Coast Guard’s Protection of Ports Vital to U.S. Security, Bush Says
By Steven Donald Smith
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, July 31, 2006 President Bush praised the Coast Guard’s efforts to protect the country’s ports in a speech today at the U.S. Coast Guard Integrated Support Command in Miami.
“One of the most important parts of securing our country is securing our ports,” the president said. “Port security is one of the top priorities of our government.”
Since Sept. 11, 2001, the Bush administration has provided $700 million in grants to enhance physical security at U.S. ports, with the Port of Miami receiving about $25 million of those grants, he said.
“We understand the importance the Coast Guard plays to port security, so we've increased funding for the Coast Guard by almost $2.9 billion,” he added.
Bush said the U.S. is using new technologies to protect its ports, such as state-of-the-art X-ray and gamma-ray scanners that screen cargo containers. The administration also launched the Container Security Initiative, designed to identify and inspect suspicious cargo at foreign ports before they depart for the United States, he said.
America faces many challenges, including protecting its ports from terrorism, the president said, but he emphasized his confidence the United States ultimately will win the war on terror.
“I understand we face a lot of challenges, but I believe this country can overcome those challenges,” he said. “I'm confident that we're going to win the war on terror because I understand that our vision of freedom, our belief in liberty is more powerful than the ideology of hatred that the terrorists espouse.”
Following his speech, Bush toured the Coast Guard command center and the Port of Miami. “It's clear that the money we've been spending to help secure our ports is working,” he said.
The president said his administration would continue to make sure the Coast Guard has all the tools necessary to accomplish its mission.
“I'm real proud of our Coast Guard,” he said. “Part of our efforts is to work with the Coast Guard leadership to make sure the Coast Guard is modernized, that they've got the latest choppers, the good boats to be able to do their job.”