Justice tech a big winner in Senate spending bill

Senate Appropriations Committee bill includes hundreds of millions for cybersecuity, wireless communications, technology investments

The Senate will consider a bill to fund the Justice Department in fiscal 2010 that would spend more on some of the department’s major information technology programs.

The bill approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee on June 25 would spend $95 million on the Justice Information Sharing Technology program, which is used for corporate technology investments. The committee’s recommendation is $15 million more than the program got this year but about $28.6 million below what President Barack Obama had requested for the program. The full Senate is expected to consider the measure at some point after it reconvenes July 6.

Meanwhile, the House’s version of the funding bill, passed June 18, would give the program $109.4 million. However, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees agreed with Obama’s request that more than $27.4 million of that money go toward Justice’s cybersecurity programs, according to reports from the House and Senate Appropriations Committees that explain the legislation.

In addition, the Senate committee recommends giving $140.3 million to the FBI, a part of Justice, for its efforts under the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative, as requested by Obama.

“The FBI is in a unique position to counter cyber threats as the only agency with the statutory authority, expertise, and ability to combine counterterrorism, counterintelligence, and criminal resources to neutralize, mitigate, and disrupt illegal computer-supported operations domestically,” the Senate committee report said.

Meanwhile, the Senate bill would also meet Obama’s request for $97.6 million to build a joint FBI/Defense Department biometrics center. The committee report said the FBI is “uniquely situated to take a significant role in the expanding field of biometrics.”

That bill would also provide $206.1 million for Justice’s Tactical Law Enforcement Wireless Communications program, $1 million more than Obama and members of the House want to give the program. Justice received about $185 million for the program this year.

In addition, the Senate committee recommended that $21.1 million of that money be used for Justice’s Integrated Wireless Network, a program designed to replace or modernize aging radio systems but added requirements for how and where it would be spent.


About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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