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 Home > News & Policies > January 2002

USA Freedom Corps Overview


  • The USA Freedom Corps will have a Council and Office within the Executive Office of the President. The Council will be chaired by the President and include the heads of key departments and agencies with public service programs and components. The Office will be headed by an Assistant to the President, reporting directly to the President, and will include a staff to help coordinate the service initiative;
  • The Council will make policy recommendations to the President on additional service opportunities and ways in which Federal and community-based programs can provide incentives and information to foster better citizenship and more service to the Nation and to communities;
  • The USA Freedom Corps will work with appropriate Federal departments and agencies to establish baseline data for measuring participation in service programs, identifying serious needs, and tracking progress resulting from additional resources and opportunities made possible through the USA Freedom Corps;
  • "USA Freedom Corps" awards and certificates will be issued to participants in the three service programs; and
  • The USA Freedom Corps will coordinate this new service initiative with appropriate federal departments and agencies, and help work with the Congress to secure the more than $560 million in Fiscal Year 2003 to support this initiative.

CITIZEN CORPS - Engaging Citizens in Homeland Security

  • Establish Citizens Corps Councils representing citizens in local communities, provide appropriate community designations, and encourage recruitment of Citizen Corps volunteers. The Councils would include leaders from law enforcement, fire and emergency medical services, businesses, community-based institutions, schools, places of worship, health care institutions, public works, and other key sectors. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will coordinate with states and local communities to support the establishment of the Councils. The Administration is requesting $144 million for Fiscal Year 2003 in matching grants to help support Citizen Corps Councils through training, materials, and certification. Certification will include responsibilities for maintaining the Councils and programs. The Councils will coordinate the Citizen Corps programs at the local level, such as:
    • Volunteers In Police Service Program: Building on successful local programs, in which civilian volunteers help local police departments and free up police officers to perform their front-line duties, the Department of Justice (DOJ) will coordinate with State and local police departments on best practices, providing training and information on specific non-sworn functions, and liability issues. The Administration has requested $3 million for Fiscal Year 2003 to support this initiative;
    • Double Neighborhood Watch Programs and Add a Terrorism Prevention Component: The Department of Justice will work with the Neighborhood Watch Program (NWP) to incorporate terrorism prevention into its mission. The goal would be to double the number of NWPs over the next two years. DOJ will make grant funding available to Neighborhood Watch for additional training and increased capacity through the National Sheriffs’ Association. The Administration has requested $6 million for Fiscal Year 2003 to support this initiative;
    • Medical Reserve Corps: A community-based Medical Reserve Corps would be created as part of the local Councils to recruit and train retired healthcare professionals to augment local health care capacity during an emergency. The Department of Health and Human Services will coordinate training, information, emergency procedures, and communications. The Administration has requested $10 million for Fiscal Year 2003 for this initiative;
    • Triple Community Emergency Response Team Members: The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is a program conducted by a specially trained team of first responders. The training prepares individuals in neighborhoods, workplaces, and schools to take a more active part in the emergency management planning for their area and to prepare themselves and others for disasters. CERT training includes: disaster preparedness; disaster fire suppression; disaster medical operations; and light search and rescue operations. FEMA will work to increase three-fold training capacity, equipment, and information dissemination. The Administration has requested $61 million for Fiscal Year 2003 for this initiative;
    • Operation TIPS: Terrorist Information and Prevention System: Operation TIPS will be a nationwide mechanism for reporting suspicious activity -- enlisting millions of American transportation workers, truckers, letter carriers, train conductors, ship captains, and utility employees in the effort to prevent terrorism and crime. Operation TIPS, a project of the U.S. Department of Justice, will be initiated as a pilot program in ten cities in America. DOJ will establish a 1-800 Hotline for participants in Operation TIPS to report information. The Administration has requested $8 million for Fiscal Year 2003; and
    • Citizens’ Preparedness Guidebook and PSA Campaign: A national information campaign will carry the President’s message of citizen preparedness. Building on what is effective in crime prevention and responding to natural disasters, the Guidebook will provide information to citizens on how to prepare for potential terrorism, and a PSA campaign will help Americans implement the suggestions in the Guidebook. The Guidebook and PSA campaign will give Americans guidance on how best to prepare at home, in the community, at work, at the airport, in places of worship, and in other public places. DOJ is carrying out the initiative with existing resources.

  • More than $230 million has been requested in FY ’03 for all of these initiatives.



  • Provide service opportunities for 25,000 new AmeriCorps participants (a 50 percent increase), leveraging at least 75,000 additional volunteers;
    • Enhance opportunities for service in public health and safety and emergency preparedness and broaden service opportunities more generally;
    • Reform Education Awards in AmeriCorps so the awards can be used for education, down payment on a home, job training, and health care costs;
    • Permit Education Awards for seniors to include transferability of a $4,725 Silver Scholarship to a grandchild or someone else for education;
    • Provide for more leveraging of volunteers as a part of evaluating and funding programs;
    • Assure more accountability for results by ensuring that grantees meet performance measures; and
    • Empower local community and faith-based organizations through service volunteers.

  • More than $230 million has been requested in FY ’03 to support these initiatives.
  • Greater Public and Private Support for Teaching and Other National Service Programs. The FY 2003 budget will provide $10 million for the first-time use of challenge grants to support the expansion of teaching and other national service programs. Under these new challenge grants, private sources will provide at least 50 percent of the amount required to expand existing effective national service programs. The Corporation for National and Community Service has supported effective teacher programs in the past, such as Teach for America, but has not used an authority that targets Federal funds to challenge the private sector to help expand these efforts.

Senior Corps

  • Provide service opportunities for 100,000 new Senior Corps Volunteers
    • Leverage additional volunteers;
    • Enhance service opportunities for seniors to participate in programs by changing eligibility requirements, such as lowering the age to 55 for participating in all programs;
    • Increase service opportunities in public health, safety, and emergency preparedness; and
    • Provide greater flexibility to local communities by easing burdensome requirements governing the activities of volunteers.

  • More than $50 million has been requested in FY ’03 to support these initiatives.

Greater Service Opportunities During College: Federal Work Study Program

  • Every college and university will be required to devote 50 percent of its Federal Work Study funds to community service (currently it is only 7 percent) and specify that in any given year at least 5 percent of the students would be expected to work in fields of public safety, public health and emergency preparedness. This would mean that an additional 250,000 to 300,000 students would serve an average of 10 hours a week in non-profit organizations across the country.


  • Double the number of Peace Corps volunteers over the next 5 years; this would boost the Peace Corps to near its historic high of 15,000 volunteers last achieved in June of 1966. The Peace Corps currently has 7,000 volunteers in 70 countries, the majority of whom are working in the areas of education, environment, and health.
  • Support Reconstruction Efforts in Afghanistan through the Crisis Corps. Part of the Peace Corps, the "Crisis Corps" recruits former volunteers, who know the language, culture, and traditions of the countries in which they work. The Crisis Corps will aim to assist in the reconstruction of Afghanistan as quickly as possible, consistent with the safety and security of volunteers.
  • Enter More Countries in 2002. The Administration is sending Peace Corps volunteers to re-enter Peru. The Administration will also work to provide Peace Corps volunteers to more Islamic countries and to other countries, such as East Timor, the first nation to be created in the 21st century. All decisions will be made in a manner consistent with the safety and security of volunteers.
  • More than $200 million has been requested in Fiscal Years 2003-2007 for these initiatives.

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