Monday, January 12, 2015

HR 240 Details

Today the House Rules Committee published the Explanatory Statement for HR 240 provided by the House Appropriations Committee. This document is the legislative equivalent of the Conference Committee Report. It provides details on the FY 2015 DHS spending bill that are not typically found in the actual bill. It is also the document that the Congress uses to provide additional direction on how the Executive Branch is expected to spend the money that Congress allocates.

CFATS Spending

The CFATS program is too small to be directly mentioned in the DHS spending bill. It is politically sensitive enough, however, to be mentioned in the Explanatory Statement. There it rates two paragraphs on page 46. The first describes the various reports that Congress expects to receive about the progress made in this program. Interestingly, these reports are not consistent with those required under the provisions of HR 4007 (which are much more detailed). It seems as if the House Appropriations Committee Staff ignored the effects of HR 4007 when they crafted this portion of their report.

The second paragraph discusses the actual funding for the CFATS program. It explains:

“As described in the House [HR 4093; link added] and Senate [S 2534; link added] reports, NPPD's excessive use of administratively uncontrollable overtime (AUO) was inappropriate. As a result, the President's budget request for Infrastructure Security Compliance has been reduced [from $86,976,000 to $85,027]. NPPD shall brief the Committees on implementation of its new overtime policies and on overtime year-to-date and anticipated expenditures, not later than May I, 2015.”

Interestingly the original version of HR 4007 introduced in the House called for a CFATS authorization of $87,436,000 {§2110} but the authorization section was removed in Senate version.


Cybersecurity spending is spelled out in more detail in the Explanatory Statement. The table below shows the expenditures authorized on page 45 for the cybersecurity spending details for Infrastructure Protection and Information Security portion of the NPPD spending. With a single exception, this bill would reduce cybersecurity spending.

NPPD Cybersecurity Programs
Budget Request
Cybersecurity Coordination
US CERT Operations
Federal Network Security
Network Security Deployment
Global Cybersecurity Management
Critical Infrastructure Cyber Protection and Awareness
Business Operations

The ‘Global Cybersecurity Management’ category is a workforce development program. The majority of the money in this category ($15,810,000) is going into spending for cybersecurity education; presumably for DHS personnel.

Office of Health Affairs

One of the other areas of DHS spending that I kind of keep an eye on is the Office of Health Affairs. This office keeps track of two interesting security related activities; BioWatch and the Chemical Defense Program. In keeping with the Congressional almost irrational fear of bio-attacks the spending on BioWatch is more than 100 times as much as is spent on the Chemical Defense Program ($86,891,000 vs $824,000). This is a truly ludicrous mismatching of funds to potential threats as it takes very little technical expertise to effect an attack on industrial chemical storage or transportation.

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