Consider this a placeholder post today.Â Â I’ll take on a piece at a time of the newly released DHS budget in an effort to highlight selected sections and provide background details.Â Some of the budget lines will face very little scrutiny in the Congress and the press.Â Areas likely to get a lot of attention include the S&T budgets and technology acquisitions, monies directed toward mass transit security, and funds for some newly created offices or initiatives, among other things,Â thatÂ we can discussÂ here soon.Â
Naturally, the budget calls for steep increases for the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, reflecting a sense of urgency, demonstrated progress, and distance to the goal line.Â The following is a selection of highlights from this fact sheet about the FY08 DHS budget focused on combating the threat of smuggled nuclear weapons:Â
Total funding of $178 million will provide for the procurement and deployment of radiation portal monitors, including next-generation Advanced Spectroscopic Portal (ASP) systems.Â 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.Â Â Â
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.Â 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.
FINAL NOTE: Iâ€™m slated to testify before a subcommittee of the House Science Committee in March on the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office.Â More details to come about that and other related Congressional oversight efforts.Â Iâ€™ll be sure to post the testimony here.