Bush: DHS Budget Has Five Major "Themes"

Feb. 11, 2005
The budget proposed for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has five major themes, according to President George W. Bush: Revolutionizing the Borders; Strengthening Law Enforcement; Improving National Preparedness and Response; Leveraging Technology; and Creating a 21st Century Department.

The Revolutionizing the Borders aspect of the budget will be carried out through weapons of mass destruction (WMD) detection technology, which is an integral part of the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office comprehensive strategy to address the threat of nuclear and radiological terrorism. The budget includes $125 million to purchase additional radiation portal monitors (RPMs) and pilot advanced next generation RPMs to detect both gamma and neutron radiation at our borders. Other border protection measures include:

  • The Container Security Initiative (CSI), which focuses on pre-screening cargo before it reaches U.S. shores, will have a preventative and deterrence effect on the use of global containerized shipping of WMD and other terrorist equipment. Egypt, Chile, India, Philippines, Venezuela, Bahamas and Honduras have been identified as pilots for screening in FY 2006. An increase of $5.4 million over FY 2005 is included in the budget for CSI, for a total request of $138.8 million.
  • CBP Targeting Systems aid in identifying high-risk cargo and passengers. The budget includes a total of $28.3 million for these system initiatives, which includes a $5.4 million increase.
  • America's Shield Initiative (ASI) enhances electronic surveillance capabilities along the northern and southern land borders of the United States by improving the sensor and video surveillance equipment deployed to guard against the entry of illegal aliens, terrorists, WMDs and contraband into the country. The budget includes $51.1 million, an increase of $19.8 million.
  • US-VISIT, which is proposed for consolidation within the Office of Screening Coordination and Operations, increases from $340 million to $390 million. The increase will provide for the accelerated deployment of US-VISIT at the land borders and enhance access for border personnel to immigration, criminal and terrorist information.
  • The Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) focuses on partnerships all along the entire supply chain, from the factory floor, to foreign vendors, to land borders and seaports. The budget includes an increase of $8.2 million, for a total amount of $54.3 million.
  • Border Patrol Staffing would increase along the southwest border and coastal areas, in part to replace some Border Patrol agents shifted to the northern border as required by the Patriot Act. An increase of 210 agents and $36.9 million is included in the budget for the Border Patrol. This increases the Border Patrol Agents to 10,949.
  • Long Range Radar technology is used by the Office of Air and Marine Operations to detect and intercept aircraft attempting to avoid detection while entering the United States. Custom and Border Protection (CBP) and the Department of Defense will assume responsibility for operating and maintaining these systems from the Federal Aviation Administration beginning in FY 2006. CBP's share of the budget is $44.2 million.

Strengthening Law Enforcement initiatives include a number of requests for funds that would impact the U.S. Coast Guard, possibly in response to a recent Government Accounting Office report that indicated the Coast Guard was not fully prepared to meet its expanded homeland security duties (See "GAO: Challenges Remain for Coast Guard Response Readiness). Some of the projects with proposed funding increases include :

  • The Armed Helicopter for Homeland Security Project, which was given a $17.4 million increase in the budget. These funds will provide equipment and aircraft modifications to establish armed helicopter capability at five U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) air stations. This will provide the USCG and DHS with the tools needed to respond quickly and forcefully to emergency maritime threats. A total of $19.9 million is included in the budget for this project.
  • The Integrated Deepwater System, which will receive an increase of $242 million, for a total of $966 million in FY 2006 to continue the acquisition of the USCG's Maritime Security Cutter-Large, complete design of the Maritime Security Cutter-Medium, promote completion of the Multi-Mission Cutter Helicopter (re-engineered and electronically upgraded HH-65 helicopter) and significantly improve fixed and rotary wing aircraft capabilities. These upgrades will increase awareness and are crucial for an integrated, interoperable border and port security system.
  • The Response Boat-Medium Project, which increases the effort to replace the USCG's 41-foot utility boats and other large non-standard boats with assets more capable of meeting all of the USCG's multi-mission operational requirements by $10 million. A total of $22 million is proposed in the budget for this effort.
  • The Federal Air Marshal Service (FAMS), which seeks a total of $688.9 million. This funding will allow Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to protect air security and promote public confidence in our civil aviation system.
  • Detention and Removal within ICE increases by $176 million for detention and removal activities. Total increases for this program are approximately 19 percent above the FY 2005.
  • Temporary Worker Worksite Enforcement increases will more than double the resources available for worksite enforcement including employer audits, investigations of possible violations and criminal case presentations. An increase of $18 million is in the budget.
  • Federal Flight Deck Officers (FFDO)/Crew Member Self-Defense (CMSD) Training is increased by $11 million in FY 2006 for a total of $36.3 million. This allows for the expansion of the semi-annual firearm re-qualification program for FFDO personnel and to fund the first full year of the CMSD training program.

Improving National Preparedness and Response includes funding for first responders and for those agencies who must respond to manmade and natural disasters. The president has asked for funding for:

  • Federal assistance for the first responder community. The budget includes $3.6 billion for grants, training and technical assistance administered by the Office of State and Local Government Coordination and Preparedness (SLGCP). This funding will support state and local agencies as they equip, train, exercise and assess preparedness for emergencies regardless of scale or cause.
  • Enhanced Catastrophic Disaster Planning. This is budgeted at $20 million for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to work with states and localities, as well as other federal agencies, to develop and implement plans that will improve the ability to respond to and to recover from catastrophic disasters.
  • The Office of Interoperability and Compatibility (OIC). The mission of the OIC is to help DHS expand its leadership role in interoperable communications that could be used by every first responder agency in the country. The OIC has currently identified three program areas: communications, equipment and training. With $20.5 million in FY 2006, the OIC will plan and begin to establish the training and equipment programs, as well as continue existing communication interoperability efforts through the SAFECOM Program.
  • Replacement of the USCG's High Frequency (HF) Communications System. Funded at $10 million in the budget, the system will replace unserviceable, shore-side, high-power, high-frequency transmitters, significantly improving long-range maritime safety and security communications.
  • The Rescue 21 Project. This project is funded at $101 million in the budget to continue recapitalizing the Coast Guard's coastal zone communications network. This funding will complete system infrastructure and network installations in 14 regions and begin development of regional designs for the remaining 11 regions.

The president's plan for Leveraging Technology includes:

  • The Low Volatility Agent Warning System, a new FY 2006 initiative with a cost of $20 million. The system will serve as the basis for a warning and identification capability against a set of chemical agents whose vapor pressure is too low to be detected by conventional measures.
  • An increase of $49 million for Counter-MAN Portable Air Defense Systems (C-MANPADS), for a total of $110 million in the budget. This program will continue to research the viability of technical countermeasures for commercial aircraft against the threat of shoulder-fired missiles.
  • The enhancement of cyber security in the budget to augment a 24/7 cyber threat watch, warning and response capability that would identify emerging threats and vulnerabilities and coordinate responses to major cyber security incidents. An increase of $5 million is proposed in the budget for this effort, bringing the program total to $73.3 million.
  • A request for Secure Flight/Crew Vetting for an increase of $49 million to field the system developed and tested in FY 2005. The funds will support testing, information systems, connectivity to airlines and screen systems and daily operations. This also includes an increase of $3.3 million for crew vetting.
  • A request for $174 million to complete installation of High Speed Operational Connectivity (Hi-SOC) to passenger and baggage screening checkpoints to improve management of screening system performance.
  • A proposed increase for Emerging Checkpoint Technology of $43.7 million in FY 2006 to direct additional resources to improve checkpoint explosives screening. This proposed increase will result in investing more than $100 million invested in FY 2005 and FY 2006 for new technology to ensure improved screening of all higher risk passengers.
  • $37 million for the Homeland Secure Data Network (HSDN). These funds will streamline and modernize the classified data capabilities in order to facilitate high quality and high value classified data communication and collaboration.
  • Requests for the Homeland Security Operations Center (HSOC) of $26.3 million, bringing its FY 2006 funded level to $61.1 million. This includes an increase of $13.4 million for the Homeland Security Information Network (HSIN) and an increase of $12.9 million to enhance HSOC systems and operations.

Creating a 21st Century Department requires:

  • Funding of $30 million for Electronically Managing enterprise resources for government effectiveness and efficiency (eMerge2) to continue implementation of a DHS-wide solution that delivers accurate, relevant and timely resource management information to decision makers.
  • MAX HR funding of $53 million, to continue the design and deployment of a new human resources system. As outlined in final regulations, issued jointly on Feb. 1, 2005, by Secretary Tom Ridge and the Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Kay Coles James, the MAXHR system provides greater flexibility and accountability in the way employees are paid, developed, evaluated afforded due process and represented by labor organizations. The goal is a 21st century personnel system that enhances mission-essential flexibility and preserves core civil service principles and the merit system.
  • $16.5 million for the Information Sharing and Collaboration (ISC) program, which will affect the policy, procedures, technical, process, cultural and organizational aspects of information sharing and collaboration, including coordinating ISC policy with other federal agencies, drafting technical and operational needs statements, performing policy assessments and analyzing new requirements.
About the Author

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the former content director of EHS Today, and is currently the EHSQ content & community lead at Intelex Technologies Inc. She has written about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990.

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