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National Guard to take on more homeland defense duties

December 2, 2003 The National Guard will play a greater role in protecting critical infrastructure in the United States from terrorist attacks, the Defense Department's assistant secretary for homeland defense said Tuesday. Military studies of potential domestic terrorist attacks have determined that the National Guard should not only protect the defense industrial base ...

Airport drug bust heightens debate over non-federal forces

December 1, 2003 A recent drug bust at Kennedy International Airport shows that the use of workers from private companies in sensitive security jobs poses a substantial risk, federal airport screeners argued Monday. Government agents arrested 20 baggage and cargo handlers at Kennedy last Tuesday and charged them with slipping tens of millions ...

Growing pains follow air marshals to new federal home

November 26, 2003 The federal air marshals program shifted to a new agency this week, but faces several key management and organizational challenges as it expands. On Tuesday, oversight of the Federal Air Marshal Service officially transferred from the Transportation Security Administration to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency. Homeland Security Secretary ...

Cultural barriers a challenge for Pentagon in homeland mission

November 25, 2003 The Pentagon's homeland defense command is facing cultural barriers as it works with other federal agencies, according to a senior defense official. "We have found, given dollars and time, any technical piece is solvable, and that's not the same with the cultural piece," said Air Force Maj. Gen. Dale Meyerrose, ...

House chair urges TSA to spend less on people, more on technology

November 24, 2003 A key House lawmaker criticized the Transportation Security Administration last week for not doing enough to develop technology that detects threatening objects at the nation's airports. Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., said Thursday during a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing that security systems at the nation's airports can still be ...

Rumsfeld ready to restructure Defense workforce

November 21, 2003 New personnel rules about to be developed and implemented at the Pentagon will give managers the flexibility to reorganize their offices and will help reduce the stress on uniformed and civilian forces, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Friday. During a town hall-style meeting with civilian and military personnel, Rumsfeld lauded ...

Coordinating cargo security rules a challenge for homeland agencies

November 20, 2003 New rules requiring the transportation industry to give the government advance notice of all cargo shipments will require better coordination among Homeland Security Department agencies, according to Secretary Tom Ridge. The new regulations, which go into effect in 15 days, require transportation companies to submit electronic information on all cargo ...

House panel to set performance goals for Homeland Security

November 19, 2003 Republican leaders of the House Select Committee on Homeland Security said Wednesday they will set performance standards for the Homeland Security Department, but will seek to avoid the recent mistake of creating arbitrary or unrealistic goals. The committee chairman and a group of subcommittee heads said they will meet with ...

FAA administrator pledges not to privatize air traffic operations

November 18, 2003 The Federal Aviation Administration will not privatize its air traffic controller operations, Administrator Marion Blakey said Tuesday. "We have no interest, no plans and no intention that there is going to be any outsourcing of the air traffic control system," Blakey said during a press briefing. Last week, a bipartisan ...

FAA announces organizational overhaul

November 18, 2003 The Federal Aviation Administration unveiled a major reorganization Tuesday that consolidates offices and management positions and calls for the agency to do a comprehensive analysis to determine if its workforce should be downsized. Under the plan, the FAA will eliminate current "stovepipe" offices and management positions in favor of new ...