The National Strategy for Homeland Security sets forth a plan to improve homeland security through the cooperation of federal, state, local, and private sector organizations on an array of functions. These functions are organized into the six distinct "critical mission areas" of (1) intelligence and warning, (2) border and transportation security, (3) domestic counterterrorism, (4) protecting critical infrastructures and key assets, (5) defending against catastrophic threats, and (6) emergency preparedness and response. Within each of these mission areas, the strategy identifies "major initiatives" to be addressed. In all, the strategy cites 43 initiatives across the six mission areas. GAO reviewed the strategy's implementation to (1) determine whether its initiatives are being addressed by key departments' strategic planning and implementation activities, whether the initiatives have lead agencies identified for their implementation, and whether the initiatives were being implemented in fiscal year 2004 by such agencies and (2) identify ongoing homeland security challenges that have been reflected in GAO products since September 11, 2001, by both mission area and issues that cut across mission areas.
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