Bush Seeks $294.8 Billion for Counterterrorism

By David McKeeby
USINFO Staff Writer

Washington -– President Bush asked Congress for significant spending increases in fiscal year 2008 to fight terrorism and to safeguard the United States from future attacks.

“As commander in chief, my highest priority is the security of the nation,” Bush said in a letter introducing the White House’s 2008 funding request. “My budget invests substantial resources to fight the Global War on Terror and ensure our homeland is protected from those who would do us harm.”

The White House is seeking $294.8 billion to fund global counterterrorism operations, including $99.6 billion for fiscal year 2007, $145.2 billion in 2008 and $50 billion in 2009.

The majority of the funding would be allocated to the Department of Defense, but $9.3 billion is being sought for the State Department, and $0.5 billion for other agencies.

These funds are in addition to the $70 billion passed by Congress for the Defense Department in 2006.

Since 2001, Congress has appropriated more than $425 billion for anti-terrorism activities across the U.S. government.  The fiscal year 2008 funding request is the largest made for anti-terrorism programs to date; if approved, it would increase overall funding allocated to fighting terrorism to more than $700 billion since the 2001 attacks on New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

Nearly 97 percent of the requested 2008 counterterrorism funding - $285.1 billion - would go to the Defense Department to pay for ongoing military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, which the Bush administration considers to be key fronts in the global war on terrorism. (See related article.)

But military experts long have emphasized that military force alone never will defeat terrorism.  A closer look at the president’s request shows the administration’s continued commitment to marshaling expertise from agencies across the U.S. government and expanding international partnerships to fight terrorism.

The White House requested $36.2 billion for the State Department, a 22 percent increase from its 2006 appropriation.  Most of the increase would go toward Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s “transformational diplomacy” initiative, which seeks to reposition American diplomats to critical locations across the globe, particularly in the Middle East and South Asia, to promote democracy and strengthen international cooperation against terrorism and other transnational threats.

Although not expressly a counterterrorism program, State’s foreign military financing initiative provides security assistance to help allies defend their countries from internal and external threats.  The administration requested $4.5 billion for the program, which, if approved as requested, will deliver $2.4 billion to Israel, $1.3 billion to Egypt, $300 million to Pakistan, $200 million to Jordan and $15.7 million to Indonesia. An additional $89.5 million is sought to help provide training for foreign military officers under State’s International Military Education and Training program.

The administration also requested more than $170 million for State’s counterterrorism programs. Its anti-terrorism assistance program, which funds training, equipment and support to help foreign governments detect, deter and prevent terrorist attacks, would receive the largest amount, at $124 million, under the president’s request.

Most of the $18.3 million funding increase requested by the president for State Department anti-terrorist programs would go to its interdiction program.  Under the program, U.S. officials work with more than 25 countries to help them track and prevent crossborder movement by terrorists.

The president also requested $6 million for State’s counterterrorism financing unit, which works with countries to detect and investigate terrorist networks, freeze assets and prevent terrorists from concealing money under the cover of businesses and charities.

The president also requested:

• $3.6 billion in 2007 and $5.9 billion in 2008 for anti-terrorism operations at the 16 agencies that make up the U.S. intelligence community, underscoring the administration’s continued emphasis on intelligence collection and analysis, as well as data-sharing though the National Counterterrorism Center and exchanges with U.S. allies.

• $34.3 billion for the Department of Homeland Security, for strengthening border security and immigration enforcement, upgrading scanners to screen cargo for smuggled nuclear materials, and helping state and local governments improve their ability to respond to emergencies.

• $24.3 billion for the Department of Energy, which includes efforts to help countries detect, locate and secure nuclear materials, as well as $395 million for the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership.

• $20.2 billion for the Department of Justice, including funding to expand FBI anti-terrorism programs and the department’s National Security Division, which is tasked with investigating, dismantling and prosecuting terrorist cells in the United States and overseas.  The administration also has requested funding to expand the department's ability to respond to terrorist incidents within the United States that involve nuclear, chemical or biological weapons.

For more information, see Response to Terrorism.