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American Shipper

GROUNDWORK FOR HOMELAND SECURITY DEPARTMENT COULD BE IN PLACE JAN. 1

GROUNDWORK FOR HOMELAND SECURITY DEPARTMENT COULD BE IN PLACE JAN. 1

   The early stages of operations for a newly formed Homeland Security Department could be in place as early as Jan. 1.

   Congress and the administration are working out the last details on final legislation to move the White House’s Office of Homeland Security to a cabinet-level department. The Office of Homeland Security was created shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

   “The train is rolling down the track,” said Coast Guard Adm. Thomas H. Collins at a National Cargo Bureau meeting in Washington Monday. “We think it’s a positive move by the president.”

   Coast Guard, Transportation Security Agency and Customs will be the lead agencies of the multi-agency Homeland Security Department. Transition teams are already working on the management structure of the new department.

   Collins said the Coast Guard may have an expanded role in securing the nation’s borders, but the agency will not abandon its other responsibilities, such as protecting fisheries and ice breaking. “We’re not walking away from our missions,” Collins said.

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