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Governor Tom Ridge of Pennsylvania was sworn in Friday as the first Secretary of the new Department of Homeland Security, the same day the Department officially stood up. During a ceremony in the White House, President Bush called Secretary Ridge "the right man" to lead the nation's first comprehensive and coordinated effort to secure the nation's borders and citizens against terrorism. Tom Ridge is sworn in as Secretary of DHS

"Under the leadership of Tom Ridge," the President said, "more than 170,000 dedicated Americans, dedicated professionals, will have the overriding mission of protecting their fellow Americans."

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) becomes the government's 15th Cabinet-level agency, consolidating 22 previously disparate agencies under one unified roof. The Department's first priority is to protect the nation against further terrorist attacks. Component agencies will analyze threats and intelligence, guard our borders and airports, protect our critical infrastructure, and coordinate the response of our nation for future emergencies.

Besides providing a better-coordinated defense of the homeland, DHS is also dedicated to protecting the rights of American citizens and enhancing public services, such as natural disaster assistance and citizenship services, by dedicating offices to these important missions.

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