Friday, February 5, 2010
Next week Secretary Napolitano will start the process of explaining the DHS FY 2011 budget request to Congress. She is currently scheduled to appear before both the House and Senate Homeland Security Committees next week. Wednesday morning she is scheduled to appear before the Senate Committee and Thursday before the House Committee. Both hearings will be webcast. Don’t expect to hear much about CFATS; it is a relatively small program and these hearings will likely be general overviews. Various Assistant Secretaries and Directors will be making the trek to Capitol Hill later this year to explain the program numbers. Rand Beers and Sue Armstrong will probably be the ones to explain the CFATS numbers and their detailed effects on the CFATS program. CFATS Budget Numbers While CFATS is important to the chemical security community, it is just not a large enough program to make the high-level budget summaries that are available on the OMB web page. The closest you can find there is a listing for the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD). The NPPD budget request for FY 2011 shows a 3% decrease over the FY 2010 authorized level. To get the numbers for the Infrastructure Security and Compliance Division (ISCD – the outfit that actually runs the CFATS program) I had to turn to contacts at DHS. The ISCD budget request for FY 2011 is $105 M an increase of 1.6% over the FY 2010 budget passed by Congress last fall. The FY 2011 budget request fully funds the number of CFATS inspectors that DHS has been planning for. It does not address the number of additional inspectors that HR 2868 would require for adding in FY 2010 and FY2011. Since that bill was not passed last year and there are no guarantees that it will be passed this year, DHS could not act on those requirements. Again, like I reported in yesterday’s blog, DHS did include another one year extension of the CFATS authorization in their budget request. This is not a DHS comment on HR 2868, rather it is recognition of the political fact that there is no guarantee that Congress will be able to pass any legislation to make CFATS permanent by the time the current authorization expires in early October.