Fattened spending plan would boost CIO's role

Where DHS funds will go

Systems spending in the House version of the Homeland Security Department's fiscal 2005 appropriations bill includes these major projects:


Customs and Border Protection's automation modernization

$449.9 million, including $321 million to cover both the long-term Automated Commercial Environment project to computerize customs processing and the International Trade Data System


U.S. Visit

$340 million for the U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology system, the department's automated border management system


Departmentwide technology investments

$211 million for IT integration, centralized technology improvements, wireless communications and business process improvement


Coast Guard's Rescue 21

$134 million for the Coast Guard 'maritime 911' project, which the Appropriations Committee cut by $27 million from the administration's budget request because software development problems have delayed the program by a year


IT services

$88 million for enterprise architecture activities and integration of the department's financial and human resources systems


Threat and vulnerability testing and assessment

$68.9 million for a program in the Science and Technology Directorate to create advanced modeling, information and analysis capabilities to evaluate threats


Cybersecurity

$67.4 million; the committee directed DHS to report on its progress in implementing the National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace


TWIC

$65 million for the Transportation Worker Identification Credential program, including $15 million as a direct appropriation and $50 million to be offset by fee income from transportation workers who will use the cards.

'The visibility in having a CIO line item is good and also holds the CIO accountable,' CIO Steve Cooper said.

Henrik G. de Gyor

The House Appropriations Committee has cleared a $32 billion Homeland Security Department spending bill that conveys new line item budget authority and a stronger role for the department's CIO.

The bill would provide $2.8 billion more than the fiscal 2004 level for DHS' overall spending and $896 million more than the president's request.

Further IT spending will come in the form of $4.1 billion worth of grants to be parceled out to state and local first responders. And more was seeded throughout a $1.1 billion spending proposal for the department's Science and Technology Directorate.

The Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee also approved a DHS spending bill last week, for 33.1 billion.

The House spending plan would mandate that the IT chief report directly to the Homeland Security secretary.

The committee action mirrored authorization legislation developing in the House Select Committee on Homeland Security, which also would make the CIO a direct report to the secretary.

The bill stands an excellent chance of passage, congressional aides said, but the companion authorizing legislation faces potential roadblocks in reconciling the differences between House and Senate versions.

The 2002 Homeland Security Act requires the CIO to report to both the Homeland Security secretary and the undersecretary for management. 'Without an additional layer of review, the committee expects IT decisions to be made more expeditiously,' the spending panel said in its report on the bill.

'The visibility in having a CIO line item is good and also holds the CIO accountable,' CIO Steve Cooper said. 'Both are positive from my perspective.'

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