Bill would fund DHS data center consolidation

A  Senate Appropriations Committee subcommittee today approved a bill to fund the Homeland Security Department for fiscal 2010 that would provide “significant funding” to consolidate the department’s 24 data centers into two secure facilities, according to a summary of the bill.

The exact amount of funding approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Homeland Security Subcommittee for the consolidation program was not immediately available. The specific dollar amount will be made available when the full Senate Appropriations Committee considers the measure. That is expected to happen June 18.

President Barack Obama had requested $200 million for the ongoing consolidation program that is being led by DHS’ chief information officer. However, the House Appropriations Committee approved a bill June 12 to fund the department that would have provided only $20 million for the effort.

Rep. David Price (D-N.C.), chairman of the House Appropriations Committee's Homeland Security Subcommittee, released a report that said the full House committee was “disturbed” by findings from DHS’ inspector general that included “a number of alarming problems and vulnerabilities at these two [consolidated] data centers.”

The funding bill approved by the Senate subcommittee today also includes a $118.5 million for the E-Verify employment eligibility verification program and a three-year extension for the program as the president requested, according to the summary.

Overall, the Senate bill would provide more than $42.92 billion for DHS. According to the summary, some other information technology-related highlights include:

  • Spending $398.7 million for cybersecurity, $85 million more than what was provided for fiscal 2009.
  • Spending $800 million for security fencing, infrastructure, and technology along the border of the United States and Mexico,  $20.55 million above Obama’s request and $25 million more than fiscal 2009 funding.
  • Allocating $196 million for the Secure Communities, a DHS program in which local law enforcement agencies are linked to networks that allow them to check fingerprints against federal criminal and immigration databases, as requested by Obama.
  • Spending $128.7 million for the Transportation Security Administration's checkpoint security technologies.
  • Allocating $1.19 billion for the Coast Guard’s Deepwater program, compared with $1.03 billion that was provided in fiscal 2009. Obama had requested $1.05 billion for the program.
  • Spending $19.2 million to consolidate DHS’ financial systems to improve internal controls and financial reporting.

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