2359 Rayburn House Office Building
Chairman Carter, Ranking Member Price, and Members of the Subcommittee:
I begin by thanking this Subcommittee for the strong support you have provided to the Department the past eleven years. I look forward to continuing to work with you in the coming year to protect the homeland and the American people.
I am pleased to appear before the Subcommittee to present President Obama’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 Budget Request for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The FY 2015 Budget request builds on our accomplishments over the past eleven years while providing essential support to national and economic security.
The FY 2015 Budget reflects President Obama’s strong commitment to protecting the homeland and the American people. It supports and continues our focus on preserving frontline priorities across the Department by cutting costs, sharing resources across DHS components, and streamlining operations wherever possible. It will ensure our men and women on the frontlines are well trained, equipped, and supported while continuing to maximize Department-wide efficiencies. It will also continue to make responsible investments in personnel, technology and asset recapitalization that are critical to ensuring our future security, while recognizing that difficult fiscal choices must be made.
The basic missions of DHS are and should continue to be preventing terrorism and enhancing security; securing and managing our borders; enforcing and administering our immigration laws; safeguarding and securing cyberspace; and strengthening national preparedness and resilience. The President’s FY 2015 Budget request provides the resources necessary to maintain and strengthen our efforts in each of these critical mission areas.
In all, the FY 2015 Budget requests $60.9 billion in total budget authority, $49.0 billion in gross discretionary funding and $38.2 billion in net discretionary funding.
The cornerstone of the Homeland Security mission is protecting our nation against terrorist attacks. Through the efforts of both the Bush and Obama Administrations, we have put al Qaeda’s core leadership on a path to strategic defeat. But the terrorist threat has continued to evolve. We must remain vigilant in detecting and preventing terrorist threats that seek to penetrate the homeland from the land, sea or air. We also must continue to build relationships with state and local law enforcement, and the first responders in our communities, to address the threats we face from those who self-radicalize to violence, the so-called “lone wolf” who may be living quietly in our midst, inspired by radical, violent ideology to do harm to Americans– illustrated last year by the Boston Marathon bombing.
The FY 2015 Budget strengthens the Department’s antiterrorism efforts. It requests $3.8 billion for TSA screening operations to continue improving aviation security effectiveness by aligning passenger screening resources based on risk. It also requests more than $1 billion for FEMA’s preparedness grants with particular emphasis on building and sustaining capabilities that address high consequence events that pose the greatest risk to the security and resilience of the United States and can be utilized to address multiple threats and hazards.
Border security is essential to homeland security. Good border security is both a barrier to terrorist threats, drug traffickers, transnational criminal organizations, and other threats to national security and public safety, and a facilitator for legitimate trade and travel. We are gratified by the support Congress has provided to improve security at our borders and ports of entry. With that support, we’ve made great progress. There is now more manpower, technology and infrastructure on our borders than ever before, and our men and women in and around the border are producing results. But we must remain vigilant.
The FY 2015 Budget builds on this progress by providing $362.5 million to maintain the necessary infrastructure and technology along the Nation’s borders to ensure that law enforcement personnel are supported with effective surveillance technology to improve their ability to detect and interdict illegal activity in a safer environment. The Budget invests $90 million in technology that will improve remote and mobile video surveillance systems and $11.7 million to recapitalize non-intrusive inspection equipment. The Budget will allow DHS to complete the hiring of up to 2,000 new Customs and Border Protection officers, which commenced in FY 2014, and an additional 2,000 officers funded by fees in FY 2015, resulting in faster processing and inspections of passengers and cargo at U.S. ports of entry, which is projected to add nearly 66,000 new jobs, add $4 billion to GDP and result in more seizures of illegal items, such as drugs, guns, and counterfeit goods. The FY 2015 Budget supports the salaries, benefits, and operating costs for 21,370 Border Patrol agents and 25,775 CBP officers.
With respect to removals and immigration enforcement, we must continue to prioritize our resources on those who represent threats to national security, public safety and border security. The FY 2015 Budget will provide $2.6 billion to support Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) activities to identify, apprehend, and remove aliens from the United States. The FY 2015 Budget also includes $124.8 million to continue expansion and enhancement of the E-Verify program.
We will continue to streamline and facilitate the legal immigration process while enforcing U.S. immigration laws through the smart and effective use of resources. As I have said many times, we must also take serious steps forward on immigration reform legislation and find common sense solutions to a problem we all know we have. I am committed to working with Congress to achieve that goal.
In addition, we must continue efforts to address the growing cyber threat to the private sector and the “.gov” networks, illustrated by the real, pervasive, and ongoing series of attacks on public and private infrastructure. The FY 2015 Budget includes $1.27 billion for DHS cybersecurity activities, including $377.7 million for Network Security Deployment, including the EINSTEIN3 Accelerated (E3A) program, which enables DHS to detect malicious traffic targeting civilian Federal Government networks and prevent malicious traffic from harming those networks. It also includes $143.5 million for the Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation program, which provides hardware, software, and services designed to support activities that strengthen the operational security of Federal civilian networks. In support of Executive Order 13636, the Budget will also provide $8.5 million to establish a voluntary program and an enhanced cybersecurity services capability.
DHS also must be vigilant in preparing for and responding to disasters, including floods, wildfires, tornadoes, hurricanes, and most recently, chemical leaks like the 2014 spill into the Elk River in West Virginia that threatened the water supply of hundreds of thousands of people. We have come a long way since the days of Hurricane Katrina. We have improved disaster planning with public and private sector partners, non-profit organizations, and the American people. With the help of this committee, we have also improved the Department’s emergency response agility through important changes to the structure of the Disaster Relief Fund, which brings immediate help and resources to our communities in their most dire times of need.
Of particular note, the President’s FY 2015 Budget funds production of National Security Cutter 8, as part of the recapitalization of the Coast Guard, and requests $300 million to complete the funding necessary to construct the National Bio- and Agro- Defense Facility, a state-of-the-art bio-containment facility central to the protection of the Nation’s food supply and security.
The FY 2015 Budget will provide $10.2 billion to support disaster resiliency, primarily through the grants programs that are administered by FEMA and the Disaster Relief Fund. Of this total, $2.2 billion in total grant funding will support state and local government efforts to prevent, protect against, respond to, and recover from incidents of terrorism and other catastrophic events. Also included are Firefighter and Emergency Management Performance Grants that support local first responders in achieving their missions, and $7 billion in DRF funding to provide immediate and long-lasting assistance to individuals and communities stricken by emergencies and major disasters.
Lastly, the Budget includes the President’s Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative, which provides a roadmap for additional investments to help secure our nation’s future. Specifically, this initiative funds $300 million for FEMA’s reformed, risk-based approach to increase preparedness, mitigation, and emergency response to disasters and other threats in communities across the country. The Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative also dedicates significant resources to help our communities prepare for the effects of climate change, including $400 million to support planning and pilot projects for cities and communities through FEMA hazard mitigation assistance and national preparedness grants, and $10 million to help the National Protection and Programs Directorate identify critical infrastructure facilities and analyze their ability to remain functional after disasters.
As Secretary of Homeland Security, I am mindful of the environment in which we pursue each of these important missions. The days are over when those of us in national and homeland security can expect more and more to be added each year to our top line budgets. I therefore believe I am obliged to identify and eliminate inefficiencies, waste, and unnecessary duplications of resources across DHS’s large and decentralized bureaucracy, while pursuing important missions such as the recapitalization of the aging Coast Guard fleet. Over the past two years, the Department has found innovative ways to reduce cost and leverage efficiencies, reducing DHS-wide expenses by over $2.7 billion during that period. We also reached a major milestone last year when the Department achieved its first unqualified or “clean” audit opinion on its financial reporting. These are important steps in maturing the Department’s management and oversight functions, but there is more to do.
As part of this agenda we are tackling our budget structure and process. DHS currently has 76 appropriations and over 120 projects, programs or activities, and there are significant structural inconsistencies across components, making mission based budget planning and budget execution analysis difficult. We are making changes to our budget process to better focus our efforts on a mission and cross-component view. I, along with the Deputy Secretary, am personally engaged to provide the necessary leadership and direction to this process. I look forward to further discussing these ideas and strategies with this sub-Committee as we develop ways to refine our planning process and appropriation account structure in order to improve how the Department resources its missions.
As part of a management reform agenda, I am also doing a top to bottom review our of acquisition governance process – from how we develop our strategies, to the development of our requirements, to how we sustain our platforms, equipment and people and everything in between. Part of this will include the thoughtful, but necessary, consolidation of functions to provide the Department with the proper oversight, management and responsibilities to carry out this task. This will allow DHS to more fully ensure the solutions we pursue are responsive to our strategy, technologically mature, and cost effective. I look forward to sharing our ideas and strategies with this sub-Committee as we move forward in this area.
In closing, the Department’s FY 2015 Budget request recognizes our current fiscal realities and works within them. It is a responsible plan that will strengthen our Nation’s security while allowing the Department to continue to achieve its core objectives. I thank the Committee for inviting me to appear today. In the pursuit of our important mission, I pledge to this Committee my total dedication and all the energy I possess. I look forward to working with you to meet our shared priorities.