Homeland Security: Proposal for Cabinet Agency Has Merit, But Implementation Will be Pivotal to Success

GAO-02-886T Published: Jun 25, 2002. Publicly Released: Jun 25, 2002.
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Since September 11, the President and Congress have taken aggressive steps to protect the nation, including creating an Office of Homeland Security (OHS); passing new laws, such as the USA Patriot Act and an emergency supplemental spending bill; establishing a new agency to improve transportation security; and working with federal, state, and local governments, private sector entities, non-governmental organizations and other countries to prevent future terrorist acts and to bring those individuals responsible to justice. More recently, Congress and the President have proposed greater consolidation and coordination of various agencies and activities. The President has proposed establishing a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and has sent draft legislation to Congress. This testimony focuses on two major issues: (1) the need for reorganization and the principles and criteria to help evaluate what agencies and missions should be included in or left out of the new DHS and (2) issues related to the transition, cost, and implementation challenges of the new department.

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