Homeland Security: Challenges and Strategies in Addressing Short- and Long-Term National Needs

GAO-02-160T Published: Nov 07, 2001. Publicly Released: Nov 07, 2001.
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The United States now confronts a range of diffuse threats that put increased destructive power into the hands of small states, groups, and individuals. These threats include terrorist attacks on critical infrastructure and computer systems, the potential use of weapons of mass destruction, and the spread of infectious diseases. Addressing these challenges will require leadership to develop and implement a homeland security strategy in coordination with all relevant partners, and to marshal and direct the necessary resources. The recent establishment of the Office of Homeland Security is a good first step, but questions remain about how this office will be structured, what authority its Director will have, and how this effort can be institutionalized and sustained over time. Although homeland security is an urgent and vital national priority, the United States still must address short-term and long-term fiscal challenges that were present before September 11.

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