WASHINGTON -- Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano outlined Wednesday the Obama administration's domestic approach to preventing terrorist attacks -- a strategy that will rely in large measure on refining and expanding initiatives launched under President George W. Bush.
Ms. Napolitano said the U.S. hasn't done everything it can to educate and engage the public in preventing terrorism. Ms. Napolitano spoke Wednesday at the Council on Foreign Relations before heading to ground zero in lower Manhattan.
She said the public has been treated as a "liability to be protected," instead of an asset in maintaining the nation's security. Americans, she said, have a role along with local law enforcement, the federal government and the international community. She urged people to prepare their families, volunteer, get free training and join local emergency response teams.
In an interview this week, Ms. Napolitano signaled that the Obama administration isn't contemplating a wholesale revision of the agencies or programs created under Mr. Bush to further antiterrorism efforts.
One element of Ms. Napolitano's approach, for example, will be the expansion of a pilot program started during the Bush administration to train police to report such suspicious behavior as the theft of keys from a facility that keeps radiological waste.
It is part of a much broader effort to significantly increase cooperation between her agency and state and local governments across the nation. Her aides say this is one area where her efforts will significantly exceed those of her predecessors in the Bush administration.
"We live in a world now where no one department of government can be held to be the sole repository of protecting security," Ms. Napolitano said in an interview Monday night. "There is a role to be played at every level."
Ms. Napolitano's ideas aren't revolutionary, nor do they represent a sharp break from policies of the past. She isn't seeking another reorganization of the government, or even another reorganization of her department, which is the nation's third-largest with more than 200,000 employees.
Instead, she emphasized the need to fill the sometimes large and critical information-sharing gaps that still exist among bureaucracies -- from those within her own department, to others on the federal level, down to states and local governments and the private sector. "There is a system out there," she said in an interview. "It needs to be perfected."
A key component of the integration efforts is a national network of roughly 70 so-called intelligence-fusion centers. They bring federal, state and local officials under the same roof to "fuse" terrorism-related intelligence.
Ms. Napolitano also meets Wednesday with counterterrorism experts and law enforcers at the Staten Island Ferry Terminal. A transportation security announcement is planned at Grand Central Terminal.
Tratto da The Wall Street Journal