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Cochran announces Homeland Security appropriations recommendations

photo courtesy Telesouth Communications, Inc.

The Senate Committee on Appropriations has released the FY2018 chairmen’s recommendation for the Department of the Homeland Security.

The recommendation totals $51.6 billion in discretionary funding.

“Recent terrorist attacks within the United States demonstrate our need to be constantly vigilant against security threats.  I hope this mark sets us on a course to provide the resources required by the Department of Homeland Security to protect the American people,” said U.S. Senator and Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran. “I appreciate the hard work Senator Boozman and the subcommittee have put into this measure.”

Cochran added that the recommendations emphasize border security, providing funding for physical barriers in targeted, high-traffic areas along the southern border.  It also provides significant funding for immigration enforcement, aviation and maritime security, cybersecurity, critical infrastructure protection, and disaster response.

“Keeping Americans safe is one of the federal government’s most important responsibilities and the investments in this bill uphold that obligation,” said Arkansas U.S. Senator John Boozman, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee.  “This legislation will help enhance border security, provide relief from natural disasters, and help adapt to evolving threats against our country.”

Bill Highlights:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection – $13.5 billion including an unprecedented funding increase of more than 10 percent over FY2017, for border security, including infrastructure, technology, and personnel.  It fully funds the administration request for physical barriers in targeted, high-traffic areas along the southern border, while also continuing a requirement that the Department provide Congress with a comprehensive border security plan.

  • Operations and Support – $11.4 billion for Operations and Support, which includes support of all staffing projected to be on board in FY2018, $100 million requested for 500 new Border Patrol agents, and funding requested for 97,184 flight hours
  • Procurement, Construction, and Improvements – $1.9 billion, of which $1.6 billion is for border barriers, technology, and tactical infrastructure.  This funding includes $108 million for airframes and sensors and requires a report on border security costs and plans.

Immigration & Customs Enforcement – $6.7 billion to build on a record capacity for ICE to perform its missions.  The bill recommends $230 million above FY2017, continuing the highest-ever level of capability to identify, apprehend, and detain undocumented immigrants.

  • Operations and Support – $6.6 billion to enforce immigration and customs laws.  The bill provides a $22 million increase to target transnational criminal organizations and continues funding for new Mobile Criminal Alien teams, which identify and apprehend at-large criminal aliens.
  • Procurement, Construction, and Improvements – $28 million to support improved tactical communications, information technology, and financial systems.

U.S. Coast Guard – $11.2 billion, including $7.3 billion to fully fund personnel and operations.  The Coast Guard once again set a record in FY2017 by interdicting nearly 500,000 pounds of cocaine on the high seas, and the bill recommends continued investment in the Coast Guard capabilities that are enabling this success.  The bill recommends $1.8 billion to continue a historic recapitalization of Coast Guard assets, including:

  • $540 million for construction of National Security Cutter 10.
  • $95 million for long lead time materials for National Security Cutter 11.
  • $450 million for construction of Offshore Patrol Cutter 1.
  • $50 million for long lead time materials for Offshore Patrol Cutter 2.
  • $240 million for four Fast Response Cutters.
  • $19 million to support Polar Icebreaker acquisition.
  • $6 million to accelerate recapitalization of the Inland River Tender fleet

Federal Emergency Management Agency – In the wake of the devastating effects of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, the bill would fully fund the budget request for disaster response activities.  It recommends $7.4 billion, as requested, for the Disaster Relief Fund (DRF).  Should the bill become law, and when combined with recently-enacted supplemental appropriations, a total of $33.4 billion will have been appropriated to the DRF in response to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

  • Operations & Support – $1.0 billion for personnel, preparedness, mitigation, and urban search and rescue activities.
  • Federal Assistance – $2.8 billion, including:

o   $471 million for State Homeland Security Grants, including $55 million for Operation Stonegarden and $5 million for Non-profit Security Grants.

o   $600 million for Urban Area Security Initiative grants, including $20 million for Non-profit Security Grants.

o   $50 million for Port Security Grants.

o   $60 million for Public Transportation Security Grants.

o   $690 million for Fire and SAFER grants.

o   $350 million for Emergency Management Performance Grants.

o   $100 million for Emergency Food and Shelter

o   $75 million for Pre-disaster Mitigation grants.

o   $178 million for RiskMAP.

  • National Flood Insurance Program – The bill rejects the administration’s proposal to shift $50 million in costs to policyholders.
  • Disaster Relief Fund – $7.4 billion

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) – $4.7 billion, $50 million above the budget request, to maintain a robust aviation screening posture.  It supports 1,090 more personnel than the budget request and maintains investments in technology and canine teams to allow for expedited screening and increased passenger processing.  It also recommends important investments in screening technology to adapt to emerging threats.

  • Operations and Support – $4.6 billion, including: $77 million above the request to continue TSA exit lane monitoring; $799 million for the Federal Air Marshal Service; $45 million above the request to maintain the Law Enforcement Reimbursement Program; $154 million for canines to increase passenger processing; and funding necessary to maintain the Screening Partnership Program at airports where private screening contracts are in place.
  • Procurement, Construction, and Improvements – $53 million, including funding for screening equipment algorithm updates, new computed tomography units, and upgrades to explosive trace detectors.
  • Research and Development – $20 million, including funding for testing of algorithms and computed tomography units.

United States Secret Service – $2.0 billion for the Secret Service to carry out its protection, financial, and investigation missions.

  • Operations & Support – $1.9 billion, which would support all staffing projected to be on board in FY2018, and fully supports a plan to employ 7,600 personnel by FY2019.  The bill also recommends $8.3 million for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
  • Procurement, Construction, and Improvements – $64 million, including funding for White House and Presidential protection upgrades.

National Protection and Programs Directorate – $3.3 billion, $2 million above the budget request and $9 million above the FY2017 level, to accelerate cybersecurity and critical infrastructure protection.  This funding will enhance cybersecurity capabilities across nearly every agency of the federal government while supporting cooperation with states, local governments, and the private sector.

  • Operations & Support – $1.4 billion, including:  $103 million to accelerate all phases of Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation, the primary federal civilian cybersecurity system; $211 million for the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center and Computer Emergency Readiness Teams; $294 million for the National Cybersecurity Protection System (NCPS) or “Einstein;” and $191 million for Infrastructure Protection.
  • Procurement, Construction, and Improvements – $343 million
  • Research and Development – $15 million

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services – $132 million, including full funding for the E-Verify system.

Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers – $213 million to fully support all anticipated federal law enforcement training needs.

Science & Technology – $720 million to support critical investments in the future of homeland security.  The bill restores $93 million in research and development funding that the budget request sought to eliminate.

  • Operations and Support – $266 million, including $15 million to fully fund the startup of the National Bio and Agro Defense Facility.
  • Research and Development – $454 million, including $37 million for University Programs to allow for 9 Centers of Excellence.

Domestic Nuclear Detection Office – $310 million, including $21 million to maintain Securing the Cities.

Office of Health Affairs – $113 million, including funding to support BioWatch, the Anthrax Vaccine Program, and food, agriculture, and veterinary preparedness.

Departmental Management, Operations, Intelligence, and Oversight – $1.2 billion, including $175 million for the Office of Inspector General.

Notable Administrative and General Provisions

  • Continues requirement that any contract award fees be tied to successful acquisition outcomes.
  • Continues a provision prohibiting the collection of any new land border fees or the study of such fee.
  • Continues requirements on issuance of Jones Act waivers for oil tankers carrying oil from the strategic petroleum reserve.
  • Continues prohibition related to individuals detained at the Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
  • Continues prohibition on award or incentive fees for contractors who do not meet performance requirements.
  • Continues a prohibition of the transfer of an operable firearm by a Federal law enforcement officer to an agent of a drug cartel.
  • Continues a provision limiting the cost of and number of employees allowed to attend international conferences.
  • Continues a provision requiring that the Department make public any report that the Department determines would serve the national interest, except reports that would compromise security or that contain proprietary information.
  • Continues a provision prohibiting funds from being used to develop and submit a budget that relies upon unauthorized fee proposals.
  • Continues a provision prohibiting domestic prosecutions based on the Arms Trade Treaty.
  • Rescinds dormant funds from various accounts across the Department.
  • Includes a provision reducing administrative contracting expenses across the Department.

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