CBO Releases a Report on the Proposed Homeland Security Budget for 2013

September 27, 2012

Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the federal government has spent more than half a trillion dollars on homeland security—that is, activities that detect, deter, protect against, and respond to terrorist acts occurring within the United States and its territories. Those activities are carried out by numerous federal agencies and include many, but not all, of the responsibilities of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). In fact, only about half of the $69 billion in funding for homeland security in the President’s budget for 2013 would be allocated to DHS.

Today CBO released a report, The Proposed Homeland Security Budget for 2013, which summarizes the President’s request for 2013 in the context of the strategic goals and missions for homeland security developed since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The report also analyzes how funding for homeland security has changed over time.

The report indicates that:

  • Most of the proposed homeland security funding for 2013 would be allocated to four departments: DHS (52 percent); the Department of Defense (DoD, 26 percent); the Department of Health and Human Services (6 percent), and the Department of Justice (6 percent). The remainder would go to various other departments and agencies.
  • The vast majority—more than 90 percent—of the President’s request would be directed towards two strategic goals: prevent and disrupt terrorist attacks; and protect the American people, critical infrastructure, and key resources.a
  • The largest amounts of funding would go to Customs and Border Protection, the Transportation Security Administration, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement in DHS, and to the budget for military personnel and operations and maintenance in DoD.
  • Funding for homeland security has dropped somewhat from its 2009 peak of $76 billion, in inflation-adjusted terms; funding for 2012 totaled $68 billion. Nevertheless, the nation is now spending substantially more than what it spent on homeland security in 2001.

This report was prepared by Christopher Murphy of CBO’s National Security Division.