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Post-9/11 Report Card

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Getting a jump on the wave of 9/11 retrospectives being prepared for this September, the Homeland Security Department on Thursday issued a 67-page progress report titled "Implementing the 9/11 Commission Recommendations."

As one might expect, it says "the United States has made significant progress in securing the nation from terrorism" but notes that "work remains as the terrorist threats facing the country have evolved in the last ten years, and continue to change."

The report proceeds to address specific recommendations in such vital areas as information sharing, enhancing screening for explosives and protecting cyber networks and critical physical infrastructure. It concludes that "we are a more prepared and resilient nation, able to bounce back and rebuild stronger after a major crisis or disaster."

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, ranking member on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said in response: "As the DHS self-administered report card notes, considerable progress has been made in achieving goals to strengthen our security. When it comes to our homeland security, however, we are truly only as strong as our weakest link. The assessment is correct that we have improved information sharing, but troubling examples of not connecting the dots persist, including the Fort Hood shooter and the Christmas Day bomber."

In commemorating the attack this fall, Collins continued, "we must ask ourselves, `Are we safer?' Or, are we just safer from the tactics the terrorists already have tried?"

Charlie Clark joined Government Executive in the fall of 2009. He has been on staff at The Washington Post, Congressional Quarterly, National Journal, Time-Life Books, Tax Analysts, the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, and the National Center on Education and the Economy. He has written or edited online news, daily news stories, long features, wire copy, magazines, books and organizational media strategies.

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