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Testimony of Secretary Napolitano before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, "FY 2010 Budget Request" (Oral Testimony)

Release Date: 
May 14, 2009

Dirksen Senate Office Building

Secretary Napolitano:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman [Senator Joe Lieberman]. And I have a more complete statement for inclusion in the record. But Chairman Lieberman, Senator [Susan] Collins, members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify on the Department of Homeland Security [DHS] portion of President Obama's budget proposal for FY 2010. The proposed total budget for DHS is $55.1 billion, which includes $42.7 billion in appropriate funding.

DHS performs a broad range of activities across a single driving mission: to secure America 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 this 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 our borders—an effort even more urgent as the United States looks to do its part to counter a rise in cartel violence.

Third, smart and effective enforcement of our immigration laws—to facilitate legal immigration and pursue enforcement against those who violate the nation's immigration law.

Fourth, improving our preparation for, response to, and recovery from disasters—not just hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, and earthquakes, but also unexpected situations like the H1N1 flu.

And fifth, unifying the Department of Homeland Security—needing to work together as one Department, one DHS, to ensure that we operate at full strength.

There are three cross-cutting approaches that the Department is taking to strengthen its performance in each of these five years, and that are also strengthened in this budget.

First, expanding partnerships with state, local, and tribal governments—the first detectors and the first responders.

Second, bolstering our science and technology portfolio—investing in new technologies that can increase our capabilities, fully cognizant of our efforts also to protect privacy and the individual rights. 

And third, maximizing efficiency through an Efficiency Review initiative that we launched in March to ensure that every security dollar is spent in its most effective way.

This budget adheres to the President's major reform goals—government efficiency, transparency, and cohesion—and will play a major part in bringing about a new culture of responsibility and fiscal discipline at DHS. The DHS budget request was based on alignment with the Department priorities, and programs were assessed based on effectiveness and on risk.

First, in terms of budget priorities, to guard against terrorism, the 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. Third, systems to enhance information-sharing among federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement. For border security, this budget proposal includes $116 million to deploy additional staffing teaching to the southwest border, to disrupt southbound smuggling of drugs and cash, and to help combat cartel violence. 

$40 million for smart security technology funding on the Northern border to expand and integrate surveillance systems. To ensure smart, effective of our immigration laws, this budget proposal includes $112 million to strength E-Verify, to help employers maintain a legal workforce. A total of $198 million for the Secure Communities program, which helps state, local, and tribal law enforcement target criminal aliens. And it improves security and facilitates trade and tourism through $145 million for the WHTI [Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative] initiative, and $344 million for US‑VISIT. 

To help Americans prepare for, respond to, and recover from natural disaster, the budget proposal includes doubling of the funds from $210 to $420 million to increase the number of front-line fire fighters. A $600 million increase to the disaster relief fund to help individuals and communities affected by disasters. And it strengthens pre-disaster hazard mitigation efforts to reduce injury, loss of life, and destruction of property.

To unify the department, this budget proposal includes $79 million for the consolidation of DHS headquarters, which will bring 35 disparate 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, one DHS. 

In my few months as Secretary, I have seen a number of remarkable accomplishments in addition to challenges. I have seen this Department's potential, and I believe we have a path toward realizing it. DHS is aiming to do even better at achieving our security mission. This budget will help the Department do just that.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. 

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