The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document
Operation Iraqi Freedom

For Immediate Release
Office of Press Secretary
March 31, 2003

President Updates America on Operations Liberty Shield and Iraqi Freedom

Today's Presidential Action

  • President Bush visited the Port of Philadelphia to meet with front-line Coast Guard personnel and discuss the vital role that they are playing in Operation Liberty Shield, Operation Iraqi Freedom and the War on Terrorism. The President announced that the Coast Guard will begin purchasing up to 700 new Response Boats to be used in its homeland security mission. These boats will begin deploying nationwide starting this summer.

    Background on Today's Presidential Action

  • Operation Liberty Shield: On March 17, the Administration announced Operation Liberty Shield, a comprehensive national plan to protect the homeland in the current state of heightened alert. Operation Liberty Shield involves extensive cooperation between federal, state and local officials to reduce the threat of terrorism at home.

  • The Coast Guard's Vital Role in Protecting the Homeland: As part of Operation Liberty Shield, the USCG has increased its patrols by 50 percent and is placing armed boarding officers on every high-interest vessel arriving or departing from American ports. The USCG has conducted over 3,000 air and sea patrols and 3,900 reservists are currently serving on active duty. More than 550 vessels have been stopped and boarded. This tightened security has yielded drug seizures of over 6000 kilos of cocaine and the interdiction of almost 200 illegal migrants.

  • Supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom: The Coast Guard is playing a vital role in supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. The USCG has sent cutters and active duty and reserve personnel to the Persian Gulf region to guard key ports and oil platforms in the Gulf, enforce economic sanctions and take custody of prisoners of war.

  • The President's Budget -- Providing Necessary Resources for Homeland Security: The President's FY 2003 Budget enacted the largest budget ever for the Coast Guard (an increase of $1 billion over FY 2002). The President's FY 2004 Budget requests an additional $500 million, a 10% increase over the FY 2003 enacted level. These new resources will help the Coast Guard protect our homeland with better intelligence capabilities, a more modern fleet of cutters and aircraft, and improved port security.

  • The President's supplemental budget request includes $4.2 billion for homeland security. The Department of Homeland Security would receive $3.5 billion, including $2 billion for state and local terrorism preparedness and prevention and $1.5 billion to support expanded operations as a result of Operation Liberty Shield. The request also includes $750 million for other immediate and emerging terrorism-related prevention and response requirements, including $500 million for the Department of Justice and $250 million for other agencies throughout the federal government.

    For more information on the President's initiatives, please visit

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