Monday, February 13, 2012

Napolitano details FY 2013 DHS budget proposal

DHS Secretary Napolitano
Just after President Obama released his 2013 budget proposal for the nation on Feb. 13, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano detailed her department’s request in the document for $39.5 billion in net discretionary funding.

She said her department’s almost $40 billion budget would get an additional $5.5 billion for the Disaster Relief Fund (DRF) provided separately, pursuant to the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA).  She noted, as the President did in his earlier announcement, that because of the slower economy, DHS’ net discretionary amount is slightly  --  0.5 percent  --  below the FY 2012 enacted level, but still remains focused on its core mission with robust funding.

“Ten years after the September 11th attacks, America is stronger and more secure today, thanks to the strong support of Congress; the tremendous work of the men and women of DHS and our local, state and federal partners across the homeland security enterprise,” said Secretary Napolitano.  “The Department’s FY 2013 budget request preserves core frontline priorities by cutting costs, sharing resources across components, and streamlining operations wherever possible.”

Echoing the president’s remarks, Napolitano said the FY 2013 budget redirects over $850 million in base resources from administrative and mission support areas, including contracts, personnel (through attrition), information technology, travel, personnel moves, overtime, directed purchasing, professional services, and vehicle management to frontline operations.  Through a department-wide Efficiency Review, that Napolitano said began in 2009, as well as other cost-saving initiatives, the agency has identified over $3 billion in cost avoidances and reductions, and redeployed those funds to mission-critical initiatives.

The FY 2013 budget request prioritizes mission areas outlined in the Department’s 2010 Quadrennial Homeland Security Review and the 2010 Bottom-Up Review, the first complete effort undertaken by the Department to align its resources with a comprehensive strategy to meet the nation’s homeland security needs, she said.

She listed several priorities for the department in 2013 fiscal year.

Preventing terrorism and enhancing security were at the top of her list. She said those two goals were the department’s founding mission and will remain its top priority. The FY 2013 budget continues to support secure transportation with layered detection system focusing on risk-based screening, enhanced targeting and information sharing efforts to interdict threats and dangerous people at the earliest point possible.  The budget, she said, also supports the administration’s Global Supply Chain Security Strategy across air, land, and sea modes of transportation by strengthening efforts to prescreen and evaluate high-risk containers before they are shipped to the U.S. and annualizing positions that provide the capacity to address security vulnerabilities overseas.

Napolitano also said the budget contains funding for Securing the Cities programs aimed protecting the “highest risk cities” from radiological or nuclear attack and national bio preparedness and response efforts.  The budget will also continue to support state and local partners through a new consolidated grant program, training, fusion centers, and intelligence analysis and information sharing on a wide range of critical homeland security issues.

The budget will continue with “unprecedented” focus on border security, said Napolitano, noting that her agency has deployed unparalleled levels of personnel, technology, and resources to the southwest border, in particular.  The department has also made critical improvements on the northern border and to maritime borders.  She noted the budget contains money to support 21,370 Border Patrol agents and 21,186 CBP Officers at ports of entry as well the continued deployment of proven, effective surveillance technology along the highest trafficked areas of the southwest border.

Additionally, the budget also has money to invest in recapitalization of Coast Guard assets including the sixth National Security Cutter, Fast Response Cutters as well as the renovation and restoration of shore facilities.  It also includes resources to ensure that the Coast Guard’s aviation fleet is mission-ready and provides operational funding for new assets coming on line, she said.

The department will continue to prioritize immigration enforcement activities, back recently-introduced policy directives and training for the field under the proposal, said Napolitano. DHS and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement have moved in recent months to prioritize identification and removal of criminal aliens and repeat immigration law violators, recent border entrants and immigration fugitives.  Perhaps more controversially, Napolitano said her department will continue to implement Secure Communities nationwide. She said she expected that the biometric identification program, coupled with continued collaboration with the Department of Justice on the detained docket and priority cases, would continue to increase the number of criminal aliens and other priority individuals who are identified and removed.  She said the budget provides the resources needed to address this changing population, while continuing to support Alternatives to Detention, detention reform, and immigrant integration efforts.  The budget also focuses on monitoring and compliance, promoting adherence to worksite-related laws through criminal prosecutions of egregious employers, Form I-9 inspections, and expansion of E-Verify, she said.

The FY 2013 budget makes significant investments in Cyber security, she said, expediting deployment of EINSTEIN 3 to prevent and detect intrusions on government computer systems; increasing federal network security of large and small agencies; and continuing development a Cyber security workforce.  The budget also focuses on combating Cyber crimes, targeting large-scale producers and distributors of child pornography and preventing attacks against U.S. critical infrastructure through Financial Crimes Task Forces.

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