Iraq war spending bill includes funds for new technologies

The $81 billion Iraq war supplemental spending bill approved by the House of Representatives yesterday includes money for new technology items for the troops and for homeland security programs, as well as provisions to regulate government identification cards.

Under the bill, the Marine Corps will receive $152 million for night-vision equipment and $103 million for radio systems, according to a press release from the House Appropriations Committee.

The legislation's provisions for the Army include $94 million for night-vision devices, $50 million for jammers, $28 million for Improved High Frequency Radios and $18 million for handheld, stand-off mine detection systems, the press release said.

The bill also includes $55 million to detect nuclear materials at foreign ports in the Department of Homeland Security's Megaports Initiative and $39 million for the department's Terrorist Screening Center.

"This new funding will help the Terrorist Screening Center to handle new requirements, such as the Department of Homeland Security's Secure Flight Program," Cox said in a press release.

The legislation includes within it the REAL ID Act, passed by the House in February. The REAL ID Act establishes regulations that states must follow in issuing drivers licenses and other identification documents, with the goal of reducing their misuse by criminals and terrorists, according to Rep. Christopher Cox (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.

Some civil liberties groups and conservatives have called the REAL ID act the beginning of a national identification card system that threatens privacy rights.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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