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28 February 2003

White House Outlines U.S. Homeland Protection Measures

(Various steps taken to improve security since 9-11 terror attack)
(690)

The following fact sheet entitled "Protecting the Homeland" was issued
by the White House on February 28. (Note: billion means one thousand
million.)

(begin fact sheet)

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary

February 28, 2003

Protecting the Homeland

Today's Presidential Action

-- The federal government marks an historic day on March 1 as over
170,000 employees from more than 20 different agencies officially
become part of the Department of Homeland Security. In remarks to new
employees of the Department of Homeland Security, the President
thanked these public servants for their service to our nation and
highlighted the significant progress that has been made over the last
18 months in improving America's preparedness.

-- President Bush today announced that he will do everything in his
power to ensure that as much as possible of the recently passed
appropriations goes directly toward training and equipping those at
the state and local level who must prepare for and respond to
potential terrorist attacks.

Background on Protecting the Homeland

-- Since September 11, the Bush administration has taken action to
strengthen America against the threat of another terrorist attack.

-- To secure America's air traffic, the Transportation Security
Administration has instituted strict security procedures in the
nation's airports and has deployed more than 50,000 trained airport
screeners and thousands of air marshals.

-- To protect America's ports and waterways, the Coast Guard has made
its largest commitment to port security since World War II, including
over 35,000 port security patrols and 3,500 air patrols. The Coast
Guard has boarded over 2,500 vessels of interest, interdicted over
6,200 illegal immigrants, and created and maintained over 100 Maritime
Security Zones.

-- To protect America from terrorist threats, the FBI has increased
the number of counter-terrorism agents by nearly 40percent and has
expanded to 66 Joint Terrorism Task Forces nationwide. Through its new
National Threats Warning System, the FBI has disseminated more than 50
warnings to over 60 Federal agencies and 18,000 state and local law
enforcement agencies.

-- To protect against the threat of bioterror, the Department of
Health and Human Services has awarded $1.1 billion in assistance to
help state and local governments increase preparedness and improve
communications and laboratory capacity to respond to the threat of
bio-terrorism.

-- To protect America's neighborhoods, local Citizen Corps Councils
have been formed in 51 states and territories, enlisting thousands of
individual citizens to make their communities safer, stronger and
better prepared. Community Emergency Response Team training has been
conducted in 244 localities in 42 states.

-- To help state and local responders and emergency managers prepare
for attacks, the federal government has awarded more than $900 million
and has also supported the training of more than 100,000 first
responders.

-- To protect America's borders and prevent the entry of dangerous
materials, inspectors will be posted at more than 20 major ports
around the world, examining high-risk cargo before it reaches
America's shores.

-- These steps are important, but the President believes we must do
more to strengthen homeland security for all Americans. Among the
initiatives that the President has proposed:

-- The President's FY 2004 Budget continues the commitment of
providing needed resources for homeland security. From 2002 to 2004,
the budget for the organizations that will comprise the Department of
Homeland Security will increase by 64 percent to $36.2 billion.

-- This week, the President sent to Congress his proposal for Project
BioShield -- a major research and production effort to guard Americans
against bioterrorism. The President has proposed nearly $6 billion for
this project to achieve one of BioShield's main goals -- to enable the
government to quickly make available effective vaccines and treatments
against agents like anthrax, botulinum toxin, Ebola and plague.

-- The President also proposed the creation of a new Terrorist Threat
Integration Center (TTIC), which will analyze, in a single location,
all threat information collected domestically and abroad. The TTIC,
when fully operational, will house a database of known and suspected
terrorists that will be accessible to officials across the country.

(end fact sheet)

(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)