, various federal agencies have conducted studies
on using social media data in investigation and all find there is a wealth of important information on social media. this issue facing the federal government now is how to use social media information while respecting the legit privacy concerns that are often brought forth. the good news is that using social media checks in security clearance investigations don't have to be a binary decision between big brother and an in effective system. there is several reasonable options available to us to use social media data in a responsible way. it is encouraging to see that odni announced this morning in advance of today's hearing a new policy that will allow federal agencies to review publically available social media
information as part of the clearance investigation process. we will continue to work with the agencies to ensure the social media data of people with security clearances is used in a safe and responsible way. i would like to thank the witnesses for coming today and i look forward to their testimony. with that, i would recognize the ranking member of the subcommitt subcommittee of government operations, my good friend, mr. connel connelly. >> i thank you for holding this hearing. on january 22nd, the administration announced the federal investigative services would transfer function do is a new national background bureau. the department of defense assumed responsibility for designing and operating all information technology for the new nbid. i think it makes abundant sense to task our national security
experts with censoring millions of clearance holders. we are discussing another enhancement; the inclusion of social media in the background process. the army has a pilot program that used publically available data from social media sites to enhance information available during a background check. the department of defense conducting a program looking at all public information online. i am interested in learning the major findings and lessons learned from the pilot programs. while social media is a promising and valuable source, i remain concerned that the government shouldn't retain social media data of third parties that engage with the applicant.
we must not forget other ways to enhance security clearance processes. the performance availability council is establishing a connection to increase the finding of information. we must remember, aaron alexis, who had a secret level of clearance, entered a national yard and tragically killed 12 people. the background check failed to identify his history of gun violence. the police records of this 2004 arrest had not been provided to federal investigators. improvement between localal law enforcement and federal background investigators could prevent and perhaps have prevented a tragedy like that that occurred at the washington navy yard. i welcome each of the witnesses
back from the full committee february hearing and look forward to hearing about the progress on the administration's plan to reform the background process while preserving privacy rights. thank you, mr. chairman. >> i thank the gentlemen. the chair now recognizes the chairman of the subcommittee on national security were his opening statement. -- for. >> thank you, chairman meadows. i want to say this is an important issue. looks like we got a directive late last night where this is going to be an implemented policy so i am interested in hearing how that will be implemented but i am sure that is a result of your oversight so thank you for doing that and i look forward to hearing the witness testimony. >> thank you for your leadership on so many of these issues and i look forward to working with you. i recognize the ranking member on the subcommittee of national security the gentlemen from
massachusetts, mr. lynch. >> thank you. i would like to thank my friends on the panel for holding this hearing. it is important for a number of reasons which you both touched on. when an individual applies to receive an initial or reviewed federal security clearance, a background investigation is conducted. every security clearance candidate is required to complete a standard form 86. it is lengthy and goes into a number of very personal aspects of each person's life. this 127-page form already requests a variety of personal applicant information such as criminal history, use of alcohol or drug use, any mental health counseling. it doesn't currently request social media information.
but as chairman sanders noted last night at 11 o'clock we got copies of the policy and i want to say thank you. we have not always had information forthcoming in a timely manner. even 11 o'clock at night is timely around here; a few hours before the hearing. i appreciate you descenting -- descent. i had a couple chances to read it last night and it raises questions but i think it is good first effort. we appreciate it. in december of '15, congress passed and president obama signed a bipartisan funding legislation that included a robust directive to enhance the security clearance process. the omni bus act directs social media to be used when conducting
periodically reviews of security clearance holders. the law provides a guidance on the types information that could be obtained from social media and may prove relevant on whether an individual should be granted clearance as all. this includes information suggesting a change in ideology, ill-intent, vulnerability to blackmail in allegiance to another country. as mr. connelly noted, the main instance is the tishl situation at the washington navvy yard and there has been exploitation of twitter, whats app and instagram by the islamic state. at one point, we had everyone standing out a standard form 86 was hacked by the chinese. they have a list of everybody
that filled out an 86 requesting security clearance which is very troubling. there is a lot that needs to be talked about here. we will gather the information about individuals in one place. in in light of what happened with the chinese attack i am concerned putting all of this information in one place where it might be accessed by hostile or nefarious actors. we will talk a little bit about that this morning. as i said, i appreciate the security executive agent directive number five and, i think, it is a very good first effort and appreciate your transparency with us. thank you. i yield back >> i thank the gentlemen. i will hold the record open for five lenl slate -- legislative days. i am pleased to welcome mr.
william, the director of the national counter intelligence and security center and the office of the director of national intelligence. ms. beth cobert, acting director of the u.s. office of personal management and i might add in her new role working in a bipartisan and transparent way that is recognized by this committee so thank you so much. and mr. tony scott, the u.s. chief information officer at the u.s. office of management and budget. welcome to you all. all witnesses will be sworn in so if you would please rise and raise your right hand. do you solemnly swear or affirm that the testimony you are about to give will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? thank you. please be seated. let the record reflect all witnesses answered in the
affirmative. please limit your oral testimony to five minutes and your entire written statement will be made part of the record. we will begin now and you are recognized for five minutes. >> good morning. thank you for having me here as part of the team participating in today's hearing. as the national director security center i am responsible for leading the activities of the united states government which includes the entire u.s. government and the private sector. ...
national background investigations for security clearance or forms. today i'm asked to discuss the demonstrations pose anisa social media as part of the personal security investigation and adjudication process. mr. chairman, we are steadfastly at worst on the work that information during the conduct of personal security background
investigations and adjudications. i want to ballot the important contributions to this effort made by our entire bright executive branch that was particularly the office of management budget and opm. and i'm pleased as you reference to announce the director of national intelligence has recently approved this directive which is being publicly released. the data gathered via social media will enhance your ability to determine initial and continued eligibility for access to classified national security information and eligibility for such positions. i realize the federal government's authority to collect and review publicly available social media information in the course of a personnel security background investigation adjudication raises some important legitimate civil liberty privacy concerns. nevertheless, let me be clear being able to collect publicly available social media and other information available to the public is an important valuable
capability when sure those individuals with access to her secrets continue to protect them. and that the capability can be aligned for civil liberties and privacy protections. i would know to the committee that by the term publicly available social media information we mean social media information it has been published or broadcast for public consumption and is available by request of the public, is accessible on line to the public come is available to the public by subscription or purchase our lawfully accessible i believe the new director of social media strikes this balance but under this new director publicly available social information pertaining to the individual under investigation will be intentionally collected. absent a national security concern for criminal reporting requirement information pertaining to the individuals other than individuals being investigated will not be investigated or pursued.
the u.s. government may not request or require individuals subject to the background investigation to buy a password for login to private accounts or to take any action that would disclose nonpublic way available social media information. the complexity of these issues has led to a lengthy and thorough review by the departments and agencies that would be affected by this policy is well scored coordinating the different members of the civil liberties offices privacy act offices and office of general counsel. mr. chairman the new guidelines approved by the director of national intelligence for the collection and use a of publicly available social media information and security clearance investigations and share the investigation can be pursued consistent with substance civil liberties and private rights by the use of social media is become an integral and public part of the fabric of most americans daily lives. it's critical that these this important source of information to protect our nations security.
mr. chairman i welcome any questions that you and your colleagues have at this time. >> thank you for your testimony. ms. cobert you are recognized for five minutes. >> chairman meadows chairman desantis ranking members, leanne lynch and members of the subcommittee thank you for the opportunity to testify before you today on the use of social media in the federal bat around investigational process. opm plays important role in conducting background investigations for the vast majority of the federal government. currently opm's federal investigation of services annually conducts approximately 1 million investigations for 1 million federal agencies, approximately 95% of the total background investigations governmentwide. these background investigations include more than 600,000 national security investigations and 400,000 investigations related to suitability, fitness or ridden shilling each year. as we discussed in february we
are in the process of transitioning to the new national background investigations for a witch ... or of its mission to become the governmentwide service provider for background investigations. the department of defense with his unique national security perspective will design, build, secure and operate the nba be investigated by t. systems in court nation with the nbi d. to provide some context for discussion today i would like to take a few minutes to review how the current security clearance process operates in most cases. first an executive branch agency will make a requirement determination after the sensitivity and risk level. if an agency determines a position requires a clearance the employee completes in sf-86 and submit fingerprints with those which are sent to opm along with an investigation request. opm through nbi be in the future conduct the investigation by doing all of the checks required by the federal investigative
standards. the results of the investigation are then sent to the requesting agency for adjudication. the clearance decision is made from the information and investigative report in the purview of the office of the director of national intelligence odni. the requesting agency sends their decision back to a p. -- odni. individual will be reinvestigated on a periodic basis. as the committee is aware agencies make security clearance decisions using a whole person approach meaning that available reliable information about the person past and present favorable and unfavorable should be considered by adjudicators in reaching a determination. one component of that approach in the 21st century is the topic of today's hearing, social media. odni in his role of the security executive agent have developed a social media policy that has undergone extensive court nation
with relevant department and agency officials. opm looks forward to implementing the policy as part of its ongoing efforts to strengthen its investigative processes. in april pm issued a request for information seeking to better understand the market and the types of products vendors can provide to meet social media requirements. the rfi is in preparation for a pilot that opm is trying to conduct this year it will incorporate automated searches of publicly available social media into the background investigation process. this plan pilot will be conducted by opm and court nation with the odni. the pilot will obtain the results of searches publicly available including public posts on social media from a commercial vendor for a population of security clearance investigations using pertinent investigative and adjudicative criteria. this pilot is to sting from other pilots in that it will assess the practical assets
incorporating social media into the operational end-to-end process. the mechanics of adding this type of report to background investigation and the effects on quality, cost and timeliness. in addition the pilot will assess the assist the uniqueness of the difference provided through social media checks as compared to information provided through investable -- investigative sources precip 40 and implementation of the ipab and aiding its success in all areas will continue to be a core focus for opm as well as the performance of accountability. our goal is to have the initial operating capability officially established the new organizational design in place by october 2016 so implementation will remain to be done after that date on behalf of opm i'm proud to be part of this most recent effort i the administration and i look forward to working with my colleagues on this panel and with this committee in a
bipartisan manner on this important issue. i'm happy to answer any questions you may have. >> thank you for your testimony. mr. scott you are recognized for five minutes. >> thank you chairman meadows chairman desantis ranking member connelly connelly and frankie member lynch and members of the subcommittee i appreciate the opportunity to appear before you today. the administration recognizes the importance of gathering accurate up-to-date and relevant information and its background investigations to determine federal employment and security clearance eligibility. as a government we must continue to improve and modernize the method by which we obtain relevant information for these background investigations. since 2009 various government agencies have conducted pilots and studies of the feasibility, effectiveness and efficiency of collecting publicly available electronic information as a part of the background investigation
process. those pilots have informed the development of the new social media policy that has been issued by the director of national intelligence in his role as the security executive agent. i will for to odni in the further details of this policy. but as you know a limb be chairs the interagency security and suitability performance accountability counsel or pack to ensure interagency coordination. the new policy will reflect that belief an appropriate balance of a number of considerations such as protecting national security, ensuring the privacy of, fairness to individuals seeking security clearances and associates of that individual, the voracity of the information collected from social media and the resources required to protect the process of the collection of adjudication and retention of the relevant data
collected. as the policy is implemented the administration will continue to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of the policy. to do so the government must keep pace with advancements in technology to anticipate, detect and counter external and internal threats of the federal government personnel property information. this need must also be considered with a full legal and national security implications and mine. i am confident the new policy will strike the correct balance between all of these considerations. i think the committee for holding this hearing and for your commitment to improving this process. we look forward to working with congress and i'm pleased to answer any questions you may have. >> thank the gentleman. the chair recognizes himself for five minutes. this is for each of you. are your agencies utilizing
commercially available software to that applicant monitor security holders and detect cybertheft of the individual's personal information? >> congressmen, in the process of the investigations we do work with commercial vendors of publicly available that information. that is what our core element, we use that and other methods to gather the information and investigative process that i'm not sure if i had completely answered your question. stanek there are certain off-the-shelf technologies that the federal government will use that other agencies and i just wanted to ask if there was any type of prohibition on doing that or if you guys are just trying to use all the tools that are potentially at your disposal? >> we use a variety of tools to gather information from public sources both governmental and nongovernmental suthers a righty
of tools we used to do that. those are used to gather some of the information whether there is national law enforcement database from which we get information. we do for example use electronic methods to gather appropriate information about financial so we do use some of those tools. i would happy to get back to you with some of the specifics that would be helpful. >> i concur with my colleague. we encourage the most and effective and efficient tools in the process for ensuring and effective background information. this process will be different pending and the tools and the volume of people applying for clearance. obviously we would encourage odni the most effective capabilities as long as it's
within the rules and regulations policy type work. >> in the years leading up to edward snowden's -- he made several posts to on line forms using consistent usernames complaining about government surveillance and these posts may have alerted authorities that there could be an insider threat. have any of the pilot programs evaluated incapable of detecting that sort of post where the subject is posting under an on line identity that is not explicitly the individuals named? >> sir i'm not specific to the exact nature of the death and granularity of this but i can tell you those particular pose for mr. snowden would not be public facing and they were private chats with individuals beyond the password. >> so in using semi-anonymous names to the extent that there are public forums, would requiring the disclosure of any alternative on line identity
from from the fs 86 form be something that would be helpful? >> sir we are currently not planning on asking anyone to provide passwords or e-mail accounts or individual reference to their on line persona. >> so basically we will look at social media if there is a posting of john smith at a place for security clearance and he will look for john smith that if he goes by you know, jack scott then you are not going to require that. that is not something that would be considered? >> not currently in less they are willing to consent to that information. >> what reason could allow extensive questioning? the fs 86 is a very intensive investigation. you will call a people's college roommates and you'll call a people's neighbors even if they
have lived in a place for sure period of time so there is a lot of expensive -- extensive investigation so why would you want to do that and i'm not saying you shouldn't do that but why would you do that and not want to get the whole i guess picture of their on line identities? >> well i think if digital information is obtained individual has a pseudonym or someone that is different than this name it can be pursued investigative way but that's not something we are going to ask and there's not a way for us to identify bob smith who is really dave jones on line without somebody telling us. >> what would be the reason since there's so much required will would be the negative of just asking hey do you post on line under any type of pseudonym? >> i think when you get to pass the public interface of social media you get to the border of
privacy and civil liberties in terms of what are your practices beyond what you would do in the course but the analogy is we don't look at their e-mails and we don't look at their telephone and conversations. >> my time is up are they now recognize the gentleman from virginia for five minutes. >> thank you mr. chairman and welcome. help me understand how this works. because it's one thing for a private individual to be trolling on facebook and it's another for the government to be doing it. so how does this work? somebody in government the internet and looks up your facebook history? you are harry houdini and you have applied for security clearance. now we are looking at through social media anything that you used, twitter, facebook, youtube
hulu whatever it might be. so we just go on line and look at whatever we can find under harry houdini or surely jones name, that right? if you could pull the mic closer. >> congressman i think we looked at it and try to provide the most flexibility for investigative agencies and service providers to do what they feel is most practicable and the most reasonable for their individual agencies so for instance on to bigger agencies may provide data service provided aggregate data from multiple people to go out and do the search. we are clearly acknowledging the effort will be exhausted as -- exhausted to identify people social media foot rents. >> okay what are the red lights that say got to follow up on this? my facebook posting we are talking about a block party in
july in michael the sack. talking about may be a family reunion and interspersed with all of that may be, the president needs to die. how do we make sure if it's all trivial that's the end of it, it's debated in this opportunity and because there may be other names in the facebook. there may be pictures of other people or not the subject of an investigation was that association is suspect great how do we make sure that we don't just have some enormous government depository of personal information of american citizens that is not at all relevant or parts of it may be? how do we do that? >> it's a great question. to put it in context of social media is one tool that many we currently use in background
investigations and the retention of that data will be parallel to any other data reflected in the individual. to your example of facebook the only relevant information for the adjudicative process would be the issue of the president had all the other stuff would not be retained although we would obtain the presidents of of. >> let me interrupt though. god forbid should there be such a reference the other stuff not being retained actually i might not want to take a fresh look at your associations because maybe they are involved. would we want to check that out? if for no other reason than to talk to the neighbors to say this harry houdini talk this way often? >> social media application like many other tools they are at the disposal of investigators that provide investigative leads of that particular post would lead to an investigative lead to be followed up with colleagues family friends and neighbors as
just another lead no different than an financial disclosure. >> ms. cobert and mr. scott in the time i have i would be derelict among my constituents of that in return for obium security breach and if he can take some time to bring us up today to date. weaknesses identified have been addressed so they can't -- so there can't be a recurrence and how are we coming in trying to make people whole again in terms of the compromise of their personal information? >> let me respond to that. in terms of improving the security of our systems we have made significant strides in our ongoing effort and we will continue to do so working closely with dhs, with dod as part of the nbi bestand that. we have staff from the land be working with us as well as ongoing working sessions. we have installed the latest versions of einstein. we have got a whole series of improvements we have made to our firewalls.
we now have the ability. >> einsein iii. not in place now. >> we were one of the first agencies to put in place. >> it was in place at the time. >> no. we continue to put in place a whole series of tools and we have seen improvements it that. we have a new chief information security officer. i could go on on that we will continue to work on that issue. in terms of the individuals whose information was taken we have the identity monitoring contracts in place. we continue to monitor those in terms of the quality of their customer service. we are also actively working to put in place the provisions to extend the identity theft insurance to $5 million as well as being in the process of figuring out how to extend those to the 10 years that was also approved by congress so we continue to work closely including with tony and the team from omb.
>> i would just add i am seeing almost as much of that is i did when she was at a one b. when we worked on this project. beth and i and the dod cio made regularly to review the process in the transition but also ensuring that security and integrity of existing system so i'm pleased with the process. see act a few mr. chairman. >> the chair now recognizes the gentleman from georgia mr. hice for five minutes. >> thank you mr. chairman. mr. evanina let me begin with you. as we all know in 2008 there was a commissioned study in regard to showing the benefits of examining certain aspects of social media. why has it taken eight years to
implement this thing, to get it started? >> congressman i can't really answer your issue but i can't tell you that to get to where we are took a lot of extensive effort and interagency coordination to be able to strike the right balance between what we need to obtain or should obtain reasonably through social media never going -- ever-growing internet age and balance that with the civil liberties and privacy of not only our clearance holders but u.s. citizens. that process not only was exhausted but it was the right thing to do. also i think we haven't really identified the collective value or weighed in measures for the efforts of social media collection will be or has been so we are still using the pilot process to identify as the effort resource allocation worthy of collecting other social media use as part of the process number one and number
two if it is where do we allocate that within the investigative process? it will be resource intensive. >> it seems like eight years is an awfully long time to try to find a balance between privacy and that which is public information. this is not highly private information when people are publicizing our own social media like this and i understand we want to be very careful with that. we all do. let me ask you this. it seems that the new policy but we saw this morning, and correct me if i'm wrong but it seems like finding information on an individual's background appears to be largely at the discretion of individual agencies. can you tell me why odni decided to leave that decision to
individual agencies rather than opening this up for all departments of our federal government? >> i will say there's only 22 agencies who have the authority to conduct background investigations and they do that on behalf of the federal agencies to require that. those individuals are the ones that are covered a policy. the policy was purposefully made available. from 2008 until two years ago social media definition is changed and will continue to change so in order to provide the agencies to conduct the information a maximal flexibility to go about utilizing social media as part of this process was paramount in this effort. i'm pretty sure year from now that definition may change and we want to make sure each agency of the flexibility from the resource perspective to identify
the most efficient way to implement this policy. >> do you believe is 22 agencies will begin utilizing this? >> i do. >> okay. ms. cobert can you explain how opm plans to implement this policy? >> thank you congressman. as i mentioned in my testimony we are working through this pilot process to figure out the best way to utilize social media as a standard consistent part of the process. as mr. evanina described we are committed to evaluate the question of how. we need a way to make sure when we gather information on social media it's accurate. it's not always accurate. what you find is not always a reality. we need to find a way to make sure as we do this we have the resources to follow up on whatever information is revealed. how do we get those resources to follow up and that is the goal of the pilot is too embedded into the operational process.
are there places whereby using social media or their tools we can replace some steps and take those resources and apply them to something else? are there other cases where the value of the information will merit adding additional resources so that the issue we are working through in the pilot process we are starting will be starting before the end of this fiscal year. we also will continue through the pack and other forms working with dod and other agencies as they start to implement this so we all can learn from each other. we have got to figure out how to do this right in how to do it at scale and we want to move expeditiously but cautiously as we do that raise tonight thank you. can you provide the committee with the timeframe for implementation besides by the end of the year, and more specific timeframe? >> the first piece is the pilot and then we will take that but we are happy to provide more information. >> thank you very much. >> the gentleman from is expired
and now recognized mr. lynch for five minutes. >> i want to thank everybody probing this hearing and thank the witnesses for their help. every once in a while i have to talk alarm goes off and sometimes i think i'm hearing happy talk and i think i just heard some. look, i appreciate the idea that we have this eight-year continuum of improvement trying to improve our systems and you know there is this cautious progress of protecting and balancing private information versus doing these background checks but the reality on this committee is 10 months ago ms. colbert your predecessor sat there and told me that 10 months ago we were not even encrypt in the social security numbers of the 4 million people who are had to add opm. that is the reality 10 months
ago. we weren't even encrypt things social security numbers and she painfully had to admit that in her legal counsel was with her and they confirmed that pat -- facts. i'm very concerned about what is happening. i'm very encouraged that dod is going to take over cybersecurity in your shop and you are going to help them with that. how is that knowing and what steps have you taken? >> specific, that should give me some level of reassurance that we don't have another problem like that? >> thank you congressman. let me start with how we are working with dod in the standup of the nbib and i can come back to things we have underway and that we will be doing in that context. we are working very closely with dod as mr. scott described. >> let me cut you off because i don't want to go on this long
diatribe but have you encrypted the social security numbers for all of the employees right now add opm? >> there are still elements of the opm systems that are difficult to encrypt. we have a multilayered defense. >> you have all these different systems. i've been out this a while and we have tried to get ahold of this and i have been here four years working on this problem. there's no shame in admitting how difficult that is. what i don't want is his happy talk that it's all going well. we will have another hearing and there'll be a lot of gnashing of teeth and criticisms and there will be somebody else in your spot. what i'm trying to get out is what are we actually getting done and where of the obstacles? at their obstacles in terms of what you're trying to do and i believe you are all trying to do the right thing and mr. scott as well. you can get in on this because you are part of this.
what are we doing to protect the information that we do gather? >> i would say there have been all kinds of work done in this area, penetration testing, new tools deployed, multiple examinations and ongoing health from dod and dhs and so on so i think opm is leading federal agencies right now in terms of their efforts and the amount of progress that they have made. they have applied tools to the limits they can within the limits of current technology but as beth said there are some things that can't be encrypted because the technology doesn't. >> dod in this area is much better than opm and some of the other departments. are we using their personnel and if they come over? >> they have been in.
they are side-by-side with the team at opm helping not only preview but to look at architecture and also build out the plans for the future nbib technology so i'm pleased with the way it's going. i don't think there's anybody who would say our job is done and we are not interested in pursuing what else we can do. >> the cost estimate. we have had some pilot programs that tell us it's somewhere between $105 per person to do screenings, this gathering of social media information. is that pretty close in practice what we would find? >> i would say some of the pilots that are from the estimates have been in that range. clearly one of the things that will have to happen and i think the pilots will inform those is
some greater level of automation. as you can probably appreciate when you do a search you get a ton of data that has to be sifted through and adjudicated. i happen to be a person who has a name that is shared with a professional baseball player, a professional musician, and movie director and a bunch of other things and just a simple search would turn up a bunch of crazy stuff that wouldn't be relevant. so some degree of automation ultimately is going to have to help bring the cost down to that. >> icy my time has expired. mr. chairman thank you for indulgence ngaio back. >> the chair recognizes the john from kentucky mr. massie for five minutes. >> thank you mr. chairing the -- chairman. this is a great hearing and i thank you for conducting it. i've a friend that says the government should do opposition research on the politicians. they seem to find anything all
the way back to junior high. on a serious note though i see edward snowden as an example in our notes as somebody who may be would have known something about it than done social media research. that may or not be true but one thing that does stand out as the political contributions are available on line and i suppose even before social media and the on line availability of this they were available so you have an analog or a way of considering whether you should consider are not consider political contributions and doing background research. now that you have social media available to you there is another layer of transparency or a layer of opec does that has been removed. you can see where somebody supports a political candidate or not. by the way edward snowden and i
have similar conjugation histories. my colleague here suggest that you should be suspect of anybody that contributes to me as well. my question is this and mr. evanina do you take into account political support when doing background research and social media? >> we do not. it's important for the committee to understand that. investigators to conduct back round investigations are well-trained and they follow investigative standards. there are plenty of policies that they put forth in their rigorous background investigation they conduct investigations on information obtained is relevant to whether or not you are capable of obtaining and holding security clearance so a political contribution would not be one of those. >> if they encountered somebody who in their social media supported a candidate who is strong on fourth amendment and believes very strongly in the right to privacy and there are
different interpretations. i'm not saying everybody does that would be a consideration. >> absolutely not. i will yield back my time. >> i thank the gentleman. the chair recognizes the gentlewoman from l. and i misskelley for five minutes. >> thank you mr. chair. many of us have been accustomed to using technology in our day-to-day lives and it seems that can make sure the social media counts of individuals applying for security clearance however some to know when incorporating social media and to the federal background check process a number of steps must be taken that go far beyond those review as a friend profile. doctors cobert opium conducts 95% of background checks government wide. the initial data collection is
completed by federal contractors in part because it must comply with the various laws governing when information can be collected used and stored by the federal government. is that accurate? >> congresswoman we work with federal contractors in the investigative process to enhance our capacity to conduct background investigations. they have to follow the same federal investigative standards that mr. evanina reference. the individuals from those contractors who work on investigations also have to go, undergo thorough training against the standards and we work to ensure that's a perfect training. >> the incorporation of social media data is not as simple as it may sound to many people so i'd like to delve deeper and how we get a query for publicly available information to the point in which we have jayapal and verified information for use in the adjudication process. again to begin with contractors must contact social media checks on clearance applicants based on
guidance from you about the information relevant to clearance of investigations, correct? >> we are going to start with the social media efforts with the pilot i mentioned. that will help us understand what kind of guidance we should be putting in place when individuals are conducting social media searches to verify that information to ensure we are focused on the pieces that are relevant to a security clearance not the other issues that are not part of the process. that's why we are going to work this through enduring the pilots we can create standards and processes that will give us reliable information and protect privacy. >> and your current contractors will need robert training in proper guidance to do all of that. >> they will need training, yes they will. >> once the data is collected the human being is necessary to make a judgment and verified that it -- the individual question. >> we are