Accessibility links

Breaking News

President Bush Signs Homeland Security Bill - 2002-11-27

“The front of the new war is here in America. Our life changed, and changed in dramatic fashion on September the 11th 2001.”

That from U.S. President George W. Bush Monday, as he prepared to sign a bill to re-organize the U.S. federal government, in response to the dangers from international terrorism that became apparent with the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington last year.

After those attacks, the United States launched a war on terrorism abroad. It also began strengthening security at home, at airports, power plants, border crossings and elsewhere.

Mr. Bush said the new “homeland security act” – just passed by Congress last week – takes the next critical steps in defending the country.

“Dozens of agencies charged with homeland security will now be located within one cabinet department, with a mandate and legal authority to protect our people. America will be better able to respond to any future attacks, to reduce our vulnerability and, most important, prevent the terrorists from taking innocent American lives.”

The new department will absorb 22 government agencies with combined budgets of about 40-billion dollars, and 170-thousand employees. It is the largest government re-organization since 1947, when the department of defense was created.

Mr. Bush is nominating former Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge, who has been serving as White House homeland security advisor, to head the new department. His appointment must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.