- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 8, 2002

Thirty-four former high-ranking policy-makers and top-ranked security specialists today are sending the White House 25 "priority recommendations" for eliminating the nation's vulnerability to terrorist attacks.
The suggestions are contained in a 112-page Heritage Foundation special report in response to the September 11 attacks.
"This is the first comprehensive collection of recommendations gleaned from all previous commission reports on homeland defense," says former Attorney General Edwin Meese III, a Heritage fellow and co-chairman of the foundation's Homeland Security Task Force. The other chairman of the group that produced the recommendations is former Ambassador L. Paul Bremer III, head of the National Commission on Terrorism.
The task force has evaluated and reaffirmed some observations of various blue-ribbon panels commissioned over the years to study domestic security. However, it lists only those previous and favored suggestions that have never been implemented. The report says its general goal is to "provide new ideas and proposals that would effectively address the problems identified by the September 11 attacks."
Mr. Meese explains this "initial effort" is part of a continuing project and will be supplemented by occasional "follow-ups to see how we're doing."
Called "Defending the American Homeland," the study contains the thinking of such authorities as Louis Dupart, former CIA official and general counsel to the House Select Committee on Intelligence; former Lt. Gen. Patrick M. Hughes, who headed the Defense Intelligence Agency; retired Maj. Gen. David Grange, former commander of the Delta Force and of U.S. forces in Korea; Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating; and Dr. Daniel Dire, head of the University of Alabama's Department of Emergency Medicine.
The study considers four major areas: protection of the nation's infrastructure and internal security; defense against weapons of mass destruction; intelligence and law enforcement; and military operations.
"I think improving the nation's intelligence system is the most important issue the nation faces, because gathering intelligence is critical to any of the four areas we talked about," says Mr. Meese. "Another thing that cuts across all areas is recognition of the importance of state and local governments to the country's security. People at that level are the first responders."
Prominent on the task force's list of priorities, for instance, is the recommendation that the Office of Homeland Security assess potential threats to the nation's critical assets and "eliminate the opportunities for identity theft and fraud in state identity document systems."
Among the recommendations is the designation of the Global Positioning System frequencies and network as a critical "national infrastructure."
The GPS is the Department of Defense-funded satellite navigation system used widely by the military as well as U.S. and foreign commercial interests. U.S. forces in Afghanistan have used the system when specifying bombing targets for the Air Force and Navy jets. It helps guide ground forces, ships, jetliners and drivers of certain luxury cars to their destinations.
Yet the 24 satellites on which the system depends remain undefended in space. Declaring them part of the national infrastructure presumably would serve as a warning that an attack on the satellites is an attack on the United States.

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