How DHS plans to use stimulus funds

A good summary of DHS stimulus spending from HS Daily Wire:

St. Elizabeths/DHS headquarters consolidation: $200 million, $450 million to GSA

  • $650 million ($200 million to DHS; $450 million to GSA)

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP): $680 million direct, $300 million to GSA

  • $720 million for construction at land ports of entry ($300 million GSA; $420 million CBP)
  • $100 million for Non-Intrusive Inspection (NII) technology
  • $100 million for border technology on the southwest border
  • $60 million for tactical communications equipment and radios

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE): $20 million

  • $20 million for ICE automation modernization and tactical communications

Transportation Security Administration: $1 billion

  • $1 billion for explosives detection systems and checkpoint screening equipment

U.S. Coast Guard: $240 million

  • $142 million for alteration of bridges program
  • $98 million for construction, which may include the following:
    • Shore facilities and aids to navigation facilities
    • Vessel repair/acquisition (includes High Endurance Cutter, National Security Cutter)

Federal Emergency Management Agency: $615 million+

  • $100 million for Emergency Food and Shelter Program
  • $150 million for transit and rail security grants
  • $150 million for port security grants, no non-federal match required
  • $210 million for Assistance to Firefighter (AFG) grants for firehouse construction; maximum grant is $15.0 million
  • $5 million expansion in authority for FEMA Community Disaster Loans
  • Requires the establishment of an arbitration panel to resolve Katrina/Rita public assistance disputes
  • Requires FEMA to accept additional applications for Katrina/Rita public assistance
  • All non-federal matching requirements for SAFER grants waived for FY 2009-2010

DHS Office of Inspector General: $5 million

  • $5 million to conduct related oversight and audits

Total: Based on these numbers, here are the totals:

  • $2.76 billion direct to DHS & components
  • $750 million to GSA
  • $3.5 billion total
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Overview of Napolitano’s Action Directives

In her first 10 days in office, new Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has issued 12 “action directives” focused on specific homeland security areas.  Here’s an overview of all the action directives, including their purpose and a brief look at what they may indicate for Homeland Security policy in the Obama administration.

What is an action directive?

According to the DHS press release, action directives “instruct specific offices and agencies to gather information, review existing strategies and programs, and to provide oral and written reports” by a specified date.  The dates are specified separately for each directive.

So essentially the action directives are reviews of existing programs.  Although the action directives do not direct any changes to the programs under review, the specific areas each directive specifies for review give an indication of programs that may begin seeing changes after the reviews are complete.

List of Action Directives

The list of action directives follows.  I’ve listed all the relevant dates for each directive as [Date issued / date oral presentations due / date written reports due].  I’ve linked each directive in this list to the DHS press release that includes it.

Note: Although the initial press release didn’t give both oral and written dates for the 5 action directives issued on that date, based on the press releases for the other action directives, this appears to be an error, and I’ve made the assumption that all 5 of those directives have the same oral and written response dates.  No date was specified for oral presentations for the last action directive (immigration and border security).

Brief Analysis:

Although immigration and border security was the last action directive issued, it is by far the longest and most specific directive, while at the same time allowing the shortest time between issuance of the directive and due date for the final report.  This may be a reflection of Secretary Napolitano’s experience with immigration, but in any case it indicates a likely increase in emphasis on immigration and border security compared to the previous administration.

The other theme clearly evident in many of the action directives is interoperability and integration, integration, integration.  Napolitano stated during her confirmation hearing that a primary focus under her watch would be integration of DHS agencies into a single cohesive agency, and the action directives reflect that.

Napolitano sails through confirmation hearing

Updated 01/16 21:00 EST

Janet Napolitano completed her confirmation before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Thursday without any real challenges, garnering praise and vows of support from every member of the committee, including both Republican members.  Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) said that he will move to have Napolitano confirmed by the full Senate as soon as possible after President-elect Obama’s inauguration next week, and said that seating Napolitano was “as important as seating the secretary of defense to the security of our country.”

When asked what her top priorities for DHS are, Napolitano gave three:

  1. Create a unified vision and culture for the department.
    • Give the departments people and offices the sense that it’s a single agency rather than an agglomeration of organizations.
  2. Bring together the “best and brightest” personnel.
    • She also touched on DHS’ low morale, and said she wanted to create “real career paths” that will allow people to rise in the ranks.
  3. “Complete the work of the transition.”
    • Basically, complete the hand-offs, and get people up-to-speed and down to business quickly.

Some other areas emphasized during her testimony included interoperability, border security and immigration, and FEMA’s relationship with DHS.  She also said she was committed to ensuring that DHS communicate better with the public.

Regarding FEMA, both Lieberman and Susan Collins (R-ME), the ranking Republican member of the committee, urged Napolitano not to reorganize DHS and not to remove FEMA from DHS.  Napolitano hasn’t publicly taken a position on FEMA’s relationship wtih DHS, but she has reportedly been asking members of Congress for their views on it, and she pledged to actively study it.

Summary: She’ll get confirmed easily, possibly as early as January 21st.  She appears to have a good working relationship with the member of the committee, which may enable her to be more effective, at least as long as the honeymoon lasts.  Expect interoperability and border security to get increased focus and resources, and expect some changes in immigration enforcement.

Event: House Homeland Security Committee roundtables on privacy, civil rights, & civil liberties at DHS

  • When:  Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008
  • Where: 311 Cannon House Office Building, Washington D.C.
  • Time:  9:00 am – 4:00 pm

On Wednesday, December 3rd, the Majority Staff of the House Committee on Homeland Security will host a series of roundtable discussions on the future of privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties at DHS.  The event, entitled “A Path Forward: Constitutional Protections in Homeland Security”, is sponsored by Rep. Bennie Thompson, Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security.  Experts from the public sector will give their views on the focus the Department should take in dealing with privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties during the new Administration.  There will be a total of six panels:

  • 9am – The Road Ahead: Protecting Civil Liberties in a Natural Disaster
  • 10am – A New Direction:  Privacy Implications in Datamining
  • 11am – The Way Forward: Privacy and Domestic Intelligence & Information Sharing
  • 1pm – The Advancing Lane: Transportation Security & Privacy and Civil Liberties
  • 2pm – The Changing Course:  Privacy, Civil Liberties, and the Border
  • 3pm – A Progressive Dimension: Cybersecurity and Privacy

DHS opens $3B in FY2009 grants with less restrictions

From the Washington Post:

The Department of Homeland Security announced plans yesterday to dole out $3 billion in counterterrorism grants next year to state and local agencies with far-fewer strings attached than in past years.

The DHS move marks a response to criticism from a Democratic Congress and increasingly restive state and local leaders. They have complained that the Bush administration’s domestic security officials have focused on terrorism at the expense of other law enforcement priorities, such as fighting drugs, gangs and violent crime.

Among other changes, DHS loosened rules to allow recipients to spend up to 50 percent of homeland security grants for personnel expenses, up from 25 percent; ease a 25 percent local-match requirement for rail, transit and port security aid; lift a three-year limit on funding for intelligence analysts in law enforcement “fusion” centers, which police chiefs nationwide have requested.

The department also agreed to spread aid for immigration law enforcement to states with international water as well as land borders, and to let grants be used to store — not just purchase — emergency supplies such as prepackaged food, water and medicines.

Senators answers questions about homeland security (and other issues)

Democrat Tom Harkin and Republican Christopher Reed answered a series of questions about national issues.  Many questions his on other topics, but Homeland Security-related questions include:

  • Would you vote for a defense or supplemental appropriations bill that includes a fixed timeline for withdrawal from Iraq?
  • Should the government be allowed to monitor electronic communications in the interest of homeland security without first obtaining court approval?
  • Would you support additional federal money for the construction of a border fence with Mexico?
  • Would you support a plan under which those immigrants in the United States who do not have legal status eventually could become citizens?
  • Should there be any additional federal restrictions on the purchase or possession of firearms?

For the answers and questions on other topics, read the Full article.

MI: DHS and Michigan reach agreement on enhanced driver’s license

From HS Daily Wire:

DHS has reached an agreement with the state of Michigan to enhance the security features of the state’s driver’s license, which may serve in the future as an acceptable alternative document for crossing the United States’ land and sea borders.

The Michigan agreement, similar to those reached with Washington, Vermont, Arizona, and New York last year, seeks to create an enhanced driver’s license — which denotes both identity and citizenship — as a compliance option to fulfill Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) requirements. WHTI requires all citizens of the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Bermuda to have a passport or other accepted document that establishes the bearer’s identity and nationality to enter or depart the United States from within the Western Hemisphere. Beginning 1 June 2009 only WHTI-compliant documents will be accepted at U.S. land and sea ports of entry.