Homeland Security:

Progress Made; More Direction and Partnership Sought

GAO-02-490T: Published: Mar 12, 2002. Publicly Released: Mar 12, 2002.

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Henry L. Hinton, Jr
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Enhancing homeland security is a complex effort that involves all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the territories; thousands of municipalities; and countless private entities. Since September 11, the nation has taken many actions to combat terrorism and enhance homeland security. It is well known that the U.S. military is conducting operations in Afghanistan. Various legislative and executive branch actions to enhance homeland security have been taken or were underway prior to and since September 11. Government and nongovernment activities are looking to the Office of Homeland Security for further guidance on how to better integrate their missions and more effectively contribute to the overarching homeland security effort. Having a common definition can help avoid duplication of effort and gaps in coverage by identifying agency roles and responsibilities. Although the agencies are looking for guidance, they also want to ensure that their unique missions are factored in as guidance is developed. At the same time, some agencies are unsure what they should be doing beyond their traditional missions. Once the national strategy is issued, federal, state, and local government agencies and private sector groups will need to work together to achieve the goals and objectives. Public-private partnerships used to address Y2K concerns can also be used to promote the national strategy.

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