Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

December 21, 2015

Trying to follow the money

Filed under: Budgets and Spending — by Philip J. Palin on December 21, 2015

Friday an omnibus appropriations bill funding the federal government through the end of September 2016 was signed by the President.  It is 2009 pages long.  I have not mastered it.  I welcome your corrections or additions to what is below

Following are a few homeland security related bits (drawn largely from the Senate Appropriations Committee minority summary and the Committee’s DHS summary.  The following is not complete.

$11.057 billion for Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which is responsible for securing our borders as well as regulating and facilitating international trade and immigration.  At this funding level, CBP will have the resources to hire and maintain 21,370 Border Patrol agents and 23,775 CBP Officers. (DHS)

$10.922 billion for the Coast Guard including $160 million for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO).  When OCO is excluded, the total amount is $933 million more than the fiscal year 2015 enacted level and $1.007 billion more than the request.  (DHS)

$4 .86 billion for the TSA. (DHS)

$5.832 billion for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).  Within this total is $1.9 billion to support investigations in high-priority mission areas, including human trafficking and smuggling, child exploitation, commercial fraud and intellectual property rights enforcement, gangs, cybercrimes and terrorism. (DHS)

$1.63 billion for the National Protection and Programs Division including Infrastructure Protection, Cyber and Infrastructure Analysis, Federal Protective Service, and Biometric Identity Management. (DHS)

$1.5 billion, the same as fiscal year 2015 and $289 million more than the request, in funding to equip and train first responders and state, tribal and local officials for homeland security protection and response. (DHS)

Firefighter grants for equipment and staffing are funded at $690 million which is $10 million more than the fiscal year 2015 level and $20 million more than the request. (DHS)

$350 million is for the Emergency Management Performance Grants to ensure emergency management personnel and capacity is sustained nationwide. (DHS)

$100 million for the Predisaster Mitigation Program, quadrupling these funds from $25 million in fiscal year 2015, and $190 million for flood hazard mapping and risk analysis, almost doubling the program from $100 million last year. (DHS)

$7.4 billion for the Disaster Relief Fund. (DHS)

(Editorial note: We are willing to pay much more to clean up and try to repair Humpty Dumpty than to strengthen his shell, pad his falls, or stop him from sitting on walls.)

$50 million in new funding for the Secretary of Homeland Security to distribute as needed to state and local governments, universities, and non-profit organizations, to prepare for emergent threats from violent extremism and complex, coordinated terrorist attacks.  The bill also provides $3.1 million for the new Office of Community Partnerships, which will focus on countering violent extremism. (DHS)

$314 million in Department of Energy cybersecurity work, which is $10 million more than the fiscal year 2015 level, for cybersecurity activities. (DOE)

$21.3 million for the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board to help ensure that federal laws and policies related to terrorism appropriately consider privacy and civil liberties.

$3.7 billion appropriated to Department of Justice, FBI, ATF and related agencies to help prevent radicalization in our communities and support our first responders and federal agents ensuring that if terror strikes, measures are in place to protect and save lives.  One of the biggest agencies in our fight to prevent terrorism within the CJS bill is the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).  The FBI’s counterterrorism and counterintelligence operations are funded at $3.4 billion to uncover, investigate and disrupt current and future threats to our national security.  The National Security Division (NSD), housed in the Justice Department, is funded at $95 million to coordinate efforts between federal prosecutors, law enforcement and the Intelligence Community to combat terrorism.  Other Justice Department agencies are funded as follows: the U.S. Attorneys Office at $51 million to prosecute terrorism cases; the Bureau of Prisons at $18 million to stop extremism and radicalization in federal prisons; the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) at $98 million to fight terrorism with a drug trafficking nexus; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) at $15 million to disrupt and prevent the use of firearms and explosives in terrorist acts; and U.S. Marshals Service at $13 million to handle threat investigations.  The National Institute of Justice is provided $4 million to provide community leaders with evidence-based practices for bolstering resilience and developing responses to prevent and mitigate threats posed by violent extremists. (DOJ)

$7.228 billion for the Centers for Disease Control, $278 million more than last year. (HHS)

$175 million for the Counterterrorism Partnerships Fund to support the Department of State efforts to strengthen the capacity of foreign law enforcement, and to facilitate a more integrated interagency effort to analyze threats and identify priorities for counterterrorism activities. (STATE)

$750 million to respond to the surge of unaccompanied children coming from Central America to the U.S.  The funds will be used to implement a U.S. strategy focused on border security and the reintegration of migrants as well as to address the causes of the migration, including programs to improve education and employment, support families, counter gangs and professionalize police forces in Central America.  Seventy-five percent of the funds for the central governments of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala is subject to certification that they have met certain requirements related to governance, corruption and human rights. (STATE) (Note: $695 million is provided within CBP and ICE to house, process and transport up to 58,000 unaccompanied children and families with children.)

$300 million in disaster relief to help rebuild communities devastated by floods in 2015.  This level of funding is expected to assist approximately 4,000 households composed of homeowners with flood damage and no flood insurance, and very low- to extremely low-income renters with flood damage.  This funding can also assist with rebuilding small businesses and more resilient infrastructure in impacted communities. (HUD)

The Department of Defense (DoD) Appropriations Act, 2016 provides $572.8 billion in base and Overseas Contingency Operation (OCO) funding, compared to $554.1 billion enacted in fiscal year 2015 and $577.9 billion in the President’s budget request.  The base budget appropriation is $514.1 billion with $58.6 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations of the Department of Defense, compared to $63.9 billion for DoD OCO enacted in fiscal year 2015. (DOD)

Intelligence agencies are separately funded.  According to the Director of National Intelligence the FY2016 budget for non-military intelligence operations is $53.9 billion. (DNI, 16 differentmilitary and non-military intelligence agencies)

The comparative proportions are informative, don’t you think?

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Comment by William R. Cumming

December 21, 2015 @ 7:24 am

Thanks Phil for this first wade into the future!

Basically the Republicans kicked most of their cans down the road counting on winning in 2016 the Presidency!

Should it be of interest that Paul Ryan now Speaker of the House spent most of his career as an AUTHORIZER not as an APPROPRIATOR like Nancy Pelosi?

Comment by Immigration/visa Enforcement...Really?

December 22, 2015 @ 10:41 am

Why bother with any of this nonsense in following monies and decades of talk of revamping and enforcing, strengthening immigration/visa laws and just plain common sense when we see both sides of the aisle intentionally convey their allegiance to special interests and partisan politics and now, the following — how dare you?

Oh “Donald” thank God that there is someone truly representing the interests of our beloved Republic to thwart this run away “Chicago-Hollywood-Washington charade:

Republicans on Monday blasted Secretary of State John Kerry for suggesting in a letter to his Iranian counterpart that the administration could help the country get around new visa restrictions passed by Congress.

“Instead of bending over backwards to try to placate the Iranian regime, the White House needs to be holding it accountable for its recent missile tests, its continued support for terrorism, and its wrongful imprisonment of Americans,” House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, R-Calif., said in a statement to FoxNews.com.

At issue are tightened security requirements for America’s visa waiver program, which allows citizens of 38 countries to travel to the U.S. without visas. Under changes in the newly signed spending bill, people from those countries who have traveled to Iran, Iraq, Syria and Sudan in the past five years must now obtain visas to enter the U.S.

Top Tehran officials, however, complained the changes violate the terms of the nuclear deal, which says the U.S. and other world powers will refrain from any policy intended to adversely affect normalization of trade and economic relations with Iran.

Kerry responded to these concerns in a Dec. 19 letter to his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif — and suggested the administration could simply bypass the rules for Iran.

“I am also confident that the recent changes in visa requirements passed in Congress, which the Administration has the authority to waive, will not in any way prevent us from meeting our [nuclear deal] commitments, and that we will implement them so as not to interfere with legitimate business interests of Iran,” he said.

Kerry’s letter to Zarif assured that the U.S. would “adhere to the full measure of our commitments.” As for changes to the visa program, Kerry floated several alternative options for easing any impact on Iran – including waiving the new requirements.

“To this end, we have a number of potential tools available to us, including multiple entry ten-year business visas, programs for expediting business visas, and the waiver authority provided under the new legislation,” he wrote.

The legislation indeed includes a provision allowing the Homeland Security secretary to waive the requirements if the secretary determines this “is in the law enforcement or national security interests of the United States.”

But House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., voiced concern on Monday that Kerry was proposing a “blanket” waiver to accommodate Iran’s complaints. He said that is not Congress’ intent.

“Contrary to what the Secretary of State seems to be saying to Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, it was not and has never been Congress’s intent to allow the Administration to grant a blanket waiver to travellers from Iran in order to facilitate the implementation of the Iran deal,” he said in a statement.

McCarthy said the point of the legislation was to strengthen security and “keep the American people safe from terrorism and from foreign travelers who potentially pose a threat to our homeland.”

Kerry’s assurances also raised concerns that the U.S. may be backing down to Iran’s complaints while at the same time reluctant to punish Tehran for its own potential violations.

“Instead of undermining Congressional intent regarding the visa waiver program, the White House should instead focus on Iran’s repeated violations of the U.N. Security Council’s bans on missile tests,” McCarthy said. “Iran’s unwillingness to follow these international agreements should be a red flag that the Iran nuclear deal isn’t worth the paper it is written on.”

Omri Ceren, with the Washington, D.C.-based Israel Project, also told The Washington Free Beacon, “According to the Obama administration’s latest interpretation, the nuclear deal allows Iran to test ballistic missiles in violation of international law, but does not allow Congress to prevent terrorists from coming into the United States.”

The same article noted that the State Department official in charge of implementing the nuclear agreement warned Congress last week that the new visa rules “could have a very negative impact on the deal.”

Indeed, Kerry’s letter came as top-ranking Iranian officials accused the U.S. of flouting the nuclear agreement.

Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said Sunday that the change “contradicts” the nuclear deal.

“Definitely, this law adversely affects economic, cultural, scientific and tourism relations,” Araghchi was quoted by state TV as saying.

Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani made similar comments.

Asked about Kerry’s assurances at Monday’s daily briefing, State Department spokesman John Kirby said the secretary made clear they would “implement this new legislation so as not to interfere with legitimate business interests of Iran.”

Kirby said the law would be followed, but there are a “number of potential tools” to ensure this does not violate the nuclear deal. As for the DHS waiver authority, he said it’s too soon to say “if and when” that might be used.

The Kerry letter initially was obtained and published by the National Iranian American Council.

The State Department confirmed the document’s authenticity on Monday.

FoxNews.com’s Judson Berger and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Comment by William R. Cumming

December 23, 2015 @ 8:21 am

One arena where following the money is difficult if not impossible:



Comment by William R. Cumming

December 24, 2015 @ 6:17 am


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