Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the federal government has undertaken numerous actions to enhance the nation's homeland security, including the creation of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). One of the primary reasons for the establishment of DHS was to unify the vast national network of organizations and institutions involved in efforts to protect our nation. Since it began operations on March 1, 2003, DHS has faced enormous challenges to protect the nation from terrorism while it organizes itself into a coherent and integrated agency. We support Congress by reviewing various government programs and activities to help improve their performance and accountability. When our work identifies a significant need for action by the Congress or an agency, we develop recommended solutions. These recommendations identify actions we believe the department, agency, bureau, or office should implement to ensure government programs operate effectively and efficiently. This report responds to a Congressional request that we provide status information on key recommendations we have made to DHS and its legacy agencies. On June 30, 2004, we briefed Congress on the results of our review. This report transmits information provided during that briefing, including (1) the status of key GAO recommendations issued to DHS, (2) timeframes DHS established for implementing key recommendations, and (3) challenges DHS faces in implementing such recommendations.
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