Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

November 17, 2011

Where is Homeland?

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Jessica Herrera-Flanigan on November 17, 2011

Today, Department of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will be in Groton, Connecticut visiting a shipyard where attack submarines are being built.  It is expected that during his visit he will discuss how proposed spending cuts to the Department of Defense’s budget will adversely affect the nation, the industrial base, and the economy.   It is a message that he and others, both civilian and military, have repeated often over the past month.

The message has been clear: sequestration would be devastating to our national security.  Indeed, in a letter sent earlier this week by  Secretary Panetta to Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, he wrote the following:

If the JSCDR fails to meet its targets and sequestration is triggered, DoD would face huge cuts in its budgets. Compared with the President’s budget plan for FY 2012, we are already planning on budget reductions over the next ten years of more than $450 billion. These cuts are difficult and will require us to take some risks, but they are manageable. If the maximum sequestration is triggered, the total cut will rise to about $1 trillion compared with the FY 2012 plan.

The impact of these cuts would be devastating for the Department.

The letter goes on to say:

Unfortunately, while large cuts are being imposed, the threats to national security would not be reduced.  As a result, we would have to formulate a new security strategy that accepted substantial risk of not meeting our defense needs.  A sequestration budget is not one that I could recommend.

For a copy of the full letter, click here.

While there has been much discussion of how the Department of Defense will be adversely affected, there seems to have been little publicly on how the Department of Homeland Security, also facing significant cuts, will fare.  We have not seen Secretary Janet Napolitano out discussing how homeland security will be affected or think-tanks, experts, or others coming to the agency’s defense.  Even Governors and local officials seem to be muted in their warnings.

Indeed, the only concerns that have been raised over the past few months that have gained penetrable media coverage have involved FY2012 appropriations legislation, especially concerns regarding cuts proposed by the House, and issues relating to disaster spending.  The House cuts have largely focused on the research and science & technology budgets, which DHS has said will devastate its efforts on those fronts.  The disaster spending issues, which Secretary Napolitano has been vocal on, involved the House Republican Leadership’s call for disaster spending to be offset by cuts elsewhere.

With the deadline for the Supercommittee fast approaching and sequestration lurking as a possible reality, it is disconcerting to see the Department not being more vocal on the effects it will have on our homeland security mission.  It is likely that the Department of Defense will see a reprieve of some sort to ensure that our national security/defense mission remains intact.  It is not clear the same can be said for homeland security.  Even those of us who follow the agency closely do not have a clear message on how devastating sequestration will be to protecting our homeland.

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4 Comments »

Comment by William R. Cumming

November 17, 2011 @ 2:55 pm

The WOLF is at the door but not the one these guys keep warning US about.

Here is what we do know about DoD! At least $50 billion wandering around somewhere with no one knowing exactly where in the Pentagon.

At least $300 billion and perhaps over $1 trillion in obligate but unspent monies that may never be spent and could be reclaimed.

And finally, the real purpose of carriers is for ops other than warfare. Too complicated to explain. And by the way the G.H.W.Bush CV has plumbing problems.

And of course one new approach might be to have single sex units and test which performs better in combat or whatever. And perhaps single sexual orientation battalions now that “Don’t ask Don’t Tell” is dead unless the Republicans win all in 2012.

And how about a single purple uniform for all of DoD Armed Services? And make the Armed Forces keep from wearing BDU’s in any civilian environment.

There are at least 10 DoD components I would make dual use–military and civilian. Start with DLA and move through DISA and others. And the Defense Contract Audit Agency should be terminated and added as an audit function to the DoD OIG.

And no military liaisons ( read-lobbyists)assigned to Congressional staffs. And limit the NSC NSS staff to no more than 20% military on active service.

And find out why the USA took over 1/2 a decade to produce MRAPs in quantity needed and why no overseas production to lowest bidder?

And retire 1/3 of all Flag ranks and don’t replace them with newly promoted officers.

Comment by Philip J. Palin

November 17, 2011 @ 9:48 pm

Jessica:

Some are saying that HS actually has more to fear from an (unlikely) Supercommittee decision than from sequestration.

The following is from an analysis of the Budget deal by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments:

The trigger sets separate caps for security and non-security spending for FY 2013 to FY2021, but it defines security spending more narrowly. Under the trigger provision, security spending only includes the 050 budget function for national defense. It does not include funding for International Affairs, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the vast majority of the Department of Homeland Security. The Department of Defense is 96 percent of the 050 budget function.

If the Center’s analysis is correct and the Supercommittee does not make its deadline (and the original budget deal is maintained) the HS budget will — apparently — slide through without much pain.

Comment by William R. Cumming

November 18, 2011 @ 9:45 am

I long advocated a separate budget function for HS!

EM is 95% under the 045 accounts.

Pingback by Homeland Security Watch » Shortchanging the future

November 21, 2011 @ 3:11 am

[...] me for two reasons: (1) I’ve yet to read a non-biased argument (to give the most public of examples, it does seem to me that the opinion of the current Secretary of Defense is somewhat biased) [...]

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