$11B proposed for homeland tech

Proposed congressional legislation would earmark more than $11 billion in grants for technology-based initiatives for homeland security-related programs, according to a new report that will be released today by a Virginia-based research analysis firm.

According to Input analysts, the money would be spent in the transportation, border and port security sectors. In the Rail and Public Transportation Security Act of 2005, for example, Congress proposes to spend $7.5 billion on rail and public transportation security during the next five years. Most of the funding would be spent “to prevent the seizure of communications and infrastructure” and respond to chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosives attacks. The bill also calls for interoperable communications, surveillance systems and employee preparedness and training.

Another bill, the Targeting Terrorists More Effectively Act of 2005, would grant $3.5 billion for border and port security enhancements and cargo security upgrades during the next five years. Enhancements include implementation of radiation portal equipment and integrated cargo inspection systems. Input analysts cited that 500 million people, including about 330 million foreign visitors, annually cross the country’s borders at ports of entry.

“Concern over national security inadequacies and potential terrorist attacks continues to drive the grant funding trends,” Suzy Haleen, Input’s manager of grant products, said in a press release. “Anxiety over the safety of our major roadways and points of entry has produced a large number of aggressive and valuable technology grant programs covering many facets of transportation and border security.”

In the fiscal 2006 budget, President Bush proposed spending $50 billion, an 8.6 percent increase compared with this year’s level, in homeland security funding across the government. The Homeland Security Department would receive a $41.1 billion budget, a 6.6 percent increase compared with fiscal 2005’s appropriation. Despite the increases, critics say the money still isn’t enough to bolster border or transportation security, especially rail and mass transit systems.

The research firm is hosting a half-day industry seminar March 17 that will focus on the government grant market and several DHS initiatives. For more information or to register, visit grant.input.com.

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