DHS would get more IT dollars under unified funding measure

The Homeland Security Department's programs for data center consolidation, cybersecurity and some immigration-related information technology programs would get more money in fiscal 2010 under a measure recently approved by a House-Senate conference committee.

The measure to fund DHS reconciles different House and Senate appropriations bills passed by each house earlier this year. The compromise measure must now be approved by both houses.

Under the agreement, the department would get $150 million more than in fiscal 2009 for its program to migrate DHS’ 24 data centers located across the country into two secure locations, according to a summary of the bill.

The bill would give at least $82.79 million to DHS' Office of the Chief Information Officer’s Security Activities for data center development as proposed by the Senate, instead of the $20 million proposed by the House. The bill the House passed in June would have provided considerably less than the $200 million increase the Obama administration had requested for the entire consolidation effort.

The $82.79 million includes $58.8 million for data center development and operations and maintenance as requested, according to an explanatory statement accompanying the compromise. Under the agreement, DHS agencies would get an additional $91.2 million for their data center migration efforts, according to the explanatory statement.

The measure includes instructions for how money can be spent on the consolidation program and requires DHS’ CIO to brief lawmakers quarterly about on the progress of the data center development and migration. The CIO would also have to brief lawmakers quarterly on DHS’ most pressing IT needs, including the department’s OneNet project and DHS’ sensitive but unclassified Homeland Security Information Network.

Other key IT appropriations include:

  • Spending $397.2 million for the National Cyber Security Division compared with $313.5 million for 2009. The U.S. Computer Emergency Response Team would get $323.63 million compared with $254.92 million for 2009.
  • Allocating $338.39 million for the Office of the Chief Information Officer compared with $272.17 million for 2009.
  • Spending $373 million for the U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology program that uses biometrics to verify the identities of non-U.S. citizens at the country’s entry and exit points. That spending was $300 million in 2009.
  • Allocating $137 million and granting a three-year extension for the E-Verify employment eligibility verification program.
  • Spending $60 million for the REAL ID program, $40 million below 2009.

In total, the conference measure approved Oct. 7 would give DHS about $42.78 billion of discretionary budget authority in fiscal 2010, about $2.65 billion more than 2009, according to the conference summary.

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