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09 June 2005

Homeland Security Department Evaluating Its Effectiveness

Secretary Chertoff says review is essential to meeting mission

Washington -- The Homeland Security Department, charged with protecting the United States from terrorist attacks and other threats, is conducting an extensive review of its effectiveness, says Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff.

"This will help make sure we have a coherent set of priorities about how we deal with homeland security," Chertoff said June 9 before the House Government Reform Committee.

The committee wants to know if Homeland Security is meeting its mission and how it functions, says its chairman, Representative Thomas M. Davis III, a Virginia Republican.  The committee has oversight responsibility for government agencies in areas such as personnel management, agency organization, procurement and use of technology, and information management and security.

The department, created in November 2002 and officially beginning operations in January 2003, was formed from 22 different federal agencies and has 180,000 employees.  The proposed budget for fiscal year 2006, which begins October 1, is $41.1 billion and reflects the Bush administration's continuing commitment to protecting the United States from terrorists.

Its creation marked the largest reorganization in the federal government since 1947 when the national security community was created.

"We intend to develop a model agency for the 21st century that supports the unified national effort to secure America," Chertoff said,  “because, this department was not created to merely bring together 22 different agencies under one big tent.  It was created to enable these agencies to secure the homeland through unified action."

Chertoff said the Homeland Security Department intends to integrate intelligence, policy and operations of the various missions within the agency with a comprehensive, departmentwide perspective.