In an effort to increase homeland security following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States, the executive branch issued seven national strategies related to combating terrorism and homeland security. Per the request of the Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats, and International Relations, House Committee on Government Reform, this testimony will focus primarily on the National Strategy for Homeland Security but also include relevant aspects of the National Strategy for Combating Terrorism. Together, these two national strategies address preventing terrorist attacks within the United States, reducing America's vulnerability to terrorism, and minimizing the damage and assisting in the recovery from future attacks, if they occur. This testimony covers three topics: (1) To what extent are elements of the Homeland Security and Combating Terrorism strategies aligned with recommendations issued by the 9/11 Commission? (2) What key departments have responsibilities for implementing the Homeland Security strategy, and what actions have they taken to implement the strategy? and (3) What challenges are faced by key departments in assessing their progress towards achieving homeland security objectives? This testimony continues GAO's efforts to establish baseline assessments related to homeland security. Together, these baseline efforts are intended to aid congressional oversight in assessing the effectiveness of federal homeland security activities.
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