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31 March 2003

Bush Moves to Bolster U.S. Homeland Security

(Seeks $4.2 billion in extra funding) (750)

President Bush visited U.S. Coast Guard facilities at the Port of
Philadelphia March 31 to discuss the Coast Guard's expanding role in
national homeland security and announce that additional funding is
being made available for new Response Boats used in harbor and port
security patrolling.

Following is a fact sheet explaining presidential action to bolster
U.S. homeland security:

(Note: In the text, "billion" equals 1,000 million.)

(begin fact sheet)

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of Press Secretary
March 31, 2003

Securing Our Homeland

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.

-- Border and Port Protection: Operation Liberty Shield has amplified
the Sea Marshal program, increased reconnaissance aircraft patrols on
our borders, quadrupled the number of air cargo examinations, and
relocated hundreds of security personnel to border areas.

-- Transportation Security: New temporary flight restrictions over
cities such as New York and Washington, D.C. have been implemented,
along with increased monitoring and surveillance of hazardous material
shipments.

-- Increased Surveillance of Suspected Terrorists: The federal
government has stepped up surveillance of suspected terrorists,
ordered individuals with ties to Iraqi intelligence services out of
the country, and conducted voluntary interviews of Iraqi-born
residents. The government is also working to ensure that Iraqi
Americans are protected against discrimination and hate crimes.

-- Protecting Critical Infrastructure: More than 2,800 National Guard
troops have been deployed nationwide to protect key assets, and the
Coast Guard has increased protection of pipelines, petrochemical
facilities and shipping channels. These personnel are working in
conjunction with thousands of state and local law enforcement
officials.

-- Increased Public Health Preparedness: Field inspections of
livestock and crops have been expanded. Monitoring of certain
commodities for biological agents has been expanded, and federal,
state and local public health officials are increasing medical
monitoring in cities.

-- The Coast Guard's Vital Role in Protecting the Homeland: As part of
Operation Liberty Shield, the U.S. Coast Guard (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
www.whitehouse.gov

(end fact sheet)

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