Lieberman bill would create a tech office for homeland security

Lieberman bill would create a tech office for homeland security

Sen. Joseph Lieberman

Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) wants $200 million to develop homeland security technologies under a new Science and Technology Office within a cabinet-level Homeland Security Department.

Lieberman and Sens. Bob Graham (D-Fla.) and Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) yesterday introduced the National Homeland Security and Combating Terrorism Act of 2002 to centralize the government's many homeland security functions. The new department would coordinate and act as a focal point for all homeland security activities as well as the government's response to natural and manmade crises.

'We must mobilize government so that it can quickly and effectively reduce terrorist threats,' Lieberman said. 'Without a government that is permanently reoriented to meet unexpected challenges, new vulnerabilities will constantly emerge.'

The bill would bring under one roof the Agriculture Department's quarantine inspection functions, Border Patrol, Coast Guard, Customs Service, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and Immigration and Naturalization Service.

Commerce's Critical Infrastructure Assurance Office and the FBI's National Infrastructure Protection Center and National Domestic Preparedness Office also would be transferred to the new department.

The bill calls for a White House Office of Combating Terrorism to assess threats, develop a national terrorism strategy and allocate antiterrorism funds. The director would be presidentially appointed and confirmed by the Senate.

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