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Kelly Wallace: Bush road map to protect nation

CNN's Kelly Wallace  

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush unveiled his road map Tuesday on homeland security, laying out some ideas for fending off and responding to terrorist threats.

CNN Correspondent Kelly Wallace obtained a copy of the plan and offered a glimpse of what's inside.

WALLACE: Here it is, of course. And it is a lengthy booklet, really going over this administration's idea about how to protect the United States. The centerpiece, though, something the president unveiled last month, is creating the new mega federal agency, merging the work of some 22 different federal departments to focus on homeland security.

And so the president used an appearance in the Rose Garden with Republican and Democrats to highlight the importance of this new Department of Homeland Security.

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It has a lot of support on Capitol Hill, although some lawmakers have raised some questions, for example, questioning whether the Coast Guard should be part of this new agency.

In his comments, the president put a focus on the big picture. He said protecting the U.S. will not only require sacrifices by the federal government but also by state and local officials.

And a couple of ideas for what states might have to do, setting minimum standards for state driver's licenses. The administration would also like to see states make terrorism insurance more available and also review the authority and the procedures under way in the case of any quarantine in the case of any biological attack.

And then there's something else: The federal government is looking at creating so-called red teams. These would be the intelligence experts who would go around the country almost acting like terrorists to try and find a vulnerability that exists in the country.

Of course, a big question is how much will this all cost? This administration continues to say that this new Department of Homeland Security should not cost any additional money. It's basically merging the budgets of all those departments.

Lawmakers disagree. They think it will cost a lot more money, and they think it should. The debate continues. The hope is that some passage could happen this fall to get this department up and running by January.


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