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Published:February 6th, 2007 08:42 EST
DHS Announces Eight Percent Increase in Fiscal Year 2008 Budget Request

DHS Announces Eight Percent Increase in Fiscal Year 2008 Budget Request

By SOP newswire

President Bush’s fiscal year 2008 budget request for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) represents $46.4 billion in funding, which is an increase of 8 percent over the FY 2007 level – excluding funds provided in emergency supplemental funding. The request targets five areas that are essential to preserving freedom and privacy, meeting future challenges, and fulfilling our mission of securing America.

Continue to Protect our Nation from Dangerous People

Protecting our nation from dangerous people continues by strengthening border security; developing fraud resistant identification and biometric tools; creating an interoperable architecture for the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) program, the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), and Real ID requirements; and achieving full database interoperability between DHS, the FBI, and the Department of State.

  • Total funding of $1 billion will support the SBInet program deployment and create an integrated infrastructure and technology solution for effective control of the border that includes fencing and virtual barriers to prevent illegal entry into the United States.

  • Total funding of $778 million will provide for 3,000 additional Border Patrol agents as well as facilities to house the agents, support personnel, and equipment necessary to gain operational control of our borders. This will keep us on track to achieve the President’s goal of doubling the Border Patrol by the time he leaves office.

  • Total funding of $252 million is requested for implementation of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) at land ports of entry. The requested resources will advance the WHTI goal of ensuring that all people arriving at U.S. ports of entry have a valid and appropriate means of identification and can be processed in an efficient manner.

  • An increase of $146.2 million for the Unique Identity initiative will establish the foundational capabilities to improve identity establishment and verification with the transition to 10-Print and Automated Biometric Identification System (IDENT) and Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) interoperability. The funding will provide the capability to biometrically screen foreign visitors requesting entry to the United States through the collection of 10-print capture, rather than the current two, at enrollment. US-VISIT, along with the departments of State and Justice, will be able to continue efforts to develop interoperability between DHS’ IDENT and Justice’s IAFIS systems.

  • An increase of $224.2 million in funding will support the Transportation Security Administration's screening operations. This includes the Transportation Security Officers (TSO), Document Checkers, Career Progression Program, and procurement and installation of checkpoint support and explosives detection systems. TSA has evolved its TSO workforce to be highly responsive and effective in addressing the variety of potential threats, such as those presented in August 2006 by liquids, aerosols and gels. In FY 2007 and FY 2008, TSA plans to add an important layer of defense for aviation security by assuming responsibility for document checking.

  • An increase of $38 million in funding will support development and initial operating capability for the Secure Flight system. This includes funding for hardware procurement, operations ramp-up and training, and network interface engineering between the Secure Flight and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Advanced Passenger Information System (APIS) network. Secure Flight will strengthen watch list screening and vet all domestic air travelers.

  • An increase of $28.7 million for the ICE Criminal Alien Program (CAP) will ensure the safety of the American public through the addition of twenty two CAP teams. These teams will continue the mission of identifying and removing incarcerated criminal aliens so they are not released back into the general population.

  • An increase of $16.5 million in funding will support the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) which will establish an integrated, credential-based, identity verification program through the use of biometric technology. In order to gain unescorted access to the secure areas within the nation’s transportation system, transportation workers who need access to these areas will go through identity verification, a satisfactory background check and be issued a biometrically verifiable identity card to be used with local access systems. The TWIC final rule has very recently been issued, and initial enrollment for this program is scheduled to begin in March 2007.

  • An increase of $788.1 million for the Coast Guard’s Integrated Deepwater System. This funding will:  complete the acquisition of four National Security Cutters; fund engineering and design costs for the Replacement Patrol Boat; and purchase four additional Maritime Patrol Aircraft. These long-awaited upgrades to its fleet will strengthen the Coast Guard’s ability to safeguard our seaports from terrorists seeking to enter the country or transport dangerous weapons or materials.

  • Total funding of $30 million for the Employment Eligibility Verification (EEV) program will sustain the expansion of the program to provide increased interior enforcement of our immigration laws and more robust worksite enforcement, allowing employers to remove the guesswork involved with hiring new employees.

Continue to Protect our Nation from Dangerous Goods

We are aggressively working to improve maritime cargo security, including enhancing domestic and overseas container scanning. In addition, the Department is dedicating funding to improve technology and reduce costs to the BioWatch program, a key element in its comprehensive strategy for countering terrorism. The following initiatives are fundamental to the Department achieving our goal of protecting the nation from dangerous goods:

  • Total funding of $178 million will provide for the procurement and deployment of radiation portal monitors, including next-generation Advanced Spectroscopic Portal (ASP) systems. The requested resources will assist the Department in achieving its goal of screening 98 percent of all containers entering the United States by the end of FY 2008.

  • An increase of $15 million is requested for the Secure Freight Initiative that is designed to maximize radiological and nuclear screening of U.S. bound containers from foreign ports. Secure Freight includes a next generation risk assessment screening program and an overseas detection network, while merging existing and new information regarding containers transiting through the supply chain to assist customs and screening officials in making security and trade decisions.

  • An increase of $47.4 million is requested for the Acceleration of Next-Generation Research and Development program which will increase funding across multiple research, development, and operations program areas.

Protect Critical Infrastructure

Central to the Department’s mission is supporting effective critical infrastructure security investments at the federal, State, and local levels. The President’s Budget requests funding for initiatives that continue to support strengthening national chemical plant security; protecting high risk rail shipments; and cultivating mutually beneficial partnerships with industry owners and operators. These key funding requests are critical elements to guarding the nation’s infrastructure:

  • An increase of $30 million will provide for the Securing the Cities Implementation initiative. DHS will begin the implementation of strategies developed through the analytical work done in FY 2006 and FY 2007 in support of the initiative in the New York region. Activities included in the development of regional strategies include analyses of critical road networks, mass transit, maritime, and rail vulnerabilities. The Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) will engage state and local partners in additional urban areas beginning in FY 2008 to tailor strategies and lessons learned from the New York region to meet requirements specific to these regions.

  • An increase of $21.9 million will support the newly formed Science and Technology (S&T) Office of Innovation to provide increases to program development and leap-ahead technologies that address some of the highest priority needs of the Department. The technologies being developed will be used to create a resilient electric grid to protect critical infrastructure sites, detect tunnels along the border, defeat improvised explosive devices, and utilize high-altitude platforms or ground-based systems for detection and engagement of MANPADS in order to offer alternative solutions to installing systems on aircraft.

  • An increase of $15 million for a total of $25 million will improve Chemical Site Security and regulate security of chemical plants. The funding will be used to manage training of inspector staff, assist desk personnel and other administrative staff. Funds will also be spent on assisting chemical facilities with vulnerability assessments.

  • An increase of $3.5 million will expand TSA’s National Explosive Detection Canine Team program by approximately 45 teams to support the nation’s largest passenger transportation systems in both mass transit and ferry systems.

  • An increase of $35.6 million for the Presidential Campaign will enable the U.S. Secret Service to provide the appropriate level of resources to adequately protect the candidates and nominees during the 2008 Presidential Campaign while sustaining other protective programs.

Build a Nimble and Effective Emergency Response System and Culture of Preparedness

Remaining in a state of readiness is crucial to the Department’s ability to deter and respond to acts of terror or other disasters. The following funding requests will strengthen the department’s ability to build an effective emergency response system and culture of preparedness.

  • An increase of $100 million will provide for FEMA’s Vision Initiatives that will enable the agency to intensify and speed the development of core competencies central to achieving disaster readiness, response and recovery. A combination of staffing increases, new technologies, and targeted investment in equipment and supplies, will increase FEMA’s mission capacity in the areas of Incident Management, Operational Planning, Continuity Programs, Public Disaster Communications, Hazard Mitigation, Disaster Logistics, and Service to Disaster Victims. In addition, the requested increase will support FEMA’s plan to transform its approach to business operations and project management, enabling the development and integration of information systems, policies, internal controls, and processes necessary to effectively build, manage, and support the agency’s core competencies to ensure mission success.

  • A total of $3.2 billion will be available for State and local preparedness expenditures as well as assistance to firefighters in FY 2008. Of this amount, $2.2 billion is requested for DHS to fund grant, training and exercise programs. In addition, in coordination with our State Preparedness Grant Program, we will be co-administering the $1.0 billion Public Safety Interoperable Communications (PSIC) grant program, in partnership with the Department of Commerce. Funds requested through these programs will (1) provide critical assistance to State and local homeland security efforts, (2) support resources available through other federal assistance programs that center on first responder terrorism preparedness activities, and (3) deliver ample support to all State and local first responder organizations to obtain the equipment, training, and other resources required to protect the public in the event of a terrorist attack or other major incident.

  • A realignment of $132.7 million in base resources will establish a Deployable Operations Group and strengthen the Coast Guard’s overall response capability. The alignment of Coast Guard’s deployable, specialized forces under a single command will improve and strengthen Coast Guard’s ability to perform day-to-day operations and respond to maritime disasters and threats to the Nation.

  • A total of $48 million is requested to further professionalize FEMA’s disaster workforce by converting Cadre of On-Call Response Employee (CORE) positions with 4-year terms into permanent full-time employees. This transition will stabilize the disaster workforce, allowing for the development and retention of employees with needed program expertise and increased staffing flexibility to ensure critical functions are maintained during disaster response surge operations.

  • An increase of $12 million for the Nationwide Automatic Identification System will continue funding for this vital project that significantly enhances the Coast Guard’s ability to identify, track and exchange information with vessels in the maritime domain, especially those vessels that may threaten our nation.

Strengthen and Unify DHS Operations and Management

DHS is continuing to strengthen departmental operations to improve mission success. A variety of critical investments will help us accomplish this goal.  

  • An increase of $139 million in premium processing fees will transform and improve USCIS Business processes and outdated information technology systems. This investment will support automation of USCIS operations and improve processing times, increase security and fraud detection, improve customer service and the replacement of paper-based processes and antiquated technology. Additionally, $124 million in anticipated application fee revenue will be committed to upgrade and maintain the USCIS information technology environment.

  • A total of $17 million in new funding within ICE and CBP will help improve the internal oversight of personnel. This oversight is especially critical as the workforces of these organizations continue to expand.

  • An increase of $120 million for the DHS Consolidated Headquarters Project will further consolidate executive program leadership of the Department in a secure setting. This will foster a one-DHS culture and enhance the flow of information while optimizing our prevention and response capabilities across the spectrum of operations.

  • An increase of $9.6 million for the Office of the Chief Procurement Officer will establish the staffing requirements necessary to properly award and administer department-wide acquisition programs to ensure effective delivery of services and proper procurement and contracting procedures in compliance with all federal laws and regulations governing procurements.

  • A total of $99.1 million will continue to support the Inspector General activities to serve as an independent and objective inspection, audit, and investigative body to promote economy, efficiency, and effectiveness in DHS programs and operations.

Source:DHS