Homeland security spending request holds level

Federal Emergency Management Agency

In a budget the administration says commits to border and aviation security, prepares for disaster relief, and boosts cyber security, the White House on Monday requested $39.5 billion for the Homeland Security Department next year, just a half-a-percent decrease from current spending.

President Obama asks for $6.1 billion in disaster relief funds for the Federal Emergency Management Agency and $1 billion for retaining, rehiring and hiring firefighters amid a budget that reflects the wide range of ways the U.S. is continuing to beef up homeland security entering the second decade after 9/11.

The request also includes $769 million to improve federal civilian computer networks. The administration continues to address criticism that the nation’s cyber security defenses remain disjointed. Several members of the Senate’s intelligence committee in January blasted FBI and intelligence officials for not working together with Congress to devise new and clear lines of authority for the nation’s total cyber defense.

The White House also is asking for $650 million in additional terrorism-related cyber defenses, explosives detection and federal responses chemical and biological weapons attack; $658 million for a new Coast Guard cutter; and $117 million to increase explosives detection at America’s airports.

Obama’s budget would fund 21,186 customs and border control officers and 21,370 border patrol agents.

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