Cannon House Office Building
Secretary Napolitano: Thank you, Mr. Chairman [Representative Bennie Thompson], Representative [Peter] King, members of the committee. Thank you for this opportunity to testify on the Department of Homeland Security [DHS] portion of President Obama's budget proposal for FY 2010. Proposed total budget for DHS is $55.1 billion, which includes $42.7 billion in appropriated funding.
DHS performs a broad range of activities across a single driving mission to secure American from the entire range of threats that we face. The Department's leadership in the past couple of weeks in response to the H1N1 flu outbreak only proves the breadth of the Department's portfolio as well as the need to make DHS a stronger, more effective department. This budget strengthens our efforts in what I see as the five main mission areas where we need to focus in order to secure the American people.
First, guarding against terrorism—the founding purpose and perennial top priority of the Department.
Second, securing out our borders—an effort even more urgent as the United States looks to do it's part to counter a rise in cartel violence in Mexico.
Third, smart and effective enforcement of our immigration laws—we want to facilitate legal immigration and pursue enforcement against those who violate our country's immigration laws.
Next, improving our preparation for, response to and recoveries from disasters—not just hurricanes and tornadoes, but also unexpected situations like the outbreak of the H1N1 flu.
And, lastly, unifying—creating one Department of Homeland Security. We need to work together as one department to ensure that we operate at full strength. As this committee knows, the Department was recently created out of 22 separate agencies. Part of this budget is designed to help us to continue to knit and unify into one DHS.
Now, there are three approaches that the Department is taking to strengthen its performance in each of the five main mission areas, and that are all included in this budget.
First, expanding partnerships with state, local and tribal governments—the first detectors and the first responders.
Second, bolstering out science and technology portfolio—investing in new technologies that can increase our capabilities of being very cognizant of other interests that are there.
And, third, maximizing efficiency through an Efficiency Review initiative that we launched in March, we intend to ensure that every security dollar is spent in the most effective way. This budget adheres to the President's main reform goals—government efficiency, transparency and cohesion—and will play a major part in bringing about a culture of responsibility and fiscal discipline at DHS.
The DHS budget was based on alignment with the Department programs and priorities and that was assessed on the basis of effectiveness and risk. In terms of budget priorities to guard against terrorism, this budget proposal includes $121 million to fund research for new technologies that detect explosives in public places and transportation networks; $87 million for new measures to protect critical infrastructure and cyber networks from attack; and it also enhances information sharing among federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement.
For border security, the budget proposal includes $116 million to deploy additional staff and technology to the Southwest border to disrupt Southbound smuggling of drugs and bulk cash to help combat cartel violence. It also includes $40 million for smart security technology funding on the Northern border to expand and integrate surveillance systems there.
To assure smart, effective enforcement of our immigration laws, the budget proposal includes $112 million to strengthen E-verify to help employers maintain a legal workforce. A total of $198 million for this secure communities program, which helps state, local and tribal law enforcement target criminal aliens, and it improves security and facilitates trade and tourism for the Western Hemisphere travel initiative, $145 million; and $344 million to help Americans prepare for and recover from natural disaster.
The budget proposal includes doubling the funds from $210 to $420 million to increase the number of frontline firefighters, a $600 million increase to the Disaster Relief Fund, and its strength is pre-disaster hazard mitigation efforts to reduce injury, loss of life, and destruction of property.
Finally, to unify the Department this budget proposal includes $79 million for the consolidation of DHS headquarters, which will bring 35 district offices together generating significant savings in the long run. It also includes $200 million to consolidate and unify our IT infrastructure and bring all of DHS under the same system. In my few months as Secretary I have seen a number of remarkable accomplishments in addition to challenges that DHS faces.
I have seen this Department's potential. I believe we have a path toward realizing it. We are aiming to do even better at achieving our nation's security and this budget will help the Department do just that.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.