Mr. Bush signed the bill today (Monday) at a White House ceremony, calling it historic action to protect Americans against the dangers of this new era.
The president named Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge as his nominee to lead the new department. Mr. Bush nominated Navy Secretary Gordon England to serve as Mr. Ridge's deputy.
The president said the department -- which brings together 22 federal agencies -- will provide a coordinated response to future attacks -- and that it will help protect the nation's critical infrastructure, borders and airports. He said the department will help stop nuclear, chemical and biological attacks, and cyber-terrorism.
Mr. Bush said the continued threat of terrorism and the threat of mass murder on U-S soil will be met by a unified, effective response.
He said the United States is fighting a war against terror with all its resources -- and it is determined to win.
The new cabinet-level department will have 170-thousand workers and a budget of about 40-billion dollars.
Officials say it will take about one year to get the department fully operational.
The F-B-I and the C-I-A will not be part of the new department, a decision that some law enforcement experts have criticized.