Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

February 2, 2010

Budget in Brief. But not the Questions.

Filed under: Budgets and Spending — by Christopher Bellavita on February 2, 2010

The 159 page DHS Budget in Brief is a page turning read — for many reasons.

One of those reasons is to give you an opportunity to go through the document and capture (with only a bit more rigor than randomness) sentences and phrases that peaks one’s interest to know more.  Or at least it peaked my interest.

I assume authenticity and dedication on the part of those who provided language for the budget in brief.   I understand the Culture of Legislation requires the kind of writing used in the document.  But one can still admire and learn from east coast mountains, even if they long ago eroded into a terrain feature.

Here is Page 1 —

The Vision: Preserving our freedoms, protecting America …we secure our homeland.

[Great vision.  Where do we go to see what freedoms we envision preserving? Or is this one of those things that everyone knows, even without saying?  Could it be “our freedoms” go without saying?  That doesn’t seem right.]

The Mission: “… lead the unified national effort to secure America. We will prevent and deter terrorist attacks and protect against and respond to threats and hazards to the nation. We will ensure safe and secure borders, welcome lawful immigrants and visitors and promote the free-flow of commerce.”

[That’s the mission. Is it unreasonable to see in a budget document how that leadership will happen?  Is it mostly by writing rules governing how money will be spent?  What is the theory of “leading a unified national effort” embedded in the budget?]

Page 2 was blank.

I assume it was not left blank intentionally otherwise  THIS PAGE INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK would have been written on the blank page.

I believe we have René Magritte to thank for this apparent contradiction.

But I digress.

Page 3

The number 56,335,737,000 appeared on Page 3.

My brain is too small to grasp what that number could possibly mean.  So I went to Page 4.

Page 4

Page 4 was also blank.

I still could not tell if it was intentional or an oversight.

Snippets from Page 5 through 11.

[If many of the following italicized phrases –taken from the budget — seem out of context, they slightly are.  The context is available by going to the actual document.]

The FY 2011 budget continues efforts to use our resources as efficiently and effectively as possible. We must exercise strong fiscal discipline, making sure that we are investing our resources in what works, cutting down on redundancy, eliminating ineffective programs and making improvements across the board.

[One cannot go wrong with the promise to use resources as efficiently and effectively as possible.  The “as possible” part is an especially graceful touch.]

To institutionalize a culture of efficiency across the Department, Secretary Napolitano launched the Department-wide Efficiency Review Initiative in March 2009.

[First came the Culture of Preparedness.  Now the Culture of Efficiency.  The Culture of Resiliency may be on its way.  Culture of Legislation does not stand a chance.]


Here’s the theme for what comes next in this Page 5 through 11 review:
DHS secures the United States against all threats through five main missions, each of which is strengthened by this budget:

I took the “five main missions” (the document itself suggests 6 — see Maturing and Strengthening The Homeland Security Enterprise, below), and selectively highlighted programs under each one, along with a phrase or two about some dimension of the program. It’s often a phrase that “speaks for itself.”  Again, a more complete speaking (at least in the context of the Budget In Brief) is in the document.

Taken together, these small sections of the budget give a reminding glimpse of what a massive work this homeland security business is.


1. Preventing Terrorism and Enhancing Security — “Guarding against terrorism …remains our top priority” [Any questions?]

  • Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT): — 500 advanced imaging technology machines at airport checkpoints
  • Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) — to operate additional AITs at airport checkpoints
  • Federal Air Marshals (FAMs) — additional FAMS to increase international flight coverage
  • Portable Explosive Trace Detection (ETD) — 800 portable ETD machines
  • Canine Teams  —  an additional 275 proprietary explosives detection canine teams….
  • Behavior Detection Officers — enhance TSA’s Screening Passengers by Observation Techniques program [Is the acronym really SPOT?  Who comes up with this?]
  • Address vulnerabilities in the Global Nuclear Detection Architecture — enhance the nation’s ability to detect and prevent a radiological or nuclear attack.
  • Radiological/Nuclear Detection Systems — procurement and deployment of radiological and nuclear detection systems and equipment
  • Law Enforcement Detachment Teams  — LEDETs aboard U.S Naval and partner nation assets accounted for over 50 percent of total maritime cocaine removals.
  • 2012 Presidential Campaign  –  including training for candidate/nominee protective detail personnel. [I like this one the best.  Pundits are pundicating about the 2010 election, and the DHS is way past that, getting ready for the next presidential campaign.]
  • Secret Service Information Technology – provide a multi-year, mission-integrated program to engineer a modernized, agile and strengthened IT infrastructure to support all aspects of the Secret Service’s mission. [Bingo, anyone?]

2. Securing and Managing Our Borders: “We will continue to strengthen security efforts on the Southwest border to combat and disrupt cartel violence and provide critical security upgrades–through infrastructure and technology–along the Northern border.” [South is south, and north is north….]

  • Journeyman Pay Increase – raising the journeyman grade level for frontline Customs and Border Protection Officers Border patrol agents and Agricultural Specialists from GS-11 level to the GS-12 level.
  • CBP Officers funding — The decline in the number of passengers and conveyances entering the United States in FY 2009 resulted in an almost 8 percent decrease in revenues from inspection user fees. CBP therefore has fewer resources to maintain critical staffing levels for CBP officers. [A bad economy is bad for homeland security]
  • Border Enforcement Security Task Forces (BESTs) — teams work to identify, disrupt and dismantle criminal organizations posing significant threats to border security, including terrorist groups, gang members, and criminal aliens.
  • Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Enforcement – An increase of $5M is also requested for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)-led National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center). [I wonder how many coordination centers there are in the homeland security enterprise.]
  • Intelligence Analysts — fund 103 Intelligence Analysts for Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
  • Coast Guard Asset Recapitalization — continue recapitalization of aging Coast Guard surface and air assets.

3. Enforcing and Administering our Immigration Laws  “…[target] criminal aliens who pose a threat to public safety and employees who knowingly violate the law.

  • E-Verify — enhance E-Verify’s monitoring and compliance activities through analytical capabilities that will support more robust fraud detection and improved analytic processes
  • Secure Communities — the identification, apprehension and removal of all Level 1 criminal aliens in state and local jails through criminal alien biometric identification capabilities
  • Immigrant Integration support — national and community- based organizations preparing immigrants for citizenship, promote and raise awareness of citizenship rights and responsibilities, and enhance English language learning and other tools for legal permanent residents.

4. Safeguarding and Securing Cyberspace  “DHS … coordinates the response to cyber incidents….” [Any questions?]

  • National Cyber Security Division (NCSD — support the development of capabilities
  • National Cyber Security Center — enhance cyber security coordination capabilities across the Federal government

5. Ensuring Resilience to Disasters  “DHS will continue its increased efforts to build a ready and resilient nation….”

  • Disaster Relief Fund (DRF) — provides a significant portion of the total federal response to victims in declared major disasters and emergencies.
  • FEMA Facilities — address critical FEMA real estate needs.
  • Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grants — support the development and enhancement of hazard mitigation plans, as well as the implementation of pre-disaster mitigation projects.
  • Flood Map Modernization — analyze and produce flood hazard data and map products and communicate flood hazard risk
  • Rescue 21 — The Rescue 21 system replaces the U.S. Coast Guard’s legacy National Distress and Response System and improves communications and command and control capabilities in the coastal zone.

6. [Maybe] Maturing and Strengthening The Homeland Security Enterprise

  • St. Elizabeth’s Headquarters Consolidation:  consolidate executive leadership, operations coordination and policy and program management functions in a secure setting at St. Elizabeth’s. [There’s a wonderful story — for another day — about how St. Elizabeth’s got the apostrophe.]
  • Lease Consolidation – Mission Support;  align the Department’s real estate portfolio in the National Capital Region (NCR) to enhance mission performance and increase management efficiency.
  • Data Center Migration– system and application migration of legacy data centers to two enterprise-wide DHS Data Centers
  • Acquisition Workforce – mitigate the risks associated with skill gaps of the acquisition workforce
  • Science and Technology — S&T Safe Container (SAFECON) and Time Recorded Ubiquitous Sensor Technology (TRUST) programs.
  • Grants – A total of $4B is requested for grant programs to support our nation’s first responders.


Page 12 was blank.

I stopped reading.

But there’s lots more to come in the 2011 budget dance.

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1 Comment »

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 2, 2010 @ 5:49 pm

Well the budget in brief docs were designed to reward the lazy by giving highlights. Since many appropriations acts are now passed before the MEMBERS of Congress read them perhaps we are headed to that future world where information overload leads governments to issue a sing word each day that provides the context for that nation’s focus. What I always found embarrassing about the B-I-B was that most of the authors had no capacity to read the budget and of course Congress has always failed to force the Executive Branch to develop data on the migration of programs from one budget cycle to the next.

Here is my reform proposal. No budget for certain agencies. Just use a flat percentage of the DOD budget. So DHS and State for example would just get their annual cut of the annual National Security budget. I recommend 10% for STATE including AID and 15% for DHS including all components but FEMA. FEMA is the President’s only grant program that he/she can directly trigger without an department head approving so I suggest that rather than have stimulus bills just let the President annually have authority to declare up to 50% of the DOD budget as needed for his/her percieved disaster needs. So for example the Detroit economic disaster could get an annual amount of say the same funds sent to AF-PAK but as a percentage.
Hey Jonathan Swift had a solution to IRISH demographics also.

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