Homeland security group formed

Executive Order 13260

President Bush signed an executive order March 19 creating a new public-private sector advisory council to assist the administration in developing, implementing and determining the effectiveness of homeland security policy.

The President's Homeland Security Advisory Council will be composed of 21 experts from the private sector, academia, federally funded research and development centers, state and local governments, and other areas.

The council will work closely with Tom Ridge, director of the Office of Homeland Security, to:

*Advise the president on the development and implementation of a national security strategy against terrorist threats.

*Recommend ways to improve coordination and communication among all levels of government officials, private groups and other entities.

*Provide a means to collect research, technological advice and information about the best practices of management.

*Examine the effectiveness of specific measures to detect, prepare for, prevent, respond to and recover from terrorist threats or attacks.

In addition, the council will provide a regular report to the president.

The leaders of other presidential advisory committees and councils — such as the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee and the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology — are ex officio members.

To support the homeland security council, the executive order establishes four senior advisory committees for homeland security, composed of officials selected by Ridge. The committees will focus on issues involving state and local officials, academia and policy research, the private sector, emergency services, law enforcement, and public health and hospitals.

The executive order also directs federal agencies to, as possible, provide any and all homeland security information requested by the council.

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