Homeland defense plan will have massive effect on federal jobs, contracts

Homeland defense plan will have massive effect on federal jobs, contracts

The new Homeland Security Department announced yesterday by the Bush administration could generate, abridge or eliminate scores of programs and contracts. It could lead to the most ambitious information-sharing architecture in history, producing 'a single daily picture of threats,' President Bush said last night.

The proposed department's $37.4 billion budget and 170,000 employees would be drawn from existing agencies to control borders and integrate information from federal, state and local jurisdictions. Current homeland security adviser Tom Ridge is the leading candidate for secretary. The information systems chiefs from the agencies that will be merged into Homeland Security are:

  • Coast Guard: Nathaniel Heiner

  • Customs Service: S.W. 'Woody' Hall

  • Federal Emergency Management Agency: Ronald Miller

  • Immigration and Naturalization Service: Scott Hastings

  • Secret Service: Stephen T. Colo

  • Transportation Security Administration: Patrick Schambach

  • Among the most-affected programs will be:

  • Coast Guard: Deepwater procurement of new vessels and equipment

  • Customs: Automated Commercial Environment

  • FEMA: Server consolidation

  • INS: Entry-Exit System

  • Secret Service: Hardware systems upgrade

  • TSA: Smart-card authentication system

  • At a White House briefing yesterday, a senior government official told reporters, 'Right now we don't have compatible systems for homeland security'all the agencies have different IT budgets.

    'It is our hope that as we send special legislation to the Hill there will be a new IT capability.' The official said the administration hopes that Congress will give the new department 'freedom to manage so they can move people and resources around as needed.' The official added that the new department's leaders would not have to worry about the platforms used by component agencies if they were merged in a single system.

    'This should bring a lot more efficiency to the management of technology,' the senior official said.

    The Coast Guard has about 43,000 full-time employees, and the newly created TSA is still trying to hire 41,300 full-time workers. A TSA spokeswoman said it is too early to say how the new department would affect the agency's hiring.

    The Agriculture Department's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and the Plum Island Animal Disease Center, with 8,620 and 124 employees, respectively, also will contribute to the border and transportation security components of the new department. A spokeswoman said Agriculture has no details yet.

    'I guess all the other important projects within those agencies by definition become second priority,' said Dennis J. Taitano, director of the budget division of the Farm Service Agency. 'I think that that's the cultural change we're going to have to go through.'

    The National Communications System, an interagency group that gives communications support during emergencies such as 9-11, would move 91 people to the new department with a budget of $155 million, a Defense Department spokesman said. NCS is the only Defense agency whose workers would shift to Homeland Security.

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