The White House
President George W. Bush
Print this document

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
July 16, 2002

Executive Summary

President's Remarks

 Read the National Strategy      

This document is the first National Strategy for Homeland Security. The purpose of the Strategy is to mobilize and organize our Nation to secure the U.S. homeland from terrorist attacks. This is an exceedingly complex mission that requires coordinated and focused effort from our entire society -- the federal government, state and local governments, the private sector, and the American people.

People and organizations all across the United States have taken many steps to improve our security since the September 11 attacks, but a great deal of work remains. The National Strategy for Homeland Security will help to prepare our Nation for the work ahead in several ways. It provides direction to the federal government departments and agencies that have a role in homeland security. It suggests steps that state and local governments, private companies and organizations, and individual Americans can take to improve our security and offers incentives for them to do so. It recommends certain actions to the Congress. In this way, the Strategy provides a framework for the contributions that we all can make to secure our homeland.

The National Strategy for Homeland Security is the beginning of what will be a long struggle to protect our Nation from terrorism. It establishes a foundation upon which to organize our efforts and provides initial guidance to prioritize the work ahead. The Strategy will be adjusted and amended over time. We must be prepared to adapt as our enemies in the war on terrorism alter their means of attack.

Strategic Objectives

The strategic objectives of homeland security in order of priority are to:

· Prevent terrorist attacks within the United States;

· Reduce America’s vulnerability to terrorism; and

· Minimize the damage and recover from attacks that do occur.

Threat and Vulnerability

Unless we act to prevent it, a new wave of terrorism, potentially involving the world’s most destructive weapons, looms in America’s future. It is a challenge as formidable as any ever faced by our Nation. But we are not daunted. We possess the determination and the resources to defeat our enemies and secure our homeland against the threats they pose.

One fact dominates all homeland security threat assessments: terrorists are strategic actors. They choose their targets deliberately based on the weaknesses they observe in our defenses and our preparedness. We must defend ourselves against a wide range of means and methods of attack. Our enemies are working to obtain chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear weapons for the purpose of wreaking unprecedented damage on America. Terrorists continue to employ conventional means of attack, while at the same time gaining expertise in less traditional means, such as cyber attacks. Our society presents an almost infinite array of potential targets that can be attacked through a variety of methods.

Our enemies seek to remain invisible, lurking in the shadows. We are actively engaged in uncovering them. Al-Qaeda remains America’s most immediate and serious threat despite our success in disrupting its network in Afghanistan and elsewhere. Other international terrorist organizations, as well as domestic terrorist groups, possess the will and capability to attack the United States.

Organizing for a Secure Homeland

In response to the homeland security challenge facing us, the President has proposed, and the Congress is presently considering, the most extensive reorganization of the federal government in the past fifty years. The establishment of a new Department of Homeland Security would ensure greater accountability over critical homeland security missions and unity of purpose among the agencies responsible for them.2

American democracy is rooted in the precepts of federalism -- a system of government in which our state governments share power with federal institutions. Our structure of overlapping federal, state, and local governance -- our country has more than 87,000 different jurisdictions -- provides unique opportunity and challenges for our homeland security efforts. The opportunity comes from the expertise and commitment of local agencies and organizations involved in homeland security. The challenge is to develop interconnected and complementary systems that are reinforcing rather than duplicative and that ensure essential requirements are met. A national strategy requires a national effort.

State and local governments have critical roles to play in homeland security. Indeed, the closest relationship the average citizen has with government is at the local level. State and local levels of government have primary responsibility for funding, preparing, and operating the emergency services that would respond in the event of a terrorist attack. Local units are the first to respond, and the last to leave the scene. All disasters are ultimately local events.

The private sector -- the Nation’s principal provider of goods and services and owner of 85 percent of our infrastructure -- is a key homeland security partner. It has a wealth of information that is important to the task of protecting the United States from terrorism. Its creative genius will develop the information systems, vaccines, detection devices, and other technologies and innovations that will secure our homeland.

An informed and proactive citizenry is an invaluable asset for our country in times of war and peace. Volunteers enhance community coordination and action, whether at the national or local level. This coordination will prove critical as we work to build the communication and delivery systems indispensable to our national effort to detect, prevent, and, if need be, respond to terrorist attack.

Critical Mission Areas

The National Strategy for Homeland Security aligns and focuses homeland security functions into six critical mission areas: intelligence and warning, border and transportation security, domestic counterterrorism, protecting critical infrastructure, defending against catastrophic terrorism, and emergency preparedness and response. The first three mission areas focus primarily on preventing terrorist attacks; the next two on reducing our Nation’s vulnerabilities; and the final one on minimizing the damage and recovering from attacks that do occur. The Strategy provides a framework to align the resources of the federal budget directly to the task of securing the homeland.

Intelligence and Warning. Terrorism depends on surprise. With it, a terrorist attack has the potential to do massive damage to an unwitting and unprepared target. Without it, the terrorists stand a good chance of being preempted by authorities, and even if they are not, the damage that results from their attacks is likely to be less severe. The United States will take every necessary action to avoid being surprised by another terrorist attack. We must have an intelligence and warning system that can detect terrorist activity before it manifests itself in an attack so that proper preemptive, preventive, and protective action can be taken.

The National Strategy for Homeland Security identifies five major initiatives in this area:

· Enhance the analytic capabilities of the FBI;

· Build new capabilities through the Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection Division of the proposed Department of Homeland Security;

· Implement the Homeland Security Advisory System;

· Utilize dual-use analysis to prevent attacks; and

· Employ "red team" techniques.

Border and Transportation Security. America historically has relied heavily on two vast oceans and two friendly neighbors for border security, and on the private sector for most forms of domestic transportation security. The increasing mobility and destructive potential of modern terrorism has required the United States to rethink and renovate fundamentally its systems for border and transportation security. Indeed, we must now begin to conceive of border security and transportation security as fully integrated requirements because our domestic transportation systems are inextricably intertwined with the global transport infrastructure. Virtually every community in America is connected to the global transportation network by the seaports, airports, highways, pipelines, railroads, and waterways that move people and goods into, within, and out of the Nation. We must therefore promote the efficient and reliable flow of people, goods, and services across borders, while preventing terrorists from using transportation conveyances or systems to deliver implements of destruction.

The National Strategy for Homeland Security identifies six major initiatives in this area:

· Ensure accountability in border and transportation security;

· Create "smart borders";

· Increase the security of international shipping containers;

· Implement the Aviation and Transportation Security Act of 2001;

· Recapitalize the U.S. Coast Guard; and

· Reform immigration services.

The President proposed to Congress that the principal border and transportation security agencies -- the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the U.S. Customs Service, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, and the Transportation Security Agency-- be transferred to the new Department of Homeland Security. This organizational reform will greatly assist in the implementation of all the above initiatives.

Domestic Counterterrorism. The attacks of September 11 and the catastrophic loss of life and property that resulted have redefined the mission of federal, state, and local law enforcement authorities. While law enforcement agencies will continue to investigate and prosecute criminal activity, they should now assign priority to preventing and interdicting terrorist activity within the United States. The Nation’s state and local law enforcement officers will be critical in this effort. Our Nation will use all legal means -- both traditional and nontraditional -- to identify, halt, and, where appropriate, prosecute terrorists in the United States. We will pursue not only the individuals directly involved in terrorist activity but also their sources of support: the people and organizations that knowingly fund the terrorists and those that provide them with logistical assistance.

Effectively reorienting law enforcement organizations to focus on counterterrorism objectives requires decisive action in a number of areas. The National Strategy for Homeland Security identifies six major initiatives in this area:

· Improve intergovernmental law enforcement

· coordination;

· Facilitate apprehension of potential terrorists;

· Continue ongoing investigations and prosecutions;

· Complete FBI restructuring to emphasize prevention of terrorist attacks;

· Target and attack terrorist financing; and

· Track foreign terrorists and bring them to justice.

Protecting Critical Infrastructure and Key Assets. Our society and modern way of life are dependent on networks of infrastructure -- both physical networks such as our energy and transportation systems and virtual networks such as the Internet. If terrorists attack one or more pieces of our critical infrastructure, they may disrupt entire systems and cause significant damage to the Nation. We must therefore improve protection of the individual pieces and interconnecting systems that make up our critical infrastructure. Protecting America’s critical infrastructure and key assets will not only make us more secure from terrorist attack, but will also reduce our vulnerability to natural disasters, organized crime, and computer hackers.

America’s critical infrastructure encompasses a large number of sectors. The U.S. government will seek to deny terrorists the opportunity to inflict lasting harm to our Nation by protecting the assets, systems, and functions vital to our national security, governance, public health and safety, economy, and national morale.

The National Strategy for Homeland Security identifies eight major initiatives in this area:

· Unify America’s infrastructure protection effort in the Department of Homeland Security;

· Build and maintain a complete and accurate assessment of America’s critical infrastructure and key assets;

· Enable effective partnership with state and local governments and the private sector;

· Develop a national infrastructure protection plan;

· Secure cyberspace;

· Harness the best analytic and modeling tools to develop effective protective solutions;

· Guard America’s critical infrastructure and key assets against "inside" threats; and

· Partner with the international community to protect our transnational infrastructure.

Defending against Catastrophic Threats. The expertise, technology, and material needed to build the most deadly weapons known to mankind -- including chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear weapons -- are spreading inexorably. If our enemies acquire these weapons, they are likely to try to use them. The consequences of such an attack could be far more devastating than those we suffered on September 11 -- a chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear terrorist attack in the United States could cause large numbers of casualties, mass psychological disruption, contamination and significant economic damage, and could overwhelm local medical capabilities.

Currently, chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear detection capabilities are modest and response capabilities are dispersed throughout the country at every level of government. While current arrangements have proven adequate for a variety of natural disasters and even the September 11 attacks, the threat of terrorist attacks using chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear weapons requires new approaches, a focused strategy, and a new organization.

The National Strategy for Homeland Security identifies six major initiatives in this area:

· Prevent terrorist use of nuclear weapons through better sensors and procedures;

· Detect chemical and biological materials and attacks;

· Improve chemical sensors and decontamination techniques;

· Develop broad spectrum vaccines, antimicrobials, and antidotes;

· Harness the scientific knowledge and tools to counter terrorism; and

· Implement the Select Agent Program.

Emergency Preparedness and Response. We must prepare to minimize the damage and recover from any future terrorist attacks that may occur despite our best efforts at prevention. An effective response to a major terrorist incident -- as well as a natural disaster -- depends on being prepared. Therefore, we need a comprehensive national system to bring together and coordinate all necessary response assets quickly and effectively. We must plan, equip, train, and exercise many different response units to mobilize without warning for any emergency.

Many pieces of this national emergency response system are already in place. America’s first line of defense in the aftermath of any terrorist attack is its first responder community -- police officers, firefighters, emergency medical providers, public works personnel, and emergency management officials. Nearly three million state and local first responders regularly put their lives on the line to save the lives of others and make our country safer.

Yet multiple plans currently govern the federal government’s support of first responders during an incident of national significance. These plans and the government’s overarching policy for counterterrorism are based on an artificial and unnecessary distinction between "crisis management" and "consequence management." Under the President’s proposal, the Department of Homeland Security will consolidate federal response plans and build a national system for incident management in cooperation with state and local government. Our federal, state, and local governments would ensure that all response personnel and organizations are properly equipped, trained, and exercised to respond to all terrorist threats and attacks in the United States. Our emergency preparedness and response efforts would also engage the private sector and the American people.

The National Strategy for Homeland Security identifies twelve major initiatives in this area:

· Integrate separate federal response plans into a single all-discipline incident management plan;

· Create a national incident management system;

· Improve tactical counterterrorist capabilities;

· Enable seamless communication among all responders;

· Prepare health care providers for catastrophic terrorism;

· Augment America’s pharmaceutical and vaccine stockpiles;

· Prepare for chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear decontamination;

· Plan for military support to civil authorities;

· Build the Citizen Corps;

· Implement the First Responder Initiative of the Fiscal Year 2003 Budget;

· Build a national training and evaluation system; and

· Enhance the victim support system.

The Foundations of Homeland Security

The National Strategy for Homeland Security also describes four foundations -- unique American strengths that cut across all of the mission areas, across all levels of government, and across all sectors of our society. These foundations -- law, science and technology, information sharing and systems, and international cooperation -- provide a useful framework for evaluating our homeland security investments across the federal government.

Law. Throughout our Nation’s history, we have used laws to promote and safeguard our security and our liberty. The law will both provide mechanisms for the government to act and will define the appropriate limits of action.

The National Strategy for Homeland Security outlines legislative actions that would help enable our country to fight the war on terrorism more effectively. New federal laws should not preempt state law unnecessarily or overly federalize the war on terrorism. We should guard scrupulously against incursions on our freedoms.

The Strategy identifies twelve major initiatives in this area:

Federal level

· Enable critical infrastructure information sharing;

· Streamline information sharing among intelligence and law enforcement agencies;

· Expand existing extradition authorities;

· Review authority for military assistance in domestic security;

· Revive the President’s reorganization authority; and

· Provide substantial management flexibility for the Department of Homeland Security.

State level

· Coordinate suggested minimum standards for state driver’s licenses;

· Enhance market capacity for terrorism insurance;

· Train for prevention of cyber attacks;

· Suppress money laundering;

· Ensure continuity of the judiciary; and

· Review quarantine authorities.

Science and Technology. The Nation’s advantage in science and technology is a key to securing the homeland. New technologies for analysis, information sharing, detection of attacks, and countering chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear weapons will help prevent and minimize the damage from future terrorist attacks. Just as science has helped us defeat past enemies overseas, so too will it help us defeat the efforts of terrorists to attack our homeland and disrupt our way of life.

The federal government is launching a systematic national effort to harness science and technology in support of homeland security. We will build a national research and development enterprise for homeland security sufficient to mitigate the risk posed by modern terrorism. The federal government will consolidate most federally funded homeland security research and development under the Department of Homeland Security to ensure strategic direction and avoid duplicative efforts. We will create and implement a long-term research and development plan that includes investment in revolutionary capabilities with high payoff potential. The federal government will also seek to harness the energy and ingenuity of the private sector to develop and produce the devices and systems needed for homeland security.

The National Strategy for Homeland Security identifies eleven major initiatives in this area:

· Develop chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear countermeasures;

· Develop systems for detecting hostile intent;

· Apply biometric technology to identification devices;

· Improve the technical capabilities of first responders;

· Coordinate research and development of the homeland security apparatus;

· Establish a national laboratory for homeland security;

· Solicit independent and private analysis for science and technology research;

· Establish a mechanism for rapidly producing prototypes;

· Conduct demonstrations and pilot deployments;

· Set standards for homeland security technology; and

· Establish a system for high-risk, high-payoff homeland security research.

Information Sharing and Systems. Information systems contribute to every aspect of homeland security. Although American information technology is the most advanced in the world, our country’s information systems have not adequately supported the homeland security mission. Databases used for federal law enforcement, immigration, intelligence, public health surveillance, and emergency management have not been connected in ways that allow us to comprehend where information gaps or redundancies exist. In addition, there are deficiencies in the communications systems used by states and municipalities throughout the country; most state and local first responders do not use compatible communications equipment. To secure the homeland better, we must link the vast amounts of knowledge residing within each government agency while ensuring adequate privacy.

The National Strategy for Homeland Security identifies five major initiatives in this area:

· Integrate information sharing across the federal government;

· Integrate information sharing across state and local governments, private industry, and citizens;

· Adopt common "meta-data" standards for electronic information relevant to homeland security;

· Improve public safety emergency communications; and

· Ensure reliable public health information.

International Cooperation. In a world where the terrorist threat pays no respect to traditional boundaries, our strategy for homeland security cannot stop at our borders. America must pursue a sustained, steadfast, and systematic international agenda to counter the global terrorist threat and improve our homeland security. Our international anti-terrorism campaign has made significant progress since September 11. The full scope of these activities will be further described in the forthcoming National Security Strategy of the United States and the National Strategy for Combating Terrorism. The National Strategy for Homeland Security identifies nine major initiatives in this area:

· Create "smart borders";

· Combat fraudulent travel documents;

· Increase the security of international shipping containers;

· Intensify international law enforcement cooperation;

· Help foreign nations fight terrorism;

· Expand protection of transnational critical infrastructure;

· Amplify international cooperation on homeland security science and technology;

· Improve cooperation in response to attacks; and

· Review obligations to international treaties and law.

Costs of Homeland Security

The national effort to enhance homeland security will yield tremendous benefits and entail substantial financial and other costs. Benefits include reductions in the risk of attack and their potential consequences. Costs include not only the resources we commit to homeland security but also the delays to commerce and travel. The United States spends roughly $100 billion per year on homeland security. This figure includes federal, state, and local law enforcement and emergency services, but excludes most funding for the armed forces.

The responsibility of providing homeland security is shared between federal, state and local governments, and the private sector. In many cases, sufficient incentives exist in the private market to supply protection. Government should fund only those homeland security activities that are not supplied, or are inadequately supplied, in the market. Cost sharing between different levels of government should reflect the principles of federalism. Many homeland security activities, such as intelligence gathering and border security, are properly accomplished at the federal level. In other circumstances, such as with first responder capabilities, it is more appropriate for state and local governments to handle these responsibilities.

Conclusion: Priorities for the Future

The National Strategy for Homeland Security sets a broad and complex agenda for the United States. The Strategy has defined many different goals that need to be met, programs that need to be implemented, and responsibilities that need to be fulfilled. But creating a strategy is, in many respects, about setting priorities -- about recognizing that some actions are more critical or more urgent than others.

The President’s Fiscal Year 2003 Budget proposal, released in February 2002, identified four priority areas for additional resources and attention in the upcoming year:

· Support first responders;

· Defend against bioterrorism;

· Secure America’s borders; and

· Use 21st-century technology to secure the homeland.

Work has already begun on the President’s Fiscal Year 2004 Budget. Assuming the Congress passes legislation to implement the President’s proposal to create the Department of Homeland Security, the Fiscal Year 2004 Budget will fully reflect the reformed organization of the executive branch for homeland security. That budget will have an integrated and simplified structure based on the six critical mission areas defined by the Strategy. Furthermore, at the time the National Strategy for Homeland Security was published, it was expected that the Fiscal Year 2004 Budget would attach priority to the following specific items for substantial support:

· Enhance the analytic capabilities of the FBI;

· Build new capabilities through the Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection Division of the proposed Department of Homeland Security;

· Create "smart borders"

· Improve the security of international shipping containers;

· Recapitalize the U.S. Coast Guard;

· Prevent terrorist use of nuclear weapons through better sensors and procedures;

· Develop broad spectrum vaccines, antimicrobials, and antidotes; and

· Integrate information sharing across the federal government.

In the intervening months, the executive branch will prepare detailed implementation plans for these and many other initiatives contained within the National Strategy for Homeland Security. These plans will ensure that the taxpayers’ money is spent only in a manner that achieves specific objectives with clear performance-based measures of effectiveness.


1The National Strategy for Homeland Security defines "State" to mean "any state of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Canal Zone, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, or the trust territory of the Pacific Islands." The Strategy defines "local government" as "any county, city, village, town, district, or other political subdivision of any state, any Native American tribe or authorized tribal organization, or Alaska native village or organization, and includes any rural community or unincorporated town or village or any other public entity for which an application for assistance is made by a state or political subdivision thereof."


2The distribution of the National Strategy for Homeland Security coincides with Congress’ consideration of the President’s proposal to establish a Department of Homeland Security. The Strategy refers to a "Department of Homeland Security" only to provide the strategic vision for the proposed Department and not to assume any one part of the President’s proposal will or will not be signed into law.

Return to this article at:

Print this document