Included in the report released January 31 by the United States Commission on National Security/21st Century are a proposal for a new, cabinet-level National Homeland Security Agency that would combine the Federal Emergency Management Agency with several other agencies, and a prescription for recasting a "crippled" State Department and the Department of Defense. The combination of unconventional weapons proliferation with the persistence of international terrorism will end the relative invulnerability of the U.S. homeland to catastrophic attack. A direct attack against American citizens on American soil is likely over the next quarter century. The risk is not only death and destruction but also a demoralization that could undermine U.S. global leadership. In the face of this threat, our nation has no coherent or integrated governmental structures. We therefore recommend the creation of a new independent National Homeland Security Agency (NHSA) with responsibility for planning, coordinating, and integrating various U.S. government activities involved in homeland security. NHSA would be built upon the Federal Emergency Management Agency, with the three organizations currently on the front line of border security -- the Coast Guard, the Customs Service, and the Border Patrol -- transferred to it. NHSA would not only protect American lives, but also assume responsibility for overseeing the protection of the nation's critical infrastructure, including information technology.