Protecting the Homeland - Security in America

On October 9, 2007, the President issued an updated National Strategy
for Homeland Security, which will serve to guide, organize, and unify
our Nation's homeland security efforts.  

This Strategy is a national strategy, not a Federal strategy, and
articulates our approach to secure the Homeland over the next several
years.  It builds on the first National Strategy for Homeland
Security, issued in July 2002, and complements both the National
Security Strategy issued in March 2006 and the National Strategy for
Combating Terrorism issued in September 2006.  

It reflects our increased understanding of the threats confronting the
United States, incorporates lessons learned from exercises and
real-world catastrophes, and articulates how we should ensure our
long-term success by strengthening the homeland security foundation we
have built.  

This includes calling on Congress to make the Foreign Intelligence
Surveillance Act (FISA) reforms in the Protect America Act of 2007
permanent.

  • Since September 11th, 2001, our
    concept of securing the homeland has evolved, adapting to new realities
    and threats.  The Strategy issued today incorporates this
    increased understanding by
    :
    • Acknowledging that while we must continue to focus on the
      persistent and evolving terrorist threat, we also must recognize that
      certain non-terrorist events that reach catastrophic levels can have
      significant implications for homeland security. 

    • Emphasizing that as we secure the Homeland we cannot simply
      rely on defensive approaches and well-planned response and recovery
      measures.  We recognize that our efforts also must involve offense
      at home and abroad.  
Our
National Efforts to Secure the Homeland

The Strategy provides a common framework through which our entire
Nation – Federal, State, local, and Tribal governments, the private and
non-profit sectors, communities, and individual citizens – should focus
its homeland security efforts on the following four goals:

1.       Prevent
and disrupt terrorist attacks
.  To prevent and disrupt
terrorist attacks in the United States, we are working to deny
terrorists and terrorist-related weapons and materials entry into our
country and across all international borders, disrupt terrorists'
ability to operate within our borders, and prevent the emergence of
violent Islamic radicalization in order to deny terrorists future
recruits and to defeat homegrown extremism.

2.       Protect
the American people, our critical infrastructure, and key resources

To protect the lives and livelihoods of the American people, we must
undertake measures to deter the threat of terrorism, mitigate the
Nation's vulnerability to acts of terror and the full range of man-made
and natural catastrophes, and minimize the consequences of an attack or
disaster should it occur.

3.       Respond
to and recover from incidents that do occur
.  To save
lives, mitigate suffering, and protect property in future catastrophes,
we must strengthen the foundation of an effective, coordinated
response.  This includes clarifying roles and responsibilities
across all levels of government and the private and non-profit
sectors.  We must also focus on ensuring we have the operational
capabilities and flexibility necessary to facilitate both short-term
recovery and an effective transition to long-term rebuilding and
revitalization efforts.

4.       Continue
to strengthen the foundation to ensure our long-term success

To fulfill these responsibilities over the long term, we will continue
to strengthen the principles, systems, structures, and institutions
that cut across the homeland security enterprise and support our
activities to secure the Homeland.  Ultimately, this will help
ensure the success of our Strategy to secure the Nation.  This
includes:

    • Applying a comprehensive
      approach to risk management
      .  We must apply a risk-based
      framework across all homeland security efforts in order to identify and
      assess potential hazards (including their downstream effects),
      determine what levels of relative risk are acceptable, and prioritize
      and allocate resources among all homeland security partners, both
      public and private, to prevent, protect against, and respond to and
      recover from all manner of incidents.
    • Building a Culture of
      Preparedness
      .  Our entire Nation shares common
      responsibilities in homeland security.  In order to help prepare
      the Nation to carry out these responsibilities, we will continue to
      foster a Culture of Preparedness that permeates all levels of society –
      from individual citizens, businesses, and non-profit organizations to
      Federal, State, local, and Tribal government officials and
      authorities. 
    • Developing a comprehensive
      Homeland Security Management System
      .  In order to continue
      strengthening the foundations of a prepared Nation, we will establish
      and institutionalize a comprehensive Homeland Security Management
      System that incorporates all stakeholders.  This system involves a
      continuous, mutually reinforcing cycle of activity across four phases –
      guidance; planning; execution; and assessment and evaluation. 
      • Relevant departments and agencies of the Federal government
        must take the lead in implementing this system, and State, local, and
        Tribal governments are highly encouraged to ultimately adopt fully
        compatible and complementary processes and practices as part of a
        full-scale national effort.

      • In order to ensure the success of this system, our Nation
        must further develop a community of homeland security professionals by
        establishing multidisciplinary education opportunities.  In
        addition to covering homeland and relevant national security issues,
        this education should include an understanding and appreciation of
        appropriate regions, religions, cultures, legal systems, and
        languages.  We also must continue to develop interagency and
        intergovernmental assignments and fellowship opportunities, tying them
        to promotions and professional advancement
    • Improving incident management
      We must develop a comprehensive approach to incident management that
      will help Federal, State, local, and Tribal authorities manage
      incidents across our goals of prevention, protection, and response and
      recovery.  Our approach will build upon the existing National
      Incident Management System (NIMS) and help decision-making during
      crisis and periods of heightened concern.

    • Better utilizing science and
      technology
      .  The United States derives much of its strength
      from its advantage in science and technology, and we must continue to
      use this advantage and encourage innovative research and development to
      assist in protecting and defending against the range of natural and
      man-made threats confronting the Homeland.  

    • Using all instruments of
      national power and influence
      .  The United States is using
      its instruments of national power and influence – diplomatic,
      information, military, economic, financial, intelligence, and law
      enforcement – to prevent terrorism, protect the lives and livelihoods
      of the American people, and respond to and recover from
      incidents.  We must build on these efforts, by continuing to
      enhance our processes for sharing all relevant and appropriate
      information throughout all levels of government and with our partners,
      and by prioritizing the continued transformation of our law enforcement
      and military.

Working
With Congress To Make FISA Reform Permanent, And Other Legislative
Action

The U.S. Congress should take bold steps to fulfill its
responsibilities in the national effort to secure the Homeland and
protect the American people.


  • Congress should help ensure that we have the necessary tools to
    address changing technologies and homeland security threats while
    protecting privacy and civil liberties.  We must make additional
    reforms to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and ensure that
    the statute is permanently amended so that our intelligence
    professionals continue to have the legal tools they need to gather
    information about the intentions of our enemies while protecting the
    civil liberties of Americans. 


  • Both houses of the Congress should take action to further
    streamline
    the organization and structure of those committees that authorize and
    appropriate homeland security-related funds and otherwise oversee
    homeland security missions.

  • The Congress should fully embrace a risk-based funding approach
    so that we best prioritize our limited resources to meet the most
    critical homeland security goals and objectives first.

Progress
Made Securing The Homeland

Since September 11, we have made extraordinary progress in securing our
Homeland and fighting the War on Terror.  We have:


  • Disrupted multiple potentially
    deadly plots against the United States
    .  We have greatly
    increased worldwide counterterrorism efforts since 9/11, which has
    constrained the ability of al-Qaeda to attack the Homeland and led
    terrorist groups to find that the United States is a harder target to
    strike.

  • Strengthened our ability to
    protect the American people by creating the Department of Homeland
    Security
    .  We have also enhanced our homeland security and
    counterterrorism architecture through the creation of the Office of the
    Director of National Intelligence, the Homeland Security Council, the
    National Counterterrorism Center, and U.S. Northern Command, a
    Department of Defense combatant command focused on homeland defense and
    civil support.  

  • Made our borders more secure
    We are implementing an effective system of layered defense by
    strengthening the screening of people and goods overseas and by
    tracking and disrupting the international travel of terrorists.

  • Instituted an active,
    multi-layered approach to that integrates the capabilities of Tribal,
    local, State and Federal governments, as well as those of the private
    and non-profit sectors
    .  In addition, Federal grant funding
    and technical assistance has also enhanced State, local and Tribal
    homeland security training and equipment, emergency management
    capabilities, and the interoperability of communications.

  • Worked with Congress to create,
    implement, and renew key legal reforms
    .  The USA PATRIOT
    Act, the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, and
    the Protect America Act of 2007 promote security and help to implement
    9/11 Commission and WMD Commission recommendations, while protecting
    our fundamental liberties.

Information
Courtesy of
href="http://www.whitehouse.gov/infocus/homeland/index.html">Homeland
Security

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