Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Looking Forward – Homeland Security in 2013 (2): Budgets

The second area to watch for homeland security news in 2013 is in budgets. Many people assume that DHS and DOD budgets are about the same. In fact the DHS budget is roughly $59 billion, while the DOD budget is roughly $525 billion. Thus the US spends about $9 on DOD for each $1 spent on DHS. (At the height of the two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the ratio was about 15:1.)  About $39 billion of the DHS money is available for “discretionary spending.” The rest is required for accounts like retirement .  The money goes to fund the following DHS agencies and programs:

  •  Customs and Border Protection (CBP); Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); the Transportation Security Administration (TSA);Coast Guard (USCG); Secret Service (USSS); the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD), which includes Infrastructure Protection and Information Security (IPIS) and the Federal Protective Service (FPS); the Office of Health Affairs (OHA); the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA); United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS); the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC); the Science and Technology directorate (S&T); the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO); departmental management, Analysis and Operations (A&O), and the Office of the Inspector General (OIG).

            It also provides a variety of grants, and here is where we can expect one significant change in 2013.  When DHS was envisioned in 2002, President Bush said he foresaw homeland security spending of about $100 billion a year (in 2002 dollars). Expenditures would be about 1/3 by the federal government, 1/3 by state and local government, and 1/3 by private industry. If you draw a line between this original estimate and the 2013 budget, you will see that after adjusting for cost increases, the 2013 federal government expenditure is a bit high but not far off the mark set in 2002. State and local spending, however, do not come close to the 2002 estimate. Homeland security spending by private industry hardly registers at all. Much of the spending that does take place at the state and local level is funded by DHS through (federal) grants. And here’s the rub. A good share of state and local programs and equipment purchased with DHS grants requires later DHS grants to sustain operations. (This includes personnel positions in many areas.)

            This matters because DHS grants are in decline, and will no doubt be reduced again in response to further budget pressures in Washington, DC. For example, most DHS grant funding goes through the states, but the Urban Area Security Initiative passes funding directly to metropolitan areas, as does the Metropolitan Medical Response System. Both of these programs are under significant budget pressure, as is funding for the Citizens Corps. This umbrella for local programs (like Citizens Emergency Response Teams – or CERT) speeds immediate local response to emergencies.  As state and local governments and private industry are unlikely to make up this reduced funding – and in fact are likely to reduce the low level of funding they themselves already provide – homeland security capabilities outside of federal agencies are likely to decline in 2013. This is a shame, since many of these grant programs are both efficient and effective, especially at the local level.

1 comment:

  1. Great insight! It's hard to hear, but I'm glad you're saying it. It seems to be your role to be the one who says what must be said.