Condemns Attack, Calls for
of U.S. Homeland Security Agency
D.C. -- U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX) today condemned
yesterday’s terrorist attack on America and called for the
establishment of a National Homeland Security Agency to help
the federal government better prevent and respond to threats
against our home.
was a day without adjectives,” Thornberry stated.
“There is no fitting way to properly describe the shock,
horror, grief, and anger we all felt watching the tragic
events unfold. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the
victims and their families, to those who are trying to
rescue those who may still be trapped, and to those who are
working to bring the cowards who committed this crime to
resolve has not been broken. In fact, I believe our
resolve is stronger now than it ever has been before.
We are resolved to fight terrorism. We are resolved to
defend freedom. And we are resolved to put this
tragedy behind us and continue down the great path of
democracy that our Founding Fathers charted for us more than
200 years ago. With this same resolve, however, we
must look at areas where we need to change.
threats of the 21st century will not be fully deterred by
our military superiority, which is why we need to reorganize
our federal agencies and our Armed Forces so we are better
prepared to deal with the complicated security environment
in which we now live.”
to Thornberry, these changes include:
our Intelligence – With better organizational focus,
clearer requirements, improved coordination and
dissemination and more resources. “Intelligence –
both technical and human – remains our first and best
line of defense,” Thornberry remarked.
our Military – Everything from its personnel policies,
to its acquisition processes, to its professional
education. “It will take more than tanks and
aircraft carriers to provide our security in the
future,” Thornberry said. “Our military must
be able to deal with a broader array of threats.
Business as usual will not be good enough to do the job.
noted that he has introduced legislation that would do just
that. The bill is called The National Homeland
Security Agency Act (HR 1158). Based on a
recommendation by the bipartisan Commission on National
Security/21st Century, the measure would bring together four
federal agencies currently on the front lines of homeland
defense – the Federal Emergency Management Agency,
the Coast Guard, the Customs Service, and the Border Patrol.
our Homeland Security – Today, more than 40 agencies
have some responsibility for homeland security.
“We must reorganize federal agencies to better prevent
and respond to homeland threats,” Thornberry stated.
“It will take more than incremental changes. It
will take bold steps -- even if it means stepping on
bureaucratic toes -- such as the establishment of a
National Homeland Security Agency.”
this legislation, FEMA would be renamed the National
Homeland Security Agency. The new NHSA would
continue to be the federal government’s principal response
agency in times of natural disaster. But under this
plan, it would also become the federal government’s
principal agency for coordination, response and prevention
with regard to terrorist attacks and other manmade
disasters, and the principal point of contact for state and
local governments. In carrying out this mission, the
NHSA would be assisted by the Coast Guard, Customs Service
and Border Patrol, which would be transferred to the new
homeland security agency as independent entities.
transferred to the NHSA under this realignment would be the
Critical Infrastructure Assurance Office and the Institute
of Information Infrastructure Protection, which are
currently in the Department of Commerce, and the National
Infrastructure Protection Center and the National Domestic
Preparedness Office, which are currently part of the
Department of Justice/Federal Bureau of Investigation.
intent of establishing a new Homeland Security Agency is not
to add another layer of fat to our already bloated federal
bureaucracy,” Thornberry noted. “Rather, the goal
is to realign and consolidate a number of key federal
agencies in a way that will help the federal government
better prevent and respond to homeland threats.
was introduced by Thornberry in March and is currently under
consideration by the Government Reform Committee.
see also FEMA Executive Orders