Citing a need to reduce America’s vulnerability to terrorism and minimize the damage and help recovery from attacks that do occur, U.S. President George Bush has requested a $36.2 billion budget for the new Office of Homeland Security. This represents a 7.4 percent increase in funding over FY2003, and a 64 percent increase ($14.1 billion) over FY2002, with over 60 thousand staff added to protect the country. The consolidation of numerous entities from Border Patrol to Coast Guard into the new Department is the largest federal reorganization in more than 50 years.From the Office of Homeland Security:Homeland Security Budget Released
Protecting the Homeland: Fiscal Year 2004 Budget
The President has requested a budget which reflects his clear commitment to supporting the priorities and the mission of the Department of Homeland Security. The Fiscal Year 2004 budget supports the Department’s effort to implement the objectives outlined in the President’s National Strategy for Homeland Security including:
Preventing terrorist attacks within the United States;
Reducing America’s vulnerability to terrorism; and
Minimizing the damage and recovering from attacks that do occur.
The Department will move forward with a sustained and cohesive strategy in key areas such as improving security at the nation’s borders, implementing grant programs to ensure that first responders are properly trained and equipped, decreasing the vulnerabilities of the nation’s critical infrastructure, protecting against bio-terrorism, advancing research in science and technology aimed at countering terrorist attacks, improving intelligence analysis and coordination and recapitalizing the Coast Guard.
The budget seeks to maintain funding for critical operations of each of the Department agencies and organizations since their individual missions will enable the Department to achieve its overall vision for securing the homeland.
The Fiscal Year 2004 budget request for the Department of Homeland Security is $36.2 billion. This represents a 7.4 percent increase in funding over FY2003, and a 64 percent increase ($14.1 billion) over FY2002, with over 60 thousand staff added to protect our country. The consolidation of these entities into the new Department is the largest federal reorganization in more than 50 years.
FY2004 BUDGET HIGHLIGHTS:
Improving Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection
This budget will support the Department’s ability to analyze and identify potential threats, assess vulnerabilities, map those threats to vulnerabilities and provide the information from which to organize protective measures. $829 million is requested for this initiative – an increase of $652 million (370 percent) over the FY2003 level.
This funding includes approximately $500 million to assess the nation’s critical infrastructure (e.g., nuclear power plants, water facilities, telecommunications networks, and transportation systems) and to work to ensure that our highest priority vulnerabilities are addressed.
Advancing and Harnessing Science and Technology
$803 million is requested for the Department to use American ingenuity and develop new partnerships with the private sector to research, develop and deploy homeland security technologies that will make America safer – an eight-fold increase over 2002.
The Science and Technology Directorate’s Advanced Research Project Agency will direct $350 million in new funding to address gaps in high-priority operational areas like protecting critical infrastructure and our borders.
Preparing for and Responding to National Emergencies
One of the Department’s top priorities is to ensure that our nation is prepared to respond to incidents throughout our country. The budget requests $5.9 billion for Emergency Preparedness and Response, an increase of 16 percent ($838 million) over FY2003.
The Emergency Prepared and Response Directorate will coordinate all necessary response efforts quickly and effectively, including maintaining and strengthening the Strategic National Stockpile of drugs, vaccines, and equipment with $400 million requested to continue this initiative. An additional $890 million is requested to pre-purchase critically needed vaccines and medication for bio-defense.
Securing the Nation’s Borders and Transportation System
$18.1 billion is requested for the Border and Transportation Security Directorate to meet the strategic goals of improving border security and transportation security, while at the same time facilitating the unimpeded and reliable flow of commerce and people across our borders and through our airports, seaports, highways and railways. The budget also supports the Department’s effort to restructure the border security agencies to enhance efficiencies and create greater accountability in one seamless border service.
$4.8 billion is requested for the Transportation Security Administration, an increase of $160 million from FY2003 after subtracting one-time costs from its start-up. TSA will build on its success of hiring and deploying a new professional screening workforce to strengthen its operations for enhancing security for our nation’s transportation system.
The budget request also includes funding for the comprehensive Entry-Exit system, which will enable the Department to track the entry and exit of visitors to the United States. $100 million in new resources is requested in FY2004 for a total of $480 million.
The Department recognizes that state and local governments face new and unprecedented threats. This budget will them help obtain the tools, resources, and information they need to do their jobs. $3.5 billion is requested to support the nation’s first responders, including $500 million in grants for assistance to firefighters, $500 million for state and local law enforcement terrorism prevention initiatives, and $181 million for the Citizen Corps.
Other initiatives for Border and Transportation Security include:
$62 million of new funding for the Container Security initiative;
$307 million additional investment in the Automated Commercial Environment;
$119 million additional investment for non-intrusive inspection technology;
$40 million of new funding for Atlas/Chimera to address requirements in the Border Security Act; and
$18 million for the Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism initiative.
Securing the Nation’s Ports and Ensuring Safety in our Waterways
The Coast Guard will work with the Border and Transportation Security Directorate to ensure that the safety and security of our nation’s waterways and ports. $6.7 billion is provided to recapitalize the Coast Guard, an additional $615 million, which is ten percent above the FY2003 level – supporting the deployment of Maritime Safety and Security Teams, the procurement of coastal patrol boats, and continued development of the maritime “911” system. $134 million is requested for the maritime “911” system.
The budget includes $500 million to continue the “Deepwater” program, which is upgrading the Coast Guard’s fleet of cutters, aircraft, and related systems to improve performance across DHS as the Coast Guard’s activities become more integrated with other DHS components.
Improving Immigration Services
The Department is committed to greatly improving immigration benefits to the more than seven million annual applicants. The FY2004 budget continues the President’s $500 million initiative to reduce the backlog of applications, while at the same time ensuring that our nation’s policies for issuing visas to visitors are consistent with security and foreign policy interests.
Protecting our Nation’s Leaders and Suppressing Counterfeiting
The Secret Service will continue to protect our leaders, implement security at designated National Special Security Events and suppress counterfeiting through the $1.3 billion requested in the budget, an increase of nearly 10 percent over FY2003.
Strengthening all other Essential Missions
The FY2004 budget provides $12.2 billion for other essential missions not specifically related to homeland security, an increase of 5 percent. This includes:
an increase of $83 million (6 percent) for Border and Transportation Security;
an increase of $18 million (1 percent) for Emergency Preparedness and Response; and
an increase of $319 million (9 percent) for the Coast Guard.