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Protecting the Homeland

“As we wage this war abroad, we must remember where it began – here on our homeland. In this new kind of war, the enemy’s objective is to strike us on our own territory and make our people live in fear. This danger places all of you, every person here and the people you work with, on the front lines of the war on terror. Our methods for fighting this war at home are very different from those we use abroad, yet our strategy is the same: We’re on the offensive against terror. We’re determined to stop the enemy before they can strike our people.”

– President George W. Bush, September 10, 2003

The Accomplishments

Improving Homeland Security

  • With strong bipartisan support President Bush created the Department of Homeland Security – the most comprehensive reorganization of the Federal government in a half-century. The Department of Homeland Security consolidates 22 agencies and 180,000 employees, unifying once-fragmented Federal functions in a single agency dedicated to protecting America from terrorism.
  • President Bush has nearly tripled homeland security discretionary funding.
  • More than $18 billion has been awarded to state and local governments to protect the homeland.
  • The Bush Administration developed a comprehensive National Strategy for Homeland Security, focused on six key areas: intelligence and warning; border and transportation security; domestic counterterrorism; protecting critical infrastructure; defending against catastrophic threats; and emergency preparedness and response.
  • The Administration developed national strategies to help secure cyberspace and the infrastructures and assets vital to our public health, safety, political institutions, and economy.
  • The President authorized the establishment of the United States Northern Command, to provide for integrated homeland defense and coordinated Pentagon support to Federal, state, and local governments.
  • For the first time, the President has made countering and investigating terrorist activity the number one priority for both law enforcement and intelligence agencies. The Bush Administration has transformed the FBI into an agency whose primary mission is to prevent terrorist attacks and increased its budget by 60 percent.

Improving Intelligence

  • President Bush proposed the most thoroughgoing reorganization of the intelligence community in more than a half-century. The President supports the creation of a National Intelligence Director to serve as his principal intelligence advisor. He will also establish a National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) and strongly supports the 9/11 Commission’s recommendations to reorganize congressional oversight for both intelligence and homeland security.
  • In his 2003 State of the Union address, President Bush announced the creation of the Terrorist Threat Integration Center (TTIC) to synthesize information collected within the United States and abroad about possible terrorist threats.
  • The Terrorist Screening Center (TSC) was launched to consolidate terrorist watch lists and provide continual operational support for Federal, state, and local screeners and law enforcement.
  • The FBI has established a new Executive Director for Intelligence and specially-trained intelligence analysts.
  • The Department of Homeland Security Information Network is connected to all 50 states and more than 50 major urban areas, and allows information sharing among thousands of local agencies and the Homeland Security Operations Center.
New Tools to Fight Terrorism
  • President Bush won overwhelming support for the USA PATRIOT Act, a law that gives intelligence and law enforcement officials important new tools to fight terrorists. This legislation has prevented terrorist attacks and saved American lives.
  • The dramatic increase in information sharing allowed by the PATRIOT Act has enabled law enforcement to find and dismantle terror cells in Portland, Oregon; Lackawanna, New York; and Northern Virginia.
  • Warrants are now applicable across state and district lines, eliminating the need to obtain multiple warrants for the same person – a lengthy process that previously hindered counterterrorism efforts.
  • Law enforcement officials have been given better tools to fight terrorism, including roving wire taps and the capacity to seize assets and end financial counterfeiting, smuggling and money-laundering.
  • Judges are now able to impose stiffer sentences on terrorists.
Supporting First Responders
  • The President’s 2005 budget reflects a 780 percent increase in funding for first responders since September 11th.
  • Since September 11th, more than a half-million first responders across America have been trained.
  • The Bush Administration has proposed doubling the level of first responder preparedness grants targeted to high-threat urban areas. The Urban Area Security Initiative enhances the ability of large urban areas to prepare for and respond to threats or acts of terrorism.
Strengthening Defenses Against Biological, Chemical, and Radiological Weapons
  • President Bush signed into law Project BioShield, an unprecedented, $5.6 billion effort to develop vaccines and other medical responses to biological, chemical, nuclear, and radiological weapons.
  • The Bush Administration is investing more than $7 billion across all aspects of biodefense. In the last three years, the Administration has created the BioWatch program to monitor major cities for a biological release, procured sufficient smallpox vaccine for all citizens, and significantly increased stocks of antibiotics against anthrax.
  • State and local health systems have been provided more than $4.4 billion to bolster their ability to respond to public health crises.
  • The Bush Administration undertook several initiatives to detect radiological materials being smuggled into our Nation, issuing thousands of portable radiation detectors to border control personnel and installing radiation detection portals at ports of entry.
  • Security and research to protect the Nation’s food supply from terrorists has increased, adding millions of dollars in funding and hundreds of food inspectors.
Improving Aviation, Border, and Port Security
  • To support improved border and transportation security, funding levels have increased by $9 billion since September 11th.
  • Aviation security has been improved from the curb to the cockpit. Hardened cockpit doors have been installed on all US commercial aircraft. Flight deck crews are being trained to carry guns in the cockpit. Thousands of air marshals are being deployed daily. All checked baggage now is being screened. And canine teams are now positioned at every major airport to search for explosives.
  • Over the last three years, nearly $15 billion has been devoted to strengthening aviation security.
  • The visa issuance process has been tightened to better screen foreign visitors; the US-VISIT program was created to use cutting-edge biometrics to check the identity of foreign travelers; and the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System was created to verify foreign student activity in the United States.
  • New Coast Guard vessels and specialized maritime security units have been added.
  • The Container Security Initiative was developed to allow US inspectors to screen high-risk shipping containers at major foreign ports before they are loaded in ships bound for America.
  • The National Targeting Center was created to vet passenger lists of aircraft and container shippers to identify high-risk individuals and shipments. Today, 100 percent of high-risk cargo containers are examined by US inspectors.
Helping Victims of the September 11th Attacks
  • The Administration implemented a $40 billion emergency response package to begin the recovery from the attacks and to protect national security.
  • President Bush signed legislation that sped compensation to the family of each fallen police officer, firefighter, and rescuer.
  • The President, working closely with Congress, created the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, which established a streamlined claim process for victims of the September 11th attacks to receive compensation. The Fund will provide a total of about $7 billion in financial aid.
  • More than 10,000 business owners across the Nation were approved for more than $1 billion in disaster loans to help deal with the economic consequences of the attacks.