Homeland Security budget calls for IT boosts

Homeland Security budget calls for IT boosts

The Bush administration's fiscal 2005 budget proposal would boost funding for the Homeland Security Department by 9.7 percent to $40.2 billion, including major bumps for several IT efforts.

President Bush is seeking a $12 million increase for the United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology program, which would bring funding for the entry-exit system to $340 million next year.

The department's Science and Technology Directorate, which issues grants mainly to generate near-term technology to counter terrorism, would receive $127 million in additional funds, bringing its overall spending to $1.04 billion. The increase would include $119 million in new research funds and an $8 million increase for management and administration.

The Electronically Managing Enterprise Resources for Government Effectiveness and Efficiency program, or Emerge2'an initiative to consolidate DHS' financial and back-office systems'would jump $17 million increase in the budget proposal to $59 million over this year's funding.

Along similar lines, the budget proposes a $21 million program, as yet unnamed, to create a new human resources information system for DHS.

To help pinpoint high-risk cargo entering the country, the administration wants to add $12.6 million for staffing and technology to support the National Targeting Center, which does trend analysis and runs automated targeting systems for the Customs and Border Protection bureau.

The Homeland Security Operations Center, a technology-heavy clearinghouse for threat information, would receive an increase of $10 million, bringing its funding to $35 million.

The budget proposal calls for steady funding of wireless communications programs at $100 million. The department's IAIP Directorate is implementing Safecom, an e-government project to promote interoperable wireless communications for first responders.

The administration also would keep the systems security spending level at $31 million. The IAIP Directorate would administer expanded cyberthreat exercises that would receive an increment of $1.9 million under the administration's plan.

The administration's budget would eliminate the $10 million devoted to terrorist watch list integration. Homeland Security secretary Tom Ridge said at a budget briefing today that other agencies also participate in the watch list merger program and the administration plans to complete the integration effort by mid-2004.

The budget includes a new $5 million line item for geospatial programs. The department's spending on its enterprise architecture and Web portal would fall slightly, from $14 million to $13 million.

The administration proposed an 8 percent increase in the Coast Guard budget to $7.47 billion. Of that amount, $678 million is earmarked to 'modestly accelerate' the service's Deepwater modernization plan, increasing it by $10 million over this year's funding. Some of the Deepwater funds would go to the Guard's Common Operating Picture technology at shore-based command centers as well as a logistics support system.

The Transportation Security Administration would receive an increase of $905 million over this year's funding, providing a total budget of $4.8 billion. Some of the new funds would be used to complete and deploy the Automated Known Shipper Database. Others would go to develop a risk-based air cargo screening system.

Customs and Border Protection's International Trade Data System project would receive an increase of $5 million, bringing funding to $11 million next year. The system is supposed to provide for governmentwide collection and processing of trade and shipping data.

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