Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

March 1, 2006

DHS on total port security spending: $10 billion

Filed under: Budgets and Spending,Port and Maritime Security — by Christian Beckner on March 1, 2006

DHS introduced a new talking point in separate Senate hearings today with Sec. Chertoff and Dep. Sec. Jackson: the idea that total spending on port security is “$10 billion.” It’s a bit unclear what this number means, however, as there was a divergence of interpretation between Chertoff and Jackson in their remarks. Chertoff said that it covered the period from Sept. 11, 2001 through to the end of FY 2007 (assuming the budget is approved as requested); Jackson said that this total covered only the budgets from FY 2004 to FY 2007.

A DHS fact sheet published last week estimated FY 2005 spending on port security at $1.6 billion. Jackson estimated current year (FY 2006) spending at $2.5 billion, and Chertoff told Congress that there was $3 billion for port security in the FY 2007 request. That adds up to $7.1 billion of the $10 billion total, which presumably leaves $2.9 billion for the fiscal year(s) prior to FY 2005. Logic would thus suggest that Chertoff’s explanation of this total (from 9/11 through FY 2007) is the correct one, since under Jackson’s explanation, port security spending would have been $2.9 billion in FY 2004, and then somehow decreased to $1.6 billion in FY 2005.

This is generally consistent with my estimate last week of total port security spending since 9/11, in which I estimated a total of $6.13 billion from the start of FY 2002 (Oct. 1, 2002) to the midpoint of the current fiscal year (FY 2006), given the fact that my estimate excludes 18 future months from the timetable of the DHS statistic. And my estimate has more spending in the earlier years (FY 2002 to FY 2004) and less spending than the totals suggested above for FY 2006 and FY 2007.

Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) asked Dep. Sec. Jackson for a clear explanation of this $10b total at today’s Senate Commerce Committee hearing, and he agreed to provide this to her. I hope that DHS will release this spending analysis publicly as well.

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Comment by William R. Cumming

March 1, 2006 @ 4:54 am

Basically this is the year that it all falls apart budget wise for DHS. If the department gets rolled into a continuing resolution with the normal spending restrictions imposed by OMB it will come to a complete stop, RIFs, reprogrammings, and other deobligation of prior years unspent funding will only add to its problems. The history of its CFO cadre is a scandal. Basically, DHS finances are out of control and the DHS IG will soon be evidencing that in various reports. If the Chertoff Senate testimony on the budget is correct more has been spent on IT alone than Port Security for example. What are the outyear implications for the DHS budget as proposed? If DHS can’t do budget they probably can’t do anything else important either.


Comment by Gerry

March 1, 2006 @ 10:15 am

Would love to see a line item breakdown of this 10b….Mike Jackson Ha! If Mike Jackson said the sun was shining, I would still go to the window and make sure……..

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