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Bush to Present Homeland Security Plan - 2002-07-16

President Bush will formally unveil his long-term homeland security strategy today. The 100-page document sets out steps designed to prevent future terrorist attacks on American soil.

It's a comprehensive approach to homeland security, and the first document of its kind.

The result of eight months of Bush administration deliberations, this National Strategy for Homeland Security as it is formally known is a detailed plan of action. It is not a concrete legislative proposal or executive order, but a list of recommendations the White House believes will protect the American people from further terrorist attacks.

The focus is on co-ordination among all levels of government, and between the public and private sectors. Much of the document deals with the creation of a national Department of Homeland Security, and the president's goals for the new agency. But the strategy also recommends specific changes in federal and state laws considered necessary to better meet the terrorist threat.

It calls for expanded extradition agreements with other countries, and enhanced powers for the president to re-organize government agencies and transfer funding.

The strategy sets out some long-term scientific goals as well, such as development of new vaccines against biological agents. And it urges the deployment of new sensors to guard against a possible terrorist attack involving nuclear weapons.

There are also suggestions to address specific security problems at the state level. One of them involves setting national rules for issuing state driver's licenses making it much more difficult for terrorists to obtain this important form of identification.

President Bush will brief the American public on the plan immediately after he formally presents it to congressional leaders at a White House meeting. A summary released late Monday to reporters stresses the need to mobilize and organize the nation to prevent an attack on U.S. soil. It says a great deal has been done to improve domestic security, but much more work lies ahead.