Homeland strategy outlined

National Strategy for Homeland Security

The White House released the long-awaited national strategy for homeland security today, outlining many technology initiatives to support the structure defined in the Bush administration's proposed Homeland Security Department.

The strategy creates six "critical mission areas" to be addressed by the four divisions of the proposed department. The six areas are:

* Intelligence and warning.

* Border and transportation security.

* Domestic counterterrorism.

* Protecting critical infrastructure.

* Defending against catastrophic terrorism.

* Emergency preparedness and response.

Each area has five to 12 specific initiatives building on and organizing work already under way at federal, state and local levels. Many initiatives focus on how technology can support homeland security efforts and range from directives to create a national incident management system to an initiative to "secure cyberspace."

A separate national strategy is still under development to specifically address cybersecurity.

In addition, there are two "foundations of homeland security" -- crosscutting issues that impact every area of the strategy: coordination of science and technology research and development of information sharing systems. Two major initiatives under the latter area include creating central databases to provide trusted information and developing a dynamic homeland security information architecture.

Partnership with the private sector is a key feature of the strategy, and it also outlines many initiatives for the legislative branch, identifying areas where federal and state laws could be enhanced or created to better enable government to fight terrorism.

At the announcement of the strategy with congressional leaders and Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge, President Bush praised the leaders of both parties for their agreement to move the bills to create a new department to the floor of the House and Senate before leaving for the August recess.

"This comprehensive plans lays out clear lines of authority and clear responsibilities," he said. "With a better picture of those responsibilities, all of us can direct money and manpower to meet them."


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