The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) budget request increases breaks out at climbing 31.4%, $2.43 billion, for FY 2008 over FY 2007. The total of $10.2 billion is comprised of $8.79 billion in appropriations added to an anticipated $1.38 billion to come through user fees. The FY 2008 budget includes support for the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Secure Border Initiative, its multi-year plan aimed at securing the country’s borders and reducing illegal migration.
Among security measures is the addition of 55 highly trained CBP personnel to deploy and operate radiation portal monitors at seaports. Inbound containers will be examined in order to support a Domestic Nuclear Detection Office’s Weapons of Mass Destruction program.
The Secure Port Initiative (SPI) will gain funding for hiring more CBP officers and support personnel. SPI uses both radiological and nuclear screening of U.S.-bound freight in advance of departure from foreign ports.
CBP’s mission is to prevent terrorists and terror weapons from entering the country and at the same time to facilitate the cross border flow of lawful people and trade. In the DHS view, the FY 2008 funding includes funding for initiatives to support strengthening national chemical plant security; protecting high-risk rail shipments; and cultivate partnerships with industry owners and operators.
“This budget will ensure that the department has the tools and resources we need to protect the country, and to do it in a way that focuses on the greatest risks, is fiscally responsible, and balances our freedoms and our prosperity,” said Michael Chertoff, Secretary of Homeland Security, in discussing the proposed budget.
“Bottom line, he continued, “it's a strong budget, a budget that will allow us to continue our mission to protect the American people while balancing trade, travel, and our way of life. And it is a fiscally responsible budget that strikes the right balance in terms of our security and our prosperity. This budget will allow us to continue to protect our borders and implement comprehensive immigration reform. It will continue to increase our protection against all types of attack on our transportation systems. It will help protect our nation against all threats and hazards, natural or manmade. It will focus on high-risk threats, like chemical, radiological, biological and nuclear threats. And it will ensure a stronger federal response when we have an emergency.”