Bush Praises Scientists for Work to Defend America
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, July 22, 2002 President Bush praised U.S. scientists today for their work in protecting America.
Bush spoke to scientists and support personnel at Argonne National Laboratory in Argonne, Ill. Bush also used the stop to push for the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, saying such a department would help the government focus efforts on protecting America.
Bush viewed a number or projects from national labs around the country that will help secure borders, detect chemical or biological attacks and aid first responders as they answer the call to duty. "What I saw were new technologies that our scientists are developing to help us secure the homeland," he said.
Americans are grateful for the work of these scientists, he said, but the government must be organized to support their efforts and coordinate the responses of many different agencies. He said more than 100 different agencies have some part in homeland security. "Despite the best intentions in those agencies, this inevitably leads to a dispersal of authority," Bush said.
The current setup drains resources and clouds accountability. While some agencies in the new department would have secondary missions, "their primary mission is to recognize the new world in which we live. The world has changed and so must our government ," Bush said.
He said the new department would have four primary tasks: to control U.S. borders; work with state and local authorities to respond quickly and effectively to emergencies; to identify and assess threats to the homeland and address vulnerabilities; and finally to develop new technologies to help protect the homeland.
Bush said he is pleased with the progress Congress is making to establish the department. He added the new secretary must have "the freedom and flexibility to get the right people in the right job at the right time, so we can hold people accountable."
He called this the "freedom to manage" and said that it is crucial for the secretary to move money and resources to meet new threats. He said all of the agencies responsible for homeland security should come under the new department. He also said that all of the Federal Emergency Management Agency should be subsumed into the agency. He called on Congress to eschew turf wars and give the new department all the support it needs to succeed.
Bush told the crowd that the United States is working to track down terrorists "one by one." He said he is proud of the way American service members have handled their missions, just as he is proud of the way the national laboratories have arisen to the challenges posed by the new threats. "We're depending on you to develop the tools we need to lift the dark threat of terrorism for our nation and the world," he said.
"All of us here today share in a great calling," he said. "It's an honor to participate in a noble cause that is larger than ourselves."