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Overview of America's National Strategy for Homeland Security

America is at war with terrorist enemies who are intent on attacking our Homeland and destroying our way of life. The lives and livelihoods of the American people also remain at risk from natural catastrophes, including naturally occurring infectious diseases and hazards such as hurricanes and earthquakes, and man-made accidents. Our National Strategy for Homeland Security recognizes that while we must continue to focus on the persistent and evolving terrorist threat, we also must address the full range of potential catastrophic events, including man-made and natural disasters, due to their implications for homeland security.

The purpose of our Strategy is to guide, organize, and unify our Nation's homeland security efforts. It provides a common framework by which our entire Nation should focus its efforts on the following four goals:

While the first three goals help to organize our national efforts, the last goal entails creating and transforming our homeland security principles, systems, structures, and institutions. This includes applying a comprehensive approach to risk management, building a culture of preparedness, developing a comprehensive Homeland Security Management System, improving incident management, better utilizing science and technology, and leveraging all instruments of national power and influence.

Homeland security requires a truly national effort, with shared goals and responsibilities for protecting and defending the Homeland. Our Strategy leverages the unique strengths and capabilities of all levels of government, the private and non-profit sectors, communities, and individual citizens. Mindful that many of the threats we face do not recognize geographic boundaries, we also will continue to work closely with our international partners throughout the world.

This updated Strategy, which builds directly from the first National Strategy for Homeland Security issued in July 2002, reflects our increased understanding of the terrorist threats confronting the United States today, incorporates lessons learned from exercises and real-world catastrophes – including Hurricane Katrina – and proposes new initiatives and approaches that will enable the Nation to achieve our homeland security objectives. This Strategy also complements both the National Security Strategy issued in March 2006 and the National Strategy for Combating Terrorism issued in September 2006.

Our first and most solemn obligation is to protect the American people. The National Strategy for Homeland Security will guide our Nation as we honor this commitment and achieve a more secure Homeland that sustains our way of life as a free, prosperous, and welcoming America.

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