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Remarks by Secretary Michael Chertoff at the National Emergency Management Association Mid-Year Conference

Release Date: February 12, 2007

Alexandria, Virginia
National Emergency Management Association Mid-Year Conference

Secretary Chertoff: I see we have a full house. Every time I see a gavel, it makes me want to slam it. Reminds me of what it was like to be a judge.

Well, I'm really delighted to welcome all of you here. I want to thank Al Ashwood for introducing me. I know Oklahoma has had a particularly tough year last year with Mother Nature. I also believe Dick Andrews is here. Oh, there he is, in the back. I want to recognize him. He's, of course, been a valuable member of the HSAC [Homeland Security Advisory Council]. And I also want to make note of the fact that I'm delighted to be accompanied for this speech by George Foresman and Dave Paulison, both of whom I know you know very well and respect very much.

This is a great opportunity, in February, well in advance of hurricane season, but evidently not so far in advance of a looming snowstorm, to be meeting with state emergency managers. And since the snowstorm, I think, is going to hit us right here, the emergency managers from Virginia and Maryland don't need to go back to their home states. You can just manage the emergency tomorrow from where you sit.

I know that Under Secretary Foresman spoke to you a little bit earlier today about setting risk-based priorities to defend our country. And I know Director Paulison will be speaking to you very shortly after I conclude about his priorities for FEMA. So I hope that when you leave this conference, you'll have not just a better sense of the department's work and our mission as we go into 2007, but an appreciation of our full commitment to work in partnership with emergency managers and with NEMA all across the country to improve emergency preparedness and response.

It's been a year since I came to talk to you about the department. Last February, of course, we were still very much in the throes of post-Katrina activity, trying to assimilate all the lessons that emanated from that unparalleled catastrophe. And I think that what you'll see in the past year is a great deal of assimilation of those lessons, and a lot of building towards what we believe will be a 21st century FEMA.

And in the year that's past, I've had an opportunity, of course, to meet with a significant number of you one on one, either here in Washington or traveling in your own states, so I can hear your thoughts, your advice, get a perspective on what works and what doesn't work in your own states, and identify areas where we can continue to build and strengthen our partnership.

All of these interactions are very important. What matters at the end of the day are the facts on the ground and how people who have the responsibility for managing an event on the ground are being supported.

So we are very interested in your straightforward advice about how we can strengthen our lines of communications, how we can build a more integrated emergency response capability, what our gaps are, what your needs are, and what our goals for the future should be.

And we remain committed, of course, to the following proposition: Response to emergencies in the first instance rests with state and local responders. There is no desire to supplant you and make this a federal responsibility. So although we want to be present in a supporting role, we want to be able to work with you, we are not interested in stepping on your toes or pushing you out of the way.

I thought what I would do in my remarks today is talk about three areas where I think we are focused on for 2007. The first of these are Homeland Security grants, to talk a little bit about the purpose of the grants, how we set our funding priorities at DHS and what we're trying to achieve. The second is interoperability, a subject that has been much discussed in Washington over the last year and that will be an area of particular focus for us in 2007 and 2008. And finally, of course, I know you're keenly interested in the result of the reorganization of FEMA, which was mandated by Congress, and which will be effective on March 31st of this year.

I know that George Foresman has talked to you a little bit about that, I know Dave Paulison will have a lot more to say, but I think it may be helpful if I give you a little bit of my perspective as the Secretary.

Now, again, I'm going to reiterate the fact that we know that the vast majority of disasters and emergencies are managed at the local and state level. You all know your communities, you all know your geography, you all know the particular types of challenges that you face, and therefore it makes sense to manage these systems at the level which is most close to where the action is.

We do recognize, though, that the scale and scope of certain kinds of events, whether natural or man-made, does require federal intervention and coordination. And so our goal with DHS is to make sure that we have built the capabilities and partnerships ahead of schedule to ensure an effective and coordinated response at all levels.

You know and I know the name of the game is planning, planning and planning. You always have to improvise, but if your plans are sound, if you have trained to the plan, if you have exercised to the plan, if you've built your capabilities to the plan, then your chances of a successful response, even with the need to adapt to unforeseen circumstances, are much better than if you're trying to build your plan in the middle of the emergency.

So a great deal of what our emphasis is going to be this coming year, as it was the last year, is joint planning, training and exercising; joint execution and unity of effort; and a common framework for emergency management.

Now, we have made a lot of progress over the last year in achieving these goals. The President and Congress directed us, and we in fact did review emergency plans in 131 cities and states to identify gaps and make recommendations. And I say emergency plans because although the initial impulse was to look at these as evacuation plans, we all recognize that evacuation is not the correct solution in every kind of emergency; in some emergencies you want shelter in place, for example.

Having conducted that evaluation, we've been working with you and your other colleagues in state and local government to conduct training and exercises, we've increased compliance with the National Incident Management System, and we are in the middle of revising the National Response Plan.

Very importantly, we've assessed communications interoperability across the nation and made specific recommendations for improvement, which we expect to back up with over $1 billion in funding during the next 18 months.

We're working internally to make sure FEMA is capable of doing its job. We've boosted FEMA's equipment, training, professionalism, and improved its response time. In fact, earlier this month, we saw evidence of these improved capabilities in FEMA's response to Florida's tornadoes. During that series of events, communication with federal, state and local partners was strong; help arrived quickly; victims' claims were processed quickly -- the average turnaround time to review an application for assistance, determine eligibility and conduct an inspection was less than one day, and most awards were disbursed within two days, with an average replacement award of $27,000.

Two elements illustrate the kind of partnership that made that possible. One was a skilled emergency management agency under the leadership of Craig Fugate, and second was FEMA's own work under Dave Paulison and Admiral Harvey Johnson to improve its capabilities and speed its processes.

So let me talk, first of all, about grants. In the broader context, we continue to build capabilities as we move forward through our Homeland Security grants programs. In fact, if we look overall since 9/11, we have allocated nearly $20 billion to state and local partners in grants. And that's, by the way, just our department, that's wholly apart from money that we put in through other programs -- for example, the work your Army Corps of Engineers does in strengthening infrastructure. It's apart from the assistance in kind that we bring to states through the work of such disparate organizations as the Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection. It reflects, though, a very significant measure of direct assistance that's been put in the hands of first responders.

Just this past year, we awarded $2.6 billion in preparedness grants to protect urban areas and critical infrastructure, purchase equipment, and conduct training and exercises.

Now, under the President's proposed budget for fiscal year 2008, plus other legislation, there will be an additional $3.2 billion available to our state and local partners in their hands by 2008. This reflects a commitment by the President and by the department to continue to fund preparedness and response across the country. The $3.2 billion includes funding that equals or exceeds the amounts provided by Congress last year for Emergency Management Performance Grants, Citizen Corps Grants, Urban Area Security Initiative Grants, Port Security Grants, rail transit grants, Intercity Bus Security Grants, and Buffer Zone Protection.

I know the EMPG [Emergency Management Performance Grants] program in particular is of interest to this group. And Al Ashwood, on behalf of FEMA, has made a point of underscoring the importance of this program, and that's why we have equaled or exceeded it in the President's proposed budget for 2008.

The question I get asked a lot is, how do we set funding priorities? Well, we use risk management. That's what Congress has directed us to do, and that's what we do do. We look at threat, vulnerability and consequences, obviously within the legal standards and parameters that are set by the individual funding programs.

Now, we understand that every state and every community has needs, but at DHS we have a responsibility to look at the total picture of risk across the country and to set priorities, just as you do in your own states working with your governors. I recognize that risk management is not a recipe for making everybody happy, but what it does do is ensure that our resources are put to the best possible use to address risks, particularly where the federal government has an ability to add value.

Now, I also want to say that we are interested and available to listen to constructive criticism, and we have, in fact, made changes each year in response to criticism and advice we've received from the field. We've listened to concerns about the grant process. One of the things we did this year as opposed to last year is there was a lot of push for getting the guidance out earlier rather than later. This year we got the guidance out substantially earlier than last year, and next year we're going to try to get the grant guidance out earlier still. So that's an example of our willingness and our eagerness to be responsive.

We've also tried to provide more specific guidance for the kinds of things we're most worried about so that we can meet our overall goals. These are things, for example, like NIMS training and implementation, supporting the National Preparedness Goal and target capabilities list. We are focused on high-risk cities and areas, but we're not neglecting the rest of the country. We're taking a balanced approach.

And here I want to be very clear about something. I get to hear everybody's views on the issue of grants, and if I tell you that there is no single topic that gets political leaders more excited than grants, you will not be surprised. I will also tell you that I hear a whole bunch of people who tell me, you ought to put all the grant money in five cities, that's it. That's where all the federal money ought to go. You can guess where they come from. And then there's a lot of people who say you ought to spread it evenly; there's risk everywhere in the country; there's got to be money put every single place in the country.

And we've evaluated that, and we've taken what I guess I would described as a middle position. We do, by and large, in the grants that permit risk-based funding, put most of the money, a significant proportion of money in those areas that are at highest risk. But we also resist the temptation to put all the money there and make sure that money is allocated in other areas as well so that we raise the general baseline capability across the board.

And I also want to say, there will come a point in time when the capabilities are built in the highest-risk areas, I envision we will begin to put more of the money in areas that are in comparatively lower risk so we continue to make sure we're elevating the general baseline level, even as we are following the prescription that we do look at risk as our primary determining factor.

Now, let me be clear, this is not an issue that is without controversy. And you may see things, obviously, in a different perspective, for example, than the Homeland Security advisors in New York and Los Angeles. Our responsibility is, subject to the guidance of Congress, of course, to balance this in a way that is risk-oriented, that focuses upon what is cost-effective, and that is as transparent as possible.

Another area which I do want to emphasize is the emphasis on regionalism as an approach to giving grants out. Last year, with respect to our Urban Area Security Grants, we pushed for a more regional approach. And I will tell you, there was a certain amount of grumbling about that. But the feedback we got at the end of that period of time was that the operators actually believed that regionalism was helpful.

Now, as we've come up on this grant season, I've read some political officials say they don't like regionalism. They don't like the fact that a city is going to have to share with its neighbors. And I understand, of course, why people who are running for political office are focused on which political jurisdiction gets the money. But I will tell you, I was just at the emergency operations center in Arlington County down the road here a few hours ago, and I was talking to the operators there about what they thought was important, in terms of what enables them to do the job. And what I heard from them was, regionalization -- regional compatibility and interoperability with communications, regional planning, regional ability to coordinate, regional response capability.

So, when I'm given a choice between listening to people who are political and listening to people who are operational, I'm going to be listening to the people who are operational on these very important issues of preparedness.

Now, of course, one big issue is interoperability. And as I've said, part of the money that's going to be available to be spent in 2008 will include $1 billion in interoperability grants that we're going to co-administer with the Department of Commerce. This was a priority identified by the 9/11 Commission, and I know it remains a priority for emergency managers.

There was a lot of urban legend about this issue, so we decided the way to get ground truth was to actually go out and do a survey -- first a baseline survey where we asked communities to come back and assess themselves, in terms of how much and how well they're able to use their communications equipment, and then a survey which we conducted over the 75 largest urban and metropolitan areas. And we put out a baseline scorecard that looked at three things: governance, standard operating procedures and equipment, all three of which, as you know, are critical to having interoperability.

The good news is we found that there was a lot of progress that had been made, including the availability of equipment now, gateways and other kinds of equipment, that allow us to bridge the gap among different kinds of systems with different kinds of frequencies. But we also recognize that there's a lot more work to be done, and that one of the biggest obstacles to command level interoperability is governance -- the ability, in other words, to reach agreement among all the players in the region on what their language is, what their protocols are, and what their procedure is.

Now, in many places, cities and counties have done a lot of work to achieve that level of interoperability, including governance, that we need to have all across the country. And, as I say, the National Capital Region, where we're located now, is a prime example, because they learned the lesson during the Air Florida crash about 25 years ago, when everybody arrived at the scene of the emergency and nobody could talk to one another.

But now everybody's got to get to the same level, and therefore, building on the baseline, we've required all 75 urban and metropolitan areas to develop tactical, interoperability communications plans. The plans have been submitted and exercised, and base on those exercises, we were able to give out the scorecards we talked about.

At the end of this year, based on what we've been able to assess, we're going to look to have plans that are put in place and finalized, and that will identify additional resources that we can then fill the need for by using the money I've described.

What we're asking you to do is to use the process of finalizing the plans this year to honestly and candidly assess what are the remaining barriers to interoperability. Is it governance, that everyone's going to have to get in a room and reach an agreement? Is it standard operating procedures, and everyone's going to have to get trained to the standard operating procedures? And if it's equipment, then we need to know what is the equipment shortfall, and we can provide the funding.

We recognize that interoperability is not going to be solved by Washington. It's going to need the nation's governors and their Homeland Security advisors and the emergency managers to lead these efforts in every state.

Our grant guidance directs state and local communities to focus applications, therefore, on identifying and closing gaps to get to where they need to be on the baseline of interoperable incident-level communications. And of course, we know that doesn't mean or necessarily even counsel in favor of every single firefighter and EMT and police officer talking to one another, but it does mean you have to have tactical-level incident interoperability.

In order to make sure that we are a one-stop shop for you in doing this job -- and let's get this done in the next 18 months. I mean, we've talked about it endlessly, and this is something I would really like to see us get done in 2008 -- we've created a new Office of Emergency Communication at DHS. This new office, which is part of our National Protection and Programs Directorate, will work closely with FEMA, with all the other DHS components, including the operational components, and our federal agency partners to integrate federal delivery of communications assistance, services and solutions to state, local and tribal governments and first responders.

To date, just to remind you, we've spent almost $3 billion on this; there's another $1 billion coming. We have the money to do the job; we need to get our heads together and get it done.

Finally, let me say a few words about FEMA. At last year's conference, I told you we were dedicated to retooling FEMA's capabilities in four areas: logistics, claims management/customer service, communications and debris removal. We've made progress in each of those areas, including getting FEMA a new professional leadership, not only at the very top level, but at the regional levels as well.

By March 31, we will have implemented Congress' FEMA reforms. And as part of that, we've taken the opportunity to look within FEMA itself so that we don't merely go back to the legacy structures that we had previously, but to make sure that we are equipping FEMA with the kind of organization that will let it move forward in the future.

Part of that is increased emphasis on logistics, as well as a robust Preparedness Directorate and a Mitigation Directorate that will help fully integrate all elements of what we do in emergency -- mitigation, preparedness and response in a seamless system that should get everybody better prepared nationally for natural disasters as well as for terrorist attacks.

I also want to emphasize that we recognize, particularly with the focus that we have on global diseases and pandemic flu, that health is going to be an increasing element of a combined approach we have to take to emergencies. You may well find yourselves, as emergency managers, working closely with your public health counterparts, as well as the traditional other first responders, if there is a major pandemic flu outbreak in the United States of America.

We've created an Office of Health Affairs in order to coordinate medical preparedness efforts and to make sure we have a strong linkage with Health and Human Services.

Now, let me be really blunt about this: If we get a pandemic flu, it will tax all of us. It will also require a new way of doing business. It's not going to be just an emergency services issue, it's not going to just be a police issue, it's not going to be just a traditional public health issue. It is going to involve all of those professions, as well as a very significant emphasis on continuing to keep our critical infrastructure up and running. Therefore, some of the traditional cultural barriers between these different disciplines are going to have to come down, and we're going to have to build sets of plans that are vertically and horizontally comprehensive, so that when people need the full spectrum of assistance that they would require in a pandemic flu, we can all play our part. That means stepping back from pride of authorship and really treating this as a kind of a team commitment that would be unprecedented in, I think, American history.

Finally, let me make it clear that one of the great lessons from Katrina that we learned is, you can't just show up and introduce yourself when the emergency is underway. And that's why, consistent with the lessons learned report, which the administration put out at around the time I spoke to you last year, we're substantially enhancing our FEMA regional offices. We now have full-time experienced managers in all of the 10 regions for the first time in as long as people can remember; we've got a National Advisory Council we've got set up, we're going to populate to make sure we have a back-and-forth with the community; and we're going to have Defense Department and preparedness capabilities in these regional offices so we can do comprehensive planning at the regional level, as well as at the national level.

Finally, as you all know, we're going to have to still bang the drum for preparedness in all of our communities -- at the family level, at the business level, and at the individual level. Everybody understands, everybody in this room sure understands, that help is not going to be there in the first hour. And the kind of planning and preparedness that each of us can do is an important part of what not only allows us to do our job in an orderly way, but make sure that emergency personnel can address those who can't help themselves first, as opposed to addressing the needs of those who could have helped themselves if they had bothered to do it. So this is what I call civic responsibility, and I think it's one which we want to continue to emphasize.

I want to thank you for your partnership. I want to thank you for your criticism, when it comes; it's constructive. And I want to thank you for your support when it comes as well. Congress has made it very clear that they want to continue to review and oversee the progress of the federal government, states and local communities in preparing for emergencies and disasters. And so we're going to be under the microscope, and I think we should welcome that oversight.

Achieving demonstrable progress will require close collaboration, but it's critical if we're going to maintain the faith of Americans in their government as a principle source of assistance and help in time of need.

I want to thank, again, Albert, and I want to thank NEMA for hearing us, for working with us, not only on a day of a conference like this, but throughout the course of the year. And I want to thank each and every one of you individually for the work that you do every single day on behalf of the citizens of your own states.

I hope we can have a no-hurricane year or virtually no-hurricane year this year, like last year. But, while I hope for the best, I prepare for the worst, and that's what we're going to be doing.

So we look forward to working with you over the next year in order to achieve what we all want, which is the best level of preparation possible.

Thank you.

I've got about five minutes. You all have some questions, if you just introduce yourself and tell me where you're from, I'll answer. I guess I covered everything. Either that or it's a very bashful group.

Question: Mr. Secretary, thank you for coming. My question, in the face of no other question, would be, what are your thoughts on what we should be telling citizens, in terms of individual preparedness? We talked about, as you said, help is not going to be here within the hour, and may not be in 72 hours. What's your thoughts on what central message we should be delivering to our citizens?

Secretary Chertoff: This is actually a very complicated question, because it's a balance between giving them information that is important, and not so overloading them that they throw their hands up in despair and therefore they don't do anything.

The approach we've tried to take is, first of all, we have a website and we've put out in the website,, some of the basic kinds of things one ought to have on hand for an emergency. Obviously there are different recipes in different parts of the country -- things you might have in a warm climate with hurricanes are not necessarily going to be useful in Wisconsin. But I think any state can put together that list.

A second really important part is the planning piece, getting people to understand they've got to make their own plans, like where do we meet if we're separated; where do we go if our house is somehow inaccessible to us. There was a rather amusing but telling advertising campaign we did with the Ad Council, where they go to families and they ask individual members of the family, what's your plan? And everybody goes, oh, we have a plan, and then the father says, we're going to meet at the library; the mother says, we're going to meet at home; and the siblings say, one of them has that they're going to be at Aunt Maggie's house, and the other one says we're going to meet down at City Hall. And it does force people to think a little bit about that.

You know the basic things you need to have, in terms of radios and whatnot. The hardest piece, I think, is going to be this -- and it's particularly true if we get something unusual like a pandemic flu -- we're going to have get people conditioned, but also work with the media to get a responsible chain of public communication about what steps to take in the case of an emergency. It's great to have your hand-cranked or your battery radio, but if the media doesn't work with us to make sure a clear and accurate message gets out, the radio is not going to help you. And one of the things I would urge you to do is talk to your local media. Make sure you've identified and they've identified an authoritative voice to speak on behalf of the authorities, whether it be a public health issue or a hurricane or an earthquake or something like that so there is ground truth, and people aren't searching all over the cable networks to find people coming out of the woodwork with cockamamie advice. So that's kind of what we're looking at, and I think it's something you all might consider as well.

Question: Good afternoon, Mr. Secretary. We had discussed with Governor Bush last year some of the challenges we faced with undocumented citizens and trying to perform a humanitarian mission at the same time, the restrictions Congress has put on the federal programs.

I know that the President has tried to address this, and Congress was not very receptive. Do you get a sense that this Congress may be more receptive? Because, again, in trying to fulfill a humanitarian mission with our federal partners, it almost seems like we have a contradiction. Some of the resources would actually be an enforcement issue, and it makes it rather difficult to help people in that time of need without creating an unnecessary fear that they're going to face immediate deportation just reaching out for assistance.

Secretary Chertoff: I think this has been a very controversial, very emotional issue. And I think the general rule we have followed, as a rule of thumb, is we perform humanitarian functions irrespective of -- we don't ask for documentations when we pull people out of rivers. It is true that when you get the things, for example, like benefits, such as your individual assistance or your claims for damaged property, that is something that requires citizenship. But I think that -- I think what you've underscored is the fact that the failure to resolve this immigration issue comprehensively has had a ripple effect across the entire country and has made everybody's jobs challenging, because we're trying to balance two competing issues.

And I know the President said this here in the State of the Union, and he's really committed to trying to get this thing done this year. And I'm hopeful that we can address the whole package, including, obviously, the issue you've raised this coming calendar year.

Question: Mr. Secretary, where do you see the balance between the Real ID Act requirements in the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, and also those issues that the Native American nations have with being able to freely cross the northern border because of their aboriginal issues on both sides of their family grounds?

Secretary Chertoff: Three complicated questions, which I will try to speak about briefly. Let me tell you what the vision is. There was a lesson from the 9/11 Commission that -- and I think this is almost their words -- phony documentations are a terrorist weapon. But to be honest, it's more than just a terrorist weapon. It is also a weapon in the hand of people who prey on individuals through identify theft and other kinds of fraud.

It doesn't take a lot of skill these days to fabricate a license or to fabricate another document. And many of us rely upon our documents as the principle way we protect our identities, if not our lives.

So we took the mandate of the 9/11 Commission, we've tried to build a sensible but nevertheless comprehensive system of protecting our identities, and we've done it in a couple ways. First, we do need to make sure that when people cross our border we have some real knowledge of who they are. We've put into effect the passport rule for the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, which, I'm delighted to say, notwithstanding all the fears that were expressed, has worked virtually flawlessly in the last month since it's been introduced, meaning almost everybody who has taken an air trip in the western hemisphere outside of the United States has had a passport with them. They got the message, it was clearly communicated, and as a consequence, everybody has benefited.

We're going to move next year to do this with respect to the land borders, but we're looking at a couple of options, including a pass card, a less expensive form of passport-type card that the State Department will issue, and we're looking at the possibility of using driver's licenses, if they meet particular standards, that could be used to cross the border. And we've got a pilot program in the state of Washington that's working on that.

That goes to the larger question of our internal driver's licenses. Congress has mandated over the next several years migrating to a system where we have driver's licenses that can be used as identification for federal purposes, if they meet certain standards, in terms of security and the validation.

We're working with the motor vehicle associations and with a lot of the states on what this is going to look like, and we're hoping very soon to put a proposed regulation out.

Again, eventually, this might allow us to do double-duty or triple-duty, have the same license also be used to cross the border, and be used for a whole host of other purposes where you now have to carry different identification.

So there is a vision here at the end of the day for a form of document, personal document, that is more secure, more convenient, and more protective of privacy than the current system, where we rely on a whole lot of documents of uncertain security.

Like any other big migration to a new standard, it's going to take work and it's going to be a little inconvenient. And what we are going to try to do is manage this process, as we managed the first stage of WHTI, in a way that makes the inconvenience as minimal as possible, smoothes the transition over a period of time, but doesn't delay it so much that people begin to fail to take it seriously, and tries to come up with a low-cost alternative that is as inexpensive as possible. But I can't deny the fact that it will be -- cost some money, it will take some work, and it will take some time.

So here's the bottom line. We have a choice to make in the country. We went through 9/11. Every day, people get their identities stolen when their driver's licenses or other documents are forged. If we're satisfied with that system, if we're satisfied taking our chances with people coming in with phony documents and stealing our identities, then we should do nothing. We should ignore the 9/11 Commission recommendations; we should say, you know what, we'll take our chances, we feel lucky. But if we do want to learn the lessons from the past, and we do want to increase the level of security, then we do have to bite the bullet.

And let me just conclude -- to get off the soapbox -- with one last comment. All of you, as emergency managers, understand exactly the kind of thinking I'm talking about. In all of your domains, whether you have levees in your state or you have earthquake-prone areas with building codes, you know there comes a moment when you have to make a decision: Am I going to invest the money and the effort to prepare myself and build resiliency and protection so that when a bad thing happens, I've maximized my chance of surviving it without a lot of cost and a lot of heartache? Or am I going to continue to kick the investments down the road, because they're hard to make, because they don't provide a short-term fix that makes everybody happy, and just hope that when the ax falls, it's not going to be on my watch? I think if there's any lesson of the last five years, it's this: kicking the can down the road is gambling with the futures of our children and our grandchildren. True, Rome wasn't built in a day, and we're not going to fix all these things in a day, but we do owe the American people, whether it be in this area or in all the areas you worry about, a disciplined plan that will move us to a greater level of safety and security so that when the ax does fall, we've built ourselves the kind of protections and resiliency that the public has a right to expect.

Thank you.

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This page was last modified on February 12, 2007