Initial costs of homeland security could top $135B

Government and business leaders believe that securing the homeland against potential terrorist threats could cost between $93 billion and $138 billion in 2003, according to new market research conducted by Deloitte Consulting and Aviation Week, a division of the McGraw-Hill Companies Inc.

The New York firms surveyed 300 leaders from all levels of government and a broad range of industries. Their report, "The Homeland Security Market: The World's Most Challenging Emerging Business Environment," was released June 14 at the McGraw-Hill Companies' Homeland Security Summit and Exposition in Washington.

Homeland security funding initially will be directed toward priority threats against the United States, and then level off until a comprehensive, federally directed homeland security strategy is in place, the survey said.

Public- and private-sector organizations are aligning funding closely with potential threat priorities, the report said. Governments are allocating the largest shares of current security funding to handling public health threats, weapons of mass destruction and disruption and protecting physical infrastructure.

Businesses are putting most of their homeland security dollars into securing transportation and protecting the information technology and telecommunications infrastructure, the report said.

"Our survey reveals an evolutionary funding pattern," said Lynda Taskett, a Deloitte Consulting principal who leads the firm's Homeland Security initiative. "There is likely to be a surge in spending initially on those initiatives that are top-of-mind to government and business, but that will level off. We then expect to see another wave in funding that will correlate to a more integrated and coordinated approach to homeland security."

The biggest barriers to a successful homeland security program, respondents said, are funding (31 percent), federal policy (23 percent), organizational policy (10 percent) and politics (10 percent). Sixty-two percent said they did not perceive the federal government was providing enough funding in major threat areas.

Survey respondents also said they need more clear direction and a defined strategy for homeland security.

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