For the last several years, the OMB has published a “Homeland Security Funding Analysis” as part of the budget request, assessing homeland security on a government-wide basis. The analysis this year is found in Chapter 3 of the Analytical Perspectives report and in this related appendix.
The analysis notes that the FY 2007 budget request proposes $58.3 billion for spending on homeland security on a government-wide basis – an increase of 6.3% from FY 2006.
Perhaps the most notable change in the report this year is the method of accounting for homeland security spending at the Department of Defense. The report notes:
The revisions to the Department of Defense (DOD) homeland security funding estimates also better reflect actual spending by the Department. Previously, the DOD homeland security funding estimates were derived from an annual report issued by the DOD Comptrollerâ€™s office that identified funding spent on combating terrorism activities. Now, DOD has been able to identify discrete, homeland security-related projects, programs and activities within the budget accounts of the various service branches. As a result, the funding estimates are more precise and integrated with the DOD budget.
The impact of this definitional change? A doubling of what’s considered to be homeland security spending within the Department of Defense. In the FY 2006 Analytical Perspectives report, DOD homeland security spending for FY 2005 was pegged at $8.57 billion. In the FY 2007 report, it’s now $17.2 billion (incl. supplemental funding) for the same year!
This is a drastic change, and is worth a closer look in terms of understanding DOD’s role in homeland security. (It’s also important to point out this change in methodology, because otherwise the $58.3 billion figure could be cited incorrectly in the media and elsewhere as a 17% increase from last year’s pre-revised figure of $49.9 billion.)
DOD’s homeland security spending primarily falls within two of the six mission categories defined in the National Strategy: Protecting Critical Infrastructure and Defending against Catastrophic Threats. (Emergency Preparedness and Response is a distant third).
67.7% of DOD’s $16.7 billion for FY 2007 falls under the category of protecting critical infrastructure. As the FY 2007 Analytical Perspectives report notes:
DOD reports the largest share of funding in this category for 2007 ($11.3 billion), and includes programs focusing on physical security and improving the militaryâ€™s ability to prevent or mitigate the consequences of attacks against departmental personnel and facilities.
This total represents an upward revision of about 20% from the previous baseline methodology.
It’s worth pointing out that this amount for DOD is 62% of total critical infrastructure protection spending, and about 4x what the Department of Homeland Security receives each year to spend on critical infrastructure protection. To be sure, military base security and force protection are necessary and important tasks. But isn’t the protection of publicly-owned civilian infrastructure equally critical? This discrepancy raises questions in my mind about the extent to which the protection of critical civilian assets is underfunded today.
The category of “Defending against Catastrophic Threats” accounts for 29.9% of DOD’s projected homeland security spending for FY 2007. The report notes:
DOD defends the nation against catastrophic threats by undertaking long-term research on chemical and biological threats and by developing strategies to counter the risk of such attacks. DODâ€™s efforts in maritime defense and interdiction provide early detection and response to possible CBRN threats. DOD also conducts anti-terrorism planning to defend against a potential CBRN or other terrorist attack against a military base or installment. Finally, the U.S. Northern Command, the military command responsible for homeland defense, is included in this category.
The revision to OMB’s methodology created a huge jump in the estimate of DOD homeland spending in this mission area. The FY 2006 analytical perspectives report estimated a total of only $158.9 million for FY 2006. The FY 2007 report estimates a total of 5.00 billion for the same year – a thirty-fold increase.
These activities, as described above, do all seem like they should be appropriately counted as “homeland security.” But again, I wonder about the equity of the allocation. The mission budget in this category for DOD is now larger than DHS and HHS combined. If this is dual-purpose counter-WMD activity and research (focused on both foreign battlefields and homeland defense), then that’s completely appropriate, although perhaps it shouldn’t all be counted here. But if it’s research primarily for homeland defense, then I’m struck by the extent to which the key civilian agencies – DHS and HHS in this case – lag in funding.
Overall, these budget documents provide a useful first layer of analysis about homeland security funding across the federal government. They provoke questions about the appropriate allocation among the key agencies, and highlight the relative penury of civilian agencies for the critical infrastructure and counter-WMD missions. Hopefully members of Congress will look strategically at these issues in the coming budget and appropriations hearings.