Briefing by Fran Townsend, Assistant to President Bush for counterterrorism and Homeland Security Via Conference Call

WASHINGTON, Oct. 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a transcript of a press briefing via conference call by Fran Townsend , Assistant to the President for Counterterrorism and Homeland Security: 10:36 A.M. EDT MR. STANZEL...


WASHINGTON, Oct. 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a transcript of a press briefing via conference call by Fran Townsend , Assistant to the President for Counterterrorism and Homeland Security:

10:36 A.M. EDT

MR. STANZEL: Thank you very much. Thank you all for joining us, appreciate your patience. In a moment here we'll talk -- Fran Townsend , the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, will talk about the National Strategy for Homeland Security, which was released this morning. It's available at the White House web page, at www.whitehouse.gov (http://www.whitehouse.gov/) -- is there now, and there's also a fact sheet that accompanies it. This is an on-the-record press briefing, not for broadcast, however. So it's a pen and pad briefing. And I appreciate everyone's time.

Fran will have some comments to start off, and then we'll go ahead and take your questions.

And with that, Ms. Townsend .

Q MS. TOWNSEND: Thanks, Scott.

Good morning, everyone. The President has issued an updated strategy today to help, guide, organize and unify our nation's homeland security efforts. It's worth noting this strategy is a national strategy, not simply a federal strategy, and articulates our national approach to secure the homeland over the next several years. It, of course, builds on the first National Strategy for Homeland Security issued in July of 2002, and is meant to complement both the National Security Strategy issued in March of 2006, and the National Strategy for Combating Terrorism issued in September 2006 .

It reflects our increased understanding of the threats confronting the United States today, incorporates lessons learned from exercises and real-world catastrophes, and articulates how we should ensure our long-term success by strengthening the homeland security foundation we have built.

Since September the 11th, 2001, our concept of securing the homeland has evolved, adapting to new realities and threats. The strategy issued today incorporates this increased understanding by acknowledging that while we must continue to focus on the persistent and evolving terrorist threat, we must also recognize that certain non-terrorist events that reach catastrophic levels can have significant implications for homeland security; recognizing that effective preparation for catastrophic natural and manmade disasters does increase the security of our homeland.

We've also taken the opportunity to emphasize that as we secure the homeland we do not simply rely on defensive approaches and well-planned response and recovery measures. We recognize that our efforts must also involve offense both at home and abroad.

The purpose of our strategy is to guide, organize and unify our nation's homeland security efforts. The strategy provides a common framework by which our entire nation should focus its efforts on the following four goals: First, to prevent and disrupt terrorist attacks in the United States , we are working to deny terrorists and terrorist-related weapons and materials entering into our country and across all international borders; disrupt terrorists' ability to operate within our borders; and prevent the emergence of violent Islamic radicalization in order to deny terrorists future recruits and to defeat homegrown extremism.

Second, to protect the American people, our critical infrastructure and key resources. That is to take -- to protect the lives and livelihoods of the American people, we must undertake measures to deter the threat of terrorism, mitigate the nation's vulnerability to acts of terror and the full range of manmade and natural catastrophes, and minimize the consequences of an attack or disaster, should it occur.

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