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Leading the Department of Homeland Security: Progress and Challenges of Transition during the War on Terrorism

Recorded on August 20, 2003

The Heritage Foundation's Lehrman Auditorium

With the creation of the Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003, came new challenges that the United States Government is still addressing. Merging 22 diverse federal agencies is no easy task, especially in light of the wide array of responsibilities - border security, emergency response, transportation security and critical infrastructure protection - with which the Department is charged. Making these disparate agencies and functions come together under one common mission remains one of the Department's most pressing challenges.

More importantly, the DHS must undertake this transformation without compromising its effectiveness in the war on terrorism, an objective made clear by the recently released report of the Congressional Joint Inquiry into 9/11. As we look forward, how will the Department transform raw intelligence into effective action by immigration, customs and other operationally oriented officials? Will it harness the enabling power of technology or will it fight al Qaeda with a handicap, as was the case prior to 9/11? Finally, how does the Department's leadership plan to ensure its priorities are based on strategy, not political expediency, as well as respect individual liberty?

Join us as Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security, Gordon England, addresses these and other pressing issues facing the new Department.