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Director of Homeland Security

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SUMMARY:

A new Cabinet-level position has been created to coordinate a unified federal plan to combat domestic terrorism. A senior administration official described the job as a domestic version of the National Security Adviser.

The Office of Homeland Security will bring together information from dozens of agencies, including the FBI, CIA, National Guard, and state and local law enforcement and emergency authorities.

UPDATE:

President George Bush announced the position Thursday and tapped Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge to lead it. Ridge, a moderate Republican and Vietnam veteran, will take his new job in early October.

The director will piece together a comprehensive strategy to protect potential targets, including transportation and electrical infrastructures, according to a senior administration official.

The Bush initiative also creates a national anti-terrorism director that will serve in the National Security Council, as well as an office of cyber-security.

KEY QUESTIONS


  •  Summary

  •  Update

  •  Key questions

  •  Impact

Why is the Office of Homeland Security necessary?

Is the office an effective way to address the risks of terrorism?

What precedents are there for this kind of agency in recent U.S. history?

Were they effective?

IMPACT:

Unknown. It's too early to tell how the office will affect U.S. domestic terrorism policy. Congressional leaders, like Senator Joseph Lieberman, have suggested that federal legislation would be required to provide the budget and authority necessary to make the office work.






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