Ridge: DHS to get new policy shop

Jan. 30, 2005 at 6:19 AM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- Outgoing Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge says the department he is leaving needs structural changes.

Ridge said he supports proposals for "some internal changes that will make us more effective," including the establishment of an office charged with developing the department's long term strategic planning and policy.

Ridge, speaking to reporters Friday, promised the changes he was putting into put in place would leave it in better shape for his successor after he leaves, but rejected other suggested reforms.

He said that when the department was set up, "We tried to keep the staffing levels low at headquarters."

As a result, there was no department-wide policy office under a senior official but only a half-dozen or so staff in the secretary's office. "We dealt with (policy issues) on an ad hoc basis," said Ridge.

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