President Barack Obama's $4.15 trillion budget request includes $50.4 billion for civilian agencies engaged in homeland security activities, most notably the Department of Homeland Security.
Funding for homeland security is up 11.5 percent over 2016, an increase of $5.2 billion. That funding is spread out among 29 agencies, though the bulk is allocated for DHS, Health and Human Services, Justice Department, State Department and Energy Department.
As the agency with "homeland security" right in the name, DHS obviously gets the largest portion of funding: just over $36.8 billion.
"This budget makes critical investments in our domestic and national security priorities," DHS said in a fact sheet released with the budget documents. "The budget continues to support DHS operations while making critical investments in a centralized cybersecurity program within the National Protection and Programs Directorate and frontline border security technology and infrastructure, as well as advancing Unity of Effort initiatives to further mature the department."
While funding for civilian homeland security programs is on the rise, that total does not include programs operated by the Department of Defense and other mandatory spending fees.
Overall (civilian and defense), the president's budget includes a total $70.5 billion for homeland security, a 1.7 percent decrease over 2016.
A good chunk of the $1.2 billion decrease comes from no longer including funding for the national public safety broadband initiative — FirstNet — which was funded in the 2014, 2015 and 2016 budgets.
The majority of homeland security funding (civilian and defense) will target three broad categories, according to budget documents:
- Preventing and disrupting terrorist attacks ($36.6 billion);
- Protecting the American people, critical infrastructure and key resources ($27.7 billion); and
- Responding to and recovering from incidents, including natural disasters ($6.2 billion).
"The budget shows that the president and the administration remain focused on meeting our greatest challenges — including accelerating the pace of innovation to tackle climate change and find new treatments for devastating diseases; giving everyone a fair shot at opportunity and economic security; and advancing our national security and global leadership," DHS said. "Not only for the year ahead, but for decades to come."
Aaron Boyd is an awarding-winning journalist currently serving as editor of Federal Times — a Washington, D.C. institution covering federal workforce and contracting for more than 50 years — and Fifth Domain — a news and information hub focused on cybersecurity and cyberwar from a civilian, military and international perspective.