Bush stays the course with DHS budget

President Bush's proposed fiscal 2009 budget for the Homeland Security Department keeps the heat on major priorities such as border control and stricter identification with a 6.8 percent overall increase, to $50.5 billion.

Major technology initiatives, including the SBInet border surveillance system, Real ID driver's license standards and the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative border crossing identification program, show stable and increasing budgets. Those programs represent large opportunities for federal contractors.

At the same time, President Bush proposed increases in manpower, including border patrol agents and immigration enforcement. The Coast Guard's Deepwater asset modernization program is budgeted for $990.4 million for surface, air and other assets.

While some observers say the lame-duck president is unlikely to convince the Democratic majority in Congress to back his budget before the presidential election, Secretary Michael Chertoff said the final year of the Bush administration nonetheless could be noteworthy.

Referring to the Super Bowl upset by the New York Giants on Sunday night, Chertoff said at a press event today: "Sometimes the most interesting stuff happens in the final quarter."

Highlights of the information technology-related funding outlined in the DHS budget request include:
  • $775 million for the Secure Border Initiative Network border surveillance system, composed of cameras, sensors and communications equipment, along the Southwest U.S. border with Mexico. The project will include development of a Common Operating Picture.
  • $390 million for the U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology program that fingerprints foreign visitors to continue the transformation to 10 fingerprints from two.
  • $293.5 million for the National Cyber Security Division to deploy protections on federal networks against cyber threats and intrusions.
  • $140 million for the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative to implement the rollout to land and sea ports of entry in June 2009. The program consists of implementing stricter rules for identification at the border, and deployment of new "passport card" and "enhanced driver's license" identification cards along with readers to read them.
  • $100 million for E-Verify, which is a program operated by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The program allows registered employers to check on the Social Security numbers of prospective employees.
  • $57 million for Automation Modernization of IT Systems for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, including acquiring interoperable communications equipment and a biometric location tracking module, and development of an enhanced investigative case management system.
  • $50 million to support implementation of the Real ID Act of 2005 standards for state driver's licenses.
  • $25.5 million for the Coast Guard's Nationwide Automated Identification System for tracking vessels.

About the Author

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

Reader Comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

What is your e-mail address?

My e-mail address is:

Do you have a password?

Forgot your password? Click here
close

Trending

  • Dive into our Contract Award database

    In an exclusive for WT Insider members, we are collecting all of the contract awards we cover into a database that you can sort by contractor, agency, value and other parameters. You can also download it into a spreadsheet. Our databases track awards back to 2013. Read More

  • Navigating the trends and issues of 2016 Nick Wakeman

    In our latest WT Insider Report, we pull together our best advice, insights and reporting on the trends and issues that will shape the market in 2016 and beyond. Read More

contracts DB

Washington Technology Daily

Sign up for our newsletter.

Terms and Privacy Policy consent

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.