(Official White House photo by Joyce N. Boghosian)

From Cybersecurity to Secret Service, What Trump Wants in DHS 2020 Budget Request

The Trump administration is requesting that Congress give the Department of Homeland Security a 7.8 percent budgetary boost — amounting to a $3.7 billion hike and $51.7 billion total appropriations — in its fiscal year 2020 roadmap.

The president’s blueprint, released by the White House today, “prioritizes funding to secure the nation’s borders, strengthen and enforce U.S. immigration laws, and respond to and recover from major disasters and large-scale emergencies.”

Trump is requesting $5 billion to build about 200 miles of border barriers, and $1.2 billion to continue Coast Guard fleet modernization projects.

The budget request proposes spending $164 million to hire 750 new Border Patrol agents and $314 million to hire a thousand new Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, 128 immigration prosecutors and 538 “critical support staff” to implement the president’s immigration directives.

Additionally, the budget plan makes unspecified “additional investments in the Alternatives to Detention program for active monitoring of a total alien population of approximately 120,000.” Trump wants to expand immigration detention capacity to 60,000, including 10,000 family detention beds.

While federal contractors are required to screen employees with E-Verify, Trump wants to make the immigration check system mandatory across the country.

The Transportation Security Administration would get $7.8 billion, slightly more than the $7.7 billion Trump requested for the agency last year.

The only mention of FEMA in the 150-page White House budget document is a proposal for “a $430 million all-hazards competitive grant program that would be rigorously evaluated to demonstrate how the Federal Emergency Management Agency is supporting communities to make the nation safer and more resilient.”

On cybersecurity, the White House wants more than a billion dollars for DHS risk assessment efforts, boosting the number of analyses from 473 to 684. This would include “assessments of state and local electoral systems” as well as “additional tools and services, such as the EINSTEIN and the Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation programs, to reduce the cybersecurity risk to federal information technology networks.”

“The budget includes funding to support DHS’s Cyber Talent Management System, which reflects the exemption of DHS’s cyber workforce from many of the hiring and compensation requirements and restrictions in existing law under Title 5,” the document continues. “Under this new initiative, DHS would hire at least 150 new cybersecurity employees using this system by the end of 2020. In this way, DHS would be better positioned to compete with the private sector for cyber talent.”

Finally, the DHS portion of the budget request requests $2.3 billion for the Secret Service, a slight bump from the fiscal year 2019 request. The administration proposes hiring 177 new agents and staff, and bulking up protective details with new equipment and technology for the 2020 presidential campaign.

Bridget Johnson is the Managing Editor for Homeland Security Today. A veteran journalist whose news articles and analyses have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe, Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor and a foreign policy writer at The Hill. Previously she was an editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and syndicated nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. Bridget is a senior fellow specializing in terrorism analysis at the Haym Salomon Center. She is a Senior Risk Analyst for Gate 15, a private investigator and a security consultant. She is an NPR on-air contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, New York Observer, National Review Online, Politico, New York Daily News, The Jerusalem Post, The Hill, Washington Times, RealClearWorld and more, and has myriad television and radio credits including Al-Jazeera and SiriusXM.

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