Homeland Security Still Needs Strategic Plan, Better Cooperation, More Resources

WASHINGTON – Governmental Affairs Committee Ranking Member Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., commented Monday on the fifth and final Gilmore Commission Report on U.S. capabilities to respond to terrorist attacks using weapons of mass destruction.

“Despite the best efforts of the Administration’s public relations department, this report, like so many before it, confirms what many of us in Congress have known for months: The nation is not as prepared for a terrorist attack as it should be.

“Astonishingly, the report warns that the federal government’s homeland security efforts may be feeding perceptions about improved security that will lead to complacency toward all the measures that still must be taken. This would be a tragic outcome, completely at odds with what we intended when Congress called for creation of a new Homeland Security Department. “We face many barriers in our war on terrorism at home – lack of funding, a refusal to share intelligence information, and fragmentation between federal agencies, different levels of government, and the public and private sectors. Overcoming these impediments will require forward thinking, strategic planning, and leadership from the top. This report strongly suggests that thus far, those ingredients for success are lacking. I urge the Bush Administration to reassess its approach to homeland security and to develop a comprehensive strategy for the future so that all Americans can rest assured that a strong hand is on the helm.”