• Improving disaster response amidst budget crunch

    As lawmakers struggle to cut the budget and reduce spending, some are seeking find ways to be more efficient with disaster response and recovery funds; the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee held a hearing to explore ways to make the Federal Emergency Management Administration’s (FEMA) disaster response more efficient

  • Troubled radiation screening program gets additional $300 million

    The Advanced Spectroscopic Portal (ASP) procurement program has hit another snag in its short-lived, yet troubled life; a recent unreleased Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that DHS plans to spend more than $300 million dollars to purchase several hundred ASPs, radiation detection equipment, that has not been fully tested and may not even work at all

  • Mica cuts 40 percent from House transportation spending

    Last Thursday, Representative John Mica (R-Florida) unveiled the House Transportation Reauthorization bill which would allocate $230 billion to infrastructure projects over the next six years; the bill has generated fierce criticism as it would cut transportation spending for America’s roadways by nearly 40 percent

  • Audit reveals Montana mishandled federal grant money

    A recent audit of the Montana Department of Military Affairs found that the agency did a poor job of managing federal grant money; the investigation, led by legislative auditors, revealed that the agency had spent approximately $19 million in federal grant money over the past three years but did not monitor subcontractors;the agency is so badly organized that it could not even account for the number of active contracts that it currently had with vendors leaving the door open for potential fraud

  • Austin fights to keep federal money to battle cartels

    With federal lawmakers struggling to reduce spending and cut the deficit, Austin, Texas, could lose as much as $2 million in federal grant money that it uses to combat Mexican drug cartels; on Tuesday, Austin police chief Art Acevedo and Representative Michael McCaul (R-Texas) urged lawmakers not to cut their funding citing the fact that the city is a dangerous hub for drug cartels

  • Official dispels government green procurement regulation myths

    The U.S. government owns or manages one in five acres in the United States, and is the largest domestic user of electricity; it is also one of the largest consumers of resources in the United States, purchasing on average $535 billion worth of goods each year; In 2009 President Obama issued an executive order requiring that all government agencies establish and implement plans to increase their environmental performance; speaking at the 2011 Security Industry Association’s (SIA) Government Summit to an audience of security professionals, a government official sought to clarify myths surrounding the government’s new green procurement regulations and assured government service providers that the rules would not drastically affect a company’s existing practices

  • SBA offers loans to nonprofits in Vermont

    The Small Business Administration (SBA) just announced today that certain private non-profit organizations (PNPs) in Vermont could qualify for special low-interest federal disaster loans; the announcement comes following the presidential disaster declaration in counties severely affected by the devastating storms and flooding that occurred in late April and early May; SBA said that PNPs not providing critical services of a government nature in Addison, Chittenden, Essex, Franklin, Grand Isle, Lamoille, Orleans, and Washington counties are eligible for Physical and Economic Injury Disaster Loans

  • Connecticut fire departments receive $270,000 in DHS grants

    On Friday, Connecticut Senators Joe Lieberman and Richard Blumenthal announced that the New London Fire Department would receive a DHS grant for more than $15,000, while the Oakdale Volunteer Fire Department would receive over $260,000 in DHS funds

  • New Jersey lawmakers protest transit security cuts

    On Tuesday Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-New Jersey) and Representative Rush Holt (D-New Jersey) urged lawmakers to restore funding for security measures to the nation’s railways; the House budget would cut funding for nine homeland security programs by 55 percent next fiscal year; in particular, funding to secure intercity passenger rail lines, freight trains, and mass transit systems would fall to $113 million down from $250 million, a 45 percent cut

  • Unions rally against proposed TSA cuts

    The National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) is rallying against two proposed amendments that would cut the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) budget and limit its employees’ collective bargaining rights; the union is urging the Senate to reject the two amendments in the 2012 DHS budget that the House passed; the amendment to cut $300 million from TSA’s budget comes as part of a broader turf war between two House Republican chairmen

  • Police chiefs oppose proposed Texas immigration measure

    Texas governor Rick Perry wants the legislature to pass a measure which would prohibit local police agencies from barring their officers from asking people they pull over, or otherwise detain, about their legal status in the United States; police chiefs from Houston and Dallas say the bill would impose additional costs on their already-strained budgets and would end up hampering public safety, because it would force them to divert resources and manpower to dealing with undocumented immigrants rather than criminals

  • Hattiesburg, Mississippi receives $13,000 DHS grant

    Hattiesburg, Mississippi recently received a DHS grant for $13,789 to purchase search and rescue equipment; the grant was awarded by the Mississippi Office of Homeland Security and comes as part of a $200 million DHS grant program designed to bolster emergency management and preparedness capabilities at the state, local, and community level

  • Larry Summers calls for $100 billion in infrastructure spending

    A former chief White House economic advisor is urging lawmakers to approve $100 billion in additional infrastructure spending to help boost the economy and prevent stagnation; Larry Summers, the former director of the White House National Economic Council for President Obama, wrote that it would be “premature” to limit fiscal support for the economy at the end of 2011

  • Truckers push for more highway spending

    Last month truckers pushed Congress to increase investments to America’s highway system noting that cargo shipped by trucks was expected to increase sharply over the next decade; the American Trucking Association (ATA) recently predicted that by 2022, there will be an overall increase of 24 percent in freight transportation; of that 24 percent, the trucking industry will see its cargo load increase by 70 percent.

  • Scientific research, budget cuts, and DHS

    The FY2011 budget of DHS’s Science & Technology Directorate (S&T) is $827 million; this year the administration’s budget proposal raised it to $1.2 billion; a measure passed by the House last week cut S&T’s FY2012 budget by 52 percent relative to the current budget — to $398 million; DHS said the cuts would stall development of technologies for border protection, detection of bio-hazards, cargo screening, and seriously disrupt research into domestic IED detection, leaving mass transit vulnerable to attacks; as we consider this dramatic cut, we should accept three things: first, the growing national debt is a threat to the well being of the United States and its security, and must be addressed; there are only two ways to address the debt issue: the government must reduce spending, or it must take in more money, or both; second, every government program must be thoroughly examined to see whether there is a justification to continue it — or continue it at the current level of funding; homeland security programs should not be exempt from such an examination; third, reasonable men and women may differ on the relevant issues: what is the nature of the homeland security threats the United States is facing; what are the best — and most cost effective — ways to meet these threats; can every last research initiative at S&T be convincingly justified?