Homeland Security, Defense and Justice get more IT money.
The Bush administration requested $4.43 billion for information technology spending for the Homeland Security Department, an 8 percent increase. A large chunk of the IT dollars would go to expanding existing customs, border, transportation and traveler security programs.
The U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology program, recently launched in airports and seaports, is one program the administration wants to expand to further modernize border management systems and capabilities and integrate databases.
"That program has been very successful, processing more than 900,000 legitimate passengers since the beginning of the year and matching 89 potential entrants against criminal watch lists," said DHS Secretary Tom Ridge during a budget briefing last week.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is working on several technology-related initiatives, including a proposed $64 million expansion of a remote video system along the country's southern and northern borders for enhanced detection and monitoring. Another proposed
$126 million — of which $25 million is new — would help fund Phases I and II and begin Phase III of the Container Security Initiative that seeks to enhance the technological capacity of screeners at foreign ports.
The evolving network-centric warfare doctrine benefited in the administration's request for a $401.7 billion fiscal 2005 budget for the Defense Department, a 5.7 percent increase from $380 billion a year ago.
IT spending accounted for $27.4 billion, up about $3 billon from last year. The request included $9.9 billion for various department agencies, followed by $6.3 billion for the Air Force, $5.7 billion for the Navy and $5.3 billion for the Army.
Officials also requested
$10.8 billion for the science and technology portion of the fiscal 2005 research, development, test and evaluation budget — a $600 million increase from a year ago. Congress ultimately approved $12.1 billion for science and technology in fiscal 2004.
DOD's rapid posting, processing and accessing data and intelligence received a boost for 2005. Officials requested $125 million for network centricity and $52 million for net-centric enterprise services.
The Justice Department would see a 6 percent boost for IT programs, mostly aimed at supporting the fight against terrorism. The $2.2 billion for IT would support programs such as an integrated fingerprint system, consolidated infrastructure initiative and comprehensive terrorist watch list.
One of the largest requested increases is for a project that would merge two fingerprint databases, one from the former Immigration and Naturalization Service and one from the FBI. The administration requested $34 million for the initiative, up from $5.1 million. Justice's inspector general has criticized the initiative, saying it has fallen far behind schedule.
The budget also includes $29 million for the Terrorist Screening Center, which would combine a dozen terrorist watch lists. The administration also asked for $35.5 million for the Terrorist Threat Integration Center, which would enable law enforcement and homeland security officials to share terrorist information.
Spending would also boost the departmentwide unified financial management system, the consolidated infrastructure project and the integrated wireless network to provide secure communications for officials in the Justice, Treasury and Homeland Security departments. The FBI's Trilogy modernization project would get $97.1 million for operation and maintenance.
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