Under President George W. Bush’s leadership, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has achieved considerable success in protecting the nation from dangerous people and goods, securing the nation’s critical infrastructure, strengthening emergency preparedness and response and unifying department operations. More than seven years without an attack on U.S. soil is a testament to this department’s 218,000 employees, the intelligence community and the nation’s first responders and law enforcement officers.
Over 2008, we remained focused on strengthening the foundations for successful execution of our mission. We continued to listen, learn, and grow as a department. And we continued to work in a spirit of collaboration with our federal, state, and local partners, and with the American people – all of whom are equal partners in helping us protect our country, as well as equal stakeholders in our progress to achieve our five major goals:
1. Protect our Nation from Dangerous People
2. Protect our Nation from Dangerous Goods
3. Protect Critical Infrastructure
4. Strengthen our Nation’s Preparedness and Emergency Response Capabilities
5. Strengthen and Unify DHS Operations and Management
Since its creation in the aftermath of the tragic events of September 11, 2001, the department has achieved much to protect and secure the United States. The following are selected achievements from this year:
* Turned the tide against illegal migration to the United States through the deployment of fencing and technology along the southern border; the implementation of unprecedented immigration enforcement efforts and operations; and the hiring of additional Border Patrol agents to meet the department’s goal of employing 18,000 agents.
* Demonstrated the drastic improvements to Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) incident management capabilities realized since Hurricane Katrina by responding quickly and effectively to the worst tornado season in the history of the United States, the Midwest Floods, several devastating fires, and hurricanes Gustav and Ike. FEMA also successfully carried out cross-component disaster recovery and response efforts with Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and other DHS components.
* Worked tirelessly to implement a careful and comprehensive succession plan and developed extensive briefing and confirmation materials for the incoming Administration; set in motion a master building plan for consolidation of all headquarters functions; eliminated unconnected networks, e-mail systems and communication environments and replaced them with an integrated IT service and communications delivery capability.
* Excluding Iraq and Afghanistan, terrorists have killed more than 20,000 men and women and wounded more than 43,000 around the world since Sept. 11. As we approach 2009, we mark the beginning of the eighth year in which the United States has not been successfully attacked by terrorist; this is due in large part to the counterterrorist strategies of the U.S. government, including DHS. In 2009, we must continue to resist complacency, pushback from special interest groups, and having a false sense of security because we have not been attacked since Sept. 11.
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OPPOSING VIEWS ASKS: Is the Department of Homeland Security taking the right steps to combat terrorism?
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