Homeland security remains a priority in Washington
The federal government continues to pour resources into homeland security.
The total Department of Homeland Security (DHS) fiscal year 2009 budget is $52.6 billion, which is a 10 percent jump from the previous year “and somewhat more than the administration requested,” P.J. Crowley, a senior fellow and director of homeland security at the Center for American Progress, told GovPro.com. The amount includes discretionary, mandatory and fee-based funding.
“Since its inception five years ago, DHS has enjoyed steady increases in its budget that exceed most federal departments except the Pentagon,” Crowley said. Most importantly, “Congress restored cuts in grant funding proposed in the president’s budget, and provided state and local authorities increased flexibility to use grants to cover operating costs.
“This will be extremely useful as cities and states cope with the fiscal crisis. As the economy continues to struggle, governors and mayors will be hard-pressed to maintain local budgets that support law enforcement, emergency management, public health and infrastructure spending that broadly contributes to national preparedness and security.”
Keeping tabs on the nation’s borders According to Crowley, DHS has boosted funding to support expanded border patrol and for immigration enforcement operations, “both politically popular programs.”
“Acquisition funding also increased as DHS prepares for initial deployment of the technology associated with the Secure Border Initiative,” Crowley explained.
The “DHS End-of-Year Accomplishments” report, issued last month, offers proof that the agency is beefing up border security. Some examples:
- U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which is part of DHS, doubled the size of the Border Patrol from 9,000 in 2001 to more than 18,000 through Nov. 21.
- CBP increased the size of its work force in 2008 from 46,473 to 51,533 by adding officers, agents and agriculture specialists.
- To date, CBP has constructed more than 520 miles of vehicle and pedestrian fencing, including 93 miles in fiscal year 2008, building toward a total of 670 miles of fencing along the nation’s southern border.
The Center for American Progress is a Washington, D.C.-based thinktank.