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 Home > News & Policies > November 2002

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
November 26, 2002

Memorandum to Federal Employees

Yesterday I signed into law legislation to create the new Department of Homeland Security. It will unite our efforts under one roof and behind one primary mission: to protect the American people from another terrorist attack.

Achieving that goal is my highest and most urgent priority as President. Our success is made possible by the hard work and unwavering dedication you've shown before and after September 11th. Americans owe you their gratitude for helping to keep their families safe and their communities secure.

As you know, the Department of Homeland Security will focus on three critical objectives to:

  • Prevent terrorist attacks within the United States;

  • Reduce America's vulnerability to terrorism; and

  • Minimize the damage from potential attacks and natural disasters.

We will form the new Department as soon as possible. Under the terms of the initial plan I sent to the Congress, nearly all the affected agencies would be brought together on March 1 of next year.

We are assembling a great leadership team, made up of proven decision-makers who know how to get the job done. They share your vision and commitment to a more secure homeland. I intend to nominate Governor Tom Ridge to serve as Secretary of the new Department of Homeland Security, Mr. Gordon England to serve as Deputy Secretary, and Mr. Asa Hutchinson to serve as Under Secretary for Border and Transportation Security.

Many of you are familiar with Governor Tom Ridge. As the Nation's first Homeland Security Advisor, he exercised tremendous leadership on a complex, multifaceted topic. For him, homeland security is a national effort, not simply a Federal one. Governor Ridge served as Governor of Pennsylvania for almost 6 years. Prior to that he was elected six times to the United States House of Representatives with overwhelming majorities. He is also a decorated Vietnam veteran. Governor Ridge has earned my trust and the trust of the American people. He will make a great Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

Secretary of the Navy Gordon England will leave his position to serve as Deputy Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. Prior to his time at the Department of the Navy, Secretary England served as executive vice president of General Dynamics Corporation from 1997-2001. In addition to his background in mergers and acquisitions, his private sector experience includes management experience at Combat Systems Group, General Dynamics Fort Worth aircraft company, and General Dynamics Land Systems. He is a graduate of the University of Maryland and the M.J. Neeley School of Business at Texas Christian University.

Asa Hutchinson currently serves as Administrator of Drug Enforcement (DEA). As head of DEA, Administrator Hutchinson has focused his efforts at dismantling high-profile drug trafficking organizations including the Arellano Felix organization. Prior to his tenure at DEA, Administrator Hutchinson served for three terms in the United States House of Representatives where he served on the House Judiciary Committee and Select Committee on Intelligence.

Once again, thank you for your dedication and commitment to homeland security and to our great country. During this time of transition it is extremely important that you continue to stay focused on your important duties and responsibilities. I appreciate all that you have done -- and all that we are about to do together during this historic chapter in our Nation's history.


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