Combating Terrorism:

Comments on H.R. 525 to Create a President's Council on Domestic Terrorism Preparedness

GAO-01-555T: Published: May 9, 2001. Publicly Released: May 9, 2001.

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This testimony discusses the Preparedness Against Domestic Terrorism Act of 2001 (H.R. 525). To improve federal efforts to help state and local personnel prepare for domestic terrorist attacks, H.R. 525 would create a single focal point for policy and coordination--the President's Council on Domestic Terrorism Preparedness--within the White House. The new council would include the President, several cabinet secretaries, and other selected high-level officials. H.R. 525 would (1) create an executive director position with a staff that would collaborate with other executive agencies to assess threats, (2) require the new council to develop a national strategy, (3) require the new council to analyze and review budgets, and (4) require the new council to oversee implementation among the different federal agencies. Other proposals before Congress would also create a single focal point for terrorism. Some of these proposals place the focal point in the Executive Office of the President and others place it in a lead executive agency. Both locations have advantages and disadvantages.

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