The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
February 28, 2003

Fact Sheet

Today's Presidential Action

The federal government marks an historic day on March 1 as over 170,000 employees from more than 20 different agencies officially become part of the Department of Homeland Security. In remarks to new employees of the Department of Homeland Security, the President thanked these public servants for their service to our nation and highlighted the significant progress that has been made over the last 18 months in improving America's preparedness.

President Bush today announced that he will do everything in his power to ensure that as much as possible of the recently passed appropriations goes directly toward training and equipping those at the state and local level who must prepare for and respond to potential terrorist attacks.

Background on Protecting the Homeland

Since September 11, the Bush Administration has taken action to strengthen America against the threat of another terrorist attack.

  • To secure America's air traffic, the Transportation Security Administration has instituted strict security procedures in the nation's airports and has deployed more than 50,000 trained airport screeners and thousands of air marshals.
  • To protect America's ports and waterways, the Coast Guard has made its largest commitment to port security since World War II, including over 35,000 port security patrols and 3,500 air patrols. The Coast Guard has boarded over 2,500 vessels of interest, interdicted over 6,200 illegal immigrants, and created and maintained over 100 Maritime Security Zones.
  • To protect America from terrorist threats, the FBI has increased the number of counter-terrorism agents by nearly 40% and has expanded to 66 Joint Terrorism Task Forces nationwide. Through its new National Threats Warning System, the FBI has disseminated more than 50 warnings to over 60 Federal agencies and 18,000 state and local law enforcement agencies.
  • To protect against the threat of bioterror, the Department of Health and Human Services has awarded $1.1 billion in assistance to help state and local governments increase preparedness and improve communications and laboratory capacity to respond to the threat of bio-terrorism.
  • To protect America's neighborhoods, local Citizen Corps Councils have been formed in 51 states and territories, enlisting thousands of individual citizens to make their communities safer, stronger and better-prepared. Community Emergency Response Team training has been conducted in 244 localities in 42 states.
  • To help state and local responders and emergency managers prepare for attacks, the federal government has awarded more than $900 million and has also supported the training of more than 100,000 first responders.
  • To protect America's borders and prevent the entry of dangerous materials, inspectors will be posted at more than 20 major ports around the world, examining high-risk cargo before it reaches America's shores.

    These steps are important, but the President believes we must do more to strengthen homeland security for all Americans. Among the initiatives that the President has proposed:

  • The President's FY 2004 Budget continues the commitment of providing needed resources for homeland security. From 2002 to 2004, the budget for the organizations that will comprise the Department of Homeland Security will increase by 64% to $36.2 billion.
  • This week, the President sent to Congress his proposal for Project BioShield - a major research and production effort to guard Americans against bioterrorism. The President has proposed nearly $6 billion for this project to achieve one of BioShield's main goals ? to enable the government to quickly make available effective vaccines and treatments against agents like anthrax, botulinum toxin, Ebola and plague.
  • The President also proposed the creation of a new Terrorist Threat Integration Center (TTIC), which will analyze, in a single location, all threat information collected domestically and abroad. The TTIC, when fully operational, will house a database of known and suspected terrorists that will be accessible to officials across the country.
    Return to this article at:

    Click to print this document