The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) lacks reliable information about BioWatch Gen-2’s technical capabilities to detect a biological attack and therefore lacks the basis for informed cost-benefit decisions about upgrades to the system.
There was some surprise in the Department, at the White House, and on the Hill when last Friday’s first vote failed. In offering this observation I am also attempting a broader claim regarding the nature and role of reason in homeland security.
This is especially the case whenever the problem involved is innately uncertain: as is the case with much of homeland security. As you can see from the random selection of cartoons below, even otherwise reliable political cartoonists can’t come up with anything amusing, insightful, ironic or even nasty about the continuing congressional stage play over homeland security funding.
A partial government shutdown was narrowly avoided late Friday evening as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) made a surprise move to back legislation funding the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for one week. On Thursday Secretary Johnson gathered various federal, state, and local participants in homeland security to highlight the impact of a closure or continued delay in adopting more than a stop-gap Continuing Resolution. A short-term funding measure to keep the Department of Homeland Security open (DHS) was defeated in the House on Friday in a stunning vote that could result in a partial government shutdown at midnight.
The House will vote Friday on a bill funding the Department of Homeland Security for three weeks in an attempt to avert a shutdown slated for Saturday at the massive agency. Here’s the footnote that got my attention as a way to understand how movement from the current budget impasse will happen.
Translated into homeland security budget impasse-eze, the theory implicit in the footnote suggests no one is very clear what will happen if Congress does not fund DHS. The double government theory argues that national security’s long game takes place in multiple dimensions. The Continuing Resolution funding the Department of Homeland Security will expire this Friday, February 27.
The Senate is scheduled to vote Monday on a House-passed Homeland Security bill that includes the immigration amendments, marking the fourth attempt by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to defeat a Democratic filibuster.
The Republican leadership funded the rest of the government in December’s budget deal but isolated the Department of Homeland Security that enforces immigration law. The graphic shows the rough 2014 budget proportions for the Department of Homeland Security.
Late last week I was showing this pie chart to some graduate students who are exploring homeland security. The construction of a massive new headquarters for the Department of Homeland Security, billed as critical for national security and the revitalization of Southeast Washington, is running more than $1.5 billion over budget, is 11 years behind schedule and may never be completed, according to planning documents and federal officials. By 2004, department officials were complaining that their headquarters on Nebraska Avenue in the District was one-quarter of the size needed. The Budget provides $2.2 billion for State, local, and tribal governments to hire, equip, and train first responders and build preparedness capabilities. The Committee will take a very close look at the President’s request, conduct vigorous oversight over federal agencies, and go line-by-line through the budget to make informed and responsible decisions with the taxpayer’s money. Third, it would be unwise to be spending billions of dollars to double the size of the Border Patrol when many of the other parts of DHS (and other key security-focused agencies) are struggling under the weight of four years of flat and declining budgets, topped off in the last few months by the cuts of sequestration.
Reviewing the full document it is interesting how much of what I consider homeland security is mostly part of budgets other than the Department of Homeland Security, especially the National Intelligence Program, Department of Health and Human Services, and even the Department of Transportation. On February 1, 2010, the Obama Administration released its fiscal year (FY) 2011 budget request. Simply adding more money to the DHS top line, however, is not a reliable indicator that the department is using its resources wisely.
Fulfilling its missions and putting in place a quality budget is fundamental to the growth and success of the DHS as well as the security of the nation. But what changed with the creation of DHS was that there would now be a federal agency to ensure that the federal actors coordinate with each other, and that the government allows states and localities, tribal actors, as well as the private sector and private citizens to participate in the nation's security.[5] As a result, the department retains the key task of developing the homeland security enterprise. The overall goal of DHS is to lead a unified national effort to secure America, commonly referred to as the homeland security enterprise. DHS actions related to this mission have often centered on the Homeland Security Grant Program.[11] The goal of the grant program is to help states and localities build their own capabilities to respond to terrorism and natural disasters.
The Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI), a component of this grant program, is an example of this problem. The FY 2011 budget request simply furthers this problem and makes states and locals less empowered than ever before. The new budget request even seems to change its grants terminology, increasing the likelihood that grants will be spent in an inefficient manner.
State and local law enforcement can be useful in both counterterrorism and immigration enforcement and border security. The Obama Administration has rightly focused on cyber security as one of its major homeland security priorities. Perhaps one of the most prominent examples of the need for a truly national homeland security enterprise, premised on the principle of resiliency, to adequately respond to the threats and hazards to the nation, is Hurricane Katrina.
The Transit and Port Security Grant Programs, funded in the FY 2011 request,are roughly as ineffective as the SAFER grant program.


For all of the attention paid to these grant programs, significant roadblocks to response capabilities remain untouched in the FY 2011 budget.
The Bush Administration had begun the process of securing the southern border through its Secure Border Initiative. The internal enforcement side of the FY 2011 budget request seems to be lopsided in favor of a single program--E-Verify, a voluntary program that provides a free online portal for employment verification. In terms of promoting tourism to the United States, the budget phases out funding for the US-VISIT biometric exit program.
The overall budget of the Coast Guard, however, has dropped by $44 million.[52] While increases in surface and air assets are welcome additions to the current fleet, the number of worn-out, inadequate, and outdated ships and aircraft (many of which are not even operational) make these FY 2011 modernization dollars a drop in the bucket. Despite a significant increase in responsibilities, from drug interdiction and counterterrorism to environmental cleanup and border security, the Coast Guard has been continuously shortchanged on resources. The Obama Administration has engaged in significant rhetoric indicating that it remains committed to border security and internal enforcement of existing immigration laws.
Yet, the Obama Administration's budget avoids these challenges--and sets aside very little money for resources to improve the way that USCIS does business. The immigration services and enforcement budget is actually quite reflective of the Obama Administration's attitude toward immigration reform.
The Department of Homeland Security has significantly further to go in strengthening and maturing the homeland security enterprise. Jena Baker McNeill is Policy Analyst for Homeland Security in the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies, a division of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies, at The Heritage Foundation.
On his Fox Business show, Eric Bolling claimed that "President Obama has cut spending on the border in half." In reality, the Customs and Border Patrol budget has increased under Obama, the number of Border Patrol personnel has increased, and spending on immigration enforcement is greater under his administration than under the Bush administration. Our research section features in-depth media analysis, original reports illustrating skewed or inadequate coverage of important issues, thorough debunking of conservative falsehoods that find their way into coverage and other special projects from Media Matters' research department.
To better target these funds, the Budget proposes eliminating duplicative, stand-alone grant programs, and consolidating them into the National Preparedness Grant Program. While the budget increases funding for the Department of Homeland Security by 2 percent, and while the Obama Administration continues to make cyber security, aviation security, and E-Verify top fiscal priorities--the budget fails to adequately align spending to the department's stated missions.
One way to assess the budget is to examine how closely allocated dollars align with the Department of Homeland Security's mission.
As Congress moves through the budget process, it should fill these gaps and make the budget more representative of the DHS mission.
Maturing and strengthening the homeland security enterprise requires the DHS missions to be representative of the challenges facing the department, which can serve as a useful indicator of whether the President's budget is allocating money in the right areas.
The problem with this approach, however, is that the program has become the pork barrel of homeland security. One of the programs that has received scant attention in budget documents is the 287(g) program--through which the U.S. Attacks on cyber infrastructure, both in the private sector and federal government, will continue to pose a major security challenge in FY 2011. Some grant programs that have proven to be ineffective have continued to grow in budget after budget. The Department of Homeland Security has experienced tremendous criticism over the use of grant money by port operators, including a 2005 Inspector General report that highlighted the use of appropriated funds for fencing and other infrastructure upgrades that were not intended under the program. As one National Security Cutter is added to the fleet, four High Endurance Cutters will be decommissioned.
The Administration has been gutting workplace-law enforcement programs like Social Security No-Match (which informs employers when they have high numbers of employees with mismatched SSNs) and 287(g), while decreasing random workforce employment checks (aimed at identifying illegal immigrants working in U.S.
The new budget focuses enforcement efforts on the employers, while the Administration has dramatically slowed the identification and deportation of all illegal aliens except serious criminals, while pushing aggressively for amnesty as the cornerstone of the Administration's comprehensive immigration-reform agenda. The Science and Technology Directorate of DHS took a hit in funding in the FY 2011 budget request.
While the budget does take some needed steps in terms of improving the Coast Guard--a fundamental player as the law enforcer of the seas--it simultaneously drains key personnel funds at a time when the Coast Guard is experiencing more and more demands for its services. Throughout the process, Members must be careful not to lose sight of the overarching goal of creating a robust homeland security enterprise.
Congress should use this budget process as a means of filling the security gaps in the budget. Congress has yet to pass a department-wide authorization bill forthe Department of Homeland Security. Congress should vote on the Administration's FY 2011 homeland security budget request without earmarking the legislation. The President's budget remains a reliable indicator of whether the Homeland Security Department's strategic priorities are taking the country in the right direction in terms of security and the DHS mission.
Mayer, An Analysis of Federal, State, and Local Homeland Security Budgets," Heritage Foundation CDA Report No.
Most estimates with which I am familiar suggest roughly 25-to-35 percent of self-identified Republicans perceive border security and immigration as top priorities.
That sets the stage for a high-stakes meeting of the House Republican conference on Wednesday morning, where GOP leaders are sure to hear an earful from all sides less than 72 hours before Homeland Security funding expires.


Obama’s enforcement memos from 2011 that instructed Homeland Security to prioritize deportations of illegals with criminal backgrounds.
Imagine if the Transportation Security Administration, a unit of DHS, fails to intercept an Islamic State agent en route to Detroit. But they are interested enough in homeland security to have competed for and been selected for a Graduate Fellowship program at Rutgers University. Bedeviled by partisan brawling, it has been starved of funds by both Republicans and Democrats in Congress and received only lackluster support from the Obama administration, according to budget documents and interviews with current and former federal officials. The new department melded agencies as diverse as the Secret Service and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, aiming to eliminate gaps in coordination and poor communication that had helped make possible the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
And with various DHS components dispersed as far as Herndon, Va., the department was wasting millions on leased office space and transportation costs. In this way, the budget fails to focus sufficiently on creating a homeland security enterprise"--bringing together all assets, from state and local governments, to the private sector and private citizens--into a cohesive framework, able to prepare for, prevent, and respond to terror attacks and natural disasters.
The mission serves to delineate what should be the strategic priorities of DHS, as opposed to politics or other bureaucratic obstacles that often dilute good fiscal policymaking.[6] There is no doubt that the complex mission of DHS requires the department to be well resourced.
While DHS has not been allocating most grants on the basis of risk, the standard was correct and should have been enforced bythe department. Given that the Administration has already started to roll back REAL ID--including a push for legislation (the Providing for Additional Security in States' Identification, or PASS ID Act) that would effectively repeal many of the key provisions of the mandate, REAL ID is unlikely to be a priority for DHS in FY 2011. Therefore, it is logical for the Administration to demonstrate its commitment to stopping such attacks in its budget request.
The Secretary did little to ease concerns by failing to provide a new strategy for the smaller border technologies that might help fill the security gaps at the southern border.
In fact, while the budget as a whole receives an $11 million increase, there are near across-the-board spending cuts to research, with decreases in border and maritime research, chemical and bio-security research, and human factors research, among other cuts.
Finally, the budget request disregards key programs needed for immigration services and at the nation's borders that can help solve the nation's serious illegal-immigration problems. It should use the missions of the Department of Homeland Security as a rubric for which levels of spending are appropriate.
As a result, Members on committees with little emphasis on homeland security often press for what is best for their constituencies, not what is best for security. Congress and the President should work together to ensure that the end budget moves toward accomplishing DHS missions, strengthening and maturing the DHS enterprise, and gives American taxpayers more security for every dollar spent. Heritage Foundation national security analyst Jena Baker McNeill maps out mismatched spending--and provides some direction for smart funding of the department's essential missions.
The President must be careful that budget allocations support, not undermine, this enterprise. Furthermore, DHS makes it seem like it is increasing the UASI budget by inserting $200 million for security at terrorism trials for Guantanamo detainees that take place in the U.S.
Furthermore, Secretary Napolitano has allocated funds for northern-border projects which seem to be more of a distraction from southern-border cuts than needed budget line items.
Social Security No-Match workplace checks, among other initiatives, are vital tools in this internal enforcement effort. The Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Defense, and other agencies have a major impact on how well DHS can achieve its missions. They align themselves in steering toward other organizations’ efforts to maintain the continuing direction of existing national security policy. Finally, the Administration focuses too heavily on the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) airport-passenger screening line in its efforts to prevent terror attacks. Neither the FY 2011 budget request nor accompanying documents make mention of 287(g)as one of the department's programmatic priorities. This problem is a direct result of security gaps at the southern border and ineffective immigration enforcement regimes that encourage the abuse of visa policies. Not only does the budget fail to focus on welcoming immigrants and visitors--it takes an additional swipe at trade.
While the Science and Technology Directorate does not receive a large amount of money, its job is so fundamentally important to all parts of DHS--by providing research and technologies to counter multiple threats and all of the missions--that it should be fully supported in the budget through targeted financial commitments.
The FY 2011 budget request made cuts to nearly every program in the Office of Health Affairs (OHA), the DHS office that coordinates medical readiness activities. In 2008, according to GAO, the federal government spent more than $1.3 billion on border security fencing, infrastructure and technology.
From a report on border security by the Congressional Research Service: Figure 2 shows that Border Patrol agent manpower assigned to the southwest border has been increasing steadily since the early 1990s.
The FY2011 Budget Request, however, includes a requested reduction of 181 Border Patrol agents.



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