Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

February 26, 2009

Budget Day

Filed under: Budgets and Spending — by Philip J. Palin on February 26, 2009

At 9:30 Eastern this morning President Obama is scheduled to make comments on the 2010 budget.   At 11:00 OMB Director Peter Orzag and Christina Romer, chair of the Council of Economic Advisors, will hold a news conference.

In her testimony yesterday (see two posts below) Secretary Napolitano seemed to promise – her language was a tad convoluted here – that First Responder grants will be on par with prior budgets as adopted, rather than the much reduced budgets  the Bush White House had proposed.

It is also likely disaster relief funding will show a significant increase.  The President and other administration officials have argued we can no longer claim to be “shocked, shocked” by floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, wildfires and other predictable disasters and the expectation of a federal financial response.

I will be airborne this morning and once landing will have professional obligations through the evening.  So on today’s budget announcements HLSwatch will play Monday morning quarterback.

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1 Comment »

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 26, 2009 @ 12:02 pm

The Secretary’s language is often convoluted. This could be a problem down the road. The only thing that has in a fundamental sense saved DHS the period since it was created on November 23,2002 and implemented fully on March 1, 2003, was the fact that in successive fiscal years its appropriation actually got through Congress and signed by the President so not under Continuing Resolutions (where OMB has the whip hand). Hoping the same for this year. Let’s see what choices have been made for DHS. Personally, I would mandate that all Department employees be under a 25 year and out program (with a possible 5 year extensions for critical personnel) because we need a vigorous DHS staffing and operation with long term continuity and definite career tracks. Really time to think out of the box on DHS. I sincerely believe the Coast Guard is underfunded and understaffed by 1/2 to 1/3 and given its importance and what I believe are seaborne threats on the US littoral areas needs drastic attention. The President’s DRF (Disaster Relief Fund) is a no-year account normally and this should be reviewed closely. A statutory minimum FTE for FEMA should be established (probably 5,000 FTE and fully funded with a reserve cadre of 10,000–this is a big country and FEMA has never been adquately prepared for simultaneous events over a wide geographic area [part of the Katrina problem].

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