Dollars for Homeland Security

As this past Saturday marked the third anniversary of 9/11, anti-terrorism measures continue to be on the mind of the federal government. The U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) has requested $40.2 billion for fiscal year 2005, a 10% increase from 2004.

"In the short history of this Department, America has already benefited from vast increases in our budget, continuing a trend that began as our country responded to new threats of terrorism that emerged on September 11, 2001," stated Secretary Tom Ridge.

"We have made measurable, visible progress during our first year of work. The President's budget maintains the momentum we have established, sustains and expands first year initiatives and provides additional financial support as we develop new means to defend and to protect our country," he added.

Among the requested funds is $890 million for aviation security, which is close to 20% more than what was awarded in 2004. In addition to improving the integration of explosive detection systems into baggage processing, funds will be allocated to improving the quality and efficiency of screening operations and technology automation associated with it.

Another item in the proposed budget is $65.1 million for a new Department of Homeland Security headquarters and $56 million for a new resource management system.

On a related note, ASIS (American Society for Industrial Security) International has joined the National Preparedness Month coalition, which includes DHS, 81 organizations and all 56 states and territories. The coalition will encourage Americans to take simple steps now to prepare themselves and their families for any possible emergencies.

ASIS International's role will be to share information about citizen emergency preparedness with its members. In addition, ASIS is partnering with the DHS on the development of the Ready for Business campaign.

Among the groups affiliated are: the American Legion, American Red Cross, Blue Cross and Blue Shield Assn., Girl Scouts of the USA, National Association of Broadcasters, National Crime Prevention Council, Salvation Army, U.S. Conference of Mayors and Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States.

"We are very pleased to be a part of this most worthy endeavor," said Jack Lichtenstein, director of Government Affairs and Public Policy for ASIS. "This is just one of the many ways we are working with DHS to help insure every American's safety."

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